Chapter 1: To my unfortunate offspring
Puck walked into the apartment and dropped his diploma on the counter, shrugging out of the gown and tossing the cap at his sister before starting to chop vegetables for dinner while the squirt did her homework. Hannah quickly donned the hat, blowing on the tassel whenever she got stuck and/or tired of dividing fractions.
Mom walked in, right as the chicken was coming out of the oven. She spotted the gown draped around Hannah's shoulders and looked up at Puck in shock. "You graduated? That was today? Is there a reason you didn't see fit to invite me?"
Puck paused, looked up, raised an eyebrow. "You never came to a single event at my high school, Ma. Not one football game, parent-teacher conference, glee competition, not even when we won Nationals. Why would I think you'd come to graduation? The date's been on the calendar for a month, even when I didn't think I was graduating. You just...never cared to ask." He looked back down at the salad shooter and sent another carrot through, the noise giving Hannah cover to grab her homework folder and retreat to her room before Ma snapped.
"You! You think you can talk to me, your Mother, like that? You are so- so horrible! Thank goodness you're leaving now, before you poison your sister with that attitude. Don't tell your own mother when you graduate high school. Hmmph." She crossed her arms.
"Can't leave right away, Ma. Not now. Don't have the money." Puck shrugged, tossing a cup of raisins into the bowl.
"I thought you had some saved? From your-" She wrinkled her nose, "little...business."
Puck grabbed the tray of ice from the freezer and slammed it shut. "I gave all of it to Dad, when he came around looking for money last month. I wanted him out of our fucking lives."
Ma sat down with a sigh. "Why would you do that, Noah? He's not even- I mean- You should have kept it."
"He's not even what? "
She looked up at him, laughed bleakly. "He's not even your father, dumbass. Why do you think he hated you so much? Left as soon as you were too big to hit? Your stupid face got more like his every day, and the bastard hated that, hated the reminder."
Puck had to brace himself on the kitchen counter. "More like whose? "
Ma looked up at him through hooded eyes. "More like Tony's." She sighed, heavy, pushed her chair back as she stood. Walked over to the kitchen. Took out the knife drawer, set it on the counter, reached into the hole.
Pulled out an envelope, handed it to Puck.
Walked out of the room without a second glance, leaving Noah Puckerman standing shock-still in the kitchen, staring at the STARK INDUSTRIES envelope in his hands.
He shook the trance off, setting the envelope on top of the coffee maker in favor of getting the food on the table, setting it for two. Babydaddy drama could wait. He called in Hannah and smiled as she blessed the food (he may be a bad Jew, but Hannah didn't really have anything else to rely on, and she actually liked praying, so Puck wasn't about to discourage that.)
Later, after the dishes were washed and Hannah's homework was finished, checked, and safely in her backpack and she was tucked in, Puck gathered up his things and retreated to his room. He dropped his backpack on his desk (he'd burn the homework later, but maybepossibly save that Geography test), hung up his robes(borrowed from Artie's second cousin, who graduated three years ago), and sat down on his bed. The envelope in his hands weighed more than any amount of ink and paper could account for. He'd beat himself up for so long over being just like his father, only to find out, Danny Puckerman wasn't his dad, after all. He didn't have any genetic predisposition to loserhood. Unless, of course, his bio-dad was a loser, too.
He looked back down. STARK INDUSTRIES. Yeah, probably not. Even if it was the fucking janitor for Stark, Tony Stark didn't hire idiots, or losers, ever. Probably wanted people who could think on their feet in case of flying alien worms, and not be in the way. They'd all seen those pictures from New York.
He ran a finger under the flap, pulling out a folded piece of stationery.
Like, crisp, heavy, official stuff.
To My Unfortunate Offspring,
Puck squinted at the fine print, reluctantly went to his desk, grabbed his reading glasses (shut up) and picked the letter back up.
To My Unfortunate Offspring,
If you're reading this, I feel sorry for you, because your parents must truly suck to want me for a replacement. Seriously, I am not dad material. And your mom obviously knew that, because she didn't want me in your life. That's cool, I get it, teen dad not exactly attractive, especially to a married woman. And to be perfectly honest, my lifestyle doesn't exactly leave time for changing diapers, or kissing boo-boos.
If you found out as a kid, about me, and want a father figure, someone to color with you and dry your tears and stuff, don't look at me. Go find your nearest phone book, look up Adoption, comma, gay and talk to one of those thousands of couples that can't have kids the bio-way. I'm sure they'd love to have a kid as brilliant as you.
And you are brilliant, because no kid of mine would be stupid. It's not all nurture, though decent schools probably help a lot.
The point is, I'm not gonna be your daddy. You don't want me to be your daddy. I don't have a paternal bone in my body. But no kid of mine is going to starve, or turn to prostitution or drugs or something because they're desperate and/or homeless, or live in an abusive house. So if you're in trouble, like real trouble, not mom-won't-buy-me-the-latest-videogame or grounded-again trouble, come see me. We'll work something out. Even if you're already an adult. Not having to deal with a kid works for me.
If, on the other hand, you found out 'cause you're a nosy little brat but otherwise happy, congratulations, you take after me. Put that mischievous side to good use and learn everything you can in school, invent something brilliant, and be my biggest competition in business. Give your folks exactly the right amount of trouble, and good luck in life.
Not a janitor, then.
Chapter 2: Defying Gravity
Plans, travel, and Hulk makes a new friend.
This is not a Klaine-friendly fic. I don't dwell on it past this chapter, but I give fair warning.
Not a janitor, then.
He flopped back onto his bed.
Well, this would get him out of Ohio, at least, and maybe Stark could get him a job somewhere in the company, or at least give him a place to crash in New York until he could figure something out. Ma didn't want him to stay. She'd been itching for him to move out ever since the whole Beth thing, sophomore year. Now that he was 18, and out of high school...yeah, he'd better pack his bags.
He snorted. You know who could have used a mysterious extra parent living in New York? Kurt Hummel, kid who got screwed by a combination of incompetent guidance counselors and stupid admissions people. If Kurt were in New York, he'd audition for everything and get experience and probably beat Rachel onto Broadway. Puck didn't even have a plan.
Better not get Kurt's hopes up, though, until he called Tony Fucking Stark. How was this his life?
He sat back up, grabbed the letter, and punched the number into his cell. It rang once before a smooth voice came on. "Mr. Stark is unavailable, is there something I can assist you with?"
Puck blinked, startled. Most people's answering machines didn't, you know, talk back. "Yeah, um, I've got this letter that says I'm Mr. Stark's kid, and to 'drop by' if I ever need any help, but I'm in bumfuck Ohio, oh, shit, sorry, I'm stuck in Lima, Ohio, and don't really have a way to get to New York."
The British voice that really sounded like a butler stereotype came back. "Your name is Noah Puckerman, correct? Email address rock underscore god sixty nine at g-mail dot com?"
Puck blinked in shock. Freaky . "Yeah. Um, yes, that's correct."
"You are currently unemployed. Do you have familial obligations which prevent you from travelling in the next week?"
Puck shrugged. Stark probably kept files on people, or something. He decided just to roll with the wicked-smart computer talking to him. "Nope, I'm free and clear."
"Will you be travelling with a companion?"
Puck closed his eyes. Yeah, Kurt'd be fine with him being presumptuous, if it got him to New York. "Yes. Kurt Hummel."
"Very well. You're flying out tomorrow night; the tickets are in your inbox. There will be a cab waiting at the airport for you."
"Thanks?" Puck said, but the line was already dead. He blinked away his shock and fumbled for Kurt's number. "Hey, bro, you free tomorrow night to help me out with something?"
Kurt set the pint down to pick up his "Kick Ass" playing cell phone. He tucked it against his ear before picking up his pillow to hug, leaning against the headboard. "If you need help hiding a body, I'm not the best friend to call, Noah."
Puck laughed. "Nah, nothing like that. I take it you've considered taking out Berry?"
" And Finn. Oh, the angst, I fail at life, I think I'll join the army."
"Long story, I got tickets for you and I to fly to New York tomorrow night and someplace to stay once we're there. I'll explain when you get here. My place, tomorrow at noon. Keep within the luggage limits or pay your own overages, 'kay?"
"You're kidding me, right?" Kurt rolled his eyes. "This is rather tasteless for a prank, Noah."
"Nope. Not joking."
"You're going to tell me everything, but, oh, my gaga, I need to pack!" Kurt got out of bed, looked down at himself. "And shower. Holy crap. "Okay, see you tomorrow, Puck." He hung up and glanced around the room. He had so much to do, but first- He started to sing, softly, picking out a clean pair of jeans. "I'm gonna wash that man right out of my hair."
Kurt pulled up at 11:59, P!nk blasting on the Nav's speakers. Puck stashed his duffel and backpack in the backseat before climbing in on the passenger side. Kurt paused the music. "Spill." He demanded as he started driving.
Puck fastened his seatbelt. "Turns out my loser-dad isn't my dad. Tony freaking Stark is , aparently; Mom gave me a letter from him, on the letterhead and everything. So this is on my bio-dad's dime. I figured, who else could use a free trip to New York?"
Puck snorted. "Like poor little rich girl needs any more favors from the world? She'd drive me crazy if we ever tried to travel together, and her dads could afford that train ticket and hotel just fine. You, on the other hand? You're chill." He looked over at Kurt, who was dressed in an outfit that said Over You and Fabulously Hot . "And I figured you could use the distraction."
Kurt's eyes flicked his direction before turning back to the road. "Who told you?"
"Hair Gel whined to Rory, who told Sam, who told Mike and me last night when we were playing Halo. Details got jumbled, though."
Kurt sighed. "He said that not getting into NYADA was a good thing, because I could be close to him forever and wouldn't have to deal with the temptation of having other options in New York. Because getting my lifelong hopes and dreams dashed are less important than his insecurities. When I suggested either a New York community college for a year, or getting a job there to pay the rent between auditions, he said that I wouldn't make it in New York, and I should invest the next year in our relationship instead."
Puck blinked. "Okay, so he's possesive and controlling and he thought you were going to cheat? Mr. Goodie-Two-Shoes?"
Kurt rolled his eyes. "I may have exchanged a few flirtatious texts with a boy I met at Between the Sheets. Even though Chandler is like Captain Jack-"
"Harkness or Sparrow?"
"Does it really matter?" Kurt smirked.
Puck laughed. "Guess not."
"Yeah, so he's a horrible flirt, but doesn't mean anything by it. And, well, you saw some of those texts. Pick up lines, sure, but they were so corny! I bet you get steamier things from Santana even now."
"True. So, you dumped the selfish douche?"
"I said we needed to take a break, reevaluate our relationship, if he thinks my entire career should take a back burner to it. He...didn't take kindly to that, said all kinds of horrible things, and I think it's pretty much 1000% over. For me, at least. He's probably going to do an Edward Cullen in a few months. I can't be with you but you can't be with anyone else!"
Puck snorted. Those months of dating Lauren totally ruined vampires for him, forever. "Uh, I guess that explains the P!nk?"
"Precisely. You mind...?" He leaned forward, glancing at Puck, who nodded, so Kurt pressed Play again. It was something else, watching Kurt belt out the angry chick songs (seriously, this entire album was one giant breakup song).
This used to be a fun house
but now it's full of evil clowns
It's time to start the countdown
I'm gonna burn it down, down, down
I'm gonna burn it down
They got through both airports easily enough, but once they were in the cab, they noticed that parts of the city were on fire. Some fires were getting extinguished, some were clearly being left to burn themselves out, some sidewalk sections were charred black, smoke marks up the walls. When asked, the cab driver just said, "Oh you know, invading army of evil, all that. Today's was these stupid little doom robots that were more annoying than anything, but the news says the Avengers are taking care of it. Life goes on, yeah? This is New York, kiddies, if aliens and supervillains surprise you, you picked the wrong city to visit."
Despite the continued clean-up efforts, they got to Stark Tower without any delays. The cab driver grinned back at them. "Guess you're used to the crazy stuff, yeah? Stay safe." And then he pulled away.
Puck looked over at him, and Kurt grinned back before they half-ran for the grand doors.
The artificial intelligence butler in the walls gave them directions to a pair of simple rooms connected via bathroom, and after the travel and hauling suitcases, Puck opted to take a nap, fully clothed, on top of the blankets. Kurt wanted to explore the tower, instead- JARVIS was kind enough to give him directions around the labyrinth of corridors when he asked politely, and Kurt loved hearing the British accent. Even when he wasn't lost.
He'd found his way to the roof, staring out at the city, when he saw a blur of green and spun around. The Hulk (!!!!) was standing behind him. Kurt looked up, and up more, and smiled, because the Hulk (!!!!) just looked confused. "Well hello there, big guy! What are you up to?" Assess the situation, react calmly, move slowly.
The Hulk (!!!!) sighed, which blew all Kurt's hair out of its careful coif, and shrugged, and...was that a pout? "Hulk smash robots. Hulk smash lots of robots. Nothing left to smash, now."
Kurt raised an eyebrow. "So, you're bored, then? Nothing to do?"
The Hulk sighed again, and plopped down on the metal roof. Which, you know, kind of dented it. "Cap says, No More Smashing Today, Hulk. Cap is no fun."
Kurt smiled cautiously and sat down across from the Hulk, crossing his legs. "Well, when I'm bored, I like to tell stories. Would you like to hear one?"
Hulk made a rumbling sound in his throat, and Kurt held his breath, but then the Hulk nodded.
Taking a deep breath, he started. "Once upon a time in the land of Oz, there was a girl, with green skin and dark hair. Some people were mean to her, because she didn't look like them, and some people were scared of her, because nobody else in Oz had green skin. Then one day..."