Pairing: One-sided Finn/Kurt and a little Puck/Kurt
Spoilers: Takes place after Theatricality
Disclaimer: Don’t own ’em, making no profit off ’em, etc.
Word Count: 3,848
Summary: Puck easily breaks the top five on the list of people he'd least like to have watching him slog back into wakefulness from under a piano. Especially when he desperately needs to wash his face. Kurt didn't even know he had that list until a moment ago, and he definitely doesn't have the strength to work such an unflattering look just now.
Notes: Inspired by--but not exactly following--a prompt from the glee_angst_meme: What if Kurt and Finn had been the only two people home during their argument? Finn, who's much larger than Kurt, starts getting upset to the point where he gets violent.
He gets it now.
Maybe he was an idiot to fix up their parents, to crush on Finn all this time and think he stood a chance, to think Finn would somehow go from beyond just tolerating him to actually liking him. It was seventy-nine kinds of asinine and now Kurt's hands are numb and his head feels like a smashed bulb on the lamp one of them managed to overturn. He's been acting like a fool and thinking so highly of himself for every harebrained scheme that just so happened to pan out.
He wishes he'd never bought the faggy decorations at all. Despite the killer value on that burnt-sienna chiffon.
The word doesn't bother him. As screwed up as that is, he's so used to it that it gives him absolutely no pause anymore. Seeing Finn like this is what bothers him. A lot.
Especially with Finn's strong hand tight around his arm, gentle-giant with no gentleness, and he can't pull away. The stupid lamp is in pieces and he still can't remember which one of them stumbled over it, which irks him more than the fact that he won't be able to return it now.
“Maybe I'm a fag, but you're a moron. An oblivious, hulking moron.” It's so easy to say, even though it's hard to watch the darkness come over Finn's face.
“You were flirting. Can't you—I just—damn it, I don't want this.”
And Kurt double-takes because he never thought Finn would catch on and hurl it back in his face like this. Finn is the well-meaning oaf and he's the calculating one, the puppet master for the greater good that's really more about his own good than anything, and now karma is kicking him in the face for it. His heart bottoms out and Finn's gripping him by the biceps like he's ready to shake sense into him. “You...” He can't think of anything to say that makes this better. “You never gave any sign you noticed.”
“I did.” Crisp and simple. “I wanted it to go away. That's the polite thing to do. Ignore it till it goes away. You just kept on trying to...push. And that's not cool. This,” he does an exasperated full-body shrug meant to encompass everything, “is not cool.”
“You know what? Nobody cares what you think. Your mom didn't tell you anything until the last second. Nobody asked you what you preferred, not even once, and nobody is going to change just because you want them to. Nobody cares,” he shouts, and now Finn is laughing, palming his face like he can't believe the absurdity of this.
“All right. Fine.” He straightens up, towering over Kurt just a little bit more, and Kurt feels a flicker of worry even though Finn's voice is calm as can be. “Then don't get pissed because I'm not gonna change for you, either.” There's a flash of movement and a sound like vicious whispering, and then that chiffon is wadded up in Finn's big hands and he keeps yanking it down from the ceiling. Off-white walls coming into view again, stripping the room back down to its original state while Kurt stares until his eyelids hurt. Then Finn is throwing it all on the floor until there's a heap of bonfire-hued fabric limply lying there, and he's taking hold of him again. Somewhere in there, the partition clatters over. “Why can't you get that? Why is that so hard for you?” Words and fingers gouging into him, ten hard knots of hurt, the most Finn has ever touched him. God, Finn has to hate him now. Honestly hate him. For several seconds, Kurt can't find his voice at all.
“Because you're an idiot, Finn.” The room is too quiet and his voice is too shrill. “You thought Quinn got pregnant in a hot tub, for God's sake. If you ever do change, it can only possibly be for the better.”
Finn looks like he's been hit, or like maybe he wants to hit him, but Kurt gracelessly twists free and takes his leave before he can find out for certain.
And he runs. His shoes aren't made for this kind of activity and he wishes he'd thought to drive, but he's not in the state for it and at least with his car in the driveway his dad will know he can't have gone far. Sunset blurs on the horizon and he's breathing so hard it's blurred his vision, but he doesn't stop.
The school is isn't open, but the stage door usually is. Even the maintenance department forgets about the arts.
When Kurt sleeps, he folds himself up behind the choir room piano like a jackknife and wakes up with drums in his ears from a dream of Finn practicing and everyone in the glee club milling around, chatting and laughing like it was a day just like any other day.
The only actual drumming is emanating from the fingertips of one Noah Puckerman. Four rapid taps in turn, over and over, against the top of the piano.
Puck easily breaks the top five on the list of people he'd least like to have watching him slog back into wakefulness from under a piano. Especially when he desperately needs to wash his face. Kurt didn't even know he had that list until a moment ago, and he definitely doesn't have the strength to work such an unflattering look just now.
Still. He can try.
“Vinyasa meditation is a very involved process.” He combs aside his bangs and tries to torque himself into a Zen-friendly mindset. Coping with Puck generally involves a lot of deep calming breaths, so it should be simple, but it irks him that he can't smooth the quaver out of his voice this time.
“So is passing out on the floor. You do know how many people put their feet on it, right?” Puck is looking at him with something like confusion and speaking to him with something like amusement. And now Kurt can't stop thinking of all the other grime the choir room floor has been subjected to over the years. Add on Finn's face burning behind his eyes, and his stomach dances a two-step with his willpower. He swallows, even though Puck's worn sneakers would probably be improved by the addition of vomit.
And Puck, as ever, just rolls right on. “This is 'cause your dad's banging Finn's mom, right? And you're still not getting any?”
And he'd thought this couldn't get any worse.
It makes a strange degree of sense, though. Puck, more than anyone else, would be the first person to predict that something was going have to give with Burt and Carole moving in together. Kurt's heard him venting to Matt and Mike about how half the time he hates living with Quinn, how he didn't really have a choice in the matter. It would be something he could bond over with Finn if Finn were in the habit of holding conversations with him these days. And now Kurt, as usual, is popping up to be a convenient punching bag. He wants to curl up under the piano and weep.
His face must give everything away, because Puck nods knowingly. “Yeah, that's why it's a crappy idea to be a matchmaker. You thought you'd turn Finn gay by, what, parental proximity? I've been known to think with my dick on occasion, but this is something else. Way to go, man, you're officially a tool.”
“I could just say it's your fault,” Kurt retorts, forcing himself onto the edge of the piano bench, as far from Puck as possible. “You and your minions spending so much time throwing me in the dumpster has clearly given me a complex and I've gravitated towards the only one who ever looked out for me.” Now he's thinking of Finn pulling strings with Coach Tanaka in order to get him on the team, Finn sticking up for him and holding firm even when everyone else thought “Single Ladies” was stupid as a game play, Finn humoring him by listening to his skin-care advice. Finn slapping a helmet on his head and grinning so widely, Finn holding onto his designer jacket so he could slump back into Puck's arms and get in his daily dose of lamentably nonsexual manhandling. Fuck. Oh, fuck.
“Nope,” says Puck brightly. “That's all you. Everyone makes stupid-ass decisions sometimes. Be a man and own up to yours.”
It's surprisingly good advice and surprisingly easy to follow. “I messed up,” he admits, feeling his face scrunch up in a way that's probably thoroughly unattractive. He's wondering what Finn is doing, if Finn wants nothing to do with him or his dad now, if his dad can't be happy with Carole because Kurt went overboard with his decorating and unrequited crushing to the point that Finn fucking Hudson had to put him in his place.
“Hell, yeah, you did,” Puck confirms. “You've been kind of psychotic about trying to gay him up.”
“I don't think that's what psychotic means.”
“Someone who's so fucked up they believe whatever they want to and act accordingly, regardless of reality,” Puck rattles off, which is actually quite apt. Too apt. Kurt blinks. “Yeah,” Puck adds. “That's what my mom used to yell at my dad before he left.”
“You're an absolute genius,” Kurt grumbles. He's rumpled and hurting and would rather talk about anything but this. “Tell me. Did you ever think of maybe not contributing to my psychosis? What if someone called you a dirty Jew and threw you in the garbage?”
“Never happen.” He flexes. “You should've tried to bulk up some more and fight for your dignity instead of handing it all over.”
“One, you're missing the point by continents. Two, I like being able to fit into sample sizes.” Puck snorts and Kurt scowls. “And three. If I fought you, you would have chased me even harder, so don't act like you would have gotten bored and respected me and left me alone. Don't.” Puck doesn't say anything. Kurt leans onto his forearms, focusing on an errant dry-erase marker resting on a music stand. “I'm an easy target and I wanted something to go right for me. I can't go around seducing people's mothers and being a stud or anything, and you've all made it very clear that that's not okay.”
Puck shifts on the piano bench, plunking out an aimless melody. “So tell me how you really feel.” He sounds straightforward enough that Kurt wants to believe he can.
“I redecorated the room and he flipped.” God forgive him for parting with such a stereotypical admission.
But Puck doesn't so much as quirk an eyebrow. “Did you ask what he wanted?”
“Would you enjoy it if he redecorated without you? If, for some whack-ass reason, Finn decided to channel his inner Queer Eye? Or, like, did anything that big without checking in first?”
“But you thought you knew best and if you loved it enough he'd love it too.”
It's not hard to substitute different pronouns for the word it, and Kurt knows it. Knows that Puck knows it. His skin heats up all over again, as if he hasn't sweat-stained his clothes enough already. “He said it was faggy.”
Puck looks disbelieving. “Finn? No way. That's not his thing.” Spoken that way, it sounds like he's referring to a hobby, and Kurt supposes that's exactly what he is to some people at this school. A curiosity to be dabbled with. Vinyasa meditation in human form.
He can't help it and tears press into his eyes. Here, a few inches away from the person who would judge him the hardest for it.
No. No. No. He is not going to cry in front of Noah Puckerman. He is not going to fall that far.
“I don't get this whole thing anyway,” Puck scoffs. “His dick isn't even that big.”
That does the trick. Instead of crying, Kurt laughs hysterically and can't seem to stop.
He hears a sigh, then the sound of footsteps as Puck walks away, probably in case he turns gay or crazy by association. When Kurt gets a hold of himself, Puck is sprawled in a chair with his guitar case flipped open and his fingers idling over the pegs. “For real. You were ready to jump on him in front of everyone when you sang 'A House is Not a Home.' I don't know how the fuck you thought he could be cool with that.”
“If actions speak louder than words, I'm not the only one with problems here.” Kurt examines his shoes for scuff marks before rising from the bench and making his way towards the wall where Puck's chair is situated. “Projecting isn't just something you do when you belt.”
Puck is working on the intro to “Paint it Black” and just grunts distractedly. “What the hell are you even talking about?”
“Throwing someone in a dumpster while backed by an army of Kmart-clad thugs? So very, very manly. One might even say overcompensating.”
“C'mon, that's your thing,” Puck retorts, so calmly it makes Kurt want to stamp his foot.
“My mistake. I like guys, so of course I should be ecstatic so many strapping young men want to lay hands on me. You know, maybe you're a little gayer than you think.”
Puck rolls his eyes and sits strumming mutely for a bit. Kurt crosses his arms when he recognizes the tune. “Do you even know what 'Poker Face' is about?”
“Should I care?”
“It's about a girl thinking about another girl while she's making out with her boyfriend.”
When Puck finally glances at him, his eyes are almost mirthful. “You're not gonna sell me on this,” he says. “I can't wave a magic homo wand and make Finn take you to prom.”
“Stranger things have happened. I taught the entire football team some kickass choreography and we won. Consistently.” He bites the inside of his lip and stares at the floor, hesitantly taking a seat in another plastic chair. “I didn't think having to live with me would be that bad.”
For what seems like a very long time, there's no sound except for Puck alternating between “Aqualung” and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme with appreciable dexterity. “Living with someone you care about is fucking hell.” His eyes are on his fingers. Kurt's are narrowed, trying to seek out the other shoe before it drops. But Puck doesn't do anything other than frown. “Quinn doesn't look at me more than she has to. When she first moved in, she'd wander around wearing this big-ass bathrobe over her clothes like she thought I was gonna knock her up again with X-ray vision or something.”
“Like Finn getting dressed in the bathroom.” Kurt says it without thinking, then cringes and waits for Puck to howl with laughter. He doesn't. “I don't know what he thought would happen.”
“Accidental dick-up-ass syndrome is more common than you think.”
Kurt winces at the casual crudeness, but he can't shake the mental image it conjures. It sits fat on his nerves, making him feel uncomfortable and itchy, like having his fingers coated with layers of glue that can't be peeled away.
“Is there a reason you're lurking around the choir room?” he says finally.
“Well, let's see. I play guitar. My former best friend's former girlfriend is living with me. She has mood swings that escalate when things get noisy and the house is not that big.”
“It's great sex ed. Better than the celibacy club. My sister's probably gonna turn out gay now that she's seen the perils of an aggressively hetero lifestyle. I've kinda got bigger shit on my mind than dumpsters, no offense.” He smirks, wide and unfairly handsome. “I know how much you love being the center of attention.”
His fob watch says it's 8:33 and Kurt thinks he might seriously contemplate throwing it at him if it weren't a vintage model he'd snapped up for an amazing price on Etsy. “Fuck you, Puckerman.” It thrills him how readily that rolls off the tongue.
Puck doesn't look up from his guitar. “That's your problem, not mine. Did you think he'd drop down and eat your ass because you cared about him? Get fucking real. You didn't care about him like that, you just cared about the idea of someone who'd sweep you off your feet and love you just the way you are.” He flutters his eyelashes and simpers in Kurt's direction. “And Finn, I'm sorry, but he's just not that dude.”
“I need to wake up now. I thought for a minute I was getting relationship advice from someone who's serenaded three different girls in glee club and been shot down by all of them.” Sniffing. “And everyone has the right to try and make mostly impossible dreams a reality.”
“You've got a right to do anything you want, but it's still lame as hell.”
He's here, in an empty school with nobody but Puck, where he doesn't have his phone or his car, and nothing more than a fob watch and a pocket square for self-defense. That and his acerbic wit, which has served him so goddamn well over the years. He's waiting for a slushie to appear out of nowhere just so Puck can throw it in his face. Kurt always figured he'd get slammed for doing anything that seemed the slightest bit out of the ordinary, therefore he might as well go completely off the deep end and stop curbing his impulses. People were going talk anyway, and he'd just give them what they wanted and save time. He thinks of going the extra mile now and asking Puck if he's ever been in love, since he's so ready to claim Kurt doesn't love Finn as much as what Finn stands for to him. What he asks instead is, “Do you feel this way about Brittany and Santana?”
“It's hot watching two girls go at it. Two guys? Not so much.” Puck's answer is so instantaneous it's almost offensive.
“You mean it's intimidating. If someone with testicles developed feelings for you, that would turn your tiny world on its end.”
“Whatever you need to tell yourself, man.”
He stands, feeling a little better for it even though Puck still has several pounds of sheer muscle on him. “A kiss is still just a kiss, and it can feel good even if it's from a boy.”
“Right. That's one thing I'm cool never knowing, believe it or not.” Pluck-strumming on away, as if Kurt isn't even there. Just like Finn, ignoring him until he goes away. This time, though, it rings through Kurt like a call to battle instead of a backhanded slap.
“I dare you,” Kurt hisses. He's leaning over him now, fire in his veins and ferocity in his fists, clenched on his hips. If he moves forward a little more, he'll be on Puck's lap. His voice is rising, reverberating, as he goes toe to toe with his second football player in less than three hours. “Come on, Puck, prove it. I fucking dare you.”
And the next thing he knows, Noah goddamn Puckerman has him up against the wall—not from shoving him into it, this time, but because he's got his mouth crushing down over Kurt's and Kurt can't seem to stand upright. Without the wall there, he might very well be on the floor in a daze right now.
“You want him to do that?” It's a harsh whisper, close enough that Puck's breath wisps against his lips, and he can see a fierce glint of something in Puck's eyes that isn't altogether familiar. “Finn knows you've only been crushing on him since, like, puberty. You want me to fuck you and you can call me Finn and act like it's normal; would that help?” Kurt shoves at him, feeling phantom pressure where Finn had grabbed his arms before, and Puck moves back a step while still keeping his hands curled around Kurt's lapels.
“I don't—“ Kurt can't think of how to finish. All those times he'd imagined his first time kissing another boy, nothing like this had ever featured. His lips are dry. Both his hands are enclosing one of Puck's, loosing it from his vest and then simply clasping. Puck lets him, even squeezes back, his forehead creased and his voice soft.
“Finn's got a lot of crap in his life and you're not making it any better. He needs friends, not stalkers. If you really cared about him, you'd see that.”
Kurt looks away. “Don't judge things you know nothing about.”
“I know Finn,” Puck says evenly. And there's the cocksure tip of his chin that Kurt's so familiar with. “Don't be jealous.”
He can't argue anymore. His arms drop to his sides. “Could you take me home, please?”
Puck's eyebrows shoot up. “Fuck, Hummel...”
“God. Does your brain disintegrate if it's out of the gutter for more than fifteen seconds? I don't have my car,” he clarifies, glaring. His dad will be getting home and wondering where he is. Where Finn is. Maybe he can talk to his dad, mention that maybe having the Hudsons move in now would be a little too much for everyone.
“I had to cope,” he says. “Finn kind of crops up like that.”
“So now Finn's just a coping mechanism and not the love of your life. Interesting. Have fun sorting that out.”
“Likewise. You might as well just switch to guys, Puckerman, since you screw up everything with females.”
Puck laughs then and it sounds pleasantly genuine. “Nice. Well played, Hummel.”
When they walk to the parking lot, neither of them speaks.
“You'll be okay,” Kurt ventures finally, once Puck is behind the wheel and staring rather broodingly at the road. “If he's still at my house, you should come in. Talk to him.”
“That's, like, the crappiest idea ever.”
Kurt shrugs. “If nothing else, you can take a look at my room and bond with him over your mutual lack of taste.”
There's that laugh again, short but unforced, like maybe Kurt's actually said the right thing this time. It's a start. He feels himself smile just a tiny bit as Puck drives him back home to untangle his messes.