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As the moon hung proud and bright

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Finn likes working the two to ten shift, because the most interesting people he’s met since starting work as an illegal Canadian at Harrah’s have been the ones that check in at around three a.m. That’s when the highrollers—such as they are in Joliet—usually show up, too, and they’re the best tippers. On a good night, Finn can clear over two, two fifty in tips alone. He’s just coming off a particularly good shift, with three hundred bucks in his pocket as he heads into the Starbucks for a hot chocolate before he heads back to the rent-by-the-week place he’s still living in for now.

It’s probably a good thing he doesn’t have his drink yet when someone bumps into him and he realizes it’s Puck. It’s probably an even better thing when Puck hauls off and slugs him, sending Finn ass over teakettle onto the floor of the Starbucks. Finn sits on the floor, dazed and holding his cheek as he stares up at Puck, torn between grinning again, because it’s great to see him, and cussing at him, because, well, ouch.

“I meant to send the letters, okay?” Finn says. “I meant to, but I chickened out.”

“Letters?” Puck looks blankly at him. “That’s supposed to make up for making us, making me think you’re dead exactly how?”

What?” Finn asks. One of the Starbucks employees rushes up, asking Finn if he needs her to call security, but Finn waves her away. “What are you talking about?”

“How’d you stage it so well?” Puck says, looking angry as he wipes at his face. “Why did you?”

“Puck, I don’t understand what you’re talking about,” Finn says. He pushes himself back onto his feet with his left hand, watching Puck carefully to see if there’s something obvious he missed that would explain whatever Puck’s talking about.

“What did you think would happen if they found your car in the river with a hole in the windshield?” Puck asks. “And I know you couldn’t have been trying to get life insurance, so I can’t figure out why.”

“What— you didn’t tell them I texted you?” Finn asks. Now that he’s on his feet, he takes a slight step backwards to get out of range of Puck’s fists, just in case he feels like taking another swing.

“I think I would have remembered getting a text from you, considering I’m the one that called Carole to ask where you were!”

“But I sent you a text. I know I sent it,” Finn says. “It was short, I know that, but I was kinda messed up in the head, and I only had the one hand to type with.” He holds up his right hand, like that’ll somehow help Puck understand him better.

“You didn’t send a text! You just disappeared and then you were dead!”

“I wasn’t!” Finn insists. “I wasn’t ever dead!”

“But I thought you were,” Puck says as he stares at Finn.

“But I’m right here. How could you think I was dead if I’m here?”

“I didn’t know you were here!”

“Yeah, but like, I’m here,” Finn says, gesturing at himself, indicating his whole body. “Walking around Joliet. My body is here.”

“It’s been nine months, and I just ran into you maybe ten minutes ago,” Puck says. “Nine fucking months and you were gone.” He looks like he’s about to lose it, and Finn isn’t sure if he’s going to lose it in a screaming and punching way or a sobbing way, but whichever way it is, it’s probably better if it doesn’t happen in the Starbucks at Harrah’s.

“I’m sorry. I’ll try to explain everything, but can we— can we get out of here?” Finn asks.

Puck takes a couple of deep breaths, then picks up a cup from one of the tables and nods towards the door. “Yeah. Okay. My place isn’t far. I’m parked just up the street.”

“Okay. Sure, that sounds good,” Finn says. He starts slowly walking, making sure Puck keeps up with him. “I don’t really drive anymore, so…”

“Other side of the river,” Puck says, and once they get outside, he walks in front of Finn towards his motorcycle. Puck stops and looks at it, then at Finn, then at it again. “Put the damn helmet on.”

“Okay,” Finn says, and puts the helmet on. He looks down at the sidecar, trying to decide if he could actually fit in it or not.

“C’mon,” Puck says. He climbs onto the bike and raises his eyebrows, still looking like he could lose it any second. Finn gets on behind Puck, wrapping his arms around Puck’s waist. He holds on tightly as Puck pulls away from the curb, leaning his chest against Puck’s back.

The drive to Puck’s place only takes a couple of minutes, which makes it feel even crazier that it’s taken this long for them to run into each other. Puck parks the motorcycle and then nods at Finn.

“Take the helmet in,” he says, starting up the sidewalk of the apartment building. “It’s apparently a great neighborhood for theft.”

Finn nods, tucking the helmet under his arm as he follows Puck into the building. “Yeah, I’m at the extended stay place, so I always keep my valuables on me. Not that I really have valuables. Just, like my money and stuff.”

Puck looks like he’s about to say something as he unlocks the main door, but he shakes his head and stays quiet, leading Finn down the hall to the left until they get to the last door on the right. Puck unlocks that door and holds it open with a shrug.

“I lock up the laptop,” he says.

“Yeah, good idea, I bet,” Finn says. “I don’t have a laptop, so…” He trails off with a shrug.

“Yeah, well.” Puck closes the door and locks it, then tosses his keys down on a small table. “People don’t keep dead people’s laptops.”

“Puck, I’m not dead. I don’t know why you keep saying it. It doesn’t make any sense,” Finn says.

“You want me to tell you what happened that night?”

“You can tell me what you think happened,” Finn says, “since I know I’m not dead, and I’m standing right here in front of you.”

“You didn’t come back, and I thought maybe you’d gone over to see your mom or something, so I called her, and none of us knew where you were, so Carole called in the missing persons report, and then Burt calls me a couple of hours later and I can hear Carole crying in the background because they found your car in the fucking river with blood and a huge gaping hole in the windshield and oh, no body, but there’s no way he could have survived those injuries and the flooding river, so don’t tell anyone, Puck!”

“Oh Jesus,” Finn says, putting his hand up to his mouth as he sits down on Puck’s sofa. “Oh, Jesus, Puck. I texted you. I swear I did.”

“I didn’t get any texts from you!” Puck pulls his phone out of his pocket and swipes at it a few times before putting it in front of Finn’s face. “See?”

“Maybe… maybe I didn’t hit send,” Finn says softly.

“I keep saying you were dead because you were declared dead!” Puck says, wiping at his eyes. “You were gone.”

“Oh fuck. I didn’t know. Puck, I didn’t know,” Finn says. “I just— I kind of lost it, I guess. I hit the guardrail and— but I swear, I didn’t think anybody would think— I mean, why would I think that anybody would think I was dead?”

“You were gone,” Puck repeats, dropping down beside Finn on the sofa. “You were gone, Finn.”

Finn put his left hand on Puck’s leg, squeezing gently. “I know. I was gone. I had to get out of there. I didn’t mean to— I wouldn’t do that to you on purpose. I wouldn’t hurt you like that on purpose. I swear, Puck.”

“You were gone, and what if I had forgotten stuff? I was afraid I was going to forget. I did forget if you read The Hunger Games or not, and what if I forgot more stuff? Like how you sounded or which superhero you like best or how you walk?”

“You didn’t, and I’m not gone anymore, I’m right here,” Finn says.

“But I could have, like the little quirk or your handwriting or that god-awful way your shoes always smell, and you were gone and—”

Finn suddenly leans in and kisses Puck, hard and with his lips just barely parted. Puck freezes for just a couple of seconds, and then he kisses back, his hands grabbing at Finn’s shirt. Finn slide his hand higher up Puck’s leg as he pushes his tongue into Puck’s mouth. Puck’s hands move to Finn’s face, holding it gently, and he pulls back, staring at Finn and moving his fingers over Finn’s face and head.

“My handwriting’s different now, anyway, ‘cause now I’m a lefty,” Finn says, holding up his right hand.

Puck frowns and takes his hands off Finn’s head, wrapping them around Finn’s right hand almost gingerly. “What did you do, you idiot?”

“I. Uh. I punched a big hole through my windshield,” Finn says. “The last three fingers don’t really work anymore.”

“Idiot,” Puck says again, but he starts kissing Finn’s hand as he says it, then carefully puts it down and picks up Finn’s left hand. “Lefty, huh?” he asks as he runs his fingers over it.

“Yeah,” Finn says. He tries to smile at Puck, because he’s happy, he really is, but then he realizes that maybe he’s started crying a little bit. “I’m sorry.”

“I missed you. I woke up and I missed you.” Puck keeps moving his fingers over Finn’s hands and down to his wrists, looking between Finn’s face and where his fingers are.

“I missed you, too. I wrote you letters. I wrote so many letters, and then I never sent them, because I thought you probably hated me, and I didn’t want to hear you say it,” Finn says.

“I wasn’t there anymore,” Puck says. He looks at Finn’s hands again and then moves his hands to Finn’s neck. “I sent you messages on Facebook. Most of the time I was pretending.”

“I couldn’t get into my Facebook. The password was changed. My email, too.”

“Yeah, I changed them. So no one else could use them.” Puck’s hands slide to the back of Finn’s neck and he leans closer to Finn. “I liked to think you were reading them somehow. I guess it was a little crazy.”

“If I’d read them, I would’ve let you know I was okay,” Finn says. “I didn’t know that you didn’t know.” He leans in, resting his forehead on Puck’s. “I should’ve sent one of those letters. It would’ve gotten to you somehow.”

“You should’ve gotten me that night.”

“You would’ve stopped me,” Finn says. “You wouldn’t have let me go.”

“I would have come with you.” Puck’s hands are still, resting on Finn’s neck and the back of his head, and he tilts his head just enough to kiss Finn again. Finn closes his eyes and lets himself focus all his attention on the kiss. Puck’s face is just a little rough against Finn’s, and Finn brings his good hand up to Puck’s cheek to rub his thumb over the stubble there.

Puck leans his face toward Finn’s hand, and he slides one hand down Finn’s back, his other hand clutching at the top of Finn’s shirt. Finn keeps rubbing his thumb against Puck’s cheek as he cups the side of Puck’s face in his hand, holding him there as they kiss.

“I need all of you,” Puck mumbles after they kiss longer. Finn’s breath catches, his heart beating harder as he nods.

“Okay. Yeah, that’s good,” Finn says.

Puck pulls back a little and stares at Finn for a few seconds, then laughs. “I’ve been trying to tell myself it was a good idea for two months,” he says, grabbing Finn’s left hand and standing up at the same time. “Come look.”

“Yeah?” Finn ask. He stands, letting Puck pull him down the hall and into the bedroom. “I wrote to you about it,” he says.

“It’s not too big now,” Puck says, nodding towards the bed. “It was too big.”

Finn can feel himself smiling as he nods. “Yeah. Just like I said in those letters I didn’t send you. I said I thought— I thought maybe you could’ve loved me, too.”

“I didn’t realize before. I should have,” Puck says. “I didn’t type it, though. It felt too big, too.”

“I knew I wasn’t gonna send the letters before I could ever write it,” Finn says.

“Maybe some corner of me knew you weren’t really gone. I don’t know. But yeah.” Puck smiles, wide and clear, even though he’s still crying a little. “I could’ve. I do.”

“I do,” Finn says. “I do, too.”

“You’re here. You’re here.”

“I’m here,” Finn agrees. He reels Puck in closer, kissing him again slowly.

Puck runs his hands up and down Finn’s back and then his arms, moving them slowly down Finn’s chest before he pulls away just enough to talk. “You’re here and I love you and you’re here and you love me and you’re here.”

Finn nods, keeps nodding as he wraps his arms around Puck. “I’m here. I love you. We’re both here and we’re both okay.”

“I almost feel dizzy,” Puck says sheepishly. “I think fainting’s just a little too cliche.”

“You want to sit down?” Finn asks. “Do you want to lie down?”

“Yeah, I want to lie down,” Puck says. “Is it going to be warm enough in here for you?”

“You’ve got blankets.”

“Yeah, I’ve got my Ikea blankets on my Ikea bed,” Puck says with another laugh, and he pulls away enough to start taking off his shirt. Finn watches, then trails his fingers down Puck’s chest to his stomach.

“You know, I saw you without a shirt on so many times,” Finn says. “How does this feel so different?”

“Because I only have one reason to be doing it right now.”

“Yeah?” Finn feels his breath catch again.

“Yeah,” Puck says, still smiling as he kicks off his boots and then unfastens his jeans. “Just you.” Finn watches Puck’s hands moving over the button and zipper of his jeans, finally pushing them down, then he starts to laugh.

“Is my dick funny?” Puck asks. Finn shakes his head.

“I only have one other dick to compare it to, but no, it’s not that,” Finn says. “It’s just, still commando. Some things don’t change, I guess.”

“Only on my off days now. I don’t want to freeze it off,” Puck says, kicking his jeans off and then pulling off his socks before lying down on the bed and staring at Finn. Finn lets himself really look at Puck, his eyes moving from Puck’s head down to his feet and back up again.

“Yeah, that’s good, that you didn’t let it freeze,” Finn says.

Puck grins and shifts on the bed. “Are you just going to stand there?”

“I’m not allowed to look at you?” Finn asks.

“Oh, you’re allowed to look, you’re just still completely dressed.”

“Am I?” Finn asks, then looks down at himself. “Oh. Yeah.” He pull his work shirt over his head and lets it drop.

“Yeah,” Puck says softly, nodding and still staring at Finn, his eyes barely moving down and back up. Finn undoes his pants and pushed them down, trying to step out of them and realizing he didn’t take his shoes off first.

“Okay, guess I kinda messed up the moment,” Finn says, sitting on the edge of the bed to take his shoes, socks, and pants off.

Puck’s smile is back and he shakes his head. “No, that’s kind of you,” he says, stretching to run his fingers down Finn’s back.

“Yeah?” Finn asks. He leans back into Puck’s touch.

“Yeah.” Puck shifts into a sitting position and moves both hands up and down Finn’s back and then to his shoulders, kissing the back of Finn’s neck. He keeps moving his fingers over Finn’s skin, then moves them lightly on Finn’s side. Finn laughs and squirms away.

“I’m still ticklish!” he says to Puck.

“Good,” Puck says smugly, wrapping his arms around Finn from behind. “You smell the same, too.”

“Yeah, you do, too,” Finn says. “I was smelling you on the motorcycle.”

“Your hair’s shorter, though.” Puck slowly runs his hands up and down Finn’s chest.

“My hair’s one of the things I haven’t learned how to do with my left hand,” Finn says.

“Oh yeah?” Puck kisses Finn’s shoulder repeatedly. “Did you learn how to jerk off with your left hand?”

Finn can feel his face turning red. “Yeah. I learned that pretty fast. I was lonely.”

“Good.” Puck keeps kissing Finn’s shoulders and back, his fingers constantly moving on Finn’s skin. “Too much pressure if I had to be responsible for the first time in awhile.”

“No pressure,” Finn promises. He move his arm so he can rest his hand on Puck’s thigh, lightly stroking it.

“Little bit,” Puck says, moving his mouth down Finn’s arm. “You want to get under these blankets now?”

“Yeah, I think that’d be great,” Finn says. He scoots back on the bed until he’s able to get under the blankets, putting his arm around Puck’s waist to pull him close.

“I have a no underwear under blankets rule, though,” Puck says. “That I may have just made up.”

“Oh. I don’t want to break the rule you just made up,” Finn says.

“Yeah, that’d be pretty awful,” Puck agrees, running his hand down Finn’s side. “You want some help with that?”

“Yeah,” Finn says, nodding. Puck slides his hand under the waistband, kissing Finn as he works Finn’s underwear down. He keeps kissing Finn, a little bit harder, and puts his hand flat on Finn’s hip. Finn lifts his hips and tugs his underwear off the rest of the way.

“That’s better,” Puck says, pressing closer to Finn. “So much better.”

“Yeah, I think so, too,” Finn say. He runs a hand down Puck’s side to his ass.

“Not too big,” Puck mutters, and he kisses the side of Finn’s neck and down to his chest. “You didn’t hurt anything else, did you?”

Finn shakes his head. “I got banged up a little, but it healed. It’s just my hand, and I did that to myself, so.” He shrugs.

“Does it hurt?” Puck asks, picking up Finn’s right hand again. “And I’m still going to check.”

“Sometimes.”

Puck kisses Finn’s hand, then sets it back down. “I wish I’d been there.”

“I don’t. I was a mess,” Finn says. “I wouldn’t have wanted you to see it.”

“You shouldn’t have been alone, is all,” Puck says. “Neither one of us should have been.”

“I’m so sorry,” Finn says.

“Now you’re here.” Puck kisses Finn again, his hands moving to Finn’s ass and down the back of Finn’s legs. “Less apologizing. More touching.”

“Yeah,” Finn says. He wraps his other arm around Puck and pulls Puck down on top of him.

Puck pushes himself up just enough to stare at Finn’s face, and he smiles at Finn. “You’re right here.”

“So are you,” Finn says. “I didn’t think I’d see you again for a long time.”

“It was a long time. Too long.” Puck kisses down Finn’s chest partway, then back up, going up Finn’s neck to his ear. “It’s always been us. Don’t leave me again.”

“I won’t,” Finn promises. He runs his hands up and down Puck’s back, until both of them come to rest on Puck’s ass, pulling him down more firmly against Finn.

Puck wiggles a little, pressing down with his own weight, and he kisses Finn’s neck again. “Show me.”

“You can’t already tell?” Finn asks. He lifts his hips, pushing against Puck while squeezing Puck’s ass.

Puck grins. “Yeah? What’re you going to do with it?”

“What’s the thing we can do that has the most touching, because I want to do that,” Finn says.

“Yeah,” Puck says, nodding. “We should.” He kisses Finn hard. “You could be inside me. Fuck me.”

“You want me to do that?” Finn asks. He squeezes Puck’s ass again, thrusting up against him. “Be inside you?”

“I want you to do everything, but we can’t do everything at once,” Puck says. “Do you want to?”

“I want to do everything at once,” Finn insists.

“Yeah, I know,” Puck says, pressing down again. “I want you inside me.”

“I want to be inside you,” Finn says.

“We need lube. It’s in the drawer in the table,” Puck says, nodding towards the table beside the bed. Finn raises his eyebrows. “For jerking off. I went back and got the table so I’d have a drawer for it, though.”

“You bought a table just to hold lube for jerking off?” Finn asks.

“It didn’t look very, you know. Classy. Just to have lube on the floor,” Puck explains.

“Makes sense,” Finn says. He rolls towards the table and opens the drawer, grabbing the lube before rolling back to Puck. “So I can just…” He reaches between them, running his fingers over the head of Puck’s dick.

“You need to stretch me out first.” Puck thrusts down a little, towards Finn’s hand.

“You know how to do that, so I do it right?” Finn asks.

“Yeah. Roll us over.”

Finn rolls them over, pinning Puck to the bed. “I like this,” he says.

“Yeah?” Puck grins. “Good. Me too. Put some lube on one—on your left hand, and start with one finger inside me.”

“I can do that,” Finn says. He flips the lid up and dumps some of the lube on his fingers. “Get comfortable.”

“I don’t think ‘comfort’ is the ultimate goal here,” Puck says, still grinning as he bends his knees. “I mean, we’re already on a nice mattress and warm enough.”

“Good,” Finn says. He touches the tip of his index finger to Puck’s asshole, slowly pushing in. Puck’s ass feels hot and tight. “Is that good?”

“Yeah, that’s good. Keep going.”

Finn finger slides in deeper, watching Puck’s face. Puck’s mouth is slightly open, and he licks at his bottom lip briefly, his eyes on Finn. Finn smiles and kisses Puck’s knee as he pushes his finger in farther.

“Yeah,” Puck says, his breath catching a little. “Just move it around a little, and then you can add another finger.”

“You look so hot like this,” Finn tells him, wiggling his finger slightly before sliding another slick finger into Puck. “You feel hot, too.”

“You can move them faster if you want to. Or anything else you want to do,” Puck says, bending his knees more and pulling his legs back farther. Finn pushes his fingers in deeper, moving them faster. “Yeah, that’s awesome.”

“I want to make you feel good. I just want to be close to you,” Finn says.

“I know. One more finger, and then you can be inside me.”

“I want that,” Finn says. He adds a third finger, slowly fucking Puck with them while he keeps watching Puck’s face. Puck thrusts his hips up, towards Finn, and his eyes are half-closed as he looks at Finn. He doesn’t say anything for almost a minute, then nods. “Now?” Finn asks softly.

Puck nods again. “Now. Lube on you.”

“Yeah.” Finn withdraws his fingers and dumps more lube onto them, wrapping his hand around his dick and slicking it up. “I love you. I really missed you.”

“Me too. Me too,” Puck says, reaching towards Finn with both hands. Finn leans down to kiss Puck, positioning himself between Puck’s legs, with one hand still on his dick. He pushes against Puck’s asshole, feeling how tight Puck is as he slowly slides into Puck’s ass.

“Oh,” Finn breathes. “Puck. God, that’s good.”

“Yeah. Oh, shit, Finn,” Puck says, his arms going around Finn’s neck. Finn wraps both arms around Puck to hold him tightly as he starts to slowly rock forward, moving deeper into Puck. He kisses Puck again, moaning quietly into Puck’s mouth. Puck clutches at Finn’s back, and as they kiss, he makes an almost cut-off noise. Finn feels something wet on his face and realizes he’s not sure if it’s Puck crying or him.

“Puck,” Finn says. “Puck. God, Puck, I missed you, I missed you.”

“You’re right here,” Puck says, almost sobbing between words. “I can hear you and see you and feel you and you’re here.”

“I’m here, I’m here,” Finn says. He’s not really consciously moving, just rocking both of them, holding Puck even tighter, feeling Puck all around him.

“Stay, don’t leave me again,” Puck pleads.

“I won’t, I won’t,” Finn promises. “I won’t leave you.” He thrusts into Puck as they kiss again, their tears mingling.

“I love you. Anything. Anything,” Puck says almost fiercely.

“I know,” Finn says. “I love you. I love you, Puck.”

“I love you,” Puck repeats, still crying, and his fingers grab and scratch at Finn’s shoulders. “Finn, Finn.”

“Puck,” Finn says. He presses his forehead to Puck’s, looking into his eyes.

“I want you to come inside me.”

“Puck,” Finn says again, and he thrusts into Puck one more time before he’s coming, his body shaking and tears still wet on his face. Puck thrusts up a few times, then comes, sobbing at the same time, and his body relaxes against the mattress while he keeps staring at Finn.

“Let’s stay like this,” Puck says quietly.

“Yes,” Finn says, wrapping as much of his body around Puck as he can, pressing him to the mattress. “I love you.”

“Good. Yeah. I love you. I love you so much,” Puck says, his eyes starting to close, and he takes a deep breath. “I don’t have to miss you.”

“Never again,” Finn promises.

“I’m going to hold you to that,” Puck says, his arms going around Finn again. “Do you want to sleep?”

“Mmhmm.” Finn closes his eyes, letting more of his weight drop onto Puck.

“Okay. Sleep,” Puck says, one hand stroking Finn’s back slowly.

Finn nuzzles his face against Puck’s neck. “Yeah.”