Word Count: 7590
Notes: This is set in the same 'verse as The Right Side of Reason, I'm Numbing My Feeling, Every Second's a Longer Wait, Soon We'll Fall to Pieces, and My Good Intentions.
Summary: Puck can't pinpoint exactly when it happened, but it's almost scary how far he thinks he'll go for Sam.
Puck finds falling back into step with Sam easier than he expected, but he’d be lying to himself if he said things were exactly the same as before. They hang out at school, they horse around during football practice (and Puck keeps an eye out for anyone who looks at Sam wrong—the whole team is being pretty cool about him though, except Karofsky and Azimio, but they don’t try anything with Beiste watching), and they spend a lot of time together after school, usually at Sam’s house. Sam had fumbled through introducing Puck to his mom, and Puck is sure she thinks they’re boning just because of the way Sam had acted like a giant spaz.
Sam’s been helping him figure out the whole bisexuality thing, though, and Puck doesn’t say it out loud, but he’s really glad to have Sam there for him. Puck would rather stab himself with a fork than admit how shaken he really is. It almost feels like everything he’s ever believed about himself has been a giant fucking lie, but when he’s sitting on the bed with Sam’s gentle voice telling him stuff that he’s never even given a second thought to until now, he feels almost okay.
“It says here that plenty of people experience shifts in their orientation to some degree,” Sam says, staring intently at his laptop. He’s lounging on his bed with his back to the wall, and Puck puts down Sam’s guitar and plops down beside him.
“Where are all these people, because they sure as hell don’t go to McKinley,” Puck says, scowling. “People wouldn’t be such dicks if this was totally normal.”
“This is normal,” Sam says absently.
“I know.” Puck sighs, slouching against the wall. “That’s not what I meant. I don’t know what I meant. Fuck.”
“You really just need to relax.”
“Says the guy who already has everything about his life figured out,” Puck mutters. Sam glances at him and somehow manages to look sympathetic and disinterested at once. Sam seems to be doing all right on the surface, but sometimes Puck catches him staring into nothing, like he’s trying to process something unpleasant, and that usually just makes Puck angry because he wants to bash Sleaze’s face in, but Sam won’t even tell him where he lives. Then Puck gets mad all over again, and Sam gets mad at him, which is completely ridiculous, because Sam should totally be grateful that Puck is so badass that he’d bash someone’s face in for him.
He hates when Sam gets mad over it, though, because it’s not like how he gets mad when he misses a pass during practice or forgets his homework in his locker. Puck can see something in Sam’s eyes as his cheeks flush with emotion and his jaw clenches tightly, and it makes Puck want to slam his fist through the wall out of sheer helplessness. He’s tried breaching the subject with Sam, but most of the time Sam dismisses the topic right away, and it doesn’t help that Puck has no idea how to deal with feelings. He knows Sam should just talk about it instead of bottling it away, but it’s not like Puck can force him to do anything. Sam is a stubborn little shit when he wants to be.
“I know it’s confusing, but you just have to go with what feels right,” Sam says, turning back to his laptop. “Even if it’s the scarier option.”
Puck gives Sam a sidelong glance, staring until Sam looks back at him.
“What?” Sam asks.
“I was just wondering if you ever listen to yourself when you talk.”
Sam stares blankly. “What?”
“Look, I know you’re freaked out and stuff—”
“I’m not freaked out about anything.”
“Dude, don’t get all defensive on me. I just want to help.” Puck shrugs, studying Sam out of the corner of his eye. Sam pauses, and Puck hones in on an erratic muscle in Sam’s jaw.
“If I needed help, I’d tell you. Trust me,” Sam replies simply. The house phone rings, and Puck narrows his eyes as he notices Sam grow visibly tenser. Sam’s parents are out, and Sam clacks away at his laptop, making no move to get up.
“You gonna answer that?” Puck asks.
“No, it’s probably just a telemarketer or something. Or someone for my parents. They can leave a message.”
“I can take a message if you want—”
“No!” Sam grabs his wrist as Puck makes a move to slide off the bed, and Puck gives Sam a darkly suspicious look.
“Dude, what gives?”
“Nothing,” Sam says, loosening his grip. He clears his throat and glances away. “Sorry. It’s nothing. Just forget it, okay?”
Puck crosses his arms. “For the record, I think you’re full of shit.”
Sam closes his laptop with a sigh. “Good for you. Do you want to find something to eat?”
“Since when do you offer to actually eat?” Puck asks as he stands and stretches.
“Please. Skipping meals isn’t the way to retain muscle mass.” Sam rubs his abs and does a little shimmy while they’re walking down the stairs. Puck just tries not to glare at Sam’s ass he stalks along behind him. Sam’s got an ass built like a fucking Cheerio.
Sam’s fridge is possibly the weirdest fridge in all of Lima, and no matter how many times Puck roots through it, it never looks any more normal. It’s like a garden threw up rainbows all over the shelves. Sam once told him that a pretty good tip to eating healthy is to try to get as many different colors on your plate as possible, and Puck just replied with how Sam likes colors because he’s gay.
“Do you want some strawberries?” Sam asks, his head deep in the fridge.
“Don’t you have any man food?” Puck mutters, opening up a cabinet to find an array of seeds, nuts, and whole grain crackers. He pushes aside some pumpkin seeds and a bag of raisins before finding some Doritos stuffed in the back. He turns around to see Sam biting into a strawberry, the red fruit poking out from between his pink lips, and Puck drops the bag on the floor.
“Dude,” Sam says, scowling as he pulls off the leafy part. “Don’t break my Doritos, I don’t like them all crumbly.”
“Chill out, they’re fine.” Puck snatches them up, unclipping the top as he joins Sam at the counter. Sam eats another strawberry, and Puck dives into the chips, chewing slowly as he casually studies how the strawberries make Sam’s lips look a little redder than usual.
“You got any more junk food hidden away?” Puck smirks, waving a chip in Sam’s face. Sam looks torn for a moment, narrowing his eyes at the chip, then nabs it, crunching away.
“There’s some Oreos over there.” Sam points at another cabinet near the fridge. As Puck kneels down and starts searching, the phone rings again. He catches how Sam’s face tightens, and Puck stands up as Sam goes to the living room. He follows, and he walks in to see Sam pick up the phone, listen for a moment without saying a word, then drop it back down into the cradle.
“Who was that?” Puck asks, watching Sam brush crumbs off his fingers.
“No one. Wrong number.” Sam walks past him, and Puck turns, crossing his arms.
“Seems like you’ve been getting a lot of wrong numbers,” Puck says.
Sam shrugs, reaching for the Doritos. “Did you find the Oreos?”
“No. There’s too much rabbit food in there. Who eats rice cakes?”
“They’re right there,” Sam says, going to the cabinet. The phone rings again, and Puck takes a split second to gauge the distance between him and Sam before he dashes to the living room.
“Puck, leave it!” Sam yells, clambering after him, but Puck’s already got the receiver, holding out a hand to swat Sam away.
“Yo,” Puck says. “This is the Evans household. I’m the butler. What up?”
There’s a pause, then an unfamiliar voice speaks. “Are you a fag, too?”
Puck knits his brows together, his humor dissipating, and he’s distracted enough that Sam is able to snatch the phone away, slamming it down with such force that Puck is sure he’s cracked it in two.
“You are such an asshole,” Sam hisses, shoving Puck so he lands on the couch. Puck gapes for a moment, then springs up angrily.
“Who was that?” Puck demands. “What was that?”
“Nobody,” Sam replies tightly, turning on his heel and going to the kitchen. Puck lunges forward and grabs Sam’s arm, yanking him back, and Sam gives a disgruntled huff as he pushes Puck again.
“Sam, can you stop being such a bitch and just tell me what’s going on?” Pucks says, irate. “Seriously, what the hell was that?”
Sam clams up, looking away as he wrinkles his brow, but his shoulders slump, and in a moment he responds.
“I don’t know.”
“Well, don’t bother elaborating or anything.”
“I don’t know, okay?” Sam meets his eyes, his expression troubled. “I’ve been getting these stupid calls ever since I came out at school.”
“Are you kidding me? That long, and you didn’t tell me?”
“What’s the point of telling you? You can’t do anything.”
“Like hell I can’t do anything. It’s obviously Karofsky and Azimio. My fist can do plenty.”
“They come from different numbers. I think they’re using pay phones and stuff,” Sam sighs. “And they mask their voices so I can’t even tell if it’s really them. My parents are trying to work something out with the phone company to get these calls blocked, but since it’s a bunch of different numbers, it’s not that simple.”
Puck clenches his jaw. He’s officially pissed. “I’m gonna kill them.”
“Puck, don’t start,” Sam says in an exasperated tone. “Just leave it alone. My parents are handling it. They said if the calls don’t stop by the end of the week, they’re gonna contact Figgins anway.”
“I can take care of this,” Puck snaps. Why’s Sam being such a pussy about this? Puck does not let anyone mess with his bros, especially not Sam. “I don’t care what you say. I’m confronting them tomorrow.”
“They’re not gonna stop unless someone makes them.”
“You’re just gonna get in trouble. And you’ll probably get your ass kicked anyway. It’s two of them and one of you, remember?”
“I can take ‘em,” Puck says heatedly. “This is fucked up, Sam. You should have told me the first time they called. They’re just gonna keep doing it if you ignore it.”
“This isn’t even your problem,” Sam replies, his voice growing edgy. “This doesn’t even bother me, okay? I’ve heard all this shit before. I’m comfortable with who I am, and some assholes calling me names isn’t going to change that.”
Puck scowls. “Well, I’m not okay with it. And I think it’s bullshit that you are.”
Sam sighs, deflating suddenly. He slips past Puck and flops onto the couch, and Puck sits down beside him, his scowl still in place as he looks at Sam.
“Why’re you being such a bitch about this?” Puck asks finally, but he softens his voice, watching as Sam rubs his face in annoyance.
“I’m not being a bitch. You’re just being really naïve.”
“Excuse me? I’m not naïve. You’re the naïve little puppy-faced loser here.” Puck’s scowl deepens.
“You just don’t get it, okay?” Sam says, leaning forward as he rests his elbows against his legs. He glances at Puck with a serious expression. “You don’t understand the kind of shit that people might do when they decide they hate you. It’s dangerous.”
“I can take care of myself, dude.”
“Don’t fight them,” Sam goes on, and Puck is surprised at the pleading edge to his words. “I’m serious, Puck. I’ve been on the receiving end of this already. I was lucky that I didn’t get worse than a concussion. People get killed over this. People our age.”
Puck swallows uncomfortably, glaring at the carpet. Puck knows all that, of course he does. He realizes with a chill that he falls into this category now, swinging both ways and all (though a part of him still firmly believes that he’s only gay for Sam—he doesn’t get off thinking about any other guy’s boner).
“I don’t want anything to happen to you,” Sam says quietly.
“Nothing’s gonna happen to me, okay?” Puck says roughly. “And nothing’s gonna happen to you, either. I just want to make these calls stop.”
“I don’t care about them,” Sam insists, but Puck can tell he’s lying. They’re wearing Sam down, and Puck clenches his fists in anger. He feels fiercely protective over Sam; the dude’s already been through so much, even though he’s handling everything just fine—a lot better than Puck would, admittedly—and Puck just wants everyone to get off his back. Besides, Sam isn’t all that fun when he’s mopey and depressed. Puck misses that huge, crooked smile he used to see.
“I won’t fight them,” Puck says grudgingly.
“Promise me.” Sam sits up, looking intensely into his eyes. Puck flushes for a second before playfully pushing Sam’s cheek away with one hand.
“Yeah, I promise.” He grins at Sam’s agitated look. “Dude, your face is fine.”
“I was trying to have a serious moment with you,” Sam says, but he doesn’t look mad. Puck shrugs, and he almost reaches out to ruffle a hand through Sam’s hair before his brain catches up with him. He keeps his hands firmly to himself, glancing toward the kitchen.
“The Doritos will get soggy if you leave ‘em out,” Puck says.
“Soggy Doritos are worse than crumbled up Doritos,” Sam says, standing and going to the kitchen. Puck follows, this time accepting Sam’s offer for strawberries. Sam’s fingers are sticky with fruit juice when he plucks a berry from his hand, and he ignores the little shock that runs through his body with their fingers brush. A week ago he would have been running for the hills. Things feel different now, though. He doesn’t want to leave Sam anymore.
- - - - -
That Friday at school, Puck decides he’s going to cheer Sam up. And the best way to do that is for them to get their party on.
“Santana’s throwing a house party at her place,” Puck says, straddling a bench in the locker room while Sam finishes changing. “You and me are going.”
“What if I don’t want to?” Sam pulls his shirt on and struggles to get his head through. Puck spends the moment admiring Sam’s nipples.
“You don’t have anything better to do. I know this for a fact. Anyway, you spend all your time holed up at your house nowadays, so I’m taking you out to this party and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Sam chuckles, smoothing down his hair. “Okay. Fine.”
“It’ll be fun. We’ll just hang and drink free beer.” Puck gets up as Sam shuts his locker, and as they head out to the parking lot, Puck spies Karofsky and Azimio on the far end. Puck bristles, wanting nothing more than to run over and kick the shit out of both of them, but Sam seems to read his mind and grasps his arm firmly.
“Come on. We gotta get some homework done before the party,” Sam says, unlocking his car. “I have a killer English test next week.”
“Who cares about English?” Puck mutters, sliding into the passenger seat.
“Um, I do. If I fail, I’ll get kicked off the team.”
“Oh. Right. I guess I can help you study for it,” Puck says. He tries not to think about how many cool points he just lost for even uttering those words, but Sam’s grateful smile kind of makes it worth it. Puck’s not the greatest study partner in the first place, but they’ve come up with a pretty good system for English class. They get assigned the same books, so Puck will read a couple chapters aloud since Sam picks up stuff a lot faster if he hears it instead of reading it himself. Puck has to admit that the books are actually kind of interesting with the both of them making awesome commentary while reading.
Sam wants to study at the library because he says there are less distractions, which Puck guesses is a valid point, since they usually end up wasting time instead of studying when they’re at Sam’s house. They head to their usual spot in the back when they get there, and Puck drags one of the beanbag chairs over by the reference shelf. He plops down and puts his hand behind his head, watching as Sam rummages through his backpack.
“Move over,” Sam says, holding his English notebook and a battered copy of Fahrenheit 451. Puck scoots, and Sam slides down beside him, the beanbag chair molding around their bodies and pushing them closely together. Sam doesn’t seem to notice—he’s too busy rifling through his notebook and muttering about how badly he’s going to bomb this test—but all Puck can think about is how warm Sam’s body is and how comfy his gray hoodie looks.
“I swear I’ve been trying to finish this book all week,” Sam says, flipping to a dog-eared page. “It never ends.”
“Looks like you’re almost done.”
“Yeah, but we were supposed to have it finished on Wednesday, and it’s now Friday. And the test is Monday. And everyone else finished on time. And I hate this book.”
“Relax,” Puck says, plucking the book from Sam’s hands. Sam huffs and scratches his head, his cheeks tinged pink with frustration or embarrassment, Puck can’t tell.
“Will you just read me the rest?” Sam asks, mumbling.
“Yeah, sure, dude.” Puck nudges Sam’s shoulder. “Look, you’re not gonna fail this test. Just chill.”
“Okay.” Sam takes a deep breath, then gives Puck a tiny smile. “Thanks.”
“No problem.” Puck looks away, clearing his throat as he feels a tug in his chest. “Okay, so relax and let the Puckasaurus read you a story.”
Sam settles down, their bodies still close, and Puck tries to ignore how he can feel Sam’s hair on his shoulder, tickling him through his shirt. He starts reading, and after a couple of pages he glances over and finds Sam’s eyes are closed.
“Dude, are you sleeping? Wake up. I’m reading.”
“I’m not sleeping, I’m concentrating,” Sam says, creasing his brow and keeping his eyes closed. “Just keep reading. I’m listening.”
“You better be,” Puck mutters, turning back to the book. He resumes reading, but this time alternates his glances between the pages and Sam. Sam’s lashes are clearly brown against his cheeks. For some reason Puck thinks it’s kind of adorable that Sam’s a bottle blond, though he’s gotta admit Sam’s hair looks a lot nicer now than before. Sure, the lemon yellow had been cute, but now it’s more of a honey color with darker locks interspersed throughout. It’s getting longer, and Sam keeps it a little messier now, which just makes him look really sexy pretty much all day. Puck coughs suddenly, forcing his mind to focus on something else. Like this book. He manages to go three full pages before giving Sam another discreet glance. Sam opens his eyes, like he senses Puck looking at him, and Puck immediately feels his face grow warmer.
Sam doesn’t say anything, dropping his gaze as he fiddles with a pen, absently scratching out lines in the open notebook on his lap. Puck pauses, then turns the page and keeps reading. He tries to ignore the way Sam’s body feels tense beside him.
Well, if Sam’s not gonna say anything, Puck’s sure as hell not gonna bring anything up. He reads some more, shutting everything out until he’s reached the end (he has no idea what’s happening, who these people are, and why they’re crying about books), and then he finally closes the book and hands it back to Sam. Sam takes it, and Puck narrows his eyes at the way Sam’s hands seem a little shaky.
“Thanks,” Sam says, pushing himself up, and before Puck knows it, his hand is wrapped around Sam’s wrist.
“Where’re you going?” Puck asks, sounding slightly petulant even to his own ears, but he’s seriously not digging the loss of Sam’s body heat. “You can’t just use me and run.”
Sam chuckles softly, lowering himself back down. He draws his legs up, casually resting one knee against Puck’s stretched legs. “I’m kinda sleepy now, honestly. Homework knocks me out pretty fast.”
“Well, this beanbag chair is badass and perfect for sleeping.”
“Well, then, get out of it and let me sleep,” Sam says, giving Puck a playful shove.
“I was here first,” Puck shoots back, knocking Sam’s arm away. Sam pushes him again, letting his notebook slide onto the floor, and Puck smirks, slipping his arm forward quickly. He gets Sam in a headlock in a matter of seconds, and he really, really doesn’t want to let go when Sam starts struggling and laughing, the top of his head nestled against Puck’s chin.
“Get off me,” Sam says, swatting at Puck’s arms. “I have to study.”
“You were going to sleep.” Puck wrenches Sam against his chest, grinning when Sam lets out an undignified squawk. “Say I’m a badass.”
“You know, the better I get to know you, the less badass I realize you are.”
“What?” Puck scowls immediately. “That’s bullshit.”
Sam stops struggling as hard, his body shaking with laughter. “No, it’s true. Sorry, man, but you pretty much have a gooey center.”
Puck loosens his grip, completely affronted, but Sam stays put against his chest, which sort of makes him feel awesome. “You’re full of crap. You have a crappy center.”
“You love my crappy center,” Sam teases, craning his neck to look at Puck upside down. Puck glowers at Sam’s wide smile. “Admit it.”
Puck refuses, and Sam settles down against him like it’s the most natural thing in the world. And suddenly Puck realizes that it does feel natural, or at least really fucking good. He stays quiet as he slowly rests one arm beside Sam, then just kind of drapes the other against Sam’s shoulder, holding his breath because he’s not sure how Sam might react. He feels really gay right now, but he also feels like this is the nicest thing that’s happened to him all day, possibly all week.
Sam is so warm and comfortable against him, and Puck has to desperately fight back the memories of when they’d gotten carried away together, because he definitely does not need to pop a boner right now. He glares harshly at Sam’s hand, pale fingers curled loosely on his chest, and before Puck can stop himself, he’s reaching out and picking up Sam’s hand.
Sam doesn’t say anything, though Puck can feel his body grow a little more alert, but he’s already got his hand, so he might as well go through with this. Puck swallows nervously, then slips their fingers together, just like he’d done at the movie theater, but this time Sam’s fingers aren’t cold and his own palm isn’t as sweaty. Sam tightens his grip, and for a moment they’re both completely silent. Puck’s heart is hammering so hard he’s sure Sam can feel it.
“You should get a beanbag chair for your room,” Sam remarks, his voice lazy. Puck snorts softly. He’s really grateful Sam isn’t asking why they’re holding hands.
“I’ll think about it.” Puck leans back, and Sam shifts comfortably, his head falling to one side as he closes his eyes. Silence falls between them again, but it’s a relaxed silence, and Puck doesn’t mind. He stays awake while Sam’s breathing grows deeper, keeping their fingers intertwined just because it feels good and Puck can do whatever he wants.
Puck doesn’t want to think about it too much, but being with Sam makes him feel almost peaceful, like he can forget all the shitty stuff that’s happened before. He would never tell Sam this, but he values the feeling. It’s a relief to just sit and be calm for a minute. Usually his brain is working overtime, trying to figure out this whole bisexuality thing, trying to think of ways to keep Karofsky and Azimio away from both of them, trying to retain his air of badassery at school, trying to change his mom’s mind that he’s just a fuck-up, trying to forget about Beth—it just becomes too much sometimes, and with Sam he doesn’t have to think about any of that.
Sam’s sleeping against his chest, and Puck can’t think of anything else he’d rather be doing at this exact moment besides being his human pillow. He scowls a little, because Sam seriously makes him lose all his cool points, but no one’s around, so he stays put and examines Sam’s hair for a while, remembering how it felt when he ran his hands through it. He wants to do it again. Puck bites his lip softly and tries not to think too hard about the number of things he wants to do again.
- - - - -
“This party’s gonna be a bust,” Sam announces as they pull up to Santana’s house later that night. Puck looks at the people running across the expansive lawn, already drunk and acting like shitheads, and shrugs at Sam.
“Looks pretty awesome to me so far,” Puck says, unbuckling his seatbelt.
“There are too many assholes here.”
“There are now that you’ve walked in.” Puck puts his hands in his pockets and gives Sam a friendly nudge as they cross the driveway. Sam grins, and Puck pretends his heart doesn’t do a weird flippy thing at the sight.
For living in a shitty part of town, Santana has the nicest house there, probably because Puck knows her dad is loaded. He snags drinks, hands one to Sam, and they both head to the backyard where most of the people are. Sam almost trips on a wad of wires leading to a pair of speakers by the sliding door, and Puck ducks past them quickly so his ears don’t start bleeding at the earth shattering thump of the R&B Santana has blasting—probably some underground dude that Puck will never hear again. Santana has a crazy music collection, and Puck’s spent a fair share of time combing through her CDs.
“Pool?” Puck calls out, watching Brittany flip herself into the water.
“Nah, I didn’t bring clothes.” Sam tugs at the cords of his sweatshirt and shrugs. “I’m not getting in there naked, even though I know I’m incredibly hot and everyone wants to see me strip.”
Puck snorts. “You got nothing on the Puckasaurus, dude.”
“You also have to take my amazingly chill personality into account. There’s me…” Sam gives Puck a long look. “And then there’s you, who still uses dinosaur nicknames.”
“Can you hurry up and get drunk? Maybe your ego will come down a few thousand notches.” Puck takes a long swig from his drink, then finds Sam’s plastic cup shoved into his face.
“I’m not drinking,” Sam says, handing his beer over. “I’ll drive us home.”
“Don’t worry about it. Santana has a killer guest bedroom. We can crash here if you want.”
“That’s okay. I just don’t want to get drunk.” Sam smiles tightly, and Puck downs his cup and starts on Sam’s.
“Come on, you could use a night of relaxation,” Puck says, slapping a hand on Sam’s shoulder. Sam just shakes his head, and it’s not until Puck is halfway through Sam’s cup that he suddenly remembers what happened the last time Sam got drunk.
“Oh. Shit. I’m sorry, dude,” Puck mutters. The simmering rage comes to the surface for a moment, and Puck has to struggle to push it down before he hits the next person who looks at him wrong. He doesn’t think he’ll ever not want to kill Joshua.
“It’s no big deal,” Sam replies, smiling at him faintly. “I just don’t feel like getting drunk and making more stupid decisions.”
Puck sighs. “I’ll make sure nothing happens, okay?”
“I don’t need a babysitter.” Sam’s smile widens, and he makes a fist and gently punches Puck’s arm. “I’m gonna go say hi to Kurt.”
“Okay. See you in a little bit. I’ll find you.” Puck watches Sam head across the lawn to where Kurt is sitting on one of the stone benches, laughing at something Finn’s saying. Puck morosely sips the rest of his drink, turning back into the house to get another.
“Hey, Puckerman,” Santana coos, coming up behind him.
“Nice party.” Puck snags another cup and looks at Santana warily as she circles around him.
“Did you bring a date?” she asks.
“Nope. I came with Sam.”
“Yeah, like that’s not a date.” She smirks, crossing her arms knowingly.
Puck rolls his eyes. “You have no idea what you’re talking about, as usual.”
“Whatever. Continue your cycle of repression, I don’t care. You wanna start a game of beer pong?”
“I’m gonna go hang with Sam,” Puck says before he even thinks about the words, and he scowls as Santana’s smirk grows stronger. Puck heads to the sliding doors, scanning the backyard for that familiar blond head, and he finally spots him sitting next to Kurt, his face light with laughter as the two of them talk. Puck knows that the two of them are chummy, but they’re usually with Rachel as well. Sam moves his hands animatedly, doing another impression no doubt, and a sour feeling of jealousy settles in Puck’s stomach. Then he feels stupid because it’s not like he’s dating Sam. Sam had made it pretty clear that he doesn’t think either of them should be a relationship right now. He’s still helping Puck figure out this whole bisexuality thing.
Puck stands by the door and nurses his beer, then turns around and wanders back into the kitchen, finding Santana snapping at some of the football players carrying another keg in.
“So, you said beer pong?” Puck asks casually.
Santana glances at him. “I’m gonna kick your ass.”
- - - - -
Getting drunk is one of Puck’s favorite pastimes, but he reins it in tonight and makes sure he can still think fairly straight. He doesn’t want to think too hard about why. He feels like he should definitely be levelheaded enough to defend Sam’s honor if anyone tries to mess with him—not that Sam can’t take care of himself, but he shouldn’t have to all the time, not when Puck is around.
“All right, you’re definitely the worst beer pong player ever,” Santana says. “You’ve been on a losing streak for an hour now.”
“An hour?” Puck looks up, instinctively looking behind him, toward the backyard. “I should go find Sam. This game blows anyway.”
“Says the sore loser. Maybe your boyfriend can cheer you up.”
“He’s not my boyfriend,” Puck hisses.
“Yeah, and Artie can walk,” Santana says snidely. Puck brings his face close to hers, his hand clenching into a fist.
“Don’t go around spreading rumors about stuff you have no idea about,” Puck says darkly.
“You wouldn’t be getting your panties in a twist if you didn’t have something to hide,” Santana shoots back, her voice dropping low.
“I don’t have to explain myself to you.” Puck is ready to say more, but he hears a commotion in the backyard—different from regular party commotion, which he’s an expert at identifying. Santana looks up and Puck turns around, frowning as he goes to the doors.
“What the hell is Karofsky doing?” Santana snaps from beside him. Puck feels anger rush through him and a pinprick of fear as he sees Sam standing before Karofsky, his mouth moving. Puck can pick up the tension in the air as people stop to watch, and he takes off across the lawn, ready to slug Karofsky in the face if he lays one oversized finger on Sam.
“I swear, if he starts a fight—” Santana is cut off by a rising hoot from the crowd as Karofsky suddenly throws his drink in Sam’s face, drenching him with beer.
“Hey!” Puck yells, breaking into a sprint. “You’re dead, Karofsky!”
“Came to save your butt buddy?” Karofsky asks, throwing his empty cup down. Puck lunges at him with a snarl, shoving him backwards before he feels hands pulling him back. Santana’s screaming at them both to cut it out, and Sam grabs Puck and starts dragging him back.
“Let me go,” Puck said heatedly.
“No, you let it go,” Sam snaps.
“Sam, I’m serious, get off me!” Puck tries to push Sam away as Karofsky comes forward angrily, and Santana suddenly inserts herself between them.
“Back off,” she says to Karofsky, narrowing her eyes. She puts a hand out and gives Puck a dismissive shove. “You too.”
“Did you not see what he just did to Sam?” Puck asks, fighting to contain his anger.
“It’s not worth a fight,” Sam says, his fingers digging into Puck’s arm. Puck throws him an incredulous look, ready to tell Sam just how full of shit he is, but Santana starts talking again.
“You need to leave,” she tells Karofsky. “This is my party, and I don’t need you ruining it by continuing to be the world’s biggest asshole.”
“My fist’ll make you leave if you don’t get lost,” Puck says. He glares as Karofsky turns around, shooting Puck a dirty look before disappearing through the back gate. Puck feels Sam’s grip loosen. He clenches his jaw when he looks at Sam’s soaked clothes.
“You should’ve let me take care of it,” Puck says harshly. Sam pushes his wet hair back with an aggravated sigh, and Santana takes a step closer.
“You can clean up in the bathroom,” Santana says, eyeing them. “Upstairs, so you don’t hog the main one. It’s more private, too.”
“Thanks,” Sam says, taking off toward the house. Puck flares his nostrils angrily and follows, staying close to Sam as he slips past the partygoers and heads upstairs. The music and chatter die down as they go further, and when they reach the bathroom and close the door, all Puck can hear is the dull but incessant thump of the speakers outside.
Sam takes off his hoodie, letting it fall to the linoleum with a wet splat, then examines the collar of his t-shirt and shucks it off as well. Puck hangs back as Sam dunks his head under the sink, splashing water onto his face and hair, and after watching Sam struggle for a moment, he goes forward.
“You should’ve let me take care of it,” Puck repeats, helping Sam rinse his hair. Sam straightens, water dripping down his neck and shoulders, and Puck grabs a towel off the rack and hands it over.
“I don’t need you to defend me,” Sam says, his voice muffled as he dries his face.
“It’s not just about defending you. Karofsky’s an ass. He deserves to have my foot in his face. What happened that set him off?”
“Nothing. I was talking to Kurt and apparently two gay kids conversing is too much for him.”
“I’m gonna kill him,” Puck mutters.
“You promised me you wouldn’t fight him.” Sam lowers the towel as he looks at Puck seriously.
“That was before he fucked with you.”
“A promise is a promise.”
“Well, I lied! I’m not letting him get away with this.” Puck glares at Sam, furrowing his brow. “Why are you being such a coward about this?”
Sam scoffs, turning to the sink again. “I’m not being a coward. You’re just being an idiot.”
“I can take him, all right?”
“Really?” Sam meets his eyes again, anger flashing across his face. “Can you take Azimio, too? Maybe the rest of the school as well? You’re not a wolf pack, dude. You’re one guy.”
“I’d rather get my ass kicked than sit around and do nothing, like you,” Puck spits.
“This isn’t about you,” Sam replies tightly.
“Like hell it isn’t! Those douches are harassing you because you’re gay. Maybe you’ve forgotten, but I’m not straight either!”
“Oh, now you decide to have some fucking pride? This isn’t a joke, Puck.”
“I’m not laughing,” Puck says darkly. “What the hell is the matter with you?”
“I don’t want you to get hurt!” Sam yells. “And I don’t want to get put on display again. I know Karofsky and Azimio. Fighting them isn’t going to make anything better for either of us.”
“But letting him throw shit in your face isn’t making things better, either. And you know the two of them are behind those prank calls.”
“Just leave it alone,” Sam says, turning away again, but Puck grabs Sam’s shoulders and forces him to look at him.
“Ignoring this isn’t going to make it stop,” Puck hisses.
“I’m trying to protect you,” Sam says angrily, lowering his voice. “There’s no reason for you to get involved.”
“You’re an idiot if you really believe that.” Puck searches Sam’s eyes, but Sam lowers his gaze stubbornly. “If someone messes with you, it’s my business. I don’t let people fuck with my friends. I’m always gonna be there for you, whether you want me or not, and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. No one tells me what to do. Not even you.”
Sam exhales softly, his breath tickling Puck’s face. “You’re gonna ruin your rep.”
“It’s my rep to ruin.”
“Puck, you don’t know what it’s like. It’s scary. It’s intimidating. I don’t want to go through that again and I don’t want it to happen to you, either.”
Puck releases Sam’s shoulders as Sam pulls away, watching him turn to the mirror as he runs a hand through his wet hair.
“We’ve already had this conversation,” Puck says.
“Yeah, I know, and you promised you wouldn’t do anything stupid!” Sam glares at him again.
Puck flushes. “I’m not doing anything stupid, I’m just trying to defend you!”
“I don’t need you to fight my battles for me—I don’t need you getting hurt because of me!”
“I can take care of myself,” Puck says hotly.
“Yeah, well, so can I!”
“Is that why you let Karofsky walk all over you?” Puck feels slight remorse as the words leave his mouth, and Sam shoots him a dirty look, anger mounting in his gaze.
“You don’t know how I feel,” Sam snaps. “Don’t push me, Puck.”
“You let Karofsky push you,” Puck barrels on. Sam rounds on him suddenly, practically snarling in his face as he pushes closer.
“I care about you, okay? I don’t want you getting involved because I don’t want you getting hurt—why can’t you understand that?” Sam shouts. “I don’t want anything to happen to you, I don’t want that guilt on me. I can’t let Karofsky go after you instead of me!”
The door bangs open at that moment, and Santana appears with a sour look marring her features. It’s too late for Puck to jump back, so he just stands there with his face inches away from Sam’s, scowling fiercely. He’s acutely aware of Sam’s lack of a shirt.
“I can hear you guys screaming from the stairs,” she says. “What the hell are you two fighting about? Actually, no—I don’t care. Just shut up!”
Puck doesn’t say anything as she slams the door, and for a second he just listens to Sam’s slightly jagged breathing. He faces Sam again, but he doesn’t look at his eyes; Puck focuses on his gaze on Sam’s parted lips, plump and rosy, and how Sam’s tongue looks when he quickly runs the tip over them. Puck feels a little winded, either from arguing or just looking at Sam, and he doesn’t pull back when Sam sets a hand gently on his hip, barely grazing him.
“I just don’t want anything to happen to you,” Sam says meekly, his voice soft and strained. Puck swallows, suddenly unable to contain himself when Sam’s lips gravitate closer, and a second later Sam reaches up and pulls Puck in for a kiss, his fingers sliding through Puck’s mohawk in an attempt to get him closer. Puck meets him impatiently, pushing their mouths together as he presses Sam against the sink, their hips connecting. Puck splays a hand across Sam’s flat stomach, feeling the ridges of muscle, and Sam’s groan sends vibrations through him as he gives their hips a good, hard grind.
The door opens again, and Puck comes off Sam’s mouth with a wet sucking noise, panic rising in him as he looks over. Santana stands there, looking mostly annoyed, but Puck knows her aroused face well, and he’d bet his entire house that she’s about to make a beeline for Brittany to get some scissoring on.
“I brought a shirt for Sam,” Santana says, throwing it over. Puck catches it reflexively, glancing at Sam. He looks a little pale himself.
“Oh, please, would you two stop acting like you’re twelve years old and your mother just caught you playing doctor?” Santana snaps. “Puckerman, this may be difficult, but try to recall the days when you were actually cool.”
“Thanks,” Sam speaks up, clearing his throat. “Um… for the shirt, I mean.”
“Whatever. Keep it. Sam, just leave your clothes. I’ll throw ‘em in the wash later,” Santana says with an exasperated sigh, rolling her eyes as she shuts the door. Puck keeps his eyes down nervously as he hands the shirt to Sam. For a moment they just stand in silence, and for the first time in his life when confronted with kissing somebody, Puck doesn’t know what to do. It feels different with Sam. Everything’s different with Sam.
Sam eventually slips the shirt on, and Puck hangs back a little, clearing his throat awkwardly. He meets Sam’s eyes and tries to think of something to say, but his throat feels tight and he’s afraid his voice will crack if he attempts speech.
“I know you’re freaking out,” Sam says finally, brushing aside a lock of damp hair.
Puck shakes his head. “I’m not.”
“Yeah, you are. I know you.”
“I’m just…” Puck wrinkles his brow and tries not to glare too hard at Sam. He’s not mad at him. “Was that supposed to happen?”
“I… I don’t know,” Sam replies. “What kind of question is that? You should be asking if you liked it or not.”
“Well, yeah, but it was kind of a heat of the moment thing.” Puck frowns, then starts a little as Sam comes forward. He watches Sam hesitate slightly before he leans in and kisses Puck again, softer than before. It’s a short, uncertain kiss, and Sam blinks at him nervously when their lips part. Puck exhales deeply, his hands twitching by his sides before he lightly places them on Sam’s hips, pulling him closer as he kisses Sam back. Sam’s lips are just as soft and plump as he remembers.
“Is this okay?” Sam asks, his breath ghosting across Puck’s mouth. Puck gets that strange tightening sensation in his throat again, and he grasps Sam’s hand before turning around and leading him out of the bathroom. There’s no one else upstairs, and Puck heads to the guest bedroom because hanging out in the bathroom with that giant mirror throwing their kisses back in his face is starting to unnerve him.
He keeps the lights off and shuts the door behind them, then turns to Sam, who’s looking at him curiously. Puck takes a deep breath, trying to figure out how to word the concern that’s plaguing his mind. He looks around at the paintings on the wall, the flower pattern on the bedspread, the gold lamp sitting on the desk—anywhere but at Sam, until Sam touches his arm.
“Talk to me,” Sam says simply, his voice just a whisper. Puck swallows, then nods. He wants to. He at least needs to try.
“What does this mean?” Puck asks, trying not to sound like an insecure middle-schooler, but not having answers is scary, and Sam is the only one who can help. “Like… for me?”
“What does what mean?” Sam sounds patient, and Puck sighs, tightening his sweaty grip on Sam’s hand.
“This. Just… this.”
Sam thinks for a moment, and Puck watches him anxiously. After a heavy pause, Sam goes to the bed, taking Puck with him, and Puck sits down warily. He doesn’t do stuff like this. He doesn’t sit in the dark and talk about his fucking feelings like an emo.
“Sam?” His voice shakes just a tiny bit, and Sam turns his head and looks at him, his eyes catching the dim light in the room.
“I like you,” Sam confesses softly. “And you like me. Right?”
“Right,” Puck responds. His reply is automatic, surprising him a little. The side of Sam’s mouth quirks upward slightly, and some of the tension in Puck’s chest starts to dissolve.
“That’s what this means,” Sam says. “That’s it. It’s not complicated. Okay? That’s all it is, Puck.”
Puck looks into Sam’s eyes and nods slowly, their hands still clasped together. That seems acceptable. More than acceptable. It doesn’t seem that different or nerve-wracking now. Sam slides his free hand over and touches Puck’s knee.
“You okay?” Sam asks.
Puck nods truthfully, leaning over so their shoulders brush. “Yeah.”