"So, Puckerman. I've heard from Azimio that you've finally gone queer on us." Is the first thing he hears once he's made his way past the school gates and starts making his way towards his locker.

Karofsky's waiting there for him, looking disgusted. The words are hurled at him with pure hatred, which makes Puck's muscles tense in anticipation. He's feeling better this morning (he isn't even hangover, which is maybe due to his condition; either that, or a fucking miracle), thanks to the kiss he stole from Kurt, but there's still a dark shadow making itself known inside of him that would really like the opportunity to kick somebody's ass.

"Oh, yeah? And what're you gonna do about it?" He stands up in front of the bulky teenager, baring his teeth in a menacing scowl and cracking his knuckles. Karofsky stands straighter and starts raising his right fist to throw the first punch; he can practically see it in slow motion. He grabs the boy's arm in a strong hold and looks him in the eyes, to psyche him out. That is when he hears, loud and clear:

I hate you, Puckerman. I hate you, I fucking hate you. Why the fuck do you get him? He's not yours.

That makes his eyes widen, and his grip on the other guy's limb tighten. It can't be. Then he starts seeing things. Seeing things that belong to Karofsky's mind, seeing the things the other boy's thinking about as he grunts in pain. There's... There's a lot of Kurt in there. He can see flashes of Kurt everywhere. There's Kurt in the cafeteria line, and Kurt answering a question in biology, and Kurt in his Cheerios' uniform; Kurt in Glee, Kurt walking down the halls, Kurt laughing with Mercedes, Kurt, Kurt, Kurt.

There's a thousand images. But there's one that stands out. He can see Kurt getting all up on Karofsky's grill in one of the boys' locker rooms, there's... there's yelling and he can feel that something tremendously bad is about to happen because the Karofsky in this memory is getting increasingly worked up.

...Karofsky kisses Kurt. The image repeats itself over and over. He can see the way Kurt's fist comes up to his mouth, the way his eyes look big, innocent, scared; he can see the way he pushes Karofsky away when he tries to kiss him a second time. After that, there's shoving against lockers, winks, pain; the last thing he sees is Kurt saying something that may've been 'I don't want you near me.', followed by Karofsky doing something so incredibly creepy that...

Suddenly he can hear a pained scream filling his ears, the sound of a bone cracking, and a string of profanities mixed with incoherent sounds coming from his own mouth, even though he can't know for sure what he's saying.

He isn't totally aware of what's happening, but he can feel the way his fists are starting to hurt, he can also smell blood. A lot of blood. Some of it is his, but most of it is coming from Karofsky.

He can feel somebody trying to pull him away from the other guy, can register someone's voice (it might be Finn's, the frantic repetitions of dude, calm down. Duce, calm the fuck down! sound too much like him for them to be coming from someone else), but he's lost all control over his own body.

"Noah!"

That's Kurt. He can hear him, he's running up to him. He can't see him because there's a red haze blinding him, but he knows Kurt's voice, and Kurt's step, and his scent, although now it's tinted with panic, and why is he panicking? What is happening?

"Noah!" This time the voice is right next to him. There's a soft hand curling itself around one of his arms, pulling with surprising strength. "Noah, stop!"

And he does. And at about that time, he murmurs Kurt's name and everything goes dark.

The next time he opens his eyes, Finn's looming over him, looking sort of green.

"Dude" Is the first thing that comes out from the gigantic teen.

"What?" He mumbles, fighting a wave of nausea and taking in his surroundings; it looks like he's lying on one of the infirmary's beds. He sits up slowly and catches sight of his bandaged hands.

"Dude, you got Karofsky sent to the hospital, on an ambulance. You broke his... everyhing. And it didn't even take you five minutes. It was seriously insane. I thought you were gonna kill him." Finn answers, in one breath, fidgeting a bit and letting hiw nervousness show in a less subtle way.

Karofsky. With that name, everything comes back to him. And he's overcome by rage.

"I should have killed him." He grits out.

"Oh, shit, you're doing that eye-thing again." Finn stands up and starts walking backwards towards the door.

"What 'eye-thing'? And sit the fuck down, Hudson, I'm not gonna break you." Finn's not precisely frightened, but there's a smudge of fear coating the boy's presence that is irritating him, and he's already mad enough.

"Okay, okay." Finn comes back to the chair he'd been sitting on and plops down on it in an ungraceful manner that only accentuates the fact that he's a freakshow of a teenager, all long legs and arms, and no harmony at all.

"So?" He asks.

"So what?"

"Hudson, you can't be this stupid. The 'eye-thing'. What was that 'eye-thing' you mentioned?"

"Oh, right. Dude, your eyes are red." Finn states, shortly.

"Red?"

"Yes, man. Your eyes are... well, now they're sort of returning to their natural color. But a minute ago they were, like, crimson. And when you were... when you were fighting Karofsky, they'd been like that, too. It's freaky. Do you think you're sick or something?"

"I'm a vampire, Finn."

"Oh, that explains a lot." Finn says easily, but after a few seconds he lets out a wait, what? and Puck starts explaining everything, slowly and with the smallest words he knows.

("So, this chick bit you and now you have superstrength and freaky mind-reading powers and, like, the abbility to tell who has bathed and who hasn't?"

"I also want to drink blood. And I kind of want to bone your brother."

"Dude, that's kind of messed up. Not that I think wanting to bone another guy is messed up! Besides we'd all kind of figured out that you kind of had a thing for Kurt already. Just the, you know, drinking blood part."

"Yeah, I know.")

After that, Finn asks him why he got so wild with Karofsky, and he relays every single thing he saw in the other jock's mind to Finn (it's a nice way to lift some of the weight of the situation from his shoulders); by the time he's retelling the kiss thing, Finn is staring at him in revolted disbelief.

When he's done, they don't really talk to each other for about an hour. Each of them has musings of their own to keep them entertained.

After a while, however, Puck notices that the nurse hasn't been in the office in all the time they've been here so he asks what that's all about.

"Oh," Finn starts, looking like he's thinking about something really hard, "she's on Figgins' office, I think."

"Why?"

"She's there with Kurt and Burt. They're trying to get you out of trouble by threatening to sue the school for about a dozen different things. I think they've got to do with all the stuff Karofsky pulled, y'know?"

Kurt. He can hear Kurt's voice if he concentrates hard enough. That makes him sweat a little, and get this unrelenting desire to find him and make sure that he's safe, make sure that Karofsky hasn't gotten his dirty hands on him again (along the thought comes an aggressive, corrosive jealousy for whoever else could 'get their hands' on Hummel). There's that seductive newborn part of him that keeps whispering to him lock him up somewhere safe where only you can get to him.

"Hey, Puck?" Finn cuts right through all those stalkerish thoughts, sounding strangely eager.

"Yeah?"

"Show me your fangs?"

When he's walking home that day, he starts feeling worn out. He's only just avoided Juvie, and he's had the weirdest conversations with his best friend, and there's pent up rage and frustration, and lust, and clouds upon clouds of steam that he doesn't know how to blow off.

On top of it all, he knows that Figgins' called his ma, which in combination with the stunt he'd pulled the day before means that he'll be grounded for the rest of the eternity.

When he gets to his house, anyhow, the only one there is Sarah, who's sprawled on the coach reading some thick book that looks too long and complicated for someone as young as her to fully grasp.

"Ma's got an extra shift today." Sarah says, without looking up at him, flipping a page with two fingers. "She told me to tell you that you better have a good explanation for what happened today, unless you want her to do something not very nice to you."

She sounds highly amused, he flicks her on the ear.

On Friday he's awoken an hour and a half before his usual call by his ma, who looks so honestly tired that it makes him want to do anything she ever asks him to, just to make her life that little bit easier.

"What happened, Noah? I thought that we were over this 'fixing problems through violence' thing." She stops and looks at him with a little sadness.

"Ma, listen, I don't know what happened, okay? I... remember I told you about hearing people's thoughts?" She nods her head slowly, and he takes her hand and freaks out about the way his mind just locked itself somewhere deep down when he saw all the things he saw; he tells her about losing his sight in fury, about red eyes. He tells her about Kurt pulling him away from the invisible chains of hatred, away from the clutches of the creature that's living inside of him.

... Just, in messier words. Waxing poetry about a boy to his ma makes him feel kind of like a girly girl, and that (vampire or not) is not a feeling he's okay with.

Also, he caves under her questioning gaze when he's talking about the way Kurt's small hand saved him from becoming a murderer and landing his ass in a place far worse than Juvie and tells her everything else. Tells her about the way that only Kurt can calm him down when he's on sensory overload, about being so finely attuned to the guy that if he put his mind into it he could probably tell her what he is doing right now (sleeping, the obsessive side of him offers. He's sleeping, and dreaming about something steamy).

"Okay." Is what his mother says after he's finished his tale. She looks mostly uncomfortable (which is probably thanks to the fact that he really did tell her everything, with little to no censorship), but there's another emotion floating around her face that makes him curious. "So, that's new."

And he knows exactly what she's talking about, because his mind had gone to the exact same places. But he shrugs, anyways, because, by now? The gay part is the only one that makes sense.

After a moment or two, his mother clears her throat and asks something that he hadn't really paid much thought to, speaking in a way that sugests that she'd already known that.

"Did you like this Kurt boy before all this happened, bubbala?"

He'd like to say no, but he starts remembering things from before La Maga; he remembers how fucking amazing he found Kurt when he kicked that winning field goal, remembers the times he's burst out laughing at his clever comments, remembers all the times he's looked at the guy parading around the school as if everyone should be dropping on their hands and knees and licking his expensive boots and thought badasss motherfucker, remembers how he went to temple and prayed for the first time in forever when Kurt's dad was in a coma (he remembers downloading a dozen different versions to "I Want To Hold Your Hand"), and he's not sure anymore that no would be a truthful answer.

His mother seems to understand, or to see something on his face that gives her the answer she needs, because she nods and stands up, resolutely.

When she's leaving, she says –feather soft, amazed, reminiscent of the way she used to talk to him when he was a child- I think you're in love with this boy, bubbala.

When he gets to school, everyone –jocks and geeks and Cheerios and dorks alike- parts like the red sea to let him through (it would've made him feel like a total stud before, but right now the stench of fear and the tight ways everyone is holding themselves when he passes by them are making him jittery).

Okay, make that everyone but the people from Glee club. They just jump on him as soon as they catch sight of him and start asking obnoxious questions about his circumstances (because, of course, Finn wouldn't have known how to keep his mouth shut and would end up telling everyone), that's just the way they all roll. It's comforting, in its own farcical way.

Still, by the third time he's asked if he can still hold an erection, he kind of wants to either growl at them in his lowest register or commit suicide.

It doesn't slip his attention that the only one who doesn't try to come near him is Kurt. Kurt's smell is far away from him, in fact,, hidden in the depths of the choir room. The countertenor is in an indescribable mood that makes him want to simultaneously whimper and go do unforgivable things to and for him until he smiles, or cries, or breaks, or talks, or something.

It hurts in a way that's entirely too physical and half primal and half a tender whatever that he can't completely understand.

He tries to ignore the sissy inner pain that's trying to overwhelm any other emotion by concentrating on however many dumb queries his friends have.

It doesn't work perfectly (or at all), but it's all there's to it.

He's been trying to pay attention to his geography class for the last twenty minutes or so, when the world fades away so abruptly that it leaves him grasping at his desk until he feels the wood caving under the pressure, splitting up far too effortlessly.

He slips away from his chair and hits the floor in record time, sounds erupting all over like a badly reahersed movie. There are gasps, and girls going all 'oh-my-god-is-he-ok?' and boys going all 'dude-what-the-actual-fuck?', there's the raspy tone of his middle aged teacher telling someone to get the nurse.

He can feel the cold tiles beneath him, can feel the cold seeping through all the cracks, and he starts thinking is this it? am i just going to die in the middle of a fucking school day?

After that, he hears the nurse's strong bellows ("Give the kid some space!").

After that, he hears nothing at all.

After that, he just isn't anywhere anymore. He just... fades away.

(A hand takes hold of his, soft. A nose rubs against his ear. Then a puff of candid air wraps itself around a few words.

"You must seal the deal with a biting kiss. He has to be the first."

It's La Maga's voice. He wouldn't have been able to describe it before, because he'd forgotten everything about her in a suspicious way. But this voice? It's hers.

"You must take from him what you need and stay at his side." She says, hand dancing its merry way down one of his arms, beady nails scratching him in odd patterns."You must or you'll die.")

He wakes up. That's an event in itself, since he'd been sure that he was going to die. But he doesn't die, and he wakes up. And he wakes up to find Kurt sitting ramrod straight at his side, looking way too pale in his dark clothes.

(This waking up to other people staring at him thing is starting to get old.)

"Hey." He croaks out, not knowing what else to say ...Or not knowing what else to say other than a million needy things that would make him combust in shame induced flames after he's said them (things like i don't know why you're here, but don't ever leave).

"Hey, Noah." Is the answer he gets, so quiet that Puck's got a hard time hearing it over the furious beating of Kurt's heart.

"So, what happened?" He asks the question as an attempt to make the soft grimace that the other boy's wearing dissapear, to see if those dabs of gray will go away from his eyes once he's distracted enough, to see if the kid's natural warmth will replace the coldness that seems to have taken over him.

To stop the screaming, the whispering, the streams of consciousness that seem to be coming from any and all directions (and none of it is Kurt's. It's never been Kurt's.)

"You... you fainted." The boy starts, looking from Puck to one of the generic white walls before continuing. "You fainted, then you had seizures. Then you..."

He stops. Blinks his eyes a few times, blushes (the tips of Puck's fingers grow hot and heavy with the longing to reach out and chase the colors all the way down to his neck). Then he coughs, covering his mouth politely.

"Then I...?"

"Then you started calling his name, Puckerman." Santana makes her entrance, slamming the door on her way in and sitting down on his bed, smirking. He can see her hand reaching for his, though, she's shaken; he wouldn't have noticed before, but it's obvious now. "You started sobbing his name and thrashing around and it was all very gay."

"You're very gay."

She rolls her eyes at him.

"Yeah, right." She looks at Kurt -who's gone back to impersonating a stick- for a few seconds and then back at him, eyebrows curving attractively. "Pot, kettle. "

That makes him roll his eyes at her.

"Anyway, I'm gone. I only wanted to make sure that you were not dead or something, that one would've been hard to explain to Ruth and Sarah." She lets her façade slip for a short moment, squeezing his hand. But it's all done before even he can fully acknowledge it. "I always liked them better than you."

Once she's left, the room is swallowed by silence.

"We should talk about this." Is the first thing to leave Kurt's mouth, when the stillness in the room has started to make the two of them uncomfortable. "We... We should talk about this, and figure something out. Because everything is sort of absurd right now, and I'm not altogether convinced that this is not some sort of carbohydrate-induced nightmare, or that we haven't magically transported ourselves to a García Márquez book and-"

"And you're rambling." He says, too soft, snaking his hand to take one of Kurt's (that alone? That single touch? It's heaven. And the way that Kurt's fingers just interweave with his? That's dying, being reborn and discovering joy.). "Also, I think I love you."

"You what?" Kurt panics, blue eyes opening so wide they make him look crazed, lips parted an inch or two.

Puck repeats it, squeezing the long fingers he's holding. He reapts it once, twice, a third time. Then, he talks. He talks for a long time, while Kurt listens (it turns it he, too, is a great listener).

When the nurse comes back from where she'd been dealing with a nasty chemical disaster that had left a few kids a little poisoned and reeking of sulfur, she finds Kurt and Puck sharing a very tentative first (or second, technically speaking) kiss.

She's not amused, but Puck honestly doesn't care a shit. Because this is the best he's felt in weeks, even with the thirst clawing up through him and trying to get him to bite and damn all the consequences.

Seal the deal with a biting kiss, he keeps hearing. He will. Just not now. Maybe tomorrow, or on Sunday; or maybe even on Monday, if he can manage to wait that long, but now he wants to enjoy this state of being where nothing itches, and nothing is lacking, where the shapes are defined but not overwhelming, the sounds are at bay, the scents aren't intruding.

Right now, he wants this.

(He ends up doing it on Tuesday. Kurt lifts his neck like an offering and whispers i know you need it and i'm ready and Puck grips milky white shoulders and drinks.

And the way Kurt moans when he's done and licking the small wounds closed and sinking down to his knees to fulfill some of his fantasies, a low breathy sound that's filthy and sweet and perfect, makes all the wanting he's gone through worth it.)