AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is AU in that Puck doesn't go to juvie, and instead, this happens. Profuse thanks to Meiran Chang for the beta.
Everyone at McKinley High knew two things for sure. One, Lima was the most boring place on earth. Two, number one was true unless, of course, you were dumb enough to be caught alone at the school on the night of a full moon.
Noah Puckerman knew both of those facts just as well as anyone else, and that was part of the problem. He was bored, like most McKinley kids were, and when he was bored, Puck got reckless. He was the sort of reckless that decided to break into McKinley High at eleven at night on a full moon, just to see if he could last the night. A case or so of beer had been partially responsible for the decision. The rest of it could be blamed on Puck's general stupidity.
He didn't even make it into the school, though he did break the padlock on one of the side doors. Enough time at McKinley and even someone like Puck knew that when you heard growling behind you, you stood crazy still. Puck held his breath for good measure, his hand still hovering in the air near the lock.
Shit, how to deal with this situation was something they'd gone over in middle school, along with fire safety, but for the life of him, Puck can't remember what what he's supposed to do. How long does he stay still? Does he lie down and play dead, like with a bear? Does he duck his head and pretend like it won a fight? All he knows for sure was the first thing drilled into all of their heads: whatever you do, don't come off aggressively.
Which, well, meant that Puckerman was good and well fucked, because when didn't he come off aggressively?
Puck generally had stupid reactions to fear. Panic usually had him throwing punches, worry had him snapping and screaming. He'd never experienced being piss scared before, and he wasn't relishing the opportunity, either. But, predictably, his reaction was probably just as stupid as he'd been for being outside in the first place. Either that or, when he looked back at this moment, it might have saved his life. He liked telling the second version.
He lowered his hand and turned slowly towards the growl, which grew louder in response. He, like most of McKinley, had heard about Wolves plenty, but had made a concerted effort not to see one; the occasional mangled deer or cow he'd found in their wake was usually enough to make even his skin crawl. So this was Puck's first.
The Wolf was about as much a wolf as if Todd Macfarlane himself had designed it. Standing on its hind legs, it towered over Puck, and would have easily towered over Finn as well. And even then the Wolf was bent at the waist, as if resisting the desire to just drop and be on all fours instead. Its fur was brown, dark, wet, and matted, and Puck was pretty damn sure that it was dark, wet, and matted with blood, from the smell in the air. The matted fur did nothing to hide thick, tense muscles all over its body; muscles that made Puck feel very small and very foolish. Its head was the most recognizable wolf part of it- giant jaws, with the lips back in a warning snarl. Ears pressing back against its skull. Amber eyes that glared back at Puck and gave him the creeping sense of familiarity- not because he knew the Wolf, but because the eyes felt more human than canine, and did everything to trigger all sorts of heart-pounding instincts that Puck had spent most of his life pretending he didn't have.
He wasn't even going to discuss the fact that that jaw, that mouth, was filled with the most terrifying set of fangs he'd ever seen, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and horror movies be damned.
He held up his hands and took a step forward. The Wolf's growl became a snapped bark; Puck stopped, and stepped back. "Come on big boy, you don't wanna do this. Not tonight..." Puck kept his voice as quiet and even as he could, a feat that almost escaped him entirely with the way that his breath made every word shudder and shake.
The Wolf stepped forward, neither cautious nor wary. Puck knew he probably should have stepped back. At least he didn't step forward, he thought detachedly. He stayed where he was, watching the Wolf watch him.
No one had died or even been bitten by a Wolf in years. Puck repeated that to himself over and over. No one had been killed or bitten by a Wolf in years because people had gotten smart. Late night on a full moon you were in a house, you were in your car. He didn't want to be the person to break that record, he really didn't.
"Look, I don't even know if you can understand me right now..." Puck isn't used to babbling, isn't used to needing to babble. "You could be just a big dumb dog for all-" The growling gets loud again. "-okay, okay dude, I get it." Snapping's another thing he shouldn't be doing. "No dumb dog crap."
If Puck survived, he was going to have to get un-stupid.
The Wolf's tongue shot out, licking its lips. Puck's lips curled in disgust, his head tilted back. At this point it wasn't because he didn't want to step back that he stayed in place, but because he couldn't get his legs to move. The nauseating scent of dog and blood and wet flooded his nose, and a part of Puck was positive that if it wasn't for the smell, he could have hauled ass out of there. Done something.
It was moving closer to Puck now, close enough where the scent assaulting Puck wasn't just the fur, but Wolf breath too, and it was only because Puck had a strong stomach that he didn't lose his lunch right then and there.
It leaned over Puck, and sniffed at him. Puck twitched, then stilled. Stilled and then screamed, as sharp, excruciating pain followed a clamp and snap of jaw on his shoulder. Screamed and shook and screamed some. The pain radiated, spread, rushed through nerves and made his body shake.
Puck's last thought before blacking out was that he really didn't want to die before finishing Call of Duty.
The next four days of Puck's life were a rushed, confusing blur.
He remembered waking up enough to hear Coach Sylvester calling him a moron as she called the ambulance. He remembered waking up for a moment in the hospital, as a wave of shuddering heat exploded from his shoulder. He might have been getting stitches at the time, or he might have woken up in a hospital room, he wasn't sure.
His mom and sister crying. Typical. They didn't realize he was awake.
Mr. Schuester and Coach Sylvester visiting. He opened his eyes for that one, and closed them again when Mr. Schuester ran to get to the nurse, and Coach Sylvester started to get on his case about how she ought to just stab him with a silver hairpin and put him out of his moronic idiocy.
While in the hospital, he remembered waves of Glee members. Finn and Rachel, Quinn and Sam (gag, on both counts), Tina, Artie, and Mike, Santana and Brittany, even Mercedes and Kurt. A couple of times, he must have responded to comments, because they talked like he was, even if he couldn't remember what he said (pain killers, he assumed). Quinn rolled her eyes a lot. Apparently, when he was stoned on pain medication, Mercedes and Kurt thought he was hilarious.
Even when he wasn't awake, he remembered the occasional song. Which was pretty cool.
He got out of the hospital, still not really sure what was going on, even if, every time he came to, his body was in the middle of doing something. He remembered Quinn, on the drive back to his place, commenting that he was much easier to deal with quiet. Rachel hushed her, and they went back and forth.
He stared at the stitches in the mirror, marveling at how bad the scar wasn't. Sure, there was a wicked looking scar along his shoulder, but he would have thought it'd be bigger. Grosser.
When he was able to speak, he says that he thinks the thing might be infected because it feels so damned warm. He ended up yanking off his shirt in the middle of talking to Artie because the heat felt like it was spreading across his whole torso. Artie frowned, but continued talking like nothing had happened.
Aside from Coach Sylvester, no one had brought up what bit him. He knew everyone knew; they looked so damned depressed and awkward about the whole thing that they had to. But no one had the balls to mention it. It annoyed Puck, but he didn't know what to say about it.
By day five, the strange gaps in time were gone, and he found himself laying on his bed alone in his room, the wound aching. He blinked, turned, stared at his alarm, and realized he had two hours until school. Normally, he wouldn't give a damn; he'd ditch.
But hell if he was going to punk out and hide in the house until the next full moon.