Pairing: Rachel Berry/Noah "Puck" Puckerman
Blurb: Right, so I'm going to blame my appreciation for this ship (and rabid dedication) solely and squarely on cheapen and her previous manifesto. If you've not trolled that puppy yet, go do it. No, really. I'll wait.
Done? Excellent! Now, as much as I did agree with what cheapen (who is a fantastic writer, go read her stuff... I'll wait) said about the pairing, the thing that really drew me in and SOLD me on the pairing as one that appealed to me was how completely dysfunctional they are. Seriously, these two, individually, are just... not very nice people.
EXAMPLE (we like examples):
Puck: God, I'm so tired of people judging me for a few mistakes I've made. I try to be a good guy. I go to school and I say: "Be cool, Puck. Be nice." But by second period I've got a fire extinguisher and my hands and I'm spraying some dweeb with it and I don't know how I got there.
Rachel: I understand. I sit in Glee Club and watch a couple of imperfect performances and a litany of criticisms start building up inside of me like a volcano and I keep telling myself to hold it in and then it just comes bursting out. Granted, generally I'm right, but it doesn't do much for my reputation.
And this interaction pretty much sold me completely on this pairing. Because there just isn't another person that these people can have that conversation with. Plus, every conversation these two have is rooted in honesty. They don't try and pull punches because that's just not who they are. They are both people who have zero in the way of tact. Let me sum this up in fic, because that's kind of the easiest way to do it.
Fic Rec #1: Untitled
Why This Must Be Read: Scroll down a bit for the story. Right, so this is them. This is the them that made me love them and the one that I will point to FOREVER if people ask me why.
Fic Rec #2: World Famous Sugar Cookies
Why This Must Be Read: Uh, this is the most FANTSTIC Puck/Rachel crack EVER WRITTEN. EVER. The first sentence: "YOU ARE A FREAKING ABOMINATION!" It only gets more fantastic and crack-filled from there. Basically, Rachel is more of a whackadoodle than previously thought and she and Puck are besties from a really early age. Seriously, there is no rational reason I love this story as much as I do, but it's just SO GREAT.
Fic Rec #3: Scrimmage
Author: Southern Cross
Rating/Warning(s): PGish, crossover w/Friday Night Lights. Julie/Tim.
Why This Must Be Read: I haven't watched "Friday Night Lights", so don't get scared off by the crossover. Basically this is just a really neat, quiet crossover that completely explains Rachel/Puck in a way that's subtle and evocative.
Fic Rec #4: One Sentence
Rating/Warning(s): R-ish, angst, spoilers for season 1, Finn/Rachel, Puck/Quinn, WIP.
Why This Must Be Read: This story is just epic. It's not an easy story to read, and there definitely is Finn/Rachel. But the thing I like most about it is its complexity. No one in this story is completely right or wrong. It's messy and hard, and I love that Rachel stands up for herself so much. I also love how this story doesn't back away on anyone's characterization. Rachel and Puck aren't nice people, and that totally comes across here. But they have the real potential to be a force with the other, and it's so amazing to get glimpses of that here.
Fic Rec #5: Hazy Shade of Winter and The Sun Is Burning In The Sky
Link: http://smc-27.livejournal.com/28485.html and http://smc-27.livejournal.com/31626.html
Why This Must Be Read: Okay, I had a damn hard time narrowing down ONE of smc_27's stories to rec. If you like Puck/Rachel, go hit up this lady's LJ and settle in for a good long read. Still, I picked these two stories for a very specific reason. Namely, I love how accidental the eventual Puck/Rachel is. The first story is kind of a friends-with-benefits thing that just is AWESOME because it totally addresses Rachel's right to bone Puck and move on. And the follow up? It's not only hot (something that's a given with Smc's stuff), they're just both so DUMB and adorable. I have a huge weak spot for stupid-cute.
Fic Rec #6: Slushie Shots
Rating/Warning(s): PG-13, WIP.
Why This Must Be Read: Oh, god. This story (or series of inter-related stories) is just fantastic. Started BEFORE "Mash-Ups", this is much more a friendship story with hints of more. But the characters this illustrates and runs with are just amazing. Rachel and Puck's friendship is slowly built and beautifully *adolescent*. This story reads like teenagers in ways that very few "Glee" stories do. Add on, Mike - who is an absolute GEM - and Dani, and there is just nothing about this story I don't like... except that it's unfinished. Still, it's 97,000 words, so it's not like you'll go without. ;)
Fic Rec #7: i'm a high school lover (you're my favorite flavor)
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17, Santana/Puck, swearing.
Why This Must Be Read: I wasn't sure if I should include this one because the active storyline is really Puck/Santana. But you know what? This story basically explained to me WHY I like Puck/Rachel. They're both kind of shitty people, and crap at relating to people in any normal way. Santana is also a really shitty human being, but the friendship between she and Puck is just so amazing and really highlights how entertaining Rachel and Puck are together. Also, this thing is HYSTERICAL.
Fic Rec #8: All or Nothing
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17, future-fic.
Why This Must Be Read: Because something that doesn't really get addressed in a lot of stories is that people change. Ostensibly, this show is set in high school. A time that's at the absolute beginning of both Rachel and Puck's lives. They've both got a lot of growing up and hard reality to face, and the crappy, kind of terrible people they are, aren't necessarily the people they're going to be ten or twenty years down the road. This story does a really, really good job of showing a Rachel and a Noah who've done some of that growing up and manage to fall into each other at much better places in both their lives. I love that there's friendship first, and then definitely, definitely more.
ETA: Whoops, left this one off the first time. I am a GENIUS.
Fic Rec #9: only hymns upon your lips
Why This Must Be Read: I like this one because, to me, it really illustrates what I like best about Puck/Rachel. Namely, they're really honest with each other. And because they're both very aware of just who the other person is, it's somehow easier to be different with the other person. This has a real sweetness to it, but it only works because it's a moment out of time from who they really are. It's kind of like the exception that proves the rule.
Fic Rec #10: Prince Charming is an Asshole
Author: une_fille and unequivocally
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17, Finn/Younger Puckerman Sister, SWEARING.
Why This Must Be Read: Because this is pretty much how I see Rachel and Puck's marriage. Although, possibly, with more swearing.
Last but not least, go play on the Puck/Rachel delicious tag. It will keep you entertained for days.