Disclaimer: Glee belongs to Ryan Murphy and Fox, not me.
"You cannot be serious."
"Of course I'm serious," Mr. Schue said, grinning as he leaned back on his stool. "I want you to think back to when you were a kid and come up with a song that sums up your childhood."
Kurt tapped his finger against his lip. "Seeing as how my childhood was marred with the untimely death of my mother, this shan't go over well," he mused languidly.
"Shan't?" Brittany blinked. "Did he just swear in class?"
"Mr. Schue, this is probably the most boring assignment you've given us," Mercedes said, rolling her eyes. "Being a little kid is boring. How are we supposed to sing about it?"
"Just go back and think about it," Mr. Schue urged. "Maybe there's a song that reminds you of your childhood. Or maybe a song that you or your parents used to sing."
Rachel wriggled in her chair. "I could sing the number I performed for my first professional beauty pageant," she exclaimed.
"You could," Mr. Schue said. "If that's the biggest memory you have of being a kid."
"I dunno, it might be fun," Finn shrugged. "I've got some pretty good memories of being a kid, playing peewee league football and going to Roosevelt Elementary."
Artie did a doubletake. "You went to Roosevelt?"
Finn blinked. "Yeah?"
"So did I."
"Me too," Rachel added.
"I did as well," Kurt said.
Santana wrinkled her nose. "Why don't I remember any of you losers?" she said.
"We were all probably in different classes," Mercedes said. "There's like three different teachers for each grade."
"Seriously?" Finn said. "I wonder if we knew each other in school and just forgot." He scratched the back of his neck. "Aw, man, now I really want to find my old yearbooks."
"My dads have kept every yearbook I've ever been in," Rachel said. "I think we should all go over to my house and look through them. Maybe it could give us ideas for the project."
Mr. Schue leaned back on his stool and grinned. "See? This is great," he said. "Work on this together, and I expect to hear your songs next week."
"Fantastic, just what I've always wanted," Kurt said. "Spending quality time with Rachel Berry."
An hour and a half later, half the glee club gathered around the coffee table in the living room, picking at the remains of a pizza.
Puck glanced around nervously at the myriad of framed pictures over the mantel. "This is creeping me out, man," he said. "They have way too many pictures of Rachel. It's like a shrine."
Artie shrugged. "Doesn't every parent do stuff like that?" he said.
"Yeah, like maybe three," Puck said. "It's like a frickin' timeline."
Quinn daintily picked mushrooms off her slice of pizza. "It's kind of creepy," she agreed.
Kurt leaned back in his armchair, one leg crossed over the other and his arms crossed over his stomach. "Finn, how long are you making me stay?" he asked petulantly. "If you didn't need a ride back to our house, I wouldn't be here."
"Sorry," Finn apologized. "I don't think we'll be here for too long." Kurt sighed and examined his fingernails idly.
Rachel staggered into the room under the weight of several large yearbooks. "I wasn't sure which one we should look through first, so I brought them all," she puffed, dropping them on the floor with a loud clang. "Should we start with kindergarten and work our way up?"
Quinn rolled her eyes. "We are going to be here all night," she sighed.
Finn picked up one of the yearbooks and flipped it open. "This one is for the 2001-2002 school year," he said. "Which grade was that?"
"Third," Artie said, frowning.
"No, it wasn't," Puck argued. "It was fourth."
Finn flipped the pages and opened up to Mrs. O'Leary's third grade pages. He scanned through the H's until he found his own picture. "No, third," he said.
Puck leaned back, his cheeks flushing. "Oh," he said. "I guess that was the first time I was in fourth grade." Kurt snickered loudly.
Quinn leaned over Finn's shoulder and smiled at the sight of her eight-year-old self. "There's Santana," she said, pointing to a scowling little girl with dark pigtails. "And is that Mercedes?"
"Oh, yeah, it is," Finn said. "I didn't even know she was in our class."
Rachel pulled the yearbook out of his hands. "I was in Mrs. Martin's class," she said, flipping madly until she found herself. "See? Wasn't I adorable?"
"Oh, yes, deplorable," Kurt said under his breath.
Rachel smiled at the class picture, with all twenty-six of Mrs. Martin's third graders, but then her happy expression began to fade. "Artie?" she said. "Is that you?"
She held out the book, pointing to the boy standing next to her in the photo. He wore a large pair of thick-framed glasses and his grin stretched from ear to ear.
"That's me," Artie said. "Third grade wasn't such a great year for me."
"Oh," Rachel said quietly.
Puck grabbed the yearbook. "Let me see that," he said. He rifled past the pages of individual pictures, sports teams, and after school clubs.
"Hey," Finn said, taking it back as Puck raced past the teacher photos. "Remember her?"
He pointed to one of the teachers. She was young and pretty, with large blue eyes and chestnut-colored curls. "Wasn't she the art teacher?" Artie said.
"Yeah…didn't she die or something?" Puck said.
"I remember," Rachel said. "She passed away at the end of the school year. It was so sad. I don't remember what she died from."
They all turned to stare at Kurt. He tightened his arms across his stomach. "How do you remember that?" Quinn asked. "That was eight years ago."
"Look at the name," he said quietly.
"Mollie Hummel," Rachel read. She looked up at him. "Miss Mollie was your mother?"
"Third grade sucked for a lot of people," Kurt said.
Rachel set the yearbook down gingerly. Finn looked down at the pages. "I wish I remembered grade school better," he said.
"Well, what do you remember about it?" Quinn asked.
This is just the introduction! I have this story all mapped out, and it's going to be sweet and sad and precious. Just imagining our favorite glee clubbers as little eight-year-olds is just making me melt a little on the inside.
Everyone in the club will make appearances, but it would be a little impossible to focus on everyone, so the point of views will rotate between Kurt, Finn, Rachel, Artie, and Puck. They're just the ones who have the most interesting backgrounds to me, so they get to be the main characters!
I hope you stick with this one. It's going to be precious.