Author Note: So this is set through episodes 3 and 4 of Glee season 1. Nothing new has been added, some dialogue may have been altered as I was running on memory alone. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own nothing. If I did than this would be called the Rachel Berry show and everyone would love her. There is too much Rachel hate on Glee so though I don't own her I proclaim national hug Rachel day :D
Everyday Glee was making her life better. She had people to talk to. People who wanted to talk to her. Friends to sit with at lunch. Sure, she knew that a lot of the other Glee kids wanted to shove a sock down her throat from time to time but, generally, they were getting along and Glee was the only fun aspect of her high school career. Finn definitely made it much more enjoyable. Even if his clichéd girlfriend was always with him. Ever since the Dakota Stanley incident a sort of unsaid understanding had been reached between them, she knew he knew that what had happened in the auditorium had been real and, for now, that was enough for her. Maybe one day they'd work something out. Maybe even in the near future. For now, being friends and having Glee was enough to make her content.
"Tina's getting the solo," it was amazing the immediate impact words could have. Things were going so well and those four words had the power to make her heart sink. She couldn't believe Mr Schuester was doing this to her, taking away the one thing that made her happy, the only thing she was truly good at. She knew she was probably being unfair to Tina. She knew that she probably looked stupid and selfish throwing a small tantrum about a solo, but, no one understood that it was so much more than just singing to her. She had nothing else. If she was the lead, the talent, then even if the other Glee kids didn't like her at least they respected her, needed her. But, if she lost that she lost them. Why would they pretend to be friends with her if they didn't need her? Turning on her heel she stormed out. Never once looking back. Except for that quick second where she checked to make sure that they had noticed her leaving, but, that didn't really count. Or when she checked to see if Finn looked upset and noticed he had that adorable sad puppy look on his face, causing her to stop for just a few seconds just to stare at him. But, that didn't count either. She stormed out, never looking back for a prolonged period of time. If they didn't need her than she didn't need them.
Finally someone was appreciating her and her talent. She was the star of Cabaret. The Star. Rachel Berry: Star. It definitely had a nice ring to it. Maybe now someone would put a gold star next to her name for her. Maybe she could get rid of the gold stars all together. Why put up gold stars when everyone already knows you are a star, right?
The weird thing was she didn't feel particularly overjoyed at the news that she was the star of the school musical. At first she had been ecstatic. When they had told her she had literally jumped for joy. In this life Rachel had been born to play one role and one role only: the starring role. And now she had it, it all felt a little bit too easy, a little bit wrong. But, to block it all out she hid herself in training, dancing, singing and running lines with her two dads made some of the hollowness of the whole situation shift away. Currently she was working out her frustration in the dance studio. The sound of someone walking into the room stopped her mid stretch as she turned around to see Mr Schuester. She sighed and carried on with her workout. He'd say what he wanted to say, try and get her to do what he wanted without giving her a single benefit and then walk away looking all disappointed. He started talking about how she shouldn't leave Glee just because Tina got a solo. She rolled her eyes, clearly he didn't get it. She didn't even think he liked her that much. And obviously he failed to understand her talent.
"I'm your biggest and sometimes your only fan," he sounded exasperated, but, he still didn't seem to understand why this was such a big deal to her. It wasn't because Tina got the solo. It was because while everyone else was gaining something from being in the club, improving their singing or gaining friends, and yet everything remained the same with her, she was still a loser and now she wasn't even getting to sing properly. What was the point anymore?
"I just don't understand why you have to hurt me to make Tina feel good," it was time to get it all out in the open. Maybe if Mr Schuester understood where she was coming from he'd give her what she deserved. After all, if he was her biggest fan then he would want her to be successful. Turning away from him she vowed to give Glee one more chance.
"Let's start with 'Tonight' from West Side Story," finally Mr Schuester was going to give her her time to shine, Tina was going to stand down and she could be the star.
"Tina, come on up," and with that her heart was on the floor again. Tina looked sorry enough and Rachel knew that it wasn't her fault but it didn't hurt any less. She had thought Mr Schuester had finally understood how important this was to her. But, she should have known better. Glee wasn't worth all this pain. Even if Finn looked cute when he sang. It was time to quit and dedicate herself to Cabaret, at least the drama department seemed to understand her talent. Appreciate it. Her career was important and the musical would help her career. Glee was not good for anymore so it was time to say goodbye.
She quit Glee because it was no longer fun. Then why was she still doing Cabaret? Constantly being yelled at, being threatened by that weird Jacob kid who just seemed to want her to take her top of was not on her top ten list of fun ways to spend the day. Honestly it didn't even make the top hundred. The weird thing was that she missed Glee. She missed her fellow Glee clubbers. The worst part about being the star of the school musical was the fact that she had no one to share it with. When Dakota Stanley was yelling at them, at least they could take comfort in the strength of the group, right? But, now a torrent of abuse was being thrown at her and there was no one to back her up. Heck, she even wished Mercedes or Kurt were here. A small chuckle escaper her lips at the thought. She knew Finn would defend her. Despite the fact that he didn't know what it meant, he really was a chivalrous individual. Maybe she shouldn't have given up on Glee so soon.
Rehearsing was the best bit of being in the school musical. Sitting at a piano and singing was her favourite time of day. It was when she could just be herself. Let it all out. Be the Rachel Berry she was born to be. Singing made her feel like she was just being herself. No act, no pretence, just her. That's why for a second she doesn't stop when she hears the door click open.
"That sounds really good," she whips around in her chair and sees Finn looking sheepishly at her, an adorably dopey grin on his face. She knows she's talented. She figured it out when she was two and a half. But, something about hearing Finn say it in such an innocently proud kind of way makes her feel all warm on the inside.
"So, you uh ready to rehearse? I mean you said I could help you run lines so err here I am," she notes that he looks uncomfortable, hands shoved awkwardly into the pockets of his jeans, but she can't help but just beam up at him. She knows she's abrasive, demanding and sometimes a little too honest but, for some reason, Finn is always there for her. Sure she knows it has something to do with her compelling attractiveness and her magnificent voice, but still it helps to know there is someone supporting her.
"That's very kind of you Finn, I'll go get the scripts and we can start from there. Just read the lines that aren't marked with gold stars," she notes that he runs a nervous hand across the back of his neck but doesn't dwell on it. He's there with her and that's all that matters.
She doesn't like bowling. She doesn't understand what could possibly be enjoyable about the sport. Firstly she has to put used shoes on, shoes that don't even go with her outfit, and then she has to stick her fingers into a used bowling ball and everything feels sticky and sweaty. How this is possibly meant to relax her when all it is doing is making her want to take a shower is beyond her. But, then Finn places a hand on her shoulder, steering her towards the lane, and suddenly bowling doesn't seem so bad after all. She misses and he laughs and she can't help but feel that this is a 'date'. Everything is way too 'touchy-feely' for it to be anything but a date. He is such a gentleman too, paying for her pizza and Diet Coke. She wanders about Quinn and feels her stomach become queasy as she remembers the infuriating blonde. This is wrong. He has a girlfriend. Yet, then he gives her that sweet lopsided grin and she forgets all about the celibate Cheerio. He clearly likes her.
"We miss you at Glee practice," he says sweetly as they eat their pizza and forget about the disgusting bowling aspect of the night for just a moment.
"You miss my talent," she knows this is probably the only reason they miss her. Being a very self-aware individual means that she realises that some people don't really like her. It doesn't bother her because, well really, it's their loss not hers.
"No we miss being your friend," he sounds so sincere that she can't help but believe him.
"It's your last ball," he gets up quickly from the table and grabs the ridiculous pink ball, holding it out to her.
"Like the first time, only better," he smirks slightly and she pokes him jovially in the stomach before grabbing the ball from him. She might not like bowling but she likes him. And he likes her. She also knows it's a good thing when she knocks down all the white things at the end of the lane.
Finn beams at her and she loses all semblance of self-control bounding into his arms. Despite the fact that Dakota Stanley was somewhat correct when he called Finn 'Frankenteen', he really is freakishly tall, and Rachel is well aware that she is petite, which is why she makes up for her lack of height with her joyous personality, she feels right in his arms; comfortable and safe. When she draws back to smile up at him that really is all she means to do, but, he is way too cute. Insanely cute. So, impulsively, she just leans in and captures his lips with her own. They really are surprisingly soft for a guys. Her heart does that weird little flip thing in did in the auditorium and for some reason that triggers her memory of the fact that he has a girlfriend. Quinn Fabray. She pulls away.
"What about Quinn?"
"I don't know what is going to happen in the future, all I know is that I want to spend more time with you now," and with that she melts a little on the inside and she is glad his strong hands are still supporting her waist.
"Come back to Glee?"
"I'd have to quit the play," his face drops and her heart sinks, "I'll do it," she reassures him before hugging him tightly, a large smile creeping up her face. She may hate bowling but she'll come back here if it leads to this.
Quinn Fabray is pregnant. She doesn't even care about the irony of the President of the Celibacy Club becoming pregnant. All she cares about is that Finn Hudson is the daddy. He has to be. When she heard the news something inside her snapped. She couldn't believe that she had kissed that stupid oafish boy last night, believed him when he said he liked her, only to find out from the Glee kids that he had been lying to her the whole time. That was it. She was done with Finn, done with working as part of a team. She needed to focus on her career now. Do what she needed to do, not what the other's wanted her to do. She was Rachel Berry and she was going places whether he liked it or not. He didn't factor in the long run anyway. But, she needed to find him and give him a piece of her mind. That's when she sees him strolling merrily down the hallway. Oh boy was he going to get what was coming to him.
"Finn," she says roughly causing him to whip around with a dopey smile on his face. But, then she slaps him. Hard. And that cheesy grin deissapears.
"You're a liar. Why didn't you tell me Quinn was pregnant?"
"Who told you?" he looks so shocked and he reaches for her, but, she backs away. She won't let him touch her. Not after what he did.
"Everyone knows but me. I'm the only fool who went out with you and let you kiss me thinking you actually had feelings for me," she can feel tears beginning to form in her eyes but she holds them back. She refuses to cry in front of him. She has too much pride for that. She's Rachel freaking Berry.
"I do," he seems genuine but she finds it hard to believe, "look I guess I wasn't totally honest with you but, that's different then lying." Rachel can't believe that he is trying to justify himself.
"Well not really. I needed a scholarship so I can go to college and get a job to look after my kid. But, the only way I had a chance was if I could get you to come back to Glee. You should take it as a compliment," by this point of his speech she is incredulous. Finn Hudson used her. Played her to get what he wanted. Didn't he know that if he just had have explained the situation she would have come back in a heartbeat?
"You could have been honest with me?" she can see that he looks guilty at that but really she doesn't care.
"Look I know what I did was wrong. I get that. But, that kiss was real-"
"Whatever it was it ruined any chance of me coming back to Glee. I hope you have fun with your little ensemble. But, my dreams are bigger than that. And there bigger than you," she whips around, turning away from Finn and heading down the hallway. While inside her heart feels like its breaking, she will stay strong. She will not break down. She's doing the right thing.
She thought she'd be happy when Ms. Sylvester gave her full artistic control over the musical but instead she just kind of feels empty. There's no one to share her achievement with. And for some weird reason that makes it all feel like it's not worth it. But, then she reminds herself that Liza was the star of Cabaret. LIZA. She was going to be playing a role that Liza immortalised. That has to make it worth it right?
She goes to the Glee club performance to prove that she made the right decision. But, then they sing. And they sound good. Without her. That wasn't supposed to happen. They were supposed to sound like they needed her back. But, they don't. And that breaks her a little bit. Maybe she has made the wrong decision.
She sees April leave and Mr Schuester go into the change room looking disheartened and she makes the split decision to just follow and see what happens. She lingers just outside of the room, within ear shot but out of sight. She wouldn't say she's unhappy when she hears Mr Schuester say that April Rhodes has officially left. It makes her the singing star of the school again. Not that she was ever worried about that title. Not really. Maybe just a little bit. But, she knows what this means for the Glee kids. They can't perform the second song. And she knows how hard they prepared for this. Because, for a while there she was preparing with them. Taking a moment she centres herself. She's a professional. She can help them out on this one. She will put her personal differences aside and take one for the team. She steps into the room and tries to ignore the eyes rolling in her direction. They'll get it in a minute.
"In theatre if the star can't perform, the understudy takes her place. I'd be happy to fill in for April if you'd have me."
"Since when were you willing to be an understudy?" Mercedes asks, looking frustrated and a little bit dubious.
"Since I realised that being the star didn't make me feel as special being your friend," she looks at Finn directly, "and if I let you down when you needed me the most, I'd never be able to forgive myself," he seems to get it. She might not have forgiven him yet, but, she can't be the sort of person she admires if she doesn't help him. This whole thing. The baby. It's bigger than her crush on Finn.
"I know all the words to the song," she finishes lamely.
"You don't know the choreography," Quinn adds rather harshly and for a second Rachel feels stupid for asking.
"Then we'll need to give her a lot of help out there," Finn smiles so sweetly at her that she struggles to remember why she's angry at him. They all nod and she goes to get ready. Being the star wasn't the right decision. This is.
Author Note: I've kind of had some writers block on this story. I love Rachel Berry and I think Lea Michele is amazing but I'm stuck on whether this is a waste of time. If you think I should continue trying to explore the deeper feelings of Rachel please say so. Cheers!