A/N: Written for the glee_angst_meme; the prompt: "Five times a member of the Cheerios thinks all the abuse of his/her body and emotions is worth it in the end, and one time they don't." I may have deviated a little. :|
Five Cheerios who thought the abuse of their body and emotions was worth it...
The way people explain it, it makes a lot of sense. They're Cheerios. They need to be cheerful. Skinny people are usually cheerful, but fat people are usually pissed about something. Like being fat people. Brittany feels sorry for them, really.
So, the way she sees it, this whole scheme of Sylvester's works out pretty well – skinny people are happy, so more skinny means more happy. And Brittany likes being happy. Besides, Coach Sylvester is scary.
It's like a bonding tool, though – her fellow Cheerios are always helping her out; finding the best diets, checking what they can supplement Sylvester's drink with safely (aka without getting the woman to kill them), looking at the clothes they'll be able to fit into soon. And when they walk down the hallways, sticks in red and white, Brittany's never felt better.
Yeah, she still gets hungry, but it's not like anyone pays attention to that.
She's the leader of the pack – she has been ever since Quinn's fall from grace. And she likes it that way, so she'll do whatever she needs to to keep it that way. It's fucking high school, where no-one has a conscience – you have to be the meanest, scariest, hottest. She's pretty sure she's got that last one down, but just in case.
The thing is: Santana Lopez doesn't have much of a personality on her own, besides 'mean girl' and 'hot chick.' She just never bothered to get one of her own (which makes it sound like something you'd pick up at the store), and pretty easily slid into the 'bitchy skank' role. She doesn't mind, but it means staying on top is kind of fucking important. No offense to Fabray, but Santana doesn't really want to become a loser and wind up all sweet and maternal and shit at sixteen.
So she's cool with the Cheerio dieting thing. She gets fucking hungry – she's sixteen – but she deals. Because she is the most smoking hot girl this school has seen, and she is never letting that go.
When he walks down the hallways with Santana and Brittany and Mercedes, people part like the red sea. They avoid his eyes, like they're not worthy to be in his – their – presence. Kurt Hummel is one of the new order of high school popular kids/god.
He's a little high on the adoration, true.
It's just – he's Kurt Hummel, the strange queer in the background, forever having to wipe yesterday's lunch from his three thousand dollar jacket. He's not used to this feeling; to looking at the crowds in his peripheral vision, and knowing every single one of them wants to be him, if only a little.
He's not the kind to luxuriate in others' jealousy – okay, he is totally the kind to luxuriate in others jealousy, he won't lie. Hence why he's doing it now. However, given how little he has given people to be jealous of up until now, he thinks he's earned a little indulgence.
He's thankful that his dad is so determined to be accepting that he just raises an eyebrow at Kurt eating a splenda for breakfast. He sighs when he has to remind Mercedes that her chicken salad has chicken, and that can't be on the Sue Sylvester approved list.
She likes jumpropes. She jumps high and fun, and people think she's good.
She likes being a Cheerio. It's hard, but the girls like her, and Coach Sylvester likes having her around.
She doesn't like being hungry, but it's okay. She'll deal.
She does want she doesn't like, so she can do what she does.
Like any girl.
She knows she's kind of a cliche – Sassy Big Black Woman (or girl), ready to take on the world. She reminds herself of the woman from Hairspray, and she should be happy like that.
But most of the world didn't really like Hairspray – she didn't even like it that much. Don't tell Kurt.
And being a Cheerio; it makes her feel... different. Special. Important.
The kinds of things girls like her don't get to have.
So it doesn't matter that she feels like that stuff Sylvester has them drink makes her esophagus feel like it's going to explode, or that she barely sleeps at night, or that red and white really aren't her colors. Because, like this, she feels like the girl she's always wanted to be – the girl who gets the hot jock, the girl the school loves, the girl nobody holds the purse closer to their chest when she comes in.
So it's worth it. She knows it is.
It's worth it until she passes out in the cafeteria, like a big old cliche.
...And two who didn't.
She remembers being leader of the pack – hot, cool, mean. She never meant to damage that purity vow (yeah, she did brilliantly there), but hell if she didn't flaunt her sexiness for all it was worth. And hell if she didn't work at it – being a Cheerio was crazy. She remembers the diets, the pills, that drink – always working so hard, and no-one was even all that sure what the end goal was. Worse, nobody minded.
She probably can't blame Sylvester for the fact her drunken body image issues led to a pregnancy. But she'll try.
She really has a feeling she ought to do something about the whole situation, but it won't work – Sylvester rules the school, and has her own personal culture of crazy. Santana wouldn't listen to her, and none of the other girls would do anything without Santana's command (like Quinn used to be). Quinn herself has been a pariah for months, and really, she wouldn't have it any other way – she wouldn't herself get roped into treating her body (and by association, the baby) that way again.
So she just stands there, until Mercedes faints in the middle of the cafeteria. It makes her think of an afterschool special, but that's not the point.
She gets Mercedes to eat the damn granola bar. She can't save the world, but she's making a start.
Her girls are champions. Her girls are dedicated. Her girls are willing to do whatever she says in pursuit of perfection. The system plays out exactly in her favor, and when Brittany lands on the mat without a sound, Sue remembers why she loves the way things work.
It's a little after Mercedes quits that she hears Lopez and Brittany gossiping after practice.
"She quit, which is stupid, because she just tore through the whole eating system thing–"
"I think Puck had something to do with that."
Santana death glares her. "Puck never had anything to do with Mercedes Jones," she insists. "Anyway, if she was going to confuse us all by fucking up our dieting with inspirational ballads, you'd think she'd at least stick around."
The girls walk out, leaving Sue frowning. They've gotten complacent in their various ways of throwing themselves off a cliff on her orders, and that was against the whole point – Sue wanted to see they'd work hard enough to be one of her girls, be a Cheerio, be a winner. And now she's made it harder work for them not to border on an eating disorder.
Well, plus, you have to be skinny for gymnastics – but Christ, when did Brittany get that small? Sue could eat her.
Hell, Hummel probably wouldn't struggle that much to chow down. But only in a literal sense, obviously.
Okay, Sue did hear about that thing with Brittany briefly becoming Kurt's beard – a little after she told him something she can't remember now, because she didn't actually care. Huh. Brittany got kind of depressed after that – as much as Brittany is capable of being depressed about anything; girl has serotonin in her bone marrow – and it was probably Sue's fault. Not that she feels guilty about that. Or that she feels guilty about making them starve themselves, just to see if they were willing to go that far.
She gives them all fast food next time. See how they deal with that.