Characters: Noah 'Puck' Puckerman, Santana Lopez, ensemble
Spoilers: references through season 2, and the first ep of season 3
Disclaimer: Not mine. No money. No affiliation.
A/N: from the glee_angst_meme, prompt here
Summary: When Mr Schue kicked Santana out of Glee, he didn't just lose one member. He lost two.
He met her when he was nine. It was the middle of summer, Finn was away with his mom to see one of his aunts and he was just hanging around the park to get away from his crying baby sister and yelling Ma. She had just beat up two ten year old boys who'd pulled her by her hair off the swings.
She was awesome.
"You want me to push you?"
"Do I look like I need help to swing?" She was sassy and ballsy and had this gleam in her eyes that he'd instantly thought was way cool. She wasn't like other chicks, she didn't bat her eyelashes to get what she wanted like Leanne, or stomp her foot and act all prissy like Rachel. Santana Lopez was a totally awesome girl who didn't take shit and kicked ass.
"Yeah, but it's way more fun for someone else to do it." She looked at him like he had a point and finally gave him a nod.
They'd been friends ever since.
Santana wasn't his friend like Finn was his friend. Finn rolled his eyes when Puck did something stupid, Finn asked lame questions and wanted them to do good, Finn wanted to date Quinn Fabray and have everyone like him. Santana did what she wanted and told people to deal with it, Santana spoke her mind and let the fall out happen, Santana didn't pander to anyone and people just had to deal with it.
They were far too alike sometimes, it caused issues; him sleeping with Quinn, her sleeping with Finn, they weren't together together, but they were tight and sometimes that just meant having sex to blow off the steam. Especially when they started shouting at each other. But Santana only really knew a mother whole slept with random men to feel better about herself and Puck only knew a mother who yelled at him when he screwed up. It was constant dysfunction, but they understood it.
"I think I'm gay." She'd crawled through his window, curled up with him on the bed and just lay there. He knew it was serious when she didn't straddle him, it wasn't a case of one of her mom's boyfriends hitting on her, or her feeling like shit after a night out with people she didn't even like.
"Okay, what do you want to do about it?" No matter what people said, Noah Puckerman was not homophobic. He didn't hate gay people, he didn't hate Hummel because of where he wanted to stick his dick (he disliked Hummel because the prissy little bitch was a stuck up snob who'd made Santana Lopez feel like she wasn't pretty in fourth grade when he'd mentioned her out of season shoes). So if Santana was into girls, hey, that just gave them one more thing in common.
"I'm a little in love with Brittany." Puck had always known about Santana and Brittany, Puck had been the first person who found out about their 'different plumbing' scenario when him and San had been sort of dating and Britt kind of asked if she could borrow Santana for lady kisses (Puck did not mind at all because he was invited to keep them company anyway).
"You wanna come out? Cause, I don't think Britt would manage the whole secret thing." Suddenly, the Dave Karofsky thing made so much more sense than just Santana's 'politics' excuse before. "You know I've got your back."
She wanted to think about it, wanted to wait and see, decide later if it would be worth coming out and dealing with all that drama and bullshit, or if she should get out of high school and out of Lima and live in her own skin afterwards. Puck still had her back.
It was the whole reason why Santana wanted back on the Cheerio's. Because a cheer scholarship might be her only way out of this place and she wasn't about to sacrifice that for singing and dancing -she enjoyed glee, Puck knew it, but it wasn't going to get her into a college somewhere out of Ohio.
"Santana," Schue had just suddenly grown a spine or something though, and that was just out of this world, "unless you can be loyal to this group, don't come back." And for a moment it almost looked like San was going to break a little, like she'd chip a bit of her hard exterior away and let someone see what Puck had always known. But she just steeled her jaw and got up, looking over at Britt.
It became clear that Schue was serious, he was desperate to win this year, to take them to Nationals, but he was kicking out Santana, and really, what would be next? He went from not turning anyone away to rejecting a glee hopeful (who, yeah, was completely tone deaf and sucked) and kicking out one of their stronger female singers? And San was just going to do it, just going to walk away?
Puck shook his head, grabbing his bag and getting out of his seat, "Later." It was mostly just a so long to Artie and Mike, because if San was getting booted, well fuck that. San was there for him through everything. She was there when he fucked up and got Quinn pregnant and Finn blanked him, she was there when he fucked up and drank himself near comatose after giving Beth up, she was there when he went to juvie, visiting him three times before he got out, she was the first one at his door when he got out (in this fabulous little police officers outfit that totally showed off her ass and fucking stockings and a crotchless thong) so fuck them if they thought they could just kick her to the curb.
"What? Puck?" Finn's staring like he's grown another head, and Santana just looks fucking grateful.
"Everyone says Glee is supposed to be a family. You stick with your family." His family is his angry, avoiding mother who yells at him and doesn't see him because he's just too much like his father. His family is a little sister who can't find the line between big brother, friend and dad because he's had to fill each role and it's hard not to fuck up when he's still just a kid himself. His family is a beautiful baby girl with brown eyes and blond hair, living just on the outskirts of Lima now with a brilliant but complex woman from New York. His family is a strong willed Latina with a chipped and broken heart and a thick skin trying to be the strong one but sometimes needing someone right there with her to let her lean against.
"You just walked away from them, Puckerman." Mr Schue looks disappointed, like he could just push someone out and not expect a fall out, like he never expected anyone to be there for Santana, like he just thought they'd throw her to the lions because Sylvester is her best chance at getting out of there and everyone knows it.
"No," his arm goes around Santana's shoulders, pulling her in to his side and he feels her grip to his back tightly, "I didn't." He'll walk away from Glee, he'll walk away from football, he'll walk away from getting out of here to show her that he has her back.
Because Santana isn't as tough as everyone thinks, she's not that brave and she's not that cold and she's not that shallow. She got a boob job she didn't need because she felt inferior to the Quinn Fabray's of the world, she tried to date Finn Hudson because she thought it was what she needed to be liked, she put herself through hell trying to make everyone safe at McKinley and run for Prom queen only to have her hope smashed by a practical joke on the queer kid. Santana was just as breakable as Rachel and Quinn and Tina, she just didn't let people see it as clearly.
"You didn't have to." They're in the girls bathroom, pressed against the wall with his arm still around her shoulders and her face pressed into his shoulder, his shirt wet with silent tears that she won't ever admit having shed.
"Fuck that," he doesn't care what he had to do, he didn't care if it screwed with the rest of the club, he didn't care if it messed with their chances of winning anything, he was her boy and she was his girl and that was that. "How many times do I gotta tell you, I've got your back."
"How're you going to get out of here now?" Because he wasn't getting a football scholarship, not with the likes of Finn taking the centre stage all the time, and that was fine, really. He didn't want to play football his whole life.
"Despite what my history and rap sheet might lead you to believe, I do actually know how to successfully make off with the money from the ATM at the seven-eleven." Santana just snorted into his shoulder, letting herself take a little bit of comfort and support while they were locked in the bathroom for privacy.
And it wasn't exactly like leaving Glee affected them. Rachel asked him to come back twice, he said not without San. Finn asked him what his problem was, he said Schue. Artie asked him if he still wanted help with his studies, he said that'd be great if it wasn't going to cause issues, otherwise, he'd manage. Somehow.
Brittany didn't understand why she was allowed to stay when they made Santana leave, Sylvester was smug and Schue kept sending Puck these annoying looks that varied between annoyance, confusion and disappointment in Spanish. Puck just ignored it.
New Directions made it through Invitationals by the skin of their teeth. Rachel started to panic, Kurt actually asked Puck if his 'girlfriend' was really that important to him. "Look at it this way, if Schue turned Blaine away for maybe being Jesse St Douche, two point oh, would you have stayed, or would you have stuck with him and told Schue to stuff it?" Puck didn't wait for an answer, because he didn't care.
"I uh. I quit Glee." Mike and Britt are standing, side by side and holding hands, in front of Santana and Puck at San's locker. "Schue said no to Sugar because she couldn't sing, and he kicked you out for the thing with the piano. It just isn't what it was. It's all about winning, and I get enough of that on the field and at home. I just want to dance for the sake of it." Mike has a point, because he was never there for the competition or the thrill of winning or any of them, him and Matt, they joined because they wanted to dance and Puck sort of talked them into it because he heard that without the additional three members at the time, they'd fail to qualify by membership numbers.
"Yeah, and I'm like way better than all of them, and they're totally cramping on my creative flow." Brittany gives her excuse, but that one tiny smile at Santana tells all four of them the real reason.
Britt missed her girl.
It put New Directions four down and unable to qualify for Sectionals unless they found their extra members -Lauren laughed at Rachel when she asked, Lauren laughed so hard everyone in the hall could hear her. Santana started to like Lauren a little better then. None of the footballers would even entertain the idea, no one from Chess club listened to Artie, the AV club pretty much vanished any time a member of New Directions were in the halls and all of the Cheerio's were behind Sylvester -or Santana- and declaring New Directions plague bearers.
The ambush happened in the locker room.
Mike and Puck were too busy talking to actually notice that most of the team had been chased from the room until Santana and Britt were practically manhandled into the locker room and the Glee club just materialised in the locker room.
"Please don't think of this as an ambush," Rachel seemed to be their lead speaker (no surprises).
"Gosh, no, why would we think it's an ambush, Mike only just got his pants up." Seriously, where the hell was Beiste? The locker rooms weren't communal, Puck and Santana found that out the fun way.
"But we feel that this is the best and possibly the only way to ensure that you listen to us when we attempt to make our peace with each of you." Finn doesn't look like he's interested in making peace, he's not even interested in being there. Artie looks forced, Tina looks guilty, Mercedes and Kurt look bored, Rachel looks desperate and Quinn looks like she'd rather be shoving rusty spoons down her throat. "However, with Sectionals fast approaching and our numbers exponentially below the required qualifying count, we feel that our only hope is to appeal to your better side and hope that you see that we need you."
Puck knows that there's no point in really fighting, because they enjoy Glee, all of them, and Mike feels bad enough about walking away from Tina and Britt misses whipping her hair around and shaking her ass and Santana misses indulging in her one really girlish hobby of singing really loudly. Puck just wants to make a point.
"Schue does it."
"Schue, he asks Santana back, then we're all in." He gets the nod from Britt and Mike, San giving him a smile and linking their hands. Because Schue fucked it up, Schue needs to man up with that brand new spine of his and talk to Santana like the man he pretends to be. Whatever his little spat with Sylvester is about this time he just needs to get the fuck over it and stop being a child (seriously, Puck's little sister behaves better than this).
Puck doesn't even ask that it happens in public, or that Schue makes some big elaborate apology, because San isn't into all that shit. She just wants the douche bag to fucking ask her back because he needs her bitchin' ass voice in the group or he's screwed.
It happens on Monday; somewhere between first and third, Schue find Santana and makes the offer. She's welcome back in Glee, no strings, and he'd be very happy if she would consider returning. Puck, Santana, Mike and Brittany show up to rehearsal that day and Tina just looks glad to have Mike back while the others are relieved.
Santana doesn't make a production of it; she doesn't demand a solo, doesn't have a diva fit to get the female lead in the duet, doesn't push for a bigger part in the group number, she just lets herself enjoy dancing and singing again.
Puck thinks he's made his point.