The Boys of Summer: part 2
Bobby watched from the window as Puck and Kurt emerged from his garage, Puck now dressed in worn and stained cover-ups. Puck was holding the front away from his chest, an exaggerated frown on his face. Kurt was laughing, head thrown back and loud enough that Bobby could just hear it through the glass. It was good to see the kid laugh. In the little time Kurt had been with Bobby, Bobby had seen him smirk, smile, and grin, but never with any genuine amusement.
It was a goddamn travesty. It was one thing for old fucks like him to be cynical assholes. It was something else completely to be that hard before you could even buy a drink. He’d seen it happen to Sam and Dean, for all he tried to stop John from completely fucking them over. He saw it in Kurt, now; that wearied dark humor one gets with the darkness hanging around every corner. Sam had had that, especially at the end, leaking from his mouth whenever his father was near, resentful of their lifestyle. And, despite Burt’s best efforts, Kurt had also grown up fighting.
This Puck, on the other hand, wasn’t at all like Bobby had imagined. The Mohawk and the boy’s swagger made him look tough, sure. But Bobby had pulled enough cons in his life to know how much people won’t look past a haircut, thinking they know everything from your posture. And that’s all it was, too; posturing. Like Dean.
Sonofabitch, Bobby groaned and closed his eyes. It was the damn Winchesters all over again. Bobby wasn’t sure how he kept collecting these lost boys, but, damnit, I’m too damn old to be Peter Pan.
Kurt leaned over the engine, to point something out to Puck. Puck looked, but pulled back, very obviously checking out the other boy’s ass, and Bobby felt his eyebrows rise.
“Oh balls,” He looked at Puck, and rubbed his hand over his face, “literally.”
Bobby was contemplating getting a bucket to keep filled with holy water, maybe with some holy water ice cubes, to banish teenage hormones, when the main phone rang. Without looking away from the scene outside, Puck seemed content to admire from afar, Bobby grabbed the handset.
“Singer Salvage,” he said.
“How’s he doing?”
Bobby rolled his eyes and walked away from the window. “And hello to you, too, Sheriff.”
“Hi, Bobby. How’s Puck?”
Bobby looked over his shoulder, out the window. It looked like Puck and Kurt were now both under the hood, hands in occupied with the engine. And didn’t Kurt have a boyfriend? Bobby felt a headache start behind his left eye. Teenagers.
“I think he’s doing just fine. In fact,” Bobby said, crossing his arm over his chest. “He looks like he’d get on fine for the summer. What happened to ‘Don’t worry, Bobby.’ Or ‘He’ll be gone in a week, Bobby?’ I’m supposed to be training Kurt to hunt. How am I supposed to do that with competent help around?”
Bobby swore he could hear Jody shrug over the phone. “So train Puck, too.”
“Is your hat on too tight?” Bobby said. “I’m not dragging another kid into this hell-hole life. Puck’s trying to not be a criminal, remember? Hunting ain’t exactly legal, Sheriff.”
There was a pause. “Some things are more important than the law,” she said.
Bobby sighed. “I can’t do this to another kid.”
“He’s eighteen. Legally he’ not a kid, Bobby. And monsters don’t count birthday candles.”
“It’s Jody, Bobby. Stop thinking of me as the Law, and start thinking of me as your friend. Shit’s bad all over. You’re going to need Hunters, Bobby. You might as well train them up right, when you have the chance.”
Bobby breathed through his nose, jaw clenched. Damnit, if the woman made sense, and he could see the ease in the way Puck and Kurt interacted. They’d make a good team, as good as he and Rufus were, at least, if not as good as the Winchesters.
“Besides, what Puck needs most is direction. Let him put the skills of his misspent youth to something good.”
Bobby sighed. “I’ll think about it,” he said. “And that’s all I can promise.”
“That’s all I can ask.”
Bobby scowled. “Don’t act like this wasn’t your plan all along, woman.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it. How’s he getting on with your apprentice?”
Bobby looked out the window just in time to see Puck give an oblivious Kurt another once over. “Gettin’ on like a House on Fire. Turns out they’re friends back home.”
“That’s—odd,” Jody said. “What’re the chances, huh?”
“Yeah,” Bobby said. “Strange.”
“Bobby, you don’t think it’s something—you know?”
“Mystical you mean?” Bobby shook his head. “No. I think I’m just a paranoid old coot who’s sick and tired of being manipulated.”
“Whoops,” Jody said. “I gotta go; we’re getting a call in.”
Bobby looked at his silent police scanner. “Uh huh. Sure.”
Bobby snorted and hung up the phone. He hadn’t yet put down the handheld, before it started ringing again.
“What is this?” he grumbled. “The goddamn switchboard?” He pressed the answer button harder than necessary. “What?” he snapped.
“And who pissed in your Wheaties, Sunshine?”
“Oh,” Bobby said. “It’s you.”
“I’m hurt, Bobby,” Dean said. “Truly.”
“What do you want?” Bobby looked out the window, but Puck and Kurt moved on, and couldn’t be seen. “I got problems of my own, ya know.”
“We found Cas.”
Bobby stopped. Shitballs. “Is he--?”
“He’s alive, barely. Hasn’t been awake, much.”
Dean paused. “Pretty bad. I--I don’t think he’s got any angel mojo left, Bobby.”
Double Shitballs. Bobby sighed. “When will you get here,” he asked, already calculating rooms and beds; Sam and Dean still had their room upstairs, without upsetting Kurt, and, well, it’d probably be a good idea for Cas to spend a few days in the panic room, just in case. There’d be enough room.
“Tomorrow,” Dean said. “Thanks, Bobby.”
“Don’t thank me yet,” Bobby said. “You’re not my only houseguest. You remember the Hummels?”
“Hummels,” Dean said. “Yeah. The werewolf job, back in ‘01. It took out a Hunter and her partner before we were called in. It was Sammy’s first real Hunt.”
“Yeah, well, her son’s here. His Dad said Kurt could Hunt after he turned eighteen. Sent him to me to learn the ropes.”
Dean was silent. “And you agreed?”
“Don’t get your panties in a twist. He came half-trained already, and well, it’s a good idea that the kid learn to fight monsters that he can hit back.”
“What the hell’s that supposed to mean?”
Bobby sighed. “It means the kid’s gayer than Elton John at Christmas, and living in Lima, Ohio. He’s been fighting a cold war since his classmates learned “fag” was an insult. Don’t tell me that a monster you can kill ain’t better than a monster you can’t.” Dean was silent, and Bobby continued. “Not to mention that the kid really takes after his Mom. You, of all people, know how important family is.”
Dean grunted. “You protect your family, Bobby.”
“And fight in their honor when you can’t.” Bobby shot back. He sighed. “Besides. Our numbers are down, and these big-mouths are on the rise. We’re gonna need reliable Hunters.”
“Who’re you trying to convince?”
“Shut up,” Bobby said.
Dean snorted through the phone, and Bobby knew the expression Dean was making, that pinched/pissed look he got whenever Sam went and did something stupid. Wisely, however, Dean didn’t continue to argue. “We’ll be there around noon.”
Bobby nodded. “Oh, and one more thing,” he said. “There may be a non-Hunter hanging around.”
Bobby sighed. “I know. It’s Mill’s nephew. She conned me into hiring him for the summer for my legitimate business. I took him on, thinking I could scare him off if I needed to, but now she’s angling to have him trained up, as well.”
“Didn’t say I was gonna, now did I? Though,” Bobby said. “He’d make a good partner for Kurt.”
“You’re unhinged,” Dean said.
“Yeah, yeah,” Bobby said. “Mom,” and hung up the phone. “Idjit,” he said, not quite sure which of them he was referring to.
Dean dropped his phone onto the seat next to him. The Impala rumbled around him and he deliberately loosened his hands on the steering wheel. There was no need to take his anger out on his baby.
Sammy was sacked out in the back, too-long limbs at familiar awkward angles. It never seemed to matter what position he was in, Sammy always fell asleep in the car, sooner or later.
It was a good thing, too. Dean was half ready to knock him out just to get him to sleep. Sam had those dark circles under his eyes, the ones he only got when a problem was eating at him, a problem that Dean couldn’t fix. At least he’ll be rested for his one way trip to crazytown.
Cas was slumped in the passenger seat. He’d awoken just enough earlier that they didn’t feel bad about putting Sam in the back, and had fallen asleep once more before they had hit the highway.
Dean snapped his head to look at Cas. Sure enough, Cas was staring back in that unblinking way he still had. Though, Cas was so still Dean started to wonder if he’d heard his name after all. Dean checked the rearview; Sam was still sleeping.
“Hey, Cas,” Dean said, quietly. “You up?”
Dean could hear Cas breathing, slightly out of sync with the almost-snores coming from the back. Sam’s allergies must be acting up again. They’d have to get some Zyrtec or something next time they stop.
Cas didn’t move.
Dean sighed. “Cause--and I’m only gonna say this shit once, so listen up--I really want you to be okay. I meant what I said. You’re family now, Cas. And I’m pissed as hell at you for what you did, for thinking you couldn’t come to me, but we’ve been through that. It’s over. It’s done.” Dean swallowed, and rubbed damp eyes. Maybe he should get some of that Zyrtec for himself; he heard somewhere that allergies could spring up at any time. He wasn’t crying. “But I need you here, man.” Dean’s voice cracked and he stopped talking. Through it all, Cas stared at him. “I need you,” Dean whispered, staring at the empty road ahead.
He felt a hand on his thigh. Cas’s hand. He looked over, and Cas’s eyes were bright with tears.
“I’m sorry, Dean,” Cas said, his voice grating painfully out his throat, like gravel and cut glass. “For everything--”
“Shut up,” Dean said. “I said it’s over. It’s past. We go on.” He swallowed as Cas looked away, sinking in on himself. “And no more of this self-sacrificing bullshit, do you hear me? You need help, you ask.”
Cas looked back at him, tears flowing now, but his face still unmoving. “Yes, Dean,” Cas said. And Dean believed him.
“Awesome,” Dean said, and stretched as much as he could in his seat, coughing away the lump in his throat, and wiping his eyes with his hand. “Glad that’s over. We don’t need to talk about it again.”
Dean held up a finger. “Ah!”
Cas looked away, but this time, a smile twitched at the corner of his mouth, more than ever had while Cas was full up on Angel Juice. It made Dean’s heart try to sink and soar at the same time. “Understood.”
“Good.” Dean sniffed. “Time for some music.” He turned on the stereo, and Bob Seger starting to sing about life on the road, low and weary, and Dean shifted in his seat.
Cas was quiet in his seat, but he seemed awake now, staring out the window.
“So, uh...” Dean said, “How, uh. How are ya?”
“My Grace--” as said, and stopped. “I don’t think I’ve fallen; it doesn’t feel like I’ve fallen, but I’m--out of ‘juice.’”
Dean snorted at that, softly. He could hear the air quotes. “So that means what? You’re human?”
“Not...yet,” Cas said. “Already my most distant memories are fading, I can--I can feel myself losing knowledge. Soon, I will be nothing more than human.” He paused. “And a poorly adapted one, at that.”
Dean swallowed. “Cas...We’re going to Bobby. We can find a way to fix it.”
“No, Dean,” Cas said, closing his eyes. “I feel that it is better this way.”
“Cas, come on--”
“No,” Cas said, his voice strong. “I have let my power corrupt my purpose, so my Father has seen fit to remove it from me. Very well. I will learn to be human.”
“It’s not fair!” Dean said, and checked himself, trying to keep his voice down to not wake Sam. “Yeah, you fucked up, but--to punish you like this...” Dean trailed off, shaking his head.
“Honestly,” Cas said, and the wonder in his voice made Dean look at him. “I do not think my Father intends this to be punishment.”
“How can you say that?” Dean asked.
Cas shrugged. “If my Father had wished to punish me, He would not have sent me to you.”
Dean swallowed again. “Well.” He said. “I don’t know what kind of twisted up mind thinks our life is a--what, a reward?--but, hey. Whatever turns your crank, Cas.”
“I have been returned to my family,” Cas said. “I can’t think of a greater reward.”
Dean paused, swallowing around a thick lump in his throat. “Okay, you gotta cut that out, Cas,” Dean said. “All this chick flick shit is giving me hives.”
“As a wise man once said: Suck it up, Dean.” Dean looked over at Cas in surprise, taken aback to see a small smirk on Cas’s face. He had missed that smirk. Dean laughed, so hard he had to pull the Impala over and curl over the steering wheel. There was relief in that laughter, joy, too. But mostly, this was going to make or some epic prank wars.
A man has to have his priorities, after all.
Cas was smiling at him, still small, like his face was it would get told to stop at any moment. Dean’s laugher calmed, and he just looked at Cas, and damn if that pain in his chest didn’t feel just like happiness.
There was a snuffling sound from the backseat. “No, Mr. Jingles,” Sam muttered, still asleep, “That’s my tapioca.” Dean slowly looked back to stare at his brother. Sam just sniffed, adjusted his position, and went back to sleep.
“Unbelievable,” Dean muttered. “Right,” he said. “To Bobby’s.” He pulled back onto the highway, and turned up the tunes as Thin Lizzy cried out that the boys were back in town.
Puck found himself not wanting to leave at the end of the day, but Sing--Bobby--had said Jody wanted him home for dinner. So, as the sun began to set, Puck peeled himself out of his blues, and said goodbye to Kurt.
“I can’t believe I’m saying this,” Kurt said. “But today was fun.”
Puck smirked. A solid afternoon of watching Kurt bend over; watching those surprisingly muscular arm flex as he worked, smeared here and there with streaks of grease and--Puck cut himself off before his ‘fun’ could become too obvious. “Yeah,” he said, instead, hoping Kurt didn’t notice the thickness of his voice. “Definitely.” He smiled back at Kurt and they stood there, smiling at each other, until Bobby slammed through the screen door.
“Be back by eight, tomorrow,” he said. “Good work today. Keep it up.”
Puck didn’t blush. Badasses didn’t blush. “Uh, thanks.”
Bobby nodded. “Well, get before the sheriff calls me again. That woman, I swear.” Bobby went back inside, still muttering to himself.
Puck waved goodbye to Kurt and mounted his bike, pedaling down the drive as the sun started to slant down from the West. He stopped at the gates as he left; the setting sun made the symbols all the more obvious. Puck pulled out his phone, snapped a quick picture, and rode back to Jody’s.
Dinner was quiet; a long day in the heat had taken more out of Puck than he was willing to admit. He excused himself quickly enough, and disappeared into his room. Booting up his laptop, Puck sent the image from his phone. He had no idea how he was going to search for this, but Google seemed a safe bet.
An hour and several reverse image searches later had Puck very confused--Singer Salvage had more protection prayers and wards in more languages than Puck had known existed. Bobby didn’t seem particularly spiritual, though maybe paranoid enough, to defend his home like this. Most likely, it had been a stoner artist and Bobby never changed it.
Puck closed his laptop and picked up his guitar, planning to banish the line of thought with music, but it followed him to sleep, wrapped in a melody.
The next day, Puck arrived at ten am, eyes open for signs of--what, he wasn’t sure, but he knew it also involved Kurt. The yard was quiet, and Puck leaned his bike against the porch before letting himself in the front door.
Kurt was inside, dressed for work but leaning against the counter, drinking a glass of milk. Puck was caught by long line of Kurt’s throat as he swallowed.
“Hey,” he greeted, his voice lower than normal. He cleared his throat. “Milk, sir?” Kurt asked with a cheeky grin.
Puck had seen enough porn to be hopeful but declined the offer, not knowing where Bobby was. The last thing he wanted was Bobby walking in on his personalized Kurt Hummel porn. Instead, he hopped up to sit on the counter next to Kurt, to watch him and his throat as he swallowed.
“Bobby’s in town,” Kurt said, putting the empty glass in the sink. “Something about groceries and feeding an army. He’ll be back in a bit, but we’re to start in where we left off yesterday.”
Puck nodded, mind stuck on Bobby’s in Town, before he shook himself out of porn and back to reality. “Let’s go.”
It wasn’t that Puck regretted not taking Kurt up on his offer-that-was-only-an-offer-if-Puck-
He needed a distraction.
A plan formed. He’d get Kurt talking about something that could in no way trigger Puck’s libido, and just let him talk until they left this weird porn-movie-limbo.
It was that or break out his sweet-ass dance moves, and hope Kurt would put out before Bobby got back. No one could resist his love-dance.
Except Sue Sylvester. But he was pretty sure she wasn’t actually human, so she didn’t count. And, if he had to work with Kurt all summer, he couldn’t fuck that up with--uh--fucking.
Unsexy thoughts it is.
“So, how’s your boy?” Puck heard himself say, and damnit that wasn’t what he meant to say. Still, it was a buzzkill for him, even if it turned out the opposite for Kurt. Though, if Kurt was primed and ready, Puck was primed and ready, and it wasn’t like he let boyfriends stop him in the past--
In the past. It was like a bucket of ice water. Then, Puck saw Kurt’s face, and it was like two buckets of ice water. Shit. That was Kurt’s I’m upset but I’m not gonna show it, face, which really wasn’t that far from his I’m better than all of you, face, but Puck had had a long time to learn the difference between the two. “Dude, did something happen?”
“No,” Kurt said shortly, and ducked under the hood of a Mustang.
“You wanna talk about it?”
Kurt shot him a scathing look over the hood. It did what no bucket of ice water could do; Kurt hadn’t looked at him like that for months. “And what, exactly, makes you think there’s anything to talk about? Or if there was, that I’d talk to you?”
Puck blinked. “Harsh, man.”
Kurt’s face softened, and he pulled back. “You’re right. I’m sorry. It’s just--” Kurt pocketed the wrench in his hands, and turned to lean against the bumper. “If your special someone was out of state for a couple of months, and you wouldn’t see them, wouldn’t you want to take any opportunity to at least talk to them?”
Puck shrugged. “Well, yeah. Whoever'd be your ‘special someone’ would be that because you like talking to them.”
Kurt brightened just a bit. “Exactly,” Kurt said. “You get it. Why doesn't he?”
Puck frowned. He didn’t like where this was going. “What does that mean?”
Kurt slumped. The dejected look on his face made Puck was to hit someone. Nobody hut his boy without answering to Puck. “It’s only been a couple days, but, we haven’t talked at all; since before I came out here. We used to be on the phone all the time! And this morning I got this:” Kurt pulled out his phone and brought up a text message, and showed it to Puck.
sry. out l8 w/Seb.
it’s okay. Skype tonight? :)
can’t. Wrblr party. miss u!!!!
Puck handed back the phone, not quite sure what Kurt was getting at. But he knew enough to play along. “That’s balls.”
“So I’m not reading too much into it,” Kurt said. His voice had gone very flat. “Wonderful.”
Puck suddenly felt very guilty about his earlier interest. “It could be innocent,” Puck said. “I mean. I’ve seen you two together. You’re very couple-y.”
“Yeah,” Kurt said. “In public we’re this great romance. Holding hands and chaste kisses. The problem is--how much are you willing to hear?” Kurt asked suddenly, one eyebrow raised.
“I’m down.” Puck shrugged. “Even with the kinky shit.” Puck bit his tongue. Don’t think about the kinky shit.
“You’re not going to tell anyone?”
“Who would I tell?” Puck said. “Nah, man. I spread tales of my own exploits only. Gotta keep the legend alive.”
“I’ve been meaning to ask,” Kurt said, suddenly sly, “How much of that ‘legend’ is true?”
“About a 70/30 split,” Puck said, and waggled his eyebrows. “And if you’re lucky I’ll tell you which way. We’ll go tit-for-tat. Your turn.”
Kurt snorted. “All right. Well,” Kurt fidgeted. “The problem is that we’re all couple-y in private too. With holding hands and chaste kisses. Emphasis on chaste.” Kurt threw up his hands. “He won’t touch me! Even when I tell him it’s okay, he either deliberately misses the point or thinks up an excuse.”
Puck shrugged. “Maybe he isn’t ready.”
“Then he should say that instead of giving me a complex,” Kurt grumbled. “And--he keeps playing it off like he’s doing me a favor, like he thinks I’m not ready, when really, I’ve been ready, I just don’t want--” Kurt cut himself off.
“Don’t want what?” Puck pressed. Kurt was silent for a long moment.
“Him,” Kurt said, so softly Puck wasn’t sure he heard it right. “Blaine, for all that he’s handsome and charming and very romantic--and don’t think I don’t love the public romance, I do, it’s just--I don’t see why we can’t have that and something more in private. I keep waiting for him to try to push, and he doesn’t and I would, but--he’s not exactly my type.” Kurt buried his face in his hands. “It’s horrible. He’s my boyfriend. I should want him. I do! But when he stops us, I can’t help feeling relieved.” Kurt sagged, dropping his hands. “Now that the gloss has started to wear off, I’m worried I’m not, actually, attracted to him. That it was just infatuation and the--the idea of a boyfriend that I was attracted to.” He sighed. “And being so far away isn’t helping. I’m all--” Kurt waved his hands. “Confused.”
Puck knew exactly how he felt; he had felt the same before, with Lauren, and in the aftermath of some of the more adventurous cougars. Maybe Kurt could benefit from his go-to solution.
“You could always use the Jerk Test.”
“The--” Kurt blinked at Puck. “The what?”
“The Jerk Test,” Puck shrugged. “You know.”
“No,” Kurt shook his head. “You mean--to test if he’s a Jerk?”
Puck shook his head, laughing a little. “No, no. Jerk,” Puck made a fist and jacked it in front of his crotch, please to see Kurt pink. “It’s like this. When I’m confused about this kinda shit, I think about it when jacking it. If it does it for me, then I know. If it doesn’t, well, that’s an answer too.”
Kurt folded his arms and shifted his hips. “Let me get this straight. You want me to--”
“Jerk off to your boyfriend.”
“And this will help?”
Puck frowned. Kurt didn’t have to sound so skeptical. The Jerk Test was time-honored, past down from bro to bro as one of the major decision makers of every male’s life.
Okay, Puck may have made that up, but still. “It’s helped me figure a lot of shit out about myself.”
Kurt raised an eyebrow, once again hidden behind that porcelain mask. “Like what?” Kurt was practically taunting him, which wasn’t cool, but Puck had seen the cracks, and wanted to see them more. So, he said,
“Like that I like getting fucked as much as fucking.”
There, Puck smirked. That was the face, red-cheeked and wide eyed, mouth just slipped open. And, because Puck was Puck, he couldn’t leave it there, so he added;
“The cougars are a kinky bunch. I showed up one day, and one of ‘em had a strap-on, had bound her tits with, like, an ace bandage, and had tucked her hair up under her hat. She made me call her mister, which was weird, but, well, I liked it enough that it freaked me out a little. I went home and put it to the test. So...” Puck trailed off.
“Puck,” Kurt said slowly. “Did you just come out to me?”
Puck felt himself flush cold, but shrugged. “I guess, I mean. I know I’m not gay. A guy can be straight and like being on that side of anal, but I did the test to gay porn, so--I’m probably, I dunno, Bi or something.”
Kurt had his assessing face on. And Puck hated that Kurt regained his equilibrium so quickly, but Puck knew what could fluster him now. He grinned.
“Bi, maybe,” Kurt said. “Probably Pan, now that I think of it.” He grinned, cheeky. “Makes sense, now that I think about it. A ‘sex shark’ as bad as you can’t be limited to one sex or gender.”
Puck’s smirk fell. “What does that mean, ‘it makes sense’?”
Kurt waved him off. “It’s nothing if you don’t think to look for it. And certainly no one back home would pick up on. And I assume you won’t be coming out at school this fall?” Kurt pulled his wrench out, apparently over his mini-break. “I don’t blame you. It is still Lima.”
“Yeah, probably not,” Puck said. “Unless I had a good reason to.” He wasn’t sure why he added that, but it seemed very important to make that clear. Puck wasn’t ashamed; badasses were never ashamed, but at the same time, there was being out and proud, and out and proud and smart.
And he still wasn’t quite sure how this had turned back around on him. He opened his mouth to pull Kurt back from the car, to get more about Blaine out in the open, because there was no way that wound was lanced completely, but before he could say anything, there was the sound of a beautifully tuned engine, and the faint strains of heavy rock traveling up the driveway. He turned, and saw an angel; a black 1967 Chevy Impala, three men just visible inside, Back in Black blasting from the open windows. He turned to Kurt, surprised to see recognition on his face.
“You know them?” Puck asked.
“The Winchesters,” Kurt said, something not quite awe in his voice. “Sonofa Bitch.”