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Here's the truth: Puck hasn't really thought about Kurt since he left Ohio. He didn't think about him much during high school, either, when it comes right down to it. Sure, he'd tossed Kurt in the dumpster daily right up until he joined Glee Club, but at the time it was nothing personal. They'd all been assigned roles way back before they knew enough to choose, and Puck got stuck with Asshole.

He didn't really mind at the time. Fact is he'd been pretty good at it. Now that he's left that life behind he understands a little better why he was so good at it, and it's the same reason he finds himself sitting across a table from Kurt Hummel, of all people, watching him eat wings and pretend he likes Corona and working really hard not to reach across the table and wipe a smear of wing sauce off Kurt's chin.

Though he's already put his tongue in Kurt's mouth, so he's not sure why he's playing shy now. Except that he's actually enjoying the conversation, and that's something he never would have seen coming. He doesn't think about Kurt, because back in high school there was nothing much to think about. Sure, he was pretty, with his china doll skin and that permanent blush and the cock-sucking lips, but at the time Puck hadn't exactly embraced the joys of sucking cock, so he couldn't really appreciate what Kurt had to offer.

At the time Kurt had just been that weird, uptight kid who pretended to know exactly who he was when the truth was he was just as lost as the rest of them. Face it: Anybody who spent that much time mooning over Finn didn't know what the hell they were doing.

Puck wouldn't have asked the Kurt he knew in high school to do him a favor and then just laid one on him. If he had done that back then Kurt probably would have slapped him, maybe even screamed like a girl. He sure as hell wouldn't have kissed Puck back like a champ, then pulled him in for another, totally gratuitous kiss, just to prove a point.

But the Kurt who's sitting across the table from him now is a lot more interesting than the one Puck didn't bother saying goodbye to on graduation day. This Kurt...well, he grew up, just like Puck did. He figured out who he is, and from where Puck's sitting, he owns it. He's still got the cock-sucking lips, though, and nobody's gonna hear Puck complaining about that.

He's surprised to discover that Kurt hasn't kept in touch with most of the Glee kids. Puck knows more about what they're doing now than Kurt, thanks to Facebook and Quinn's insistence that they stay in touch 'for Beth's sake'. Like they have anything to do with her life at all. That's not even her name anymore, for fuck's sake. But it's easier to log into Facebook once a week and update his status or whatever than to argue with Quinn about what may or may not happen some theoretical day in the future when their kid decides whether or not she wants to find her birth parents.

He doesn't talk about Beth. It's not exactly a first date conversation, and even if they've known each other long enough to make this less a 'first date' and more reconnecting, he figures he can hold off on the serious stuff for awhile.

It's not that he minds talking about Beth or Quinn or what it's like to be a dad without an actual kid to take care of. Then again, he's never really talked about it to anyone except Quinn, so maybe he does mind. He watches Kurt's cheeks go a little more pink from his second beer, smiling over the rim of his bottle like he doesn't even realize how much he's flirting, and thinks that maybe he wouldn't mind so much with Kurt, either. Maybe not tonight or even tomorrow, but...someday.

"So are you going to tell me the story with you and that Mark guy?"

The question doesn't really surprise him. What does surprise him is that it took Kurt two beers to get around to asking. He has a right to know what he got dragged into the middle of, even if the chances of his ever laying eyes on Mark again fall somewhere between 'slim' and 'none'.

"Workplace romance," Puck answers, lips curling around the word 'romance' until it sounds like something else altogether. "That was my first mistake."

He pauses to take another long pull from his Corona, watching Kurt out of the corner of his eye. Kurt's just watching him right back, eyes just a little unfocused and leaning back easy in the booth, like he's got nowhere else to be. Maybe he doesn't. Puck doesn't think too hard about why that idea appeals so much.

"Anyway, turns out Mark's got a thing about dating the newbie. Which was me, up until about a week ago. He didn't waste any time getting in the new girl's pants." Puck shakes his head and lets out a laugh. "Would have been nice if one of those assholes at work had clued me in before I ended up as a notch on his bedpost, you know?"

"Did you warn her? Mark's latest conquest, I mean."

Puck shrugs and sets his beer down, fingers pressed against smooth glass as he watches beads of condensation roll down the side of the bottle. "I tried. I don't think she wanted to hear it."

Kurt's still watching him, and Puck can't tell from his expression what he's thinking. It's not like he's proud that he fell for Mark's act, but it bugs him a little that Kurt might think less of him for it.

"Well, at least you tried. That's more than most people would do."

"I guess."

He pauses, just looking at Kurt across the table, and he's not even sure how they got to this point in the conversation, but suddenly it seems important to say it out loud. Like it's something he needs to do before they can move on. To wherever it is they're moving.

"The thing is, I used to be that guy, you know? I mean, I never tried to bang you in high school, but I was an asshole to you in plenty of other ways. I know it doesn't make up for the way I was if I tell some girl she's being used, but...look, what I'm trying to say is, I'm sorry. For the dumpster, for being a dick, for everything."

He can tell Kurt wasn't expecting that. The bright spots of pink on his cheeks bloom a little brighter, and Puck wants to reach across the table and see if his skin's as warm as it looks.

"Anyway, it's not like I'm all broken up over Mark or anything. It just pisses me off that I fell for his line. Maybe I was lonely or whatever, I don't know. Half the time I think it's this damn town."

"I know what you mean," Kurt says, picking at the label on his beer bottle and stealing glances at Puck every so often. It's...cute, Puck finds himself thinking, and if Kurt was just some random guy Puck might think this was just being lonely too. But he's known Kurt for a long time, even if they were never what you could exactly call friends, and he thinks he knows what he's getting into.

"How'd you end up in L.A., anyway?"

Kurt shrugs, staring down at his hands and blushing again and Puck wonders if he's going to get the real story, or some watered down version that Kurt tells his L.A. friends.

"Not everyone can make it on Broadway, and I'm not cut out for that chorus line crap," he says, looking up at Puck and sticking out his chin. Like he's expecting Puck to argue with him or something. "So after a year I packed up my bags and headed out here. Brittany was already modeling and had some money. She offered me her spare room, I got into FIDM and I guess the rest is history."

"FIDM?"

"Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. It's a fashion school. They taught me all the things I already knew with two years of pure grunt work and being underappreciated. All so that now I get to be underpaid and underappreciated."

"Yeah, but you're probably used to being misunderstood," Puck says. Kurt looks up again when he says it, and for a second Puck thinks he's going to bail, and a weird, crawling sort of panic rolls up his chest. Before he has a chance to open his mouth and make an idiot of himself trying to take it back, Kurt relaxes, then his mouth curves into a little smile and yeah, Puck's definitely going to kiss him again before the night's over.

~

Chuck kicks them out just before 2:00, and even though they've spent pretty much the whole night talking about everything and nothing, Puck's not ready for it to end. His apartment's not even a block away, and he heads toward it without bothering to negotiate whether or not Kurt's planning to come over. It's not like he has a choice; Puck's his ride, and he's willing to bet Kurt doesn't even know where he is right now, so he's pretty much at Puck's mercy.

He grins at the thought and slows down to let Kurt catch up with him. A couple minutes later they're standing outside his door, and Puck only fumbles with his keys for a second before he gets the lock to cooperate and leads Kurt inside.

"What exactly were you thinking when you rented this place?"

"Something along the lines of 'I can afford this'. Not all of us have sugar mamas."

"Brittany is not my sugar mama," Kurt says, and Puck can't help grinning at the glimpse of that kid he used to know in Glee Club, the one who tried so hard to act like he was above all the high school drama. "I fully intend on paying her back in full when I get my own line. Which, by the way, shouldn't be that long."

"Well then maybe you could be my sugar daddy."

He's grinning now, turning on the charm without even trying. Something else he's always been good at; it's what makes him a good bartender, and it's the reason he hasn't ever had to worry that much about spending nights solo. The problem is that lately charming some stranger into his bed just isn't that appealing, so -- with the except of the error in judgment that was his thing with Mark -- he's mostly been going home alone.

Charming Kurt Hummel isn't the same as charming some pretty boy at the bar, though. Kurt knows him, for one thing, and he can call Puck on his bullshit any time he wants.

"If I remember correctly you're an awesome pool boy," Kurt says, and Puck feels his patented 'come hither and worship me' smile blossom into a full-on grin. He wants to kiss Kurt just for giving back as good as he's getting, but he doesn't really want to fuck this up, so he keeps his hands to himself and lets Kurt duck his head and pretend to be fascinated with the photos on Puck's bookcase.

When he gets to the one of a smiling nuclear family he pauses, and Puck knows Kurt doesn't need an explanation. Another thing about knowing each other for-fucking-ever -- there's no way he's getting anything past Kurt. At least he knows he can't play it off like it's a picture of his cousin's kid the way he's told other dates. Not that he's had to bust out that lie all that often; most of the people he's brought home don't really give a damn about the decor.

"Her name's Summer," he says, stepping in close and looking over Kurt's shoulder at the picture.

If Kurt remembers what her name used to be, he doesn't mention it. He doesn't try to drag Puck into a conversation about how his daughter's new parents took away the only thing Puck could give her, and Puck can't help being a little grateful for that.

"She's beautiful," he says instead, and Puck's not sure if that's better or worse.

"Her parents send us pictures every once in awhile." Puck clears his throat and straightens up, then he takes a few steps toward the kitchen. "You want another beer?"

"Sure," Kurt says, but he doesn't really mean it. Neither of them needs another beer, but Puck needs something to do, some way to shift the focus away from what he's lost and back onto what he thinks -- hopes -- he might have found again.

Kurt's parked on his couch when Puck gets back from the kitchen, staring at that stupid screensaver he can't get himself to change. He takes in the way Kurt's gaze slides along with the image, lazy and a little loose, like maybe he's still feeling the beers he drank back at the bar.

Puck sets the bottles down on the coffee table and takes a detour to the stereo, queueing up a disc and hitting play before he slides onto the couch next to Kurt. It takes a few bars, but he's not surprised when Kurt arches a well-manicured eyebrow at him. "Elvis Costello? Really?"

"I have untold depth," Puck says, going for cool but it probably just comes off cocky. A second later it doesn't matter, though, because before he even realizes what's happening he's got a lap full of Kurt and he's being kissed for the third time that night. Kurt's kissing him like he's got a goddamn agenda, like there's a list of bullet points somewhere and he's planning to check off every one before he's through.

And Puck's happy to let him; he's never been all that proud, for one thing, and anyway he's been dying to kiss Kurt since...well, pretty much since they first ran into each other at the bar and Kurt tried to pretend like he hadn't been staring at Puck all night from the corner booth.

"Well if I knew you were that easy I wouldn't have taken you to dinner first," Puck says when Kurt lets him up for air, hands still stroking up Kurt's back, through the short hairs at the base of his neck and then back down again, pushing up under his shirt to skim the hem of his pants at the back.

"You kissed me first."

True enough, Puck thinks, then he leans in and kisses Kurt again.

~

So it turns out Hummel's a lightweight.

Not that Puck's surprised or anything; he's been watching Kurt get more and more buzzed all night, watching the tension leak out of his muscles and the pink spots in the center of his cheeks get brighter and brighter. He's been enjoying the hell out of the view, but that's no excuse for not seeing this coming.

They make it all the way to his bed before Kurt passes out on him. Puck's trying not to take it personally, but the guy hasn't had that much to drink, and it sure as hell doesn't say much for Puck's appeal when he pulls back from a thorough exploration of Kurt's neck to find him fast asleep.

But it does say something about how much Kurt trusts him, so instead of waking his sorry ass up to complain, Puck just tucks the blankets around them and pulls Kurt close before he closes his eyes. His last thought before he falls asleep is I could get used to this.

The next thing he knows, it's morning and Kurt's making a break for it. He'd take it personally, except Kurt's the one who launched himself at Puck last night, not vice versa, so he's pretty secure in where he stands. Which, at the moment, is half-hard and still kind of frustrated and he figures Kurt owes him for being a complete tease and then passing out in Puck's bed without putting out first.

"Where you going?"

"Home."

"Why?"

For a second Kurt just frowns at him like that's legitimately the dumbest question he's ever heard, and Puck's halfway to being insulted when he says, "my shirt is rumpled?"

Like he's not really sure why he's trying to sneak out on Puck, other than the fact that nothing really happened between them but he's still waking up in a bed that's not his, and he just wants to make a clean break before Puck gets a chance to kick him out.

It's pretty goddamn adorable, and Puck's man enough to admit it.

He laughs and reaches up to grab Kurt's wrinkled shirt, dragging him back down and pinning him to the futon. "You can borrow one of mine," he says, while somewhere in the back of his mind there's another voice saying, why the fuck do we need clothes at all?

"You're joking," Kurt says, straight-up offended that Puck would even suggest such a thing. Like he's some kind of fashion disaster. Which, maybe so, but again, Puck's not even sure why they need to bother with clothes in the first place.

He kisses Kurt hard, just to wipe out whatever lingering doubts he's having about whether or not Puck actually wants him here. He knows he's gotten his message across when Kurt melts into him, sighing into Puck's mouth and sliding his arms around Puck's neck. Easy, like they were made to do this. Puck's not entirely convinced that they weren't.

"I know how to get the wrinkles out of your shirt," he says, pushing Kurt toward the edge of the futon. Puck moves with him, climbing out of bed and pulling Kurt along and he doesn't miss the skeptical tone when Kurt says, "Yeah?"

Puck rolls his eyes and drags Kurt into the bathroom, letting go of him long enough to crank up the shower. And he'll say one thing for this shitty apartment; the hot water rules. He's been known to stand in the shower for a good half hour, forty-five minutes if he feels like jerking off, and the hot water hasn't given out on him yet. He figures there's a water heater the size of a tank somewhere in the basement, but he hasn't gone looking for it.

"Just like steam cleaning," he says, peeling Kurt's shirt off and hanging it on the hook on the back of the door.

"Why didn't I think of that?" Kurt murmurs, half to himself, and Puck's enough of a gentleman not to rub in his face that he's not always as smart as he thinks. That's one thing about Kurt that hasn't changed; he's always had a little bit of a control thing going, even back when he was second string in Glee Club. Lucky for him, Puck kind of gets off on pushy.

He grins and hooks his thumbs in his own shirt, pulling it over his head in one easy motion.

"W-what are you doing?" Kurt asks, stumbling over the words and for a split second Puck wonders if maybe he's pushing things too far too fast, but when Kurt's gaze slides down his chest he grins and reaches out to tug Kurt close.

"Figured we could multitask," he answers, nimble fingers working Kurt's pants open. "Besides, you owe me. You totally held out on me last night. Passed out when I was barely rounding second."

Kurt rolls his eyes at Puck's grin, but his hands are already working on Puck's jeans. "New rule: No sports metaphors."

"I'm not making any promises," Puck says, dipping his head to swallow Kurt's protest with another kiss.

They manage to peel off the rest of their clothes without breaking the kiss, but when they're both naked Puck takes a step back and just looks. He grins at the way Kurt's blush spreads up his neck and down his chest, leaving a trail of red splotches on pale skin. He's smaller than Puck, but there's a decent amount of muscle on him, and Puck's already making a mental list of the things he wants to do to Kurt as he reaches out to pull him toward the shower.

He steers Kurt under the water, pushing him up against the tiles to kiss him again. And Kurt might not have shaken all of his high school self-consciousness, but he makes up for it with enthusiasm. As soon as his back hits the wall his hands are on Puck, fingers digging into muscle and dragging him close until Puck's pressed hard against him.

Puck's tongue slides along Kurt's bottom lip, and when Kurt's mouth opens on a moan Puck grins against him. His hands are braced on the wall on either side of Kurt, wet skin sliding together and he's just taking his time. Kissing Kurt like he's got nowhere to be, which is technically true, but there's nowhere else he wants to be, either, and that's what matters.

Kurt's hands flex against his back, fingers curling into fists to dig into Puck's skin on either side of his spine like Kurt wants to take, to grab onto whatever of Puck he can and hold on tight, but he's afraid he's going to find out he can't have it. Which is crazy, because all Puck's been thinking about since that first kiss is how he can get Kurt to do this again -- to do this forever -- and he's not planning to change his mind any time soon.

Puck tears his mouth away from Kurt's, one hand sliding into wet hair to tilt Kurt's face up until Kurt doesn't have any choice but to look at him. He expects that guarded expression he remembers from when they were kids, but what he sees instead makes his heart stutter to a halt, then start right back up again in double time. Kurt's looking back at him like he wants Puck just as much as Puck wants him, like he knows exactly how crazy this is, but he doesn't care.

"I want to see you again," Puck says, and it takes a second to register the sound of his own voice.

When Kurt grins Puck can't do anything except grin right back at him, so he doesn't try to fight it.

"Good." Kurt's arms slide around his neck, tugging him forward to whisper against his mouth. "Now shut up and kiss me."

It's corny and pretty much exactly what he'd expect from Kurt, but Puck obeys anyway, laughing into Kurt's mouth. His hands are moving over Kurt's skin, touching every inch of him he can reach, memorizing the slight curve of his hips and the hollow of his collarbone. He trails his mouth down Kurt's neck, then down his chest until Puck's on his knees, glancing up long enough to flash the grin he usually reserves for scoring tips from drunk tourists at the bar.

It gets him a laugh, and his smile softens as Kurt's hand slides across his scalp. He leans in to press a kiss to the skin above Kurt's hipbone, then his belly button, tongue sliding down the line of hair at the base of his stomach. Kurt's breath gets a little shallow when Puck's tongue gets involved, and he takes note of each subtle change as he works his way down, until finally he grips the base of Kurt's cock and swallows him whole.

Kurt moans and bucks against the hand pressing against his hips, and it doesn't take long before they find a rhythm. Warm water hits Puck's back and the side of his face as he works his mouth up and down Kurt's cock, swallowing around his length and cataloging every sound Kurt makes.

He likes making Kurt laugh, likes making him smile and he even gets off on ruffling his feathers until he's just this side of mad. But what he likes best of all is making Kurt moan, hearing him pant helplessly and whisper Noah, like he's been practicing saying Puck's first name all these years. Like somehow it wouldn't be right to call him Puck when he's on his knees with Kurt's dick in his mouth.

The thought makes him laugh, and when Kurt bucks hard against his hand Puck can tell he's getting close. He lets go of Kurt's dick to cup his balls, rolling them in his palm until Kurt's moaning and rocking helplessly against him. It's even hotter than he thought it could be, and when he slides a finger past Kurt's balls to press at the taut skin there, Kurt moans low in his throat and lets go.

Puck's not really expecting it, so he gags a little and pulls off, swallowing and reaching up to wipe his mouth on the back of his hand before he stands up. His knees are a little sore, but he ignores the pain and lets Kurt pull him forward. He's already murmuring 'sorry' as he tugs Puck down for another kiss, and Puck doesn't get a chance to tell him not to be, that he loved every second of that, that he's already wondering when he'll get to do it again.

If Kurt was a little taller Puck might ask if he could fuck him right here in the shower, pressed up against the tile, muscles taut to hold himself up while Puck slid inside him. But Kurt's already sliding to his knees to return the favor, and as soon as those lips wrap around Puck's cock, every circuit in his brain fries at the same time.

Kurt's hands are on his ass, fingers digging into his cheeks as he works Puck's cock with his throat, and he's not going to ask where Kurt learned to do that, because he really doesn't want to know. All he wants to know is that Kurt's only doing it for him from now on, because he knows already that he's never going to get enough of this.

He comes way before he's ready, blames it on lack of sleep and way too much anticipation and pulls Kurt back to his feet to kiss him until they're both panting again. Kurt's arms wrap around him, surprisingly strong and easing him back to lean against the tiles. Taking care of him, like that even makes any sense. But Puck lets him, because it's been awhile since anybody acted like they gave a damn beyond how long it would take Puck to make them come.

He slides a hand through Kurt's hair, pushing it back from Kurt's face so he can get a full view of rosy cheeks and full, kiss-swollen lips. "Damn," he says, and when Kurt laughs and says, "exactly", Puck can't do anything except kiss him again.

~

"So your old man's coming to town next week?" Puck says once they manage to climb out of the shower and dry off. Kurt's shirt is still kind of wrinkled, but he doesn't seem to notice, so Puck doesn't point it out.

He hears himself ask the question, so he knows he gets the words right, but it still sounds a hell of a lot like so I'd really really like to see you again. They're walking down Puck's street, past the bar and his bike still parked out front, around the corner to a diner that serves a decent post-drunk omelet.

Kurt glances sidelong at him, lips curving into a little smile and Puck feels his heart pounding hard against his ribcage. "Mmm. He flies in Thursday night. I told him I have classes all day Friday and he'd just be bored, but there's some hockey game he's forcing me to go to Friday night and he didn't want to miss the kick-off."

Puck grins and resists the urge to reach over and ruffle Kurt's hair. "Face-off."

"Whatever. I suppose you would know," Kurt says, rolling his eyes as Puck pulls the diner door open and lets Kurt brush past him. "Maybe you should go to the game with him. You're the first guy I've dated who knows what hockey is. My dad would love you."

Puck's first impulse is to say hell, no, because that whole, "Hello, sir, nice to meet you, I'm the guy who's fucking your son" scene has never really played out that well for him. But Kurt's looking like he wishes he could swallow his own tongue, he wants to take it back so bad, which means his dad is going to love Puck, and that means Kurt's going to have to gay-marry him and shit -- which means a vacation in New York, because the closed-minded fuckers in California still can't make up their damn minds on that one -- and oh, yeah, he's in.

He steers Kurt into his favorite booth, dropping onto the bench on the opposite side and reaching for a menu. "Great. When should I show up?"

Kurt opens his mouth, then closes it again. He picks up his menu, but he's too busy doing an impression of a fish to look at it. "Seriously?"

Puck shrugs and pretends he hasn't had the menu memorized since his first month in this neighborhood. "Sure. I'm not doing anything Friday."

It's a lie, but he can get somebody to switch shifts with him. Mark owes him, after all, and it'll be fun to tell him that Puck needs the night off so he can meet his boyfriend's dad. Puck grins behind his menu where Kurt can't see him. He knows Kurt's still over there staring and trying to figure out what he's gotten himself into and how fast he can get out of it, so Puck gives him some time to get used to the idea.

The silence stretches out long enough that Puck starts to get nervous, like maybe Kurt got up and left and Puck missed it. But when he lowers his menu Kurt's still sitting there, staring pointedly like he's just waiting for Puck to work up the courage to face him.

"You want to meet my father."

"You said it yourself; he'll love me. What's the big deal?" Puck asks, and he hopes he looks more confident than he feels. Because he's never met Kurt's dad, doesn't know much about him except he loves Kurt a whole lot and he apparently likes sports, but he figures that's all he needs to know.

"Okay," Kurt says, those familiar bright spots of pink blooming on his cheeks, and it's a struggle for Puck to stop himself from leaning across the table to press a kiss to each one. "Okay. So. Six o'clock?"

"It's a date." Puck closes his menu and sets it on the table, waving for a waitress before he nods pointedly at Kurt. "So do you know what you want or what? Because I'm starving."

For a second Kurt just stares at him like some kind of woodland creature trapped in the headlights of a really big SUV. Then he blushes even harder and looks down at the menu, but Puck's guessing he's not actually seeing any of the words printed there. He can't really blame the guy; it's been a pretty eventful night, and they haven't even been together for twenty-four hours. So he'll wait awhile to break the news about the gay wedding plans; after all, they've got plenty of time.