Disclaimer: I do not own the Glee world

I know, I know. I shouldn't try and write two (actually three) stories at once but the idea for this came to me literally the minute I climbed into bed last night and I couldn't get it out of my head. It had to be done.

This is an AU because Quinn and Puck didn't sleep together for the simple reason that I didn't want to have to deal with that. This is set sometime after Rhodes but before Mash-up. Oh, and I totally stole two lines from 'Mash-up' so don't sue me.

Chapter 1: Lesson Not Learned

"Ok, guys," Mr Schuester said as he entered the choir room, "I've just got this new piece for us to try out that I think will give us a great chance of taking Sectionals."

He handed out the sheet music and frowned when he had one spare. He looked at the students to determine who was missing. "Where's Finn?" he -asked after spotting that the lanky youth was absent.

"He's sick," Finn's girlfriend, Quinn, provided.

"Yeah, he started chucking up in fourth period," Mike added.

"Er, thanks for the detail," Mr Schuester said, wrinkling his nose slightly. "But, if that's the case, then I'm gonna need one of you other guys to step up and take the male lead with Rachel on this one."

He looked hopefully at the five other male members of New Directions but they all avoided his gaze.

"It's out of my range," Kurt sighed dramatically and Mr Schue conceded that was true. Still, that left four others to take the spotlight…

There was an awkward pause as none of the other guys moved a muscle, hoping that if they didn't move, Mr Schue wouldn't call on them. Luckily, they were interrupted by Ms. Pillsbury knocking on the door.

"Will, could I talk to you for a minute?" she asked. Mr Schue excused himself and the two members of staff stepped outside.

Rachel Berry stood up from her seat and looked round at Mike, Matt, Artie and Puck in disapproval. "I am shocked at the lack of leading man ambition in this room right now. With Finn's absence, one of you has the chance to really come forward and show us what you can do." None of the boys looked at her. "You don't need to be scared about performing to us, we're your friends."

Noah Puckerman looked up at her with a frown. "You think I'm scared to sing solo?" he asked.

"Well, I can think of no other reason why you wouldn't want to showcase your talent in front of your peers." Rachel reasoned. "Timidity seems like the culprit to me."

"Are you questioning my badass-ness?" he enquired, folding his arms across his chest, while other members of the Glee club laughed or rolled their eyes.

"While I disapprove of the word, I believe that a 'badass' would have the guts to sing male lead in a song, don't you?" she asked, placing her hands on her hips and tilting her head to look at him questioningly.

A couple of people let out long, 'oh's' and Mercedes said, "Damn, she's got you there, boy!"

Puck glared at Rachel. There was no way in hell he was going to let her practically call him a coward. Badasses were not cowards.

"Ok, where were we?" Mr Schue asked as he came back into the room. "Ah, yes, the male lead. Any takers, guys?"

Puck raised his hand. "I'll do it." He said. Rachel smiled triumphantly at him and he had a nasty feeling in his gut that he'd just been played. Well, if she wanted him to partner her then he was just going to show her what a mistake she'd made.

"Great," Mr. Schue beamed at him and rubbed his hands together. "Let's get started then."

Rachel bounded to the front of the room and Puck dragged his reluctant ass there slowly.

"I think we should just give it a run through, no choreography and see how it plays out." Mr Schuester said and nodded at the pianist to start.

Puck glanced over at Rachel as the first few notes started to play. You just wait, Berry. You don't know what you're messing with.

Then he started to sing.

How can I just let you walk away, Just let you leave without a trace,
When I stand here taking every breath with you, ooh
You're the only one who really knew me at all

He reached for her hand as he sang the first line and her mouth (along with several others) dropped open in shock. He held it against his chest and made sure he put the sappiest expression on his face. (Yes, it was a pansy-assed thing to do but the look on her face was totally worth it. Suck on that, Berry). She stumbled over the tune slightly as she took over the next verse and snatched back her hand.

How can you just walk away from me,
when all I can do is watch you leave,
Cos we've shared the laughter and the pain and even shared the tears
You're the only one who really knew me at all

Ignoring the words of the lyrics, Puck walked towards her and she took some very quick steps back until she met with the piano and go no further. She looked up at him worriedly and he smirked down at her as they both began to sing together.

So take a look at me now, cos there's just an empty space
And there's nothing left here to remind me,
just the memory of your face

He reached out with his right hand and placed it gently on the side of her face before stroking a finger down her cheek. She pushed his hand away and ducked under him to stand by the others.

Just take a look at me now, well there's just an empty space
And you coming back to me is against the odds and that's what I've got to face.

They both carried on singing as he followed her and she tried to place chairs and people in his way but he just pushed them aside until finally he caught her from behind, wrapped his arms around her and sung his verse.

I wish I could just make you turn around,
turn around and see me cry
There's so much I need to say to you,
so many reasons why
You're the only one who really knew me at all

He flipped her around to face him so she could 'see him cry' and he had to nudge her to get her to sing with him again.

So take a look at me now, well there's just an empty space
And there's nothing left here to remind me, just the memory of your face
Just take a look at me now, cos there's just an empty space
But to wait for you, is all I can do and that's what I've got to face

He went on his knees and wrapped his arms around one of her legs, holding on tight. She gasped, fluffing her note and tried to shake him off but he wouldn't let go. He couldn't help but notice how soft and smooth her leg was under her skirt and he only just resisted the urge to move his hands higher. He doubted Mr Schue would allow that.

She tried to drag her leg away from him but it wouldn't budge under his iron grip. He was mildly impressed that she'd only screwed up one note despite his actions. There was only one bit of chorus left so he let go of her leg and she stumbled into Matt, (who was killing himself with silent laughter), before he stood up and held her to face him at arm's length.

Just take a look at me now, cos I'll still be standing here
And you coming back to me is against all odds
It's a chance I've got to take.

He tried to pour a load of emotion into the song. He wasn't very good at feelings and shit (and he was very proud of that) but he pretended that Berry was the most important thing in his life and sang as hard as he could. For the last line he joined his arms behind her back and pulled her against him. He bent his head towards her and sang the line softly with her.

Just take a look at me now.

He was sure she thought he was going to kiss her; it probably looked that way but as the notes died in their throats he stood upright and pushed her away. She looked up at him doing a pretty average impression of a goldfish, while he crossed his arms over his chest and smirked at her. Fuck, yeah.

"Well, that was interesting," Kurt said, eyebrow raised.

Mike slapped him on the back and gave him a high five. "Dude, you totally out-performed Rachel Berry!" he said, laughing.

Most of the others were laughing too but Santana looked like she was going to hurl.

"It wasn't really that difficult," Puck said, making sure to say it loud enough for Rachel to hear. She flushed angrily and looked away from him.

"That was totally bad-assed," Matt agreed, "freaking Berry out like that. I don't think she's ever gonna want to sing with you again."

Puck certainly hoped so.

"Right, well, that certainly was an, um, emotional interpretation," Mr. Schuester stammered, not quite believing what he'd just seen. "Let's, ah, work on the background singing first, shall we?"

The rest of the session wasn't nearly as entertaining as the first part. Puck decided that Berry had learnt her lesson; you didn't push Noah Puckerman into anything he didn't want to do unless you were prepared to face the consequences.

She came over to him when Glee was over and he packed up his stuff. He ignored her, hoping she'd go away. She didn't.

"I know you think you're pretty funny with that stunt you pulled earlier, but I'll have you know that I believe the time we spend seriously rehearsing in Glee correlates directly to our chances of winning at Sectionals." She huffed.

He stared at her. "And that means…?"

"I don't appreciate people wasting my time."

Puck rolled his eyes. "Please, if that had been Finn latching onto your leg, you wouldn't be complaining."

She flushed red. "That's not the point. Besides, I don't believe your performance was really all that 'badass' as you called it."

"Oh, and why's that?"

"You sang and acted in front of your friends. What's the big deal about that?"

"Ok, firstly, most of you guys aren't my friends," he pointed out and he saw her face fall slightly. Good. "And secondly, that was a more badass performance than anything you've ever done in your life."

She smiled at him. "I pretended to have sex with Finn while performing a song in front of the entire school." He narrowed his eyes at her as his memory recalled her bouncing on Finn during their performance of Push it. "I win!" she exclaimed happily and turned away from him but he caught her wrist.

"Hell no, Berry. There's no way you're a bigger badass than me."

"Noah, it's ok. I understand that you don't have the guts to sing in front of the student body. It can be very intimidating for some people. We're not all born to be stars." She smiled at him in a way that made him feel two foot tall. To say he disliked that feeling would be a huge fucking understatement. He resisted the urge to growl like some sort of animal and he dropped her wrist.

"You think you know me so well, but you don't have a clue to what it's like to be a stud, like me."

She wrinkled her nose. "I really couldn't care less about you."

"Ugh, you really think you're better than me, don't you?" he snarled.

"Noah," she smiled at him in that annoying way again. "I'm really not the one with the problem; you are. You're just annoyed with yourself for your lack of courage amongst your peers. I'll tell you what; I'll give you a little push to move you forwards in a way that I don't think your ego will be able to turn down."

He frowned at her. "What the fuck are you talking about?"

"Noah Puckerman, I dare you to sing in front of the whole school."

Rachel Berry had obviously not learnt her lesson.

A/N: Sooo, hope you enjoyed. The song featured is 'Against All Odds' by Phil Collins. If anyone's heard the Mariah Carey/Westlife version I'd guess Puck/Rachel would sound a bit more like that but without Rachel hogging most of it!

Please let me know if you liked it so I can decide whether I want to write more.

Lots of love,

Lil Drop of Magic