Word count: 2238
“Your phone is ringing.”
Puck raised a brow at the boy. “Little Dude, you're not using my phone as an excuse to get out of homework. Finish the math worksheet; I know you can do it.”
“I know, I know, and when I'm done you double check my answers and then show me how to fix the ones I screwed up.”
“Right. Get to it.”
Jett made a face at him but moved the paper closer to concentrate. Puck smirked and stepped out of the study to finally answer his phone. “Jake man, what's up?”
“I have a problem.”
“Kitty is all up on me telling me she'll let me make a home run, and she's hot...and it’s tempting.”
“I thought you liked Marley.”
“Then stay away from that little man eater. Keep to Marley and let things go slow; don't score just because you can. Sex for the sake of sex is fun, but empty in the long run...and I know you're not ready to be a dad.”
“What do I do?”
“Text me Kitty's number.”
“What good will that do?”
“Just do it and let me take care of things.”
“What are big brothers for. Hang in there Jake.”
Jake hung up and Puck waited for the text, when he had it he dialed Kitty.
“Back off of Jake.”
“Who is this?”
“Puck, Jake's big bro.”
“And you just called to warn me off of Jake. Really?”
“Listen you little she-devil, Jake's trying to be a good guy and do the right thing. Quit throwing your wanna-be slutty self at him.”
Her laughter grated on his nerves. “Make me.”
“You know, you're an evil little bitch, and very unchristian, doing the things you've done. I mean you almost killed Marley with peer pressure, and now you're trying to get Jake to cheat on her. You're a shitty person any way you look at it and you need to watch your step.”
He could hear her snort. “Maybe if you make it worth my while? I need a date to the Sadie Hawkins dance...and for a little party for two afterward? You're a little old, but you'll do.”
“Not interested. I have a boyfriend. Just back off my brother.” He hung up on her, took a breath...and dialed Artie.
Puck smiled into the phone. “Hey babe, I need Marley's number.”
“Because Kitty's pressuring Jake to cheat on Marley, with her, I just want to give the girl a heads up. She needs to ask him to the dance ASAP.”
“I'll text it to you. Want me to try and catch her in the act?”
“No we'll leave it at this for now...anyone ask you to the dance yet?”
“No. I thought Sugar would but she hasn't.”
Puck laughed, he could just imagine the pout on Artie's face. “As long as you know who you're going home with after the dance.”
“So you'll be picking me up then?”
“Good. See you then, take care.”
“You too.” Again he hung up, and waited for the text. Once he had it he made one last call.
Marley's voice came over the line, an unsure quality to it. “Hello?”
“Hey Marley, this is Jake's brother.”
“Puck? Why are you calling me?”
“I wanted to give you a heads up, Kitty's out for your man so you need to ask him to the dance before she makes a move.”
Her sigh came over the phone; it was a very tired sound. “I was afraid of that. Thanks.”
“No prob. If you have a cousin or something that you can throw at Kitty it might distract her for at least five minutes, give you time to ask Jake to the dance.”
Marley's laugh lightened her voice considerably. “I don't, but thanks.”
Much to Puck's relief, the day of the dance he got a call from Kitty. He answered his phone with a snide tone. “Hello Princess Peer Pressure.”
“What do you want?”
“I just wanted you to know Marley asked Jake to the dance.”
“I knew that already.”
“Hmph. And I met a guy that's super hot, hotter than Jake or you, and he's my date. So your little brother is safe for now.”
“Good to know.” He hung up and rolled his eyes.
Puck almost wished Artie hadn't had to sing at the dance, it was a long drive from Cleveland to Lima, and it was going to feel even longer driving back there this time of night. He sighed and parked the van, then got out and started to make his way toward the school, the dance should be almost over by now.
A girl's scream brought him up short...and then he ran toward the commotion. The last thing he'd expected to see was Kitty fighting off some guy at her car. He ran to her rescue and pulled the guy off of her and shoved him away. Kitty was leaning against the car, gasping, hand to her throat, just a bit of blood trickling down her pale skin. Aw crap.
Puck turned to face the guy, having pulled a stake out of his pocket, the vampire snarled at him. Its teeth were bared, Kitty's blood painted its lips, and it charged at him. Puck staked it, with little effort, must have been a new vamp, and it poofed, right in front of Kitty.
“What was that?”
“Vampire.” He pocketed his stake and dusted himself off.
“You can't be serious!”
He shrugged. “Fine, it was crazy guy on PCP who just ran away really fast.” He moved closer to her and checked her throat, luckily it was just grazed. “You're lucky, this could have been a lot worse. Come on the nurse should still be on call.”
She nodded and let him help her back into the school and into the nurse's office. The older woman gave them a disapproving look. “Her date got a little aggressive with her. I had to run him off.” The nurse didn't look like she believed him, but didn't comment, simply went to work on cleaning and bandaging Kitty's neck.
When she left them alone he snagged a granola bar from one of the cabinets and tossed it to Kitty. “You didn't lose much blood, but this will help keep the shock away.”
She accepted the granola bar, but didn't open it right away. “Was that really a vampire?”
“Why doesn't anyone know about them?”
“Trust me; the last thing you want is for all the boogey men to be out of the fantasy closet.”
“But the police or army could do something about them.”
“The last time the military tried to do something about the monsters they used their soldiers as guinea pigs...and made their own monster from spare parts.”
A look came into her eyes...and he didn't like that look. “So you want me to keep quiet.”
“What do I get out of it?” She looked him up and down.
“You don't get it do you?”
“For starters, no one would believe you. But here's the kicker...the people I work for? They run an international organization that's been around for thousands of years, and has more money than God, and could probably wipe out a country or two. Instead they fight the monsters, the ones that kill and eat people anyway.”
She stared at him. “I don't believe you.”
He rolled his eyes and pulled out his phone and called a certain witch. “Hey Willow.”
“Oh, hey Puck.”
“I've got a civilian who was attacked by a vamp.”
“Is she okay?”
“Yeah...but she's a crafty little bitch and might need someone besides me to talk to her. Someone she won't try to seduce.”
“Oh...one of those huh? What's her name?”
“Her name is Kitty Wilde.”
“We'll take care of it.”
He hung up and focused on Kitty again. “I just handed you over to the Senior Council, you're their problem now.”
“Couldn't handle me yourself?”
“Hey, I'm just a trainee.” He smirked and left her alone in the nurse's office.
Puck managed to catch the very last of the dance and smiled when he saw Sugar happily perched in Artie's lap on the dance floor. When the song ended his boyfriend gave her a kiss on the cheek and a hug and she happily rejoined her friends before passing him at the exit. And she winked at him. Puck winked back and gave her a little bow.
By that time Artie had wheeled to him. “Should I be worried?”
“Nah. You ready?”
“As soon as I get my bag out of my locker.”
“Cool, I'll meet you at the van? Or should I come with?”
Artie rolled his eyes. “I'll meet you in the parking lot.”
Puck nearly did a double take when he got back to the parking lot...because Connor's car was there...and Connor was helping Unique into his car...and Connor was wearing a tux. Connor froze when he saw Puck and then shrugged before getting in and driving off.
Artie's voice cut through his shock. “See anything interesting?”
“Just Connor and Unique.”
“Yeah, he showed up at the beginning of the dance. Really made her night...and no one messed with them.”
“I'll tell you why on the way.”
“Fair enough. Carry my bag?” Artie held up the duffel and Puck took it before leading the other boy to the van. He stowed the bag in the back, then came back to open the front passenger door.
As always he gently lifted Artie up out of his chair; Artie snagged a kiss before Puck put him in the van. Once he was settled Artie kissed him again, lengthening the second kiss, drawing it out. Eventually Puck pulled away with a laugh. “If we had time I'd lay the back seat down and we could have a round in the van. But it’s a long drive to Cleveland.” Artie pouted as Puck buckled him in, and then closed the door. He put the chair in the back, secured it, and closed that door as well.
He saw movement at the corner of his eye and tensed, worried it was another vamp. However when looked all he saw was Sam, Brit, Tina and Blaine, staring at him in shock. He smirked at them, and waved before getting into the van and starting it up.
“Think we broke them.”
Artie looked out the window and laughed before waving at their friends as Puck drove them out of the lot. “I think you're right.”
Puck hadn't been sure how he was going to reveal the world of Slayers and monsters to Artie. He knew that he'd have to eventually, especially if Artie decided to move in with them after he graduated. He just hadn't expected to do it this way. Nor did he expect Artie's reaction.
They beat Connor back to the house, just barely and the three of them went inside together, locking the door behind them. Connor motioned toward the kitchen. “Anyone else hungry?”
Artie looked up at Puck. “A little.”
He nodded. “Sure. Let's eat.”
Of course it was just his luck...that Clem was sitting at the kitchen table...with Spike, Xander...and Lorne. Xander managed to give them a brief panicked look that somehow managed to convey an apology at the same time.
Connor just smirked and went to the fridge like nothing was wrong. Bastard. Puck sighed. “Artie, I'd like you to meet Clem and Lorne.”
Clem waved cheerily and Lorne raised his glass, probably a sea breeze, in a salute. Artie smiled and nodded at them. “Hi.”
Connor stopped and stared at Artie in shock. “Hi? That's it? No freak out?”
Artie looked from one face to the next in puzzlement. “Why would I freak out?”
“Because there's demons in the kitchen?”
Artie shrugged. “My uncle Bailey runs a demon friendly bar back in Lima.”
Puck snorted and kissed the top of Artie's head. “And I was worried about telling you.”
“Telling me what?”
“I'm a Watcher in training.”
“So...you look after the slayer?”
Xander grinned at them. “Slayers. Plural. As in all the girls who are upstairs sleeping.”
Artie's jaw dropped. “I thought there could only be one.”
Puck pushed his chair up to the table. “I'll fix us something to eat; Xander can tell you all about that.”
“Hey, you're a Watcher in training; you'll have to give the speech some time.”
“Yeah, when I'm not in training anymore.”
“Darn. If Spike tells it he'll get it wrong and won't elaborate in the right places.”
Xander ignored his lover and took a breath. “So the world is older than you know...”