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Wishlist 2010

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Ficlet(s)

This story is No. 2 in the series "Wishlists". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Twenty-four gifts for twenty-four people giving me twenty-four prompts. Ficlet collection. Part II. - Now Up: To The Ground! verse Christmas fluff.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > General > Ficlet Collections - Other(Moderator)FaithUnbreakableFR152440,119311736,65930 Nov 1024 Dec 10Yes

operation: untwist berry's panties - Glee

Warnings: Run on sentences, teenage boys, shenanigans.
A/N: I think this is what you call a total explosion of words.

Prompt: bklyangel asked for Rachel/Finn/Puck Where We Start From!verse , All work and no play makes Rachel a dull girl.

Conveniently, this also matches Prompt #9 from my Glee prompt table: Pact

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operation: untwist berry’s panties

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The first week of the new school year is surprisingly exactly as Puck expected it to be. Most of the school’s population has moved on from Babygate to jump down the throat of some unfortunate guy who was allegedly seen with a transvestite hooker in LA during the summer.

Puck finds that shit highly unlikely, if only because no Lima Loser is ever going to get to LfreakingA for the summer, but whatever. People have stopped giggling when he walks down the hall, so, props to the transvestite hooker.

It’s cool (the not staring) and helps him forget that Quinn isn’t… that she’s not here anymore. He’s not being a pussy about it or anything, it just… it’s like Rach said. It hurts. End of fucking story.

Getting back to status quo with Finn is as easy as it’s always been. The lines have always been clear. During the summer, they fuck around. During the school year, they’re bros and that’s that.

No holding hands and making daisy chains for them.

Glee sucks as badly as it always has, Santana’s rack is still fucking fabulous and Schu’s hair is still every hairdresser’s nightmare. (Puck forgives him. Not everyone can pull of the ‘hawk.)

Sylvester is roaring through the hallways like a minor earthquake, geeks tremble, slushies fly, jocks make crude jokes.

All in all, the world is exactly as it’s supposed to be. As he expected it to be.

Except for Rach, because that’s just…

.

He didn’t expect it to be this hard to stay away from her, to not touch her when she’s passing him in the halls, to call her ‘Berry’ again. They’re still friends, but it’s more buddy-buddy now. Painfully casual and stilted, always at least three feet between them and she keeps clutching her books in front of her like a shield, nervous and not meeting his gaze. It’s the way it was before Quinn slipped out from between them and they toppled into each other. He promised they’d be friends now, after, but it’s hard. It’s really, really hard.

Within the first week, Puck catches himself just wanting to hug her no less than three times. Hug her. Just, put his arm around her and squeeze. Possibly kissing her hair and whispering something dirty in her ear because he knows it will make her smile. Would. Would make her smile. Because he’s not doing it.

Because this thing that they had, the three of them, Puckfinnrachel, Rachelfinnpuck, is over. It was, like, a temporary lapse in judgment brought on by severe bereavement. That’s what Rach called it, that last night by the lake. He doesn’t buy a goddamn word of it, but it sounds neat.

It sounds like summer fling, sounds like that threesome experiment I had one summer when I was sixteen. It sounds harmless and like it’s going to blow over and everything will be normal again.

Except it’s fucking not because this wasn’t a fling during the summer and it isn’t now. It’s not…

After Quinn, Puck sometimes felt like he couldn’t breathe. Like his lungs just locked up, just quit, leaving him to turn blue in the face and die a pussy death. And the only time he could breathe was with Rachel and Finn right there with him, in and out, in and out.

He can breathe again on his own now, but he finds he doesn’t want to.

And that fucking sucks.

.

He’s still got Finn, of course. They’re bros for life, best friends since diapers. Spending most of his waking hours with his boy is expected of Puck. They hang around school and after and if they’re not screwing around in each other’s pants anymore that’s okay, because when Puck throws his arm over Finn’s shoulder and squeezes, it’s not hugging, it’s manly.

He kind of hates Ra- Berry for teaching him the meaning of the phrase ‘double standard’ because suddenly it annoys him. Because these days he has two best friends and one of them happens to be a chick, which means he can’t let anyone know. Not if he wants to keep both her and himself safe from the vicious warzone that is high school.

Berry’s just about faded back into obscurity over the summer and he’s not going to paint a fucking bull’s eye on her back. Not anymore.

But that means he can’t touch her, or laugh with her, or hang with her like he wants to.

.

Yes, he’s whining. Sue him. He hasn’t even gotten to the point yet.

(And there is a point.)

The point is that all this would be sort of, maybe (not), okay. If Rachel were dealing with it.

But she is very, very obviously and painfully not dealing. With anything.

She’s acting like she did before glee, stomping around the school with the mad glint of purpose in her eye, nose held high, chattering at light speed about nothing but music, school, music, her career, which is music, school, homework and did he fucking mention music?

She’s alienating everyone and running like a machine. If he didn’t know she hates coffee, he’d think she’s on a permanent caffeine high. But she’s not, so the only explanation is that she’s freaking out.

That’s what she does when she’s freaking out, she goes into general mode and starts working.

Like. A. Fucking. Machine.

She’s so high-strung that Puck could play on her instead of his guitar. She’s positively vibrating and not in a good, fun way.

It’s like her crazy has finally taken her over completely and watching her hurts, not only because it’s giving him whiplash.

.

He ignores it.

That’s what they agreed on, what they promised each other.

To ignore everything they were and did and know about each other, to go back to what they were. Normal. Sane. Safe.

And Puck always keeps his promises.

.

It’s Finn who breaks his promise first. Puck should not be surprised, but he is, because Finn doesn’t accidentally grope Rachel’s ass or blurt something out. Nothing typically Frankenteen.

No, instead he goes and actually surprises Puck by randomly grabbing him by the arm between classes and dragging him into an empty closet.

“The fuck, dude,” Puck hollers, and it’s only half for show. “People are gonna get the wrong idea about us, man!”

Finn waves him off. “Yeah, listen…”

“No, you listen,” Puck snaps because, maybe, he’s had a shitty fucking day on top of a shitty fucking week and Berry just passed him, her back ramrod straight and her eyes big and bright and sad. Fucking cute animal expressions. She and Finn pull them all the time and they kill him, okay? “What the fuck are you doing, man?!”

“I’m…”

“No, seriously man. What the fuck?!”

“Would you shut up!” Finn bellows and Puck does, if only out of surprise. Finn, as a general rule, doesn’t yell until he’s well into lethal rage territory. (Exhibit one: Babygate.)

Puck blinks into the ensuing silence and Finn straightens to his full height of eleventy feet and, looking like a kicked puppy (here we go again!), says, “We need to do something about Rach, man. She’s like… killing herself.”

Yeah. You know things are really way down the crapper when Finn Hudson notices anything wrong.

.

They call it Operation: Untwist Berry’s Panties.

The name is Puck’s idea. Finn wants to go with Operation: Make Rach Happy, but that’s simply too gay to ever be said out loud.

(Even if it’s true.)

Come on, can you see the Puck of last year doing anything like this? Sitting in Finn’s living room after school to plan how to pull one of the losers (a special loser, but still a loser) out of her freaky funk before it kills her or something? No? Well, Puck can’t either.

He’s pretty sure that’s that growing up shit again. He hates it.

“So what do we do?” Finn asks, because, apparently bringing the problem to Puck’s attention was the extent of his plan.

“We need to get her to stop being this crazy,” Puck says anyway and then, in the same instant thinks, yeah right. Curing Berry of her crazy is like curing cancer. Probably possible, but damn if anyone’s found out how yet. “She has to stop working all the time.”

Because all work and no play makes Rachel a dull girl. Or in this case, a girl locked up in the nuthouse. At this point, Puck’s mind takes a brief detour into porn-land. Come on, he’s seventeen and the words ‘play’ and ‘girl’ were just used in conjunction. He’s practically honor bound to think dirty thoughts.

He slams back into reality pretty effectively though when Frankenteen nods and smiles. Asks, “Yes, but how?”

Puck flounders. He knows roughly nineteen and a half ways to distract Rachel very, very effectively, but all of those are banned because of the promise they made by the lake. Also, they might get arrested or kicked out of school if they’re caught.

All that’s left now is… “A pet?”

.

They buy her a hamster and leave it in on her doorstep.

Finn wants to put it in a little basket, but Puck smacks him and tells him the hamster isn’t freaking Moses and will run away. So they buy a cage for another fifty bucks and put some newspapers and grass into it. Puck’s sister insists that Hammy (her idea) needs food.

Nuts and grain, she says. Puck pours a handful of cereal into the cage and they’re good to go.

.

Two days later, during lunch, they hear Berry telling Tina how she found a hamster on her doorstep and worried that someone had misplaced it or lost it and brought it to the nearest animal shelter.

She tells Tina how cute it was, very sweet, but unfortunately nocturnal, couldn’t have it messing with her beauty sleep or she would have kept it, but she’s going to be a star and for that she needs to be pretty and in order to achieve that, she needs at least eight hours of sleep a night and a pet does not fit with that pattern. So there.

Finn looks like someone killed Hammy in front of him and Puck hits his head with his empty lunch tray, bemoaning the loss of sixty bucks.

.

“How about a stuffed animal?”

“Sure. And what’s she going to do with it? Have a tea party?”

“I…” Finn shakes his head, pouts and walks away. Seriously, though. The goal is to distract Berry. A stuffed animals will do the job for approximately fifteen seconds. Maybe less.

Puck runs a hand over the ‘hawk and thinks that if you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself.

.

They leave a book on her door step.

.

According to Tina’s conversation with Artie, Rachel is confused with the gift but read it nonetheless. It made for a very interesting evening.

Finn gapes. “You mean she read all of it in one evening? But that book had, like, two hundred pages!”

.

Next comes a data stick with their collected movies (minus the porn, Puck made sure to delete that first) on it. That’s over two hundred hours of material.

Sadly, it’s only when he finds Berry’s description of the stick along with a comment about the ‘horrible violent and badly plotted movies it contains’ on her blog, asking if anyone lost it and would they like it back, that they realize that maybe Blood Massacre I – XXIII isn’t exactly the way to go.

.

A book of jokes.

A selection of the Best of Heavy Metal.

A puzzle book.

An actual puzzle, with exactly nine-hundred and ninety-eight pieces. For some reason, Finn insists on counting them before giving it to Berry to make sure it’s complete. He kicks up a shitstorm until Puck wikis that shit and finds out that thousand piece puzzles do not necessarily contain exactly one thousand pieces.

Wool and knitting needles (which Puck only touches with rubber gloves because, shit, that stuff might be contagious).

All of their plans fail. Berry keeps running around the school like a beaver on crack, trap constantly flapping. Schu kicks her out of glee practice no less than three times because Mercedes and Kurt threaten homicide and look like they mean it. She actually manages to hurt a freshman when she rushes past him at supersonic speed between classes.

They’re running out of ideas and nothing works.

The only proof that Operation: Untwist Berry’s Panties is having any effect at all, is that, the week after the knitting incident, she comes to school wearing a scarf the exact shade of the wool they left on her porch.

And all the time the rings under her eyes grow bigger and her smile more maniacal. Shit, Puck’s seen pictures of serial killers that looked less creepy than that smile. Her voice gets shriller and her clothes possibly worse.

Kurt insists on wearing sunglasses around her.

Puck just about agrees with that being a good idea, if only because then he wouldn’t have see her so clearly anymore.

The old Puck would be spinning in his grave if he could see the new Puck (Noah) caring about what’s going on with someone else, but watching Rachel run herself ragged? It gives him indigestion, okay?

And Finn keeps wandering around the school looking all droopy and sad and that’s not helping his indigestion any and shit.

Just shit, okay?

Puck fucking wishes he were still the heartless asshole he used to be. Life was easier before he cared for (loved) anyone.

.

“I’m telling you, we should get her a stuffed animal. Quinn always said…”

Silence. They don’t talk about Quinn. They did, sometimes, during the summer. But not anymore. Her name might as well be the name of God, for how fucking sacred and feared it is.

“Girls like cuddling them. And, you know. Stuff.” Finn says instead and Puck has a headache.

It sits deep behind his eyes and is apparently turning his brain to goop because he nods. “Okay. A fucking pink, fuzzy unicorn it is.”

Immediately, the QB brightens. “I had one of those once!”

“I know,” Puck rumbles, low and trying not to lunge at his best friend and strangle him.

Finn notices nothing, of course. “I lost it, though.”

“Shame, man, real shame.” Puck likes to think he almost sounds sincere.

(Finn didn’t lose Pointy, the pink, fuzzy unicorn. Puck stole it and gave it to his, at the time, eight-month-old sister. He did it to help his friend.)

.

They don’t buy a pink, fuzzy unicorn because Puck is afraid his balls will fall off if they do. Instead the buy a teddy bear. It’s purple (lilac, the girl in the shop said. What-ever.) and that’s all the compromise Puck’s willing to make, especially since he has the sneaking suspicion that this is going to backfire just like the last ten grand ideas they had. Let’s face it, they suck at this and the only points they get are for effort.

If Rachel could be made sane with objects, her fathers would have done it long ago. But they promised each other something and we’ve already established that Puck can’t stand idly by with his thumbs up his ass anymore. At least not concerning this particular girl.

So he’s reduced to purple teddy bears and sneaking around Rachel Berry’s front yard at ten o’clock on a Friday night.

Maybe he should have let his mother beat him to death with a shovel, like she threatened to when Babygate finally reached her.

.

When they delivered Hammy, they both wore black from head to toes. They’ve since run out of black clothes to wear, so they make do with their street clothes and black knitted hats.

Finn takes point and crouches behind the rose bush in the neighbors’ garden to check the area for potential witnesses. The bush covers about a quarter of his giant ass and his super secret signal whistle does not sound like a bird. It’s more of a wheezing elephant, if you ask Puck, which no-one is, thankfully.

Once he’s sure he has his friend’s attention, Finn very sneakily flails his arms in the go-ahead signal. Puck sighs, stuffs the bear deeper into the black trash bag he acquired and crab-walks over to the rose bush. They trek sideways to the hazel tree (or is that a bush?) and then duck under the porch, where it’s surprisingly clean. Well, at least it was surprising the first time. Shouldn’t have been, because this is Berry’s house, but, whatever.

From there they sneak up the steps very sneakily and Puck tries to pull the bear out of the bag without unnecessary rustling when the porch light goes on.

Finn has time to say, “Uh-oh,” before the front door opens and they’re both looking up at Berry like naughty kids.

She’s standing, backlit, her hands on her hips, her hair in sloppy pigtails, frowning down at them and Puck blurts, “We can explain.”

.

She steps out of the house in her pjs and closes the door behind her, sticking the key she’s carrying into the lock. One might think she lay in wait for them. Then she dances around them on tip-toe and sits on the bench under the dining room window, looking at them.

She looks way worse than she does in school and Puck suddenly wants the maniacal grin back because Rachel Berry should not look blank. There’s probably a law against that, somewhere. It’s not right.

It’s also not right for her to be sitting there, hands folded in her lap, silent and solemn and looking like he’s never seen her before.

(That’s a lie. He has seen her like this before. The night by the lake, with the sounds of a distant party echoing across the water, her head buried in Finn’s shirt, crying quietly while Puck played a tuneless melody on his guitar and sang her a lullaby.)

On impulse, he holds the teddy bear out to her and she takes it and hugs it to her middle. She smiles a bit and says, “So. I am waiting for the explanation as to why you have been sneaking around my home for the past three weeks, leaving increasingly bizarre presents on my doorstep without ever saying a word.”

Wow. That’s only two four-syllable words in there. If he needed proof that Rach’s not feeling alright, this is it. Also, she knew? The whole time? He knew Finn makes for a crappy point man.

He scrubs a hand over his ‘hawk after taking off the stupid hat and looks to his best friend for help. The giant just drops out of his crouch and onto his ass, wriggling forward a bit until his legs are on either side of hers. He looks up at her and says, “We had a plan.”

She proves how well she knows them when she doesn’t ask what the hell he’s talking about, but simply turns to look at Puck for answers. “Noah?”

He still hasn’t figured out how to explain the unexpected growth of a vagina in his nether regions, so he simply blurts the first thing he can think of. “The screwy shrink gets a panic attack whenever you get too close to her.”

On autopilot, “Noah, you should not refer to Miss Pillsbury by that offensive nickname.” Then, “What?”

He gives himself points for every time he confuses her enough to say ‘what’ instead of ‘I beg your pardon’. So far, he’s managed five times. Six, if you count right now.

“What I mean…” he trails off, no idea how to explain Operation: Untwist Berry’s Panties without coming off as a total creep. Or a loser. Or a creepy loser. Puck is sort of allergic to the term ‘loser’.

“What he means,” Finn takes over, “Is that you’re acting weird, Rach. You’re like, this machine, and it scares people. It scares us. So we tried to make you relax and do something besides work, okay?”

Sometimes, rarely, but sometimes, Puck almost thinks there’s hope yet for Finn and his stupid mouth.

She frowns. “By giving me movies that idolize violent behavior?”

He nods and she smiles quietly before telling them, very fondly and sadly, “You are both amazingly stupid.”

It’s Finn’s turn to frown, but Puck, who understands perfectly, looks away. That bear is actually kind of neat. It has those little, blue eyes that make it look like it’s about to knife you in the back. He thinks that, as far as bears go, it’s probably pretty badass. He stares at it very hard.

After a minute or two the silence gets kind of obvious, though, and Rach, figuring out what he’s staring at, moves her hand to cover the bear’s eyes. He blinks and looks up at her.

“We promised,” he says, as if that explains everything and maybe it does because the Puck may lie and the Puck may throw people in dumpsters and knock up his best friend’s virgin girlfriend, but the Puck doesn’t break promises.

And even if he did, this is Rach. This is the girl that sat on him and screamed in his face that she’s not broken, that he’s not a loser, that they’re not screwed up beyond hope, the three of them. She’s the girl that tastes off strawberry lip gloss and sunshine and kisses him like she means it.

This is Rach and he may not be brave enough to admit it where anyone can hear, but here, in the dark, there’s only the three of them and he kind of loves her, here. And so does Finn, even if he doesn’t know it himself. Idiot.

So he repeats, “We promised.”

She just looks at him, head lowered, peeking through her lashes. Usually there’s a pout to go with that expression, but she leaves it off tonight.

“We all agreed to it, Rach. All three of us. It’s better that way.”

Puck vaguely remembers his father once saying these very same words to him when he was five years old. They were the last words his old man ever said to him and he grinds his teeth against the taste of those words, the sanctimonious fucking arrogance of them and looks at Finn, who’s looking droopy again.

“Everyone would say mean things about you, Rach. Because we’re two guys and you’re the glee queen. They’d think… they’d think mean things.”

Usually, Puck would poke fun endlessly at Finn using the words ‘mean things’ like a pre-schooler, but they’re better than actually saying out loud what the high school rumor mill would make of a loser girl hanging out with two jocks. ‘Slut’ would be the nicest word she could expect to be called.

Rach, who can translate Finn-ish as well as Puck can, just says, “All famous actors and musicians have, at one point in their formative years, faced adversity and come out of it stronger and with more emotional depth to portray in their work.”

Now, he may be understanding her wrong, but he’s pretty sure Rachel just said she doesn’t give a flying fuck what anyone thinks or says about her. Which he should have known, in a way. You don’t waltz through high school in knee socks and mustard yellow cardigans when you care what people think about you.

And then, in case they didn’t get the message, she adds, “I want my two best friends back.”

That’s the thing, isn’t it? It’s not even all about the sex with them. They, like, talk and hang out and shoot the shit together. Before Puck can say anything, Finn beats him to it by nodding and announcing, “Me, too.”

Puck (who is Noah, right now) considers that, considers the promise they made and how he’s never broken a promise. He considers how none of them want to keep this promise and thinks that maybe this is more a dissolving than a breaking. You know, technically.

He considers that he loves Rach and Finn, too, in a totally non-gay way, and that he really wants to be able to sit next to either of them at lunch and tell them how he creamed everyone at football practice. Again. And he considers how much extra work it’s going to be to sock everyone that says nasty things about Berry and comes up with ‘not much’. Or at least, ‘not too much’.

So basically, he’s in. Promise dissolved. He rolls onto his knees and stretches up to kiss Rach, one hand buried in her hair, the BAMF bear squished between them. Finn laughs breathlessly behind him and then Rachel pulls up for air and says, “Dad and Daddy are gone on a business trip.”

Puck grins lecherously, wriggles his eyebrows at Finn and says, “Lead the way, princess.”

She does.

.

They strip each other on the way up the stairs, hit her bedroom in a flurry of limbs and then proceed to ravish each other until they can’t see straight. All. Night. Long.

They don’t cuddle instead of having awesome reunion sex, or anything pussy like that, and they most certainly do not take the purple teddy bear to bed with them because Rach refuses to let it go.

(That is a lie. Puck’s totally going to stick with it, though.)

On Monday they walk into school, casual as can be, with Puck’s arm slung around Rachel’s shoulder and Finn bouncing around them like an eager puppy.

And while Puck tries, really hard, not to listen to his theory of how Batman is an alien, too, he thinks, absently, that he sure as hell didn’t expect this.

.

Operation: Untwist Berry’s Panties? Is a success.

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