I'm leaving an author's note to kind of explain this because the subject matter is very important to me. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to life. Sometimes people just get tired, and that's it. They're worn down; life's too hard for them. It's not okay, but it happens. I'm telling you if you ever get tired the way Rachel does in this fic, the way I have in my life, just live through the moment, please. There's always something - family, friends, dreams - to wake you up again.
This fic is like a series a snapshots. The ending is ambiguous but I'm planning on continuing it. The writing is choppy and sometimes nonsensical and that's how I wanted it to be. Feel free to give your honest opinions. This story is not trying to preach to anybody, it's just a story. And Rachel's is not my expy. This is something I could legitimately see happening to her.
Noah is cleaning out Finn's pool when Rachel Berry gets tired for the first time.
It is random and random things do not often happen to Rachel Berry. She kind of hates random, actually.
So she shrugs it off and helps Noah push Finn in.
She's not shatterproof glass, regardless of what others may think. She breaks. A lot. She's just very determined to not let anything break her stride.
She's not shatterproof glass. She just has some really strong glue.
Jesse was a part of that glue. Then he smashed an egg on her head.
She misses Jesse.
The feeling creeps in.
The school year starts and Rachel couldn't be happier. She's excited about glee club and classes and she's even pretty confident, with Noah on her right and Finn on her left, that she won't get slushied (that much).
Then they see Quinn and all the sudden the air to her right is very empty and Finn's step falters and her heart falters.
Noah was her friend, this last summer. Quinn and her mother had taken a long vacation to Rome to wash away the last year of regret and as a result, Finn and Rachel ended up with a very bored Noah Puckerman.
It wasn't so bad. (It was wonderful (lovely)). They showed her how to play videogames, Noah taught her how to drive. They took her on bowling nights and made her sing purposely bad at karaoke. They made her watch Die Hard and she made them (Finn, really; Noah was Jewish and lived with two girls) watch Funny Girl.
They were her boys.
But they walk in the hall that morning and spot Quinn Fabray and Noah is gone, gone, gone. And Rachel knows he won't come back. Because Quinn? Has got a Cheerio uniform on. She looks like she did last year.
Finn looks a little starstruck.
Oh, she was so silly. To think that she'd ever be their girl.
Time (a week) passes by. She goes on two dates with Finn and it's wonderful. Noah doesn't speak to her at all.
He is wholly wrapped around Quinn's little finger and she seems to be reciprocating, as well as catching Finn's eye with a coy smile. No one ever said she wasn't a multi-tasker.
Glee begins after a few weeks delay. They sit down and Rachel realizes that they spiral out from the center, where Quinn sits.
She starts drinking coffee in the morning instead of her protein shakes.
But somehow, she's losing weight.
The day Noah and Quinn make it Facebook official is the night Finn and Rachel have sex for the first time.
It is sloppy and uncomfortable and she wouldn't have it any other way. She shows up the next Monday on his arm and he is smiling down at her and that damn smirk slips right off of Quinn Fabray's perfect face.
And if the smirk slides off Noah's (perfect, perfect) face, too, she doesn't notice.
She is conditioned not to give any ammunition to Noah Puckerman for him to use against her later, but if she wasn't, she'd tell him that she misses him terribly.
(She can't do this.)
The feeling sidles in closer.
Rachel can't breathe properly anymore.
Mr. Schuester brings a new girl into glee one day, a Filipino transfer. Her voice is amazing. Like, Rachel/Mercedes amazing. Her name is Trisha. Finn tells her he hates her and she thinks that's very sweet to hate a girl just because she poses a threat.
(Secretly, she thinks its terrifying because that's exactly what Quinn did to her.)
Trisha is nice enough, but the girl keeps trying to steal her solos. Rachel suggests they do auditions for every solo just so they can know for sure who would be better at it.
Rachel kicks Trisha's ass up and down the choir room every single time and she backs down.
Rachel feels awake for the first time in a long time.
Quinn takes Trisha under her wing and the girls instantly bond. For some reason, this makes Santana decide that Rachel is her new favorite person. She is now walked to class by her and her blonde best friend, Brittany.
Those pornographic images start appearing on the bathroom wall, but something's different this time. It confuses Rachel a lot until she looks closely at the writing.
She just wants to go to sleep.
Mr. Schue wants to do an Aretha Franklin song. Mercedes nearly goes crazy when he hands it off to her, but then Rachel reminds him of the audition role. They all look at her like she's crazy, but seriously? She's the only one who's ever had to audition for a song.
So they duel and split the vote. (She gets Finn, Santana, Brittany, Mike, and -) She graciously concedes the song to Mercedes but the point's made.
Don't. Mess. With. Me.
(She gets Finn, San, Britt, Mike, and Noah.)
She stops him in the hall to thank him before fourth the next day. She hates that she has to wait for a time when Quinn is otherwise occupied.
She thanks him profusely but all she really wants to say is I thought we were friends.
He sets his jaw and tells her to not think anything of it, okay, Berry?
She stares hard at the NyQuil in her medicine cabinet that evening.
Maybe I won't, okay, Puck?
A week later he is throwing a slushie at her face.
She turns and watches as Quinn rewards him with a kiss. She hardly notices Santana and Brittany wisking her away to a bathroom because she is too enraptured with the sound of her heart breaking.
(It's so much louder than before)
Noah was part of her glue. Then he threw a slushie in her face because Quinn Fabray told him to.
She misses Noah.
The feeling grows stronger.
Finn is wonderful. A wonderful boyfriend, a wonderful male lead, a wonderful everything. She doesn't deserve him, she knows that.
But Rachel's starting to suspect that she and Finn are an incomplete set. They're always leaning to the right, trying to fill in the air that used to inhabit the boy who now hangs off Quinn's right arm.
She loves Finn with all her little heart. He means the world to her and he always will, and she tells him so when she breaks up with him.
There's a look on his face she's only ever seen directed at two other people when he leans in close with a sneer and tells her he slept with Santana.
(And oh, that sound gets louder)
The thought crosses her mind that she will not make it to Christmas. She's being so dramatic.
You're more of a drama queen than I am.
"How do you think I'm gonna get along without you when you're gone?"
She makes it to Christmas. She forgives San, and Mike and Matt walk her to class so Puck won't slushie her, and she makes it, dammit.
She has never yearned for a Christmas break so much in her whole entire high school career, but she yelps for joy when that final Friday bell rings.
She arrives home and finds Jesse St. James waiting on her doorstep.
Well, she'd always been kind of psychic.
Jesse's so sorry. Well, yes, she knew that. No, he's really sorry.
She sighs into her hot chocolate and tries to meet his eyes. He is literally the most beautiful boy in the world to her, and he broke her like she was a toy.
Is he sorry? Of course he is. He loved her. He wanted to melt into her bones. He lovedadoredworshipped Rachel Berry and she loved him, too.
She forgives with a smile and he makes her promise to call him and promise to eat, and please, Rachel, promise to get some sleep.
She marks 'closure with Jesse' off a list she didn't know she had.
She doesn't feel any better, but she's not getting any worse.
She closes the cabinet door.
When she's slushied by five basketball boys, two hockey morons, and seven baseball drones the first day back, she corners Quinn in the bathroom because she's pissed off.
She didn't have time to get angry at Jesse, she was too heartbroken to get angry at Shelby and Noah and Finn. But Quinn? She has all the time in the world to tell off Quinn. It's one of her favorite past times.
Rachel just doesn't understand. Why is Quinn so mean again? She's still part of Homo Explosion. Mercedes is her best friend. She has Noah. Finn has even started talking to her again. She's a Cheerio. She has everything she ever wanted and more. Why is she so mean to Rachel?
Quinn just smirks. She needs someone to blame for what happened to her last year, because blaming herself hurts too much. And parts of it? The Finn part? Rachel will admit to acting poorly in that regard. But blaming her for Quinn's pregnancy, for Quinn's lost Captain position?
Plus, Quinn tacks on as she leaves Rachel still gaping at the space the blonde just stood, I just hate you.
Rachel starts losing the solo competitions. Noah and Finn are no longer voting for her and Trisha's off the probationary period the club put her on at the beginning of the year. It's become an all out popularity contest.
Mercedes gets a gleam in her eyes and Rachel braces herself because she just got her heart put back together, and she doesn't have all the King's horses and all the King's men anymore.
They meet without her one Thursday.
On Friday Mr. Schue asks her to leave glee club with a sad look on his face and a heavy hand on her shoulder.
(The rest of club believes)
She hunches over, doing that silent scream that she always tried to fake perfectly.
(that your attitude)
But they were fair competitions!
(is against what glee club is about)
She doesn't understand. She just-
(The choice was almost unanimous)
(They said they'd be happy to let you back in)
She loves that club. She loves her teammates, even when they talk about her when she's only two feet away, even when they call her awful names, even when they sleep with each other behind her back, even when they abandon her, even when they throw slushies in her face, even when-
(If they feel your attitude has changed)
She just oh god she just loved that club so much. It was the only thing-
The thought pulls her up. Makes her dry her eyes and look in the mirror and put on her showface (it's broken). That thought is the single most terrifying thing that has ever crossed her mind.
Karofsky and his buddies throw her in the dumpster and pile sandbags on top. It is forty-two degrees outside. She bangs on the lid for two hours before a kindly janitor helps her out.
It was the only thing keeping her alive.
She goes into the nurses' office one day in late February. Some puck head slammed her into a locker today and her shoulder is killing her.
Puck is in there for his daily nap. He's not asleep yet and he watches her out of the corner of his swollen eye.
He beat up Karofsky. For her. She doesn't even care, and that horrifies her.
She sits in the chair across from his bed while she waits for the nurse to retrieve some Advils. He asks what happened. She laughs. His concern is touching.
He doesn't ask again.
It's weird. She's not doing glee anymore. She's not doing ballet class or singing lessons either. But she's getting more and more tired.
She starts searching for a little more powerful in the house and comes across some prescription strength painkillers her dad took when he threw out his back last year. The bottle's nearly full.
Quinn breaks up with Noah just in time for Finn to take her to Junior Prom. Rachel gets a call from Brittany, loud music thumping in the background, to giggle about how Santana slapped her head Cheerio in the middle of the dance floor. Rachel tries to laugh along but is interrupted by a knock on her door.
Noah Puckerman is drunk on her doorstep.
She sleeps with Puck because pieces of her have always been in love with him. Because it's nice to be with someone who cares about her. Someone who feels as terrible as she does.
She grabs those pretty white pills because he abandons her when Quinn calls, crying about Finn. Because she loves people who know best how to break her heart. People who never love her back.
She's so tired of it.
She's so tired.
She wasn't shatterproof glass, regardless of what others may have thought. She broke. A lot. She was just very determined to not let anything break her stride.
She wasn't shatterproof glass. She just had some really strong glue.
JesseNoahFinnGlee was her glue. Then they left her to all her pretty pieces.
She'll miss them.
She swallows a pill.
She writes notes in between the pills. Little notes. For Noah. For Finn. Jesse. Her fathers. KurtArtieTinaMercedes. Santana and Brittany. Mike and Matt. Shelby. Mr. Schue. Quinn.
She downs another pill and looks at those notes.
She knew so many wonderful people.
She never writes 'I'm sorry.'
Dawn is breaking. The bottle's nearing empty. Her vision is swimming. Her breathing is slowing.
She's not alone, and that's good. Santana and Brittany are here, smoothing down her hair. Jesse is here, on a stage right before her. He's all lit up with spotlights and his hand is reaching for hers. Finn and Quinn are here, with Beth, and Finn's crying too hard for this to be real.
She misses him already.
Kurt is here, angry that she's leaving, not putting up a fight. Tina and Artie are helping her into a seat. Mike's smile has gone wrong. Matt's head is in his hands. Mr. Schue's hand is heavy on her shoulder. Mercedes is apologizing.
Noah is here. He's yelling. Begging her to stay. His arms feel so real under her knees and shoulders as he lifts her, sprinting towards the backstage darkness.
Rachel closes her eyes.