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The Enemy

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2007


“No way!” Puck scoffs, staring at the other guys in the hallway. “It’s not like that. We’re not gay. We’re wingmans. For each other.”

Finn’s stomach twists up into a knot, and he feels sick, because Puck said the g-word. He said the g-word out loud and said they weren’t it. Finn hadn’t really thought too hard about whether he was or not, or at least, not serious-thought. If Puck says they aren’t, though, it means they aren’t. It means Finn isn’t. It means he can’t be.

“Yeah,” Finn hears himself saying, nodding his head a little too hard. “Wingmans. Like Top Gun.” Finn’s mom loves that movie and watches it every time they show it on TBS, and she always cries really hard when Goose dies.

“Yeah, exactly,” Puck says, sounding almost proud. “Just like Top Gun.” He nods a little and thumps Finn on the shoulder as the bell rings. “Shit, we got to get out of the hall before Mr. Carlson threatens again to not let me graduate middle school.”

“Yeah, that would suck,” Finn says. Puck leads him down the hall with a nod and a little bit of a scowl, the two of them stepping into a classroom just as a voice at the other end starts to call out.

“Made it,” Puck says, sliding into a desk at the back of the room and nodding at the desk beside him. “Can’t believe those guys.”

“Yeah.” Finn nods. “They’re stupid, right?”

“Really dumb.” Puck scowls again, leaning back in his seat and crossing his arms behind his head. “Shouldn’t say that stuff.”

“Definitely dumb,” Finn says. His stomach twists up into more knots, but he swallows hard, so at least he doesn’t actually puke or anything. Puck mutters a little more to himself, stretching like he does when he wants to look taller. Finn frowns, trying to make out what Puck’s saying. “Huh?”

“Nothing,” Puck says quickly, and he flexes his arm. “Did you tell your mom we wanted chili tonight?”

Finn doesn’t think Puck was really thinking about chili, but he’s cool with changing the subject, so he nods. “Yeah. She’s gonna put in the meat chunks, she said, not just the ground stuff.”

Puck grins for the first time since the guys in the hallway. “Awesome. I love it that way!”

“Yeah, I know,” Finn says, grinning back at Puck. At least Finn never said anything to Puck about liking him, so he didn’t mess that up. He’ll just have to learn how to be a good wingman from here on out. That’s how Puck says it is. That’s how it’s got to be.

2011


“It’s not like I have a problem with it,” Puck says. “I don’t. Just knock it off.” He shoves a few things into his backpack angrily, staring at ben Israel. “Lauren didn’t break up with me because I’m gay. Stop posting that.”

“Sixty-two percent of readers think that’s the most plausible story!” ben Israel says loudly, and Puck slams his locker door closed.

“It’s not the fucking reason,” Puck says slowly, pausing after each word, and then he turns around, heading down the hall away from ben Israel.

“Just tell him it was because you stopped buying her stuff,” Finn says, falling into step with Puck as they leave ben Israel still yelping at them.

“Butt out,” Puck says, frowning at Finn. “And that’s your girlfriend.”

“Hey!” Finn protests. “Dude. Not cool!”

“And telling people I’m a cheapskate is?”

“Then tell him it’s something else!”

“Sometimes people just break up! It’s high school.” Puck snorts. “It’s not always cheating and crap like that.”

“Then why don’t you just say that, and he’ll leave you alone?” Finn asks. “Don’t get pissed at me because Jacob ben Israel’s a jerkwad, dude.”

Puck snorts and mutters something to himself, then shakes his head. “Nothing makes ben Israel leave anybody alone.”

“Fine. Don’t tell him anything, then. Whatever,” Finn says.

“Fine,” Puck says. “I won’t.” He scowls and rolls his eyes a little, but keeps walking beside Finn.

“Good,” Finn says, sighing quietly. “That’s great.”

2014


“Get that for me, will you?” Puck asks, nodding towards his ringing phone. “If it’s Jordan, say no, I don’t do repeat hookups.”

“Yeah, I see how it is. Making me do your dirty work,” Finn says. He picks up Puck’s phone, sighing dramatically as he presses it to his ear. “Puck’s phone.”

“Hey, is Puck there?” a guy’s voice says. “This is Jordan.”

This is Jordan?” Finn repeats back to him. “As in, you are?”

“I’m pretty sure I know who I am,” Jordan says, sounding a little annoyed.

“No second hookups!” Puck hisses.

“Uh…” Finn glances over at Puck, then away again. “Puck says no, uh. Second hookups?”

“That’s all I was? A hookup?” Now Jordan sounds almost hurt.

“Yeah, I have no idea about any of that. I’m just passing on the message, dude,” Finn says.

“Tell Puck not to call me when he changes his mind!” Jordan says, then hangs up.

“Yeah, I’ll totally not do that,” Finn says to himself as he sets Puck’s phone down again. He glances in Puck’s direction again, then back down at the phone, feeling his eyebrows coming together in a scowl.

“Did he hang up on you?” Puck asks without looking up.

“Yeah, he did,” Finn says, continuing to scowl down at the phone.

“Not worth the dramatics,” Puck says with a small snort.

He was dramatic?” Finn asks, stressing the he part again.

“Yeah,” Puck says slowly, finally looking over at Finn. “Is that some kind of a problem?” he asks, looking confused.

“A problem?” Finn repeats. “No, it’s not a problem. Not a problem at all.”

“You… sound like you think it’s a problem,” Puck says. “What is it?”

“Jordan’s a guy,” Finn says.

“Yeah, Jordan’s a guy, but you also just got through telling me it wasn’t a problem.” Puck shakes his head. “What else?”

“And you hooked up with Jordan,” Finn says.

“Right. Once,” Puck says, shaking his head. “No repeats.”

“So, you’re hooking up with guys now.”

Puck gives Finn a weird look. “Define ‘now’.”

“Now since college?” Finn says, knowing he doesn’t really sound definite about it.

“I guess it was L.A.,” Puck says, then shakes his head. “No, Chicago, senior year Nationals.”

“Since senior year,” Finn parrots back. “Senior year? Senior year?

“Yeah, senior year,” Puck says, nodding his head.

“Since senior year and you never told me?” Finn demands.

Puck shrugs. “I thought I did. I know I mentioned at least a couple of people in L.A.”

“No. You didn’t,” Finn says. “I think I’d remember that.”

“Oh. Well, sorry?” Puck says, shrugging again.

“What about wingmans?” Finn asks. “Huh?”

“Wingman?” Puck repeats. “What?”

“You and me. You said we were wingmans,” Finn says.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Puck says almost apologetically. “Is it really that big of a deal?”

Wingmans,” Finn says. “Eighth grade. You don’t remember that? You don’t remember telling… I don’t even remember what his name was. You don’t remember telling him we weren’t gay, we were each other’s wingmans?”

“Not really,” Puck says, shrugging again. “I remember a couple of times having to keep people off my back. I wasn’t going to make myself or anyone else… well, it wasn’t really all that great in middle school or high school to be ‘not straight’, I figured.”

“Yeah, it really wasn’t,” Finn says, frowning and shaking his head. All that time being careful and watching everything he said and did around Puck, and it turns out that Puck was just trying to keep people off his back and doesn’t even remember.

“So, are we…” Puck trails off and shakes his own head, looking at Finn. “We’re still not cool, though.”

“You never said anything,” Finn says.

“The last thing you needed in high school was me enacting some big coming-out scene from a movie,” Puck says with a weird look on his face.

“But I thought we were wingmans. How was I supposed to know?”

“What would it have changed?” Puck asks.

“Everything!” Finn says.

Why?” Puck says. “Are you going to, I don’t know, move out now or something?” He scowls, looking down and muttering to himself for a few seconds.

“Maybe I should!” Finn says. “Since you’ve been keeping secrets from me for, like, years!”

“Yeah, and apparently for a good reason!” Puck says, looking upset as he glances up again. “I definitely didn’t expect this.”

“Well, neither did I!”

“What is your problem!” Puck yells, standing up with his hand gesturing in front of him. “I’m not asking you to listen to any details or anything!”

“There wasn’t supposed to be any details!” Finn shouts back at Puck. “There was just supposed to be wingmanning! That’s what I’ve been doing!”

“Fine, I’ll still help you pick up girls! Whatever!” Puck says. “I’m not wearing women’s underwear or anything!”

“You’re so stupid!” Finn says, kicking his desk chair and knocking it over.

“Okay, fine, I won’t help you pick up girls! And I’ll… no, I won’t,” Puck says, glaring at Finn. “Why are you so mad?”

“Because you’re stupid!” Finn says. “And because I’m stupid!”

“Why?” Puck demands.

“It doesn’t matter. It’s too late now!”

“Just fucking tell me!” Puck steps closer to Finn, almost too close, and keeps glaring. “Why are you so pissed?” He brings both hands up and pokes at Finn’s shoulder with the fingers of one hand. Finn shoves Puck back with both hands.

“You let me believe something that wasn’t true!” Finn says.

“I didn’t know it was going to change your entire opinion of me!” Puck yells, shoving Finn with his palms against Finn’s chest. Finn takes a half-step back.

“Yeah? Probably ’cause I did too good a job believing you,” Finn says, shoving Puck even harder. “I believed you for years!”

“Yeah, it would have gone over real well in seventh grade!” Puck says, snarling a little as he shoves into Finn with one shoulder, knocking him back against one of the posts of the bunk bed.

“You let me think I was all alone!” Finn yells, then dives shoulder-first at Puck, sending both of them crashing to the ground. Puck’s arms come up and he wraps them around Finn, trying to turn them over, just like how they fought in the hall sophomore year.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Puck shouts, breathing heavily between words.

“You said we were wingmans! I had to be your wingman, and I was alone, and it was a lie!”

“What did you want? What do you want?” Puck says, sounding bewildered.

“You!” Finn shouts at him. “I just wanted you!”

“How? Huh?” Puck stops struggling, staring at Finn.

Finn lets his head hang so he’s not looking Puck directly in the face. “I just wanted you,” he repeats softly. “And you said I was your wingman. I thought you’d hate me.”

“Dude,” Puck says, his voice dropping. “You’re, like, straight.”

“Only ’cause I thought I had to be,” Finn says.

“I never said that to you!” Puck says, voice still low.

“But I heard it, and you never said any different, either.”

Puck shakes his head. “What did you want me to say. ‘Hey, ignore everything else ’cause really I’d rather kiss you than Santana’?” he says.

“Yes!” Finn says.

“You still want to hear that?” Puck asks warily.

“Yes!”

“I’d rather kiss you than—” Puck pauses for a few breaths before continuing. “Than anyone else.”

“You’re just saying that so I’ll let you up,” Finn says.

“I don’t actually want you to let me up, dumbass,” Puck says. “Fuck you, of course it was always you.”

“It was always you, too,” Finn says. “And I’m so pissed at you never telling me!”

“I didn’t know you wanted to know!” Puck says, then makes a face. “Why are we still yelling?”

“I don’t know!” Finn yells, then immediately lowers his voice. “I don’t know.”

“Scratch that, why are we still talking,” Puck says, then pulls his head up, kissing Finn hard. Finn kisses back, letting some of his weight drop against Puck’s chest, eyes closed. Puck’s arms move, loosening a little as Puck puts one hand on Finn’s neck and keeps kissing Finn until he pulls back, gasping a little. “Maybe let me up just to get on the bed.”

“Yeah, okay, that sounds good,” Finn says, pushing himself up, then standing and pulling Puck up with him. Puck grins at him, then pivots to flop down on the lower bed of the bunk bed, tugging Finn with him.

“Easier on my back, anyway,” Puck says, staring at Finn’s face. “It always is you.”

“Well, you could’ve actually bothered to tell me that at some point, you know,” Finn says.

“I didn’t know you’d actually want to hear it!” Puck says, shaking his head as he keeps grinning.

“Dude. I’ve wanted to hear it since like seventh grade or something.”

“Maybe we can manage to not wait another seven years to discuss important shit,” Puck says, laughing as he starts kissing Finn again. Finn laughs, too, even though they’re kissing, which makes it kind of slobbery, but in a good way. He runs a hand through Puck’s hair and pulls him closer.

Puck pushes towards Finn until their bodies are pressed together, and one of Puck’s hands moves down Finn’s back before sliding under Finn’s shirt, fingers spread wide. Finn shifts, positioning one of his legs between Puck’s legs and propping himself on one elbow, all without moving his mouth away from Puck’s. Puck grins as they kiss, wrapping one leg around Finn’s, and barely pulls away.

“But no discussion for a little while,” Puck says. “You figure we’ve got a few years to make up for?”

“Yeah,” Finn says. “I think the talking part can wait for tomorrow. Or next week.”

Puck laughs. “Maybe even next month.”

“Next year?”

“Yeah,” Puck says. “Next year.”