I just finished watching Theatricality like 20 minutes ago and came up with this. It's really short, just a little scene that came to my head instantly after the episode ended. Let me know what you think of it, please! =)
Rachel stared at the glass Shelby had given her the last time they talked. Back then, she said they didn't have anything to bond them, like the girl had with her dads. If only she knew how wrong she was. Running her fingers though the material until she reached the star in the middle of it, she wondered if her mother would ever want to hear about the little stars she always put after her name, everywhere. Or maybe the way she heard the woman giving Vocal Adrenaline directions and suggestions and all she could think about was that she would say the exact same things. The biological, genetic bond was something they would always have, no matter what, and it made Rachel uneasy, but hopeful at the same time.
Shelby had promised she would not go easy on them at Sectionals, and she didn't lie. Vocal Adrenaline had won, not by much, but won nonetheless. Mr. Schue kept saying how proud he was of them for what they had achieved in such little time, but she didn't see it that way. A part of her really thought they were going to win all the way to Nationals on their very first year. It would have been impressive. Just the kind of reaction she'd always wanted to get from people.
The group seemed happy with the result. Second place at Sectionals was not bad at all. They would practice harder and come back even better the next year. Not really sharing their enthusiasm, Rachel walked away from the stage and quietly made her way backstage.
With the glass on her hands, she filled it with water, but didn't drink it. Instead, she kept looking at it. The golden star. Her eyes filled with tears. Maybe she hadn't tried hard enough, maybe she'd let herself get distracted by the whole thing with Shelby. Maybe if she had been just a little bit better, they would have earned those few fractions of points that got them in second place instead of first.
The woman walked so smoothly that she hadn't even noticed her there until they were almost side by side. Rachel was startled, but immediately put on a big smile that didn't quite reflect how she felt, and reach her hands politely, "I guess congratulations are in order."
The older woman looked at her for a while, and finally decided to hold the girl's hand with both of hers. "You did an amazing job today."
As she heard the words leaving Shelby's lips, it became harder to contain herself, and the quiet sobs Rachel had been holding were out. Without thinking, Shelby pulled her slowly, until they were close enough for the woman to hold her. Rachel didn't protest, the embrace felt strangely comforting. More than that, it felt natural.
Rachel felt the woman chuckle at some point, and pulled away, confused to see her smiling. "I should know second place wouldn't be enough for you. I know it wouldn't be for me. I would keep thinking over and over, and I would find a way to convince myself I could have done something better."
The girl refused to meet the pair of eyes that focused steadily on her. "Once I figure it out, I can fix it for next year", Rachel mumbled, gazing at the floor.
"You brought the glass", she heard Shelby's voice as the woman reached for it, and just shrugged.
Passing her fingers through the star, she tentatively reached for her daughter's chin and softly lifted it up until their eyes met. "You have any idea how long these guys have been doing this?" she pointed to the curtains, on the direction Vocal Adrenaline cheered and celebrated their victory. "They've all been together, practicing together, dancing together for years. They're national champions. You guys have been together for less than a year, you barely had any support, and you already made it to Regionals. More than that, you almost beat them."
"It's what Mr. Schue keeps saying…" the voice was quiet, showing she wasn't entirely convinced.
"You just started, and you're already one of the best ones. Do you have any idea how amazing that is? When you were singing up there…" the woman started talking, but hesitated, afraid she was letting her emotions get the best of her.
"Yes?" Rachel wanted her to continue, for some reason her words seemed more convincing than Mr. Schue's.
Shelby looked at her intently, and, with a small smile, pointed at the glass. "You're a star", she was glad to see the beginning of a smile appearing on the girl's face, "You'll get there, probably sooner than you think. And everyone's gonna be amazed. Because you were clearly born for this. Just wait a while longer, it'll happen."
With a small, but at least true smile now, Rachel nodded quietly, as each made their way back to their respective group. At one point, Shelby turned around to see the back of her daughter as she walked away. With a whisper she knew no one would hear, she spoke, before going back to a celebration that felt bittersweet that particular year. I'm so proud of you.