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Promises, Shoe Christmas Promises

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“This sucks,” Finn groans, and Puck waits two beats for the sound of Finn shutting his laptop harder than Puck always thinks is absolutely necessary before he moves.

He puts his foot out just in time to keep Finn’s desk chair from sliding into his own, eyes still on his own laptop screen. He’s gone back and forth on the big fight scene in Act II for what feels like weeks now, but the mom still sounds off to Puck’s head-voice.

“Dude, every time?” Puck says distractedly, deleting the last line of dialogue. Maybe the mom needs a more obvious Brooklyn accent.

“Better my chair than our bed!” Finn sounds so earnestly sincere about his furniture-kicking choices that Puck finally looks up, chuckling.

“Yeah, ‘cause we get to leave these chairs with good ol’ U of Lima Resident Living in May, but that bed is coming with us.” Puck decides he’s had enough of Brooklyn in 1953 and closes his own laptop.

Finn grins, probably because Puck makes a better finals distraction when he’s not doing his own work, and plops down on his kicked chair. “Our awesome bed.” He starts nudging Puck’s left calf with his toes. “Bet it’s still warm from this morning, even.”

Puck lets Finn think he’s sly all the way through to Finn leaning forward and tugging at the front of Puck’s shirt before Puck laughs and gently pushes him away.

“And it’ll be nice and warm after that short-answer test, too,” Puck says, but he can’t resist leaning back in quickly for one kiss. Finn outright pouts at that, but he does stop trying to pull Puck onto his lap, so Puck considers it a win. “Tell you what,” he says, as Finn’s slowly inching his chair back where it belongs and muttering under his breath. “I’ll get some of those big-ass cookies we saw at that place. Like, three at least for each of us, okay? And we can eat them after dinner and after-after your test but before we see if the bed’s still warm.” He gives Finn his best supportive-boyfriend grin.

Finn blinks at him, but it’s not a no. “The ones in Dayton?”

“Yep. that’s the place.” Puck stands and stretches, sighing at the way his back pops. “Sound good?”

“Uh. Yeah, I mean...yeah!” Finn looks a little startled. “Are you sure?”

 

“Finn.” Puck gives him a look on his way to grabbing his keys from their Command hooks by the door. “Dude. Haven’t we been buying each other ridiculous desserts since we were 11? Why would I buy you less desserts now that we’re together?”

Finn shrugs, but a grin stretches wide across his face. “Have I mentioned you’re the best?”

Puck snorts and kisses Finn goodbye. “Remember you said that next time Nana makes us Hanukkah sweaters.”

 

The ride out to Dayton isn’t nearly as long as it usually feels, but Puck concedes it’s possible it only feels long because they’re usually heading for a hotel. It’s an unusually mild December, so Puck pulls his scarf down for the last half hour and just breathes in the cool air.

Thanksgiving week and Hanukkah had been, in Puck’s opinion, unnecessarily busy. Despite the fact Carole and Burt knew they had Hanukkah with Puck’s family, plus Finn had finals coming up, they’d let Kurt plan three “special family dinner nights” and a big shopping morning. Puck’s biggest regret is he waited until the second Friday to fake kidney stones.

Finn’s having a great semester. Puck smirks to himself as he coasts his bike into the narrow Ashley’s Bakery parking lot driveway. Neither Carole nor Kurt know how well Finn’s doing, but Rachel’s been telling Puck how Kurt’s on academic probation already. Some modern dancer with one of those ironic mullets, according to Rachel’s breathless Sunday calls.

Ashley’s is buzzing with shoppers and spicy gingerbread smell, and Puck lets himself take a deep breath before he walks up to the counter.

“Twenty shopping days to go, can you believe it?” The girl at the register shakes her head at Puck as she rings up their two peppermint chip, two snickerdoodles, and two double-chocolate chip.

“Oh yeah, well, my boyfriend doesn’t really— wait, did you say twenty days?”

The girl—Amanda, according to her Santa-shaped nametag—giggles and tilts her head. “I know, right? Wasn’t it just July?”

“Yeah. Thanks,” Puck says quickly, shoving the change she hands him into his jacket pocket and grabbing their cookies from the counter. “Merry Christmas?”

“You too!” she says with a little wave, and Puck doesn’t bother correcting her. He’s already heading back to his bike, anyway, swearing under his breath. How did he forget a gift? How did he forget to brainstorm a gift? They’d exhausted each other’s lists and then some for Hanukkah, plus Finn’s birthday was just in September. They have stacks of gift cards for their favorite restaurants, including the campus coffee shop. Finn’s drawers are full of the sweaters he loves. And Puck’s 99.9% sure they own every classic rock shirt ever made since 1970.

“Dammit!” he says to the parking lot, scowling at the handlebars of his bike. Finn’s never forgotten a single anniversary of anything important to them, including the anniversary of the first time Puck’s mom let them have the house overnight while she took Abby to Nana’s, and now here Puck is, almost forgetting Shoe Christmas and then not even having a good gift idea for it.

He mentally catalogs the places they usually shop in Dayton, but nothing sounds very exciting, so he starts his bike back up and heads back north, sighing in the way his ma always calls dramatic, but Puck calls “necessary.” Maybe something will come to him on the way.

Right around Sidney, it hits him, and Puck laughs so hard he almost swerves into oncoming traffic.

“Perfect,” he says out loud, and accelerates to pass a PT Cruiser with a “Honk if you love Waffle House” bumper sticker. If he can make good enough time, Finn won’t even know he made a detour.

 

“Were you gonna eat your snickerdoodle?” Finn looks up at Puck’s face from where he’d been tracing little circles just above Puck’s belly button. Puck snorts and reaches over to tug on Finn’s earlobe.

“Yup. Because I rationed them out like a grown-up.” He sticks his tongue out. Finn scowls.

“But I’m hungry!”

“Oh?” Puck says, and runs his hand from Finn’s shoulder down to where his fingers are still on Puck’s stomach. “What happened to, ‘No, no, I’m so full, Puck! I can’t lie on my stomach, Puck!’”

“I digested!” Finn says so cheerfully that Puck can’t hold back a bark of laughter.

“Oh good,” Puck says when he’s recovered. He raises an eyebrow at Finn and starts rolling. “So then I get to do this....”

 

Puck’s so deep in a weirdly nice dream about Billy Joel and a gazebo that he wakes with a shout when his alarm goes off near his ear.

GUESS WHAT DAY IT IS!” Finn whisper-shouts near the other ear. Puck looks over, still catching his breath. Finn is grinning. “Morning!”

“Hmmm. Flag Day?”

Finn looks like he’s probably thinking about making a ‘half-mast’ joke, but he just keeps grinning instead. “I have coffee for us and I already put in an hour on my Psych paper so…” Puck would swear Finn bats his eyelashes. “...take your time. You know, whenever you’re ready.”

Puck props himself up until he’s marginally sitting and accepts the mug Finn holds out. “The Garfield mug? Is this a bribe or a thank you for last night? Because I’m good with either, plus I also hate Mondays.” Puck shrugs.

“Both?” Finn shows off his dimples cheekily. Puck takes a long sip of his coffee, watching Finn. When he pulls away, he tilts his face up for a kiss.

“Go see what St. Nicholas brought,” Puck says when they finally break apart. He nods toward Finn’s shoes. “I thought I heard reindeer hooves last night.”

“Puck!” Finn looks scandalizes but gleeful as he unfolds himself off the bed. “St. Nicholas doesn’t have reindeer! He’s not Santa!”

“Pretty sure they’re--” Puck shakes his head, laughing at Finn’s retreating back. “The red ones!”

“I got it!” Finn whoops, and the next thing Puck sees is Finn holding the aforementioned, now-empty shoe above his head. “Puck!”

“Yeah?” Puck asks. He wasn’t nervous getting the supplies or making the gift or even sneaking it into Finn’s shoe at 3am, but now his stomach is flipping.

“This is awesome! I love it! It’s just like when we were kids!”

Puck beams at Finn, who crosses the room in two big strides and flops back down on the bed. “You remembered. Awesome.”

“Of course I did! You did the construction paper and everything. Oh, cool, ‘I owe you one…’” Finn sticks his tongue out as he carefully flips the paper over the yarn loop. “‘...studying coffee run, even if I’m tired.’ Aw, Puck!”

Puck feels himself squirming a little, but it’s a warm happiness now. “You really like it?”

“It’s the best gift ever, Puck. Swear.” he scoots closer to Puck so they’re on the same pillow. “It reminds me of when we started.” Puck looks over just in time to see the last of the pink leave Finn’s cheeks.

“Dude. It’s always been you and me.” Puck holds his hand palm-up on Finn’s leg and squeezes when Finn links their fingers. “Keep reading.”

“Okay, okay.” Finn flips to the next card. “‘I owe you one….’” Finn carefully sets the booklet on his side of the bed before putting his mouth close to Puck’s ear. “Is it too soon to redeem that one?”

Puck laughs, but it’s low to his ears. “Tell you what,” he says. “How about this one’s a freebie?”

“Hmmm, won’t say no to that,” Finn says, kissing the corner of Puck’s jaw. “Happy Shoe Christmas to me!”