Author's Note: It was touch-and-go for awhile there, but I actually did end up writing an epilogue. It wasn't done by Sunday (obviously), but I think its length should more than make up for the lapse in update time. I just had these two ideas in my head that I couldn't let go, and even though I thought the ending was perfect (I mean that in a very modest way), I think this epilogue ties up all the remaining loose ends and is just a fun little bow at the end of this story.

I want to take a second to thank EVERYONE who read and reviewed this story, whether you've been with me from day one or if you just found this story (or if you're like me and stalk the completed fics archives and don't review until I change the status from in-progress to completed). Your support and encouragement was/is INSANE and I can't thank you enough. I did my best to reply to most of the reviews individually because honestly you guys blew me away, but some of you don't allow private messages and with the review reply thing broken, I had no way to express my gratitude. So, THANK YOU to those people, too. And special shout out to Jann for holding my hand this this part (and many others, too).

Lastly, a bit of a disclaimer. The song that is used in this update (and actually inspired pretty much the last five chapters of the story) is not mine. It is also not a duet, but rather Lifehouse's "Falling In" and I absolutely love it, so please go to youtube and check it out if you've never listened before.


Rachel exhaled an unsteady breath, her eyes focused outside the passenger door window as they pulled into the McKinley parking lot. Her eyes traveled over the expanse of students loitering around the other cars and the front entrance of the school. The expressions were an equal mix of disappointment and excitement, sometimes both emotions visible on the same student. She knew her face probably had telltale signs of anxiety written all over it, but she was accustomed to screwing on a smile and projecting her enthusiasm over any of those other more negative feelings.

Puck, on the other hand, was used to appearing completely ambivalent. It was his patented expression and was only overshadowed by his trademark smirk and sinister behavior. Nothing as elementary as the first day of school was going to change that, and Rachel was sure once he woke up completely he'd no doubt exude his perfected apathy. At that moment, however, it looked like he was just struggling to move the gear shift from drive to park. In hindsight she wondered if it had been safe for him to drive with his eyes half closed.

"Noah."

He pried his eyes open wider than before, startled by the force in her voice. It was barely past seven in the morning, and there was no viable excuse for raising one's voice that early. Except maybe morning sex, but Rachel had already nixed that idea when he'd come by her house to pick her up. Not that she wasn't ever up for it; they'd been back together for a little more than a month now and it was easily the best month of his life. One-night stands and random hookups with hot girls was fun and all, but the sexploration of Rachel Berry? Epic.

Puck tried to hide his grin, busying himself with the task of turning the keys in the ignition so the engine dulled to a stop, the quiet hush of the radio dying, too. "It's barely past seven, B."

"You've been getting up this early all summer for work."

"I was gettin' paid for that shit, though."

"There's just as much value in schoolwork even if it can't be measured by monetary gain."

"I prefer it to be measured in pieces of clothing," he leered, leaning over the console and pressing his lips against hers. He could feel the heat of her embarrassment burning off her cheeks and let his imagination run wild with images of all the other places her skin might be flushed. Hot. Tight. Pink.

He shuddered as he pulled away, his breath ragged and his eyes purposely avoiding focusing on her face. He had to get through the entire school day without screwing her brains out, and he wouldn't even make it to the first bell if he saw her swollen, pouty lips or that crazy lustful gaze she always had after they kissed. Everyone assumed that because Puck was so used to going from one woman to the next that he'd get sick of Rachel (Santana had eloquently said something about fucking her out of his system). But, oddly enough, the opposite was true.

In almost the same way that she was the only one who was able to keep his attention long enough to hold an actual conversation, Rachel had a power over him in the bedroom that was borderline unhealthy. Despite their terrible first attempt (she still says it wasn't but bullshit), sex was the thing that Puck was supposed to have the upper hand on. She had the brains and the talent and whatever, but he had the experience that should have had her in the palm of his hands, begging for it. But, even after he'd redeemed himself, the only one who seemed to turn into putty was him. It was a strange paradox, to be completely, utterly, totally satisfied and so undeniably not at the same time. Every sack session just had him craving the next, going mad for it like a sexually frustrated tween.

Luckily he didn't exactly have to beg for it, as Rachel definitely made good on her speech at the celibacy club meeting in sophomore year. She focused more on the feelings and used flowery terms about love and connecting intimately instead of calling it boning or fucking like him, but she was just sugarcoating the truth. And the truth, as awesome as it was, was that she was a freak. Not in the way that the jocks and losers at school said, and not in the creepy Swimfan kind of way, but in a perfect blend of exhibitionism and experimentalism and flexibility and … Shit.

"I know that look, Noah," she chastised lightly, a smile in her voice to match the one on her face. She distracted herself from the fact that his eyes had turned all but black by opening the car door, stepping out of the car confidently even though she felt anything but. It was their senior year and she was dating one of the most popular boys in school. She should be on top of the world, but she couldn't shake the feeling that everything was seconds away from blowing up in her face.

She'd been happy like this before. Well, not quite, but that just made it worse. She'd been happy with Finn when they'd started the first day of school, and look how that turned out. Now here she was, doing it all over again, even happier this time around and that just had to equal trouble, right? Like, it took a couple months with Finn, but now that she was happier, maybe it would only take a few weeks. Or a day.

"You know how to make the look go away, too."

Sex appeal dripped from his tone and she couldn't do anything but look past her shoulder and pretend to give him a stern look. Say nothing for the way her heart fluttered and her stomach knotted pleasantly. "We talked about this."

"No," he said on a shake of his head, prying his backpack out of the backseat and slinging it over his shoulder as he closed his door. "We're talking about it." He nodded once before starting to walk in step with her, going for adorable and not pestering like she'd claimed earlier. "Present tense, as in able to sway your previously lame answer."

"Lame because you do not agree?" She asked bemused, biting her lip when his arm came to rest across her shoulders. Rachel tilted her head up and regarded him. "Your English teacher is going to be so impressed that you know the difference between past and present tense."

"Whatever," he mumbled, the corners of his mouth drooping slightly. "English sucks."

"I think it's adorable that you are unhappy that we won't share the class anymore."

"Yea, well," he shrugged self-consciously, still not completely comfortable showing his softer side. "It's just 'cause I'm gonna have to find someone else to copy off of."

Rachel rolled her eyes. "She won't, however, be pleased with your incessant usage of informal contractions. Nor the way you end sentences with prepositions, nor …"

"Are these reasons she won't be happy or reasons you aren't?" Rachel glared at him, likely because he'd interrupted her and not necessarily because he was wrong. "How do you even know my English teacher is a chick?"

"I know she's female because, unlike you, I've actually taken time to evaluate my course schedule in anticipation of the upcoming year." Suddenly she stopped walking, dragged a step or two forward simply because Puck's arm was still secured around her. "You do know that glee club is now an official class, right?"

"Are you serious?"

"Noah!" She admonished, reaching into his jean pocket for what he assumed was the official printed paper with his schedule on it. He'd taken it out earlier and stuffed it inside his backpack, but he wasn't going to tell her that just yet. It felt too good to have her rooting around so close to his junk and she probably would have continued long enough for him to come in his pants if he hadn't let out a soft moan and startled her. "Noah, give it to me!"

Puck chuckled as a few people nearby made lewd and suggestive comments, Rachel's cheeks blushing furiously. "Serves you right."

Rachel managed to be embarrassed and pissed off at the same time, which wasn't exactly helping his current situation all that much. Maybe it was because he was so used to women being pissed at him, but there really wasn't anything sexier than a riled up Rachel Berry. Unfortunately, they were standing in the middle of a crowded area so even discreetly adjusting himself didn't seem possible. He couldn't very well plow her right then and there either, so he shifted his backpack in front of him to hide his little problem (fuck that – big problem. Huge.) and reached inside for the paper she'd been looking for. He also grabbed a worn notebook, the reason he'd moved the schedule to inside his bag in the first place.

"It's right here, Noah." She barely skimmed the document for ten seconds and clear as day in the slot for his last class was the words SHOW CHOIR. She shook her head, using her index finger to point at the class as she looked up at him with fire in her eyes, but then her expression moved to perplexed halfway into her diatribe. "Mr. Schuester talked to Principal Figgins after nationals and they added glee to the curriculum as another fine art elective. I mentioned this earli … what's that?"

"S'for you." He extended the notebook out to her, watching with a grin as she traded him his schedule for the notebook. Some people wondered how he could stand listening to her talk so much all the time, but they just didn't know how to shut her up. There were, in fact, three ways, and he'd just implemented his third favorite. "But I only want you to use it if you have a shitty day."

Rachel blinked a few times as she stared at the worn notebook, noting Puck's lazy scrawl on the cover indicating that it was private property and anyone caught reading it would be killed. Honestly, it said that - in graphic albeit completely ridiculous detail. She eventually lifted her head up to look back at Puck, her eyebrows knitting together in confusion. He dipped down into her personal space and she found herself leaning into him even more than she already were, which meant there was absolutely no room left between them. His breath danced across her neck, Rachel clutching the notebook in her hands tightly as she fought to keep her eyes from fluttering closed.

"Otherwise, you have to give me somethin' I want, and I think we both know what that is."

Puck grinned wickedly, both their eyes moving in the same direction, the janitorial closet looking particularly inviting at that moment in his opinion. Rachel, however, was queen of willpower and simply nodded her head before moving the notebook from her hands to her own backpack. The hallways were becoming increasingly crowded, the sheer amount of people greeting Puck as they passed by ruining any chance they might have had at holding a private conversation. Rachel swallowed thickly as she tried not to think of their parting as anything more than a temporary endeavor, but must have failed miserably given the look of concern on Puck's face as he veered them off course to stand by her locker.

"Why do you think I'll have an unpleasant day?" Rachel asked quietly, wondering if he had the same worries she did. She had dropped her chin to her chest and kept her gaze down, but Puck hooked his index finger underneath to prop it back up. How he managed to express his trepidation with such a smoldering look was beyond her. It didn't matter what he did or what he wanted or asked for – if he gave her that look, she would do anything for him. Hopefully he didn't know that, though.

"You've been weird about today for awhile," he answered vaguely, not wanting to expound upon his thoughts anymore than that. He wasn't nearly as smart as she was, but he was good at reading people – especially her – and he could tell what she was thinking. It was the same thing everyone else at the school was: How long would it last this time?

"She's been weird for a lot longer than that, Puckerman."

Rachel had gotten so used to the Latina in the recent months that the insults really didn't faze her anymore. Santana lost quite a bit of her bite once Rachel and Puck started dating, even more so when she started seeing Brittany. Rachel knew they'd never be friends, or really even get along, but she couldn't help but feel some civility for the former Cheerio, who'd drunkenly confessed how much she'd admired Puck and Rachel and their relationship. Plus, like it or not, Santana had been there for Puck during the month they were separated, and she'd apparently given him some advice that he'd taken to heart.

"Better weird than a bitch," Puck shot back, never taking his eyes off Rachel. She simply nodded in approval, though he wasn't sure if it was for defending her or in permission to leave their serious conversation for later. Maybe both, as she lifted to her tiptoes, placed a quick kiss on his lips, and left. Puck turned his head and watched her go, only taking his eyes off her when he heard Santana groan loudly.

"You two are pathetic, you know that?"

Puck moved the hand that had been dedicated to touching Rachel up to the strap of his backpack, gripping it loosely. "Get off my back, San. I'm already getting shit from Q about power couple status and some shit. I can't take your crazed jealousy, too."

"We promised never to speak of that night," she growled, Puck rolling his eyes in response as he made his way to his first class.

It had taken him a lot longer than it should have, but Puck finally understood who his real friends were, and – sometimes unfortunately – Santana was one of them. Much like him, she'd changed a lot after joining glee club. He might have made it his objective sometime during freshman year to ruin the lives of every single person in the glee club, but things were different now. They'd all been through a lot and for better or for worse the club had stuck together, through it all. It was like Mercedes had said; they were a family.

A fucked up, incestuous, antagonizing, diverse family.

"Are you actually going to class?" She asked in shock, following him into the room and looking around like him to see if there was anyone else in the class that they knew. Quinn and Sam were sitting in the back corner and Puck and Santana shared a hesitant look before joining them.

"Wow. You really have changed, haven't you?" Quinn asked absently, twirling her pink-colored pen in her hand and smiling at Sam. "Ruling this school might be easier than I thought."

"I always knew you liked it on top."

Sam laughed at Puck's joke then stopped when Quinn glared at him. Puck rolled his eyes and turned in his seat toward the front of the classroom. Two freshman girls whipped around in hopes of not being caught staring at him, and he sighed when Santana, Sam, and Quinn all laughed around him. He was never going to stop being a stud, but Quinn was right. He had changed, and the biggest change was that he accepted that the new Puck was a better version of his previous self. Quinn hadn't figured out who she wanted to be yet, which he knew not because they were friends but because she'd immediately gotten back together with Sam after her and Finn broke up and was back in her Cheerio uniform, too.

"Did you hear Coach Bieste wants to meet during lunch?" Puck shook his head from side to side, looking back at Sam curiously. "Something about Friday's game."

"Oh, that." Puck shrugged one shoulder, turning his attention back to the front as the teacher came in. He made everyone stand up and then assigned seating alphabetically, which was perfect for Puck since it put him on the opposite side of the room as Quinn and Sam, both of who wanted to know what he clearly already did about the football meeting. It was stupid and maybe showcased just how much he hadn't changed, but pissing them off would probably get him through the morning; that was important because even though he didn't know his schedule, he did know that sometime today he'd end up in an advanced math class. Suffice it to say that it hadn't been his idea, but rather an irrational decision made during one of his and Rachel's special study sessions before finals.

And, great. Now he was thinking about Rachel naked again. He needed a distraction quickly, and like fate it came in the form of a paper football. Puck rolled his eyes, not even bothering to look over at Sam or even at the note. He knew what it was asking, and if Ken and Barbie were going to be on his ass all year about social hierarchy and homecoming king and queen and class couple and whatever the hell else, then he was going to milk this for all it was worth. After all, it would no doubt be around the entire school by the next period.

It, of course, being what Rachel learned the second Finn walked through the door of her first period class. He was wearing a new polo shirt and sporting the same but cleaned up haircut he had last year. His backpack was slung over one shoulder and he grinned that silly lopsided smile that was utterly him before he took the seat next to her. All of that, however, was glossed over the second she saw the cast on his right arm.

"What happened?"

"Puck didn't tell you?" Finn sighed, thinking that was a dumb question. Obviously he hadn't because then she wouldn't have asked. "My two left feet finally did some real damage."

"You did this to yourself?"

"Well how else does someone break their arm?" She scowled at him and he chuckled lightly. "I was helping Burt at the garage yesterday, inventory and whatever. Too much crap in my hands, not enough coordination, and I fell down the stairs."

"That's awful!" There was so much concern in her tone that he couldn't help but smile and bow his head, reminding himself that she was off the market. "What about football?"

"Coach made me the assistant coach, which is kind of cool." He dropped the tone of his voice, looking intently at her. "It's almost better since I probably wasn't going to play college ball anyway, and the experience will be good since maybe I'll coach football while teaching."

"Teaching is a very admirable profession, Finn." Rachel smiled warmly, her hand reaching out to rest on the forearm that wasn't covered in the thick plaster. "And I know you'll be great at it."

Rachel tried not to notice the flash of love that coursed through his eyes, but ended up having to bow her head shyly to avoid the awkwardness that would have sprouted up if she hadn't. She and Puck had been back together since nationals, and their rekindled relationship was made quite obvious when Mercedes had returned to the room after getting back from the glee club's celebration to find Rachel and Puck sleeping together, naked. She'd snapped some photos for blackmail purposes, told every single person in glee club via text, and made Puck and Rachel basically be her slave for the rest of the trip just to keep her from telling Mr. Schuester what had happened. The point was, Finn didn't just know that Rachel and Puck were dating, but he knew that the relationship was serious.

"Thanks for believing in me, Rach." He looked down, too, embarrassed that he'd obviously made her uncomfortable. "And, like, don't be mad, but Puck told me about what you said to him in New York … about not needing you and … well, it's not really true, you know?"

Rachel's breath was shallow, her eyes lifting back up and focusing on Finn. The classroom was entirely full by that point and in her periphery she saw the teacher enter and start to write his name on the dry-erase board. Soon he'd make them all get up and move into assigned seats, and for the first time in probably all three years of high school, Rachel wanted to be sat furthest away from the tall teen currently next to her.

"You make us believe in ourselves."

His whispered words echoed in her mind even as she got up and the entire class switched places according to the chart the teacher had drawn up. He'd arranged them alphabetically, which didn't put Finn right next to her, but he did end up directly behind her, and she couldn't help but find the symbolism in his position. She'd always been supportive of him, behind him, and now he was, too. Only not as her boyfriend, but - like he'd been during the month Puck and her were broken up – as a friend.

"Hey Rach?" She turned behind her with her breath held as she regarded him, hoping he knew the distinction. He let that lopsided grin emerge again, presenting a permanent marker toward her as well as his casted arm. "Can I have your autograph?"

She released the breath she'd been holding, her smile blinding. "Sure."

That moment had been the highlight of much of her day, almost enough to make up for the rest of the morning and afternoon. Unlike many of her classmates, Rachel had signed up for a full load of classes, and advanced placement ones at that. She'd thought that it was a brilliant idea to take care of these general education classes so when she went to Julliard, she could really focus on her career. Now, however, she worried that she had signed up for a miserable senior year, which was the only thing on her mind until she walked into her last class for the day, show choir.

There had been auditions for the glee club when they'd made it an official class. The group had just won nationals and they didn't want a bunch of people in the group who couldn't sing simply because they didn't want to take band of musical appreciation. Rachel hadn't expected many people to try out given the club's history, but she had clearly underestimated the shift in power. Given Dave Karofsky sitting by the side with a few of the other football guys and the line of girls sitting on the opposite side, slushie facials were going to be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, as Rachel took her seat, what wasn't ancient history was the way the girls at McKinley talked about Rachel.

"They already broke up once. It won't last."

Rachel had almost entirely forgotten about her worries from this morning until she heard one of the freshman girls whisper to her friends. She'd been sifting through her backpack in search of nothing in particular when the girl's harsh words hit her eardrum, and by coincidence her hand touched the worn notebook that Puck had given her this morning. She pulled out the pad of paper and examined the cover once more, ignoring the backward glance the row of girls tossed her way. Brittany and Santana walked into the room and sat over by the football guys, just as surprised to see them as she had been. Figuring it wouldn't be long before the rest of the club came in, Rachel cracked the notebook open, focusing on the first page.

I wasn't kiddin'. I'll legit kill you.

She smiled in spite of herself, rolling her eyes at his extended death threat and turning to the next page, which was blank. So was the next one and the next one, and by the third blank page in a row, Rachel was wondering why Puck thought this would make her day better if needed. Then, like a wave crashing over her, the next page was a mess of words written in no discernable order or way. Every millimeter of white space was utilized, words covering not just the lines but in the header and down along the margins, too. Rachel, however, couldn't get over the title, which was the only thing with a gutter of space around it.

List of Reasons I Want Berry

The memory of their conversation in the auditorium at the beginning of their relationship filtered through her mind, ending with him saying that he'd make her a list one day. Apparently he'd been serious, not just about making the list but when he'd admitted that it would be long. Because it wasn't just the first page that was filled. The list went on for page after page, seven in total, detailing not just body parts (there were those) or sexual acts (pretty much the entire last page, clearly written more recently) but silly things like the way she tied her shoes, telling him her secret cookie recipe, her closeness with Sarah, calling him Noah, being a Jew, her drive, being a good friend, trustworthy, his penguin …

One after the other, Puck listed all the reasons he wanted (loved) her, and all it did was add another reason to her own list. That and it reminded her of what Mr. Schuester had said to her back in sophomore year. He'd assured her that she'd find someone who loved all the things she hated about herself and all her quirks, but Rachel wondered if he'd known it would have been Noah.

"Good book?"

Rachel's head snapped up, her eyes watery but focused entirely on Puck as he walked into the room with his standard swagger. She bolted out of her seat, past the line of girls who were currently swooning, and slammed into his arms. She held him tightly for all of four seconds and then pulled back and crashed her lips against his. Her tongue slid effortlessly into his open mouth, Rachel swallowing his moan of satisfaction and letting out her own when she felt his arms encircle her waist.

Puck had been a little taken aback by the obvious display of affection, but he wasn't complaining, either. He simply reminded himself that they were in a classroom full of students and probably seconds away from having a teacher inside, too, and made sure to keep his hands in safe areas. No boobs, no ass. His brain repeated the mantra in his head even as Rachel bit his bottom lip and then delved her tongue back inside his mouth, swirling it alongside his for just long enough that he wondered how important football practice would be but not long enough that he couldn't remember how important oxygen was.

"I'm gonna need that back." His voice was low but powerful, chasing the already warm feelings coursing through her after their kiss. Her forehead was resting against his, their breath mingling between them in an intimate dance that had her wishing the school day was over and he didn't have football practice afterward. Slowly she unhooked her arms from around his neck, the notepad sliding over his shoulder and then down his chest before he lifted his hand up to secure it enough that she could let go.

She leaned forward again, kissing him a bit more appropriately before leading the way back to her spot in the middle row. Much to the disdain of the line of girls, Puck and Rachel talked quietly amongst themselves about their days and plans for later and everything and nothing until Mr. Schuester came in. He went through introductions and expectations for this coming year. There was his standard speech about competiveness and preparation, and then segued into the official date for sectionals this year. The glee club had an automatic bid into nationals this year after their win, but he didn't want them to grow complacent. There were a lot of new members this year and that completely changed the dynamic of the group, which was something they didn't need to be told as the core group from last year was mostly sitting together while the newcomers had formed their own pod as well.

Mr. Schuester pulled the cap from his marker and wrote the words ORIGINAL SONGS on the dry erase board. Puck and Rachel looked at each other through the corner of their eyes, the latter smiling softly before she bent her head to rest on Puck's shoulder. The teacher spoke of the group's original song that won regionals, and then Rachel's song that he said clearly pushed them into first place at nationals. The future was in original songs, and he wanted them to start as soon as possible so they'd have the best ready for nationals this year.

"Mr. Schue." Puck raised his hand, surprising everyone, including Rachel even though she knew what he was garnering the teacher's attention for. "Berry and I have a song."

"I'm merely helping on vocals, Mr. Schuester. Noah wrote the song."

"You wrote a song?" Mr. Schuester asked, his surprise quickly overshadowed by pride and encouragement. "Wonderful. Class, please give Puck and Rachel your undivided attention."

"Finn, too," Puck said, looking back at the tall teen before regarding the line of new girls. "He's single, ladies."

"Shut up, dick," Finn muttered, moving from his spot next to Artie and Lauren.

"Language!" Mr. Schuester and Rachel admonished at the same time, making everyone in the room laugh while Finn got situated on the drum set. Luckily his broken arm didn't seem to affect his playing, which made it the one thing he could still do with that hand until the cast came off. Rachel stood by the piano and watched Puck sling his guitar strap over his shoulder, smiling softly as he nodded his head and started the first bar.

Every time I see your face

My heart takes off on a high-speed chase

Now don't be scared, it's only love

Baby, that we're falling in

Kurt and Mercedes immediately started swaying to Rachel's voice and the gentle chords of the guitar. She could see them swooning, and couldn't help but notice the same expression on the faces of the girls in the front row. Only they were all watching Finn, even after Puck took over the lyrics.

I can't wait till tomorrow

This feeling has swallowed me whole

And I know that I've lost control

This heart that I've followed

Has left me so hollow

That was then, this is now

Yeah, you have changed everything

If Puck had been able to look away from Rachel at that point, he would have tossed a glance to Quinn. During rehearsals before nationals, she'd wondered where the Puck was that had sung the Need You Now duet with Rachel. Well, here he was. Only, not really, because this time he wasn't just singing lyrics that he felt held some meaning in their relationship. But he created words to showcase it. He'd grown up to not just realize that you didn't just have to take what you want, but you had to work for it.

Every time I see your face

My heart takes off on a high-speed chase

Now don't be scared, it's only love

Baby, that we're falling in

I would never do you wrong

Or let you down or lead you on

Don't look down, it's only love

Baby, that we're falling in

Rachel sang the chorus just like they had practiced, only now she'd really understood all the reasons that inspired him to write the song. The words held so much more meaning, and she'd almost missed her part thinking about it all. Before, because of the tone, she'd assumed he'd written the song in response to their breakup – after their reconciliation. Now, with flashes of the notebook running through her mind and Puck's voice filtering through when he took over the lyrics again, she realized he might have been writing it for their entire relationship.

I'm standing in your driveway

It's midnight and I'm sideways

I have to find out if you feel the same

Won't be easy, have my doubts, too

But it's over without you

I'm just lost, incomplete

Yeah, you feel like home, home to me

Rachel couldn't say for sure, but something about the last verse pushed her to sing the next part stronger. It took her back to the Need You Now duet, how he compelled her to sing stronger just because he was pouring everything into his parts. Rachel and Finn had wonderful chemistry on stage, but Rachel and Puck had chemistry everywhere. She was drawn to him, when singing, when talking, when touching, when kissing, when …

Every time I see your face

My heart takes off on a high-speed chase

Now don't be scared, it's only love

That we're falling in

I would never do you wrong

Or let you down or lead you on

Don't look down, it's only love

Baby, that we're falling in

Falling in

Puck could feel her energy, pulled closer like some bizarre gravitational pull even as he moved right to the next verse.

All those nights I stayed awake

Thinking of all the ways to make you mine

All of those smiles will never fade

Never run out of ways to blow my mind

They stood directly in front of each other, Finn quieting the drums and almost no other sound but their quick inhale of breath able to be heard in the whole room. They'd managed to get the attention of every single student in the classroom, and yet they couldn't look away from one another, finally sharing the lyrics of the chorus and singing them together.

Every time I see your face

My heart takes off on a high-speed chase

Now don't be scared, it's only love

Baby, that we're falling in

I would never do you wrong

Or let you down or lead you on

Don't look down, it's only love

Baby, that we're falling in

Don't look down, it's only love

Baby, that we're falling in

Puck stopped strumming and Finn let the last hit of the cymbal echo in the room, dulled quickly by the applause and cheers of the rest of the club. Puck didn't hear any of it, though, his proximity to Rachel like an extreme version of tunnel vision. All he could hear was her, see her, smell her, feel her. And, man, did he want to taste her.

"Fell."

Rachel beamed up at him, knowing what he'd meant. "Fallen."

She giggled when he groaned, her amusement quickly turning to something a bit more primal when he sagged his head and nipped at her shoulder. Thoughts of their conversation from this morning about tenses and English vanished from her mind just like the thoughts of the school being enough to pull them apart. Now she only had one thing on her mind, and she didn't care anymore how un-Rachel Berry it seemed.

"Go to the closet. I'll be there in a minute."

Rachel whispered the words, but she might as well have had a megaphone pressed to his ear. He leaned back and looked into her eyes intently to make sure she wasn't joking, a wide grin spreading across his face in time with the shy one moving across hers. Unable to help himself, he pressed a quick kiss to her lips and then started backing away toward the door.

"I gotta take a leak!"

Mr. Schuester started to give permission, but was then interrupted by Rachel. "My throat is rather dry after the duet. May I be excused to refill my water bottle?"

Mr. Schuester agreed before addressing the class, Rachel moving to her bag to get her bottle. Kurt, Blaine, and Mercedes were sitting behind where her and Noah had been, and all three of them leaned forward. They made sure to keep their voices low, knowing Mr. Schuester wouldn't yell at them for talking since he was just going over how things were handled in the group to the newcomers.

"Thirtsy?" Mercedes questioned comically.

"He is a tall drink of water," Blaine joked to the delight of both Mercedes and Kurt. Rachel simply rolled her eyes, finally unhooking the bottle from her bag. She let much of her weight settle onto one leg, the other jutting out slightly as she stood with what she hoped passed for stern. It was likely pretty close, as she was upset enough about the delay to hide her excitement.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Rachel said, ignoring Kurt's muttered response as she spun around and left the room, heading left only to circle all the way around to get to the janitor's closet. She could feel her heart in her throat as she turned the knob, not knowing what to expect. She'd never been inside the room before, and certainly didn't imagine it would be pitch black. Somehow, though, she sensed Puck's whereabouts, finding herself enveloped in his arms almost the second after she locked the door.

"I'm so addin' this to the notebook."

The need in his voice hit her harder than the flat surface of the wall he'd pushed her against. She could feel how much he wanted her, and the evidence pressed against her stomach was just one of many. Her nervousness was immediately replaced with desire, her hands reaching up to clutch at his T-shirt the second she felt his lips on the sensitive skin of her neck.

"How do you want to do this?" He asked huskily, stopping himself from just ripping her underwear off and railing her until they both blacked out. She might have been the one to initiate the whole thing, and her hands were currently moving tantalizingly across the bare skin of his torso, but this was still Rachel Berry. They didn't have all the time in the world before someone came looking for them, and she was just the type of person who always had a plan. "Fast and dirty?"

Rachel's eyes fluttered closed, her inhale sharp the second she felt Puck's tongue run over the outer shell of her ear, his teeth nipping softy at the lobe before he sucked in the tender flesh. A shiver ran through her body, ending with a curl of her toes. She bit her lip to keep herself from moaning, the action her last conscious thought. The rest was completely instinct. Completely natural.

"I need you now."