Hey all, I'm having a go at Emmacat1234's fic challenge:

Prompt: A Different Rachel

Pairings: Rachel/anyone

Genre: You can choose

Rating: T-M

Other: Rachel sings a different kind of song in glee club. Something sexier, author's choice really.

This is set after sectionals on the show, and pre In The Summertime , but it will most probably reference events present in that fic... it's my little twist on canon so feel free to check that out. Be warned, I recently reexperienced the joy that is the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, and can't help but see Puckleberry comparisons now.

Well, my parents said I can have whatever I want for my twenty first birthday... does rights to Glee count? I already own two copies of P&P, nor do I own any of the songs mentioned.

***

Rachel walked into the choir room. Quinn was still very obviously putting space between herself and both Puck and Finn. Things were still pretty shaky there, especially when Rachel had driven Quinn to Finn's house in her daddy's Range Rover to pack up Quinn's things so that she could move into the Berry's spare room. Rachel plunked herself next to Quinn. She was not going to stare at a certain Mohawked Jew; that was for certain. Rachel had pulled a stunt worthy of Elizabeth Bennet that day at the bleachers, and there was no chance that she was could wander around a pretty house, see Puck in a wet shirt and make him realise that she still wanted him. She stifled a sigh.

Mr Schue walked in, two hats in his hand.

"Here we go guys. Regionals are on their way, and I have a plan for us to find our next number. You will each prepare a number, as pulled from this hat here. The twist is, you'll be performing a number that is traditionally performed by an artist of the opposite sex. This is a competition guys, so keep your numbers to yourself. I want costumes and the full works...Yes Rachel?" Mr Schue hadn't even looked at Rachel; he'd just assumed she'd have something to say. She did.

"I just wanted to check, are we free to rearrange the piece as we see fit?" Mr Schue nodded.

"You can also change the lyrics if necessary, but don't totally change the song! Girls go to the green hat, guys to the straw one. Kurt, you are a guy!" Mr Schue called out. Rachel looked at the slip of paper and saw the song printed on it. This was a challenge and a half. It was totally out of her depth. She squared her shoulders. She could do this. Her name is Rachel fucking Berry. If she couldn't totally rock this, nobody else could. Showing Mr Schue the slip of paper in her hand, she picked up the sample CD and the sheet music. She was so absorbed in scanning the sheet music (she'd have to transpose it up several keys, but that was ok) that she ran smack into somebody. She looked up and immediately began to flame bright red.

"Sorry Puck "She mumbled, and quickly fled over to the corner, where she slipped the CD into her Macbook and began to listen to the song.

***

Quinn knocked lightly on Rachel's door, and walked in. Rachel was sprawled across her bed, a tattered copy of Pride and Prejudice and sheet music scattered around her.

"Hey, I know that we aren't supposed to be telling each other about what song we're doing, but I can't get it to sound right. Do you think you could help me?"Quinn was well aware of the jaded history she shared with Rachel, so she was still in shock she was living under the Berry roof (even after her father had told Rachel's parents that God hates fags), so asking Rachel for anything made Quinn keenly aware that she could end up homeless again. Rachel sat up.

"Yeah no problem. The basement just got resoundproofed, so we should probably head down there" and as if it was the most normal thing in the world, Rachel linked arms with Quinn and they walked down to her basement. Rachel took a seat.

"Ok, I'm gonna ask you to run it through for me, and we'll go from there ok?" Quinn nodded. She hit play on the CD and began to sing. Rachel closed her eyes and listened, and managed not to giggle. The song suited Quinn so well it was uncanny. Quinn finished singing. Rachel nodded.

"Ok, get me sheet music. I can hear exactly where you're going wrong."Taking the sheet music, Rachel walked over to her piano, and set the music out. She tinkered with the keys for a moment. She played a sequence.

"This is the issue. This is how it's supposed to sound. Try sliding into the note a little more; it should make it a lot easier." Rachel worked with Quinn for close to an hour, and Rachel was impressed with what she heard.

"How's your song going?"Quinn asked. Rachel grimaced.

"The song itself isn't the problem. I can sing it just fine. Let's just say that the theme of the song is pretty darn similar to Push It."Quinn nodded.

"Ok, so performance is the issue. That's cool. Now it's your turn to let me sit down, because my ankles are all puffy, and you're gonna sing."Quinn took a seat. Rachel could see that she was trying to be friendlier, and decided that she should probably try and reach out to her housemate. She changed the CD over, and began to sing.

"Rachel, it sounds awesome. You just need to let out your inner Hayley Williams and rock out! This song is a freaking classic, and you're gonna have a certain audience member drooling after you're finished after this. In fact, directing this towards a certain audience member would probably help" Rachel's head snapped up.

"Oh my gosh, you don't think I'm still all drooly over Finn do you? He's not even on my radar anymore!"Rachel was well aware that Finn and Quinn were on very tentative speaking terms, and she wasn't going to screw that up. Quinn smiled.

"Don't panic Rach, I know you and Finn are a thing of the past. That wasn't who I was talking about anyway." Rachel coloured.

"Anyway, you two should really get off your high damn horses and do something about the raging sexual tension between you. You're starting to rival Jennifer and Colin. Just promise me you'll try and channel it into the song so we can talk costume!" Rachel and Quinn talked costume for an hour and a half, and Rachel began to realise, that just this once, it was amazing to have a friend she could just confide in.

***

Rachel walked into school early. Quinn was getting a ride with Finn (progress, progress, Rachel was silently cheering for them), but Rachel figured that she'd go hide her costume from the slushie attacks that had been happening of late, and get some practice in on the huge stage. She would be playing with the band, but she figured she should get used to the amount of space she had to unleash her inner rock goddess. Opening the door to the auditorium, she was met with the sound of a baritone voice and gentle accompaniment on the guitar. She froze as she heard the lyrics flooding the room

When I was younger
I saw my daddy cry
And cursed at the wind
He broke his own heart
And I watched
As he tried to reassemble it

And my momma swore that
She would never let herself forget
And that was the day I promised
I'd never sing of love
If it does not exist

But darlin,
You, are, the only exception
You, are, the only exception
You, are, the only exception
You, are, the only exception

Rachel knew this song. The lyrics were hauntingly familiar, and yet she couldn't place why she knew the song.

Maybe I know, somewhere
Deep in my soul
That love never lasts
And we've got to find other ways
To make it alone
Or keep a straight face

And I've always lived like this
Keeping a comfortable, distance
And up until now
I had sworn to myself that I'm content
With loneliness

Because none of it was ever worth the risk, but

CRAP! This was a song originally performed by a woman. She'd just walked in on Puck's rehearsal for the competition. This felt so much like cheating, but Rachel just couldn't force herself to turn around and leave; so she took the opposite action; as if in a trance, she sat down.

You, are, the only exception
You, are, the only exception
You, are, the only exception
You, are, the only exception

I've got a tight grip on reality
But I can't
Let go of what's in front of me here
I know your leaving
In the morning, when you wake up
Leave me with some kind of proof it's not a dream

Oh

You, are, the only exception
You, are, the only exception
You, are, the only exception
You, are, the only exception
You, are, the only exception
You, are, the only exception
You, are, the only exception
You, are, the only exception

And I'm on my way to believing.
Oh, And I'm on my way to believing.

Rachel discreetly wiped her cheeks, cursing herself for hoping that just maybe, this song was about her. That was stupid though, he'd pulled the damn thing out of a hat. Puck looked up, seeing Rachel wiping her cheeks. He instantly went into asshole defence mode.

"I know I'm not exactly Andrew Lloyd Fag, but it wasn't that bad, was it Berry?" Rachel's head popped up, realising she was caught.

"Noah, Andrew Lloyd Webber isn't a performer, he's a composer. I'd say I'm sorry I saw you rehearse, but you were absolutely amazing, and I'm never sorry to see someone talented perform beautifully. I can act surprised when you play this afternoon if you'd like me to?"Rachel was rambling, and she knew it, but she wasn't lying.

"Calm yourself Starshine. That wasn't my comp song, I was just screwing around with something" Puck quickly stowed his guitar, and stormed out. Rachel was really confused now. She wanted that song to be about her so badly that her chest hurt, but she was more pragmatic than that.

***

The boys had gone first. It was hilarious to see Finn sing Dancing Queen, but Kurt singing Eternal Flame was nothing too shocking. Mike had done an awesome job with Aretha, Artie was made for Alanis, Matt survived Gloria Gaynor just fine, but Puck singing Trouble by Pink had been the icing on the cake. Quinn opened up the section with her rendition of Mrs. Robinson by Simon and Garfunkel, and Mercedes had just finished tearing up Mustang Sally, which Rachel felt was an absolute shoo-in for Regionals. It was her turn. Seeing Quinn's encouraging smile, Rachel threw caution into the wind. She took off her coat, revealing the black halterneck dress1 Quinn had foraged from the back of her closet and the rose embroidered Doc Martens2 that she had bought off eBay for Broadway camp two years ago when she was in Rocky Horror Picture Show. Screw it. If she was gonna do this song, she was gonna do it right. She gripped the mike, and began to move to the opening chords of the song, before making eye contact with Puck.

You need coolin'
Baby I'm not foolin'
I'm gonna send ya
Back to schoolin'
Way down inside

Honey you need it
I'm gonna give you my love

I'm gonna give you my love

Wanna whole lotta love.
Wanna whole lotta love.
Wanna whole lotta love.
Wanna whole lotta love.

Rachel winked at the audience, before putting her mike on the stand, without breaking eye contact and continued to sing

You've been learnin'
Baby I've been learnin'
All them good times, baby baby
I've been year-yearnin
Way, way down inside
Honey you need - ah
I'm gonna give you my love
I'm gonna give you my love

Whole lotta love.
Wanna whole lotta love.
Wanna whole lotta love.
Wanna whole lotta love.

Rachel had cut the instrumental down slightly, but she used the break in singing to dance around the stage, spinning round wildly, and waving her hair wildly in rhythm with the heavy riff


Lord!

Rachel moved front and centre of the stage, before making eye contact again, and before sinking to her knees in what she was sure was a very rock chick fashion and continued to sing.


You've been coolin'
An' baby I've been droolin'
All the good times, baby
I've been misusin'
Way, way down inside
I'm gonna give ya my love
I'm gonna give ya every inch of my love,
I'm gonna give ya my love!

Wanna whole lotta love.
Wanna whole lotta love.
Wanna whole lotta love.
Wanna whole lotta love.

The music came to a halt. Rachel stood up, determined to show just how she'd earned the nickname Pocket Rocket.


Way down inside,
Baby you need it.
Lord!
My, my, my, my,
My, my, my, my

The band rejoined her, and Rachel started to dance as she sang the final chords of the song.

Shake for me babe
You can be my backdoor man

Keep it coolin' baby

The song finished. Rachel bowed; the adrenaline she always felt from performing coursing through her veins. She smiled, noticing that everybody in the audience bar one person was applauding wildly. She thanked the band, and took her seat between Quinn and Tina, Tina quickly demanding to borrow Rachel's boots.

***

She felt much more Rachel like now. She'd washed the heavy makeup off her face (she was a sucker for a theme) and was in a denim skirt and a shirt with a white mask and red rose printed on it. She stopped to adjust her socks. When she rose, she would have certainly smacked foreheads with Puck had there not been such a huge height difference. The tension was palpable. She shifted her costume bag uneasily.

"Good night, Noah" she mumbled awkwardly. Where had all her bravado gone? She began to walk towards her car. She opened her back door and began to load her things into the car. Puck followed her and grabbed her arm.

"Rach, I have to know. Were you singing about me?"Rachel's eyes widened. She swallowed.

"What if I was?"She asked, throat suddenly dry. Why was that weight on her chest lightening?

"if you were singing about me Rach, I would tell you that it was the hottest thing I'd ever seen, and that I'm an asshole who doesn't deserve you, and I'd tell you that the song in the auditorium this morning was most definitely about you. Then I would kiss you and ask you to be the first girl to come home and meet my mom." Rachel smiled. Despite what his English teacher might say, the boy had a way with words.

"It was about you."She whispered. With that, she found out that when Noah Puckerman says he's going to do something, he damn well does it. Rachel Berry was experiencing the best kiss of her life, and best yet, she was sharing it with the person who was actually kissing her.

***

Well, that kinda took on a life of its own, but I quite like it! I really appreciate the alerts, but I also love reviews! Please feed the reviews beast, and I'll give you a stuffed Puck!

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