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Glee Gets Reinvented

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"Rachel, you'll be singing the solo at Regionals." Mister Schuester stated, handing a music sheet to an overly excited Rachel Berry without acknowledging the other glee kids rolling their eyes. "You and Finn will handle the duet too, and all of us will decide on the group number."

He grinned at the group as he took a step back in the choir room, taking in the sight of his unimpressed club kids. They all slumped in their seats or crossed their arms over their chests as they glared at him. Instead of focusing on that, however, he simply smiled at Rachel who smiled back, fully aware of her annoyed peers but simply putting it down to jealousy.

"Come on guys, perk up! We're going to Nationals!" Schue exclaimed happily. "That's amazing."

"Not as amazing as actually singing there would be." Quinn mumbled.

"Excuse me?"

"She said, not as amazing as-"

"Thank you, Sam, I did hear her I just.." He sighed and shrugged. "I thought you guys would be more excited about this."

"Yeah, we're thrilled to be swaying in the background as Rachel sings all the songs." Tina said, emphasising her sarcasm with an eyeroll.

"There's the group song."

"Which she'll sing lead in." Kurt scoffed. "Even though group songs are supposed to be a group thing, it's kind of in the name."

"Sorry if you're disappointed guys, but she's our star."

"She's one of many stars, she's just the only one that gets to shine." Mike complained.

"This is an important competition, we need to put our best foot forward."

"But we all have feet." Britany mumbled.

"I know you're all talented but you need to know when it's your time and when its not."

"Well, apparently, it's never been anyone's time but Berry's." Santana spat.

"Only 'cause she's wasting all ours." Mercedes muttered.

"It's just weird, dude." Puck straightened in his seat. "You talk about how accepting and open this club is, like everyone gets an opportunity in here, but then you treat her like she's the only one who's earned the attention you say all of us deserve." 

"True that." Artie clicked his figers.

"Now hang on a minute." Rachel stood to her feet in front of everyone and crossed her arms. "Just because I am more talented than all of you doesn't mean you have to be so petty."

"Oh hell to the no." Mercedes objected. "You are not more talented than anyone else here, you're just a bigger diva."

"I work harder than all of you."

"And you know that how?" Kurt said slyly.

"Well I must do since I'm the only one here who gets real recognition."

"You get that because of the bullshit biases in this room." Santana corrected.

"I am sorry you're so jealous Santana," Santana scoffed at that. "But if you cared more about using your voice to sing rather than using it to hurt people then maybe you would be getting solos too."

"She's plenty nice, just not to you." Tina grinned. "And last time someone else got - no, earned - a solo you threatened to leave."

"I deserved it more."

"I will go all Lima Heights on your white passing hetero ass, bitch!" Santana threatened as she stood up.

"Santana sit down." Schue demanded, and she reluctantly sat back down. "I'm sorry you all feel that way, but I've already prepared the set list and it's been decided. Stop being so selfish." Schue commented, like he couldn't just change the plans accordingly. "That's it for today's session, I hope your attitudes have improved by tomorrow." 

As everyone packed their stuff up, rolling their eyes with annoyance or sighing with annoyance or doing something else with annoyance, Rachel raced to Mister Schuester's side. She promptly asked about her solo and discussed her friends' 'betrayal' with him as well.  Friends probably wasn't the right word for people she was forced to work with who hated her guts just a little more every time she opened her mouth.

Even Finn, her own boyfriend, had been suspiciously quiet at the back during that brief argument. Just as Will reached his office with Rachel, shouting something over his shoulder about practicing and shutting the door, Puck started rooting around in his bag. Kurt stood from his chair and started to sway and hum gently.

"The hell are you doing, Kurt?" Mercedes asked in an amused tone.

"Oh, didn't you hear him telling us to practice?" Kurt responded. The group laughed and a few started swaying in time with him through small giggles.

"I like Glee." Sam sighed. "But this is getting ridiculous."

"It is ridiculous." Santana agreed. "And a total load of bullcrap, I am way too talented to be backup for the basic broadway bitch."

"Her voice would sound better to me if it wasn't so constant." Quinn claimed, getting a nod from everyone in agreement.

"Maybe we should try to convince him again tomorrow?" Brittany suggested weakly.

"He's stubborn and stupid, won't happen." Tina shook her head and smirked when Quinn giggled at her comment.

"I'll say something if you do try again." Finn added. "Even I'm getting kinda tired of her voice."

"Aww trouble in paradise?" Santana mocked.

"I bet she's real vocal in bed." Mike grinned, and Finn slapped him on the arm.

"She is." Kurt groaned. "It's vile, I hear it through the walls."

"Kurt!" Finn hissed. His brother simply laughed as his gaze drifted towards the front of the choir room.

Everyone's gaze did, actually, as Puck stood at the front with a book in his hand and a smug smile on his face. That smile meant that either he'd just gotten laid or he was about to try to get laid, both were not uncommon for him. He just waited there, though, until everyone was turned in their chairs to face him.

"What's this Puckerman?" Santana asked, pointing towards the book in his hand.

"The choir show rulebook." Puck said smugly. He held the book up to show the rest, grin growing upon his face. "I read it through and-"

"You read something? I'm impressed." Kurt teased.

"Shut up, Kurt." Puck smirked. "I read it through and it said that we don't actually need a solo. We have a max of 3 songs to perform, Schue always chooses solo, duet and group but it can be anything." He opened the book to the first page and passed it to Tina, who read the rule before passing it to Quinn. "See?"

"Yeah, I see, but why are you bringing it up?" Tina asked.

"Because it means we can do this without her." Puck stated. "I suggest a duet, trio and group number so more of us are on show. Then we can have different people showcase their talents next time, so on, you know."

"Wait... You really think Schue will go for that?" Quinn tsked.

"No way, he'd never go for it." Sam said and Mercedes hummed in affirmation.

"And Rachel might kill us all." Brittany spoke with no sense of humour in her words, like she wasn't overexaggerating in any way. She wasn't, really.

"Definitely would." Finn mumbled.

"Who cares? We should do it anyway." Puck scoffed. "Behind their backs, secret society shit, we'll be ready by Regionals and if Rachel wants to join she can, if not then she can just watch us win without her." He watched as the book reached Kurt, who raised his eyebrow at the page. "And Schue can see us be fucking awesome without his bullshit Journey songs."

"That's real risky, and how would we even manage it?"

"Come on 'Cedes, you know me, I'm the baddest of asses, if I can't get away with it nobody can." 

"Ridiculous sentence." Santana mumbled.

"Good idea, though." Kurt breathed, meeting Puck's eyes. "Is it accompanied by a plan?"

"Yes it is. We got the rest of the day, thank fuck this was an early session." Puck smirked. "We'll audition in the auditorium privately after school, no Rachel." He pointed at Finn. 

"So we audtion in twos or threes?"

"That's what I thought, unless any of you would prefer to solo?" 

The group all looked at each other. They all waited for something, expecting just one hand to shoot up in hopes of soloing at Regionals, or at least auditioning to. Alas, not a single hand rose, which they all found slightly bizarre. They were so used to being pitted against each other for solos that they didn't even realize they'd rather sing as a team.

It was always 'only one of you can solo' and never 'do you want to solo?', and as soon as they were asked such a question, they knew the answer. No. They didn't. They wanted to sing and prance around on stage like the gay ass team of losers they were together. In fact, they were more curious about who they would sing with instead of how they would beat the other.

Mad, the minute Schue and Rachel left they all felt more like a team than they usually did. In fact, they would often stay behind just to chat and sing and play as a group. All of them would hang out at Santana's house or the Hudmel's every so often when the homes were empty, without Berry. It was amazing, them all being together without arrogant assholes ruining it.

"Thought so." Puck nodded. "Alright, get into groups, decide on a song and we'll meet in the auditorium for auditions after school, sound good?"

Everyone exchanged excited looks with each other before nodding happily and clapping a little at the new plan. Just as they launched into a joyful conversation about the future of New Directions, Rachel reentered the room with a large smile on her face and took Puck's place at the front.

"Hello, would you like to hear my solo." Rachel said. Sure, it should've been a question but it didn't sound like one in any way, which is why everyone groaned and left the room before she could continue. "Guys?"

Chapter Text

Santana and Brittany were laying under the bleachers at lunch, listening to their 'queens of music' playlist through earphones. They were side by side with Santana's phone seperating them, each with one bud in one ear and hands intertwined. The song seaping into their ears was currently a Whitney song, as many on the playlist were, but it still wasn't the right choice.

They were looking for a song to sing together for the audition, knowing that if there was going to be a duet, they were sure as hell gonna be the two performing it. However, they just hadn't come across the right song as of yet and it was slowly driving them insane. They'd already ditched English class to listen, now they were starving themselves by depriving their stomachs of lunch. It would be no surprise if their search stretched into Chem too.

The sun continued to beat down on them through the slits in the bleachers when Brittany finally stood up and removed her earphone bud. She sighed, already aware that every brilliant song they could sing together would be too difficult to perfect in the few hours they had left. Santana seemed to have the same belief as she sat up too, turning her phone off.

It wasn't until they were standing to their feet that they heard footsteps approaching, and were rather happy to see it wasn't one of those skank girls. It was Mercedes, who stood there with her arms crossed and a questioning look on her face. She looked between them and immediately understood the beaten down glances they exchanged.

"Struggling with the music choice, huh?" She asked, getting two nods in response.

Mercedes walked towards the cheerleading girlfriends and took the phone from Santana seeing the playlist name. She smiled at it before scrolling through all the songs that they'd listened to. Good songs, but probably not very good for those two to sing together. At least, not alone.

"None of them would work for us." Brittany shrugged in defeat.

"Yeah, we tried." Santana shrugged too, as if she wasn't upset about being unable to perform. 

"Hey, you can still audition." Mercedes grinned. "Just not as a duet."

"No solos, remember?"

"No, I mean we can sing as a trio." She ellaborated, pressing on a song name and pulling out the earphone jack.

The other girls listened for a few moments before smiling at each other, knowing very soon that this was perfect. Mercedes and Santana always sounded good together, Santana and Brittany worked well and all three were pretty good friends, so it was a brilliant set up.

At once, they all nodded and made their way from the bleachers towards the school and up the stairs to an empty classroom for quiet practice. Choreography always came easily to them, but synchronisity was important for any group piece. They played the backing track and stood in positions, smiling with every step they took and every word they sang.

Until they were, of course, interrupted by a paticularly irritating girl who seemed confused by the goings on. Then pissed off about it, as made evident by her crossing her arms and huffing.

"What are you guys doing in here?" Rachel spat, watching the girls stop in the middle of their choreography and turn to her with the same aggravated expression. "Practicing a piece that isn't for Regionals? You should be more focused on the competition."

"You should be more focused on fixing your wardrobe." Santana said as she sauntered towards Rachel and began to steer her back to the door.

"Mhm, let us do our thing, you do yours." Mercedes snapped her fingers.

"Isn't her thing ruining our things?" Brittany mumbled.

"Hey! I'm just as much a part of Glee as you." Rachel complained, as she heard the door click open behind her and felt Santana push her out of it harder.

"Trust me, man hands, we know." Santana slammed the door shut behind Rachel and locked it, shooting a passive aggressive glare and wave at her through the small door window.

Rachel gaped at the aggressive removal before taking a step back and sighed when the music started up again. She truly had no idea why they had to be so disrespectful to her, she believed herself to be the star so why shouldn't everyone else believe the same? In a sulk, she turned from the classroom and Mercedes damn near applauded as she heard the clacking of sensible shoes walking away.

"She's gonna make this difficult, isn't she?" Santana sighed.

"That's it!" Brittany smiled. "That's her thing!"

"Making things difficult?" Mercedes smirked.

"Yeah!"

The girls giggled a little in agreement and returned to the choreo. They were obviously awesome, they always were, it would be insane for them not to get the trio spot. Who else would even dare to go against them?

Answer: Artie, Sam and Finn, all of whom were currently also ditching class and hanging out in the boys bathroom. As you do. Mike was there too, though he wasn't singing due to his lingering insecurity over his voice, just watching the mess play out in front of him.

See, Artie had good taste in music, often listening to hip hop or rap music and not really straying much from either genre unless he was told to. Finn also had good taste, though it was more alternative rock he was into than anything else and he only sang differently if Rachel wanted him to. Sam did not have good taste, he liked guitar and singing and practiced doing both with whatever song that came to mind first, not really caring if it was a decent song or not.

That's why it was such a trainwreck. Mike had to laugh at the argument that broke out over Sam's suggestion of 'Rock Your Body', and Artie throwing his hat in the ring by saying 'I can do the fast part from Rap God, just sayin'. It was bizarre to watch it go down, though it slowly just became draining the longer it went on for. When the long hand on his watch reached 12 again, Mike decided he'd had enough.

In the midst of a discussion over a song by 'LMFAO' - terrible idea - he rose from his seating position on the sink counter and stepped in. Finn got in a final jab at Sam's mouth before they all noticed the boy literally coming between them, standing in the middle of their small three person circle.

"This is ridiculous." Mike pointed out very bluntly. "You need to be better about this, guys."

"He's the one that keeps coming out with stupid stuff!" Finn gestured towards Sam, who threw his hands up in mock surrender.

"Sex sells, dude." Sam shrugged.

"Sells to who? The uptight show choir judges? Is that what you think?" Artie spat.

"Enough." Mike demanded, they all went silent again. "You have to pick something that actually makes you sound good, with harmonies and decent vocal ability."

"Like rap."

"No, Artie, not like rap. Like boy groups or... Girl groups." Mike suggested.

"I'm not singing a girl song." Finn adamantly refused. The others shook their heads too, until Mike rolled his eyes and sighed.

"That's stupid, it would probably work better."

"What would?" Sam asked.

"A song sung by girls. Trust me, it would make your masculine voices more pronounced if the song is expected to be performed by women." Mike commented, smiling as the others shrugged. He knew how to make these knuckleheads rethink their stupid opinions: appeal to their insecurity over their masculinity. It was a little trick he picked up from Tina before they were just friends, that girl was an evil genius.

"I suppose..." Finn nodded slowly.

"What song did you have in mind?" Artie said cautiously.

Mike smirked as he replied, and the others didn't recognise the name of the song too quickly - or they pretended not to anyway. So Mike played it a little too loud in the bathroom and the others just kinda bopped along to the beat. It was a good song, they could admit that much.

Finn was really getting into it, even forming a few ideas in his head and preparing to announce them when his phone went off. He looked at it and his dopey smile turned into a disgruntled frown.

"It's Rach, she's expecting me in class." He informed. "What should I say?"

"Here, give it." Sam grabbed the phone before he could be pushed away and replied.

BarbraBerry: Finnles, where are you? I'm saving you a seat next to me.

QB_Hudson: bad case of the shits, c u when im out of the toilets XD

"There, now she wont bother you." Sam handed the phone back to Finn with a smirk on his face that didn't disappear when Finn's eyes widened. Mike and Artie snickered when Finn read the message aloud. Beautifully done, Sam, beautifully done.

Another thing that was beautifully done was Tina's makeup, something she always prided herself on. It was dark and mysterious, gothic but confident, a perfect combination for her entire aesthetic. Quinn admired it deeply, even turning to her for some advice when she went through her own darkcore phase. While Tina helped her with style and stuff they developed a friendship that didn't topple even when Quinn returned to her usual self.

That was why the two girls had made a decision to audition for the duet position together, it would be fierce as fuck. They were both talented, their voices complimented one another's shockingly well and they never got a chance to display either of those things. Now they did, they wouldn't waste such an opportunity. Even if they didn't get to perform in Regionals, getting to perform at all was honestly a miracle with the way Rachel stole the spotlight all the time.

So together in the abandoned choir room, the girls danced around upon the floor barefooted. The song they'd chosen was an anthem involving a lot of sex appeal and power, something they both had. Screw it if Quinn often hid behind a good little Christian girl persona, she wanted to release the beast within. Tina did too, and she liked the way her beast mingled so perfectly with Quinn's when they worked together.

They had the vocals down pretty quickly, so they moved on to what the song they picked needed a lot of: tantalising moves and seductive facial expressions. To start off their bizarre session, the girls practiced trying to stare erotically and lick their lips like porn stars. It was difficult at first, but after some weird googling and clearing their search histories, the girls were stone cold foxes.

Then it was the dance moves. Body rolling was first, something they both struggled with before they looked up youtube tutorials. Apparently it was best to practice with a friend so you could move against one another and balance each other when it got hard. Tina and Quinn pressed their bodies almost painfully close before essentially grinding together. They didn't expect it to feel as natural as it did, they certainly didn't expect there to be no awkwardness between them. But it was just... Fun. Quinn felt her stomach tighten with every movement and Tina blushed at every grind. Friendship!

The twerking was also pretty fun. Twerking being a broad term, of course, because they just kinda jiggled their asses and bounced on their feet. Rotating their hips also seemed to have an effect, bending over to lean on one knee and circling the other leg worked well too. They looked hot as hell, and didn't they know it.

Hair flicking came up next. They pushed their hair around, played with it, ruffled it, twirled it around their fingers and made it freak out when they shook their heads. It was a fabulous mess of hair and delighted squeals when it looked particularly good. 

Putting all the new moves together and throwing in some classic 'bend and snap' stuff, their routine was finished pretty quickly and all they had to do now was perfect it. As they prepared to do so, rearranging their clothes to look as hot as possible, Rachel appeared at the door seeming all confused.

"What do you want, boy hips?" Quinn said, breathless after a run through and placing her hands on her hips.

"Please tell me you're practicing for Regionals." Rachel replied.

"We are." Tina smiled fakely.

"Oh." Rachel honestly seemed a little shocked, but pleasantly so as she smiled back. "Good... You need to make me look extra spectacular!"

"We will!" Tina nodded, and Rachel walked away happily.

Quinn raised an eyebrow at Tina, wondering why she didn't just tell Rachel to piss off. The other girl just shrugged and frowned, obviously similarly annoyed by the Jewish student's constant presence in their lives.

"Being nice makes her leave." Tina explained, getting a chuckle from Quinn.

"She's so invasive." Quinn shook her head in disappointment. "It's people like her that make me want to take a page out of your book and fake a speech impediment."

"I'd suggest vocal ticks, that way you could call her whatever you wanted and get away with it." Tina suggested with a wicked grin.

"Mike was right, you are an evil genius." Quinn praised.

"And a vampire, don't forget." Tina added.

"How could I?" Quinn smiled.

Tina smiled back for a few seconds, which turned into a minute, which turned into a deep blush that dragged them both back to reality. So they started rehearsing again, going through the routine step by step and hitting each movement better and better every time. Quinn wondered if Mister Schuester would walk in on them practising and notice the talent he was wasting.

Though he'd probably just tell them to 'keep going, you can perform it tomorrow' to get their hopes up, promptly followed by a 'then back to Regionals work'. The worst thing he could do was check them out as they danced together, despite the fact it wouldn't be surprising.

These moves could turn Kurt straight.

That was really saying something too, because Kurt was the furthest thing from straight a human being could be. He stood at his locker, still deciding on whether he should bother trying to find a duet partner or just watch the others perform. He'd walked past the choir room earlier and saw Quinn and Tina and decided nobody could beat them, they'd never looked so amazing. And gay. That was a different story though.

It was just moving from lunch time to Chem when Kurt closed his locker, feeling eyes on him. He often felt that, though, because people often watched him. The jocks watched as they waited for the right time to strike; the girls watched and discussed his new outfit as they tried to figure out where he got it; the boys watched just in case he tried to make a move on them.

As if he would want any of them. There were only 5 guys in that school worth talking to, let alone worth flirting with, and those 5 were in Glee with him. Most were also supposed to be in his last class, but none had shown up, neither had the glee girls. They were all practicing for the auditions. 

He didn't mind if he just got to watch, if he was honest with himself, especially if they were all putting in so much effort. However, if the option did arise to auditon, he probably wouldn't turn it down. He and Finn sung well together, Artie's voice was remarkable with his, Mike was insecure but decent enough to duet with and Sam's voice contrasted Kurt's very well. He'd never sung with Puck though, so he didn't know how they sounded. Not until-

"Hey Kurt." The feeling of being watched became much less ominous when Kurt realised it had been Puck's gaze. The taller boy appeared behind Kurt, causing him to turn around and lean against the locker behind him.

"Hello Puck." Kurt grinned genuinely, something he never expected to do around the guy who once bullied him.

They weren't insanely close, but they were definitely close enough to consider one another good friends. Never once, though, had Puck been so shameless about talking to him outside of the choir room when other football players were around. It meant showing off that he was actually friends with the resident queer, a friendship rather hazardous to be prideful of. Azimio glared at the display from the other side of the hallway like it sickened him just to see two boys stand face to face. 

Seeing the blatant disgust oozing from the large boy and the others around him, all adorning letterman jackets, Kurt started to walk away with Puck joining at his side. Bold move, it was almost like he wanted to be around Kurt regardless of the consequences it may have.

"So, wanna audition with me?" Puck asked.

Kurt glanced at him momentarily, seeing hope in Puck's eyes and an awkward grin he'd never seen before spread across his face. 

"We wouldn't have much time to practice, we don't even know if our voices are compatible." Kurt reasoned.

"Then let's find out." Puck shrugged.

"Hmm." Kurt hummed in consideration. On one hand: they may sound terrible together, Puck's homophobic friends may find out and hurt him and Kurt would have to ditch class to practice properly. On the other hand: his next class sucked balls and Puck was certainly the best person to cut it with, what with all his experience... In playing hooky, that is. "Fine."

Puck lit up at the positive response and nodded happily. "Cool, we can practice in the auditorium, everyone else has taken up everywhere else."

"Yes, I saw Quinn and T in the choir room earlier." Kurt smiled. "They looked close."

"Totally called it." Puck muttered under his breath. Kurt just about overheard and smirked at the comment, knowing he had very much called it as well. Everyone had called it since the Tike and Fabrevans breakups. They all knew except the girls themselves.

And Rachel. Rachel didn't know, and also didn't know why Kurt and Puck were walking right past her instead of walking alongside her to their next class. She stopped behind them and called out their names. When they didn't answer, she stormed after them in search of some kind of answer. 

"Boys!" When she called out, they stopped with a bored and well synchronised eyeroll each as they turned to face her. "Where are you going?"

Kurt said "Somewhere else." in time with Puck's "Your mum- shit, sorry, dad.", and they both laughed as they turned back around. Rachel crossed her arms and basically stamped her foot on the ground like a moody toddler.

"Fine, don't tell me!" She brushed off, walking to class.

Puck and Kurt made their way onto the auditorium stage, Puck walking over to the music player and Kurt standing bang in the middle. He looked out at the empty seats and smiled softly, knowing one day he'd be standing on a stage in front of even more seats, but none of those will be empty.

With an amused grin, Puck looked at Kurt for a few more seconds before picking a song to play. The minute the track started Kurt brightened up and spun to Puck with wide eyes, restraining the urge to clap widely.

"Knew you'd like it." Puck smirked.

"I love it!" Kurt beamed. "Are you sure you want to sing a song like this with me... In front of people."

"Totally, I'm badass enough to pull it off." Puck smiled.

"Okay then, let's begin."

Chapter Text

The end of the day arrived far too soon and the glee kids, excluding Rachel, met up in the auditorium. Thankfully, there was no chance of Mister Schuester finding them since he had to leave school due to an emergency. What was that emergency, you ask? Well, let's just say that when Puck asked Sue Sylvester if she could find a way to get Will out of school before the end of it, she heard only one request: set fire to his car.

As the car burned, the group prepared to set fire to the auditorium stage... Not literally, they didn't literally set fire to the stage. Arson was not committed by anyone there... Well, Puck had committed it a few times but not there and not with any of them around... Except Santana, Santana was there when Puck set fire to the dumpster, she complained about the smell and said the marshmallows she was roasting over it tasted funny.

Okay that's it, they were all in the room and Schue was getting his car fixed up and Rachel was practicing her solo at home. The rest of the school was dead to the world and the only ones to survive were the glee kids, or at least the good ones. They were all sat in the chairs together, the only one missing being Puck who stood backstage. 

Santana, Brittany and Mercedes ran through their routine with just their arms while sitting, mouthing the lyrics to save their voices for the performances. Santana opted to death glare the other groups as an intimidation tactic; Brittany waved at them all with innocent politeness as a diversion tactic; Mercedes wiggled her eyebrows at Kurt as a way to ask him about Puck.

Kurt wiggled his eyebrows back, but not as an answer, just to divert the attention back. He couldn't be bothered with the questions, he was too busy vibrating with excitement for the performance. He truly loved the song, it made him question whether Puck was secretly a total softie underneath all the tough bullshit. Until he found the answer to such an inquiry, though, he just sat and engaged in conversation with Mike.

Mike was telling Kurt about the boys' performance and all the slip ups they'd had while practicing. He tried to choreograph something simple for them all, but it was easier said than done. Sam wanted to make every move as sexy as it could be, Artie was restricted by his wheelchair and Finn was... Finn. So in the end, they pretty much just decided to walk around each other. Hopefully the vocals would be good enough.

Sam, Artie and Finn's vocals were definitely good. They all practiced just behind the girls, deciding against a break from singing and instead singing extra loudly to piss them off. Every time Santana swore at them in Spanish, Brittany frowned at them or Mercedes told her boyfriend off, they smiled like they'd already won.

Quinn and Tina practiced too, in the strangest way. They faced each other in their seats and showed each other their moves, the other making comments on it. Quinn flicked her hair aggressively and Tina applauded at the sight. Tina shimmied and Quinn stumbled over her words to compliment the movement. They twerked in their seats and bounced a little, laughing as they did so.

"Cute or annoying?" Santana whispered to the rest of her group, who all turned around to watch Quinn and Tina.

"If Santana Lopez is offering cute as an option then you best believe it's cute." Mercedes grinned.

"Lesbian double dates!" Brittany exclaimed as a suggestion.

"I heard lesbian?" Mike leaned over.

"I heard date?" Kurt leaned over next to him.

"Wait, what's going on?" Finn suddenly perked up.

After giving a slap to every one of the boys who made a comment about lesbianism, Santana turned her attention to the stage along with everyone else because Puck, looking smug as hell, stood upon it. Even Quinn and Tina managed to pry their eyes off of each other long enough to face the stage.

"You gonna strip for us, Puckerman?" Santana joked.

"If you are, make sure you do it right!" Sam demanded all too seriously. "Don't make a mockery of the profession!"

"Quiet down, white chocolate." Artie chuckled.

"I'm not stripping, though I know how much you'd all love that." Puck winked and the rest of the group groaned. "Now we gotta get this show on the road, first performance is-"

"Hang on!" Tina interrupted, standing up on her chair to get a better view of the stage. "How will we be judged?"

"With great intensity." Kurt answered.

"No like, how will we decide who gets to perform?" Tina elaborated.

"I think he knew that." Quinn giggled as she tried to get Tina to sit down again.

"I got us some judges, like in talent shows, it's gonna be a whole thing, needlessly dramatic." Puck pointed at Kurt. "Right up your alley."

"It does sound fun." Kurt nodded.

"Who are the judges?" Quinn wondered, still trying to pull Tina down and grabbing her shins when she lost balance.

"Mike, who obviously won't be biased 'cause he loves you all equally or some other crap that's gayer than Kurt." Puck smirked when Mike and Kurt flipped him off. "Also Janitor Bob who used to be in a band, but don't bring up the band 'cause it failed and he'll cry."

Janitor Bob walked in right on cue from the back entrance, placing his stuff by the door and settling in a seat further away from the rest. When the group looked over their shoulders to wave hello to Janitor Bob, they finally spotted the final judge who was already there. She sat in front of Janitor Bob, relaxing back in her seat and watching the gleeks' faces morph as they noticed her.

"And finally, the arsonist who made this all possible, Sue Sylvester." She waved smugly as Puck introduced her, only getting a wave back from Quinn and Kurt. "She likes that we're going against Will, she'll take it seriously."

"I was also in a band as a child: 'Areola 51', it was better than Janitor Bob's." She turned around when Janitor Bob started crying. "Sorry Janitor Bob." She didn't mean that.

"I hate that that's actually an amazing name for a band." Santana sighed.

"We all do." Puck continued, somehow overhearing her from all that distance away. "First performers up are Finn, Artie and white chocolate."

***

The boys performed 'No Scrubs', an iconic song from the 90s that deserved a much more elaborate dance routine than the one they offered. Finn almost fell over more times than he'd ever admit as he sang to Artie's right. Sam body rolled a few times but managed to stick to simple hand waves and winks at Mercedes as he sang to Artie's left. Artie was the best dancer, spinning around, wheeling back and forth in perfect time with his brilliant vocals as he sang inbetween the other boys.

Everyone applauded pretty aggressively afterwards, a lot of the glee girls (and Kurt) singing along to the lyrics as well. It was well recieved by all, Janitor Bob smiled happily at the boys and Sue made a comment about boys singing a girls' song... It wasn't in great taste. Artie, Sam and Finn soaked in the applause and left the stage, meeting Puck backstage.

"You guys were good." Puck smacked them all on the back as they greeted him.

"Cheers yo." Artie smiled.

"Sit down, I gotta introduce your competition."

"Like a talent show presenter?" Finn asked.

"Yeah, I feel powerful." Puck walked back onto the stage as he spoke.

"I feel like we're totally gonna win." Sam smirked.

"Tana, Britt and 'Cedes, you chicks are up next." Puck announced, and the girls swung their hips with purpose as they sauntered towards the stage.

Kurt gave them a wolf whistle as they moved, Puck clapped as they walked past him backstage and the three boys who just made their way back to their seats gulped. It was slightly intimidating to hear the way everyone else was already reacting so positively to the girls. They just had such incredible stage presence, even as they just got to their positions.

Mercedes stood a step in front of the two girlfriends, both of which stood on either side of her. They all started with their hands on their hips, a smouldering stare and a mischievous grin. Everyone else buzzed with anticipation as the three waited, drawing out the suspense until, finally they began.

Their dance worked perfectly with their performance of 'Candyman', it was beyond impressive how quickly they'd managed to pull it off. At one point, Mercedes and Santana linked arms and swung Brittany back and forth like she was on a swing. It looked very well done, and sounded even better somehow. Their voices melded together into one beautiful symphony of voices.

Puck thanked the lord he and Kurt weren't up against them, because the way Sam, Artie and Finn shrivelled up did not look fun. By the end of the song everyone watching was already up on their feet, clapping so hard their hands hurt. Kurt, Tina and Quinn jumped up and down in excitement, even Puck kinda wanted to yell 'Yass queens' as they struck their final pose.

"Sorry to embarass you so brutally, boys." Santana smirked, somehow not breathless even after the intense choreo.

"Did we win?" Brittany asked as the girls sashayed off the stage. Puck smiled at the question and shrugged.

"Hasn't been decided yet, Britt." He answered.

"Please, we got this." Mercedes whispered confidently. The other two giggled in agreement as they linked arms and made their way back to the seats.

Puck walked back out and pointed and Quinn and Tina. "Baby mama and T, get your fine asses up here."

"We'll get our asses up there to beat yours." Tina threatened, and everyone 'ooh'ed through lazy laughter.

"Kinky." Puck waggled an eyebrow as he went back behind the curtains.

As Tina and Quinn walked past him to get on the stage, Quinn gave Puck a playful smack round the back of the head for the nickname he so lovingly chose. He smiled at her sweetly as they arranged themselves on stage. The girls shot one another a cheeky smirk before preparing themselves to start up.

Quinn mouthed 'we're amazing' and Tina mouthed back 'totally sexy' and they both giggled before the music started up. Then they began and... Oh my God it was really something. Nobody had ever seen either girl dance or sing quite the way they did when they sang 'Lose My Breath'. It was phenomenal, sexy, amazing and, most importantly, fun. They were letting go.

A few vocals were messed up because Quinn couldn't help herself from giggling when she had to grind her pelvis into Tina. Tina simply forgot the words for a moment when Quinn looked directly in her eyes while arching her back seductively. All together though, it was fun to watch, some of the audience even trying the moves.

Santana and Brittany were dancing with each other as they cheered on the final piece of the unholy trinity, Mercedes and Kurt squealed as Tina landed the goddamn splits successfully for the first time in her life. The boys weren't even turned on by the sexiness, they just admired it and gaped at the intense flexibility while cheering manically. When they stopped everyone clapped so loudly the ground shook beneath them as Quinn and Tina hugged with massive smiles.

"You've turned me bisexual!" Kurt shouted jokingly, as everyone giggled and Mercedes agreed with his statement just as loudly.

"Let's turn Tana next." Puck smirked. "Kurt, me and you are up!" He shouted from on the stage.

Kurt smiled as he walked up to the stage, standing upon it opposite Puck. They made eye contact for a few moments, communicating the excitement they felt, the nerves they were experiencing and something else Kurt simply couldn't place. It didn't matter though, because before long the music started and they began.

The song was 'I'll Cover You', a song from one of Kurt's favourite musicals: Rent. Puck knew that, he also knew Kurt would be unable to resist singing such a song. He also knew Finn would send him a weird look when they started to sing the lyrics, and he didn't care. The rest of the glee kids enjoyed it though, rather thoroughly as well. 

Regardless of whether they were competing against them or not, every single one of the gleeks genuinely enjoyed every performance. The girls cheered when Puck winked at certain lines, the boys laughed when Kurt teased him with fake maliciousness. Overall, though, they liked it. They all did. Their voices worked together in a way nobody expected, Puck's deep tone and gravelly pitch contrasted Kurt's mellow, higher voice gorgeously.

There was no routine or attempt at it, really, but they did have some moments. They'd circle each other, look at each other, make hand gestures and facial expressions to fit each lyric. It was clear that most of their work had gone into the singing, which was fair because it certainly paid off. Even Mercedes was impressed by some of the notes Kurt hit, and she noticed that Puck was particularly fond of them too. She noted that.

When the boys finished everyone clapped, and Puck whispered a smug comment to Kurt about how most people applauded when he finished. Kurt held back a laugh and jokily curtsied to his applauding peers, winking at Santana, who repeated his bisexual comment from earlier with a laugh.

"We got this in the bag." Puck said once they'd exited the stage.

"We've had this in the bag since I agreed to be involved." Kurt smirked.

"Can't argue with that."

***

Mike stalked to the back of the auditorium and sat with Janitor Bob and Sue, seeing that they'd both made notes on each performance. They decided to go from song to song, discussing the pros and cons to figure out who was better for what part. The trios would be compared first and then the duets, then Sue would announce the winners because she 'wanted to be the one to make the losers sad' - direct quote.

Sue was blunt with her criticism, Mike was agreeable and Janitor Bob used some very fancy language to compliment each group nicely. They all made their decisions relatively quickly though and Sue made her way to the stage to overlook the group, smirking with the power she felt. She clasped her hands behind her back and glared down at them, though it didn't have the same effect as usual. They still seemed happy.

Damn it.

"The trio will be... Aretha, fake jugs and forest gump." She announced.

Mercedes, Santana and Brittany all leapt from their seats and applauded, hugging each other. Soon to join the hug was basically everyone else, leaping onto them with glee, even the boys who lost felt genuinely happy for them.

"The duet," Sue continued, gaining back their attention. "Is Porcelain and Puck." Shut up, she didn't need to make up a stupid nickname for someone who already had a stupid nickname.

Kurt and Puck jumped up and recieved the same treatment as the girls, shocked at the fact they hugged one another with such ease, like it was normal. Quinn and Tina beamed at the news too and piled onto the group, everyone being crushed by affection and smiling at the sensation.

"Sickening." Sue scoffed before walking off of the stage.

It was weird how joyful they all felt, or at least they believed it should be weird. Finn, Artie, Sam, Quinn and Tina had lost, yet they still bounced happily in their seats while the others claimed the spots they auditioned for. Maybe it was the fact they were simply given the chance to perform, maybe it was the fact they'd had fun, maybe it was the fact they'd felt like a team instead of rivals, but regardless they were all content. No, not content, happy. Simply happy.

Knowing that Schue wasn't just picking the person he was closest to or the person he had the most bias towards was nice too. The judgement had been fair and the support had been real and there was no resentment towards anyone else. They knew that all of that was down to the fact they would be performing together, as a real team, with or without Schue's approval. It felt freeing and pretty damn awesome.

All that was left to do was pick the songs, and that would probably be relatively easy. Sure, they had different tastes, but they respected one another enough to not let that ruin things. They also always had Mike on standby to ensure people didn't fight too much. 

"Regionals, here we come!" Puck screamed, and everyone screamed in agreement.

Chapter Text

Kurt was setting up the Hudmel home living room in anticipation for the glee club, who would all be arriving shortly. He had a notebook on the coffee table in case they wanted to jot down any ideas, along with snacks he knew they all liked. Before Finn went up to his room to hide away from helping set up, he specified his desire for having cheesy chips and chocolate on the table. Kurt also ensured Santana's much loved sour patch kids and Mercedes' tots were on display too.

They all had plans to decide on what songs the groups would sing. The girls wanted to sing something by an iconic woman or iconic female band; the boys wanted to sing something 'badass' and 'not badass, Puck, complimentative of our individual talents' and 'fine, both'. The rest just wanted to sing a decent group song that they enjoyed singing together.

Without Rachel suggesting her vile songs and broadway covers, there was a chance everyone would be able to sing the songs they actually wanted to. They also didn't need to ask for permission from Schue, who almost never actually allowed them to perform songs that weren't Top 40 or Journey. No stupid assignments, no annoying attention seekers and no weirdly invasive teachers. Perfect.

As he connected his phone to the speaker to play any music the others wanted, Kurt heard the doorbell ring. He placed the final bowl of food on the table and made his way through the house, opening his door to Puck. The taller boy grinned as he stepped into the house with his hands nervously in his pockets.

"Welcome to the temporary choir room." Kurt smiled, leading Puck through to the kitchen where he filled a jug with icy water. Puck stood on the other side of the counter and watched, grin never leaving his face.

"Thanks, where are the others?" 

"You're the first to arrive, you are a little early." Kurt reasoned.

"Guess so." Puck huffed, like he didn't know he was early in hopes of spending some time with... his bro. "Where's Finn?" He asked, faking a genuine desire to see the big oaf when he was alone with-

"Upstairs. What? You thought just because he lives here he wouldn't be the last to arrive?" Kurt giggled. "While you're here, you could help me out a little, since he won't be doing so."

"Just tell me what to do and I'll do it." Puck knew what he wanted to do.

"Put this on the coffee table." Kurt handed him the jug of water. That was not what Puck wanted to do, but he took the jug anyway.

"Magic word?" He pestered, unmoving.

"Abracadabra."

"There it is." Puck smirked, taking the jug into the living room and placing it on the table. 

Before he could be told to do anything else, he collapsed onto the couch and grabbed a handful of sour patch kids, shoving them all in his mouth at once. Kurt entered a minute later with some cups and raised an eyebrow at the boy on his sofa, who shrugged in response.

"Santana will kill you if you eat them." Kurt informed.

"Guess I'll just have to eat them all before she arrives then." Puck went in for another handful, but Kurt smacked his hand out of the way. "Hey!"

"Then she'll just blame me for not having any." Kurt stared Puck down. "No more."

"Yes more." Puck grinned, leaning in for more and Kurt smacked him out of the way again playfully.

They looked at each other threateningly for a few seconds, before Puck leant over as quick as he could to the bowl of sour patch kids. Kurt was faster though, and managed to grab the calloused hand before it touched so much as a grain of sugar. The other hand reached over quickly too, but Kurt grabbed it as well and pushed both of Pucks hands against the back of the couch over his head.

Puck realised he was pinned before Kurt realised he was the one doing the pinning, just dazedly grinning at each other. Kurt's eyes widened slightly in shock as it finally clicked in his mind what he was doing, but Puck just smiled brighter and twisted his wrists. With the twist, he was able to clutch Kurt's hands and spin him back so he was pinning Kurt against the couch. 

"Yes more." Puck repeated with a light chuckle. Kurt just stared at him in surprise, a soft blush dusting his cheeks as their faces remained barely five inches apart.

Just when Kurt felt the first breath fall from Puck's lips ghost over his skin, the doorbell interrupted the moment with a melodic shriek. The noise was closely followed by the sound of Santana, Brittany and Mercedes laughing about something loudly. Kurt gulped down the small, anxious lump forming in his throat as he removed himself from Puck's light grip.

Puck sighed as he watched Kurt leave, deciding against eating more of the sweets. They didn't seem so tasty now that the real treat wasn't there to reprimand him. He simply sat back down and mentally smacked himself for not coming around sooner. Then Santana physically smacked him when she noticed a handful of sour patch kids gone.

Brittany and Mercedes giggled as Santana quirked an eyebrow at Puck, as if warning him away from the sugary goodness in the bowl she was now holding. Santana did still choose to sit upon the couch with him - well, lay upon it with her feet on his thighs. Mercedes and Brittany took the floor by the other two, crossed legs and smiles on their faces.

"Lady Hummel really goes full out with these things." Santana remarked, throwing a few candy men into her mouth. "Not that I'm complaining."

"He's awesome." Mercedes agreed as she grabbed some of the tots she spotted.

"Yes I am!" Kurt announced from the hallway before he opened the front door to welcome another flood of gleeks in.

"Ooh, water." Brittany mumbled. She took the jug, gulped a large swig from it and slammed it back down like she'd just taken a shot.

"Pretty sure that was for everybody." Artie smirked, rolling into the room to take a place beside Brittany.

"Yeah, I put a lot of effort into putting that on the table." Puck stated.

"Congratulations, you're the real host here." Mike joked, high fiving Puck in greeting as he perched upon the arm next to him.

"Don't encourage him!" Kurt shouted from the hallway, again. Puck just smirked at the comment as Sam entered the room and mimicked Brittany's water swig from earlier - great minds think alike - before he sat beside Mercedes on the floor.

The front door was opened once again, introducing Quinn and Tina to the threshold they'd never seen before. The girls stumbled in through fits of laughter as they both jumped on Kurt to say 'hey'. He hugged them back out of fear of being crushed, they soon let go and were led by the paler boy to the living room. They took their place on the armchair, cuddled up close and jokily complaining about the other getting in the way as they settled in position.

The others waved a hello to them and looked at one another as if to say 'how have they not figured it out yet'. Kurt grinned at the display as he lifted Santana legs up to sit next to Puck, feeling them drop back down onto his thighs as soon as he released them. Then she chucked a sour patch kid at his face, which she somehow managed to aim perfectly so it leapt into his mouth. Santana sharing food = Santana being nice. Don't expect more than that from her.

"Is this everybody?" Mercedes asked, answered only when heavy footsteps raced down the stairs and clopped through the house. Finn appeared at the doorway with a goofy smile, dropping to the floor next to Artie. 

"Right on time, as usual." Quinn quipped sarcastically.

Then they got on with the task at hand. Well, after a few insults and following defensive comments, at least. They decided to split the plan up into three parts so it would be easier to handle. Artie was the one writing all the choices, Mike and Brittany were already figuring out potential routines in their heads, the others essentially just had to shout out any idea they had and Finn worked his way through the food.

Somehow, despite the many distractions and strange conversations, the group still managed to get through it easier than they usually would. The first step they focused on was:

1) Song For Trio

"A song written by women and sung by women that isn't about loving a man." Santana specified the groups choices. "If it's about hating or killing a man, or anyone for that matter, I will consider it."

"Why does it have to be female?" Finn asked.

"Because we're strong independent women who wanna showcase that." Mercedes answered, earning a whoop from a few gleeks and a clap from the others.

"Right... So no Michael?" Artie clarified, and Brittany responded by flicking some water in his face.

"Any ideas already?" Kurt pried.

"Something good, that's what we've decided on." Mercedes explained with a giggle.

"We were thinking mashup too." Brittany smiled. "We could totally pull that off."

"What songs?" Mike asked.

"We don't know." Santana replied. "We figured you guys tell us your favourite songs by women and we pick our favourites with strong bias."

"Of course." Puck scoffed.

"I'll pass the book around." Artie suggested.

The page was filled up within the minute and reached back around to Artie. He circled the songs that the girls voices would work well with and joined the songs that would mashup properly with lines. Then he presented it to the others. Everyone nodded at the ideas, then the notebook was passed around again to vote.

After all the ticks and crosses had been marked up, Artie announced that the winner had been 'Survivor/I Will Survive', both awesome songs that the girls immediately smiled at. They needed Artie to help mix the songs' backing tracks, but aside from that the work had been done.

"That was easy." Tina shrugged.

"Only because these girls could sing anything and make it sound incredible." Sam complimented as he dropped a kiss onto Mercedes' forehead. Everyone ewwed at the PDA but the two just smiled up at each other sickeningly sweetly.

"Keep talking like that, pretty boy." Mercedes purred.

Quinn rolled her eyes from her place on the couch, and Tina rolled hers in perfect synchronicity. Then the two girls laughed at the gesture and settled back into their spots on the couch, unaware that they were being far more affectionate than the other real couples in the room. Kurt smiled at them kindly, but Santana stuck her tongue out as a symbol of disgust.

"I'm so lonely." Artie breathed.

"Yes you are." Santana joked, earning a laugh from the others as Finn patted him on the leg comfortingly.

"You know he can't feel that, right?" Puck chuckled at Finn. Kurt slapped him on the arm harshly and he winced at the contact, totally pretending to be in more pain than he was. "Ow! I can feel that!" He didn't feel anything... Because he was tough and gay boys definitely weren't stronger than him...

"You can abuse Puck more later, onto the next step." Mike smirked.

2) Song For Duet

"Badass, connective and awesome." Puck said. "That's what the song's gotta be."

"Connective?" Quinn huffed in amusement.

"Yeah, that's what Kurt said."

"No, Puck, I said complimentative." Kurt elaboarated. "Good try though."

"Shut up Kurt." Puck smirked. "Anyone got suggestions? No more broadway crap, I only picked that gay stuff in auditions for him."

"How thoughtful." Kurt murmered.

"Seriously, suggestions? I'm blanking." Puck repeated.

"Usually I'd say 'Single Ladies' for Kurt but I don't think Puck would be up for wearing a leotard." Santana grinned.

"No, he totally would be." Mercedes mocked.

"I'm badass enough to pull off a leotard and you know it." Puck shrugged. 

"I just want to clarify that we are not actually performing Single Ladies for Regionals." Kurt pointed out, pinching the part of Santana's leg that was resting on his lap. "Terrible suggestion."

"What about 'pinch me again and I gouge your eyes out', I like that song?" Santana retorted, Kurt just exhaled a small laugh and looked around the room again.

"Good choice..." Mike smirked. "I think a musical duet would be better."

"Hey, I said no broadway crap." Puck objected.

"Moulin Rouge isn't Broadway." Tina suggested slyly.

Puck groaned while everyone else smiled, nodding at the idea. Kurt's smile was the brightest as he practically shuddered with pure excitement and joy and looked at Puck expectantly. He nodded violently and Puck shook his head. Then he nodded again, got another head shake in response. Then he nodded once more, to drive the point home, accompanied by Quinn poking Puck's arm and Mercedes slapping his shin.

"I'm being ganged up on! I'm the one that's gotta sing it." Puck slouched.

"Oh come on, I love Moulin Rouge." Kurt insisted.

"We all do." Sam nodded.

"God help me." Puck sighed, looking at Kurt again. Their eyes met and Puck felt his heart drop, pulled towards his stomach by the butterflies fluttering around in it. "Damn it, fine, Maroon Road, whatever."

"Yay!" Kurt applauded. "Oh my God what song? They're all so amazing!"

"Come What May?" Mercedes said.

"Is that a question?" Brittany mumbled, and Santana shook her head.

"No, I always imagined I'd sing that song on my wedding day and singing it for Regionals would simply ruin the magic." Kurt explained.

"Lady Marmalade?" Quinn and Tina said at the same time with a tiny giggle.

"The Pitch?"

"Like A Virgin?"

"Sparkling Diamonds?"

"The Show Must Go On?"

"Your Song." Puck interrupted. Everyone looked at him in confusion, as he looked back and rolled his eyes. "Whatever, it's a good song."

"Ha, you know what Moulin Rouge is!" Finn teased through a mouthful of chips.

"Gayer than Kurt, yo." Artie laughed, and everyone joined in.

"Yeah, funny, forget it lets sing something else." Puck said montonously as he slumped down as far as he could.

"No!" Kurt objected. "Everyone shut up, come on, that song is perfect, Puck."

"Yeah?" Puck asked, looking up.

"Yes. We'll make Your Song our song." Kurt smirked, and Puck smiled back.

"Gross." Santana chuckled, Kurt pinching her leg again and getting a pinching back on the arm.

"Worse than us." Sam whispered to Mercedes, who giggled.

3) Song For Group

This one was easy because the way it would be decided had already been decided. They would blast a playlist with songs appropriate for a group performance through the speaker and put their hands up if they liked it. If all of them put their hands up, Artie would write the song down before skipping to the next one. This particular step was also, irrefutably, the most fun.

Sure, the plan was to skip to the next one if they all knew the song, as previously stated, but they certainly did not. Every time a song they all knew began, it was too easy for them to sing it together that they just always did. 'Count On Me' by Bruno Mars was playing and everyone burst into song, laughing when they stumbled over the words and clapping when a few of them stood to dance. The same happened with 'Complicated' and 'Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go'.

Eventually, the list Artie had written down was just 12 songs long. They just about managed to shorten it to 10, then 6, then 3, so now it was just between 'Ride Wit Me', 'ABC' and 'Just The Way You Are'. In order to decide Brittany suggested flipping a coin, which prompted everyone else to hunt for a coin before realising that wouldn't even work.

"We should draw straws." Mike said.

"That's really easy, straws are basically just lines." Sam shrugged.

"No I... Nevermind, Kurt just-"

"Already on it." Kurt smiled, lifting Santana's legs off and heading to the kitchen to get the correct equipment.

Santana noticed Puck staring at Kurt's ass as he walked out, and opted to smirk at him while raising an eyebrow. The boy simply winked at her and smirked right back; there wasn't any point lying to a girl who had an eerily accurate psychic mexican third eye.

Finn noticed too. He didn't have that third eye, but he had two without magical abilities and they were certainly not seeing things. When Kurt returned, Puck watched his long legs stride and his soft hands pick Santana's legs up once again to sit down. Once he was settled with three straws curled in his hand, everyone leaned over to get more involved. Finn didn't, he just watched Puck watching Kurt with deep curiosity and concern.

"Okay, one is shorter than the others." Kurt started. "Santana represents Ride Wit Me, Puck is ABC and I'll be Just The Way You Are, whoever draws the short straw is the song we sing. Everyone understand?" Everyone nodded, except Brittany who just seemed happy to be there.

Santana drew the first straw. It was long, certainly long enough for her to make a penis joke, for Puck to laugh at it and for Kurt to smack both of them in punishment. Puck drew the next straw, which was also long, meaning Kurt was left with the short one. 'Just The Way You Are' was to be the song the group sang at Regionals.

"We can sing one of the others at Nationals." Mercedes smirked.

"If we get there." Finn added.

"Nah, when we get there." Artie corrected. "All thanks to you Puck, you made this happen."

"Oh come on, his ego's big enough without you inflating it, four eyes." Santana grinned.

"It totally is, but I'm still taking the compliment, I'm the best." Puck shrugged and cheekily nudged his shoulder into Kurt, who scoffed at the remark but smiled anyway.

"Nobody said that." Tina stated.

"And nobody ever will." Sam laughed.

"Your mum did." Puck stuck his tongue out at Sam as the two slapped their hands at each other, pretending to fight like five years old girls before chuckling at themselves.

The night progressed with no real purpose. It was nearing 10, the hour on which Burt and Carole would return from their date night and everyone would have to leave. Nobody wanted to go, though, still having fun singing along to their playlist and joking around with each other and hugging one another in awkward positions because they just wanted to be close.

Finn spent a few minutes texting Rachel, sending her a goodnight message after calling her beautiful and being mocked thoroughly for it by everyone else. Quinn and Tina seemed to be in their own world, cuddling up on the armchair as they whispered every word of every conversation to each other. They could basically feel their individual breaths intermingling with one another as they inched closer. Puck, Kurt, Santana and Brittany seemed to be engaging in some kind of discussion about makeup. Kurt and Santana believed it was a form of expression with Puck and Brittany argued that it was a cover up for insecurity. They were all way too into it, regardless of what side they were on.

Eventually they all rejoined in one big conversation over Regionals, all excited for it. There would most likely be complications, but they didn't mind. It was fun as hell being all secretive and underground about the whole affair, they just hoped it would work out in the end.

Soon enough, though, they all had to leave. Quinn and Tina laughed as they left the same way they had entered; Santana, Brittany and Mercedes danced out the door with smiles on their faces; Sam, Mike and Artie followed the three girls, singing a song as backup for their dance moves. The only ones left were Finn, Kurt and Puck, two of whom lived there and one of whom was just to lazy to stand from the couch.

"You will leave a dent in that couch I swear." Kurt remarked, realizing Puck hadn't actually stood up all night. 

"Good, you'd be lucky to see my ass in this thing every day." Puck winked, and Kurt rolled his eyes as he walked out. He felt Puck's eyes on him again and, also again, he blushed a little.

"Hmm." Finn hummed. He stood up and sat next to Puck, forcing Puck's attention away from his step brother and to him. "Hey, uh, so..." He began. "You should probably be careful."

"Careful?" Puck asked.

"Yeah, careful duetting with Kurt. You remember how he got with me, he might, like..." He searched for the right words. "Fall for you, or something. Just be warned or whatever."

Puck nodded slowly with a tiny grin on his face. "Right." He took a breath, placing a hand on Finn's shoulder and standing up, finally. "Trust me, you should be less worried about him falling for me..." He began to walk out, looking over his shoulder at Finn to say "It's more the other way round."

"Oh... Good." Finn commented, not fully processing the statement.

Puck scoffed as he entered the kitchen, seeing Kurt washing dishes in there. He froze for a second, figuring out what to do... Then settled on wrapping an arm around Kurt's waist and pulling him in for a chest to back hug. At first, Kurt sqeaked quietly in shock, but as he sunk into the embrace he almost missed the feeling of that strong arm around him when Puck left.

"Bye, Kurt." He whispered as he pulled the arm back, slowly walking out.

"Bye..." Kurt tried to whisper back, too surprised to really sound audible though.

Finn was too busy trying to decode the very simple message Puck had sent him earlier with his parting words to see that. Intelligent boy he was, really. 

Chapter Text

Tina and Quinn decided to eat together at lunch. They originally wanted to sit under the bleachers, but that spot was already taken by some couple screwing around. Not a nice image. Then they settled on the choir room but Rachel and Finn were there screwing around too. And even worse image. So then they headed towards the auditorium.

There were panties strewn on the floor as they walked in, the ones Sue issued the cheerleaders, and apparently they figured that was the best they could do. At least they didn't actually have to watch the screwing around, plus the backstage area wasn't the only option. So the girls sat on the stage overlooking the chairs as they prepared their meal.

Yes, their meal. They'd planned this lunch for a while. Tina asked Quinn to meet up for it a few days ago, so she had plenty of time to prepare for it. There was a bag inside her bag filled with other tiny bags with food inside them, like a half hour picnic in school. She thought picnics were perfect for this kinda thing... Not that Quinn knew what kinda thing it was.

She knew they'd be alone, but didn't know what that meant. Quinn also knew she wasn't gonna ask Tina straight up because that would be awkward and the answer would probably kill her, regardless of what it was. If it was a 'yeah, I mean it's just us so of course it is' then all the blood in Quinn's body would be shooting to her cheeks so fast she collapsed. If it was a 'are you crazy I'm straight' Quinn would shoot herself out of sheer awkwardness. So she kept her mouth shut.

Tina, on the other hand, knew exactly what this was and went way too far planning it. The lunch picnic was just part one to her, she had plans to sing at glee, probably cry before the third line and find out if her suspicions were truly right. She'd even consulted others for advice:

"Give her a bouquet of flowers with a little message in it that says 'be mine' with a loveheart next to it!"

"Just one little kiss at the end, don't push it too far, it might freak her out."

"Drop hints that you're bisexual by using finger guns way too much and staring blatantly at her tits."

"Tell her you wanna push your tongue so far down her throat you lick her stomach lining."

That last one was Puck. Tina liked Puck's advice best, though she probably wouldn't be using it. She probably wouldn't be using anyone's advice, actually, she would just figure it out as she went. For now she just sat opposite Quinn and set up the food she prepared between them. There were finger sandwiches and crisps and chocolate chips and biscuits, an amazing collection if she did say so herself.

"This looks lovely." Quinn complimented.

"You look lovely." Tina shot back, smiling as she did so. Her smile was nothing compared to the one Quinn felt overtake her face, however.

"Thank.. uh- you, you too... look.." Quinn tried to force out. Goddammit she was Quinn Fabray she shouldn't be so tongue tied over a simple compliment. She got those all the time. Why was this time so different?

They both reached for the same sandwich and - in a beautifully cliche fashion - their hands touched briefly. When Tina felt Quinn's skin brush hers, her heart freaked out in time with her mind as the hands lingered. Quinn just felt her entire body flush with an embarrassingly deep red colour. Then she felt eyes on her. Then she felt slightly scared. 

Good scared, though. Of course.

"You can have it." Tina smirked as she began to pull her hand away.

"That's so sweet of you." Quinn said. It wasn't extremely kind of whatever, but every decent thing seemed infinitely better when Tina was the one doing it. 

"It only seems right." Tina explained as Quinn took the first dainty bite of her sandwich. Tina didn't know bites could be dainty before she saw Quinn eat. "I am the one that asked you after all."

"Asked me what?" Quinn asked after swallowing, and when she took another bite her eyes met Tina's.

"Asked you on... This date." Tina said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

It clearly wasn't though because Quinn choked on her sandwich as soon as it was said. Somehow, still dainty though. A few seconds of admiring the way Quinn so politely choked and coughed the lodged chunk down with a gulp of water - seriously how can someone do that so daintily? - Tina gasped at the realisation.

"Oh God you didn't know? I'm so sorry we can pretend it's not-"

"No!" Quinn interrupted. "No I didn't know but I'm happy it is... like... date... you..." She took a deep breath and smiled caringly. "Yes."

"You already said that, Q." Tina giggled softly.

"But now I... know." Quinn managed to get the final bite down without choking this time.

"Yeah, you do. And you're okay with it?" Tina asked.

"Of course I am, you're amazing."

"You are too." They shared a kind grin as their eyes glazed over with the kind of joy they only felt with each other. "I totally should've brought alcohol." Tina murmured.

"You want to get me drunk?" Quinn teased.

"I want to get me drunk." Tina smirked, and Quinn giggled a little. "I'd taste like peach schnapps, you'd prefer that."

"Prefer it over what?"

Tina crawled over slightly to push her lips to Quinn's. Quinn gasped at the sudden contact, but relaxed into it once she'd processed the many sensations overwhelming her body. She grinned when she felt Tina's hand drape upon her thigh, raising her hand to her jaw to pull Tina in closer.

"Ti- huh- whoa." Quinn stuttered as they pulled away, staring at each other happily.

"Whoa." Tina breathed.

"I wouldn't prefer peach schnapps." Quinn whispered with a chuckle. 

Tina smiled and leant in for another kiss, getting swept up in the feeling and instantly deepening it. Quinn's tongue fought against hers for dominance as their torsos, fingers and feet tangled together in perfect rhythm. As Tina hovered above Quinn, pressing sloppy kisses into the blonde's sweet smelling skin - which totally tasted like strawberries, she was right - the bell rang out through the school. They looked at each other when the ringing occured, deciding something wordlessly.

Then, much to Tina's surprise, she felt herself being turned over so Quinn was astride her. The cheerio's legs straddled hers and she placed her hands either side of Tina's head, looking down. Tina's eyes were blown with desire and shock, her palms grasping tightly at Quinn's thighs.

"We can skip one class, right?" Quinn whispered seductively, confidence overcoming her at the feeling of the goth girl's embrace.

Now it was Tina's turn to get tongue tied, answering with a deep kiss instead of words. They could miss one lesson, who could say no to a girl who looked like that?

Wayyy better than peach schnapps.

"Do we... Just walk in?" Puck whispered from the auditorium doors, where he stood there with Kurt.

"Why would we do that?"

"We all agreed to rehearse now, it's not our fault they forgot other people would be here." 

"You forgot as well, we're only here because we happened to walk by at the right time." Kurt smirked.

"Yeah well you forgot too." Puck teased.

"Hello gays!" Mercedes greeted, throwing her arms around Kurt and Puck with a wide smile on her face. "Ready for the... Is that Tina and Quinn?"

"Yes my dear girl, it is." Kurt confirmed.

"I can hear the squelching." Sam hissed as he joined the three.

"I'm so proud of T right now." Puck said proudly.

"I'm not sure how I feel..." Mercedes said.

"Turned on." Artie rolled into view being pushed by Mike, who nodded in agreement.

"Why is everyone turning gay?" Finn asked way too seriously when he walked up, peering through the auditorium doors. "Is it contagious?"

"Yes." Brittany said as she finally joined the group too.

"I kinda wanna cheer them on." Mike giggled.

"Watch out, hottie coming through." Santana announced, pushing her way through the crowd at the door and striding into the room towards the stage. "Ladies!" She shouted as she clapped her hands.

Tina and Quinn snapped out of their trance and bolted upright, looking at Santana. Then they noticed the others walking towards the stage they were upon and stood to their feet. Tina nodded at Puck, who gave her a proud thumbs up as Quinn cowered in awkwardness. 

"Nice to see we're all still getting along so well." Kurt teased.

"Whatever K, you'd kill to be getting your gay on right now." Tina grinned.

"I'd much rather rehearse though, I am concerned about what we'll be stepping in when we get on that stage." Kurt nodded.

"Lady juices." Artie laughed.

"Vulgar." Finn stated. "Rachel taught me that word."

"She has no place here, we only call her Berry or bitch." Mercedes informed him, and he nodded as if it was a piece of genuine news coverage.

"That's fair." Mike commented.

They all reached the stage and stood around the lunch Tina prepared. A few of them picked up a sandwich or a biscuit, though it was slightly difficult to get around Quinn as she crouched on the floor to hide her humiliation. Tina crouched beside her comfortingly and wrapped an arm around her shoulders.

"Wanna rehearse honey?" She whispered.

Everyone else smiled at the affection, sharing 'aww's as the two communicated. Tina glared at them all as she and Quinn rose to their feet.

"You all suck." Tina stated, getting a giggle from Quinn.

"Totally do, now let's do this shizzle."

"Never say shizzle unironically ever again ever." Kurt said to Puck, who chuckled.

They got on with the shizzle by rehearsing their set throughout lunch. They chose to continue eating the food set out for Quinn and Tina between songs, most of which was squished beneath their feet. At some point before the last group number run-through, a few jocks walked past the open doors and yelled some derogatory homophobic slurs at them. That was... Supportive.

Turns out that by the end of it there was no real rehearsals anyway. Yes, they went through it a few times, but for the most part they just giggled and embraced and kissed. At some point they even piled into a group hug on the stage and clung to one another tightly.

It was sweet, really, to realise that they'd never felt so connected to each other. Tina and Quinn were hugging; Puck and Kurt were flirting; Mike threw himself into Artie's lap and Brittany rolled them around with Santana; Mercedes, Sam and Finn danced horrifically together. They were like one big family.

That was pretty nice.

***

After rehearsals, everyone made their way to their next class. Everyone except, however, Kurt and Puck, who seeked asylum in the choir room together. It was empty due and supposed to be locked, but Puck knew where the keys were and he certainly knew that being locked in there with Kurt alone would be... Awesome.

The boys sat upon the risers together, facing each other and discussing the plans for Regionals. They didn't know exactly how it would progress since Rachel and Schue would have to find out eventually, but they knew they were having a lot of fun with it. If it didn't work out with those two then the newly formed group would probably just do it on their own. They could totally do that and be way better than fancy Rachel Berry ever was.

At some point during this discussion, Kurt suggested another run through of their duet, just to make sure it was good enough. Having two boys sing together was already slightly risky in such an unaccepting town, but if they screwed it up that would just make it so much worse. At least, that's the reason Kurt offered. Puck figured there was more to it when he saw a blush on that perfect porcelain skin.

They decided to go through the basic choreography as well as the vocals, since it would make it easier to remember next time. Mike always described their moves as 'simple, subtle and sweet'. As long as they stuck to those three simple traits, nothing could go wrong. Unless Puck tripped. He did that once. Kurt would not let him forget it.

"You ready?" Kurt asked, facing Puck from the opposite side of the room.

"There's no music." Puck pointed out.

"We'll go through it acapella." Kurt explained. When all he got in response was a confused frown he elaborated with "It means no music."

"I'll feel stupid with no music."

"Good, use it." Kurt smirked.

Puck sighed and shoved his hands in his pocket awkwardly. He ensured his eyes stayed on Kurt's as he counted himself in to ensure he didn't ruin any of it. It wasn't until he had to actually start singing that he realized just how intimate this would be. No music, no interruption, just them. His heart hammered at the concept.

"It's a little bit funny," He began. "This feeling inside." He started walking slowly closer to Kurt, who smiled. "I'm not one of those who can easily hide." Close enough to see the creases in his shirt. "I don't have much money, but boy if I did." Close enough to see every fleck of green in his blue irises. "I'd buy a big house where we both could live."

"If I was a sculptor," Kurt started, walking right past Puck and brushing against his arm. "But then again, no." Puck turned around to see Kurt spinning too, their eyes met as Kurt walked teasingly backwards. "Or a man who makes potions in a travelling show." Puck walked forward as he walked backwards, as if chasing after him. "I know it's not much but it's the best I can do." They stopped face to face. "My gift is my song and this one's for you."

Puck smiled at him and Kurt smiled back, taking a moment to appreciate this. This comfortable silence, this gap between them that was so tight their breaths mingled together with each huff. Instead of continuing the song, Puck placed one hand on Kurt's hip and used the other to put Kurt's hand on his shoulder. Their eye contact never halted, barely even for a blink.

"And you can tell everybody." They both sang in perfect synchronicity. "This is your song." Their smiles grew. "It may be quite simple but now that it's done."

"I hope you don't mind." Puck pressed his forehead to Kurt's.

"I hope you don't mind." Kurt pushed the sides of their noses together, lips painfully close.

"That I put down in words." They sang together again, taking a soft intake of air when their lips grazed each other.

When Kurt opened his mouth the sing again, Puck didn't give him the chance. He closed his eyes and leaned in to push their mouths together in a sudden but perfect kiss. There was no sound, no disturbance, nothing but them and the feeling of romantic tension erupting into elation in perfect rhythm.

Kurt closed his own eyes seconds later, wrapping both arms around Puck's neck as strong, tanned arms coiled around his waist. They stayed there, chastely kissing in the dim light of the choir room that their friendship first blossomed in. It was nothing he'd ever expected his first kiss to be, it was so much better.

They finally parted after what felt like an eternity - though still not long enough - and grinned at one another. Kurt kept his eyes closed to better feel Puck's body against his, relish in every sensation coursing through his veins and washing over his skin. Puck opened his though, and watched the most beautiful person he'd ever seen sigh happily and smile. He'd made him look like that and sigh like that smile like that, and Puck felt pretty happy to cause such an angelic sight.

"How wonderful life is." Puck whispered. "While you're in the world."

Chapter Text

Santana's Bitches -

Puck_U: change it back tana

Lopez_Out: Santana's bitches is way better than 'glee group chat', that was boring.

Wheels: its a gc who cares if its boring?

Lopez_Out: Everything I do and participate in must be interesting in one way or another.

Puck_U: santanas bitches isnt interesting its just wrong

Lopez_Out: And what would you name this instead, my chromosomally challenged friend?

Puck's Huge Dong -

Puck_U: better and informational

Wheels: you mean informative?

Puck_U: u know what i mean shut up

Lopez_Out: You're forgetting that I've seen 'Puckzilla' and it is average at best.

Puck_U: just jealous i actually have something i could plough britt with and u dont

Wheels_: yo, she said i was better in bed than you and i cant even move my lower half.

Lopez_Out: Artie I love you for tearing Puck down but talk about screwing my girl again and I will have to hurt you.

Puck_U: kinky

Lopez_Out: Watch it.

Puck_U: sorry its just pretty hard not to have more ppl involved in a convo about sex with britt shes screwed everyone

Wheels: even kurt had a go on her.

Puck_U: i dont wanna think about that

Lopez_Out: Oh that got you huh? Quick, say more things about Kurt's sex life.

Puck_U: no

Wheels: he used to want finn, remember that puck?

Puck_U: stop

Lopez_Out: That Blaine kid always checked out his ass when they still hung out.

Puck_U: srsly

BSPierce: his lips and hands were so soft he taisted like vanilaaa

Puck_U: r u all just here to torment me

QueenFabray: At sleepovers he always talked about banging hot mckinley hockey players with us.

Puck_U: where r u all coming from

TTina: I grinded with him on stage for the Push It performance ;)

Puck_U: bitch

M.Jones: Ooh ooh so did I!

Puck_U: hate u all

SamE: he had a crush on me.

Puck_U: uck

Chang2: I gave him one on one dance lessons for like a week. Got kinda close.

Puck_U: ffs

KurtHummel: Why does my phone keep beeping with messages from "Puck's Huge Dong" about my love life?

Lopez_Out: Isn't this exactly how you always imagined your high school experience?

KurtHummel: Honestly, not much better than getting a slushy facial every day.

Puck_U: i can give u a different kinda facial if u want

QB_Hudson: Dude other people are here come on!

Puck_U: It was just too easy.

TTina: You're one to talk about being 'easy', mr manwhore of lima

BSPierce: manwhoreee

Puck_U: real nice guys

KurtHummel: It's oddly therapeutic watching everyone bully you.

Puck_U: whatever gets u off beb

Wheels: get a private chat guys.

KurtHummel: Don't you start.

Lopez_Out: You two are so sensitive!

M.Jones: Love is in the air.

Puck_U: i will wring ur neck aretha

QB_Hudson: Love?

QueenFabray: Yes, Finn, you may have heard of it.

TTina: Of course he has he's with Rachel, she probably said it within the first hour and didn't stop following him until he said it back.

QB_Hudson: Kind of what happened yeah, but why would love be in the air what's going on?

BSPierce: i like being smarter than someone else its nicee

QB_Hudson: What do you mean?

KurtHummel: No one tell him, it's sweet.

Puck_U: i wanna annoy him about it tho

KurtHummel: He'd probably tell my dad, and my dad has a shotgun.

Puck_U: dont worry about it finn kurts single and i am too

Lopez_Out: Smooth as ever, Puckasaurus.

SamE: nicely done.

QB_Hudson: Guys!

Wheels: lips sealed dude sorry.

QB_Hudson: No, guys, something happened you have to meet me at the park now.

Puck_U: im in detention

KurtHummel: It's Saturday.

Puck_U: saturday detention i can still sneak out it'll just be harder

...

Puck_U: k im out

Lopez_Out: 36 seconds, getting slow out there Puckerman.

Puck_U: limited resources

QueenFabray: This is actually happening we're meeting up now?

TTina: Yes, this is how it works with us apparently, we just dropped everything and go.

Puck_U: hey if i can do it u can too lady

KurtHummel: This is ridiculous, Finn just left without even offering me a ride.

QB_Hudson: sorru im in w rush

KurtHummel: Stop texting while driving, you moron.

Wheels: nightmare dude.

QB_Hudson: in not loking hewn typro its fine

KurtHummel: Everyone stop texting so he stops texting, see you at the park asap.

QueenFabray: This is insane.

QB_Hudson: jusfbtrust ne

KurtHummel: Stop!

***

At the park, Mike was the first to arrive since his house was just down the street. His sights were immediately set upon the circle of benches the group had set up last time they went there, placing his stuff down on one. He'd brought a few - many - cases of beer with him in case they all decided to stay and get wasted. That was what they usually did when they met up there anyway. It really annoyed passers by but that only seemed to make them enjoy public drinking more.

Soon after, Mercedes and Tina arrived, grabbed a beer and sat with Mike to discuss Finn's bizarre messages. Not that his messages weren't always bizarre, it was just that these seemed to be actually important. Like he was panicked over something that wasn't food or blue balls, a rarity in Finn's world.

Then Quinn turned up with slightly damp hair and creased clothing. She explained that she'd been going through her hair routine when they'd been called to the park, and she would be smacking Finn for disrupting. Deciding against taking a beer, Quinn found herself a seat on Tina's lap and coiled their bodies together for warmth.

Santana, Brittany and Puck rocked up a few minutes after Quinn after the girls found him wandering around aimlessly. It wasn't his fault he had no sense of direction without his truck's GPS... No wait it totally was. Santana was still mocking him when they entered the circle of benches and she grabbed a beer for herself and her two friends. The group resumed their conversation about Finn's nervous texts.

Artie and Sam were next, Artie lifting himself onto a bench for more inclusion with the others and Sam cuddling up to Mercedes instantly. They both took a beer too, unlike Kurt when he arrived. He was never the type to drink alcohol, it made him feel out of control and not in the good way. Instead, he left Puck pull his body to the spot next to him, wrapping an arm around his pale shoulders possessively. He might have still been a bit pissed about the earlier messages, but Kurt smiling up at him helped.

The making out helped too, of course. Finn wasn't there yet so Puck saw the opportunity and he took it. The others didn't seem to appreciate the show very much and aptly commanded Puck to stop mauling Kurt's face. He obeyed after a few more moments and complained about their 'jealousy'. 

Finally, the man of the hour showed up with panic on his face and a McDonalds bag in his hand. That explained why he was the last to arrive, as always.

"Dudes, Rachel totally sussed us out." Finn announced as he ambled over. Everyone bolted upright and looked at him with raised brows. "Yeah, I know."

"She knows about the anti-glee-glee club?" Sam asked.

"Kinda, she saw some of my texts from you guys." Finn continued. "She gets that like, something's up now and she doesn't know what but she'll figure it out. You know what she's like."

The group groaned in agreement and looked at one another expectantly. They hadn't planned for that. If she didn't agree to sway in the background on the night they would lock her in a cupboard, that was the only plan they had. Now everything they'd prepared might be null and void just because she would rat them out.

"What do we do?" Quinn mumbled.

"Tie her up somewhere?" Santana suggested. Brittany nodded happily, imagining the many ways she could keep Rachel hostage.

"Should we tell her what's going on?" Mercedes said.

"But then she'll ruin it." Tina shrugged. "That was what we were trying to avoid."

"She won't be that unfair about it, right?" Artie regretted saying that as soon as he remembered Rachel quitting Glee purely because Tina got a solo instead of her. "Okay nevermind."

"Well we're not just giving up on this, this is good." Puck stated and everyone agreed quickly.

"Maybe..." Mike sighed. "Maybe we stage a walkout, if Schue doesn't let us perform we quit. Then Glee would be over and he wouldn't let that happen."

"That might make her quit, though, then we wouldn't have enough members to enter Regionals." Kurt shook her head.

"She'd stay if I asked her to, right?" Finn wondered. "She loves me, we go everywhere together."

"She'd only stay if she got to sing." Brittany said.

"Who cares?" Santana interrupted. "We'll just find some rando to replace her if she quits, it doesn't matter."

"I don't wanna hurt her." Finn defended.

"She's aggravating but trust me, none of us do either." Mercedes assured. "Though... If it hurts her to realise other people deserve to show their talent once in a while then that's fine. She never faces any consequences for her arrogance and selfishness, this is a good first step to that."

"Mercedes is right, I don't feel bad about her feeling bad when she makes all of us feel bad way more." Sam agreed.

"So let's destroy this diva bitch." Santana declared. The rest of them shot her a disbelieving look. "Respectfully. Destroy her respectfully."

"We should probably come up with some kind of plan for it though, right?" Finn spoke as he grabbed a beer and sat down.

"Let's do that then, we're all here." Artie said.

So do that they did. The group set about creating a plan for their walkout... a plan that took four minutes to discuss. After that they continued to drink and talk and laugh together like they usually did. Even Quinn gave in after a while and took a few swigs from Tina's can. Kurt just tasted the alcohol on Puck's lips whenever they'd sneak in a kiss.

Before long darkness settled over the park and they all shared an expectant look. They wordlessly decided to play a game, sliding to the ground beneath their benches and nudging into a smaller circle. Everyone's knees touched and a few hands twined as well. In order to forget about the mess with Rachel, they embarked on a journey into the wonderful world of 'Truth or Dare'.

"Truth." Finn answered Santana's question.

"Okay, how far has Berry let you go in he bedroom?" Santana asked.

"Uh..." Finn rubbed the back of his neck and smiled awkwardly. "Like... I've gone down on her."

Everyone jokingly cheered and the boys whooped. Puck high fived him and even Kurt nudged him a little with his foot in congratulations. Rachel rarely let people get past holding her hand, let alone shoving your tongue in her.

"My turn." Finn clapped. "Tina-"

"Dare." Tina interrupted with a smirk.

"Thatta girl." Puck winked.

"Uh... I dare you to..." Finn glanced at Brittany, sending her a silent message.

"He dares you to lick Quinn's elbow." Brittany said.

"Seriously? That's ridiculAHHH!" Quinn's complaint was cute off by the sensation of Tina's tongue travelling through the pit of her arm.

"Strawberries." Tina and Puck mumbled at the same time, laughing together when Quinn glared at them both.

"Alrighty, Kurt, choose one." Tina continued.

"Truth, obviously." Kurt answered.

"Have you ever given a blowie?"

"Really T?" Kurt rolled his eyes. "God fine, yes."

"Really?" Everyone asked, turning to him with wide eyes.

"Really."

"It wasn't Blaine was it?" Puck groaned.

"No."

"Who?"

"I'm not telling you Puck, only one truth." Kurt grinned.

"Whatever but I'm totally expecting something tonight now." Puck mumbled.

"Don't."

"Tease." Puck whispered back, and they smiled at each other as Kurt leaned into his side. "Your turn."

"Ooh, truth or dare..." Kurt drawled. "Mercedes."

"Dare."

"I dare you to suck Sam's big toe."

"Gross." Mercedes giggled and everyone ewwed at the suggestion.

Sam removed a shoe far too quickly and waggled his socked feet in Mercedes direction. Everyone cheered her on a little and Kurt - who hadn't fully thought this through - turned into Puck's chest in disgust. Mercedes took a toe into her mouth and gave it one quick suck before spitting in repulsion. Sam laughed at his girlfriend's reaction and cuddled her tightly.

"Am I crazy or was that kinda cute?" Mike asked.

"You're crazy yo." Artie replied, smacking Mike lightly on the arm.

"Truth or dare, Mike." Mercedes crossed her arms.

"Dare, no doubt."

"Streak."

There was another silence, broken only by the occasional whisper or snicker. Mercedes stared Mike down and he stared back in shock. Everyone stared in shock, actually, all eyeing Mercedes as if she'd asked him to drop kick a kitten. It wasn't like her to suggest such a thing, but the reactions from the rest of the group were certainly worth it.

After a few moments of careful deliberation, Mike looked around the park to see nobody but in it. He then looked around the group with a cocked eyebrow and cheeky grin before standing to his feet. Everyone cheered as he removed his shirt to reveal defined abs and began unbuckling his belt.

"Go on Chang!" Santana applauded, impressed by his spontaneity and confidence.

"Uh..." Mike suddenly paused when he got to his briefs. "Do I just... Drop them?"

"I think that's the idea, yes." Quinn chuckled.

"Hang on, I'll go with you." A new round of loud support erupted from the group when Sam stood up and stripped too. "Solidarity brother."

"We should just all do it." Artie smirked. So they kinda just... did. All the boys - except Kurt - got to their underwear and Santana, Tina and Brittany weren't far behind, laughing in time with the others.

"You can not be serious." Kurt giggled as Puck shoved his thumbs into the waistband of his boxers.

"Totally, prepare to be ama-"

"Disappointed!" Quinn intercepted.

Then the group in their underwear slid off the final pieces of clothing, welcomed more applause, and shot off running around the park.

"We should burn their clothes..." Mercedes grinned at Kurt and Quinn, the only two remaining fully clothed.

"Not a terrible idea." Kurt laughed.

***

There were a few things on Rachel's to do list for the day:

  1. Ask Finn about the auditorium rehearsals she wasn't informed of.
  2. Practice her solo.
  3. Complete her homework.
  4. Practice her solo some more.
  5. Go to dinner with her dads.

The last one seemed like the easiest one to get through, since she enjoyed time with her father more than she enjoyed time with most other people. They blindly supported her every decision, got her all the food she wanted and praised her singing even if she just started belting in the middle of the restaurant. It was always relaxing.

So when she looked out the restaurant window that night and out onto the park she visited sometimes with her friends, she expected more relaxing views. Instead, she was greeted by bodies dimly lit by the streetlights. They all survived towards her, mouths open to release laugh after laugh and eyes wide with drunken giddiness.

She gasped at the sight, as did a few other people around her who noticed, and came to the horrible realisation that one was looking at her. He had big dough eyes and a guilty look on his dopey face... She knew that goddamn look. The boy looked away quickly and ran the other direction.

Rachel stood up in shock with her mouth open in surprise. Finn Hudson did not leave their date earlier to 'study', she should've known when he referred to English as Words class. What in the hell was he doing!?

BarbraBerry: What on Earth are you doing Finn Hudson!?

QB_Hudson: imbnotnfufnk

BarbraBerry: What!?

QB_Hudson: He said he's not drunk.

BarbaBerry: Who is this?

QB_Hudson: His secret lover.

Santana giggled.

BarbraBerry: He's drunk and naked, this is insane he needs to act his age and rehearse we have Regionals in two days.

QB_Hudson: No we do.

BarbraBerry: What does that mean?

Santana swore.

QB_Hudson: It means he went down on you HAHA

Saved it.

BarbraBerry: He told you? Put him on the phone.

QB_Hudson: Shout at him later Berry, we have lives to live just go back to sucking off your daddies.

BarbraBerry: That is vile!

BarbraBerry: What did you mean?

BarbraBerry: Where are his clothes?

BarbraBerry: I am going to kill you all!

Chapter Text

"I will kill you all!" Rachel shouted as she strode into the glee club. 

The rest of the group looked up at her, some with amused smirks and others with eyes widened in shock. She stopped in front of all them to stand beside Mister Schue, who was in the middle of a discussion with Finn. He also looked at her, taking on a confused glower as the strong willed girl crossed her arms.

"What is going on with you people? What were you all doing in the park and why was my boyfriend running around naked?" Rachel demanded. Schue heard that last part and decided to step back from a conversation that should very clearly not involve him.

"Okay, relax hobbit." Santana instructed. "We streaked at a park, just because your boyfriend has bigger boobs than you doesn't mean you need to throw a hissy fit about it."

"Streaked! That is horrific, this is how you rehearse for Regionals?"

"Well, sometimes we make out in the auditorium instead." Puck smirked.

"Or call each other gay." Sam chuckled.

"Or grind in the choir room." Tina winked at Quinn.

"Or make Janitor Bob cry." Brittany said.

"Or complain about this crazy bitch who keeps trying to control our every move." Mercedes scoffed. "You might know her, Rach."

"I don't understand why I haven't been involved in these meet ups." Rachel muttered. "I am the star afterall."

The rest of the group looked at one another with prepared looks. No, not prepared... Pissed. Totally pissed. Kurt rolled his eyes at the annoying girl and leaned forward in his chair. He whispered something in Artie's ear, who whispered to Finn, who whispered to Mike, who whispered to Brittany, who finally reached Santana. She stood from her seat quickly and held her hands in front of her body readily. Everyone knew that particular Santana stance and inched away in their chairs. 

"Rachel, you are not the star."

"I-"

"Uhuh, I'm not finished." Santana smiled calmly. "You are not the star because stars are bright balls of fiery light in the sky. What you are is a bitch, a fiery pain in the ass of everyone in this room. You are arrogant, you are selfish and you are disrespectful towards every member of this club in spite of our constant support."

"Support is a strange word for belittling insults, Santana." Rachel spat.

"And belittling is a strange word for completely justified." Kurt mumbled.

"You deserve to be knocked down a peg or two, and since Regionals is coming up later this week we have decided to tell you the truth. Make sure you look directly into my eyes when I say this so I can watch the first tears form." Santana grinned. "We have been rehearsing without you because we will be performing without you."

"What!?"

"What?" Schue repeated Rachel's shout, stepping forward again and looking over the group. "What are you talking about?"

"Santana, Brittany and me are singing a mashup together."

"Me and Kurt are singing a duet."

"We're all singing the group piece with no lead." Quinn stated. "No solo."

"No, no..." Rachel forced a smile, a smile that fell the more she processed until her entire face dropped into a panicked scowl. "Nonono no! I am doing the solo!"

"That's right, she's soloing." Schue defended. "We've already discussed this."

"So have we, and we prefer our arrangement so it's the one we're going with." Artie shrugged.

"That is insane." Rachel stamped her foot down. "For starters, trios just are not as powerful as solos and will not have the same effect as I would on my own. And two boys singing a duet? That is a horrendous idea that may be deeply frowned upon and will also most likely sound much worse than a heterosexual duo." Rachel took a deep breath.

"You have betrayed me-" She continued. "To do something very stupid." Her eyes found Finn, who looked away immediately. "Finn. Defend me." He said nothing. "Finn!" She turned back to Mister Schue and pleaded with her determined glare. "Sir!"

"She's right, you can't just change it on your own accord."

"It's a little too late for that."

"What do you mean?" 

"Well..." Santana stepped forward threateningly. "Regionals is in two days, I doubt you'll be able to find replacements for all of us in time, especially since everyone in this hellhole rightly hates us."

"So?"

"So." Santana looked behind her at the group, all of whom stood up on demand. She looked back at Mister Schue and narrowed her eyes at him cruelly. "So we present you with two options. Let us perform the songs we want to perform how we want to perform them, and give us all the help we need in doing so."

"That will include a fog machine." Sam stated aggressively, until Mercedes lightly slapped his forearm. "Or... Not."

"So what would I do, huh?" Rachel asked. "Just sing oohs and awws in the background while you sing and dance in front of me?" 

"You know the drill, babe." Puck grinned. Kurt swayed and hummed quietly at his side to properly show Rachel what her new job would entail. "Hum and sway."

"We got a deal, sweater vest?"

"No, Santana, we do not." Rachel looked at Mister Schue expectantly. He just stared at the kids, all posed to leave if the occasion called for it. Then he turned back to Rachel, who just watched him like she knew support would soon be coming. "Right Mister Schuester?" She pleaded.

"We don't have much choice..." He replied. "Plus, maybe they do have a point. Maybe I have been too stubborn with the spotlight."

"Fine!" Rachel shrieked. "I'll just leave!"

"We can replace you with someone else who can obediently sway, you know, like we always do for you." Santana smirked.

"I... I am irreplacable."

"Bullcrap." 

"I-"

"Enough." Finn interrupted, everyone looked at him. "Rachel, I love you, but you have never done anything in this room except complain and rant about things that only affect you. We are supposed to be a team, but the only time we actually acted like one was when you weren't involved."

"Yeah, as soon as you stopped being involved I finally got a chance with Quinn." Tina smiled.

"Me and Puck got closer than we've ever been." Kurt added.

"Me, Santana and Mercedes got to use our talents together... For once." Brittany beamed.

"We didn't feel pitted against one another." Artie shrugged.

"Rehearsals were so easy that we got to end them early to hang out... As friends." Mike grinned at the others, realising he'd never felt as close to them as he did in that moment.

"We felt so secure in ourselves, for the first time in a while, that we stripped to our skin in front of the others without any insecurity." Santana giggled.

"That's not very appropr-"

"Point is," Finn interrupted Schue's comment. "All of that says more about your behavior, Rachel, than ours so... so you can walk out that door and prove just how self obsessed you are or you can stay and be a better team player, like us." He demanded. "It's your choice, just don't expect any of us to chase after you if you walk out."

"Damn." Artie whispered.

Rachel stood with her jaw dropped to the floor. She stared at her supposed boyfriend with hurt and angst and a kind of rage she'd never felt before. It made her want to lash out or run away and rip Santana's hair out... But instead she straightened her jacket with false dignity and breathed out. Mister Schuester watched her sit in a chair far away from the other glee members, her eyes glued to a spot on the ground.

"That's sorted then." Schue sighed. "So... What songs have you guys chosen?"

Chapter Text

Mercedes, Santana and Brittany were performing 'I Will Survive/Survivor' on stage in their Regionals costumes. It was the first dress rehearsal for the group and the first rehearsal in general since the glee club became, you know, better. The walkout was yesterday, Regionals was tomorrow, the group was thrilled, the girls performing were fantastic, Schue felt like an idiot for not realising how amazing everyone else was earlier and Berry was... God knows.

Rachel sat next to Mister Schue in the auditorium chairs, watching with an angry scowl. Instead of actually listening to the impressive music, she just glared everyone that went behind her back down, still believing they had no right to do so. Finn kept smiling at her from backstage to cheer her up, it never worked.

When the girls finished in their final poses, everyone appluauded manically except Rachel. She stayed seating in some pathetic act of rebellion despite Mister Schue standing up to praise them. He may have been a little upset at them for doing what they did, but he was open to the idea it might work. Plus, after this they could always make Rachel the star again... Though he doubted Santana would let that happen.

"You girls were incredible, I'm impressed you did all of that yourselves." Schue complimented. The three on stage didn't smile and giggle like they usually did when he noticed their talents, they just nodded knowingly. 

"You would know we could do all that if you'd actually paid attention to us." Mercedes mumbled as she and the other two began to make their way off stage.

Then the group number was to be performed, and Rachel went backstage to prepare. She put on her outfit and looked herself in the mirror, glowering at the sight. The idea of not having any kind of song to herself was downright preposterous, her friends had hurt her so deeply. Not that it seemed they were trying to, everyone kept coming up to her and saying nice things about her costume or hair or something. It was weird, she assumed they'd all be mad but they acted as though they were avoiding drama at all costs.

Maybe they were.

"You look beautiful." Finn complimented as he walked up behind her. 

"Well I feel like a prop." Rachel spat and turned around to see her boyfriend. He was smiling at her nicely, hands clasped behind his back nervously.

"You aren't one, this is really fun Rach, you'll like performing with us no matter how big your part." Finn assured.

"I disagree. Strongly. This is nothing like the Glee Club I love." 

"Because the Glee Club you love is unfair to everyone but you." He shrugged. "Come on, you have to admit this is a better setup. One of Puck's better ideas."

"Puck is an idiot and you all blindly following him in this ridiculous plan is unsettlingly moronic." Rachel shook her head.

"At least we're all having fun."

"I'm not. I'm swaying in the background."

"So am I. So are a lot of us. All of us, actually, swayed in the background for you before." Finn stated.

"That was different." She defended.

"Yes, it was, because when we swayed for you we hated it and now we actually don't mind. Because we know we'll get to perform next time or at least have a fair shot at it. We never got that before." Finn explained.

"I just don't understand why you're all suddenly so chipper."

"You really don't?"

"No, because of all your betrayal we will lose tomorrow. I am the star."

"You keep saying that like it means something. You're amazing Rachel, but you're not better than everyone else here."

"I certainly am."

"That... That's why everyone's suddenly so chipper." Finn smiled through the anger rising in his body. "Because you weren't around to make everyone feel bad. You aren't the star, you can't be, stars are people that fight their way to the top and help other people climb up with them. You don't help anyone." He turned away and walked off.

"Fine! Don't expect me to chase after you!"

"I don't want you to!"

The rest of the rehearsal involved a whole lot of angry glaring between Rachel and Finn. Though Finn couldn't tell if the anger was really aimed at him or just at the situation, the situation being her standing in the background. She wasn't used to that, especially not when everyone had at least one line except her.

She was offered one, of course, but she adamantly refused to sing one word unless she had her own solo. So no, she didn't sing one word. Boo-freaking-hoo. Not a soul felt even slightly sorry for her, too busy enjoying their dancing and singing upon the stage to notice her pathetic sulking.

Finn tried to pay attention to it to ensure she wasn't too upset because, you know, love and crap. But honestly he had his own things to deal with. For example, he actually had a few lines to sing and a few moves to bust and he had to focus quite hard... Singing and dancing at the same time is hard for some people, okay? Don't judge.

His mind was also rather occupied with thoughts of his best friend and step brother. Kurt and Puck sang in front of him as they walked in circles around one another, making eye contact with smiles on their face. They'd been suspiciously close recently, and Finn was starting to suspect something.

Suspicions only increased when Puck and Kurt were supposed to be swaying quietly, though Puck was too busy whispering to the smaller boy's ear. In response, Kurt lightly smacked Puck's behind and they made weird eyes at each other. Finn only made that face when he wanted Rachel to do that thing to him he liked...

Tina made the same face a lot too, targetted pretty exclusively at her girlfriend...

Crazy. 

Before Finn could further overthink the situation, he had to sing his line right beside Rachel. She rolled her eyes when he did and sulked just a little more, very supportive girlfriend as always. Everyone rolled their eyes right back at her, and Mister Schue could see the positivity once on the stage fall flatter than Rachel's chest.

Hehe, Finn thought of that simile.

"Okay, okay, stop the music." Schue demanded, and the music stopped in time with the vocals. "What happened to the energy, guys?"

"Man hands happened." Santana said.

"Rachel, what's wrong?" Schue asked.

"Oh my God." Quinn chuckled humourlessly.

"Oh my God indeed, this is insane, Mister Schue, this is the issue." Mercedes stated.

"Yeah, you keep coddling her." Tina elaborated. "This won't work if you keep acting like she's the one struggling. She's making this difficult."

"Well I'm sorry for being better than you all."

The group turned their heads slowly to face Rachel, all angry and seriously annoyed. It was in that moment that they exchanged looks, meaningful looks that explained everything going on in their heads. They all had the same thought, even Finn did.

Mister Schue was talking about... Something. Respect or admiration or jealousy or some bullshit, not that it mattered. The glee members were in the midst of deciding something big that they should've settled on days ago. It was simple really.

After Sue set Schue's car on fire during auditions, she'd mentioned something about helping out. Apparently she didn't mind sharing her cheerios budget if she still had control of the money. And if she had control of the glee club, she'd have that control of the money...

So Puck stepped forward from his place and just about heard Schue commanding them to apologise for the disrespect, figuring that was the final straw. He took a deep breath and removed the blazer Schue had assigned to him the competition. Finally, the teacher stopped complaining.

"We're done." Puck stated. "You're unfair and creepy. Rachel's obnoxious and selfish. We're better than that so you know what... We'll do Regionals without you."

"What!" Rachel shrieked.

"We'll do Regionals," Puck repeated slowly, just to make sure she wasn't confused. "Without you."

"You can't... You need 12 members, you need supervision." Rachel objected.

"You can't just quit." Schue said.

"We aren't quitting, we're seperating from you." Sam smiled. 

"Sue's gonna be our adult." Brittany shrugged. "She's a good coach."

"And there's a cheerio that'll take Rachel's place." Artie explained.

"Or literally anyone else." Mike said.

All the boys removed their blazers and the girls removed their ties, all looking to each other with smiles. They didn't need the glee club that held them down and failed to encourage them. They needed support and fun and friendship and unbiased judgement, they could get that without a creepy teacher and rude teammate.

They all walked out, away from Rachel's shouts and screams for attention. Finn followed them, or tried to before a rough hand grabbed his arm aggressively. He was spun in place by Rachel, who glared up at him.

"If you leave, I'm breaking up with you."

"Just because of a club?" Finn sighed.

"You are being such a selfish bully, I hope you know that."

"Yeah well," Finn ripped his arm from Rachel's grip. "It takes one to know one."

"Get owned, Berry!" Santana whooped as she led the group away from the stage. "We don't need you!"

***

They really didn't need her. Instead of listening to her incessant whining and rehearsing only when she had something to sing, the group practiced on their own accord. After storming from rehearsals, they made their way to Sue's office to ask for her assistance. They'd sent her favourite, Kurt, in to sort it all out easily.

He explained the situation to her, including the better insults to amuse her cynical sense of humour, and discussed Regionals. She was on board almost immediately, especially since she knew how annoyed Schue would be when he finally realised how much better she was at glee than him. And she certainly would be better, even as she spoke with her precious Porcelain she planned intense routines in her head for Nationals in her head.

While he sat with, clearly going off topic now to talk about something else, the rest remained outside her room. They circled Finn, who was both sad and relieved at his very recent breakup. It was sad he lost the girl he'd pined after for so long, but relieved that he'd also lost the girl who was, in the nicest way possible, a bitch. Puck crouched in front of him in the hallway to comfort his best friend.

"She didn't deserve you man." Puck reassured, patting Finn on the arm.

"Sure..." Finn frowned. Then he looked up and found a small smile to offer Puck as he realised something. "Maybe you can hook me up with one of the girls you know, one that will actually go all the way."

"That's all of them, buddy." Puck smirked.

"Cool, we're both single now so maybe we could go out and like, have bachelor fun and stuff." Finn nodded in excitement. "We never got to do that before 'cause of our girls."

"Right, totally single." Puck gritted his teeth to force some kind of a smile. He really wanted to tell Finn, he really did, but he knew Kurt wasn't ready for Finn's inevitable judgement and intense questioning. "Single as a... Single thing." 

"Subtle, jackass." Santana snorted.

As Puck stood up to glare at her, Kurt exited Sue's office with a wide grin and nodded happily. Everyone applauded the news that Sue would be helping them from now on as Kurt waved goodbye to the aforementioned coach. The group headed towards the exit to rehearse for Regionals one last time at the Hudmel residence before going to their own homes.

When they all arrived at Kurt and Finn's house, they were greeted by the surprised faces of Carole and Burt. They'd come home from work earlier that day, expecting some peace and quiet only to be interrupted so suddenly by a swarm of teenagers. What a lovely way to say hello.

Despite giving them the go ahead to rehearse on their own in the living room, Burt stayed in the kitchen to peek in every now and then. Once when he snuck a look, the Asian girl and blonde cheerleader were shamelessly making out on the floor as three other girls performed. Another time he just saw Finn ranting about Rachel and complaining about how long he had to wait to touch her boob. And they say romance is dead.

Then he looked a third time, after Finn went to the bathroom, to see something he didn't really expect. A mohawked boy was singing with Kurt in front of the others, his arms wrapping around his waist slowly and swaying behind him. The group erupted into a loud round of ewwing at the sight and awwing at the affection, even more so when the boy kissed Kurt on the cheek.

Burt didn't ew or aw, he just stormed in and asked that people leave so he and Carole could exist in peace. They all obeyed quickly, Mohawk removing his arms immediately and fleeing the scene with haste. Burt made sure to glare at him pretty much exclusively when they all left. He also made sure he raised an eyebrow at Kurt in questioning. Kurt just smiled innocently back.

"Got something to tell me, Kurt?" Burt asked.

"Umm..." Kurt looked his father in the eyes and narrowed his own as if in thought. "Is that a new cap?"

"Not what I meant."

"Well it's nice either way."

"Just-"

"I have to clean my bedroom." Kurt interrupted, avoiding the awkward conversation by racing upstairs to, most likely, do anything but clean his bedroom.

Finn entered the kitchen as Kurt left it and Burt caught his eye. They looked at each other with strange looks, like they both knew something the other didn't. Of course, Finn didn't know anything Burt didn't know. He didn't know much at all, to be fair.

"You, uh... You know about that?" Burt wondered as he walked towards his stepson.

"About what?"

"Mohawk and Kurt." He elaborated.

In confusion, Finn tilted his head and crossed his arms. He thought for a minute that Burt must be losing his mind, nothing was anything between Kurt and Puck, they were closer but that was all. They looked at each other weird, but that was all. They were singing a love song together, but that was all.

Then he started to think a little deeper and remembered a conversation from a while back. He had warned Puck that Kurt may catch feelings, and Puck had made a comment about it being the other way around. At first Finn thought that was some kind of code. Maybe it meant Kurt was into someone else. Now he really considered it, that probably wasn't what it meant.

Come to think about it, they hadn't just been close recently, they'd been hugging and holding hands and making crude comments about each other and Finn had definitely caught Puck eyeing Kurt inappropriately a few times and...

"Oh my God." He said aloud in realisation. Burt waited for some kind of addition, but Finn just stood there with his mouth hanging open like he was expecting someone to put something in there. "Puck and Kurt are..."

"What?"

"They're... Friends." He breathed. "Never expected that."

"Dear Lord kid, you really are a few screwdrivers short of a toolbox, aren't ya?" Burt scoffed.

"A few... Huh?"

"Mohawk and Kurt aren't friends, they're more than that." Burt shook his head. "He better start talking or I'll have to turn up to that boy's house and bring my shotgun along for the-"

"Holy crap!" Finn exclaimed, not listening to a word Burt had said. "They're dating!"

Burt sighed and nodded at his shell shocked stepson. "We need to get your brain checked again."

Chapter Text

"You like the new chick?" Puck asked, walking up to Finn as they stood in the McKinley parking lot.

The group were getting ready to go to Regionals, gathering by the coach in the early hours of the morning. Sue Sylvester stood at the doors, staring down at her watch as she waited for the final New Direction member to finally arrive. Surprisingly enough it wasn't Finn that wasn't there yet, but Sam. God knows what he was doing, probably something stupid.

"What?" Finn spat back. He wasn't fully over the whole 'Puck banging his step bro' thing, but it certainly didn't help that Puck hadn't even told him the truth straight up yet.

"The new girl." Puck pointed to Lauren Pizes, the replacement for Rachel. Not the best voice in the world, but the girl had attitude and she was available at short notice so good enough. "You like her?"

"No. Do you?" Finn interrogated. Puck raised an eyebrow at his friend and smiled in amusement.

"No... I'm not the one looking for a new girl though." Puck grinned and threw an arm around Finn's shoulders. "We gotta get you back out there."

"Yeah, so why don't you get out there with me?" 

"You know how I roll, can't be held down to one lady." Puck was way too good at lying.

"Of course not. Not one lady." Finn emphasised.

"Uh, you... Got something to say to me man?"

"Nope."

"Are you-"

Suddenly Sam came running into the group screaming at the top of his lungs. Everyone turned to him in concern as he stopped moving, breathing heavily and gripping his knees. Mercedes held him closely and whispered worried questions in his ear but recieved no answer. He took a final deep breath, straightened his back and looked around at all his friends.

"Am I late?" He breathed.

"Why the hell were you screaming?" Artie chuckled.

"I thought you were gonna leave without me."

"You are ridiculous." Santana sighed.

"He really is." Sue shook her head disappointingly. "It's gonna take a lot of work to shape you all into champions."

"I'm already shaped like a champion." Puck flexed proudly.

"Nobody wants to see those." Kurt said as he lowered Puck's arm.

"Now you're just lying to yourself." Puck winked.

Finn rolled his eyes at the display and turned his back away from it, facing the doors. Sue let them all board the bus before jumping on herself to drive it. She claimed bus drivers weren't to be trusted so she had to do the job herself. Not that she had a license for it or anything, they may be pulled over the minute they set out...

But that's what they signed up for when they asked for her help so the group just let her do her thing. They paired up in the seats, twisting in every which way so everyone could see everyone best they could. Seatbelts were abandoned in favour of kneeling on seats and walking along the aisle, and it's not like Sue would reprimand them for the danger. If anything, she admired it.

Artie was lifted in from the back and stayed there, Sam and Mike on either side of him. Quinn and Tina sat in front of them across the aisle from Santana and Brittany, who had their legs so tangled up on the seats it was difficult to tell which feet belonged to who. Kurt and Mercedes were across from Lauren and discussed the routine with her to better prepare her for the competition, while Puck took his place in front of them with Finn. Finn hadn't really agreed to that arrangement and opted to look at anyone but Puck for a good few minutes. Salty bitch.

Puck just gave him a weird look or two before turning to face the others and joining whatever conversation was taking place behind him. Sue stood in front of the group next to the drivers seat, hands clasped behind her back expectantly. She cleared her throat loudly, dragging all attention towards her in doing so.

"Rule number one: No spitting." She announced, and Sam pretended to spit at Artie, who pretended to wipe it off in disgust. "Rule number two: If you insist on singing on the way there, please make sure the songs are Michael Bolton, Madonna or Eminem."

"Good choice, yo." Artie complimented.

"I know, I have excellent taste." Sue continued. "Rule number three: Do not, under any circumstances, mention sweater vest's name. Insulting nicknames are allowed, of course."

"Nest hair."

"Highland cow."

"Rap Devil."

"Butt chin."

"Deformed Neil Patrick Harris."

"Oh my God I totally see that!"

"Those are all outstanding." Sue smiled. "Almost as good as mine. Now, rule number four is very important so you gotta listen real carefully." She leaned towards the group and the group leaned towards her. "Rule number four: Get out there and win this thing!" She shouted, and everyone cheered and whooped excitedly.

"Not gonna be a problem." Mercedes said to Kurt, and they did their secret handshake with proud smiles on their faces.

The bus set off and everyone, once again, cheered and whooped excitedly. It was the first time in a while they'd been so happy to just perform, regardless of whether they won or not. They were gonna have fun, they were already having fun and they'd barely started their journey. Sure, it would be nice to win, but it would be far nicer to just enjoy what they did no matter what.

Though they did want to ensure they at least got second place, for Sue's sake. She was competitive - like, terrifyingly, cutthroat competitive - and they wanted to make her proud. Afterall, they certainly wouldn't be able to do this without her assistance. And they certainly wouldn't be getting so much joy out of it were she not there.

"This is gonna be awesome." Brittany stated, earning a nod from everyone in agreement.

"Totally, and Nationals is in New York this year. Imagine how cool that would be." Santana smirked. "I belong in that city."

"Same." Kurt agreed.

"We could like... Have breakfast at Tiffany's!" Mercedes beamed. "Sing on a Broadway stage! Eat at a nice New York diner!"

"Shop at Times Square!" Kurt chimed.

"Picnic in Central Park!" Quinn clapped.

"Climb the Statue of Liberty!" Tina said.

"Walk down Fifth Avenue like the classy hoes we are." Lauren suggested and everyone oohed at the prospect.

"I just wanna be somewhere that isn't Ohio." Puck got a few hums in agreement to his statement.

"Well I wanna see this big apple everyone's always talking about." Sam shrugged. "I mean, how big could it be?"

"About 55,000 square miles, dude." Mike laughed.

"That's a really big apple." Sam mumbled.

"What about you, boy boobs?" Santana asked Finn. "What do you want to see in New York?"

The group looked at him and waited for some kind of answer. Unlike his peers, though, Finn remained sitting in his seat and looking out the window without so much as acknowledging his friends. Santana narrowed her eyes at him with a bewildered smile.

"You want me to use a different nickname?" She piped up. "Because they'll only get more insulting."

"Whatever." He muttered.

"Dude, what is up with you?" Puck wondered. "We could be winning tickets to New York today and you look like you wanna kill someone."

"That's because I do wanna kill someone." Finn looked into Puck's eyes with a mean glint in his.

"Finn, you do know it's a little late to be mad at him for the whole Quinn thing, right?" Kurt leaned over his seat to look at his brother.

"I know, he's moved on from my girlfriends." Finn glared. "Right onto my family."

"That's what this is about?" Kurt sighed.

"Well done for finally catching up." Brittany giggled.

"Wait... You all knew?" Finn demanded.

"Yes!" They all replied together, a few tutting in disappointment over Finn's inability to see the obvious.

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"Because Burt has a shotgun."

"And we knew you'd react like this."

"But..." Finn stuttered. "Puck isn't straight?"

"No!" Everyone chanted together again.

"What about that mohawk made you think he was straight?" Santana asked.

"She makes a fair point." Puck admitted.

"I just... It can't... Goddammit." Finn sunk into his seat and looked back out the window. "The Elevated Acre."

"Huh?"

"In New York, I wanna see The Elevated Acre. Rachel told me about it." Finn muttered.

"Yes, oh my God we have to see that, I don't care where we're staying." Kurt squealed with overwhelming amounts of positivity. "I will take the bus to see that place. It's enchanting."

"You're all just assuming we'll win, we might not." Mike pointed out.

"Now that's not the attitude to have, Asian number 2." Sue called from the front of the coach.

"What she said." Tina added. "We'll win if we stay positive."

"You're a goth, I thought you're whole thing was negativity." Artie smirked.

"You're thinking of emos." Quinn corrected.

"I thought T was a vampire." Sam said.

"Just check the hickey on Quinn's neck for two teeth marks." Lauren laughed.

Sam shrugged and leant forward to pull the collar of Quinn's shirt down. Everyone applauded when she pulled it back up and gave him a swift slap to the face for touching. He laughed and took it as a sign to keep trying. Before long the back half of the bus was engaged in a playful wrestling march while the front half cheered on both sides. Sue glanced over her shoulder every now and then for the giggles, deciding teenagers weren't all that bad.

After everyone had given up the play fighting, they rested back into their seats and resumed civilised conversation... For the most part. Finn was still acting weird so Puck turned to talk to Kurt, Mercedes and Lauren instead. The four talked about the competition for a bit, then got hyped up over New York again, then started to discuss Nationals in general. Puck had always wanted to get firecrackers involved in a performance, and it didn't seem like the other three were quite as excited about such a dangerous concept.

At the back, Artie was humming the tune to a song for Sam and Mike to guess. When they finally got it, it was Mike's turn to make a similar noise. For a while he was stuck in a bit of a loop since neither boy could guess but refused to let him stop before they figured it out. Then, Artie finally started to pick up on something.

"So you grab your girls and you grab a couple more," Artie sang to Mike's humming. "And you all come meet me in the middle of the floor." Mike nodded aggressively while continuing to hum. "Said the air is thick, it's smellin' right-"

"So you pass to the left and you sail to the right," Sam joined in with Artie, smiling. "Don't be so quick to walk away."

"Dance with me!" Brittany sang.

"I wanna rock your body," Sam and Artie continued. "Please stay.

"Dance with me!" Santana sang with Brittany.

"You don't have to admit you, wanna play." The boys continued.

"Dance with me!" Quinn and Tina joined Santana and Brittany this time.

"Just let me rock you," Artie, Sam and now Puck and Kurt. "Till the break of day."

"Dance with me!" All the girls chanted through giggles.

"Talk to me boy." Mercedes soloed.

"No disrespect, I don't mean no harm." Sam followed.

"Talk to me boy." Quinn sang while stroking Tina's jaw.

"I can't wait to have you in my arms." Tina smiled.

"Talk to me boy." Lauren basically shouted.

"Hurry up 'cause you're taking too long." Artie basically shouted in response.

"Talk to me boy." Kurt sang while leaning closer to Puck.

"Bet I'll have you naked by the end of this song." Puck whispered and kissed his boyfriend chastely.

"If you two bang on this coach I will never step foot on it again." Santana interrupted.

"Hey, that's not the lyrics." Brittany complained, and the others laughed.

"Well." Mike stopped humming and grinned at Artie. "You guessed right."

They spent the rest of the journey talking and singing, making sure all following songs were written by the artists Sue requested earlier on in her rules. A couple times they also got up and danced around. Once or twice the coach came to a sudden, dead halt and the people standing up were flung to the floor. That got a good few laughs, most from Sue.

Finn slouched deeper into his seat every time he overheard Puck and Kurt flirting or saw them kiss out of the corner of his eye. It wasn't that he was homophobic - or at least he didn't think he was - but more just that he didn't like the idea of his brother getting off with his best friend. It was like a betrayal. Even though it wasn't a betrayal. Maybe he knew he was overreacting, but he couldn't help it.

Kurt hated seeing Finn look so angry, but he wasn't going to stop dating Puck just because someone else is reacting to it poorly. He was gay, he had to deal with that stuff every day so he wouldn't let him bug him anymore. Same went with Puck, who was honestly just shoving his tongue down Kurt's throat now to annoy the frankenteen.

"Is everyone in this group screwing each other?" Lauren asked. "I definitely heard that rumour."

"Everyone has, it's brilliant." Tina laughed.

"No we aren't all screwing each other." Artie confirmed.

"We probably have all screwed each other at some point though." Sam said.

"Yeah, Kurt blew someone here." Puck informed, raising an eyebrow at his boyfriend.

"No I didn't."

"So who was it!?"

"You'll figure it out eventually." Kurt teased.

"Bet it was Mister Schue." Lauren nodded.

"If anyone sucked him off it was Berry, let's be real." Santana smirked.

When the coach stopped in front of a large building, everyone leapt from the seats immediately to get a better look. It was a simple centre with a few activities clearly going on other than Show Choir Regionals, but the New Directions were still excited. How could they not be? In just a few short hours they would be performing to friends, family and the parents of kids in other, less awesome groups.

The minute Sue opened the vehicles doors, everyone piled out onto the pavement to get a closer look. Finn was dragging his feet behind him when he walked down the coach aisle, but as soon as he stepped off he perked right up. It was so exciting to be there so close to that big win, the atmosphere was just buzzing with excitement. 

Walking in was incredible, like they'd been welcomed into a place they'd never seem before. Well, they had literally never seen the place before, but figuratively speaking they hadn't either. They'd never walked into a Regionals competition before and felt so prepared for it. Last time they'd gotten this far, Rachel's traitorous little boyfriend Jesse threw them completely off their game. 

Suddenly, they all felt a sense of guilt wash over them. Rachel had helped them get there, she'd had some difficulties in her life and no matter how annoying she could be she was still... You know... Talented and stuff. She had her moments, her nice moments where she was a genuinely decently okay human being. So yeah, they felt a bit bad for ditching her.

Or at least, they felt a bit bad for a second. Then they remembered how terrible she was at being friendly to them unless it benefitted her. They remembered her casual ignorance and selfish acts and rude comments and general disrespect towards everyone else.

They were better than that, and goddamn it they were going to win without her.

Chapter Text

The group sat in a circle of chairs in the lobby, waiting for the news. They knew before long they would be asked to choose numbers from a hat to decide when they perform. Their fingers were crossed for '6'. It was the perfect number for this competition, directly in the middle.

Sue was somewhere else, probably trying to figure out who the judges were, so they were all left to their own devices. Quinn and Tina were cuddled up with Mercedes resting her legs on top of them. Santana, Brittany and Mike were going through some last minute choreography ideas while Sam and Lauren went through the dances with them, only to absolutely destroy every move they attempted. Artie watched intently to ridicule them from the sidelines, laughing when Sam tripped and Lauren had to catch his tumbling body.

Still moping about Puck and Kurt, Finn was sat on his own glaring at the newly blossoming relationship in front of him. The boyfriends opted to ignore Finn and sang their duet quietly in preparation. Their faces were close enough for their noses to graze one another every time they moved, further angering Finn in the process.

It had been a while since they first walked through the front doors. The building was slightly intimidating at first, but when they started to practice and talk within the walls it seemed less daunting. Oh, sorry, did I say less duanting? I meant more daunting.

The only reason they were acting so relaxed right now was because they had to find some kind of comfort together. Afterall, if they reminded each other of the other groups they'd be up against they'd probably throw up. Or cry. Or both. It wouldn't be pretty either way.

Vocal Adrenaline had stalked in the back when New Directions looked around at first, the only member they could actually make out in the crowd was Jesse St James. He waved passive aggressively and smiled with an innate sense of pride that nobody could take from him. He was like a damn robot, a mysterious, creepy robot who was far too attractive for a robot, you know?

The other show choirs barely acknowledged their existence, which certainly wasn't a problem. They minded their own business; no glaring or intimidating or obnoxious crap, just their own stuff... Though Puck definitely didn't fail to notice a certain gelled up Warbler look at Kurt when they walked in.

Speak of the devil.

"Hey." Blaine smiled as he walked towards the New Directions in their circle of chairs. "I remember some of you." He got a smile back from Mercedes, Santana, Finn and... Wait. "Where's Rachel?"

"We threw her overboard." Santana said.

"She can't swim." Mercedes added.

"Neither can I." Brittany mumbled.

"Okay." Blaine looked to Kurt. "Kurt! I saw you earlier, you didn't say hi."

"Sorry, I was busy panicking as I often am." Kurt grinned and stood from his seat, Puck still clinging to his hand possessively.

"That's okay, it's nice to see you again." Blaine nodded. He barely raised an eyebrow at Puck's hand holding. The New Directions were always a close bunch.

"I'm sure it is." Kurt smirked, and Blaine chuckled lightly at the comment.

"Who is this?" Lauren asked, with a lustrous grin. "And what's his deal?"

"I'm Blaine Anderson, Captain of the Warblers. I'm also gay." Lauren sighed in disappointment. "Sorry."

"Are you cheating on Puck, Kurt?" Sam leant into the conversation.

"What? Of course not." Kurt giggled. "Me and Blaine were barely a couple."

"Couple enough to suck him." Puck muttered.

"It wasn't him, I already told you that." Kurt whispered.

"Damn it."

"Wait..." Blaine interrupted. "Who, uh... Who's Paul?"

"It's Puck, hobbit." Puck corrected.

"Calm down, dude." Santana warned.

"Puck is... Here." Kurt introduced. He swayed their interlocked fingers for Blaine's eyes, and Blaine looked down his ex's arm to see the man connected. The hot, hunky, tanned, mohawked man. "He's my boyfriend."

"BOYFR- that's great." Blaine coughed awkwardly, looking away from Puck with a forced smile and turning back to Kurt. "That's brilliant."

"Real convincing." Mercedes whispered to Santana, who snickered.

"Yeah it is brilliant." Kurt beamed. Puck released his hand to pull him closer lovingly as he glared Blaine down threateningly from over Kurt's shoulder. 

"Mine." Puck mouthed at Blaine, who gulped in fear.

"Very scary." Mike mouthed at Puck.

"Well, good luck with the competition. I know how much you love New York." Blaine wished.

"Thank you, and good luck to you too, you'll definitely need it." Kurt teased, causing Blaine to blush and back away as Puck shook his head angrily at him.

"I'll-"

"Well." Sue intercepted, walking into view alongside Blaine to face her group. "Nominate one of yourselves to go to the stage, it's time to pick a number from a hat for some reason."

"Oh, that's happening now?" Blaine inquired. Sue looked him up and down with a look of disgust.

"Who the hell are you?" She spat. He nervously stepped back and started to make his way back to the other Warblers. Puck was glad to see him go. "So which one of you will be representing McKinley?"

The group all looked between one another to figure out their individual merit. However, it seemed they all already knew who should be representing this newly formed group: the person who made said group possible in the first place.

"Puck." Mike suggested.

"Yeah."

"Makes sense."

"I mean, he did read a book for this group."

"He gave me the opportunity to crush Berry's spirit once again, like a true friend."

"He has the best hair." Kurt mocked, running a hand over Puck's head.

"He totally does." Puck grinned. "I'm down, where have I gotta go?"

"Hell." Artie snickered.

"Sounds good." Puck hopped off the chair and gave Kurt a final squeeze before standing up fully. "I'll just follow the 'stage' signs." He informed.

"Pick us a good number or you'll regret it!" Santana shouted cheerfully.

"You certainly will!" Sue confirmed.

Puck ignored the shouts and walked through the halls of the centre. He noticed a dressing room with 'New Directions' written on it, a room they'd soon be changing inside. It was pretty cool, they'd never had a dressing room with their name on it. It felt so professional, Puck smiled to himself when he passed it as he followed the signs to the stage.

When he reached the final door and opened it onto the backstage area, he saw stage hands running around to prepare lights and microphones. One lady bumped into him in all the haste, as if they didn't have like... An hour until the first performance. But when Puck began his amble onto the stage he realized why they were so busy.

The chairs were already starting to fill with parents and siblings, the lights blared down on him and music was playing softly in the background. It was nice, cozy and quiet, Puck decided he liked it. The stage was big enough for everything they wanted to do, it was also hollow enough to make a sound as he moved but not hollow enough that it echoed.

When he reached the middle of the stage, a woman was standing there with a top hat in her grasp. She was a stage hand and looked slightly rushed, so the second she caught sight of Puck she gestured for him to speed up. He did just that until he could dig his hand into the hat, realising quite a few of the slips of paper inside had disappeared. He guessed he wasn't the first person there.

The slip he pulled out was still folded in his fingers when another boy passed him to pull his own piece of paper out of the hat. Blue and red blazer, white shirt, black shoes, sense of pride just pouring from him in almost excessive amounts. A Warbler.

"6." The Warbler announced, spinning on his heel to face Puck. His eyes travelled up and down the broad, tanned body before his lips tugged up into a smug smirk. "What did you get?"

"None of your business, gargler." Puck retalliated, turning around to walk towards the door again. The Warbler caught up to him, still wearing that goddamn smirk.

"Gargler, that's really original." Smug boy said sarcastically. "You wouldn't happen to be a gargler yourself, would you?"

"You asking me if I'm gay?" Puck scoffed.

"I suppose I am."

"Yeah, well, I got a boyfriend."

"Shame." Warbler said. "You had potential."

Puck snickered and glanced over at the boy again. He was smug, sure, but he also seemed quite friendly in his own obnoxious way. Plus, if he was digging Puck then he clearly had good taste and was to be trusted.

"Who are you?" Puck asked.

"The name's Sebastian Smythe, what about you hot stuff?"

"Puck."

"And you're aware that a puck is an object used in hockey?" Sebastian grinned.

"Don't care, I can pull it off."

"I bet you can pull most things off."

"Bet like that and you'll be earning yourself a lotta cash." Puck quipped.

They came to a stop by the New Directions dressing room Puck passed earlier, now crowded around by the very people it would soon be holding. Sebastian waved a goodbye to Puck and walked through the crowd of McKinley teens.

As he walked by Kurt, he looked him up and down and halted for just a moment. They shared a look, Kurt smiling at him in awkward acknowledgement and Sebastian leering at him with desire. They exchanged quick greetings before Sebastian continued to walk away.

"Why were you talking to Sebastian?" Kurt asked Puck as the others entered the dressing room.

"Dunno, he seemed nice." Puck shrugged. "You remember him from Dalton?"

"Yeah..." Kurt answered as he stepped forward. "I remember him."

Puck hummed as Kurt disappeared into the dressing room. Then he watched Sebastian saunter away. Then he looked into the dressing room at Kurt. Then Sebastian. Then Kurt. Then replayed the conversation. Then-

"Oh my God!" Puck exclaimed with a laugh. "It's him!" He raced into the room and pointed at Kurt, proud smile on his face as everyone looked at him humourously. Kurt hid his face - and the nervous blush dusting it - in his hands. "Kurt sucked off Sebastian!"

***

Once everyone had stopped gawking, sarcastically appluading and laughing (or sulking in Finn's case), they started to actually use the dressing room for it's original purpose: getting changed. Turns out they got place '9', which wasn't too bad considering the Warblers totally stole their perfect placement.

Their costumes for the competition had to change since they couldn't exactly keep the outfits Schue comissioned. Sue supplied them with a new ensemble, a simple one much tamer than the clothing she usually gravitated towards. Black jeans, black button downs and blue ties for the guys and blue dresses for the girls. Kurt obviously volunteered to style the girls' hair with Brittany and before long, they were ready. 

Buzzing with excitement, the group danced around the room as they awaited the strike of 7, at which time they would find their seats in the audience to watch. Ten minutes to spare and Kurt had to do Puck's tie for him, then Sam's, then Finn's. Of course, Finn spent the whole time glaring at Kurt or staring at the ceiling determinedly. They really had to talk about that...

Not yet though. No ruining the joy.

After a couple more quips about Kurt not being a virgin, all remarks courtesy of Santana, the group headed out to get to their places. Tina and Quinn were the only ones left in the room, checking each other over to ensure nothing was out of place.

"It's all in check." Tina assured. "You look perfect."

"As do you." Quinn smiled, holding her arm out for Tina to take. "Shall we?"

"We shall." Tina stated as she linked her arm with Quinn's, the girls beginning their skip to the chairs behind the others.

They had pretty good seats. The view wasn't obscured, the groups surrounding them weren't too awful to be around and the lights weren't getting in their eyes. Though they couldn't appreciate just how perfectly placed they were until the lights dimmed and the stage curtains lifted. A spotlight shone upon it and the first act took to the stage.

The New Directions watched on intently, taking great pleasure in the downfalls of other groups but just as much pleasure in their successes too. There wasn't too much of any real significance to note though, nothing that needed to be feared. You can trust that statement too because Santana was keeping a very detailed log in her mind of every group before theirs:

1. Sopranotes - Awful singing and worse dancing.

2. Femme Fatones - Pretty voices... Hot lead singer.

3. The Chords - Oh my God why are they only singing heavy metal songs that doesn't work with Acapella!

4. Aural Intensity - More like oral intensity, these guys all sound like they're choking on a huge-

5. Pecan Drops - Stupid name but man can they sing.

6. The Warblers - Blaine and Sebastian are both leading men so having them sing together just sounds so... Weird. Like they're fighting vocally. That's unbelievably gay who fights by singing? Use your goddamn fists, maybe if they got in a punch up this terrible choreography would be slightly less intolerable to watch.

As the Warblers set ended everyone applauded. Puck still seemed to be glaring, though Kurt couldn't tell who he was glaring at. He'd found the Sebastian fling more funny than upsetting because he was Noah freaking Puckerman. He knew sex could mean nothing and it was just hilarious finding out that little angel Kurt Hummel had it off with such a smug, meerkat-looking snob.

Blaine, on the other hand, was an actual relationship, so Puck enjoyed glaring him down. When he caught the Warbler's eye he made sure to wrap an arm around Kurt's shoulders and pull him in. That's right, keep walking.

The next group to take to the stage was Vocal Adrenaline. Jesse was there posing, looking as intimidating as ever as his group moved into a strange formation. They were huddled up in a circle, back's facing the middle and faces staring out at the audience. It was intense, everything they did was always so intense.

"Are they gonna sing or kill us all?" Santana whispered.

"Both." Brittany whispered back.

"I'd put my money on homocidal rampage while singing Queen songs." Artie suggested.

"Shooting a guy in the head while singing about fat bottomed girls." Lauren smirked. "Gotta respect that kinda-"

"Can you please shut up?" A girl hissed angrily from behind them.

"Uh, they haven't even started singing yet." Quinn objected.

As if right on cue, the music started up. It wasn't Queen, nor was it any other similarly dramatic bands or ridiculously overdone ballads. No, it was 'Total Eclipse Of The Heart', a beautiful song that Kurt immediately recognised as the one Rachel was going to sing as her solo at Regionals. That made all the more sense when Vocal Adrenaline spun out of their circle, revealing the person singing the song inside of it:

Rachel Berry.

***

"I can't believe this." Mercedes said as she paced the hallway, the group before them just starting. "I can not believe this."

"You've said that a hundred times already, let's just focus." Mike comforted.

"She joined Vocal Adrenaline!" Mercedes snapped. "Just to spite us? Or what? Why would she do this?"

"Well we did kinda stab her in the back, even if it was totally justified." Tina shrugged.

"Rachel's petty, does this even surprise you?" Quinn stated. "We're up next so let's just forget about her."

Easier said than done. As soon as the New Directions took a deep breath and gathered themselves after such a shock, the girl herself entered the picture. Rachel Berry walked proudly up to the group, stopped, placed her hands on her hips and glared at them. They all looked to her with the disappointment in their eyes combatting the fury in hers.

She stood with the same arrogance and dominance she usually did, like the whole world would stop turning if she asked it to. The clothing she wore was undeniably fabulous, making her stand out under the drab lighting, and her overall demeanour was even crueller than it usually was. She fit right into Vocal Adrenaline, she was just as horrid as they were.

"Go ahead. Try to forget about me." She challenged. "But I know just how difficult it will be for you to erase such a remarkable voice from your memory." Rachel smiled wickedly at her former teammates. "You made a huge mistake betraying me."

"What are you, a Disney villain?" Kurt mocked.

"No, I'm your worst nightmare." She replied. Snappy.

"How did you even join them so quickly?"

"Well, Brittany, let's just say I'm not nearly as stupid as you all seem to think I am." Rachel scoffed. "I knew something was wrong from the beginning, I and Jesse have been in cahoots."

"Gross." Santana interjected.

"What? What! No! No- I..." Rachel sighed and regained her composure. "I mean we have been planning this for a very long time."

"And you have the balls to say we betrayed you?" Artie shook his head. "How long?"

"Oh, a while." She smiled. "It doesn't matter, though, because we will win and we will dominate in New York."

"Again, gross." Puck mumbled.

"The top two place at New York." Sam pointed out. "So even if we aren't first, we could still go there and still win."

"But you won't." Rachel denied. "You can't. You simply aren't good enough." She stepped forward. "I tried to warn you not to sing these songs in these groups but you went through with it anyway. You have no chance."

"Well we do have something you don't have." Santana claimed.

"And what would that be?"

Santana walked slowly over to Rachel, both girls with their arms folded and eyes narrowed. As she drew closer, Santana's lips morphed into a smile she only wore when she was about to do the unthinkable: go all Lima Heights on a bitch. But this was different.

She remained calm, which only further intimidated Rachel. Once the two were barely three inches apart and could basically feel the heat radiating off of one another, Santana stopped and looked down upon the other girl quite literally. They glared for a few moments, before the first word in minutes was finally uttered.

"We have..." Santana spoke. "Likeability."

"Likeability doesn't matter when you have talent." Jesse announced as he walked over to Rachel.

He clasped her hand in his and made dead eye contact with Finn, who looked away in discomfort and disappointment. Rachel noticed and gulped down every negative feeling she felt about the interaction, reminding herself that she was more important than his sadness. It certainly helped her feel better.

"And talent doesn't matter when your skin's greasier than pizza." Kurt insulted.

"Oh Kurt, I thought I could smell the women's perfume you're wearing when I walked in." Jesse shot back.

"Better to smell like a woman than to be named like one." Kurt chimed, earning a giggle from the group.

"For your information he is named after his mother, she was awfully sick after giving birth so they wanted to honour her in case she didn't make it." Rachel informed. Santana and Kurt rolled their eyes in unison.

"Great, I'll keep that in mind." Kurt laughed.

"Say, Kurt..." Jesse began, sly smile on his evil looking face. "Speaking of mothers..." Kurt tensed. "How's yours doing?"

"Watch it!" Puck shouted as he got in Jesse's face threateningly. "There's a limit."

"What is wrong with you?" Quinn spat.

"He was just asking." Rachel defended smugly.

"Yeah, no need to get so upset over your little boy toy." Jesse said, placing a hand into the middle of Puck's chest and pushing him back lightly. "Oops."

"You wanna try that again?" Puck threatened.

"Maybe I do." Jesse rolled up his sleeves in preparation.

"New Directions?" A stage hand leant out from the backstage door and looked out at the scene in front of him. "Uh.. You're on a minute, you gotta get ready in here."

"Yeah, in a sec." Mike answered. The stage hand disappeared behind the door again.

Puck looked at Jesse and Jesse looked back, shrugging as if disappointed. He stepped back and held his hands up in mock surrender, leaving with a proud smirk. Rachel soon followed him, but not before obnoxiously flicking her hair in Santana's face and spinning elegantly.

"I really wanna hit him." Puck stated.

"Later." Mercedes promised.

"We actually have to go out there and perform? After all that crap?" Sam sighed. "This sucks."

"No." Finn stood up and walked over to the others.

For the first time since they'd arrived at the competition, Finn was smiling at the group and didn't look too pissed off to move. He placed a hand out in front of him, waiting for other people to place theirs on top of it in solidarity.

"We can do this." He encouraged. "Not just for ourselves. Not just for our parents out there watching. Not just for Sue." He straightened his back and flared his nostrils. "But also to prove that arrogant bitch and her new play thing that we. Are. Better. Than. Them."

"Damn right." Tina nodded, putting her hand on Finn's.

Quinn soon found a smile and placed hers in the pile too. Then Artie joined, along with Mike, Brittany, Sam, Mercedes, Puck, Kurt, Lauren and finally, Artie. With all their hands together, they waited for Finn to say something else inspirational.

"Uh..." He thought. "Let's..." He thought more. Then he finally got there. "Let's embarrass every group that isn't us!" The others whooped in agreement. "On three, New York! One, two, three-"

"New York!" They all chanted as they threw their hands in the air and cheered themselves on.

And when they did perform, they did completely embarrass everyone that wasn't them.

Mercedes, Brittany and Santana went out first, their singing driving the crowd crazier with every syllable. Their voices sounded amazing, their dancing was outstanding and their attitude was even better. Every single thing they did made the audience go absolutely wild! It was the perfect way to start the New Directions setlist.

Then Kurt and Puck went out to perform their duet. This time the audience didn't go crazy, they just watched and listened to the beautiful melody of sound and the subtle dancing that accompanied it. Throughout the song the boys would look at one another meaningfully and smile comfortingly. Every little smile was a 'you're doing great' and every brush of skin was a 'this is incredible'. 

Once the group performance took place, everyone watching was already hyped up over the New Directions and buzzing to see what came next. Their performance went off without a hitch. It started with them all facing away from the audience, spinning around one by one with every line. Before, group performances felt forcefully happy and weirdly overdone. It didn't feel like that anymore.

When they heard people applaud their singing or dancing, they felt seen and heard. They didn't have to compete for attention or affection, they didn't feel they needed to. Every cheer was aimed at all of them and every ounce of praise belonged to each and every person on that stage. They felt equal within the group.

At the end they all joined hands in a line and bowed to the onlookers, all on their feet and clapping so hard their hands ached. They could overhear Sue screaming strangely aggressive compliments at them, and soaked that up in time with the applause. It was perfect. Completely perfect.

"We were perfect." Puck praised when they returned to their dressing room after all the performances had been completed. "We were the best ones out there."

"Who cares? That was the most fun I've ever had at one of these things, even with the St Berry crew trying to ruin it." Artie smiled.

"I'm pretty sure that's also the most applause we've ever gotten, right?" Kurt asked, getting a few nods in reply.

"Totally, you girls were insane." Sam complimented Mercedes, Brittany and Santana, all of whom stood up to jokingly curtsey in gratitude.

"So were you guys." Finn said. Puck and Kurt looked him in surprise, and he just grinned at them shyly. "You were really good... Together."

"Aww that's so sweet." Brittany said.

"And so very gay." Santana laughed. "Well done on no longer being an unreasonable moron, Hudson." 

"Um, thanks?" Finn replied.

"No sweety, don't thank her for that." Kurt shook his head. "If Santana's saying it, just assume it's an insult."

"That's the rule I always follow." Mike agreed.

"Mhm, she's a mega bitch." Lauren stated, Santana and her smiling at each other.

"Thank you!" Santana said.

"How long are the judges going to take?" Quinn blurted out impatiently. "I'm all for friendly chatting in a dressing room or whatever but I am not in the mood for waiting."

"So fiesty." Tina admired.

As if they'd hear Quinn's question, someone knocked upon the door to answer it. An unfamiliar voice informed them that all groups needed to head to the stage for the results.

"Oh damn." Puck said. "That's... We're... Now?"

"Now." Kurt smiled. "Let's go!"

They all squealed, gulped and sweated in fear and excitement. It was so intense as they left the dressing room together and made their way through the hall. Sue met with them right by the door and led them through into the stage. A few of their parents cheered them on, including Burt and Carole who were humiliatingly loud.

The New Directions stood in their place, looking out around the stage at the many other groups. Most looked intensely nervous and worried. Others looked chilled out by the whole affair. Vocal Adrenaline, of course, looked obscenely smug.

12 groups were there, 2 would go through to Nationals and win their tickets to New York, 10 would be left with nothing but a participation award. Rachel glared the others down alongside Jesse, who smirked cockily at Puck. The couple never relented in their efforts to make the other teams uncomfortable or miserable, though their attempts were pointless.

Blaine smiled at Kurt from across the stage and Sebastian made a masturbating gesture in the air with his hand. Both were the boys own personal ways of wishing others good luck, so Kurt decided to smile back and flip Sebastian off. Puck assisted in the latter movement while continuing to glare at Blaine.

It didn't matter what they did soonx though, because a woman walked onto the stage. She was clearly a very proud, elegant woman with confidence in every step she took. Everyone rightly hushed when she took centre stage, envelope in hand.

The atmosphere tensed suddenly as that envelope was skillfully unsealed and a folded piece of paper was removed from it. The woman smiled when she unfolded it and brandished it like a holy scroll. 

"In third place..." She began, and everyone held their breath. "From Dalton Academy, The Warblers!"

Everyone softly applauded as Blaine was offered a small third place trophy. Sebastian quickly decided he deserved to hold it more and reached to snatch it, only to get smacked away. That's why they didn't do any better than third, they couldn't get along.

"In second place..." She continued. Really dragging it out. "Vocal Adrenaline!" 

Once again, everyone applauded, though it was much louder this time. This meant that Jesse and Rachel would be heading to New York for Nationals. You know what it didn't mean? It didn't mean they'd won. It didn't mean they got the big trophy. It didn't mean they were the champions.

That was enough to make the entire group frown at their placement as the New Directions held back their laughter. The look on Rachel's face... It was enough to bring a tear to Santana's eye.

"And first place..." The woman smiled, looking around at the groups for dramatic effect. "The New Directions!"

The applause this time was near deafening. Everyone cheered and screamed and shouted for them as the group themselves jumped in their spots and packed into a tight group hug on stage. Sue accepted the large trophy and admired it as the New Directions moved their hug to include her in it.

They'd won their first major competition without Rachel; humiliated that selfish bitch with the very thing she treasured most, music; and now they'd get to do it all over again!

Next stop, New York City...

Chapter Text

Nationals was coming up, so the group had to start practicing. They'd spent a lot of time with Sue perfecting their setlist and accompanying dances. This, of course, included round two of auditions.

The auditioning groups were Tina and Quinn; Lauren, Puck and Mercedes; Santana and Brittany; Finn, Sam and Artie. All were good, but the winners were Artie and Quinn and Finn, Sam and Artie. That meant a whole new round of groups would be performing at Nationals from Regionals.

In order to decide on songs, Sue suggested a battle to the death. Such an idea wasn't recieved very well, so they instead settled on listening to random playlists of Sue's approved songs. The ones they liked went into another playlist, then it would be narrowed down again and again until eventually, they had their choices.

Rehearsals now took place in the main hall, or the Hudmel residence when the Cheerios were practicing, and it was infinitely better than the choir room. They had so much space to choreograph new routines, all the while Sue shouted encouragements from the sidelines.

At the moment, the trio were rehearsing the first song 'Runaway Baby'. Sue wanted to open up their set with an upbeat song people could dance to. That way people would be hyped up for them and see their positive side, only to be later introduced to their sombre side with the duet. She actually had experience with major competitions, unlike Schue, so things became a lot easier for the group.

Their were no interruptions, no obnoxious remarks, no sudden arguments or intense bias. The only thing that ever ruined rehearsals was the fact Nationals was coming up. Their excitement would sometimes get in the way, Kurt randomly bursting into passionate speeches about the magic of New York. Don't worry, Santana would usually shut it down pretty quickly. 

"That was nearly good enough to get 11th place." Sue claimed as the performance ended, shouting through her bullhorn. Sure, it sounded like an insult, but that was one of the nicest things a person like Sue could say to another person. "Good job."

Finn, Artie and Sam all high fived as the others breathed heavily, trying to regain their breath after such intense moves. It was worth it in the end because, my God, it looked amazing. But it was a hell of a lot of work and it was truly exhausting. After every run through they had to sit down for a minute or two just to regulate their breathing.

"One more run through and we're done." Tina smiled.

"One more week and we're in NYC!" Kurt cheered. "Oh my God I'm so excited, seriously-"

"We know, we know, you can talk about other things gay face." Santana teased as she threw a sweaty arm around Kurt's shoulders.

"We should let him off his leash now. I mean, it is only a week. That's sick, yo." Artie announced and everyone cheered.

"It actually is, I'm pretty excited." Quinn admitted.

"Sucks Rachel will be there, though." Finn muttered.

"Who cares? I wanna see the Empire tower." Brittany beamed.

"The Empire State Building?" Mercedes clarified, and Brittany shook her head in response. A mystery.

"Britt's right, we shouldn't focus on her." Sam agreed.

"Yeah, Nationals should be all about us." Mike nodded.

"And our awesomeness." Puck added as he flexed his biceps proudly.

"Awesomeness is not strong enough a word." Lauren stated. "I've only been with you for a few weeks and I gotta say, best club I'm in."

"Even with the slushy facials?"

"I won't lie, I like them. Refreshing."

"Lauren, we like you so much more than Rachel." 

"Rightfully so."

"Okay, nerds!" Sue blasted, getting all the attention back on her. "From the top!"

***

After rehearsals, the gang made their way to the Hudmel home. It was slowly becoming their main hang out spot, since Rachel and her new group took over the park out of spite and everyone else's parents would still be home. Burt and Carole would still be out for a while, so Kurt and Finn took advantage as they often did.

When they all arrived, the living room was immediately taken over and the xbox turned on for a mario kart marathon. Quinn always managed to come last while Kurt always came first, meaning it was really just a race for second place. Lauren and Santana were outrageously competitive and never failed to scream obscenities at each other during each match. Brittany just watched everything that went down as if it was the greatest form of entertainment she'd ever experienced. Maybe it was.

Actually, it almost certainly was, especially when Puck was involved. He was an animal at the game, but not in a good way. He got angry when someone beat him, borderlines depressed when he crashed and hysterically happy when he won. More than one of his glee teammates had suggested a strait jacket. All had agreed to such a suggestion.

Though they could hardly blame him for his aggression when it came to a game with Finn. Afterall, there was still some tension between the two over Kurt. Finding out your step brother is dating your best friend is a bit of a shock (especially when you're still dealing with some internalised homophobia, but you didn't hear that from me). Finding out your boyfriend's brother and your best friend is a stupid jerk is also quite the letdown. So yeah, excuse Puck if he screamed loud enough to shatter glass when he was beaten by Finn.

"You're worse than Berry when she didn't get a solo." Santana insulted when Puck slumped sadly in his seat, letting Kurt cuddle him in comfort.

"Shut up Lopez, I'm just passionate." Puck defended.

"Passionately stupid." Mike quipped, nearly overtaking first place. Not quite though.

"Pathetic." Kurt said as he won yet another round. "Anyone want to go again?"

Everyone groaned their objections as Sam threw a pillow at the xbox. Kurt took that as a no and instructed someone else to remove the disc, since he was still coiled around a disappointed Puck. Mercedes took it out and turned on the TV, which was playing that episode of 'Friends' where Joey likes pizza and Chandler makes a joke.

You know the one.

Despite a couple of haters, the lovers of the sitcom reigned victorious and it continued to play. Eventually everyone was enjoying it just as much as Santana and Brittany, who watched it together every weekend apparently. Cute.

"Who would you guys be?" Sam asked. "Which character? I'm totally Joey."

For a while nobody really paid any attention to him, and he kinda forgot about it too. Until Quinn finally realised what he said and slowly turned to face him with a raised eyebrow. She cocked her head to the side to get a better look and tutted.

"What?"

"It's just..." She started. "You really are like Joey, it's strange." 

"Yeah, everyone is, in some way, similar to at least one 'Friends' character. All of you guys are too." Sam elaborated, looking around the room and pointing at Brittany. "She's like Phoebe."

"Yes." Brittany agreed. "I like cats, magic and I can read all your minds."

"Okay, I see that." Santana nodded. "Who would I be?"

"Monica." Mike answered, getting a few confused looks in return. "What? She's controlling, competitive and easily angered."

"Remove the neat freak compulsions and yep, that's you, Santana." Kurt smiled and waited for his turn. He turned to look at Puck, who scanned his boyfriend up and down and calculated.

"You'd be Rachel." Puck laughed. "Green, obviously, not Berry."

"Agreed, you're materialistic, goofy and ambitious."

"Goofy? I am not goofy."

"Babe, it's a compliment." Puck assured, chuckling at the word slightly as Kurt flicked him on the ear as punishment.

"Yes well... You're Ross!" Kurt shot back. Everyone gasped as if offended and instantly went to defend Puck, but Kurt just scoffed and crossed his arms. "Come on! He gets angry, jealous, bit of a smartass but at his core he's just a sweetheart who has some walls up." Kurt grinned.

Puck's defensive scowl morphed into a flattered smile and he pulled Kurt in closer, smashing their lips together in the process. Finn looked away out of what he convinced himself was 'politness' before Artie smacked his arm in warning. 

"Dude." Sam said. "You're reading way too much into 'Friends'."

"It's not like his description was far fetched, like, wouldn't you have some walls up if your wife was a lesbian?" Lauren inquired.

Sam's eyes widened. "I have a wife!?"

Before the group could really dig into that particular question, they heard the sound of the front door opening and feet padding in. They were home pretty early, which meant the others would probably have to leave soon too. Finn left the room to greet his mother and explain the situation.

A few of the New Directions had already stood up to leave, though some stayed in their seats as if making some kind of statement. Puck just didn't move because he was too comfortable wrapped up in Kurt's arms, and Santana didn't wanna leave because that meant she'd have to stop mocking the couple's PDA. 

Burt was slightly surprised to see so many uninvited teenagers walk past him and flood out the front door, though he wasn't surprised when Finn explained it all. Of course the glee club was there again, they'd basically set up camp in the living room. Carole just asked if any of them wanted dinner, to which Finn obviously nodded vigorously. Even if the didn't want to eat, more food meant more to eat, Finn wouldn't object to that.

"Some didn't leave, who's still here?" Carole asked after a sixth group member waved goodbye and nobody else followed. 

"Uh, Santana, Quinn, Tina and Puck." Finn informed.

"Oh, so the girl that took your virginity, the girl that cheated on you, the girl she's now dating and the guy that knocked her up, who is now tryna screw my son?" Burt scoffed. "What a fun little gang."

"Burt, be more accommodating, you remember how you were when you were their age." Carole scalded.

"Yeah, I do, which is why I know what they're thinking and it's all filth."

"I think they wanna stay round for the night." Finn stated, not really listening to anything previously said.

"Seriously?"

"Well, Santana brought them all here and she's too drunk to drive."

"She's drunk? She's underage!"

"She's hot so people buy her things."

"Oh my-" Burt looked at his wife in shock, but she just shrugged and smirked.

"She is quite attractive, honey." Carole said, which just made Burt drop his head into his hands as Finn went back to the living room. "I'm just kidding." She placed a hand on Burt's shoulder and chuckled at his reaction to such a minor gathering. "Come on, relax, let them stay."

"Let the sex fiend of Ohio stay the night in the same house as his new boyfriend?" Burt shook his head. "I don't think so." Carole sighed in disappointment. "No, don't sigh like that, I have every right to be skeptical."

"Noah's changed a lot since Beth."

"He's 17, he shouldn't have a daughter that can change him."

"Well he does and she did and Kurt likes him so just lighten up." Carole demanded. "Talk to him and you'll see. Trust your son." And with that, she gathered her things and moved up to her bedroom, ready to change out of her work clothes for the night.

Burt groaned and slumped against the kitchen counter. He heard a roar of laughter erupt from the living room and checked inside, just to make sure they weren't laughing at dead bodies or cocaine. Shut up, that's a totally reasonable concern.

Turned out, they were just laughing at the TV. They were watching 'Friends' and saying something about Quinn being Chandler. Honestly, Burt couldn't see it, but at least they were watching some wholesome family television and not hardcore pornography. Though he wouldn't put it past Santana or Puck... Or Tina, that girl seemed weirdly suggestive.

Speaking of which, she and Quinn were sat on the floor with a fork each, taking huge bites of Burt's pie. He wasn't too pleased about that. He also wasn't too pleased by Santana and Finn resting their feet on his newly crafted coffee table. He was least pleased, however, by the state his son was in.

Upon the couch, he and Puck were nestled together. Kurt's legs were thrown over his while Puck's arms were tightly wrapped around his smaller body. Their hands were all over each other and they seemed to be whispering in each other's ears. Not what Burt wanted to see.

If - and that was HUGE if - Puck was to be allowed to sleep round that night, Burt would have to make a few things very clear. He'd already had a talk or two to Kurt about relationships and sex, all of which made both parties uncomfortable. Now it was time for a new victim.

"Puckerman." Burt's voice boomed. Puck immediately looked up with fear in his eyes and nodded at his name. "I gotta talk to you."

"Dad." Kurt hissed. Burt simply brushed him off and gestured for Puck to follow him into the kitchen.

Obediently, Puck uncoiled himself from his boyfriend and walked into the adjoining room, closing the door when instructed. Great, now he was trapped in close quarters with a man who stared him down with what appeared to be homocidal rage. 

"So, you're dating my kid?" Burt started, and Puck shyly nodded as he stood opposite the man. Kitchen island between them, gotta make sure there's a barrier. "You uh, you wanna tell me a bit about yourself. Other than the fact you're a pretty well known man about town who knocked up my step son's girlfriend."

"Mhm, yeah, that whole thing was like..." Puck gulped. "Bad."

"That's definitely one word for it."

"But I'm totally different now. And Kurt's different from the other girls, and Quinn."

"How so?"

"Well he's a dude, never been with one of those before so it's gotta mean something, come on." Puck explained. "Plus, I actually like him. A lot. He's perfect."

"Don't give me any crap." Burt leaned over the island and further intimidated Puck. Not necessary, he was already considering jumping out the window just to escape.

"I- I'm not." Puck defended shakily. "I like him. I'm not in this for anything like... You know... Sexual." He whispered the last word. Burt scowled, so Puck tried to make things better. "Not that he's not sexy!" That did not make things better. "He totally is." Digging his own grave here. "It's just like, I want more. I've never wanted more before."

"I find out you're lying to me, I'll hurt you. But if I find out you've upset him in any way at all, I'll do a hell of a lot worse that." Burt threatened. "Kurt's sensitive, he's a good kid, I don't want him to end up with someone who can't appreciate that."

"And I totally do." Puck nodded. "He's amazing."

"Okay..." Burt nodded back. "Okay." He sighed and leant back, letting Puck breathe a breath of relief. "Okay, you and the others can stay round the night if you need to." He pointed in Puck's direction when the kids face lit up. "No funny business."

"Of course not." Puck smiled.

"Good." Burt crossed his arms. "Because I still have my shotgun."

"That is awesome." Puck praised. Burt raised an eyebrow in questioning as Puck stepped forward. "What make you got?"

***

The overnight quests were all issued sleeping bags so they could sleep in the living room together, though they probably wouldn't get up to much sleeping. Their 'Friends' marathon was still going strong and their intermittent conversations were too. Plus, the sleeping bags didn't end up being of much use to many of them anyway.

Quinn discarded hers and slipped in with Tina, both sat upright in it to continue eating the stolen pie and watching the TV. Finn just cuddled up on the armchair with a huge, fluffy hoodie on for warmth. Santana, of course, made her claim on the couch and laid horizontally on it to ensure nobody tried to impeach upon her territory. She was covered by all the blankets she could locate in the house. There were a lot.

Kurt was sat on his sleeping bag on the floor with his back pressed against the couch. Santanta's legs sometimes pressed into the back of his head, but he would just give her a warning slap so she'd laugh and roll away. He was too busy worrying about Burt's little conversation with Puck to really worry about anything else anyway.

As the credits rolled for another 'Friends' episode, midnight was rolling around and Puck had officially been held captive in that kitchen for a full hour. It was starting to become a real concern when Puck finally came in, smile plastered on his face. He walked over to Kurt and sat beside him, wrapping an arm around his waist. 

"Uh, hello?" Kurt asked as he stared at Puck. "You're in one piece."

"Yeah, I love your dad, he's such a badass." Puck beamed.

"Yes, he is." 

"Plus, he totally loves me."

"Really?" Finn looked over at Puck and tsked. "No way."

"Yes way, we're like friends now."

"That's insane, you impressed the big man." Santana smirked. "I never expected you to be a people pleaser."

"What about his reputation made you think he didn't enjoy pleasing people?" Tina laughed.

"Maybe Burt just took pity on him." Quinn suggested.

"No, we just hit it off."

"It was bribery."

"What? Is it so hard to believe someone actually likes me?"

"Must've been a lot of money."

"Come on."

"Well I'm proud of you." Kurt smiled up at Puck, who smiled back. "It isn't often he actually likes people that don't sell him nice things and feed him."

Puck smiled even wider and leant down to press a kiss to Kurt's lips. It felt like he'd overcome such a huge hurdle. If he could get through meeting Burt Hummel and live to tell the tale, then Nationals was gonna be a breeze.

Chapter Text

"Oh my God oh my God oh my God oh my God!" Kurt squealed in excitement as the gang waited in the airport gate. "It's happening!" He grabbed Puck's hand, who forced a fearful smile back. "Does anyone else want to scream?"

"I wanna scream at you." Lauren replied.

Kurt didn't let that stop the joy coursing through his veins. His foot continued to tap on the floor with unrelenting cheer, simply thrilled to be heading off to New York. It was a taster of his dreams. He could already see himself performing on a Broadway stage, singing fabulous Wicked songs along side the greatest performers of all time. Even the dead ones.

No... Especially the dead ones.

Sitting in that terminal, only five minutes until they board, it was so exciting for Kurt just to be that close to New York. The city he longed to live in for the most part of his life was just over an hour away. He'd get to explore the incredible city alongside his incredible friends and hot boyfriend too! What could be better than that?

Quinn and Tina were already making plans to go to the top of the Empire State Building and have and intensely romantic moment together. Santana and Brittany wanted to take photos in the Metropolitan Museum of Art that made it look like they were robbing paintings or sculptures. Not that they would actually steal from it...

Mercedes, Artie and Kurt wanted to sing at least one song on a street that would make people stop just to listen. Lauren and Sam seemed to be in the midst of planning some kind of prank involving fake blood and the Statue of Liberty, which would either be hilarious or land them in legal trouble. Mike and Finn just wanted to eat everything on every menu that had 'New York style' in front of it.

Puck's plans were far different to the others, and certainly less vague or difficult. He'd been planning it for a while too, and thank God they would be in New York for a whole week because it would have been difficult to set up without so much time. His heart was really set on it, and he had a feeling he wouldn't be the only one to enjoy his carefully thought out plan.

Sue just wanted to make it through the week. Never a huge fan of New York or musicals or anything like that, she was mainly in it for the trophy and the vacation time. Though, it may be difficult to enjoy her time away with all these kids dragging her from landmark to landmark.

"I'm sorry this is just so... God! I'm overwhelmed!" Kurt exclaimed.

"We can tell, just don't pop a boner over NYC in the middle of an airport." Tina joked with an amused grin.

"I wouldn't blame him, I am so damn excited, this is the city of dreams!" Mercedes smiled, clinging to her boyfriend's hand just as tightly as Kurt was clinging to his.

"I had a dream about unicorns and dishwashers last night." Brittany mumbled. "Does New York have those things?"

"Dishwashers yes. Unicorns... Yes, if you mean humans dresses as unicorns." Quinn said.

"Yeah, New Yorkers are freakin' weirdos, all of them." Puck explained. "I mean, this one doesn't even live there yet and look at him, imagine a city full of these." He gestured to Kurt, who was barely paying attention anymore because he was just staring at the gate, waiting impatiently for boarding. Everyone groaned and nodded.

"It'll be fun though, even if we get mugged." Mike said.

"Which, statistically, we all will." Artie nodded. "Like, at least twice."

"I don't think they're gonna want my flip phone. It's twenty years old." Sam reasoned worryingly.

"I'd be more worried about that one." Sue chimed in and pointed at Finn. He just widened his eyes and shrugged in questioning. "He's a squishy dope, the New York thugs will eat him up."

"I could totally take them." Finn defended, but all his teammates just hummed and shook their heads. "I mean... If I wanted to."

"I'll protect you. All of you. They might have guns but I've got guns." Puck smirked as he gave his arm a smack.

"Oh thank God we have the all powerful mohawk to save us." Lauren chuckled sarcastically. "Right Santana?" She looked over at Santana.

Then everyone did, only to see the usually spiteful bitch pacing anxiously by the chairs. She had her carefully manicured fingernails in her mouth and she chewed on them like gum, eyebrows furrowed in what was either fear or worry. Either way, she didn't look well. Not by her usual standards.

"Santana?" Lauren repeated. The girl in question finally stopped staring unblinkingly at the floor and looked to her friend. "You are still Santana, right? Because Santana doesn't usually act this whacked."

"I... Just... Sh- Shhh, okay, shut up." Santana stuttered, shaking out her hands and breathing in deeply.

"What the hell is happening?" Mercedes asked.

"Santana Annabel Lopez-"

"That's not my middle name."

"Santana It Is Now Lopez," Puck continued. "Are you... Scared of flying?"

The group gasped in realisation and Santana violently shook her head in adamant denial. Even as Sam started poking her arm mockingly she shook and sighed and just looked generally exhausted and frightened.

"I'm- I'm not okay it's just... I'm... Ugh." 

"You sound like Quinn when T brings up sex." Mike laughed.

"Shut up Chang! I've just never flown before, leave me alone."

"We will never leave you alone." Finn smirked. "Ever, this is gold."

"It's not..." Santana looked around in fear. "It's a reasonable concern, planes crash all the time."

"They really don't."

"Like you know!"

"Flight 24 now boarding." The overhead speakers announced, causing Santana to flinch and the others to giggle at her reaction.

"I will go all Lima Heights Adjacent on you." Santana threatened weakly.

"Aww, my baby's scared." Brittany comforted, she wrapped an arm around Santana's shoulders and pulled her in as they all prepared to board. "I'll protect you from the mean robot bird."

"It's..." Santana breathed and smiled at Brittany. Why correct her when she didn't care? She just liked the warmth enveloping her and the familiarity of the kind hold. It was good enough, safe enough. "Thank you, Britt."

***

The flight was short, sweet and safe. It didn't crash, thought they did encounter some turbulence that made Santana freak out so much she was asked by a flight attendant to stop scaring other passengers. At least it meant the others would always have a comeback to her never ending throng of insults aimed at them.

When they did arrive it was spellbinding. None of them had ever been to New York before, so the airport alone made them feel transported to a whole new world. It was clean and white and fabulously decorated. There were shops inside it that the group couldn't even find in the most exclusive of malls in Ohio.

As they made their way through the large building, they collected every tourist leaflet and pretty postcard they could see. Mercedes and Kurt went on an absolute rampage that cleared out half the stores within 5 minutes of arrival. It was rather impressive and they certainly could've kept going, but they had to leave eventually.

And they were so thankful to be dragged out, because the actual city streets of New York were so much more incredible. They were bustling with life, light and strange acts that would only be welcomed in this city. A few statues came to life to ask for money, they decided to avoid all of them. Except Sam, Sam liked them and asked for business cards a couple times too.

Turned out, Sue didn't hate the city nearly as much as she expected. In fact, she was the one to suggest exploring Times Square before heading to their hotel. So explore it they did! They covered as much of it as they could, they even jumped into a few water fountains just to ensure they didn't miss anything.

Brittany took some pictures to show to Lord Tubbington when they returned while Santana people watched. Kurt, Quinn and Mercedes focused their attention on the shops, leaving Puck, Tina and Sam to get way too excited over the sweet stores and street magicians. Mike and Finn started on the restaurants, cafes and food trucks. Lauren wheeled Artie around every which way as they screamed the lyrics to 'Empire State Of Mind', even Sue was enjoying the many sights the square had to offer. 

After a while, however, they knew it was time to check into the hotel. Exploring one of the greatest cities in the world just wasn't much fun when they had to haul all their crap along with them. Finn was nearly robbed three times before Sue instructed everyone to get into a tight group and began their walk. They would look more tomorrow.

"Even the hotel looks magical!" Kurt clapped, bouncing on the spot, fueled by all the incredible things surrounding him in Times Square.

They were simply standing in the lobby of their hotel, but Kurt wasn't wrong. It was spacey and luxurious, decorated in white, glass and other fancy things Puck didn't know the name of.

"Nicest place I've ever stayed in." Puck agreed. He wrapped his arms around his boyfriend from behind to keep him from getting too overexcited. Bit late for that. "We get to share a room, right?"

"Girls in one, boys in another and I get my own." Sue informed as the lady on the other side of the desk sorted out their room. "You may have to share some beds, I can afford more than sweater vest but this is New York, I'm not made of money."

"Not an issue." Santana high five Brittany.

"Definitely not." Tina hugged Quinn.

"Yeah, I ain't complaining either." Puck whispered into Kurt's ear, making the smaller boy giggle.

"Don't bang while we're in the room." Sam and Mercedes said at the same time to whatever couples they'd be sharing rooms with. Fair request.

"Hey, I was talking about cuddling!" Puck defended. "Totally wasn't talking about cuddling." He whispered to Kurt again.

"We have some class." Tina said. Then she and Santana exchanged glances and burst into laughter immediately.

"Well, well, well." A voice echoed from behind the group.

They all slowly turned around, only to come face to face with the entire Vocal Adrenaline team. They were all standing in intimidating poses, glaring at the New Directions with ferocity in their eyes and the stench of hate just oozing from them. 

Front and centre, as expected, stood Jesse and Rachel side by side. Their hands were intertwined and their smug little smirks were almost identical. It was ridiculously creepy, though they certainly looked like they were made for each other.

By Satan.

"Okay, what is with that line?" Kurt asked in disbelief. "Do you think this is an action movie, or something? We're show choirs."

"No, we're a show choir, you're a joke." Jesse smiled.

"And though we despise having to see your loser faces since it truly depresses us, I must say it is quite nice to see you all here." Rachel stepped forward. "Because that means it's official. Nationals is right around the corner and we now officially have the opportunity to humiliate you to a New York crowd."

"In case you forgot, we won at Regionals." Mike pointed out.

"Yeah, and the fact that you weren't involved certainly helped us." Finn stood up and walked towards his ex girlfriend. "We don't need you." She gulped. "I dont need you."

"Like she cares." Jesse said, pulling Rachel closer to his side. She looked slightly speechless, saddened by Finn's words, though she quickly straightened up and glared them down again. "She was too good for you all, and Regionals was a fluke."

"You keep telling yourself that." Sam spat.

"And you keep telling yourselves that you're actually any good." Jesse returned. "News flash: being gay, fat, racially ambiguous and stupid doesn't make you more special or any better than us." He breathed a laugh. "Rag tag underdogs aren't cool anymore, they're pathetic."

"Well... News flash for you." Artie started. "We aren't better because we're diverse, we're better because we're better. Don't excuse yourself, yo, you're just... Bad."

"And you're just threatened by people who actually have talent." Rachel grinned patronisingly.

"Okay, here are your rooms." Sue started handing out keycards to everyone, while the group continued to stare down Vocal Adrenaline. "Huh." She noticed. "You." She looked Rachel up and down before scoffing. "You look hideous." And she walked away towards her room.

The rest of the group just cackled at the stupid insult and turned away to their own rooms, leaving Rachel to pick up her jaw and dignity from the floor.

Of course, the rooms were gorgeous. The girls settled in so quickly, throwing their stuff wherever the hell they wanted and not picking beds. There were two queen sized beds and a couch, but honestly they'd probably all fall asleep on the same surface while cuddled up to each other. They were close, sleep came easy to them and they'd be up all night chatting anyway so who cared?

The boys, on the other hand, were less free and easy about it. In fact, the minute they entered their own two queens and one couch room, they fought for their own spots. Finn leaped onto one bed, followed closely by Mike who immediately spread himself out across the duvet. Kurt claimed the other bed as he 'couldn't sleep on a couch, so you have any idea how bad that is for your posture?', and Puck joined him too.

"You wanna be here when I start blowing him?" Puck asked Sam when he tried to get onto the bed too, but he shook his head and backed away. No, he did not wanna be there.

Of course, Puck and Kurt wouldn't actually be doing such things, they weren't doing such things at all anyway, not yet. But the concept put other people off trying to take their space, so Puck used it to his advantage. Eventually, they won! Kurt and Puck had one queen, Finn and Mike had the other with Artie sleeping at their feet and Sam took the couch.

With all that over, they could just admire the view from their window for a bit before going to the girls room to hang out. Planning their Nationals routine, exploring the fantastic city, hanging out with the people they cared for most and destroying Rachel Berry...

New York was gonna be fun.

Chapter Text

Quinn woke up in the New York hotel room, one arm thrown over the side of the bed and the other relaxing on her stomach. Tina's body was wrapped tightly around hers, legs and arms knitted into hers. The girl was like a virus, clinging to a life form until it could be forcibly removed. Quinn didn't particularly want to remove her though.

The first official full day in NYC had arrived for the New Directions, and they were very excited. Particularly the previously mentioned couple, who had been planning on seeing the Empire State Building together since Regionals. The view would be beautiful, the soft breeze would be refreshing and the moment would be perfectly romantic.

"Quinny." Tina whispered into Quinn's neck, still coated in the darkness of the room in the early morning.

"Good morning, sweetheart." Quinn softly chuckled. She gently ran a hand through the Asian girl's hair and pressed a kiss into her temple. "You're up early, considering your track record."

"I wan' back sweep." She mumbled back dazily.

Tina then rolled over so she was atop her girlfriend, who squealed at the sudden intrusion and started cackling. This certainly woke Tina up, so she started laughing right back while holding Quinn tighter and kissing all over her face. Not realising quite how close to the edge they were, the girls kept laughing and kissing and tickling until they fell right off the bed.

It was Tina's turn to be held beneath Quinn, who took advantage to pin her down and straddle the girl's hips. They continued to chuckle loudly, especially when Quinn found Tina's weak spot and started to tickle it relentlessly. Just one blonde and black blurr of giggles and tongues, the cackles eventually forced everyone else from their slumber.

"Oh my dear God." Santana mumbled as she rolled over to look at the girls on the floor. "You are so lucky I'm too tired to move right now or I'd be going-"

"All Lima Heights Adjacent on your asses." Lauren mimicked. "We get it."

"It's too early for lady kisses." Brittany complained when she saw Tina and Quinn on the floor.

"It's never too early for lady kisses!" Tina argued.

"Wait... What time is it?" Quinn asked, removing her lips from Tina's face just long enough to ask.

"Like... Nearly time for breakfast!" Brittany squealed excitedly.

"Too early." Santana whined, rolling over and accidentally kicking something. When she bolted upright to check it wasn't a rodent that needed some serious battering, she saw the still unconscious form of Mercedes Jones. "How did she sleep through that gay fest, my ears are still ringing."

"She likes her sleep." Lauren explained. "Should we wake her up."

"Well, we're gonna need to go downstairs to eat soon and-"

Suddenly a loud banging sounded from the door, making all the girls jump in shock. The banging didn't let up, and it was soon accompanied by the shouting of male voices chanting something very, very stupid. It actually sounded a lot like 'breakfast' just... Over and over again. Very original.

When Santana peeled her eyes away from the door, she saw that Mercedes was still asleep. Okay, she needed to study under this woman, she was seriously impressive. Even when Britt got up to open the door and the Glee boys swarmed in, Mercedes didn't stir.

"Breakfast!" Finn yelled. "Come on!"

"Other people are staying in this hotel, shut the hell up!" Santana scalded, much to Mike's amusement.

"Come on, don't you wanna eat?" He asked.

"I apologise." Kurt said as he walked into the room, arms crossed in disappointment. "I tried to stop them."

"He did. He failed." Puck announced, pointing at Mercedes. "She dead?"

"Yup." Tina nodded.

"Cool, can we poke her?" Artie laughed. 

"No, we need pillows." Sam informed as he plucked a pillow from Lauren's back. "Tina, pin her down, everyone... Grab one."

They all grabbed a pillow or particularly fluffy blanket and Tina, as instructed, pinned Mercedes down. Then they all attacked her with the pillows, laughing loudly as she continued to rest. Then slowly wake. Then laugh just as loudly as them as she grabbed the pillow from Sam's hand and started attacking him right back.

Before complete chaos could descend the group, Finn got way too excited over breakfast again and led them all to the downstairs dining area. Sue was already sat there with a vile looking protein shaker and sunglasses on for whatever reason. They gave her a quick wave before setting loose on the buffet.

Kurt, Santana, Quinn and Artie were sensible with their portions: toast, fruit, maybe a yoghurt, they knew their limits. So when they saw everyone else walk to their table with plates so full of food they could barely stand, the four just giggled at the insane amounts. 

"They'll run out of bacon before 9 with you animals running rampant." Kurt joked.

"That's right babe, I'm an animal." Puck winked, much to the disgust of Tina and Quinn. "Hey, you can't judge, you were straddling each other when we walked in earlier."

"Walked in? You mean when you morons tried to knock the door down?" Quinn smirked.

"Chanting like the kids in Lord of the Flies." Tina mocked.

"We aren't kids. We're men. King of the Flies!" Puck boomed, and Kurt immediately gave him smack on the bicep and told him to calm down.

"More like king of the losers." Rachel chuckles as she entered the room. Right on schedule. "You won't win with a diet like that."

"A few of you could certainly stand to lose a couple pounds." Jesse said as he walked alongside her. "Or stop dying your hair yellow, that might make you..." He looked at Quinn. "Look slightly less-"

"Watch what you say right now." Tina warned.

"We could all take you." Lauren stated. "I'm a wrestler."

"Why wrestle him when you could just sit on him?" Rachel laughed. "I can't believe they chose you to replace me."

"I'm not a replacement, I'm an improvement." Lauren corrected.

"Mhm." Mercedes clicked her fingers. "Now we got some places to be and some sights to see." She stood up. "So move your skinny white ass outta the way."

"You know, you should really be rehearsing." Jesse said.

"Rehearsing is gay." Puck insulted.

"Y.. What? I- I..." Jesse stuttered, not quite used to such stupid comebacks. "Y- You're gay!"

"Yep." Kurt smirked, high fiving Puck.

***

The group finished breakfast, took the bus through the city and reached the Empire State Building, their landmark for the day. Standing outside it made them all gawk, amazed by the sheer size of such an incredible building. Sam said it was the same size of, like, a hundred of him. Mathematics...

With the building looming over them, the New Directions began to race towards it while Sue distracted herself with the surroundings. She considered the large tower insignificant, which wasn't surprising for her. So the group, being unsupervised, loud and excited, breached the building. 

A few staff members and visitors gave them concerned looks or disappointed tuts, but that didn't stop them from shouting about how cool it was. It really was cool. Massive and beautiful. Until they found thenselves waiting in a long queue, then it became temporarily not cool.

"Dear Lord this is taking so long." Santana complained. "Does this line ever move? I swear this bitch in front of us is purposely slowing down just to be difficult. Yes, I am talking about you. Stop eavesdropping. Quinn's pregnancy wasn't as long as this damn line, I swear to God, I will kill someone if we aren't up that elevator in three minutes. And that someone will almost certainly be this bitch in front of us. Yes, lady, I am talking about you again, now turn around. Jesus Christ can someone just-"

"Santana, dude." Mike breathed. "We have been in this queue for 10 minutes, calm down."

"10 minutes? It feels like we've been here forever." Sam sighed, and Santana nodded.

"Exactly." She agreed. "Because this bitch is slowing down."

"¿Quieres dejar de gritar, jovencita?" The old woman - sorry, bitch - in front of the group turned around to say.

"¿Quieres pelear, perra?" Santana threatened.

"¡Oh, voy a pelear contigo, vamos!"

As Santana and the old lady started bickering in Spanish over what the others assumed was their place in line, the queue started to finally pick up speed. Tina and Quinn stayed towards the back so they could whisper to one another without the others making jokes. Though, unfortunately, the couple behind them seemed to be less than pleased at the clearly gay pairing before them.

Neither girl let the other's hand go, though. They had better things to do than worry about judgement, especially with Santana quite possibly threatening to kill this sweet old lady. Luckily, they reached the ticket station soon enough and they all purchased their own.

"Not you, I'll pay for you." Tina offered when her and Quinn had to pay. 

"That's sweet, honey, but it's a lot of money." Quinn reached for her purse but Tina clutched her hand and shook her head adamantly.

"You're worth every penny." Tina promised, causing Quinn to blush bright red and lean closer to her girlfriend. "That's right, jerks!" Tina announced as she turned to look dead in the eyes of the homophobic couple behind them. "My devout Christian girlfriend and I are about to go on a date overlooking New York. With our other gay friends."

"T, let's go."

"The gays shall take over this building by nightfall!" Tina shouted in a terrible British accent - don't ask - as she and Quinn walked towards the elevator, capturing the attention of everyone else in the queue. "Then, we come for the rest of the city! You have been warned!"

The elevator doors closed before the homophobic couple could make any rude remarks, though by the look on their faces they clearly wanted to. The rest of the New Directions standing in the elevator just burst into laughter and Tina took her bow. Quinn applauded respectfully as the elevator began to take them closer to the top.

"So dramatic." She whispered to her girlfriend.

"Imagine what I'm like in bed." Tina returned, elliciting a giggle from Quinn, a high five from Brittany and an impressed hum from Artie.

84... 85... 86!

They reached the 86th floor and the doors opened, instantly revealing an indoor observatory. The group were taken back by the view the moment they saw it, Kurt and Mercedes racing to the window to peer at the city below. Everyone looked around the room itself, amazed by the intricacy and elegance.

Tina and Quinn had other plans though. They quickly exited the indoor part and raced every which way to find the outdoor observatory. When they found it, they felt the wind brush over them like a refreshing wave of cold water on a hot day. After soaking up the feeling for a while, they began their walk around the edge. 

There were a lot of other people there, but they wouldn't let that stop them. Pushing past the crowds was easy, it was finding the perfect spot that was hard. There were always either too many people or not a good enough view or too much wind. It wasn't until they started to give up that they finally found it.

It was a small section around a corner that nobody else seemed to be in. The view was astounding to say the least, and looking out of the observatory at the city of dreams was enough to render the girls speechless. For a while they just stared. Captured in a moment that was theirs and nobody else's for so long it felt like time had frozen. Maybe time had frozen, until Quinn felt a hand knit into hers and was pulled back into reality by Tina's deep brown eyes, staring at her.

"This is amazing." Tina stated. "And the only thing more beautiful than this view is the girl I'm staring at."

"Well, she better not have a nicer butt than me." Quinn teased, and Tina rolled her eyes playfully.

"I'm tryna be romantic here." 

"I know, I know... It's sweet." Quinn smiled. "Though for the record, I'm nothing compared to you. You were pretty, sweet and funny enough to make me realise who I really am, that's the most beautiful thing in the world." 

"Well, I may have already known my identity when I fell for you, but there is something you made me realise too."

"And what's that?"

"That the only person I want to be sharing this view and this moment with is you." Tina beamed. "You are far superior to every other person I have ever met."

"You are the first person to make me feel truly happy since God." Quinn complimented. "You might not understand how important that is, but it's everything to me."

The girls spent a while just staring at each other. New York was beautiful and still far below them, the breeze was refreshingly soft as it tickled their skin, and the moment was the very definition of perfect. It was everything they wanted it to be and more.

"You know..." Quinn breathed, still maintaining eye contact. "It's speeches like those that make us such easy targets with the group." She smirked as the other girl gently chuckled at the statement.

"I love you." Tina admitted, pulling Quinn flush to her body.

"And I love you." Quinn whispered back.

Quinn wrapped her arms around Tina's neck and Tina hugged her waist, their lips finding each other in the middle. Blissfully kissing, holding on, perfection drenched every second of their first love confessions. It was like a scene from a movie. The greatest movie they'd ever seen.

"Get some, T!"

The greatest movie they'd ever seen... With an overexcited moron screaming in the backrow of the cinema to ruin the best scene.

"Ignore Puck, that's what we usually do." Quinn said, and Tina smiled as they leant into another kiss.

As their hands cascaded up and down one another's bodies and their tongues wrestled in graceful synchronicity, they barely even heard the rest of the New Directions applauding and wolf whistling at them from the side. Every now and then they'd giggle at a stupid comment, but they stayed melded to one another as if scared to let go.

"I quite like this love thing." Quinn said as she breathed heavily, parting from a lengthy make out session. Tina just tightened her grip and smiled back dazily.

"I quite like your mouth."

"I quite like your hands."

"I quite like your hair."

"I quite like your eyes."

"I quite like your eyes."

"You can't copy my one."

"... You can't copy my one."

"Don't."

"...Don't." 

"T!"

"... T!"

"It's like dating a child."

"Hey, you started it!"

"I did no such thing."

"... I did-"

Quinn flicked Tina on the forehead to silence her. Tina widened her eyes in challenge, causing Quinn to smile even brighter in amusement and laugh loudly when Tina rolled up her sleeves.

"You wanna go?" Tina threatened playfully.

"You'll have to catch me first." Quinn teased, spinning around and running past the New Directions and away from her girlfriend.

Tina giggled and started to chase after her, bumping into more than a few disgruntled visitors. Quick 'sorry' here, apologetic wave there, constant chuckling to subtract from sincerity, and soon she found the girl she was running after. They collided in the midst of a bustling crowd and cackled loudly as Tina attacked Quinn with kisses and affection.

Every time they were together it started sweet and descended into laughter and chaos. God, it really was the best relationship either girl could really ask for.

"They're so weird." Lauren stated, watching the girls interact further away from her and the others. 

"It's cute." Puck said. "They're kinda perfect for each other."

"Nobody's perfect for anybody." Finn mumbled, and everyone else just rolled their eyes. "Love isn't real."

"Okay, someone needs to shove some food down his throat now before he starts wallowing over Berry again." Mercedes said.

"I have cat food in my purse." Brittany informed.

"Ooh, I have a discount thing for Wendy's in my pocket!" Sam announced, digging out said thing. When he looked at the piece of paper he sighed. "Sorry, no, it's just a reciept for McDonalds."

"How did you get those confu-"

"What he really needs." Santana chimed in, linking arms with Finn. "Is a nice, new bitch with eerily large hands to hump and dump."

"That is vulgar, he just needs some time to be single. He isn't exactly great with girls." Kurt interjected.

"What? I'm great with girls!" Finn defended. Everyone shook their heads and laughed at such an outright lie.

"Dude, you dated a celibate lesbian, lost your virginity to yet another lesbian and fell for a selfish backstabber." Artie said. "If you're 'great' with chicks then I can walk."

"Amen." Mike laughed. "Maybe Tana's right, you need to let loosen a bit."

"Mhm, and I actually have the perfect girl to set you up with." Santana said. When Finn's face lit up, she called out an unfamiliar name and a girl rounded the corner.

Not a girl, a woman. Not a woman, an old lady. The very same old lady Santana was arguing with earlier. But the way she wrapped and arm around the woman and smiled cheekily at Finn suggested the blood between them wasn't too bad.

The other New Directions chuckled silently as the lady looked Finn up and down very slowly.

"¿Quieres dar un paseo por este monstruo, mi chica?" Santana smiled.

"Tal vez necesite estirar primero." The lady replied, and the two laughed together as the rest just chuckled at Finn's confusion.

A couple more hours passed, each one spent in the Empire State Building. It was one of the most romantic settings they'd ever visited with an incredible view and the sun smiling down on them. Sam and Mercedes stared out of the coin binoculars, making up stories about all the unseen alleyways and strangers. Santana and Brittany danced through the crowds hand in hand and leapt through the air happily. 

Kurt was stood by the edge. He hadn't pulled his eyes away from the sight beneath him since he first saw it: his dream home was right there, he was right there. As he stared fully entranced, Puck palmed his hips and pulled Kurt's back flush to his chest. They watched together and let their simultaneous joy envelope them fully.

Tina and Quinn were still laughing uncontrollably at every little thing, they strode together around the indoor observatory making goofy jokes. They took a few selfies together and made some more homophobes uncomfortable with their pride, generally enjoying their time. Quinn lifted her phone up in front of their faces and as she clicked to take a photo, Tina kissed her sweetly on the jaw.

Even the singles enjoyed it. Mike pushed Artie in front of him and jumped onto the back of his wheelchair so he didn't have to actually walk. Lauren and Finn walked alongside them while eating the packets of crisps Lauren smuggled in with her. They were loud and annoying to everyone else, but fun and excited to each other. 

By the time they had to leave and meet up with Sue, they really didn't want to go. It took a while to stop sulking about leaving when they finally did, though the memories certainly helped. When they arrived back at the hotel and saw Vocal Adrenaline rehearsing, they didn't even acknowledge them as they headed up to the boys room.

They all stayed in there together to talk about the day they'd just had over some room service. All the pictures they'd taken, all the conversations they'd had, they laughed and smiled at it all.

They couldn't be too disappointed about leaving though, because their exploration of that magical city was only getting started.

Chapter Text

"My name is Rainn Balintrophy." Santana lied, lowering her lenseless glasses over the bridge of her nose to peer over the frames. "I am a very famous art collector with an incredibly good eye for potential and current talent. I am here with my beautiful bride, Lady Belinda Tubbington."

"Howdy, mon cheri." Brittany greeted in an accent nobody could describe as she stepped next to Santana, tipping her large, hot pink top hat. "My name is Lady Belinda Tubbington, and I too am a collector of the arts. I specialise in sculptures and pasta necklaces, though I do like to think of myself as a master of finger painting as well."

"Oh my darling, you most certainly are a master. We are both masters in our individual creative fields and, let me tell you this much, we will not be leaving this museum without something in hand." Santana gestured to the room they stood in within the Metropolitan Museum of Art. "I was thinking something... Particularly gory."

"I, personally, have always been a fan of art drawn by cats for cats."

"Or by homosexuals for homosexuals."

"Mayhaps... By cats for homosexuals?"

"By homosexuals for cats?"

"Oh my dear that sure does sound lovely."

"Absolutely delightful."

"What do you think?"

The girls turned to the woman they'd been conversing with, who looked very average and very scared of the bombardment of information just thrown at her. She was just trying to look at the artwork, only to have two eccentrically dressed girls run over to her and start talking about their careers... And cats?

Lord knows.

Santana and Brittany watched the woman struggle to find words for reply with. Perfect. They were doing pretty well, this would be the third person they tricked into believing in this artificial life they'd created. Rainn Belintrophy was a fancy, extravagant woman with an intelligent elegant aura. Lady Belinda Tubbington was a hot pink clad woman with nothing but madness and ambition in her eyes.

They were going to take the art world by storm. How? Well one thing was for sure, they definitely wouldn't be trying rob paintings in these very impressive disguises. That would be crazy.

Not that crazy wasn't a huge part of this entire thing. The woman they were talking to was staring at them like they were crazy, and they were staring back like they were expecting an answer. Mayhaps... They were.

"Uhh, I... It sounds... Interesting."

"Interesting. The lady says she finds our ideas interesting!" Santana exclaimed.

"That's marvellous my darling Rainn!"

"It really is, my love Belinda!"

"I need to... Move on to another piece." The woman excused as she walked away from the girls.

"Would you like us to accompany you?" Brittany called after.

"No!" The woman shouted over her shoulder, and her pace picked up rather immediately.

Santana and Brittany high fived as the lady rushed away and turned their attention to the painting they stood before. It looked confusing and colourful, so it must be expensive, right? Pushing her glasses back up her nose, Santana snaked an arm around Brittany's waist and Brittany returned the favour.

Then they continued on to the next art piece with potential witnesses by it, to further clear out the room before they made their move. The couple kept their arms entangled when they faced off with the people admiring the sculpture.

"Lady Belinda Tubbington, my one true love, wouldn't you agree that these people have remarkably poor taste in art?" Santana started. "I mean, the work you are admiring would make a fine duvet but it is a pathetic excuse for what it claims to be."

"Oh I must say, you speak only the truth and nothing but it. This an awful art piece, right down to the... molding and..."

"Colour palette!"

"Colour palette! That is too right Rainn Belintrophy, awful colour palette." Brittany nodded. "It may just be rock but that is no excuse for it to be grey and have not one splash of colour."

"You aren't actually doing this."

"I do believe there is a much more impressive structural masterpiece in the other room, should you wish to see one." Santana suggested.

"You're really doing this?"

"You can trust our eye, you see. We are famous art collectors from France or Spain or something and we believe you will much prefer the sculptures in the other room. There's one of a beautiful cat with a large man carrying it, rather awakening." Brittany agreed.

"Oh my God they're actually doing this."

"We-"

"This is brilliant."

"You-"

"I can't believe they think this will work."

"Art... Oh for God sake will you guys just take the hint and leave?" Santana broke.

Puck and Kurt did not move from the sculpture they were admiring, they just stared in amusement at their friends. Sorry, not their friends, the girls they'd never met before who were art collectors for some reason. It was entertainment at it's best.

Kurt scanned the hot pink jumpsuit, hot pink boots, hot pink hat and hot pink makeup that Brittany was currently adorned in. Then the turned to the black glasses, red cloak, black gown and red lipstick Santana had chosen. Impressively put together, really helped their characters.

Puck was just amazed that they were actually doing it. Were they really doing it? They were actually doing it. That was brilliant. He couldn't believe they thought it would work. He'd joked about it with them but there they were, actually doing it. 

When Sue had seen them like that in the morning at the hotel she'd even been a bit shocked. Well, not shocked. More impressed, actually. Impressed that they'd gone with such bold choices and, somehow, she'd immediately connected dots nobody had presented to her.

Art heist.

"I can not believe this is happening. Am I really seeing this?" Puck gawked. "You're clearing the room, that's just insane."

"And what is with those preposterous names? Belintrophy? And Lady? What on Earth is happening?" Kurt asked.

"Well I'd like to see you try this without fake identities." Brittany challenged, and Kurt just scoffed with disbelief.

"I would rather not try to steal priceless art, I'd be trying to convince you not to do it if I genuinely believed you could pull it off." Kurt smirked.

"Babe, have you not seen the cloak?" Puck teased. "What about these outfits makes you think they don't know exactly what they're doing?"

"Shut up, are you gonna leave so we can get on with this and prove you wrong?" Santana said.

"This is incredible." Kurt laughed as he and Puck walked away with their fingers intertwined.

"Goodbye Lady Belinda Tubbington!" Puck shouted over his shoulder.

"Toodaloo Prince Rodriguez!" Brittany shouted back.

"Prince Rodriguez, huh?" Santana grinned.

"Yes. Prince Rodriguez and his gay lover Caspian Arabella." Brittany removed her top hat and pulled a small pocket knife from inside it - to cut paintings from their frames - before putting it back on. Inconspicuous.

"I like it." Santana unbuttoned one of the large pockets on the inside of her cloak, preparing it to hold anything they take. "Now, what first?"

"I liked the first one we saw, it was pretty."

"Agreed, but what one will make us the most money with the least effort?"

"I don't know. Or do I?" Brittany faced her girlfriend. "Are we really art collectors?"

"One day babe, one day." Santana promised, pointing in the direction of a painting. "Let's start with this one."

***

Mercedes and Artie were staring at a painting in deep confusion. They tilted their heads and shook them, ignoring everyone passing them by. A few people just gave the same painting a quick glance and smiled or nodded. Like they knew... Just knew what it was supposed to represent.

They totally didn't though, everyone was faking it. They had to be, right? Who actually understands art? Art was just weird and messy and bright. Especially this picture, which was just a blurr of blue and pink and shapes and sizes. There might be an eye in there. Or was it a warzone? Holy shit what was going on?

"What is going on?" Mercedes asked as she continued to try and figure it out.

"There..." Artie pointed to a splotch of aqua. "That's a river."

Mercedes squinted, then hummed in understanding as the picture started to come together. For like a moment, then it was just a blur again and as infuriating as it was before. Soon, Sam walked up behind them and made the same bewildered face.

"Dude." He whispered. "That's so weird."

"What are you guys..." Mike started, joining them. "What the hell is going on in that?"

"War and rainbows, obviously. It's a tribute to all the gay soldiers in the military who were mistreated because of their sexuality." Quinn informed, earning herself a few odd looks as she walked up to them with her girlfriend.

"Her dad used to study art." Tina clarified.

"I don't like this painting, I can feel it watching me." Lauren said when she joined them too, Finn at her side with equal levels of perplexity. "It's judging me."

"It's weirder than the one Kurt and Puck are looking at." Finn stated. He pointed towards the mentioned boyfriends, who stood on the other side of the hall staring at a portrait of a couple. The boys were trying to pose like the couple, and looked like proper morons doing so.

"I swear if they get in trouble for that I'm not bailing them out." Sue said as she snuck up behind the main group, who then turned to look away from Kurt and Puck and towards their supervisor. "There's only so much money I can spend on crime and I've already blown through it."

"Excuse me?" A security guard approached Sue, tapping her on the shoulder gently. "Are you Sue Sylvester?"

"Only if you aren't FBI." Sue replied.

"Yes she is." Mercedes confirmed. "Why?"

"We've taken two girls into custody who say they're under your care." The guard explained. "You'll need to come with me."

After such a reasoning, Sue understandably followed the guard towards the custody room in the museum. The rest of the group joined her with Kurt and Puck noticing and quickly running after them too. Sure enough, when Sue reached the room in which Santana and Brittany sat, she scoffed in recognition. She knew this would happen.

"They were caught trying-"

"To cut out a painting from a frame and smuggle it out with the pocketted cloak. I know." Sue smirked. "Kids, you know, it's always steal this and con that, you remember when you were their age, don't you?"

"I-"

"Because when I first turned 17, I remember having an axe in one hand and a sled in the other and taking everything I could find from a nearby restaurant." Sue reminisced. "So maybe you should just let them off the hook for now."

"They tried to rob-"

"I know, I'll pay the fine."

"The fine for attempted art theft?"

"No, the fine for attempted murder if you don't release these children immediately. Trust me, blondie." Sue threatened. "I have connections, and you don't wanna see just how much blood I could legally spill."

***

Somehow, Sue got Santana and Brittany out. Maybe she paid bail, maybe she blackmailed someone, maybe she killed people, nobody could know for sure. The only thing they could be 100% on was the fact that the girls were released and the group was kicked out. No refund.

They went to their hired vehicle and round their places in it as discussions of art continued. Not sophisticated discussion, of course, just debates over whether or not any of it is worth the money. The resounding answer tender to be no, which explained why Santana and Brittany tried to take sale art without paying a penny.

Speaking of which, everyone asked them for the details on their plan. They'd explained through chuckles and smiles, stating that they thought stealing art would make for a really interesting New York outing. They certainly weren't wrong. Turned out, they were more prepared than expected.

Plan:

  1. Create convincing identities to drive other away from the potential crime scene.
  2. Smuggle knife in and have something to smuggle the art out in.
  3. Make sure no guards or security cameras are watching.
  4. If they are, use the knife to cut a few wires or threaten a bitch.
  5. Once it's all done, flee the scene as inconspicuously as possible, knowing Sue will stop too much questioning from happening.

That was their plan in full. They didn't get past step 4, since a guard had seen them and Brittany had, as planned 'threatened a bitch'. It wasn't as easy as that though, because the guard had a knife waved in his face and immediately responded by detaining the two.

What did they expect?

Probably more success.

As they relayed their attempt to the others on the bus, everyone laughed at the failures and applauded at the small successes. They also expressed pity for the people who had to experience Rainn Belintrophy and her hot pink wife in their prime. That did, of course, include the security guard:

"Can you tell me what you were planning to do with that art piece?"

"You see, I and my wife here were simply attempting to get a closer look."

"We're art collectors and wished to estimate the price before purchasing the item."

"You're clearly both teenagers here on some kinda school trip, who's caring for you?"

"Sue Sylvester is our guardian, though you shall need be warned she is a mighty strong warrior."

"She has defended our honours multiple times, for this is not the first time we have experienced trials and tribulations."

"Do you have any idea how serious this is?"

"As serious as this art is terrible, my darling wife, wouldn't you agree?"

"Indeed, my sweetheart, I have seen child's drawings with more effort put into them."

"I... You do know you will need to pay a lot of money? Maybe even go to prison?"

"..."

"..."

"..."

"We are sapphic queens with a passion for crime, an eye for art and a love for drama. We do not fear prison."

"Prison fears us."

And then Sue saved them. Again, they did not know how, but they were definitely thankful for it regardless. As they rested in their bus seats, arms around each other, they looked around at their friends and continued to talk about their experiences in the museum. 

Once they'd reached the hotel again later in the evening, they all rehearsed in the girls room for a while before heading down for dinner at the hotel. Of course they ran into the one, the only, Rachel Berry, ladies and gentlemen! She and her male companion Jesse, that is.

"Hello, losers." Jesse greeted.

"What an original insult." Kurt returned.

"And what a ridiculous looking outfit." Rachel laughed as she scanned Brittany up and down. "What are you trying to be?"

Santana and Brittany looked at one another briefly and smiled knowingly. Then Brittany turned back to Rachel and held out a hand in greeting.

"The name is Lady Belinda Tubbington." She said. "And this is my wife, Rainn Belintrophy."

"Bonjour." Santana introduced.

"What?" Jesse spat.

"Are you on something?" Rachel mocked.

"We're on intelligence." Brittany answered with her bizarre fake accent back.

"I'm on something way more fun." Puck interjected. "Hi, I'm Prince Rodriguez."

"Huh?"

"And I'm the Prince's gay lover, Caspian Arabella." Kurt winked.

"I'm Mr Arabella's carpenter, Sir Francis Gethsmane." Mike smiled.

"We're the Innsbruck family." Tina said as she placed an arm around Quinn's waist, drawing her closer. "This is our daughter."

"Charmed, I'm sure." Mercedes failed to contain her giggles. 

"Seriously, what-"

"Oh, I'm Lotus Gustavio Boshwain." Artie interrupted. "You recognise that name because I'm a well known brothel owner."

"I work at said brothel, don't judge, life's been hard to me: Audrey Hickerlow." Lauren announced. "This is my bitch, Bez."

"Uh, hello." Finn chuckled.

"And I'm... Barry... Jen.. I... May... Barry Jenimay." Sam smiled.

"That's right." Santana nodded. "Do you enjoy our group?"

"We must stay together for we are being hunted." Brittany said.

"If the cops ask, we don't exist!" Artie shouted. "Viva la revolution!" He shouted even louder, and everyone cheered in response before walking right past the terrified Vocal Adrenaline couple.

They found their seats at a table right towards the back. All laughed at the still puzzled facial expressions Rachel and Jesse were wearing, preparing to order something. Then Sam felt something beneath his body and stood up more. He realised he was accidentally sitting on Santana's cloak, but he also realised something else.

"What is this?" Sam asked as he lifted the cloak up and pulled something from the pocket. It was a very small sculpture of a man with a sword in his hand and a leaf covering his privates. It looked weird but expensive.

"Oh." Santana smirked, removing the sculpture from Sam's hand and her cloak from his seat. She looked at Brittany, who looked back with a mischievous look on her face. "This... This is nothing."

And she tucked the stolen art work into her clothing, high fiving Brittany under the table.

Chapter Text

Shopping was fun. Especially for Kurt. It took less than thirty minutes for him to wake up, run from the room, eat breakfast, leave the hotel and race towards the stores nearby. There were streets and streets of them, he'd noticed them earlier but been denied the chance to see them due to timing. But now it was a free day, and he would be taking full advantage with an equally excited Mercedes at his side.

Finn wasn't much better. No, he didn't want to go shopping, but he and Mike were well on their way to consuming half their body weight in New York style food. So right by the shops Kurt was obsessed with, a few food trucks that weren't there before were set up and the boys would not be leaving with out some serious meat.

It took everyone else a while to actually even realize they were all gone. The girls awoke to see Mercedes gone with a note informing them that she was 'spending coin with the gay!'. They had a few questions - namely 'which gay?' because there were so many at this point - but they just got up and got on with their day. 

Puck woke up similarly, though he didn't see the text from Kurt at first so he just freaked out about a potential kidnapping until someone told him otherwise. Artie brought up the group text from the disappeared boy, then they started their search for Finn and Mike who hadn't left them anything. In order to figure it out, Artie went to the main shops to find them.

Sam and Puck joined him on the way for their partners, and they eventually found the street the boys were on. Mercedes and Kurt rushed over to their boyfriends when they noticed them, which they thought was sweet... Until they just placed their shopping bags in their hands and returned to their shoping trip.

Artie chuckled at the situation before wheeling away to join Kurt and Mercedes in their shopping. He needed some cool NYC tassles on his wheels, and he figured they would be the best people to help him. While he did that, Sam and Puck carried the bags they'd been handed on their way to find Mike and Finn.

They found them at the food truck. And what a sight it was to behold. The two walked up to Mike and stared as Finn, absolute ladies man, had a genuine conversation with the unfamiliar lady serving him food. She was pretty, she was tall, she was cheerful and she was giving him food: his dream girl.

"What is happening?" Puck asked Mike, who just grinned. 

"Finn's flirting." Sam informed before Mike could. "I've seen it before, he's creepily good at it."

"Yeah, he compared her eyes to emeralds, it's bizarre." Mike added.

"There are so many customers lining up, shouldn't she be working?" Puck said as he looked out at the long line of hungry people who wanted to actually eat food, not just hit on the hot chick making it.

"Should we pull him... Away?" Sam wondered.

"No! We can't ruin this, he's finally getting over Rachel." Mike shook his head. "Let him get her number first, at least."

They watched him flirt a little more. Sam was right, he was creepily good at it. Finn combed through his hair, smiled at her, nodded, talked, listened, waved goodbye and... Did nothing else. Well, except look over his shoulder at her and stare a little more.

"Uh, you get her number, dude?" Puck spoke as Finn walked over to them. 

"Should I have?" 

"Oh my God." Sam exclaimed. "Dude!"

"Ahh, what... What do I do? Do I go back and ask?"

"Yes dude, Jesus Christ!" Mike laughed at the dysfunction as he steered Finn away towards the girl.

The boys watched him again. He talked, he smiled, he interrupted a paying customer, he said something. Hopefully the right thing. The pretty girl handed him a small slip of paper along with a polite grin, which he gladly returned.

Finn joined the boys again. Sam, Puck and Mike waited and watched as his face slowly dropped from happy to disappointed. They all sighed in knowing and Finn lifted the small slip of paper he'd been given.

Low and behold, it was a goddamn reciept.

"There are not enough words in the English language to describe how I am feeling right now so this one will have to do: bonehead." Puck stated, snatching the reciept from his best friend's hand. "Ask her out."

"It's scary, she's really hot. And have you seen her boobs?" Finn beamed. "She smells like kiwi!"

"Okay, come on, we're doing this." Mike said as he and Sam grabbed Finn again and pointed him in the girl's direction again.

However, when they reached the window for the truck, a certain somebody had already beaten them to it. Apparently, Mercedes, Kurt and Artie had gotten a little hungry on their spending spree and took a short break. There Kurt was, talking to the pretty girl.

He did everything Finn did only much sweeter, and took the food from her hands with a lovely smile. The other four boys watched in awe as he gestured to Finn, whispered something that made her giggle adorably, then took a slip of paper from her hand just as Finn did.

The pretty girl looked to Finn and smiled brightly at him, and he smiled brightly back, as Kurt made his way towards them with Mercedes and Artie. He presented the paper to Finn proudly. The tall boy took it cautiously and read the small note.

You're adorable, I was hoping you'd ask me out the first time we talked... Then the second. Maybe you'll even give me another cute, shy wave as you walk away? Here's my number sweetheart,

And there it was. Numbers. Legitimate looking numbers. Finn basically passed out and gave Kurt the biggest hug he'd ever given anyone. When he let his step brother go, the smaller boy could barely breathe.

"Oh my." Kurt sighed.

"How..." Sam asked. "How did... You...

"He's unintimidating, complimentative and adorable!" Mercedes answered, pinching Kurt's cheek. "It's a super power really."

"Dude, you need to teach me how to do that." Mike gawked.

"Just be gay and proud, you'll attract homophobes and girls with incredible taste." Kurt teased as he wrapped an arm around Mercedes.

"A girl asked him out earlier." Artie informed.

"Babe, I knew you were hot but I didn't know you had game." Puck smirked. He played it off as a joke, but the possessive embrace he pulled his boyfriend into said it all.

"You guys done with shopping now?" Sam checked.

"Totally..." Artie answered, waiting for the guys to sigh in relief. "Not."

"Maybe never." Kurt added.

"But good news, now you guys can join us in our endeavours." Mercedes cheered. She grabbed Sam's hand and dragged him through the crowds towards the next store.

Artie wasn't quite as into the shopping as Kurt and Mercedes, but he certainly liked seeing Mike's face when he informed him that he wouldn't be excluded. He instructed said Asian boy to push him alongside Mercedes, and soon Finn pried his eyes from the pretty girl long enough to follow them too. He gave her the cute, shy wave she requested, and she beamed at the gesture.

Puck frowned at Kurt with big puppy eyes begging not to go into the store. He wanted to go somewhere else. Somewhere cool. Maybe a place with video games or music or no people so they could make out.

Instead, Kurt just tutted and started to walk to the store. When Puck didn't follow, he turned back around and made his way to him again. They stood face to face, but Kurt had a sly smile on his face.

"You don't have to go with me, but I'm telling you now." He whispered in Puck's ear. "I will be trying on underwear, and I will let you pick out what I put on." Then he spun away and sauntered off, extra sway in his hips.

In response, Puck picked his jaw off from the floor and wordlessly followed his boyfriend like a dog on a leash. Maybe this whole shopping thing wouldn't be so bad after all.

... Or would it?

Dun dun duuuun.

(Dramatic sound, you get it)

Anyway.

No. No it wouldn't be so bad. In the sense that the correct word was not bad. The correct word was actually 'terrible'. Oh dear God it was so terrible. Mike and Finn spent the whole time lookin at cool crap with Artie in the better section of the stores, but Puck and Sam...

Oh they were in for a long ride. And not the fun kind!

They were currently seated by the changing rooms. They felt like they were trapped in a teen flick, where the teenagers would reveal themselves from the curtained changing rooms and the boys would shake their heads a bit until - bam! - perfect outfit for the prom! 

This was not like that, probably because it wasn't a snappy little montage to speed a movie along. It was a long process of putting clothes on, checking with the guys, getting a polite nod but deciding against it anyway. By the time Kurt had come out in another jacket, no cute underwear as promised, Puck damn near left.

"Isn't that the same jacket as before?" He questioned, getting an almost offended gasp in return.

"God no!" Kurt spluttered. "This is charcoal grey with violet black seams, the last one was violet black with charcoal grey seams." 

"Well they look the same." Puck stated, and Sam nodded in agreement.

"Of course they look the same to you, you're not being particularly helpful."

"Then why am I still here?"

"Because you like watching me try things on, I suppose, I'm not holding you hostage." Kurt reasoned, slinking back into the changing room.

"He has a point, you could just leave." Sam said.

"You could too."

"Yeah but-" Before Sam could finish, Mercedes emerged from the changing room.

She was wearing a light blue dress that tightened around her top half and flowed out at the bottom. It ended at her knees, cushioned by an underlying flow of cotton petticoat and started by her collarbone in a bateau neckline. Her arms were on show too, every inch of her perfectly highlighting the elegance of the dress.

"That's why." Sam said, entranced by his girlfriend's beauty. "That's why I'm not leaving."

"So you like it?" Mercedes smiled.

"You look so..." Sam couldn't find the words, so he just mimed his mind being blown and she giggled at the sentiment.

"Thank you Sam." Mercedes thanked as she walked over to him and leant down. She brushed their noses together in a sweet little eskimo kiss, which he happily returned.

Puck just kinda watched, feeling a little bit awkward and knowing full well just how bizarre their relationship was. It was like Tina and Quinn or Santana and Brittany or... Well, every couple he knew. They were opposites, they were weird, but they were also just so damn cute.

The eskimo kissing was weird though. Puck never got it. What was the point of kissing if you can't taste the other person's saliva? Kurt's always tasted sweet, though Puck could never tell exactly what it was or why it was so lovely.

Speak of the designer devil, Kurt once again walked from the changing rooms. He immediately gawked at the sight of his bestie, wearing the most gorgeous dress he'd ever seen. She nodded, fully aware of how awesome she looked, and he just applauded the incredible choice. He had taught her well.

"Sam, you are the luckiest boy in America." Kurt praised.

"I know." Sam beamed as he stood up to take Mercedes in his arms. "But back off bro, you had your shot, now she's all mine."

"Okay boys, if you insist on fighting over me then I have a few demands." Mercedes joked. "The first being that you gotta take that off because getting blood on that thing would be a crime." She said as she gestured to the clothing on Kurt's body.

He wore a form fitting, slightly see through white turtleneck with nothing underneath, accomplished by the tightest jeans he'd ever forced himself into. In reply, he simply spun on the spot and allowed for Mercedes to applaud him the way he'd applauded her. They looked fierce, and they knew it.

"You have to stop moving, you're giving Puck a heart attack." Sam laughed. He wasn't far off.

Puck's chestnut eyes were simply glued to Kurt's slim figure being hugged so perfectly by the clothes. Turtlenecks were never an item of clothing he considered sexy. Then again, he'd never seen Kurt Hummel wearing one. Before he could drool any further, he heard his name and pushed himself back into reality. He hadn't realised he'd left it.

"Are you okay?" Kurt asked.

"Pfft." Puck whispered. "I'm great." He repositioned his legs. "I'm like... Cool."

"Oh my God." Mercedes chuckled as she returned to her changing rooms to get back into her normal clothes.

Sam kept laughing at Puck and his very obvious, very public... excitement. Yes, that's what we'll call it.

"So, I'll take that as a-"

"If you don't buy all that crap, I sure as hell will." Puck growled, still eyeing Kurt in a way that was far from PG.

"Yes, I'll take it as a yes." Kurt smirked, walking back into his own changing room.

"He walks like that on purpose." Puck said to Sam.

"Walks like what?"

"Like... You can't tell? With the hips?" 

"No, but I get what you mean." Sam nodded. "I swear Mercedes does that thing with her nose on purpose too."

"What thing?"

"The... You can't tell? With the hair?"

"I think we're both just really, really horny all the time." Puck admitted.

"You speak too loudly!" Kurt accused from his room.

"You really do!" Mercedes giggled. "And what thing with my nose?"

***

After all the clothes had been bought, the words had been spoken and Puck finally got to help Kurt with his underwear (lacey, very classy, very hot), they returned to the streets. The group of seven all walked together in one big clump: Sam and Mike were testing out a toy helicopter and getting many things shouted at them when they hit someone; Finn and Puck were planning a message to send to the pretty food truck girl; Artie, Mercedes and Kurt were going over their recent buys.

Artie had purchased more than enough useless stuff, and Kurt and Mercedes truly enjoyed seeing it. While they tried on nice clothes, he rooted through some of the weirdest crap they'd ever seen. Including, but not limited to, a pen that produces invicible ink that may or may not be a complete rip off. Fun to poke people with though.

"I love this!" Mercedes delighted as she looked at the small plastic rose he bought her. It sounds simple, but it glowed in the dark and had these beautiful little golden details on each petal. It was just so sweet and cute and graceful, much like her.

"I'm glad. Oh, and I got this for Britt." Artie pulled a small stuffed kitten from his bag. It looked an insane amount like Lord Tubbington, right down to the overstuffing.

"She will love that." Kurt grinned, still fiddling with the badge Artie had gotten him that said 'New York Citizen'. "Everyone will love all of it."

They kept stroling for a bit, messing with the things they'd all recieved or personally bought. Kurt played with the badge, the boys behind him controlled the flying helicopter, Mercedes twirled the rose in her hand and Artie rocked the stuffed kitten. Then, Kurt softly smiled as something came to mind.

"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens." He sang quietly. He didn't think anyone had really heard him, so he just gently giggled at his own tiny sample of song.

"Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens." Mercedes continued, shooting a knowing smile at Kurt, who shot one right back.

"Brown paper packages tied up with string." Artie jumped in, pulling a small paper package from his bag which was, of course, tied up with string. How much stuff did he have in there?

"These are a few of my favorite things." They all sang together, earning amused smiles from the boys behind them.

"Cream coloured ponies and crisp apple strudels." Kurt sang alone.

"Door bells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles." Mercedes did so next.

"Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings." Artie was up.

"These are a few of my favourite things." Once again, all of them.

They paused for a moment, just exchanging glances, before laughing a little bit at themselves. It wasn't long before they all knew they'd be starting up again, and a few people walking in their same direction knew it too. Some seemed entertained... Others not so much.

"When the dog bites," They all continued as one. "When the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad. I simply remember my favourite things, and then I don't feel so bad."

"Cool helicopters and boys with nice asses." Puck sang to the tune of 'My Favourite Things' as he winked at Kurt, everyone chuckling at the line.

"Puck's not too subtle with his sexual passes." Sam sang, doing the same as Puck did, the others still laughing in amusement.

"Guys that's my brother please stop with that stuff." Finn added next, far too serious despite literally singing what was essentially a parody.

"But it's so funny to see you pissed off." Mike wasn't as good at singing as the others, but he got just as big a laugh.

"When Tana yells." 

"When Lauren fights."

"When Quinn rolls her eyes."

"I simply smile at my idiot friends." Mercedes sang as she smiled at her idiot friends. "And then they all smile back." They all smiled back.

"That was gayer than the original." Mike laughed. 

"Dude, we could sing a verse about anal sex and it would still be less gay than the original." Puck smirked. "But it was kinda... Finn!"

The warning was too late. Finn crashed the goddamn helicopter right into a water fountain. But don't worry, he quickly ran over, jumped in and swam around to find it. The rest of the group just watched and chuckled at the desperation in Finn's search, and the joy in his eyes when he found the destroyed helicopter.

They all smiled at him, and he smiled back.

Chapter Text

Kurt straddled Puck's lap and wrapped his pale, dainty arms around his neck, feeling Puck's hands travel down his back. Their tongues wrestled in their mouths as they panted through the lust filling their bodies, barely aware of the world around them. Which was good, because the world around them was just the empty coach they were in and the bustle of tourists outside.

They were sat cuddled up together after the drive to the Statue Of Liberty with the rest of the New Directions, all of whom had recently left the vehicle to get ready. Unfortunately they weren't the only ones there because it was some kinda discount day for students, which meant Vocal Adrenaline showed up too. Of course, they were planning some sort of flash mob in the crown for rehearsal sake, and the New Directions sure would enjoy that...

They loved heckling.

For now though, there were just a line of coaches that had dropped the individual groups off, and teenagers spilling from the doors. Or not, in this case, because Kurt and Puck were not spilling from the doors. They were pressed up together on the seat, still tongue banging each other's mouths.

"Mm, we should probably join the others." Kurt whispered as he pulled his lips from Puck's.

"No no no." Puck quietly pleaded, planting sloppy kisses from the other boy's jawline, down his throat and into the dip of his collarbone. It ellicited a throaty moan from Kurt, who quickly yanked Puck's mohawk up to reconnect their mouths.

For a while longer they just sat their exchanging saliva and touching as if they couldn't stop themselves. They had no idea what had brought on this sudden wave of desire, but they knew it was relentless. As they continued to feel and kiss and rock, they knew nothing would stop them from-

"Hey!" Santana's voice caught their attention.

She stepped onto the coach and peered down the aisle, latching her eyes onto the sight before her. Kurt's glasz eyes looked over his shoulder at her, grinning apologetically for the display. Puck seemed to show a little less regret for being caught, since he just kept grabbing and kissing the boy on his lap.

"Perverts!" Tina shouted from outside through the windows of the vehicle, getting a loud laugh from Quinn, who stood next to her. 

"What they said." Santana chuckled. "Now hurry your gay asses up!"

Kurt rolled his eyes clambered off of the lap he sat upon. Hands grabbed at him to pull him back down and Puck made huge puppy dog eyes at him, begging him to stay. How were those goddamn eyes so powerful? 

"Don't you even think about it!" Santana warned.

"Come on!" Quinn called.

"We got a lady to penetrate!" Tina cheered.

As they all joined the rest, they saw the the group was staring towards the top of the Statue Of Liberty, amazed by it's sheer height. Even Finn was impressed. She was a remarkable lady who, despite being made of metal, made the clothes she was adorned in look soft as silk. They could barely wait to climb to the top but the queue before them certainly slowed down their plans.

Somehow, Vocal Adrenaline had made it to the front of the line almost immediately. Apparently, they'd bought expensive tickets which allowed them special access, which was just so snobby. Rachel sent a smug grin to her ex glee club and headed inside before she could see all 12 members give her the middle finger in response. 

As they all settled in for a long, long wait, they relaxed into semi comfort. Quinn practically collapsed into Tina's arms, who collapsed onto Artie's lap, who wasn't much pleased about the situation he was in. Mercedes, Kurt and Mike just sat down every time they stopped, stood back up when they moved, and sat back down again when they stopped. It was a ridiculous process, but at least they could save their energy.

Puck and Finn bounced in excitement after betting on themselves. See, Puck bet that he could get to the crown before Finn, and Finn bet that he could get to the crown before Puck. When they had been informed that it would be exhausting to walk the full way let alone run it, they claimed they could do it far too confidently. One would probably be dead by dusk.

The others had a bet on which one it would be.

The only people to not actually object to the stupid idea of a race was Santana and Brittany, who were far more interested in a different plotline. An unexpected, red and blue striped plotline, to be exact. Though nobody else had noticed it yet and the girls were sure as hell were gonna need some snacks for the event.

Then there were the final two. Oh boy that was a whole thing. Lauren and Sam were carrying a weirdly large backpack each, both of which made a slushing sound when they moved. They'd had a few weird looks as they walked, but none were as intense as the expression on the security guard's face when their bags had been checked.

"No, I'm not gonna drink... Oh right, yeah, totally am."

Yeah... Weird. But the pair had a plan in place and they would be going through with it if it was the last thing they ever did. Plus, it would be absolutely incredible to see the look on Sue's face when she saw what they did. It would either be one of fury or pride, both were excellent reactions.

About an eternity later they all reached the entrance of the building and buzzed to go inside, though they seemed to be held up. Puck and Finn were jumping for what looked like a terrible warm up exercise and glared each other down with pent up aggression. They positioned themselves with one foot in front of the other and clicked their necks in preparation.

"I'm sorry but I have to put a stop to this." Kurt spoke up. "You will regret this if you do much as attempt it."

"Babe, I'm awesome, if you think this is the first time I've ran up 100 steps then you would be-"

"Go!" Finn shouted as he leapt off and started to race through the crowd of people in front of them.

"That's cheating!" Puck screamed, making Finn laugh over his shoulder as he kept bounding along. Obviously the only way to fix this was for Puck to shoot off at full speed towards his cheating best friend.

"Please, Puck don't-"

"Promise I won't die." Puck boomed, disappearing round a corner in his race to the top.

The rest of the group just stared for a minute or two before Sam and Lauren got impatient and followed the racing boys at a slightly slower pace. The rest did similarly, taking a leisurely stroll towards the final destination of the statue's crown. As Kurt made his way up with Quinn at his side, he turned to her with a raised eyebrow.

"Did Puck say 100 steps? Do they think this thing is only 100 steps?" Kurt asked worryingly.

"I think so." Quinn nodded. "They're in for a surprise."

***

"Why did you let me do this!" Puck pleaded to Kurt, who looked down on him in amusement. "I can't feel my feet!"

"Here they are." Santana said as she trod over Puck's feet on her up, walking past the onlookers.

Those onlookers were Kurt, of course, and Quinn, both of whom had stopped halfway up the stairs to look at Puck. He was in pretty bad shape, because that's what happens when you try to run up that many steps in one go. Finn had given up earlier on and was still a little way down finding his breath, but Puck kept going until he could go no more.

That's where he was now, sprawled out on his stomach over the stairs, panting desperately and struggling to get to his feet. The hoards of people walking past him had to stride over his limbs, though a few children ignored him completely and just stepped right on him like Santana.

"You are such an idiot." Kurt chuckled. He crouched down to his boyfriend and brushed through his sweaty mohawk.

"You really, really are." Quinn smirked. "This is pretty incredible though, I hope you've learned your lesson." She snapped another photo of him with her phone and giggled at it.

"How far did I make it?" Puck breathed.

"Not as far as I'm gonna." Finn cheered as he walked up to his struggling pal. "Take a breather, trust me, it helps." He continued to walk up the stairs for a while with a smug smirk.

"Damn it." Puck sighed.

"You can totally still beat him, he'll give up again soon. He isn't exactly known for his stamina." Quinn joked.

"I can't."

"What's up Puckerman?" Lauren greeted as she joined Kurt and Quinn with Sam. There were now enough of them there to block everyone else's way up, though they didn't seem to care.

"Are you kidding me, you're up here?" Puck groaned.

"Yeah I am." Lauren grinned. "I'm tough as nails, you really thought a few steps would beat me?"

"Is Finn winning?" Sam wondered, and Puck groaned in annoyance again.

"That's a yes." Quinn clarified.

"He really needs to move soon because people are getting aggravated." Kurt informed as he looked up, seeing aforementioned aggravated people waiting to get by.

"Carry me up." Puck begged.

"We can cut you up and put you in our bags." Sam suggested, and Lauren eagerly nodded.

"I'm willing, just kill me." 

"Pull yourself together." Quinn instructed.

"Yes, please do, this isn't very badass." Kurt said, and Puck immediately breathed normally again to glare up at him.

"I am a badass."

"You don't look like one."

"But I totally am."

"Then prove it."

"I don't need to prove it."

"You look like such a nerd right now."

Puck shot upright and stumbled to his feet to look Kurt dead in the eye.

"I am not a nerd."

"You're not?"

"No."

"Then be a badass."

"I will be a badass."

"Go on then!"

"Okay!" Puck shouted in response, before grabbing Kurt's face, smashing their lips together, whispering a thankyou and racing up the stairs while shouting some threats at Finn.

Lauren applauded, Sam laughed, the crowd moved freely and Quinn just stared at Kurt. As they all resumed their walk up the steps she continued to gawk until he finally faced her with a proud smile and asked what was up.

"How did you do that? He was half dead." She inquired.

"Please, everyone in this group is such a drama queen, including myself. All he needed was the ultimate cure for the overdramatic." Kurt smiled.

"Overintensity?"

"Overintensity."

When they all reached the crown, they looked through the many slits and oohed at the incredible view. It was almost terrifying being that high up, but it was also gorgeous and awesome and romantic and fun. Everyone admired the city from above so intently that they almost forgot about the happenings in the world around them.

Puck and Finn were still lightly arguing over who won after reaching the top at the same time. Mercedes had been appointed as adjudicator to dictate who was the real winner, though she was honestly just in it for the entertainment. Nothing was quite as funny as seeing the ridiculous boys argue over something that nearly killed both of them.

Kurt was right, everyone was so dramatic.

Mercedes absolutely lived for it.

Santana and Brittany did too. They watched a small bit of the Finn/Puck race standoff before turning their attention back to the real event of the day. They were hoping for a fight, a verbal assault or two, though usually those only happened with Vocal Adrenaline so they'd have to wait another couple days for that. 

For the time being, however, they just watched Kurt hover by the edge of the crown, peering over the side with a glazed over expression. He seemed to be so entranced by the view that he barely even noticed Puck come up next to him and brag about winning. Or maybe he just ignored him...

Probably the last one.

"So yeah, total badass. Thanks for like... pepping me up and..." He trailed off as he noticed something from afar. "Hey, Kurt?"

"I am listening." Kurt defended, turning to his boyfriend.

"Yeah, I know, uh... Can I ask you something?" He smirked.

"What?" Kurt knew that smirk, so he asked with precaution.

"What happened with you and Sebastian?" Kurt groaned as the question was asked. "Like, I told you I don't care that you did it and I don't but... What was going on? Did you date-"

"Ha!" Kurt scoffed. "God no."

He scanned Puck to see those goddamn puppy dog eyes again, so he rolled his own and sighed. It wasn't like it was a massive secret or anything anyway, so who cared?

"Fine." He gave in, Puck leant in to listen. "Fine, I'll tell you. But it really isn't that fascinating."

"Don't care, just curious." 

"I know... Okay, look, he joined Dalton the same week I left and we hit it off for a few days before I returned to McKinley. We met up a few times, he asked some questions, I answered them, he offered to teach me some things and I accepted... Then I reciprocated, that's it."

"Wow, it just seems so unlike you."

"I know."

"To just do that with someone-"

"I get it."

"That you weren't even dating."

"Yes I-" Kurt stopped. He scanned Puck once more.

The tanned boy was sweaty from the rampant running, maybe even still a little out of breath. Though there was more to it, something that explained his curiosity with the Sebastian situation. His fingers made circles on the walls awkwardly, his eyes looked to the floor, he fidgetted a little bit.

"Oh... That's what this is about." Kurt realized.

"Not completely. I guess I'm just like... If you did it with him then why haven't you... you know... with me?"

"Well," Kurt shrugged. "Why haven't you... you know... with me either?"

"I want to."

"So do I."

"But it's different cause it's... You."

"And it's... You. In the best way."

"Completely. The best goddamn way."

"So..." Kurt shrugged again and looked into Puck's eyes.

"I would do it, if you wanted me to."

"I do."

"Then I will."

"Fine."

"Tonight."

"Okay." They kept staring at each other.

Silence.

Plain old silence for a few seconds of meaningful staring, before the realisation of what they'd just said to each other settled in and they just burst into laughter. It was the weirdest conversation, and they just couldn't help but giggle at themselves. Puck took Kurt by the waist and smiled down at him sweetly, and Kurt smiled right back up at him brightly.

"I really like you." Puck whispered. "A lot."

"Not so bad yourself." Kurt responded. "Why did you ask me all that anyway?"

"Because Sebastian."

"What about him?"

"He's there."

"He's..." Kurt followed Puck's eyeline and twisted in his grasp, only to see Blaine and Sebastian appear before him. "Oh."

Neither boy was wearing their trademark tie and blazer combo, though they did both seem poshly dressed. Collared polo, bow ties, hair gel and red jeans, did these people ever take a break? Like, it must be exhausting excuding so many 'daddy bought me the wrong colour Lamborghini' vibes at once.

Other recognisable Warblers seemed to be scattered over the floor, though nobody had really noticed them before. However, the real question wasn't why they weren't noticed, it was why the hell they were there at all.

Santana and Brittany didn't seem to care as they continued to watch the scene play out. Puck had a weirdly smug smile on his face like he'd just accomplished something, Sebastian leered at both boys while Blaine only leered at Kurt and Kurt, the man himself, looked uncomfortable. It was rather tense, though that tension was easily broken.

"What are you doing here?" Kurt asked with a polite smile.

"We're here for Nationals, just to watch, of course." Blaine smiled back. "I thought it seemed like kind of a pointless trip but... Who am I to say no to a free vacation to the best city on Earth?"

"That's so stupid, how loaded is your school?" Puck scoffed.

"We don't really care, as long as we get nice things." Sebastian stated bluntly. "Speaking of nice things, how are you two doing?" Blaine seemed to glare at him briefly at that line, which only made him huff humorously.

"We're hot and alive, what more is there to know?" Puck smirked, pulling Kurt into his side with a strong arm.

"Maybe how you got so sweaty, Pip." Blaine said.

"It's Puck." Puck corrected. "And I ran up here."

"That's an odd word for hopelessly fumbled." Kurt teased, drawing a chuckle from the private school boys.

"Either way, I would like to have seen it." Sebastian grinned.

"For Kurt's eyes only."

"You guys seem really close." Blaine spluttered far too quickly.

"Yes well, we are dating."

"Mhm, mhm, you are." Blaine nodded violently, fidgeting nervously. "You are."

"Sorry he's so awkward, we saw you guys making out in the coach earlier." Sebastian explained, and Blaine glared at him again in an urge to get him to shut up. It didn't work. "I thought it was hot but he kept going on about Kurt's tongue and his thighs, he really liked your-" 

Blaine smacked a hand over Sebastian's mouth and started to steer them away in discomfort. Puck was already looking at him like he wanted to watch him bleed or cry, preferably both, as the two boys walked anxiously backwards. Kurt just stood there, holding back his laughter.

"He's just... He's... It's nothing. Someone's calling us." Blaine stuttered.

"Yeah, of course." Puck said through gritted teeth.

"Bye Kurt." Blaine smiled. "Bye uh... Pablo."

"You know my name, Bland." Puck glared. "And if I see you checking out my boy one more time, you're gonna regret it!" He shouted. Sebastian just giggled into Blaine's palm as the boys walked further away, and Kurt looked up at Puck.

"Your boy?" Kurt smiled.

"Yeah." Puck nodded. "You're my boy, babe."

"I'm a lot of things."

"You certainly are." 

"Oh come on!" Santana exclaimed as she walked over to the boys with Brittany in town. "There wasn't even a punch up! Two minutes of 'hey don't look at him' and that's it?"

"Sorry, what were you expecting?" Kurt asked.

"Something awesome, like-"

"Blood." Brittany interrupted.

"Yes, of course but also-"

"No." Brittany spoke again. She pointed over in a different direction. "Blood."

They all looked over to Lauren and Sam. The pair were currently emptying their bags, which had cartons of red liquid unrecognisable to the others. As Brittany so brilliantly voiced, it was presumed to be fake blood or something as they had planned. Though apparently, they'd gone in a different direction.

Sam removed the lids of all the cartons he'd brought and emptied the liquid inside into his bag, while Lauren did the same. They were uncontrollably giggling the whole time and getting a few more weirded out looks. That was understandable considering what they were doing, but it's not like anything was done about it.

What was illegal about pouring stuff into a bag?

Yeah, you look like a weirdo, especially with all the laughter, but it's not a crime to be weird. However, it was difficult to judge whether or not what they did next was criminal or not.

Lauren and Sam went to seperate slits in the crown and hovered their individual bags out of them, dumping the insides onto the Statue Of Liberty's face. The liquid dripped over her features as everyone raced to the edges to see what had happened, and sure enough, it was spectacular.

All the Glee kids laughed at the display presented: Sam and Lauren had effectively given the Statue Of Liberty - the remarkable figure, the historically significant landmark - a slushy facial. They bowed as they were applauded by the gleeks and ran as a few security guards up there tried to grapple with them.

They would be the second New Directions pair to end up in custody in New York for doing something stupid, and what a legacy that was.

Chapter Text

Puck's Plan:

  1. Go cool places.
  2. Do cool things.
  3. Sing gay crap.
  4. Be gay crap.
  5. Screw gay boyfriend.
  6. Mock gay friends.
  7. Wow Glee really is gay.
  8. Great, now I owe Karofsky like, $5
  9. Pay Karofsky $5
  10. Have a good damn time.

"That can not be your plan."

"Why?" Puck asked. "Is it missing something?"

"I don't know since I can barely understand what it does include." Kurt continued.

"That's the genius of it babe. Complete chaos. That's the real plan."

Complete chaos it certainly was, and rightfully so too. There was only one day left of free time in New York until Nationals, so Puck decided he wanted to make the most of it. Since he was the one who came up with the original plan for the anti glee glee club, he figured it was only fair that he come up with this plan too.

The plan to squeeze in everything else they wanted to do in NYC in the 24 hour period before they had to relentlessly rehearse and perform. Easy enough, right?

Wrong.

In fact, to experience even half of what they all wanted to, Puck had to wake up at 3am to set it all up. He'd sat up in his bed beside a blissfully sleeping Kurt, ordered some tickets, done some research, forced the blissful sleeper to wake up and entered the conversation they were currently having.

"Complete chaos is the opposite of a plan." Kurt yawned. "I need my beauty sleep."

"No you don't, you're gorgeous." Puck whispered with a chaste kiss. When Kurt sleepily smiled at him, he took the opporunity to just keep talking. "Now I have you all buttered up, you gotta help me."

"Help you with the chaos?"

"Yes, make it less... Chaosy."

"Chaotic." Kurt corrected.

"Exactly. Come on, we have 3 hours until everyone else has to wake up so we can start the day." Puck smirked.

Puppy dog eyes. Again. 

Kurt groaned and relaxed into Puck's side, feeling an arm coil around him. They settled in for a long night... Morning. A long morning of plans and quietly talking so nobody else woke up. Because waking somebody up before their ready would be rude.

Or dangerous, in one case. Santana's case, of course. After Puck had pulled all the boys from their dreams and recieved an onslaught of righteous objection, he travelled to the girl's room. Attacking Mercedes with pillows was easy. Gently shaking Quinn was easy, though the glare on that girl was scary.

Tina and Brittany just kinda squealed at the hands rattling their bodies, then laughed and moved to wake up Lauren. Relatively easy, all of them, except Santana. The Lima Heights Adjacent girl was accustomed to long nights of a certain length, so she could stop eyebags from forming and her posture from skewing upon the dodgy mattress. So when Puck poked at her face and woke her up-

"Touch me again and I swear to God I will kill you and sell your sister to a sketchy man who can't speak English!" She threatened, pushing Puck into a wall with one hand. Spookily strong, all the other's would've applauded if they weren't terrified. "Fetch me a bucket of coffee and an even bigger bucket of croissants before you do much as look at me again."

Puck obediently nodded and raced downstairs to grab her the food she needed. Not just because he was scared of Santana - though, I can not stress this enough, he was VERY scared of her - but also because he needed to get this show on the road. It would be a long day, but it would be unbelievably worth it.

06:43

After a quick breakfast, leaving a letter informing Sue of their adventures which only looked a little bit like a ransom note, and blowing raspberries at Rachel, the New Directions headed out. Puck led the tired gang through the already buzzing streets of New York, passing by many interesting store fronts on the way.

It wasn't until they reached a much quieter alleyway that the group got concerned. There weren't many roads that were barron in such a bustling city, so finding one rang many alarm bells. However, Puck insisted this was the right way so they continued their trek. 

A little while later they came to get another alleyway, though a light seemed to be shining from one end. They followed it and found what Puck had been looking for: The Shallows Diner. 

The building was tiny, tucked away into a small corner with windows displaying the breakfast menu. There was no way somebody could have found such a place with no knowledge of it's existence, it was just for the committed tourists.

He was very committed, Puck, so committed that the minute he heard Mercedes talk about a diner he'd decided to find the best one. The best of the best, the discreetest of the discreet. Every vacation needed something special, and this was shaping up to be Mercedes' something special.

"Oh my God!" She breathed with a bright smile as she looked at the diner. "Puck, this is awesome." Mercedes bounced a little.

"Guess what?" Puck grinned.

"What?"

"They do tots for breakfast." The minute he said it, Mercedes leapt into action. She grabbed Sam and Tina and pulled them towards the building with her.

The others followed behind her, the smell of food becoming stronger and stronger with every step. They could hear the excited squealing of Mercedes as she asked for almost everything on the menu. She sounded so happy, and it certainly made sense to the rest of the group the further into the diner they got.

Inside the building, it was just adorable. Nearly as adorable as Mercedes' joy. Seriously, it had these subtle pink walls, dim neon lights, cyan booth seats and wooden tables. There was a jukebox in the corner streaming old Elvis songs into the diner, as the well dressed servers busied themselves by the bar. 

"This is so cute!" Brittany swooned, looking around the walls at the posters decorating it.

"It is, 'Cedes is loving it." Artie smiled.

"How did you find this place?" Mike asked.

"I asked Finn's food truck chick about underground New York places, she knows this city so well." Puck informed as he scanned the interior.

"What? You're talking to Dalia?" Finn boomed.

"Yes, calm down dude, she's cool." Finn didn't look happy with the explanation. "I don't want her, I asked her for help." Still not happy with it. "Dude, I'm literally banging your brother why-"

"Ew stop!" Finn waved his hands around in disgust. "I get it, stop."

"So easy." Puck scoffed, walking up to the booth with the rest of the group.

"This place is perfect, when did you get such good taste?" Quinn teased.

"When he started liking the hottest boy in Ohio." Kurt answered as he slipped a hand into his boyfriend's. "It really is just precious in here."

"It has a signed picture of the hot guy from Pretty Little Liars." Lauren smiled through a mouthful of tots, stolen from Mercedes' overflowing plate.

"I must admit, you did good, Puckerman." Santana admitted.

"Well, don't get too comfortable." Puck smirked. "This may be our first stop, but it's far from our last."

8:03

Kurt was still feeling the repercussions of his lack of sleep. He fell asleep in one of the diner booths, and Puck had to carry him bridal style to their next stop. Every time he was like 'screw this I'm setting him down', Kurt purred and cuddled closer and smiled lazily in his sleep, and Puck could no longer gain the courage to put down the adorable guy.

So he walked, inspite of the groups mocking, carrying his boyfriend as they walked through the streets of New York. Finn seemed to be wrapped up in a flirty call with food truck girl, the girls were all gossiping about something or other and the boys were... wrestling? It wasn't really clear what they were doing, only that it involved jumping and running. Puck tried to participate in the strange activity for all of two minutes, before he realised it would awaken Kurt so he stopped. Relationships are just so difficult.

The sun was still rising as they walked. The sky wore a pastel pink and blue cloak as it gazed upon the city of dreams, a truly mesmirising picture for all. Brittany couldn't help but snap a few photos, shockingly good at camera work and imagery.

Quinn, Tina and Mike found themselves dancing through the streets; they jumped on benches, weaved their way through streetlights and lifted one another up over rails and fountains. Mercedes and Lauren had saved some food from the diner and threw it into each other's mouths with cheerful applause from Artie whenever they caught it. Santana was pointing out particularly nice clothing in the window displays lining the avenues to Sam, who complimented each outfit with an impression and a giggle.

They were all so comsumed by the simple joys of walking in the beautiful city that they forgot they were heading somewhere at all. Until Puck stopped, and they all finally took notice of the place they had arrived at. It was a little surprising at first, but also kinda awesome.

It was a bus stop. But no ordinary bus stop. It was a very specific stop with a very specific destination: 'The Land Of Rock'.

'The Land Of Rock' was a very real amusement park with insanely huge rides, awesome music blasting throughout and even band signings on good days. It was very recently opened so still new and exciting to the public, and the New Directions were the public.

As a bus reached them, they all leapt on and squeezed in alongside the other passengers, who were similar ages and just as happy about the day ahead. Their happiness levels did seem to decrease when Mercedes kept hucking food at Laurens mouth, missing, and smacking innocent bystanders with tots, but what can you do?

Quinn suggested they stop. They suggested they didn't.

Fortunately, all the movement of the bus wasn't quite enough to wake up Kurt. The boy was a surprisingly deep sleeper, when Puck woke him up for help with the plan he had to be pretty aggressive to get his eyes open. It definitely worked in his favour though, because when Kurt finally did open his eyes, he was already immersed in the pure fabulousness of the theme park.

"We're here?" He murmured into Puck's chest.

"You betcha, just gotta get our bags checked for bombs and we can go in." Puck responded as he continued to wait in line. "You can keep sleeping if you want babe, but I'm pretty sure we're going on the log flume first and-"

"Ooh!" Kurt jumped from Puck's arms instantly and bounced slightly. "Ooh, I love log flumes!"

"I know."

"As long as I have a poncho to protect my clothing."

"I know." Puck lifted up a designer poncho - bet you didn't know those were a thing - and smirked.

"Oh this is so much fun. I have such a weakness for amusement parks." Kurt squealed.

"Everyone does, Hummel, they're awesome." Santana said as she wrapped her arms around Kurt's shoulders, which he fondly grabbed. "You're close enough to death to feel alive, but alive enough to feel scared you'll die."

"The perfect combination." Finn added, uncontrollably smiling.

"Food truck girl coming?" Tina asked Finn.

"She has a name."

"Yes, her name is Dalia Food Truck." Brittany corrected, winking at Finn like she knew something.

"Wha... Ugh, fine, yes, she's Dalia food truck. She isn't coming though." Finn frowned. "Still excited to go on rollercoasters."

"My three year old cousin gets like that too." Lauren smirked.

"Who cares, it's awesome!" Sam smiled. He was wearing a large inflated doughnut around his waist, which made even less sense considering the normal clothes beneath it. Also, this was a surprise trip, so where the hell did he get it from?

"This isn't a water park baby, you know that, right?" Mercedes asked with an amused eyebrow raise.

"I don't think he cares, look at his face." Artie teased. Quinn pinched Sam's cheek sweetly and the boy just accepted the contact with a wide smile.

After they'd had all their bags checked - no slushies this time, don't worry - they ran into the park. They were immediately greeted by quiet music playing throughout it and massive crowds of excited teenagers. It was covered top to bottom in rides and fayre games, all being ridden and played by similar groups of people.

Every single one of the New Directions immediately knew what they wanted from this.

Task team one consisted of Tina and Quinn. They rushed to the fayre games and started their fun, laying obscene amounts of money to win silly prizes. Tina set her sights on winning an insanely large teddy bear for Quinn, and Quinn was fixated on winning a goldfish for Tina. Don't ask why, girl liked fishes.

Task team two was Mercedes, Finn, Artie and Brittany. They headed for the arcades, going nuts on the 2p machines and playing on the claw games until they got the cool plush toys. There was one plush of a dog wearing sunglasses, immediately forcing Brittany into a state of complete and relentless adoration.

Task team three headed to the log flume and was made up of Mike, Sam, Lauren, Santana, Puck and Kurt, who was properly protected by a designer poncho. They didn't waste time in complaining about the line, despite the fact they had barely five minutes left.

"אייל זיך צו!" Puck shouted with annoyance.

"What?" Lauren chuckled.

"Esto es una mierda." Santana muttered.

"I'm confused." Mike huffed.

"Dal ghu'vam." Sam clicked.

"Okay, okay, I think I'm getting this." Kurt started. "Puck is speaking Yiddish, which he actually knows for some bizarre reason."

"My nana makes me learn it."

"Nerd." Lauren accused, laughing with Mike.

"Yes. Santana's on Spanish, of course." Kurt continued, and Santana nodded in confirmation. "And Sam... I don't know what language he was speaking."

"Klingon." Sam said. "It's like, from Star Trek, it took some time to learn but-"

"And I'm the nerd?" Puck joked.

"You're all nerds." Mike accused as they finally reached the front of the queue. "Get on, let's get wet!"

"Wanky!" Santana shouted as she hopped onto the flume, pulling Lauren in with her.

Sam and Mike followed haphazardly and, completely disregarding the 5 people per flume rule, the other two did as well. Puck yanked Kurt between his legs, making all 6 of them squeeze together far too tightly. The person in charge of the ride still seemed to be shouting at them to get off for safety reasons, but the mechanics were already pulling them away.

It was gentle peaks and dips at first, but that didn't stop Puck from tightening his grasp on his boyfriend at every slight movement. The second everyone else caught wind of Puck's fear, they immediately mocked him. Santana rocked the flume aggressively and he nearly passed out, making Mike's relentless insults all the more piercing.

"He's gonna squeeze me to death." Kurt choked. Despite this, his hand still comfortingly combed through Puck's mohawk.

"Why did I do this?" Puck murmured into Kurt's shoulder. "I hate water."

"It'll be better when you're drenched in it after a very high, long drop." Santana smirked.

"Smile for the camera." Sam teased as they came to another corner, edging the final drop.

"Shut up." Puck whispered.

"Ooh, is that shame I sense?"

"No, Chang, it's not shame it's- AHH!" Puck screamed as they finally slid down.

The water crashed over the sides and pooled at their feets as they fell, fell, fell and bit more and then fell further. It wasn't until the flume stopped at the bottom that Puck finally looked up, feeling water drip down his face and Kurt's body shake with laughter against his chest.

"Over?" Puck asked.

"Yes, over." Lauren chuckled. "You wuss!"

"M'not a wuss, just testing you." He explained as he evacuated the ride far quicker than everyone else. "You failed, by the way. Except Kurt, he passed."

"Thank you, wuss." Kurt smiled.

"Okay, well, now you failed."

Kurt smirked and lifted from the flume. He went over to Puck, pulling him into a supportive embrace and pressing a sweet kiss to his cheek. Sure, it was an unexpected fear - plus, mocking Puck was fun - but it was still a fear and deserving of validation. When Kurt plucked his lips from his cheek, Puck offered him a small grin.

"You passed again." 

"Ugh, this is a disgusting display of affection, keep in the rainbow coloured bedroom." Santana shook her head. "Next ride?"

"We'll need to keep it simple for our sensitive friend here." Mike said as he slapped a hand on Puck's shoulder.

"Ooh, the butterfly ride in the kid's park barely had a line." Sam ridiculed playfully.

"Funny." Puck sighed.

"It is quite." Kurt agreed. "Let's go to the 'Rock and Rollercoaster', that looked fun." He turned to Puck. "And don't worry, nobody's died on it... Yet."

11:43

Puck_U: we're all meeting at the JukeBox for food com on

Wheels: and JukeBox is...

QB_Hudson: Food place.

Queen_Fabray: Of course he knows.

Puck_U: hury up i need nurition

QueenFabray: We'll be there in a minute, hopefully.

Wheels: what do u mean hopefully?

Hopefully meant hopefully Tina will be content with her efforts before they starve to death. Tina was still trying desperately to win the large teddy, unrelenting in her efforts. Quinn watched intently for the first while, then got distracted by cotton candy, then played some other games so she didn't get to bored, then came back to Tina.

"Lunch time, sweetheart." She informed the highly determined girl, shooting small balls into small cups.

"K, nearly got it."

"You said that an hour ago."

"I need to do this." Tina insisted, staring at Quinn. "Love means big teddy bears and compeitive spirit."

"No, it means effort and trust, you don't need to prove yourself. I already love you." Quinn smiled, and Tina smiled back. "Try once more, then we dine."

"Okay... Okay I can do that."

So she did it. Tina parted her legs, steadied her form, lifted an arm up carefully and squinted her eyes in concentration. She held the tiny ball tightly in her hand until her arm was level with her eyes, then she released it and aimed for the middle cup.

And it went right in!

"Finally!" Tina shouted deafeningly loud as she jumped excitedly and pointed at the game worker. "You. Bear. Give. Girlfriend." Obediently, the woman gave Tina the large teddy. "A prize for my prize."

"Referring to women as a prize can be misconstrued as sexist." Quinn quipped and she took the bear carefully, grinning at the gesture. "But I like hearing it from you."

"It's because I'm hot." Tina whispered, making Quinn giggle as their hands joined between them.

"So, the JukeBox."

"The what?"

"It's a food place, everyone's meeting there for lunch." Quinn elaborated.

"It's already lunchtime?"

"Pretty much. You spent half our time here trying to win a deliberately difficult game." 

"Trying and succeeding, don't forget about..."

"About?"

"This is when you name the bear." Tina clued in, raising an eyebrow at Quinn.

"I..." Quinn tried to think as they walked towards the fast food restaurant everyone else was waiting for them at. "Um... Something."

"That's a terrible name."

"It doesn't need a name."

"Yes, he does."

"He?" Quinn asked in amusement. "It has pronouns?"

"Obviously. Respect his identity."

"I'm not naming it."

"Him!"

Quinn couldn't help but laugh at her girl's goofiness when it came to the bear. It was just too sweet.

"Cool bear." Artie smirked, the group all uniting outside the JukeBox establishment within the amusement park. "Name?"

"Why is everyone so obsessed with his name?" Quinn breathed.

"His? It has pronouns?" Kurt asked mockingly.

"I... Great, now you've got me saying it." Quinn said to Tina, who stuck her tongue out at her.

"Who cares about that, we need food." Finn interrupted.

"New York style fishsticks next!" Mike cheered, running into the restaurant with Finn at his side.

"That definitely isn't a thing." Sam said.

"Everything is New York style these days, even those tots earlier." Mercedes corrected.

"Thought they tasted like business and fame." Lauren said. "Let's see about these fishsticks."

"Vile stuff." Kurt commented as they entered the busy building.

"Fishsticks?" Brittany asked. "They taste like salt."

"Who cares, food's food." Puck shrugged.

"Food isn't food, it's nutrition and taste." Santana clarified. "I don't want my girl tasting like seawater."

"Speak for yourself, Quinn could eat rotten meat and still taste like the greatest thing in the world." Tina beamed.

"I am truly flattered." Quinn replied.

"Romance isn't dead."

"Not as dead as those fish." Kurt remarked as he pointed towards Finn, Mike, Sam, Lauren and Mercedes, all of whom were choking down fishstick after fishstick with seemingly no gag reflex. It was genuinely impressive... And rather disgusting.

"Damn." Puck scoffed. "Well, better make sure you eat something babe, we're heading out."

"Heading out?" Kurt questioned.

"Yeah, you too Finn."

"Hmm?" Finn murmured through his mouth of food.

"I got plans for you two."

"Threeway?" Santana smirked.

"Gross." Puck, Finn and Kurt said at the same time.

"No, it's way better than that. You can all stay here though, you know, have fun." Puck continued. "Just had some special stuff planned for these gays."

"You know, using gay as an insult loses it's power when the person saying it is the gayest in the room." Artie said.

"Gayer than Kurt?" Puck asked.

Everyone errupted into a round of nods and general agreement, including Kurt. They all spent some more time in the restaurant, eating disgusting foods and teasing each other until it was finally time to leave for the three boys. Luckily, they'd all ridden the rides they most wanted to before they vacated the premises, and even got to hear the new name of Quinn's new bear.

And Sir Fishsticks would be a worthy cuddle buddy for the blonde.

When the boys got onto the bus once again and headed closer to the centre of New York, those that weren't Puck seemed overwhelmed with concern. Most of Puck's plans ended well, but some did not. And those that did not were certainly the most horrific. Like the plan to not wear a condom while taking his best friend's girlfriend's virginity. Or the plan to try to beat up six jocks with no backup.

There were many more examples but you get the point. He was impressively bad at the simplest of things and impressively good at the weirdest of things. So the question is, was this a simple thing or a weird thing?

13:32

Answer: Simple thing.

Execution: Not impressively bad as expected. Just impressive. In the sense that it didn't go completely terrible. He was able to set all the puzzle pieces in place and the image wasn't vulgar, you know? The image was actually awesome. Especially to Finn.

They walked along a few streets until their legs started to ache, making the stop they finally made all the more welcome. There was a window looking into a restaurant, and Finn peered in with his trademark dopey smile. Kurt smiled at Puck like he'd just saved a puppy from drowning, and Puck smacked his best friend on the shoulder confidently.

Inside the restaurant was the one and only Dalia Food Truck. She wasn't a part of the group or anything, and Finn had only spoken to her on the phone instead of actually planning a date. So, before they had to leave New York and their blossoming relationship became much more complicated, Puck set something nice up for Finn. A date. Their first real date.

"Get in there then." Puck encouraged. "She's expecting you."

"Dude... Thanks!" Finn said as he pulled Puck into a hug.

"Better thank me, I'm the best." Puck replied. "Seriously, hurry up, I got you here late."

"I.. Okay.. Yeah... How do I look?" Finn turned to his friends.

"A little sweaty, your clothing leaves much to be desired and you-" Puck interrputed Kurt:s criticism with a poke in the ribs. "I mean... you look great."

"Yeah." Finn nodded, psyching himself up before finally heading inside.

"That was so sweet of you." Kurt complimented.

"Sweet enough for a kiss?" Puck asked.

"Maybe later."

"Hmm, not good enough. I reckon I can get it sooner though."

"Do you?"

"Yes." Puck smirked. "I have a surprise for you too. A pretty good one too." He spun on his heel and led Kurt further through the streets. "We've never had a real date, right?"

"Right."

"So I gotta make up for it, in your dream city with your dream man."

"And who would that be?"

"Har har."

Kurt giggled and linked his arm with Puck's. "What date will you be taking me on then?"

"Well, we start our journey-"

14:16

"- in the magical kingdom of Oz." 

"Why did you pause so... Oz?" Kurt asked.

They had spent the last half an hour riding buses through the city and walking the New York streets. Then, Puck had covered Kurt's eyes with his hands and stumbled through unfamiliar doors and alleys to arrive here, the big surprise for Kurt. Of course there had been some walking into things and bumping into people, but it was worth it.

At least, Puck hoped it was worth it, because this was difficult to organise. There was the booking, the bribing, the timing and the schedules to sort out, all that after figuring out what would be perfect for Kurt. The boy never stopped talking about Broadway and about the many dreams he wished to follow on stage, he was clearly destined for the career. So this... This was amazing.

Puck very slowly removed his hands from Kurt's eyes, revealing to him the interior of the building they stood in. A theatre. A small theatre with a smaller than average stage and a very simple setup for a 'Wicked' production. There were still people there fixing seats and cleaning aisles, the lights were all off as well, effectively encasing the boys in darkness.

So as Puck stood back to let Kurt process the sight before him, he wondered if it was actually any good. The production was professional, the scenery was gorgeous, the stage was open and empty, it was everything Kurt wanted without the light and audience. But that was the thing Puck loved most about Kurt: his ability to see the drama in everything.

That's why Kurt didn't see the same empty theatre Puck did. He saw a room of ambition and dreams; he heard people applauding him after an incredible performance; he felt lights pour down on him in the middle of his debut broadway number. It was everything he ever wanted from this city in a dull lit, simple room. It was the most perfect surprise he had ever recieved.

"Puck..." He sighed in shock, walking forward slowly with his mouth hanging open and his eyes wide. "This is amazing."

"Yeah?" Puck beamed.

"Yes. Amazing."

"Good. Oh, and check it out!" Puck continued, bouncing past Kurt and jumping up onto the stage. "It's set up for that scene you like, with the green chick and scarecrow dude." He started gesturing to random pieces of scenery to being Kurt's attention to them. Kurt's attention did not waver, though, his eyes remained pinned on Puck. "I didn't really know the song or whatever but I learned it, 'cause I figured if you got this close to a stage you'd have to sing something on it, right?" Kurt started to walk to the stage and join Puck upon it, who was still proudly presenting all the stuff he'd gotten set up. "I wanted this to be like... A taster. Of New York. Because one day you're gonna be on a stage like this and every single chair is gonna be full, just to see you." 

Puck smiled as Kurt took his hand lightly, and they stared at one another for a bit. The doors creaked as caretakers wondered in and out to do their job, but not a single sound interrupted the moment they shared. Kurt finally broke to romantic tension with a hug. Just a simple hug to say thankyou, which quickly turned into the deepest embrace they'd ever shared. Their hands travelled over each other's bodies and their eyes never looked away.

"You really are the best." Kurt whispered.

"No, babe." Puck whispered back, pressing their foreheads together. "You are."

"This is incredible."

"Yeah... It is." Puck agreed quietly.

Honest to God, Puck never expected himself to refer to a song like that as his, as belonging to him and his boyfriend. Hell, he never expected to have a boyfriend, to like a boy, or to put so much effort into a single day just to make a boy smile like that.

Yeah, like that. The one Kurt was doing right now. His lips curved up on both sides, his eyes closed, his nose releasing tiny exhales every few seconds because he feels as though heavy breathing would interrupt the moment. Smiling like that made Kurt look more beautiful than he usually did, which Puck originally thought was just impossible.

With their foreheads pressed together and their bodies so close, the moment reminded Puck of another situation he'd had with Kurt like this. A moment in the choir room where every feeling they'd been bottling up poured out in a flood of sudden attraction and desire. When they'd shared their first kiss while singing 'Your Song', a song they truly did make their own.

"I hope you don't mind." Puck said calmly.

"Don't mind what?" Kurt responded.

"That I put down in words." Puck continued, getting a knowing smile in response.

"How wonderful life is." Kurt spoke so quietly his words were nearly inaudible. "Now you're in the world."

"That's my line."

"You got to say it last time." Kurt whispered.

"I..." Puck took a deep breath, and softly grinned. "I love you."

"I know." Kurt teased. He pressed the gentlest of kisses to Puck's lips before pushing their foreheads together again. "I love you too."

"I love you more."

"I love you most."

"It's not a competition."

"Well if it was I'd win."

"You are so-" Puck lifted Kurt into his arms and felt dainty, pale legs wrap around his waist, as Kurt giggled at the sudden lift. "You are so annoying."

"Then I guess I win that competition too."

"You won my heart."

"Mmm, that's so gay." Kurt laughed. "I appreciate it."

"I appreciate you." Puck smiled.

"So many compliments."

"You deserve them all."

"I'm getting overwhelmed here."

"I'd love to overwhelm you baby."

"Stop!" Kurt giggled as she playfully slapped Puck's arm, still coiled around his torso. When Puck didn't respond- "Okay, you can keep going."

"I intend to, but for now." Puck didn't let Kurt go as he waddled over to the speaker system, earning a few laughs from the boy clinging to his body. He pressed play and the 'As Long As You're Mine' backing track started to blast throughout the room. "We have a song to sing." As Kurt opened his mouth to speak, Puck smirked. "Don't worry. You get the green chick's lines."

"You know me so well."

"In and out." Puck nodded. "Funny. The best thing about me is how much I know about you."

"No, the best thing about you is how much you care." Kurt corrected.

"Maybe." Puck smiled, clutching Kurt's thighs tightly and hugging him close enough to meld their bodies into one. "That, and I can totally do a triple backflip."

Chapter Text

"This is what we've been working towards for the last 3 months, and we will not slack off now. There have been bumps in the road, namely Sweater Vest and Jewish Ursula, but we ran right over them and got to the top. So here we are, in New York City, a place I liked for two minutes before having to take out a gang of mobsters with my bare hands after they tried stealing my bullhorn. But all theft and fights aside, Nationals has arrived, no matter what happens now we must come at the other teams with everything we've got and take them to the floor.

I've said some bad things about you guys before, most insults completely justified and very cleverly put together, but now you've all gotten rid of that disgusting mop of hair of an instructor, I can see real winners here. Champions, even. And if you prove me right then you would have done something nobody has ever done before: Make me proud. And if you fail then I will not stop until you get to the top again take everyone down even harder, even more viciously, perhaps blood will be shed.

So to answer your question... No, we are not nearly there, we left five minutes ago." Sue finally answered, walking alongside the group towards the Nationals competition. "Don't be lazy, perk up."

"But my legs ache." Finn complained.

"You're the goddamn quarterback dude, this is just embarrassing." Mike laughed.

"I'm tired, okay? Leave me alone."

"Tired huh? Up all night?" Santana winked.

"You saw that food truck girl, Finn would break her." Lauren said.

"Yeah..." Finn smirked with a bright blush.

"Wait." Puck gawked, slapping Finn on the back supportively. "You dog, nice one!"

"Puck!" Kurt reprimanded.

"What? He totally hit that."

"I thought hitting women was bad." Brittany mumbled.

"Only if they aren't into it." Mercedes joked, and Sam raised an eyebrow at her seductively. "Don't make that face, I'm joking."

"It's true though." Artie grinned.

"How on Earth is this a genuine topic of conversation?" Quinn muttered disappointedly.

"How is it not?" Tina bounced. "Oh my God, let's discuss the logistics of prostate stimulation next."

"Prostates are awesome." Puck said under his breath.

Everyone slowly turned to look at him, with either amused expressions or mortified ones. Kurt slapped him on the arm again in warning as Santana wolf whistled the statement. 

"What is a prostate?" Sam asked.

"Hmm... Another word for vocal chords." Santana suggested.

"Does that mean I have a prostate?"

"You certainly have."

"You're all children." Kurt shook his head.

"And children are disgusting parasites." Sue added. "Nevertheless, I expect your attention to redivert to more important issues, such as victory."

"I was victorious last night." Finn blushed proudly.

"Same." Puck chuckled, high fiving his best friend before Finn could understand what he'd just high fived.

"Wait... Gross! That's my brother!"

This very sophisticated level of discussion continued until the centre for Nationals came into view. That's when it stopped, because the group were rendered utterly speechless. What exactly took their breath away wasn't too clear, it could've been fear or ambition or concern, maybe a mixture of all three. Either way, it was difficult to speak.

There were still a few people going in and out of the building with speakers and instruments in hand. Alongside the backstage crew were the competing show choirs, including Vocal Adrenaline, of course. They were getting insanely pumped up as they ran into the doors, and Jesse seemed to be eating Rachel's face against a wall.

Well, that wasn't something anybody wanted to see.

"Well, that's something nobody wants to see." Mercedes sighed.

In agreement, everyone nodded as they walked towards the center and, therefore, towards Rachel and Jesse. They prepared themselves for something intense, because that's what always happened with Vocal Adrenaline. They'd had a few more standoffs in the hotel, though most had ended with obnoxious cackling or pathetic insults. In one case it did end with a food fight, which the New Directions totally won by the way.

They were reminded of their victory as they walked past the infuriating couple, waving passively. Rachel removed herself from Jesse's grasp long enough to glare at her former teammates sourly, Finn in particular. The silence that followed was... Interesting.

Finn and Rachel were just staring at each other. Not with fondness or with resentment, with something indescribable as they feigned friendliness. A polite smirk that quickly morphed into simultaneous scowls. The rest of their respective groups nearly choked on the thick tension clogging the air.

Until someone decided to finally interrupt the... Moment? Was it a moment? Maybe something else. Maybe a... Glare off? Who knows? It was a bizarre situation. They hadn't even discussed what exactly happened when they broke up. Everyone just kinda assumed they'd ended on the stage, maybe there was more.

"Say hello then, Finn." Kurt teased with a forced smile.

"Hello... Rachel." Finn said.

"Finn." She spat back.

"What a pair you two make." Jesse smiled mockingly as he slipped a hand into Rachel's, squaring off against Finn. "Makes me wonder why she ever felt the need to-"

"Jesse, don't." Rachel hissed.

"Don't what?" Finn frowned. "She felt the need to what?"

"It doesn't matter man."

"Yes it does, what is it?" Finn raised his voice.

"Drop it Finn." Rachel scalded.

"Yeah, drop it Finn, it doesn't matter." Puck comforted slyly. "Afterall, you got a new girl now." He saw Rachel's face drop and grinned knowingly. "He banged her last night."

"What!?" Rachel squealed.

Puck cackled obscenely at her expression and dragged Finn into the center in front of her, pulling the others with them. There you go, first standoff complete.

***

"Dressing room? More like... Huge room." Sam exclaimed as they walked into their... Huge room.

"Clever." Lauren scoffed.

"Get dressed, dorks." Sue announced.

"Why bother? We're last." Puck said as he collapsed into a chair. "Let's not bother watching the others, it'll throw us off game."

"You just don't want to risk sitting near gel boy." Santana mocked.

"Hey, in my defence, gel boy sucks."

"I thought that was Sebastian." Brittany mumbled, followed by a chorus of laughter and an intense, embarrassed blush from Kurt.

"Yeah, you're all funny." He muttured.

"None of you are funny, what you are is slow!" Sue corrected. "Get ready and rehearse!"

Obediently, the group stopped joking around and started to prepare their costumes. For this competition, they were wearing a surprisingly gorgeous ensemble of gold, black and white. It worked unbelievably well, and Kurt simply had to congratulate Sue on her impeccable taste.

He also had to laugh at his boyfriend's lack of knowledge on suspenders, which he had somehow put on incorrectly. Puck simply let the golden bands hang around his waist as he munched on Finn's crisps. Kurt quickly fixed the outfit by snapping the bands over Puck's shoulders, causing a humiliatingly loud gasp of pain to slip from his lips.

Finn giggled at his friend's pain before working on fixing Brittany's dress. For some reason, those two always struggled with costumes the most. They fixed that problems by helping each other... No wait, that just made it worse. Because now, Brittany tied Finn's bowtie wrong and Finn forced Brittany's head through the arm hole. What an extraordinary pair.

After they'd gotten changed, the group vacated the dressing room to make their way to the empty dining hall to rehearse their number. It was big enough for all the tricks they'd included, but small enough for no other group to intrude. They were all by themselves, which was perfect. 

Beyond those walls, the stage stood with the first group preparing to perform. As Puck had suggested earlier, they did not watch any performances from other groups. It would simply throw them off and they honestly had a lot to pin down before they went on. That's why they did not move from the hall when the 'Party Pipes' began to perform the first song of the night.

Now, I'm not saying that singing an acapella version of 'Smack That' by Akon didn't sound awesome, but it certainly wasn't show choir material. Well done 'Party Pipes'.

Every now and then the music sinking through the plaster from the stage reached the hall and taunted the New Directions. Some of it was good, some of it was bad, but one performance in particular was difficult to ignore. Because it was Vocal Adrenaline, and in typical Vocal Adrenaline fashion they went full out.

It was goddamn opera. No, not rock opera or pop opera or any variation of opera; it was just opera. In Italian. And judging by the cheers from the audience, there were probably plenty of cool flips and tricks thrown in there for extra marks. Finn had to fight off an infuriated scream when he heard Rachel hit that final note. It was just so good... Damn her!

"Opera." Artie breathed. "They sing opera in fluent Italian for a show choir competition, and they still get the loudest applause of the night."

"Of the night so far." Tina corrected as the cheers from the stage died down.

"I really hope they're cheering because the girl with the annoying voice broke a bone." Quinn smirked.

"No, they cheered because we crushed it." Rachel said, waltzing into the room.

Jesse grinned at her side as their arms locked together, stopping face to face with the New Directions. The couple glared and batted their eyelashes as if they'd already won the competition. Maybe they had, maybe they'd bribed the judges. It certainly wouldn't be surprising.

Kurt rolled his eyes as the rest of Vocal Adrenaline stood behind the two in matching poses: hand on hip, cocky smile, weight all on one leg. They genuinely looked like a dance gang from a cheesy 80's movie about to challenge another group to a dance off. If that's what it took so be it, Kurt had his finger wag and shoulder shimmy very much prepared.

Let standoff two commence.

"Seriously, why do you always make such weird entrances?" Mike asked. "No need for so much flamboyance, leave that to Kurt."

"Yeah, we don't care what you have to say." Sam spat.

"No? Well then, I suppose you won't mind that one of the judges is someone that certainly won't be letting you win." Rachel crossed her arms arrogantly. "Not in a million years."

"Maybe not in a million years, but definitely today." Kurt retorted.

"You don't even care who-"

"Couldn't care less." Finn said. "We'll win because we're better, not because there's a bias."

"Bias, I'm surprised you know that word." Jesse huffed. "Since there's so much you don't know."

"Stop with the cryptic crap, Jesse St Sucks a lot." Santana mocked.

"Yeah, your games got old a long time ago." Artie added.

"Exactly. And opera?" Lauren laughed. "Are you kidding me?"

"Are you really going to try and tease us when you look like a black, white and gold painted whale?" Rachel said to Lauren, who clenched her fists in reponse. "Oh look, you're balling your hands into fists!" She giggled. "Will you use it to punch me or sexually assault me, because looking at you I'm assuming you already have a penis to do the latter."

Vocal Adrenaline cackled at Rachel's insult as the New Directions had to physically restrain Santana from causing some serious retinal damage to the Berry bitch. Lauren nearly knocked her out right then and there, but Quinn managed to step in front of her.

"If you insist on discussing male body parts, then maybe you should be referring to your own hands and hips, which are disturbingly similar to Puck's." Quinn remarked.

"Yeah, bet you know all about his hands... And hips... Don't you?" Jesse smirked. "Considering what a slut you are."

"You call her that again and I will tear your stupid little head off your shoulders." Tina shouted, flecks of spit landing on Jesse's face.

"Wow, so much violence." Rachel spoke softly. "That won't look good for your group, will it?"

"The law says violence is okay when hunting animals." Brittany smiled. "So it's okay now."

"Amen, you wanna go, we can go!" Puck threatened.

"The only place you're going to go is prison, by the looks of that trailer trash haircut." Jesse insulted.

"Better to be trailer trash than actual trash." Kurt interrupted. "And for the record, he-"

"We're on next." Sue announced through her bullhorn as she entered the room. "Get your asses onto that stage!"

"Mummy's calling." Rachel teased.

"Screw you, Berry." Santana added as she forced herself to leave the hall without ripping someone's eyes out. Lauren followed suit, still balling her fists by her sides as Mercedes calmed her.

Sam, Mike and Brittany glared the opposite team down as they walked off as well, Puck and Kurt flipping Vocal Adrenaline off behind them. Then Quinn and Tina left, leaving Finn to walk the futhest behind them. And that's when Jesse decided to reveal his last card, the final trick to distract the dopey, hopeless romantic.

"Oh, and Finn, in case you were wondering." Jesse started, watching Finn slowly amble towards the backstage. "That thing Rachel did... Was me." Finn froze. "While you two were still dating." Jesse could basically see the fury radiating from the taller boy as Rachel tightened her grip on his hand to stop him. Jesse did not stop. "It went on for about three months, I'd guess. She said I was better at everything." Finn slowly turned to make eye contact with him. "Every. Thing."

Rachel slumped back as if she was embarassed. Or ashamed. She and Finn let their eyes meet for just a moment, both adorning the darkest of frowns and the saddest of expressions. Until Finn's lips gradually curled into a tiny smirk and his eyes continued to bore into his ex girlfriend's soul.

"You know when I found out about Puck and Kurt, I was hurt. Puck was my best friend, Kurt was my brother, I still had some issues with gay stuff, it weirded me out." He explained with a shrug. "It stopped hurting when I realised what they had was real, not some kind of way to punish me. I saw how selfish and ignorant I was, so I left them be." He sighed. "But you, Rachel. You know why finding out about this doesn't hurt as much as finding out about them?" She shook her head and looked shamefully to the floor, as his smirk grew wider. "Because I realise what we had wasn't real. I also realise something else." He pointed at her smugly. "You're a bitch."

With that, he walked away, leaving Jesse and Rachel gobsmacked and ashamed. But Finn, he felt better than ever, greeting his teammates with a wide smile as they prepared to start their set. It was only a matter of time before the thing this had all been leading to finally happened:

They were gonna break Rachel Berry.

***

"Now welcome to the stage..." The overhead speakers announced. "The New Directions!"

The audience erupted into applause as the dark stage recieved a downpour of light, revealing the bodies upon it. Finn, Sam and Artie stood in the middle with microphones in their hands, looking out at the crowd. The rest of the group were behind them in complicated poses, ready to blow the roof off this center with their sick dance moves.

As the music came in, the dancing set off and the boys began to sing 'Runaway Baby' by Bruno Mars, crushing every goddamn note. Sam spotted Blaine and Sebastian in the audience, getting a good eyeful of Blaine's lonely disappointment staring at Kurt and Sebastian's leer at Sam. It was quite nice, so Sam made sure to put on a good show for the boy, just for fun.

Finn could see Rachel look at him sadly, apologising with her eyes. Yeah, bit late for that sweetheart. As she mouthed the words 'I'm sorry' to him, he mouthed the words 'Your poor little heart will end up alone' to her. The perfect sign off for a less than perfect relationship, only amplified when Finn saw Dalia Food Truck in the audience. That was definitely enough to get his performance looking even better.

Artie saw someone else in the audience, a judge to be exact. It explained why Rachel and Jesse had said they wouldn't win, because they were right. There was no way that person would vote for them after everything, it had been a real trainwreck. Though, they did seem to be enjoying the show. Who could blame them? It was awesome.

When they finished in their final poses, the crowd went wild for them. It would've been no surprise if a girl or two threw their panties at the boys after that! The group rushed off the stage to prepare for their next performance, Quinn and Tina panicking over their duet quite impressively. Artie turned to everyone worryingly.

"Be warned, one of the judges is Mister Schuester."

"What?" The rest asked in surprise, a little too loudly.

"I know." Artie whispered. "But we can't let that distract us. He might not be fair, but if we're good enough we can sway the other two. That would be enough to win."

"I can't believe it's him!" Quinn hissed.

"I don't think I can do this, he'll just be glaring the whole time and-"

"T, you are the baddest bitch I know." Puck said. "You can do this, both of you can."

Tina slowed her breathing and nodded, looking to her girlfriend for confirmation. Quinn simply smiled back, leading them both onto the stage to their starting positions. They stood in the centre of the stage, backs pressed against one another and heads just touching, as the lights changed to look down upon them. The audience waited as the first few notes of 'Set The Fire To The Third Bar' by Snow Patrol began to play.

Quinn felt Tina's hand brush hers, felt her body move with every heavy breath, and heard nothing but the soft music echo through the room. It was time to sing, and the lump in her throat felt as though it would prevent such an action. Three seconds before she had to say the first word. Two...

"I love you." Tina whispered, and just like that, the lump in Quinn's throat disappeared.

"I find a map and draw a straight line." Quinn sang. "Over rivers, farms and state lines, the distance from A to where you'd B." They girls pushed off each other and started to walk in opposite directions. "It's only finger lengths that I see."

"I touch the place," Tina continued, both still walking slowly in opposite directions. "Where I'd find your face. My fingers in creases, of distant dark places."

"I hang my coat up in the third bar," The girls sang as one, stopped and spun around to look at each other, a whole stage width apart. "There is no peace that I've found so far." They stared. "The laughter penetrates my silence, as drunken men find flaws in science." The audience was deadly silent, enamoured with the performance.

"Their words mostly noises." Quinn sang.

"Ghosts with just voices." Tina added.

"Your words in my memory."

"Are like music to me."

"And miles from where you are," They walk towards each other, singing in unison. "I lay down on the cold ground, and I," They circled each other in the middle, dead eye contact. "I pray that something picks me up and..." Tina cupped Quinn's face with both hands. "Sets me down in your warm arms." Quinn pressed their foreheads together.

"After I have travelled so far." Quinn soloed.

"We'd set the fire to the third bar." They sang together, as Quinn held Tina's forearms loveingly.

"We'd share each other like an island." Tina continued.

"Until exhausted close our eyelids." They finished together again, closing their eyes and enveloping one another in a meaningful hug.

The music ended when they embraced, but the sound did not. The audience got to their feet and started to manically applaud the girls' performance, cheering and wolf whistling and even crying. Schue would never admit it but even he was tearing up a little, as was Sue from backstage.

The rest of the group allowed the girls to have their moment in the spotlight before leading out onto the stage to begin the group number. Before the lights flooded the stage and the music began again, Quinn and Tina reluctantly parted and bowed politely. Once the girls had joined the others, they all took a few steps forward as the first notes began to play.

And together they sang 'Lean On Me', a song that took them back to the first few months in Glee. They'd sang it to comfort Quinn and Finn through the baby trials, a moment that they were now able to look back on and laugh at. As they looked out to the crowd they could see a ghost of a smile on Rachel's lips as the nostalgia settled into her too. Then Will smiled at them like nothing had ever happened in the group.

A lot had changed, but the meanings behind those words did not. They would always be there for each other. And despite the fact those on the stage were different to those in the choir room all that time ago, they all still felt the same way. They'd come together as a group and done something amazing as one ambitious unit. It was perfect.

When the song finished the audience found themselves on their feet again, cheering for the New Directions deafeningly loud. Puck and Kurt held hands; Quinn and Tina hugged again; Santana and Brittany locked pinkies, Mercedes and Sam linked arms; Lauren ruffled Finn's hair; Mike spun Artie in his wheelchair with a chuckle; together they accepted the applause and bowed a final time. 

***

The last time they went to Regionals with Rachel and Schue, the New Directions had lost. They'd lost hard. They'd tripped and fallen and massive truck had squashed their bodies and dreams in one foul swoop. It was catastrophic and nearly destroyed the entire Glee club's future.

The first time they'd gone to Regionals without them, they'd won. They'd won't fantastically. They'd recieved three sets of standing ovations along with some serious bragging rights and an awesome trophy. Then they'd been shipped off to Nationals for an outstanding week in New York.

In New York, they'd conquered and seen all they wanted to: they'd expressed love, they'd found love, they'd stolen art, they'd made art, they'd slushied monuments, they'd eaten tots and they'd ridden coasters. It was an incredible week, and all because they got to do it together. Even the bitch outs with Rachel were fun.

Now they were there, standing on the Nationals stage with each other's hands in their grasps and their heads down, praying for a win. The other four groups stood around them in similar positions, all awaiting the upcoming results.

Lady Belinda Tubbington, Rainn Belintrophy, Prince Rodriguez, Caspian Arabella, Sir Francis Gethsmane, Lotus Gustavio Boshwain, Audrey Hickerlow, Bez, Barry Jenimay, the Innsbruck family and their daughter. The weirdest group they'd ever had the pleasure of being involved in, ready for anything.

"I love all you guys, no homo." Artie whispered, causing the others to lightly giggle as the announcer on stage opened the envelope in her hands.

"In third place: Party Pipes!" She said, as 'Party Pipes' were awarded their third place trophy and the audience applauded.

"That's a good sign, right?" Kurt asked.

"Really good or really bad." Tina answered.

"In second place..." The announcer continued. "Jumping Beans!"

'Jumping Beans' - awesome name - started bouncing in their places and happily accepting their second place trophy. They all hugged and smiled and even waved at the other groups, leaving the stage behind 'Party Pipes' with dignity and kindness.

"They seemed so nice." Brittany muttered.

"Oh well, at least we're closer to winning now, look at them." Santana whispered, nodding towards the nervous Vocal Adrenaline.

"They are shaking in their little boots." Lauren mocked.

"We should be too, we're either gonna win or come last." Mike shrugged.

"Wow, this is a crushing reveal system." Quinn shook her head.

"I know, isn't it brilliant?" Mercedes quietly chuckled.

"You know what's not brilliant? This tension." Sam said.

"I know, why is there so much of a pause? Like, just get on with-"

"And now..." The announcer interrupted Puck. She looked side to side, from Vocal Adrenaline to the New Directions.

God, it really was intense. All the bad blood between the groups just showed so clearly, it was insane. They knew this was it, whoever won was better and more worthy of the title, whoever lost was not. If the New Directions lost, that would mean they were wrong to do what they did to Rachel, right?

Afterall, they'd completely reinvented Glee.

"The winners are..." The announcer continued at an agonisingly slow pace. "The New Directions!"

At the announcement the group went absolutely mad. Quinn leapt upon every member she could get ahold of, Kurt and Puck squeezed the life from one another as Finn, Artie and Sam piled into a huge hug. The teenagers didn't release one another until they had successfully punctured at least one lung in each body with a bruising embrace, and the massive trophy came towards them.

Sue took the golden statue at first, but then passed it to Tina, who passed it to Quinn, who passed it to Artie, to Finn, to Sam, to Mercedes, to Mike, to Lauren, to Brittany, to Santana, to Kurt. Then Kurt placed it into Puck's hands and the rest of the group smiled at him expectantly.

"You want me to hold it?" He asked.

"Of course we do." Quinn scoffed, like it was obvious. "You're the reason we did this."

"We'd all wanted to ditch Berry for ages, but you were the only one to really make it happen." Santana smiled genuinely, a rare occurance.

"Yeah, remember, this all started because you actually picked up a book." Tina teased.

"And got us all to band together." Artie added.

"And encouraged us to remove toxicity from our lives." Finn nodded.

"And somehow turned Finn into a person who knows what toxicity means." Lauren chuckled.

"We're all better because this club is better." Sam stated.

"It's better because of you and your awesomely badass ways." Brittany smirked.

"So yeah, you should definitely carry it for us." Mike agreed.

"This trophy wouldn't belong to any of us were it not for you." Kurt claimed, pressing a quick kiss to Puck's jaw.

"Wow..." Puck breathed, smiling at all his friends lovingly. "That's... So cheesy." He laughed, along with the rest. "But I like it, I love it." He raised the trophy over his head and shouted. "The New Directions!"

"The New Directions!" The others cheered afferwards, giggling together as they basked in the wonderful afteglow of victory.

"You got lucky." Rachel spat, walking past them. "But we'll be back, and we will be the toughest challenge you have ever faced off against."

The New Directions all exchanged amused glances before resting their eyes upon Rachel again, glaring her down fiercely before stepping closer. Puck waved the trophy in front of her face and smirked wickedly at the girl who awaited some kind of insult.

Instead, she got one united shout from every member of the New Directions shouting in perfect unison "You lost, man hands!", before laughing uncontrollably once again.

Man hands left the stage with an annoyed huff as the New Directions stayed stood upon it. They embraced in one massive group hug, jumping on the spot through joyous fits of happy giggles.

The lights faded out.