Sam had been distant for days now, smiling less and turning Puck down when he asked out hang out. Puck knew Sam’s family was having trouble now more than ever, since the motel charged by the night, and no matter how cheap it was, their minimal amount of money was going down the drain. Puck helped Rachel with the bake sales they said were for Glee but gave part of the money to Sam, slipped in his back pocket or into his letterman’s jersey. He never accepted the money straight out, but never said anything when he found the wad of bills in his pocket, looking astonished as he glanced quickly around the room. Puck always smiled at him, soft, quiet, just for him.
Puck invited Sam over to his house a lot, even though it wasn’t the best. His mom was nice enough, if Puck dragged Sam to his basement to play video games. Sam was always the perfect gentleman, and his mom liked that. Thought he was a good influence on the fuck up that was Noah Puckerman.
It had been a week of acting weird and distant around the entire Glee club. No one had really noticed besides Kurt and Quinn, who kept glancing at Sam during meetings and in the hall. Puck saw more of Sam, though, during practices and classes, and even there he seemed to shrink in on himself. Coach Beste didn’t say anything, though.
Puck invited Sam over that afternoon, with a “c’mon man, you’ve been acting way down in the dumps recently. You need to kill some ninjas with me,” and Sam smiled nodding. ”Only for an hour, though. I need to pick up my brother and sister from school.”
When Puck went upstairs for snacks later, he came back down to find Sam staring at the game screen as his character got killed. Puck sighed and plopped down next to him, pausing the game.
“Sam, I know your fucked over about something. You know I’m not the best at comforting people or giving advice and shit, but you know you can talk to me, right?”
Sam didn’t look at him. He was a big guy, with all that muscle, but he seemed tiny wrapped in Finn’s hoodie and flannel. His hair was long and floppy without money to get it cut, and his jeans were so worn they had holes in many places, worn thin enough to have more any second. Puck suddenly felt self conscious in his house, his clothes, even though he wasn’t the most wealthy either.
“My family is moving back to Tennessee.” Sam sighed, and glanced up. ”We have family back home to take care of us. And there’s some tentative jobs down there for my parents.”
Puck felt like an idiot when his jaw dropped. ”What? You can’t leave.”
Sam shrugged. ”I don’t want to. I like it here. But I don’t have a choice.”
“You can… fucking… live with me, I don’t know!” Puck stood angrily and Sam looked up at him, startled. ”We’ll figure something out. Seriously, man, you can’t…”
Sam stood too, stuffing his hands deep in his pockets. ”Puck, come on. I-“
“Sam. I.” He didn’t want Sam to leave. He was getting to be one of his closest friends, the guy he threw a football around with on the weekends and told his shitty ass girl problems and hung out with when Finn ditched him for Rachel. It was such bullshit. What did he do in a past life to deserve having each of his best friends taken away, one by one. He turned his back on Sam and felt his face twist. He wasn’t going to cry, god damn it. He wasn’t a girl.
Sam’s voice was quiet and the boy seemed even smaller when Puck turned around, sad and tiny. Puck sighed and wrapped an arm around him in a semblance of a hug and Sam fell into it, wrapping his arms around Puck’s middle tightly. Puck felt his face flush but he hugged back just as tightly, because guys can give hugs to other guys. It was totally not gay at all. He just hoped his mom didn’t come down and start screaming about having a good for nothing homosexual son.
Sam’s breathing was shaky when he pulled back and Puck pretended not to notice when he wiped his eyes.
“I haven’t told anyone else yet.” Sam said quietly. Puck shrugged.
“I know you will eventually. When do you leave?”
“In a week or two.”
Puck’s stomach dropped out even more and he pulled Sam down next to him, closer than normal, their knees touching. ”Well then, I think you need to kill some more ninjas.”
The next day, right before Glee club, Sam caught Puck outside the room by gripping his arm tight. His face was twisted with nervous misery. Puck backed him closer to the wall, sheilding him from the hall with his body.
“Hey, Sam, what’s up?”
“I want to tell Glee club today but I just. I don’t know.”
Sam looked miserable. Puck clapped him on the shoulder. ”Come on, man, I’ll stand with you for it. Okay?”
Sam swallowed and took a deep breath. ”Okay.”
They walked into the classroom together, and Sam shoved his hands into his pockets as he spoke, glancing back at Puck every once in a while. Puck smiled a little, even though it was the last thing he wanted to do.
The day Sam was going to move, he came over to Puck’s one last time. He’s already said goodbye to everyone else, and his parents were going to let him play video games for an hour or two before they got on the road. Puck’s stomach was twisted into the tightest of knots. He’d only ever felt this horrible when his baby girl was taken away from him.
Sam paused the game after a while and sighed, and Puck just scooted over and put his arm around the other boy, silent comfort, and didn’t say anything when Sam slumped and leaned heavily against him. Puck rubbed his arm.
“Come on, man. It’s not that bad. We can email and stuff. And talk on the phone. You’ll still be my best friend.”
Sam sniffed and Puck pulled him closer and spoke softly, enough that Sam could pretend he didn’t hear. ”Don’t cry, Sam.”
“M’not.” Sam rubbed roughly at his face. ”I just.”
Sam sat back and looked at Puck straight in the face, swallowing. ”I just. I want to do this, so just. Don’t punch me, okay? I know you’re not… but you’re nice… and I just… I’m going to miss you a lot, okay?”
Puck raised an eyebrow, about to say something like c’mon Sam, just spit it out,and Sam leaned forward and pressed his lips to Puck’s, soft and hesitant.
He pulled back and scooted away, not looking at Puck. Puck sat, stunned, looking at Sam. Wait, he thought. What?
“What the hell was that?”
Sam flinched. ”Sorry.”
Puck scooted close to Sam, his knees pressed against the boy’s thigh, and sighed. ”Hey, don’t apologize.”
Sam looked up, shocked. ”What? I just.”
Puck smiled. ”You just kissed me, I know. It’s not the end of the world, man. I know I’m irresistible.”
Sam smiled a little bit. ”Yeah.”
Puck sighed. ”Do you like me, Sam?”
Sam shrugged. ”Of course I do. You’re my best friend.”
Puck shook his head. He didn’t really know why he was pushing, just that it felt necessary. ”That’s not what I meant.”
Sam swallowed again and flushed slightly. ”I. Yeah, I like you, Puck. I wouldn’t have… I wouldn’t have kissed you, ruined our friendship if I didn’t.”
Puck cupped his chin, forcing him to look up and make eye contact. Sam blushed even more as Puck looked steadily at him, blinking slowly. It was odd, to say the least, but he didn’t feel disgusted or anything when Sam kissed him. It was just a kiss. ”You didn’t ruin our friendship, Sam.”
Sam tried to look down but Puck kept his chin in a firm grasp, and Sam bit his lip. Puck smiled, even though the knots in his stomach grew larger. ”Why’d you have to wait so long, though? Now we only have an hour.”
Sam closed his eyes and a tear slipped down his cheek. Puck pulled Sam’s lip out from between his teeth gently with his thumb. ”What are you thinking?”
“That we only have an hour.”
Puck leaned forward and pressed his lips to Sam’s.