Disclaimer: Not mine, only borrowing for fun. No copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: Crossover story between Glee and Devil Wears Prada (film). I know I have a couple of unfinished stories, but my muse wouldn't stop bombarding me with this, so I finally gave in.
A/N 2: Story takes place about 4 years after the movie, and during Rachel's sophomore year to start. Spoilers for the whole movie and up to ep 19-Dream On- for Glee.
A/N 3: Please keep in mind that when I started this story, Rachel wasn't confirmed as vegan in the show. So in my world, she's a vegetarian that eats meat occasionally. There was no pregnancy, just a scare. And no Lucy story line.
A/N 4: I've changed the names of Rachel's parents to reflect their canon names. I've also added a few things here and there in the hopes of improving the quality of this chapter and the others I've already uploaded. Thank you for your patience.
Rachel Berry knows that life isn't fair. She is tired of being the butt of most of the cruel jokes and in the receiving end of most of William McKinley High School's slushies. She still remembers thinking that perhaps being the main reason New Directions managed to beat Vocal Adrenaline in Regionals and secure a place for Nationals that things would be different. In reality though, nothing could be further from the truth. She is still as unpopular as ever. Aside from a few friends, she is still treated like the plague, and the saddest thing though is the fact that even within the members of New Directions, she is still shunned by most. She realises that is the price she has to pay for being the best, but it still stings when her supposed teammates ridicule her and try to sabotage her. If it weren't for the fact that she has at least a couple of friends, her time doing one of her favourite things would be unbearable.
Rachel's sophomore year has been one for self discovery. She knows that no matter how much she wants it and how hard she tries, she will never be popular. She has reached a point where all she wants is to be left alone. Between having her feelings being played with and having one of her dreams come true, all she wants to do now is run. At least she knows her birth mother now, and regardless how it happened, she is glad for the outcome. She has a new friend and hopefully someone who won't have any strings attached. If she is honest with herself, which she is, Rachel can't even say she regrets her actions. Sure, she is sad her fathers' feelings were hurt in the process, but at the same time, she resents them a bit for never understanding her need to know her birth mother. Decision made, she heads down to speak with her fathers about her future and hopefully she will have another reason to smile again, for real now.
Seeing her dads, she hesitates a bit because she knows this will cause them even more distress and pain, but in the end, self preservation wins. "Dad, Daddy, I need to speak to you about something that has been on my mind for a while now." Rachel says softly, drawing her fathers' attention to her as she sits down on the floor in front of them.
"Sure, what is it honey?" Leroy, her daddy asks sweetly as he turns off the TV blaring in the background.
"I want to move to New York and finish high school there." Rachel blurts out of the blue.
Leroy and Hiram (dad) stare at her waiting for the punch line because surely, their little girl didn't just say she was going to move. When they realise that Rachel is serious, the fireworks begin.
"Does this sudden decision to move to New York have anything to do with the fact that Shelby Corcoran is moving back to New York? Is this your way of punishing us? By reuniting with your birth mother?" Hiram asks, voice rising slightly. He still feels the pain of having Rachel go behind their backs to find her birth mother very close to the surface. He hates the fact that Rachel is trying to have some sort of relationship with the woman.
"No. You know that my dream has always been to be a Broadway star. You know that the moment I'm done with high school, my plans have me moving the New York. The only reason I am still here is because of the two of you. I hate this town. I hate almost every person that lives in this town. I hate what this town stands for. I have reached my limit and I want out before I have a breakdown." Rachel says in an even voice, barely above a whisper, no theatrics, no melodrama, just the truth for her fathers to hear.
"I know things aren't perfect here honey, but running away won't solve anything." Leroy says softly, trying to play the peace keeper.
Rachel takes a deep breath to calm her nerves and to keep her temper even. "No, things are definitely not perfect. They're very far from it to be honest. And while it seems as if I am running away, I am merely moving things ahead of schedule here. There is nothing left for me here and I have nothing left to give. I am done. I just want to hold on to what little is left of my sanity." Rachel finally says, in the same tone as before while looking at her fathers directly in the eyes.
Hiram just sits there and lets his husband Leroy take over because he knows his temper will only make things worse. "Rachel, be reasonable and think about what you're asking us to do here. Your dad and I shouldn't have to uproot our lives and move nearly across the country because of a whim." Leroy says and immediately regrets the last bit at the look of disappointment that crosses Rachel's face.
Fighting for control, Rachel takes a series of deep breaths and manages to school her face into a blank mask. It would only make things worse if she starts to yell and throw a fit. "First of all, it's not a whim. I have given this a lot of thought. I am not expecting either of you to just pack up and move with me. It's not fair. I don't know how you've managed it, since this town is so close-minded; but you both have your lives here. I don't." Rachel says, but she is interrupted before she can continue.
"So what? You really think that your daddy and I are just going to let you live by yourself in New York City just because you think you're having a crisis here? Because if that's the case, then you're in for a rude awakening. What you're going through is nothing compared to what you will face in the real world. You need to grow up and act like the young lady you keep telling us you are. Your daddy is right. Running away doesn't solve anything. It lets others know how weak you are." Hiram says, his temper getting the better of him again and forgetting his original plan.
Leroy puts his arm on his shoulder and shakes his head in disappointment. "Hiram, you're not helping." He says softly to his partner. Hiram at least has the decency to look ashamed by his outburst. "Rachel, I know you well enough to know that this is not a spurt of the moment decision. Just tell us what's on your mind because I personally don't feel like sitting through a PowerPoint presentation of the pros and cons of your big move." Leroy says with a wistful smile, trying to defuse the tension in the room and lighten up the mood some.
Rachel smiles at Leroy's words and after a quick "thank you" she takes another deep breath while trying to put some order to the jumble of thoughts swimming in her head.
"I have given this a lot of thought. The only reason I am bringing this up now is because I am on a tight schedule here. I have been in contact with Andy and she has agreed to act as my legal guardian as long as you both agree to it so I won't be living by myself. I also have sent in an audition DVD for Juilliard for a spot in their pre-college division so that way I won't be compromising my vocal training. If anything, it'll be better because if I get accepted, I'll be training with some of the best voice coaches in the world. And it's not just some little girl wishful thinking. I have received an invitation for an interview and audition in person at my earliest convenience. I have also applied online for The Dalton School. I have sent them my transcripts and now I have to write their admission exam before January if I want to start next September. I was hoping of doing both during Christmas break and see what happens. You both have said that if I wanted to I could go to private school. Dalton is one of the best schools in New York. They are known for their academics and their extracurricular activities in arts and sports. I should know by spring break. Once I get accepted to Juilliard's pre-college program I'd only have to worry about continuing my ballet lessons." Rachel tells Leroy while avoiding all eye contact with Hiram.
"What makes you think you'll be good enough to get accepted? You're speaking as if it's a foregone conclusion that this will happen." Hiram snaps, not liking how Rachel is basically ignoring him.
Leroy sends Hiram a withering look and only looks away when his husband lowers his head to look at the carpeted floor. He is about to say something to comfort Rachel but only stops when he sees the determination in her young face, even if the pain is still clearly visible to anyone who knows her. "You should have told us about this before you proceeded with those plans Rachel. It seems that you really have thought about this. Does the fact that Shelby is returning to New York have anything to do with this decision of yours? Did she ask you to move?" Leroy says instead. There will be time later for comforting words. For now, he needs to know Rachel's motivation, and as much as it hurts, he needs to know if Shelby plays a role in this decision. He doesn't want his baby girl to face another rejection should this decision be based solely on Rachel's desire to get to know her mother.
"No. As much as I'd love to cultivate a better relationship with her, she has no idea. She doesn't even know that I know she's moving to New York or that I've planning to do this. In fact, no one in Ohio does. The only person who knows of my plans is Andy. Before you say anything about my desire for a maternal figure influence my decision, that is not the case. Yes, having Shelby there will be an added bonus, but I know it'll be a double edge sword. She can either have my desires to pursue a better relationship between us, or she could tell me to take a hike. I know what could potentially happen there.
"This plan has been something I've been thinking of this since I started high school, way before I met Mo, I mean, Shelby. I only waited and hoped that it'd be nothing more than wishful thinking on m end because I truly hoped that things would get better at McKinley. I thought my freshman year was a fluke. Sadly, it wasn't. My situation here isn't getting better. I am tired of being on the receiving end of slushie facials and of being the butt of everyone's jokes. I am tired of being vilified because of my ambition and my desire to sing and act. I am tired of the attitude I get from most of the kids in Glee, even Mr. Schuester. I am tired of always having to prove myself to them even though I am clearly better than every single one of them. I am tired of Mr. Schuester holding me back just so he can spare their egos and make them feel like they have a shred of talent. I am tired of always sacrificing my happiness and convictions all to have the chance to stay in Glee. I thought Glee could be something special, and I thought that for once, if I was part of something special that things would be better. Sadly, that's not the case. I'm tired of conditions that need to be met in order for me to have friends. I'm just tired of it all." Rachel says, feeling exhausted all of a sudden.
"You do know that as good as you are you certainly are not the best. I mean, you might think you are since here in Lima, no one can touch you vocally. That won't the case outside of this sleepy little town. You will probably just be one of the bunch in Juilliard and probably even Dalton; if you get accepted, and that is a big if. It's not that I am not supporting you, but you need to realise that in a setting like Juilliard and Dalton you will be the proverbial little fish in pond of huge fish, probably sharks even. I would hate to see your dreams shattered because you don't know your limits. Your daddy and I only want to protect you from that a little longer. You're too young to be exposed to the competitive world out there. You're not ready yet. We still have a lot to do to prepare you for that." Hiram says, not relenting one bit. He hopes this approach will work better.
Rachel's face drops at those words. Her hard fought grasp for control is nearly gone and her eyes fill with tears. She expects words like those from everyone else but her parents. She had expected concern because of her age. Leroy can't believe the words coming out of Hiram's mouth and just stares, as his baby girl seems to deflate even more. Gone is the bright smile that graces her face and lights up a room like a sun. Gone is the spark in her eyes. If he's honest, those have been gone for a long time. What is left is a defeated and depressed looking girl, much older than the almost fifteen years she has been alive for. The image alone is enough to convince him that perhaps Rachel truly has reached her breaking point and maybe, just maybe letting his baby spread her wings and fly a bit ahead of schedule is the right thing to do.
Rachel blinks a couple of times and successfully holds back the tears that threatened to spill at the words she just heard. She takes another deep breath and steels herself to continue, undaunted. "I may not be the best, but I certainly have enough confidence to know that I am talented. I'm certainly not stupid, nor am I delusional. This is a small town, so the odds are stacked in my favour. I also know that it is my talent alone that earned me an audition and interview at Juilliard. And before you say something about them humouring me, know that Juilliard's auditions are usually held closer to May. They are making a huge exception for me, so I know this is an opportunity that shouldn't be wasted. I know the admission rates for both schools so I know that I will be surrounded by peers with equal amount of talent. I know it will take getting used to, but I also believe that their talent will also push me to try harder and not become complacent. I expected you to try and talk me out of this Dad, I just never expected you to be one of the many who insist on squashing my dreams by putting me down." Rachel finishes with tears blurring her vision.
Leroy jumps off the couch to join his little girl on the floor and pulls Rachel into a comforting hug. Eventually he pulls away and silently wipes the tears that are now rolling down her cheeks with the pads of his thumbs. He then brushes her hair back and kisses his baby girl softly, almost reverently on the forehead, hoping to give her some comfort. It kills him that Rachel has spent the majority of her life being treated so poorly because of who her parents are. It makes him nearly explode with anger that one of the people hurting his baby girl is his partner of nearly twenty years. Sometimes he wonders if things might have been better had they decided to settle down in a big city instead of a small town, but at the time, due to Hiram's parents' declining health, they thought it best to stay close. He also knows that right now, as much as he wants to hang on to his little girl, forcing her to stay behind will only drive them further apart from each other, not to mention the psychological damage because of the depression that is almost a certainty with Rachel should she stay behind. He realises now that keeping the information about her birth mother from her has been a mistake and that they should have answered her questions honestly, once Rachel started to feel curious about her. It hurts that he let his insecurities and fears drive this wedge between them.
Leroy then makes sure he is looking at his daughter straight in her eyes while he gently cups her face in his hands. "Rachel Baby, don't cry. You are talented and I have always believed in you. Your voice is a gift from God and the sky is the limit. You just need to know that it won't be easy, no matter where you are. I will always support you and cheer for you. I will celebrate every victory with you and hold you if and when you stumble. Just like always, I will help you up and brush you off to once again set you in the right direction. Don't be mad at your dad. He is hurt and he is letting his hurt speak for him. He doesn't mean those words. Your plans took us both by surprise because we didn't realise things have been this bad for you here. It's no excuse, but just keep that in mind and try not to judge him for his poor reaction." Leroy says with tears in his eyes. He then catches Hiram out of the corner of his eyes. He sends him another withering look and before his partner can say anything, he interrupts.
"Don't Hiram. Not right now. She doesn't need this from you. Not now, not ever." Leroy says in the same even tone Rachel used.
"Fine. It's clear I am neither needed nor wanted here and that my opinion means nothing. I will speak to the two of you once you've both come to your senses." Hiram stands up and storms out of the entertainment room.
Rachel just clings to her father, tears filling her eyes once again. "Daddy, I didn't mean to cause you guys problems." Rachel says in a near whisper.
"You didn't cause problems honey. We're just having a difference of opinion. Your dad should know better. I have my doubts, but I can also see how unhappy you are here. How your unhappiness isn't just a recent situation, but that is has been an ongoing issue. I should have realised before that things were going to reach their boiling point. Now that I see how my own wishful thinking has affected you, I can't just sit back, see the light in your eyes die out completely, and not do anything about it. Not anymore. I will talk to your dad later after he calms down. If letting you go to New York is the only way I can bring some happiness back in your life and keep you from having a nervous breakdown, then so be it. Why don't you tell me what you and Andy have talked about and how you managed to convince her to do this?" Leroy says, getting up to sit back on the couch and patting the spot next to him.
Rachel gets up from the floor to join him on the couch as she gathers her thoughts and sees the proverbial light at the end of a dark and long tunnel. "Thanks Daddy. Why don't we call Andy and have a conference talk instead? That way you will also know her feelings on this and you won't have to hear the information twice. You'll see that I didn't really have to do much for her to agree to be my legal guardian and how this plan was something we both worked on." Rachel asks hope colouring her voice, a hint of that radiant smile in her lips that has been absent for so long.
"That, Baby Girl, sounds like a great idea. Let's go to my study and call Andy." Leroy says smiling for the first time since Rachel dropped this bomb on them.
Over the next few weeks, Leroy and Rachel make countless calls to Andy and iron out most of the details of Rachel's possible move to New York. The only down side is the fact that Hiram is barely speaking to any of them now. At least no one in Lima knows anything about it. As it stands, Rachel and Leroy will fly to New York a few days before Christmas break for her audition and interview she has set up with Juilliard. Then she is off to write the admissions exam for Dalton and hope for the best.
Every one of the Gleeks has noticed that since Thanksgiving, Rachel has been more distracted than ever, and other than singing and giving everyone her opinion on what songs to use for Nationals, she barely speaks to anyone. Instead, she constantly has her nose buried in books and papers, which confuses everyone even more because Rachel is in the Honour Roll. She is in the top five students of the school and she is the top sophomore this year.
"Rachel, is everything ok?" Quinn asks her friend. Surprisingly, Rachel has been one of the few students who didn't treat her like the plague after her pregnancy scare at the beginning of the school year became public knowledge, and even after the whole who might have been the baby's father issue came out.
"Oh, yeah Quinn, everything is great. Why do you ask?" Rachel answers, barely looking up from the notes she has been reviewing.
"It's just that we barely hang out anymore. Did I do something to upset you?" Quinn asks, insecurity now clouding her voice. She still can't believe the girl she has been tormenting for so long is one of her closest friends now.
Rachel looks from her notes and puts them away after hearing the sadness in Quinn's voice. "No Quinn. You haven't done anything at all. I'm sorry that I have been neglecting you. With midterms so close, I have been making sure that I can keep my grades up. You know how competitive getting into a good college can be, so it's never too early to make sure my grades are up to par." Rachel says, feeling the usual guilt that washes over her whenever she lies to one of her few friends. She is sure she won't say a thing about her plans until she knows a bit more, sometime in the near future. Her logic is that there is no need to add undue stress to their fledging friendship if it's unneeded. She does make a point to make more of an effort to spend more time with Quinn.
Over the next few days, Rachel and Quinn hang out as much as possible, and of course study as much as they can cram together in what little free time they have. With a spot at Nationals and with the competition having been moved ahead so much, they are now rehearsing three times a week, so fitting in the practices, her voice lessons, her ballet lessons, time to study and time to hang out with Quinn has been an exercise in juggling for Rachel. At least her social life, which is non-existent won't suffer one iota with her new packed schedule.
Quinn still wonders why Rachel is obsessing so much with her grades. Granted, midterms are just around the corner, but they shouldn't be an issue, still, with things as tense are they are with the rest of the Gleeks, Quinn does her damn best to support her friend. She wonders why everyone has such a hard time seeing past the façade Rachel shows them so they can see the sweet girl she truly is. She guesses that people truly see what they want as opposed to what really is in front of them, something to ponder in the future, after midterms. Hopefully when January rolls around, things should settle down some.