Summary: Jacob needs to get as far away from Washington as he possibly can. He doesn't know where he's going, but he finds a very special someone when he gets there. Eventual Jacob/Kurt.

A/N: For those of you sad to see this story go, I will say that I may be doing a sequel— not a multichapter fic, mind you, but a rather long one-shot about Kurt and Jacob's summer. It will probably be a fluff fest invaded by smut because my girlfriend has been begging me to write some M-rated stuff, so any of you interested in something like that should keep your eyes open for it in the New Year.

Musical inspiration for this fic includes Changes by Three Doors Down, Something You'll Never Find by Bare Naked Ladies, Lifeboats by Snow Patrol, Cemeteries of London by Coldplay and Outside of You by Hilary Duff.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Bon Solstice, Blessed Holidays, Happy New Year, et cetera to everyone; I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.


31: Epilogue

They didn't go to school that day.

Mrs. Puckerman was kind enough to call them in sick so that they wouldn't have the skipped day on their records, and Kurt made sure to thank her before he went home, dressed as fashionably as he possibly could in some of the clothes that Puck had so recently outgrown. He managed to sneak into the basement to change before his dad saw him, and all was well again.

The bite on Jacob's hand became raw and scabbed over, and it hurt to do even the simplest of things. Puck stayed with him for days, heedless of upcoming exams— why did he need to study when he could pass them in his sleep?— and Kurt visited after school for as long as he could without making his father suspicious. Slowly but surely, life settled back down. Kurt studied diligently for his exams with Jacob when he was over, and Puck listened to music at his desk while he pretended to care about Geometry.

It was a week later that Puck and Jacob returned McKinley (the day before the first scheduled exams were to take place). Karofsky was back at school, but there were no lettermen jackets hanging around the dumpsters when the trio made the hike from the parking lot to the front doors.

"It's weird," Puck grumbled as they passed the dumpsters. "I've only been gone a couple of weeks, but... everything's different."

Kurt blinked, only now remembering that Puck hadn't been back to school since the Glee Club had been un-disbanded. He had been 'sick'— a story he now didn't even have to doubt anymore, as the truth had been explained to him— shortly thereafter, and then with Irina and everything else, he hadn't been back in three weeks, easily.

"It smells weird, and kinda gross."

"Yeah, high school stinks. Literally," Jacob laughed as Kurt wrinkled his nose. "You're lucky you can't smell that, Kurt. It's like teenage boy body odour times a thousand. I think I can smell the locker room from here."

The Quileute boys laughed and trotted obediently into the school just as the bell rang, Kurt placed almost protectively between them, despite the fact that he had been going to school for the past week just fine on his own. Karofsky was the ringleader of the bullies, and after he deemed it unsafe to go after Kurt, the other Neanderthals had followed like ducklings in a line.

Puck went to his first three periods as he normally would, listening to the usual exam-prep lessons and Q&As that were standard this time of year. Jacob generally sat with him, and they goofed around in the back of the class— it wasn't like the teachers really cared about them, anyway. Apparently, some children did need to be left behind.

By lunch, Puck was bored out of hismind. Kurt and Jacob walked off as soon as the bell rang to do some coupley shit that Puck wanted no part in whatsoever, which left him to wander the halls aimlessly, unable to bring himself to go anywhere near the foul-smelling cafeteria. He got himself a Slushie and drank it as he walked around campus, scoping for any hot chicks that might make-out with him. He hadn't gotten laid in weeks, and that was totally not good for his stud reputation.

He was in the arts hallway when he heard the commotion. He recognised the voices easily, and would have without superhuman hearing. Rachel's voice was very distinctive, even when she wasn't yelling at her overgrown boyfriend.

Puck dropped his half-full cup into a trashcan he passed and began to run toward the noise. Just like he had thought, it Finn and Rachel causing the commotion, fighting about something stupid like calendars or football, and getting louder and louder as they screamed at each other. Puck stopped at the end of the hallway, just able to see them at the other end by the auditorium doors. His heart pounded in his ears and he grabbed at the wall to steady himself, his knees going weak.

Rachel was a goodness in knee-high socks and Mary Jane's, her face flushed deliciously red as she yelled at Finn with big words Puck knew neither of them understood. She reached around her long, pale neck and undid her little 'Finn' necklace, throwing it in his face and turning to run from him, her cheeks becoming wet as her tears began to fall and she put her hands over her face. Even from far away she was beautiful, and Puck gulped in a mouthful of air and sank to the floor as she rounded the corner and left his sight.

"Dude, you okay?" Finn's voice broke him out of his trance moments later, and Puck looked up at him, startled. Finn looked upset, his eyes red-rimmed and dark, but his tone was worried for the guy who had been his best friend for eleven years, despite their recent falling out.

Puck smirked and forced himself to stand up (why was he on the floor?) rejecting Finn's offered helping hand. Irrational anger flared through him like his veins were on fire; Finn had done something to upset Rachel, and all Puck wanted to do was gut the guy with a paring knife as slowly as possible.

"Fine," he said, shaking his shoulder out of Finn's grasp when he grabbed at him. "Bye."

He turned in the direction Rachel had gone and balled his hands into fists at his sides, clenching so hard that he left nail marks in his palms that healed over before a single drop of blood could fall. He didn't even realise where he was going until he pushed open the door to the girls' bathroom, but the familiar soft sounds of crying told him he had instinctively made the right choice.

"Rach?" he called quietly into the bathroom. The sniffling stopped and the room fell quiet as he closed the door behind him, flicking the lock so that they wouldn't be disturbed.

Puck walked up to the occupied stall he knew she was wallowing in and knocked gently at the door. "Rachel?"

She sniffled again, but opened the door anyway, looking up at him with her wet brown eyes. He had never seen anyone look so beautiful, not even when Quinn was pregnant with his baby; there was just something about her, something had drew him in and made him never want to let go as he carefully pulled Rachel into his arms. He finally understood why Jacob was so smitten with Kurt, if it felt anything like this.

"Why are you here, Noah?" Rachel whispered against his chest, neither resisting the hug nor hugging back. Puck ran a hand over the back of her head, smoothing down her wild brown curls before answering.

"Where else would I be?" he answered just as quietly, as though talking loudly would break the delicate connection they had stirring between them. "The girl I love is crying by herself in a bathroom. I need to let her know that she's not alone, and whatever Finn did, it's going to be okay now, because I'm here to hold her and keep her safe."

Rachel froze and looked up at him, startled. "The girl you...? Noah, what's come over you!" She stared at him, suddenly noticing the changes in his appearance; the way he had seemingly grown six inches taller in just a few weeks, how his eyes had lightened, how is arms felt more muscular under her fingers than she remembered. "What on Earth...?"

Puck laughed quietly and tucked her hair behind her ear, smiling down at her like they'd known each other all their lives and had never been apart. "Rachel, we need to have a talk. A lot of things have changed since the last time we saw each other."


"Don't question it, Rachel. Just look at me and tell me you don't feel the same."

Rachel sucked in a quiet breath, not quite a gasp as their eyes met and electricity sparked between them. "I don't understand what this is," she said slowly, putting her hands against his warm chest and balling her hands in his t-shirt, holding him almost desperately against her.

"I've imprinted on you," he said, and leaned down to kiss her softly, as though she might break if he pressed too hard. She didn't resist.