Characters: Noah 'Puck' Puckerman, Finn Hudson, Quinn Fabray
Spoilers: references through season 2
Disclaimer: Not mine. No money. No affiliation.
A/N: from the glee_angst_meme, prompt here
Summary: Finn's away with mono when Puck comes in sporting an impressive wound. The truth doesn't hit until Finn's back with a clue-by-four.
He doesn't exactly want to attend, the headache and crap is bad enough without people asking dumb questions. But his parole officer will kick his ass if he skips school, and then she'll ask questions and that'll be uncomfortable. So he attends as little as possible, doesn't make eye contact with anyone and turns up to glee with his shoulders tense and hunched.
It's too much to hope they wouldn't notice.
"Oh my, Noah what the hell happened?" Rachel stops mid-way through her conversation with Tina to hop across the floor and try to tilt his head to the side to get a look.
"Back off, Berry." He doesn't manage to get any of the malice or anger into his voice, he's mostly just tired because he'd been on concussion watch the whole night and he's fucking exhausted now.
And yeah; he gets it, there's a five in gash running along the side of his temple to his ear, it's pretty huge and even stitched up it looks gnarly. But he doesn't want people poking at it. But Rachel has drawn the attention of the rest of the class, and right then, Puck sort of hates Santana's little quest to give Finn and Quinn mono, because they're potentially the only two people who would buffer this crap.
"Boy, what the hell you been playing at?"
"Have you lost your mind? Or are you that brain damaged from all the punches to the skull?"
"That does look painful." And it is, of course it is. His head split and there's bruising all around his face and there's probably still a little dried blood in there somewhere. His ma couldn't get all the blood out, not while she was weeping and sobbing and apologising the whole time.
"Would you vultures just back off, it's not a big deal." He doesn't like the stares, or the insinuation behind the stares. Sam and Mike just share a look and shake their heads, and Artie has this whole disappointed thing going while Britt and San just look pissed off like Rachel and Mercedes.
"Alright guys! We've got-" Schue falters half way into the room, stopped when he sees the side of Puck's head. "Puck, are you okay?" He just nods, because he is, he's fine, people need to mind their own. "Um, can I?" Schue nods his head to the hall and Puck sighs as he turns around and follows him.
He doesn't envision this going well.
"Listen, I know that being a teenager is rough, but you really can't afford any more of this trouble, Puck." He's not dense, he knows exactly what they all think, and really it's only a little bit better than the truth. "You know what will happen if you start getting into trouble again, getting into fights, busting your head open. Is that stitched? Yeah, so you had to go to the hospital, right? Puck, they report this sort of thing."
Only, he didn't go to the hospital, there was no ER or ambulance or anything. He didn't go to see a doctor or nurse, not really. His mother stitched up his head, gave him some advil and sat him in front of the television while she went to sob some more in the kitchen. No one was reporting anything.
Because if they reported it all, he'd have been in the system years ago.
"It's cool Schue," Puck didn't plan on going to juvie, he didn't plan on getting his parole revoked or anything. "I'll do better." But he didn't need people breathing down his neck either.
The stories fly around the school anyway. Puck got into a knife fight with gang bangers, Puck took on one of the husbands of his old clients, Puck was in a fight to the death with some jock from Carmel. Really, he's surprised that anyone gets anything done in this school since they clearly have no fucking sense.
It's three days later when he walks into glee again and is like, instantly pushed outside by Finn. He can hear the hushed whispering starting inside as Finn pushes him out and that's going to be fun to deal with.
"Dude, are you okay? Crap that's a bad one. Is Sarah okay? What happened?" The good thing about Finn is that he knows this stuff, so there's no stress of lying about it. The bad thing is, he knows this stuff, so there's the annoyance of talking about it.
Puck and Finn had been best friends since they were five. Back when Finn was little and Puck was Noah. Puck knows about Finn's shit, Finn knows about Puck's shit. Puck's just happens to include his mother. It didn't start happening until his dad had left, and it's just one more thing that he blames the old man for. Sarah was three the first time his ma hit him, because he woke her up by mistake and she cried a little. She apologised right after, but it didn't take away the stinging in his cheek.
It only happened when she was drunk, it was enough that he could blame it on the alcohol and not her, that he could lie to himself and say it was just the drink that did it. And she was always sorry right after, so that was something too. She'd broken his wrist once, and hadn't touched a drop of alcohol for nine whole weeks. Puck almost thought that it was over then, that she'd finally realised she needed to stop.
But she didn't, and Puck wound up with a split above his eyebrow when her ring caught him the next time she hit him.
"Sarah's fine, she's at Aunt Louise's house." He always made sure to get his sister out of the house when it looked like their ma was going on a binge. He'd had to do it twice when Quinn was living with them, get her out with Sarah and explain things to Aunt Lou. He didn't bother explaining to Quinn, but he's pretty sure she figured most of it out from what Sarah said. "It' no-"
"Don't tell me it's nothing, don't say it's not a big deal. Jesus, Noah, what did she hit you with?"
"Beer bottle." It's possibly the first time his mother has ever used a weapon or some description to hit him. "Broken, beer bottle." He'd kind of been surprised after she hit him with it, the blood that just poured from his head, the way she went ash white and sobered near instantly. It didn't make up for the fact that she'd done it, but she at least came around enough to take care of it, otherwise Puck would be in worse shape, he's pretty sure.
"How long is Sarah staying at your Aunt's?"
"Until next week. Let Ma get it all out of her system. The booze is nearly done anyway." She'd drink it all, sulk around in a stupor and then pull herself together. Depending on how long it took her to restock the alcohol, they had a fair amount of time between her episodes.
"You're staying with us." Puck tries to argue, he does, because someone needs to be there in case she falls asleep in her own vomit, or does something stupid, or just drinks herself dead, but Finn's pretty serious. "Puck, you have a gash, on your head. You could've been dead. What if that thing when through your skull? No, okay. You're staying with me and that's that."
It's the end of the discussion, mostly because Finn turns around and walks back into the choir room, leaving Puck no choice but to just agree unless he wants the whole thing to come out to the gleeks. He's just walking in as Finn sits down, Quinn patting the seat next to her for him and he goes over without question. Quinn and him are a little strained, with good reason, but she's careful as she inspects his head, her fingers running over the line of the stitches softly.
"Hope you gave him what for," Sam really shouldn't open his mouth, even if he doesn't know and he's still the new kid and all that, he just shouldn't open his mouth. "No one else can get through to him." Finn twists in his seat just as Schue walks in.
"You know, if just one of you would bother asking him how it happened, rather than assuming he's just been playing up the bad kid shit again, you might realise that that you're all full of shit." Finn is in a mood, and Puck gets it, because Finn wants Puck to just tell someone, anyone, about what's happening at home so that he can get someone to help his ma.
Puck's fast approaching the stage where he'll need to. Because he'll be leaving soon, and he can't leave Sarah in that situation.
"Finn," Schue isn't exactly harsh, but he's warning. It's probably because Finn never really swears. That's Puck's thing.
"No, okay. Not one of you even wondered why, if he's been fighting, his knuckles aren't a mess, or it's just his head with a gash, or why he's been so fucking quiet?" Mercedes must've been talking to Kurt again. "You're all just blind to the fact that this isn't the first time?"
He should tell Finn to shut up, he should just growl that it's not a big deal and let it go. But Quinn shuffles closer and he's kind of missed this thing they have where they were sort of friends, he's missed Finn's friendship, the fact that the guy understands him.
"You should tell them." Quinn's voice is quiet compared to Finn's, enough to draw everyone's attention to him while he thinks about it. Schue is watching expectantly and he wonders if this is what it takes to get a teachers attention.
"I got hit in the head with a broken beer bottle." He gets a nudge from Quinn, indication that he needs to go further. So he takes a breath and just, goes for it. "My drunken mother hit me in the head with a broken beer bottle." Schue sits down at the piano, mouth hanging open while the rest of them stare at him.
"And it's not the first time." Finn isn't just as angry. "No one notices when he's stiff because his ribs are cracked. No one says a thing when he's running on no sleep because she's drinking the week away and he's taking care of her. You never notice that he flinches from loud noises?" That only happens when she's started drinking, most of the time he's fine. But when she pulls the cork out of a bottle of wine, lines up the liquor and goes for it, he's on edge waiting for it the whole time.
"Didn't the doctors ask?" Puck just shakes his head at Schue's question.
"Ma's a nurse. She did it herself." Which might be why it's a little tender, and a little raw. Maybe a touch infected.
"Okay, okay," Schue stands up, rubbing his hands together. "Noah, you and I are going to the hospital, we'll get it checked properly, and um, then I guess to the principal, and does your parole officer know? She should know. We'll need to get Child Protective in, you have a sister don't you. Okay, we'll get that later. Every one um, just, yeah." Schue wanders out in a little bit of a daze, and Quinn pushes Puck to follow.
He kind of doesn't want to though, because it's all getting a little too real and he doesn't know if he can deal with that and what's about to change.
"C'mon dude," Finn just takes a hold of his elbow and pulls him along, smiling slightly and trying to lend support.
Puck can only nod.