Author's Note: Alrighty! The semester from hell is officially over, and now I have two blissful weeks of semi-freedom (I still have to teach middle-school during the daytime) with which I can hopefully write more and update more frequently.

Okay, that being said, this chapter is an experiment, me playing with different writing styles and trying to weave a few different elements into the story. I may not leave it in because honestly I'm not sure I'm happy with the way it turned out. Please let me know what you think.

One final thing, and then I'll let you get to it: all song lyrics used belong to people far more talented than I.

Enjoy… I hope.

Dreams are a powerful, if mysterious force. They're this one place our thoughts traverse, the one space we allow our minds to wander where we have absolutely no control of what we think. Our dreams can be strange, passionate, heart wrenching, elating or tragic. They can hold hidden meanings and show us things we never knew or realized. Sometimes we recall our nightly escapades, often we forget them. And regardless of whether they occur in black and white or in color, one thing remains constant.

Everybody Dreams.

I squirm in my seat, the hard plastic of the choir room chairs seems to grow more uncomfortable with every second that passes. Though everything surrounding me is dark, the essence of the room where I spent so many waking hours during high school holds a sense of comfort, a sense of the familiar. I hold my hand in front of my face and turn it over a few times. It's my 20 year old hand, the hand of today which doesn't belong in the glee room. Manicured for my onstage persona, and scarred from my past fights with Alexander. Confusion sinks into me, I wonder what the hell I'm doing back in Lima.

But before I have time to do any serious contemplating on that subject, Mr. Schuester enters the classroom and flicks on the light.

"Why are you sitting in the dark?"

Seeing his face, hearing his voice sends a surge of relief through my system. I jump out of my uncomfortable chair and propel myself into his arms.

"Will! Thank god you're here! I have no idea what's going on! How did we get here when-"

He holds up a hand, cutting me off and takes a step back, glancing at me curiously.

"I thought… I thought we talked about this crush you had on me." He sighs softly. "I thought you were over it…"

"Wh…what? What are you talking about? That was years ago! I did get over it! I hadn't thought about you until you came to me and told me you hadn't stopped thinking about me for years! We were just in your hotel room in New York. I can't remember how we got back here!"

"Rachel… I never… I would never say anything like that to a student. And we haven't even gone to New York yet. Nationals are next week…"

"But…" I stare into his eyes and see he's thinking I'm completely insane, so I change tracks. "What year is it?"

He rolls his eyes. "2011. Your name is Rachel Berry, you're a junior at William McKinley high, the self-proclaimed star of our glee club and…" he touches the collar of my shirt gingerly, "apparently you were recently slushied." He pauses, searching my face for clues. "Are you feeling alright?"

I nod, muttering, "Oh." I'm suddenly aware of the cherry red stain marking the white button down I'm wearing. Which incidentally is a typical "high school Rachel" outfit. That is to say an oxford shirt paired with a plaid mini skirt. While I'm assessing my outfit, my fellow glee members begin to enter the room in groups twos and threes, chattering quietly amongst themselves. I step away from Will, falling into line and return to my seat. Shortly, Mr. Schuester calls us to order.

"So, despite the fact that some of us seem to have forgotten what day it is…" he glances pointedly in my direction as he says this "Nationals are coming up shortly, and we need to finalize our set list. Now, there really isn't time for use to write and compose another amazing song, and we do need to have three… so we're just going to have to choose the last one."

Finn looks pensive for a moment before speaking. "Well, I mean we sorta gave our songs a theme this year. Like, stuff we've dealt with…It'd be nice to stick with that."

"Yeah" Tina agrees readily "It would be nice to keep that going."

"But we have another original song." Britney adds "We should like, just do 'My Headband'"

Santana rolls her eyes. "Please don't talk."

Ignoring them both, Puck speaks up. "What other crap have we gone through recently? I mean besides being dumped and slushied…"

"Dating violence" dream me mutters under my breath.

Wait. This isn't how this happened at all. Why did I just say that? What the hell is going on?

Artie, who is sitting to my immediate right, nods his head in agreement, I watch Mr. Schuester move his head in assent too.

"I think that's a worthy cause to bring to light. Even if no one here is expierencing this right now, I still think it's worth singing about." He picks up a marker and scribes our latest theme in bright red across the whiteboard. A shiver races through my system. "Which songs could fit this theme?" he asks the group as a whole.

"Martina McBride, Broken Wing?" Quinn suggests

"Nirvana, Rape Me." Sam says, earning high fives from both Puck and Finn.

Will nods at the boys and adds the suggestions to the board.

"What about that Eminem song" Mike asks. "You know, that new one, with the hot chick from Barbados?"

"Love the Way You Lie." Mercedes answers. "Definitely." She scans the room and is met with nearly unanimous nods from the entire class.

That's all the ammo Artie needs, and he wheels his way up to the front of the classroom. He stops, looking directly at me, asking wordlessly if I'll sing with him. I stand on shaky feet, not sure what's possessing me to do this, yet still I move toward him, inhale and give myself over to the song…

"Just gonna stand there
And watch me burn
But that's alright
Because I like
The way it hurts
Just gonna stand there
And hear me cry
But that's alright
Because I love
The way you lie
I love the way you lie
I love the way you lie

I can't tell you what it really is
I can only tell you what it feels like
And right now there's a steel knife
In my windpipe
I can't breathe
But I still fight
While I can fight
As long as the wrong feels right
It's like I'm in flight
High of a love
Drunk from the hate
It's like I'm huffing paint
And I love it the more that I suffer
I sufficate
And right before im about to drown
She resuscitates me
She fucking hates me
And I love it
Where you going
I'm leaving you
No you ain't
Come back
We're running right back
Here we go again
It's so insane
Cause when it's going good
It's going great
I'm Superman
With the wind in his bag
She's Lois Lane
But when it's bad
It's awful
I feel so ashamed
I snap
Who's that dude
I don't even know his name
I laid hands on her
I'll never stoop so low again
I guess I don't know my own strength

Just gonna stand there
And watch me burn
But that's alright
Because I like
The way it hurts
Just gonna stand there
And hear me cry
But that's alright
Because I love
The way you lie
I love the way you lie
I love the way you lie

You ever love somebody so much
You can barely breathe
When you're with them
You meet
And neither one of you
Even know what hit 'em
Got that warm fuzzy feeling
Yeah them chills
Used to get 'em
Now you're getting fucking sick
Of looking at 'em
You swore you've never hit 'em
Never do nothing to hurt 'em
Now you're in each other's face
Spewing venom
And these words
When you spit 'em
You push
Pull each other's hair
Scratch, claw, bit 'em
Throw 'em down
Pin 'em
So lost in the moments
When you're in 'em
It's the rage that took over
It controls you both
So they say it's best
To go your separate ways
Guess that they don't know ya
Cause today
That was yesterday
Yesterday is over
It's a different day
Sound like broken records
Playin' over
But you promised her
Next time you'll show restraint
You don't get another chance
Life is no Nintendo game
But you lied again
Now you get to watch her leave
Out the window
Guess that's why they call it window pane

Just gonna stand there
And watch me burn
But that's alright
Because I like
The way it hurts
Just gonna stand there
And hear me cry
But that's alright
Because I love
The way you lie
I love the way you lie
I love the way you lie

Now I know we said things
Did things
That we didn't mean
And we fall back
Into the same patterns
Same routine
But your temper's just as bad
As mine is
You're the same as me
But when it comes to love
You're just as blinded
Baby please come back
It wasn't you
Baby it was me
Maybe our relationship
Isn't as crazy as it seems
Maybe that's what happens
When a tornado meets a volcano
All I know is
I love you too much
To walk away though
Come inside
Pick up your bags off the sidewalk
Don't you hear sincerity
In my voice when I talk
Told you this is my fault
Look me in the eyeball
Next time I'm pissed
I'll aim my fist
At the dry wall
Next time
There will be no next time
I apologize
Even though I know it's lies
I'm tired of the games
I just want her back
I know I'm a liar
If she ever tries to fucking leave again
I'mma tie her to the bed
And set the house on fire

Just gonna stand there
And watch me burn
But that's alright
Because I like
The way it hurts
Just gonna stand there
And hear me cry
But that's alright
Because I love
The way you lie
I love the way you lie
I love the way you lie"

I belt out the last note, and the room changes, fading to black, spinning and shifting shape. I'm falling, and there's no end in sight.

The room takes shape. Everything is in boxes, and I hear people downstairs shouting to each other about where to put things. I know where I am now. I remember this day vividly. It's not one I'm ever likely to forget. This is my first day in my brand new Stamford apartment. The movers are downstairs helping me truck the secondhand furniture (It was all I could afford, for now anyway) up the stairs. This is the night I'll make my broadway debut, and that furniture won't stay secondhand for long. I sharply breathe in. This is the day I meet Alexander. His voice travels up the stairs, a swear as he backs into the doorway, screaming at his co-worker to "twist it, no the other way you moron"

I stifle a giggle, and watch him, just as impressed by his physical strength as I was the real first time around. When they finally manage to squeeze the old green sofa through the door, he turns to me, offers up a small smile and asks,

"Where doya want it lady?"

I gesture over to the single window. "Over there please."

Once they drop the furniture in place, Alex pauses, taking a moment to wipe the sweat from his brow.

"Hi" he croons

I recall how the real Rachel in this moment stumbled over her words, choked up by how handsome he is, even when he's gross and covered in sweat. I sneer internally, disgusted with myself. I say nothing, and he takes a step towards me, putting his hands on my shoulders. Running those hands I know will bring me pain over my body, touching me, feeling me, when I haven't invited him there, when I don't want him there anymore.

I do the only thing I think I can.

I scream.

I wake up screaming, drenched in a cold sweat, disoriented and unable to remember where I am.

"Rachel." Will murmurs, holding me closely. "Relax, you're safe now."

I breathe in a few times, slowly calming down as I begin to realize I had only been dreaming. "Bad dream" I spit out finally.

"I know." He says soothingly. "I know. Do you want to talk about it?"

I shake my head. "No… it's just… he's everywhere. Even when I leave, he's there, haunting my memories, stalking my dreams. I don't know if I'll ever really get out."

Will brushes his lips over my forehead. "You've been through something horrible, something unimaginable. And something like that doesn't just… vanish overnight. He's going to be there, probably for a while, because Rachel, like it or not, this is a part of you now. So you have a choice. You can let it destroy you, or you can let it make you stronger."

"Do I have to decide right now?" I question stupidly, still half-asleep and shaking from the dream.

"No. You get time to be afraid, and you get time to grieve, because you loved him, and he hurt you. And for the record, I won't let this destroy you."

I lay back down, wrapping myself in the protection of Will's arms once again. "For the record," I whisper as we drift back towards sleep, "I never loved him."