A/N: ENDLESS thanks to the genius known as SrslyNo, who not only came up with the concept for this, but also was gracious enough to allow me to adapt it for the Gleeful masses. Hope you enjoy.
Lima, Ohio – Present Day
The dark stormy clouds hovering over Lima, Ohio and threatening to downpour were the perfect reflection of Sue Sylvester's mood as she rode home in the back of her camouflage Humvee. Jose, her driver, kept his eyes straight ahead, knowing better than to even glance at his employer in the rearview mirror lest he provoke a tirade of how illegal immigrants – and especially Mexicans – were terrible drivers and they should all be shipped to the oil fields of Saudi Arabia where they could be put to some real use.
Sue was scribbling in her journal as the Humvee rumbled along, passing through red lights (she refused to stop for anything between the school and home) and threatening to obliterate anything in its path. She was putting the finishing touches on a detailed sketch of one Will Schuester being eaten by a lion when Jose finally pulled through the gate to the Sylvester estate.
"Imelda! Shake! Now!" she ordered loudly the moment the front door closed behind her. Imelda appeared with a fresh Appleteen shake, deftly exchanged it for Sue's bullhorn and scurried back into the kitchen. Sue stretched as she strode towards her living room, only to stop short, eyebrows raised and mouth in a grim line when she saw none other than Bryan Ryan peering closely at her 1989 Nationals trophy.
"Hello, Sue," he said.
"Well, I can't say that you're welcome," she snapped. "Get out before I unleash the hounds. Did Imelda let you in?"
"No, she didn't. Your trophies are beautiful – is that real gold?"
It was only then that it really registered in Sue's brain just what Bryan was wearing. A white top that was more blouse than shirt and skin-tight brown trousers, tucked into knee-high white stockings and completed with buckled shoes that were creased and dusty with use. His hair was cropped and pulled back into a small ponytail at the base of his neck, and Sue suddenly felt the urge to snip it off like that freakish sophomore shemale she'd mutilated months ago. "Did the Renaissance Fair close early?" she spat.
He smirked. "Wrong era." Picking delicately at his loose sleeve, he gave a shrug and said, "It's not too fancy, but it's a hell of a lot more comfortable than what gentlemen of a higher rank would wear." She frowned. His accent was odd – unquestionably American, but with a slight British lilt that was difficult to pick up.
"You have negative three seconds to get to the point and tell me why you're here dressed like a sneaky gay in a disturbingly plot-oriented porn movie before I call the police."
Either Bryan was unfazed by her insults or they'd simply gone over his head, because he only said, "Why don't you have a seat?"
He arched an eyebrow. "Very well." He braced his hands against the back of the sofa. "I'm here to discuss you. More specifically, your soul."
"You've just given me a very good reason to not only round-kick you through the window, but also to disband the Glee club once and for all. If they corrupted you this easily, there's something far more sinister in that group than I originally thought and Will Schuester must be dealt with immediately."
Bryan chuckled. "What I've come to discuss has absolutely nothing to do with Glee club, Sue. Though it does involve the man you know as Will Schuester."
Now, though she'd never admit it, Sue's interest was peaked. She crossed her arms. "What about Will Schuester?"
"Well, on a karmic scale, the two of you come hand-in-hand."
Another chuckle. "I didn't mean to imply anything romantic. I'm simply stating that every time the two of you are reincarnated, you factor very much into each other's lives. Sometimes as siblings, sometimes as friends, sometimes as colleagues… I could go on."
"Reincarnated?" Sue demanded.
"Bear with me. The fact of the matter is that your souls will be tied to one another until the two of you can finally resolve your differences. Think of it as the universe making you two – what's that phrase you 21st century people use? – 'hug it out'."
"Okay, I can see perfectly well why the universe would be interested in me, but the giant hole in your story is that Will Schuester is a worm in the ground, and any cosmic power would stomp on him if they knew what was good for him. And the even more giant hole in your story is that reincarnation is a lie. A fantasy!"
"Oh, come now, Sue, I know you're an atheist. I'm not talking about God. And if there indeed is a higher power, then wonderful, and I wish Him the best of luck. But that question is far bigger than your dilemma."
By this point, Sue had forgotten about setting the hounds loose. "My dilemma?"
"You and Will Schuester have gone further astray in this life than you have in any past life since your souls were born. You're each in your fifty-second incarnation, and you've only got regress to show for it. Do you have any idea just how long fifty-two lifetimes is? You two have been at each other's throats off and on since the time of the Romans."
"Who are you?" Sue snapped.
He straightened up. "Benjamin Rille, at your service. Bryan Ryan is my fifteenth incarnation. I am the ninth. I was born on October fourth, seventeen-fifty-three. But as I've said, I'm here to discuss you, not me. I'm only a pawn."
"A pawn? In what?"
"The universe uses the same cast of characters over and over again, only with slight differences from life to life. The people you're surrounded by in this life? You've been surrounded by them since their first incarnations, and believe it or not, none of them – myself included – can actually go their separate ways until you can make things civil between yourself and Schuester."
"You're expecting me to believe that we're all stuck with each other until I hug it out with the lesbian?"
"It sounds quite silly when you put it that way, but…yes."