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[personal profile] scarletjedi
Title: How I Spent My Summer Vacation and Other Myths
Author: scarletjedi
Fandom: Glee/Supernatural Crossover
Rating: NC-17 for explicit sex
Type: Slash, Situational Het
Characters: Kurt, Puck, Sam, Dean, Castiel, Gabriel, Bobby, Sheriff Mills, Crowley
Pairings: Destiel, Sabriel, Puckurt
Warnings: Canon-typical violence, occasional genderswap (Gabriel), Supernatural AU season 7, Glee AU season 3

Notes: Thanks to proxydialoge for being such a WONDERFUL beta. This story was written having seen only the first three episodes of season 7, so any similarities after that are purely coincidental, but hey, great minds, yeah?
Summary: For the summer after Junior year, Puck and Kurt are sent to Souix Falls, Puck to his mother's cousin, Sheriff Mills, as punishment for his stint in Juvie in hopes that she will "set him straight," and Kurt to escape the Hockey Team's violence and to learn to Hunt like his mother from his Uncle Bobby. They meet at Singer Salvage, where they're both surprised, yet very pleased, to find a familiar face. A few days later a black impala drives up with two bloody Winchesters and an injured Angel. Then all Hell breaks loose....




***
Part I: The Boys of Summer
***


The bus smelled like ass.

Puck sighed and slunk further into his seat, resting his forehead against the window. The sun was on the other side of the bus, so at least the glass was cooler than the air. A full Greyhound bus, no matter how high the air conditioning was turned, would always be too hot. Puck wished he had his sweatshirt; he could pull the hood down over his eyes so, at least, he wouldn’t have to see the old lady staring at him suspiciously from across the aisle.

They passed a sign that read “You Are Now Leaving Ohio! Come Back Real Soon!” and Puck snorted. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to run and never come back, or not leave at all. He certainly wasn’t going to “come back real soon.” His mother had made sure of that.

To say Rina Puckerman had not taken his trip to Juvie with grace would be a massive understatement. After the yelling and the crying and the thrown glassware, while he was locked away, she had called her cousin, Jody Mills, about how to deal with Puck’s “downward spiral.”

Aunt Jody had, apparently, told Rina that his behavior was a symptom of something deeper. Rina had heard “search his room.” So, when Puck returned after his two weeks away, sore and reeling, he had walked into another round of screaming about how he was “shaming the family with your whoring about. I raised a better boy than that, Noah Puckerman.” Stunned, he could only watch as Rina tore through his pool business’s accounts, crying about how her son was “the pool boy slut” she overheard the housewives of Lima talk about every summer.

“That’s it!” She had finally said. “You’re spending the summer with your Aunt Jody. If anyone could straighten you out, it’s her!”

Puck had started to fight back, to say that he had learned his lesson, that Juvie had honestly scared him and that he wanted to be different; he’d gotten as far as opening his mouth before his mother had stormed out and locked him in his room.

Fuck it, he had thought. She thinks I’m bad, I’ll give her bad.

His resolve had crumbled as the school year continued, through his relationship with Lauren (not that she’d have anything to do with him, now. She had dumped him when she learned he wouldn’t be around in the summer, telling him to look her up when he got back. He wasn’t sure if he would, yet.), the thing that was prom, and their loss at Nationals. He ended the summer still trying to prove his badassness, and, to be honest, he was tired of it.

Puck shifted in his seat, biting back a curse as he knocked his knee against his guitar case. There wasn’t really much room for it between his legs and the seat in front of him, but there was no way he was going to put it under the bus; it was the easiest way to get a broken guitar, and now that his pool business was over, (which, in hindsight, was kinda whore-ish in the escort-service-but-really-hookers-kinda-way), he didn’t have the funds to get a new one. And fuck Glee club for making him care, but he was pretty sure losing his guitar would be the last straw.

Thinking of Glee club made Puck shift in his seat. It was hard to admit, (okay, it wasn’t that hard to admit to himself. Out loud, however...), that the gleeks were the closest things to friends he had. Finn and he were finally cool again, which was a relief even though he shouldn’t have expected less from the boy who would share even his most favorite toys and would still play with you if you accidentally ran over them with your skateboard and broke them. Quinn was warmer than she had been, but that ship had sailed even before Beth was born, let alone adopted. Sam and Mike were closer to each other than to him, though they were good to sit with. Artie was cool, even when their community service had ended. Boy could play a mean bass. Rachel was annoying, but in less of a scratch-out-your-eyes way and in more of a why-do-I-have-to-wear-a-tie way. Mercedes and he had an understanding; they were cool, but not friends. Santana would sext him, but not sleep with him, and was even less likely to talk to him in public, and Brittany was sweet but he was never sure what she was talking about, and he was used to Finn. And Kurt--

Kurt was cool, a lot cooler than anyone gave him credit for. The guy had gone through so much shit, from Puck and Finn and most of the jocks, and that shithead Karofsky, and he had not only not bowed to them, but had come back with his head held higher than ever, wearing even the Prom Queen crown like real royalty (and how fucked up was that? Dude might be flaming, but he was still a dude). He was snarky as shit, and when he was in the right mood, kept a scathing running commentary under his breath in the back of glee that would have Puck fighting not to laugh. Not to mention he had really grown in the last year, and tended to wear pants that made his ass look fine.

Not that Puck was gay, or anything. He could just appreciate a great ass. And Kurt had an ass that wouldn’t quit. Just like him. It was, like, a metaphor or some shit.

And if that ass, displayed with Kurt’s new-found confidence, had featured in some of Puck’s more private thoughts, well, that was Puck’s business.

The bus hit a pothole and Puck’s forehead smacked against the window. He swore, holding a hand to his head, and heard the old lady across the way gasp. He sighed internally. He was going from looser Lima, to Podunk South Dakota; he wasn’t even going to see the few friends he had left. He was only an hour into a 16 hour bus ride, and that wasn’t counting the two hour layover in Chicago. And at the end was Sheriff Jody Mills, his Aunt Jody, whose only idea of him came from his mother’s ranting, and was probably going to hate him on sight.

It was official. This summer was going to suck.

***

This summer was going to be amazing.

Kurt Hummel smiled at the screen of his phone as he walked down the steps of the Lima Public Library, mentally drafting his next text to Blaine. His boyfriend was stuck at home for most of the summer, working as a lifeguard at the pool club his parents belonged to, and while it sucked that he wouldn’t be seeing Blaine as much, Kurt was more than happy to think about Lifeguard Blaine, with his tanned skin, and strong arms, and short red shorts.

Kurt tripped on the sidewalk, and could feel his face flushing, weather it was from nearly falling in public, or from thinking of Blaine he wasn’t really sure. It wasn’t his fault he liked muscles and, while he loved Blaine’s fashion sense, he couldn’t help but wish he would show off his body just a bit more. He was his boyfriend, after all. He was allowed to lust after him. Kurt bit his lip. It was just the novelty of it that made it seem a little, well, awkward. Like he was trying too hard.

Paying more attention to the sidewalk, Kurt walked down the dark street. The library was conveniently close to Hummel Tire and Lube, so he had parked at his father’s shop rather than fight with the other cars to get one of the few parking spaces. It says something about this town, Kurt thought, that there are more parking spaces at the Dairy Queen than at the Library. Normally, he wouldn’t bother with the small building, preferring to buy his books for his iPhone, or Kindle Cloud, but Finn was home moping about Rachel going to Switzerland for two weeks with her dads and therefore leaving him alone, and with Mercedes suddenly busy, the mall held little appeal until the mid-season sales. So, he had gone to the library looking for something to read, carefully avoiding the newspapers and books of mythology and lore. There was nothing new for him to learn there, and only trouble to find, besides.

He was halfway to the shop when he heard the first rustle behind him. He paused, mentally cursing himself for giving into fashion instead of practicality when he was going to be out alone at night. In difference to the weather, he had worn shorts, stylishly tight, and a thin V-neck shirt that would do little in way of protection. True, he had his big knife in his bag, and his backup in his boot, and there was a pouch of salt in the little side pocket, but it wasn’t enough. Thank God he could actually run in these boots if he had to.

He started walking again, hoping that it was just his imagination, but there it was again. A rustling behind him, like--like cloth. A person, then. Or something person-shaped. Kurt stopped, dropped to his knee pretending he had to adjust the tassels on his boots, and palmed his knife. He stood, and looked behind him.

The good news was that it wasn’t a werewolf, or a vampire, or even a skinwalker.

The bad news was that it was the hockey team, duffel bags over their shoulders and sticks in hand. They must have been practicing at the sports complex across the courtyard from the library; they kept it open all year.

“Shit,” Kurt muttered. It wasn’t the numbers, though that was daunting in and of itself. It was the fact that they were human. Monsters were predictable. Humans weren’t. And they couldn’t be hurt in the same ways, not and get away with it, anyway. Still, Kurt wouldn’t be surprised if he was excused for using his knife, considering the menacing way they were approaching.

“All alone, Homo? That doesn’t seem to smart,” Puckhead number 1 said. It was as unoriginal as his mullet, and Kurt would have said as much if he didn’t see Puckhead number 2 behind him, rhythmically tapping his stick against his hand. Kurt backed up a step.

“Aww, don’t run,” said Puckhead number 3. Kurt didn’t know what he was going to say next. But he did know he was outnumbered, outgunned, yet close to safety.

He ran.

He heard one of them cry “get him,” and he rolled his eyes, but put on a burst of speed. With his growth spurt came longer legs, and he pressed them to his advantage now. Between his training with Coach Sylvester for the Cheerios, and the training he still did with his father, he was strong, and fast, and had the endurance.

But the hockey team was used to fast targets, and while they were faster on ice than on foot, they knew how to use their sticks. One caught Kurt around the ankle and he fell, hard, phone skittering out of his hand. Luckily, none of the players noticed it dialing.

Kurt tried to get his feet under him, but another stick--maybe it was the same one, he didn’t know, couldn’t see--came down across his spine and he went down, knowing it was going to bruise at the very least. He tried again, and this time the stick caught his shoulder, and his boot knife clattered to the ground. One of the players laughed, and flicked it away with the stick. Kurt went down, arms coming up to protect his head, and screamed, hoping that someone heard before it was too late. They weren’t going to let him up; he wasn’t going to be able to run. He was out of practice and they were going to kill him. They were laughing, taunting, and egging one of their number on, when Kurt heard it; the cocking of a shotgun.

The blast was loud on the mostly empty street, and so welcome to Kurt’s ears, he nearly cried with relief. His head came up, as the hockey team spun to see Burt Hummel standing in the light cast by the open door to the garage, holding a twelve gauge shotgun. He pumped the barrel again, and pointed it in their direction.

“Next person to raise their stick gets it in the face,” Burt growled.

The team scattered, disappearing into the night, and Burt ran forward to help Kurt to his feet.

“Kurt,” he said, his voice shaking, the cold anger from before gone, replaced by a frantic father. “Are you hurt? They hit you!”

“I’m fine,” Kurt said, his voice cracking. Burt stopped fussing and looked at his son. Kurt’s face crumpled, and he fell forward into his father’s arms. “They were going to kill me,” Kurt said between sobs. “I know they hate me, but kill me. I expect it from monsters,” Kurt said. “I mean, they’re monsters, but--”

“Those assholes are monsters, too. Just a different kind,” But said. “Did they break anything?”

Kurt shook his head. “I’ve gotten worse training.”

Burt raised an eyebrow. “And it’s that attitude that let the bullying go on for so long, you know.”

Kurt rolled his eyes, and pulled away to pick up his bag. “Oh wonderful,” Kurt growled. “They scratched the leather.”

Burt snorted a laugh, raising an arm around Kurt’s shoulders and steered them into the shop. “We’re going to press charges,” Burt said, once inside. Kurt settled into the desk chair, and started to inspect his phone for damage. He raised a hand against Kurt’s protests. “No argument. They were going to kill you just now.” Kurt looked away with a shiver. Burt looked at his son. He took a deep breath.

“I want you to go to your Uncle Bobby’s for the summer.”

“What?” Kurt sat up straight, and powered through the wince when it pulled at his back. “But I can’t go to South Dakota! I have a life here!”

“Generations of teenagers have survived spending summers away,” Burt said, rolling his eyes. “I was going to bring this up to you, anyway. You’re getting older. Bobby still hunts. He can train you better than I can, if you still want training.” Kurt looked away. Before Burt had met Carole, they had talked about Kurt’s hunting.

Kurt’s mother had been a hunter. They told everyone it had been a car accident, but it had been a werewolf that had killed her, and turned her partner (not Burt. Burt had his own hunting buddies, and they had decided when Kurt was born that only one of them would hunt at a time). It had been killed the following moon by Burt and John Winchester, and his two young sons. It had been Sam’s first hunt. Burt had seen how John had talked to his boys, saw the loss of his wife fresh in his eyes though it had been years, and had vowed to continue Kurt’s training only as much as it would help protect his boy, and had retired from hunting himself. When Kurt’s bullying had begun in earnest in High School, Kurt had approached him, asking him to up his skills. Burt had refused then, saying Kurt’s job was to be a teenager, and that he could make the decision on hunting as an adult--that they would redress the issue when Kurt turned eighteen. Kurt had pouted, but accepted the logic. Kurt would be eighteen this summer.

But now they had Carole and Finn in the house. They didn’t know about hunting. How would they explain Kurt disappearing for the summer?

Well, the hockey team had just provided them with a good excuse. Kurt felt himself opening up to the idea despite himself.

“What am I going to say to Blaine?” He asked, instead.

Burt raised an eyebrow. Kurt knew Burt liked Blaine well enough, but things had never really been easy between them, so much as civil. He knew Burt couldn’t care what Blaine would say about it.

“You’re my son,” Burt said. “And that means I’m going to put you first, no matter what anyone says. If he loves you as much as you say he does, he’ll understand and want your safety first.”

Kurt chewed his lip and looked at the floor. A summer of training.

“Does Uncle Bobby still have the salvage yard?” He asked. “Because if he does, I’ll have to start packing now to accessorize with rusted metal.” Kurt smirked at his father. Burt grinned, coming over to hug his son.

“That’s my boy,” he said. “I’ll call Bobby now, and then drive you home.”

“Dad,” Kurt protested. “I can drive.”

“Humor an old man,” Burt said, picking up the phone and pulling out an old and stained leather journal, flipping through the pages. “I’ll drive you back in the morning.”

“Fine,” Kurt said, standing gingerly. His father was probably right, but it galled. “I’ll get my toolkit together, anyway. Might as well start packing for the trip. I don’t want to have to rely on anybody else’s tools.” Kurt waved at his father with his fingers and entered the main garage as he heard his father, behind him.

“Hello, Bobby? It’s Burt. Burt Hummel.”

***

“All right,” Bobby said into the phone. “I’ll expect him day after tomorrow. Take care, Burt.” He hung up the phone, and surveyed the kitchen. If Burt’s son was coming, that meant a house guest, hunter or not. He should probably clean a bit. He took a swig of his beer. It would be a good break when the research made his back act up. He’d tackle it tomorrow; for the moment, he had a visitor.

Sheriff Jody Mills raised her eyebrow at Bobby. “Company?” She asked, and took a sip of her own beer. It was something Bobby appreciated in her; that candid quality that was so typical of good police officers. Fake that, and your work was half done.

“An old hunting buddy. His son is eighteen this summer and Burt wants me to whip him into Hunting shape.” Bobby thought back to what he knew of Burt. Nice guy. Not sure how he got into the business; wasn’t a family death, guy was too cheerful by half. Had met Melody while on a hunt and hit it off. They had brought Kurt around a few times before she had died; Burt had given it up after, one of the few who did, to raise his son. Though, apparently, he wasn’t as out of the life as Bobby had thought.

“And the rest of it?” Jody asked. Bobby scowled. That was something he didn’t appreciate so much; her damned intuition.

“I know the kid. His mom was a Hunter too, and a damned good one. She died ten years back, and that was the last time I saw him, but...” He paused. Took a deep breath. “There are some things you can just tell at an early age. Hell, take one look at the kid, and you can tell he’s gayer than a basketful of Liberaces, and just as flamboyant, from what I remember.” He held up a hand at Jody’s look. “And don’t give me that look, Sheriff. I couldn’t give two shits if that kid were gay or just wants to be a pretty, pretty princess. But this is a hard life, full of small minded bigots, and if he’s gonna be Hunting, he’s gonna face a lot more shit than he has to.” He sighed. “Though from what Burt just told be, he already does.”

“Bullies?” Jody asked.

“A hockey team-full. Burt had to chase ‘em off with his shotgun.”

Jody whistled. “And he wants to come here? We have a good town, but Sioux Falls isn’t exactly progressive.

Bobby shrugged and sat back in his chair. “He’s not coming for the Sadie Hawkins Dance; he’s coming to learn to fight. How to Hunt. Burt thinks getting out of Dodge might be a good idea; out of sight out of mind.” Bobby drained his beer. “And I wouldn’t encourage anybody to enter the life, but that kid was born into it, and if he’s going to be fighting anyway, he might as well learn it right.” He thunked his beer on the table, and Jody passed him a fresh one.

“And what was that saying about your--what? Nephew?”

“Noah, yeah. My cousin’s kid.” Jody picked at the label of her beer. “For years, I only heard from Rina on the High Holy Days,” at Burt’s raised eyebrows, she said. “Yes, she’s Jewish. So is Noah. It’s part of the reason why we don’t really talk. My parents raised me protestant, and she’s never really forgiven that.”

Bobby grunted. He tried not to get involved with people’s religions; which made the last few years more than a little ironic. He felt, as a Hunter, that he knew too much about the things people believed in, or used to believe in, or refused to believe in, to have much stock in religion. Priests were useful, though. For holy water.

“Yeah,” Jody laughed. It sounded a bit bitter to Bobby’s ears. “Rina can be a trip. Anyway, a little over a year ago, she starts calling more often.” Her voice shifted, becoming a bit more nasal. “Noah is acting out. He’s gotten a Mohawk. She’s never seen them, but she’s sure he’s been pierced. She thinks he’s sleeping around.” She took a sip, her voice going back to normal. “That one’s true. He knocked up his best friend’s girl his sophomore year. Then she calls because he’s landed in Juvie, and she doesn’t know what to do. I tell her that there’s some deeper issue and to talk to him. Next thing I know, she asking if Noah can stay for the summer, so I can straighten him out, and something about a Mrs. Robinson, but she was pretty hysterical by that point. I said yes, of course. Family, you know. But now, on top of keeping the town in order, and dealing with all your shit--” Here Bobby snorted, but Jody kept on, “I’ve got to deal with a snotty teen who thinks he’s a badass.”

“Welcome to hell,” Bobby saluted her with his beer, and Jody smirked at him. “Teenagers. I thought I’d finished with that when Sam went off to college.”

“No rest for the wicked, Bobby.” She paused. “I was thinking--”

“No.” Bobby shook his head. He knew that tone. That was the I’m going to make a request that you would give your left nut to not do, but you’re going to do it anyway tone. He hated that tone.

“Bobby, you don’t know what I was going to ask.”

“I don’t need to,” Bobby said, standing. He didn’t wobble; he was too much as old hat for that. Too old, anyway. “The answer’s no.” Ain’t no way he was going to take on another teenager. It was bad enough when both his boys were in town, and they were adults, supposedly.

“Don’t make me remind you of how much you owe me, Bobby. Really.”

Bobby sipped his beer. It was nice having the Sheriff on his side and damn useful now that Leviathan was out there, but Mills knew too much to be let loose. Besides, Jody reminded him just a bit of Ellen, and he always knew better than to piss Ellen off. He wasn’t always successful, but he always tried.

“I’m not asking if he could stay here. Just--a job. Something to keep him occupied during the day. You do still run a salvage yard. He can help with that.”

“Jody,” Bobby sighed. “I’m gonna be full up teaching Kurt how to be a Hunter. You really think I can do that with some kid, no offense, running around?”

“Hunting is about discipline, isn’t it?” Jody said, sipping her beer like she had already won. How the hell do women do that? “Noah sounds like the kind of kid who can use a little discipline.”

Bobby scowled. “Not a good idea, Jody.”

“Just try it,” Jody asked. And damn him if he couldn’t say no when Jody talked like that. “And if it fails horribly, I’ll leave him cuffed in my car while I’m at work.”

Bobby snorted. She would, too. For an hour or so, just to scare the kid.

“And who knows,” Jody continued. “Maybe fighting monsters will keep him from fighting everything else in his life.”

Jody stood and Bobby watched as she dumped the empty bottled in the trash and put on her hat. “I’ve got to go. He’ll be at the bus stop in an hour, and I should be there.” She hesitated in the doorway.

Damn it to hell, woman. “Give Kurt time to settle in here. Send Noah around in a couple days, and I’ll find something for him to do.”

“Thanks, Bobby,” She said, and ducked back in to kiss his cheek before leaving in a swirl of khaki and Dove soap.

“And if that kid goes by Noah,” Bobby said to the empty kitchen. “I’ll eat my bibles. All twenty-nine translations.”

***

It was dark when the Greyhound finally arrived in Sioux Falls. Puck waited until the bus stopped, and the people around him stood and shifted and start to file out before he moved, uncurling himself from around his guitar. He lost the suspicious old lady in Chicago, but picked up--get this--a nun, who started and crossed herself when Puck stretched his arms up. Puck didn’t flinch away from her, but it was a near thing. He wasn’t bad, certainly not anything to be warded against. True, Puck’s pretty sure he went against everything the nun stands for, like, he’s the anti-nun. He wondered, idly, while waiting for her to make her way off the bus, how she would react to him being Jewish, as well. Maybe a black hole would form, right here at the bus depot. At least then he wouldn’t have to worry about his summer sucking so hard.

Puck was one of the last people off the bus, moving stiffly as he carried his guitar in front of him, and his backpack was heavy over his left shoulder. Somebody had unloaded the undercarriage, and there are a few unclaimed bags lying on the ground, including Puck’s. Which is good, he thought as he picked it up. It would suck to have to get all new stuff.

The depot was mostly empty. Which, you know, makes sense for ass o’clock at night. He headed towards the depot building, wondering how he’s going to find his Aunt Judy. Last time he saw her, he was, like, 4, and he didn’t quite remember what she looked like. And, unless his mom sent a picture, she wouldn’t recognize him.

“Noah?” he heard. He looked and felt his heart stutter, just a bit, with knee-jerk fear. The speaker was a woman, a Sheriff, still in uniform, though her hat was missing. Her hair was brown, like his mother’s, and pulled back from her face. She was looking at him expectantly, the same way his arresting officer had; I know I’m asking a question, but we both know the answer to this, kid. Puck felt his stomach sink. This summer was going to suck.

“Yeah,” Puck said. He cleared his throat; his voice was a little rough. “Aunt Jody?”

“One and only,” Jody said. She looked him up and down, and Puck tried not to squirm. He could imagine all the things his mother had said, and bit back the questions that would let him know just how much she had poisoned the well. It was too late--too early?--to deal with Rina Puckerman’s paranoia.

Jody smiled suddenly, and Puck blinked. It changed her entire face, and Puck felt the knot of tension in his back ease, just a smidgen. “Well,” She said. “You’ve certainly grown.”

Puck snorted out a laugh, shifting his backpack on his shoulder. “Had to happen sometime, right?”

Jody narrowed her eyes at him, but Puck didn’t sense the same wariness as before. Still, he sifted under her scrutiny before Jody gestured for him to give her a bag to carry, and follow him to her car.

“I got it,” Puck said, shifting his grip. “Really.” Jody gave him that look again, but opened the trunk of her--Puck stopped. Jody looked at him and laughed. She took his bags and put them in the back of the Sheriff’s car.

“It’s the only car I got,” she said. “So relax. You’re family. I promise to only make you ride in the back if you really piss me off.” She slammed the trunk and Puck sank into the front passenger seat. The console was bigger than any car he had been in, covered with bits of tech from knobs and speakers to what looked to be a laptop. Jody climbed in behind the wheel. “Don’t touch anything,” she said. Puck just nodded.

Jody started the car, and started to talk as they drive away from the depot. “It’s about a twenty minute drive to my house,” she said. “We’ll get you settled in for the night, and can talk more about what to expect while you’re here, tomorrow.”

Puck nodded again and Jody arched an eyebrow. “You know,” she started. “From what your mother told me, I thought you’d be louder.”

“You shouldn’t believe everything you hear,” Puck muttered. He mentally slapped himself for mouthing back; you don’t mouth back to a uniform, but he had been on a bus for way too long getting stared at by old women and nuns and it was too early or too late or both, and Puck just couldn’t bring himself to really care.

But Jody just nodded. “Aint’ that the truth.”

They rode in silence back to her house. Once they were inside, Jody let Puck to the guest room. The walls were painted blue, a shade like a little kid would like, though the furniture was adult-sized and obviously from IKEA. He placed his bags on his bed, and leaned his guitar against the wall.

“I’ll let you settle in for the night,” Jody said. “Bathroom’s down the hall. Things happen pretty early around here, generally, but I got the late shift tomorrow, so I’ll be here when you wake up.”

Puck nodded, his mind already blanking for sleep, as he pulled his things from his pockets.

“Goodnight, Noah,” Jody said, and Puck’s mouth made his decision for him.

“‘s Puck,” he said. Jody paused.

“What was that?”

“My friends call me Puck,” he said, the words coming in a rush. They had called him Noah at Juvie, too, and all he could think was they don’t have the right. “Mom and Nana call me Noah. But I hate that name.”

Jody nodded, slowly. “Alright. Goodnight, Puck.”

“Goodnight,” Puck said. “And Aunt Jody?” She turned around again, looking, to Puck, a bit annoyed. He shifted awkwardly. “Thanks.”

“You’re family,” She said, and left. Puck looked around the strange room, thought about unpacking his bags, but instead decided to shower and dug into one for fresh boxers. He had to get the stink of bus off of him.

After his shower, Puck fell face first onto the bed, and slept until he was awoken by the sun shining in the window. He winced away from the light where it dazzled his eyes, even though they were closed. Pulling back into shadow, he opened his eyes and looked at the clock. 8 a.m. Puck groaned and covered his face with his hands. He never slept late at someone else’s house. He never could. Even when he really wanted to. He sat up. Might as well get this over with.

He might be turning over a new leaf, and everything, but he was still a badass. And badasses never backed down from anything; especially not slightly scary aunts.

Once dressed, Puck made his way down stairs and into the kitchen, where Jody was sitting, drinking coffee and reading a newspaper, dressed in an old men’s t-shirt and jeans. It hit Puck hard that his Uncle was dead; he remembered his mother telling him about it when it happened, that they had a closed casket funeral, but had never expected to see the evidence in front of him. He paused in the doorway. Jody looked up.

“Morning, Puck.” She said. “There’s coffee, there. Eggs and cereal if you want breakfast.”

“Thanks,” he said, and fixed himself a mug of coffee, and a bowl of cereal, not quite ready to cook.

“You’re up earlier than I expected,” Jody said once Puck sat. Puck shrugged, shoveling the cereal into his mouth.

Jody sighed. “I’ll be honest with you, Puck,” Jody said. “I’ve heard a lot about you, and a lot of it wasn’t very good.”

Puck stopped eating, swallowing hard and putting the spoon down, his cereal half-eaten. Here it comes.

“But if there’s one thing I’ve learned doing this job, in this town, is that sometimes you can’t listen to what other people say. Sometimes, you have to experience it for yourself. So far,” Jody went on, “I’ve seen nothing that matches what your mother has told me, except for that hair,” she said. Puck smiled ruefully and ran a hand over his head.

“What this comes down to, is that I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. You’ve fucked up.” Puck’s head jerked up in surprise. It wasn’t that he wasn’t used to adults cursing, his mother did it all the time, but it seemed strange coming from Aunt Jody, who was a sheriff and kept such a nice house and wasn’t judging him. “But that’s what being a teenager is about. Learning lessons.” She gave him that narrow look again. “And you have learned them, haven’t you.”

“Yeah,” Puck said. Juvie--he was never putting himself in a position to back there, to be locked away at all. And nothing hurt worse than Beth. “Not that anybody in Lima really notices.” Not even everyone in Glee had noticed. Finn had. And Santana. And he was almost sure Brittany had. Kurt had even said that he was impressed by Puck’s maturity--by which he meant acceptance of his social downfall, but still.

Jody hummed. “Well, then maybe it’s a good thing you’re not in Lima.”

“Yeah,” Puck said. “Maybe.”

“Now, business,” Jody said, putting down her coffee mug. “As Sheriff, I get some leeway with my schedule, but I still have to be there. I’m not going to be around all that often.”

Puck nodded, feeling his heart sink a little. Well, maybe he’d get a chance to really commune with his guitar.

“So, I’ve a job for you.”

Puck blinked. “What kind of job?”

Jody smiled. “I think you’ll like it. It’s with Singer Salvage, on the edge of town. Bobby’s a friend of mine, for all that he’s a real son-of-a-bitch sometimes. It’ll get you outside, and keep you moving, and put some money in your pocket.”

Puck frowned. He was pretty sure he’s seen horror movies that start in places called things like “Singer Salvage.” “And he’s not gonna mind having some ‘punk kid’ hanging around all summer?” At Jody’s look, Puck said. “I know what I look like, you know.”

Jody smiled. There was something devious about that smile. “He’ll deal. And so will you. Besides,” Jody says. “He’s putting up another boy about your age this summer. Who knows, maybe you’ll make friends.”

“Yeah,” Puck said. “Maybe.” Not a chance, Puck thought.

“Good.” Jody said. “You start Friday.”



Part 2





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