Knight in shining… whatever. - A Puckleberry Fanfiction
“This audition is over”
That word was echoing through her brain and if this was a case of fight or flight then Rachel Berry flew, she ran to be exact, as fast as her feet could take out of the auditorium and as far away from that woman and this nightmare. So fast in fact she ran hard into the rock solid frame of Noah Puckerman.
“Shit Rach, I’m sorry, I was-” Rachel couldn’t even look at him, racking with sobs and trembling from head to toe. “Woah, Berry what happened?” he lifted her chin with his finger, then he looked at her, that way he always does the way she always tries to ignore. That look is far too heavy for her to over think, it’s too concerned, it’s holding feelings, it’s sincere and genuine and it was just about enough to have her collapse into his chest with distraught tears staining his shirt.
He felt awkward, he promised Finn he would stay away from her, but it was Rachel and this was killing him. She grabbed his shirt as tightly as she could in her fist and continued to cry hysterically, pushing aside feelings he’d decided to bury long ago he just pulled her closer, rested his chin on the top of her head and ran his fingers gently through her hair in attempt to calm her down.
“Rach… Rachel” he whispered, “let’s go sit and talk ok?” by this point her breathing had steadied considerably and with a gentle nod of her head she released herself from her grip on Noah’s shirt. Feeling noticeably embarrassed Noah just smirked at her and in an eerily reminiscent manner said “walk with me?” holding out his arm for her to grab.
“shit…. that sucks, I’m so sorry Rachel” he said as she finished retelling how she’d choked her audition.
“You know, I really thought everything was coming together, I’ve worked so hard and I was so ready, I never once seriously considered that I wasn’t good enough, even when Finn told me to be prepared to take a different path I didn’t listen because I thought this was my destiny. I guess he was right.”
Puck rolled his eyes, was she actually being serious right now. “That’s bullshit Rachel, you know it, I know it and Finn sure as fuck knows it.”
At the smallest mention of Finn, Noah became irritated and Rachel became defensive. “And what exactly is that supposed to mean?”
He took a deep breath, he was supposed to be that guy for her, the one he told himself he would be, he’d pick her up when she was down, look out for her, the knight in shining armour or whatever but it was about time someone told her exactly how it is when it came to Finn Hudson.
“All you talk about is your dreams and your destiny Rachel, but have you ever once considered that Finn is not part of that? You are are happy right now, blah blah blah, but the reason he says you should be prepared is because deep down he knows that your dreams are bigger than him and what he wants and if you get them he’ll lose you! But yet here you are willing to give it all up after one lousy audition because of him, you are seriously both as bad as eachother!”
“That is ridiculous! you told Finn yourself, I could come with you guys to California, audition for TV, it’s not giving up my dream, it’s just altering it!”
“To suit Finn.” he said bluntly.
She knew he was right, but Rachel is as stubborn as they come and wasn’t going to be made to look weak in the eyes of Noah Puckerman.
“Then why did you even suggest it Puckerman? I mean you have it all figured out, if you are so sure of yourself why did you beg Finn to go with you!?” she said with a raised voice and a sour expression.
“Because I’m freakin terrfied Rachel! Don’t you think I know being a big shot at McKlinely means absolutely noting outside these halls, I was going to clean pools for a living because that is allI know how to do…. and that is all my fault! When my Dad left I chose the wrong path and now I’m no better than him… but you, you have this incredible gift Rachel and the world deserves to hear that and you deserve the chance to show them.”
They both went silent and she just studied his face, it was frustrated but his eyes were sad.
“Noah- I… wait what do you mean ‘was’?”
“you’re not the only one who had a crappy day… my Dad showed up.”
“WHAT!” she dragged her chair closer to him and rested her hand on his knee. They both chose to ignore the spark of electricity they both felt at the touch.
“Yup dear old Papa Puckerman came begging for money, he gave this speech about how he regretted leaving and how hard he’d had it and I believed him… said he needed money for rent and like a sucker I handed it over… he gave me a number to call him to make dinner plans… imagine my suprise when the call was redirected.”
Rachel gasped “Noah how much did you give him?”
He simply went silent and dropped his head to his hands.
“How much Noah!” she became persistant, that bossy Berry tone he secretly loved, you know in different circumstances.
“Most of it, I mean my flight money and at least 6 months of my pool cleaning tips” he let out a loud bitter laugh and looked up to stare right at her, the distance between them had decreased considerably. “Once a screw up always a screw up right Rach?”
“No… what are you going to do?”
“I guess my destiny is in Lima after all” he spat.
It was Rachel’s turn to roll her eyes “Are you kidding me right now Puckerman? You are the one who just gave me the whole ‘don’t give up’ crap and now who is feeling all sorry for himself?” she paused, smiling that mega watt smile which he instantly mirrored.
“You’re smiling?” he says casually leaning in a little.
“So are you” at that point Rachel began laughing hysterically and he soon joined in.
“Why are you laughing?”
“Why are you laughing? she asks through her giggle.
The laughter eventually died down and they both sat in a comfortable silence, reflecting on their days.
“We’re in a bit of a mess huh Berry?” she nods gently before her phone chimes and she pulls it out of her pocket, reading a text from Finn;
Rachel, where are you? Kurt told me what happened. I’m sorry, maybe next year? Finn x
She sighed, slumping back into her chair, Noah scrunches his nose before Rachel hands him the phone, he reads the message and scoffs handing it back.
“Maybe you are right Noah” he sits up straighter looking at her quizzically. Did Rachel Berry just tell him he was right?
“He told me to try again next year, next year Noah…after we’re married and have a home and probably a freakin pet and furniture and a life here… in Lima… Ohio…Oh gosh what am I doing?” she was panicking so he just grabbed her by the shoulders. Damn there was that spark again.
“For what it’s worth I think with a bit of Rachel Berry charm and a couple of last minute applications you’d be off to New York, NYADA or otherwise.” He shrugged, letting her go and nervously toying with the band on his wrist.
“thank you… and you Noah, need to learn to take your own advice, if college isn’t for you there are some fantastic internship programmes out there, in California or you know New York. You don’t have to be here, your destiny is where you choose to be. You are not your Father, if you can’t see the wonderful man you’ve become then it’s a real shame.”
Never having been able to take a compliment he quickly changed the subject and looked down shaking his head. “You should expect my dry cleaning bill.”
“My shirt…. my favourite shirt” he said smiling and pointing to the dark mascara stains all down the front.
She hadn’t failed to notice that particular shirt was the one he’d been wearing during both of their ill fated romantic encounters through the years but instead she reached forward toying with the buttons “it’s a good shirt” she giggled.
“And there was me thinking you only liked clothing with depressed looking animals on” he quipped.
“Hilarious Puckerman, really.” She laughed pushing at his shoulder. They didn’t break eye contact once, they were entering dangerous waters here and they both knew it.
“Don’t marry him Rachel” he blurted out before he could stop himself.
“Noah you can’t… I can’t”
Oh shit he though, what are you doing Puckerman? It was his turn to choose fight or flight mode but he wasn’t a complete jackass so he couldn’t run so he decided to fight…. for her own good…obviously.
“I know you love him but please just choose you for once.”
“What do y-“
“I mean you need a partner in crime, not a lapdog, it’s not fair on either of you, got to New York, kick ass, be happy being Rachel then one day the guy that will be there too… fight dragons with you and like rescue you when you’re stuck in the umm… tower or whatever will be right there when you least expect it… hell he might have been there all along.” He was off track… he was sweating he could feel it.
She nodded gently “Kind of like a Jewish American Princess finding her Knight in Shining Armour?”
He rubbed the back of his head nervously. “Yeah something like that.”
She laughed and smiled before squeezing his leg, leaning over and kissing him gently on the forehead. “Thank you” she whispered. “I’ve got to go sort this whole mess out” she said as she began to walk out of the room.
“Hey Rach” he called out after her, she turned smiling.
“I’ve got your back.” he said sincerely, she tooks a deep breath and nodded, then sent a small wave with a shrug as she left the room.
He stared up at the ceiling… so what the hell am I gonna do in New York? He thought knowing full well he was completely screwed.
But when he was stood in Times Square a few months later with just one bag, his guitar slung over his shoulder and a beaming Rachel Berry by his side he knew he’d be just fine.