A/N: I know, I know, I should be working on Expect the Unexpected. I'm sorry. But I hope you like this anyway.
Despite what everyone believes, Rachel's not naturally abrasive. She's forced herself to be. She's not really sure why (she's not a psychologist, after all) but she thinks it's something to do with how much shit she gets for being who she is. She's a talented, beautiful, fashion-handicapped, intelligent, insecure girl who happens to be very low on the high school food chain. She can't help enjoying Broadway shows and acting and music and everything to do with stardom – I mean, who doesn't want to be famous? Is it so wrong that she's actually willing to strive for it? Yes, she sometimes makes bad choices. Yes, she's willing to give others a push out of her way. Yes, she likes to talk about herself. But doesn't that make her like everyone else?
Which means she needs to stand out.
The thing that makes her different is that she's not willing to believe that fame and wealth and appreciation is just going to fall into her lap. Why is it that everyone is content with being fat and lazy and just goddamn stupid?
Tears work into her eyes as she reads the latest batch of comments on her MySpace account:
You look familiar – were you one of the dwarves in the Narnia movie?
You sound like you're giving birth to a rhino.
You dress like a kindergartener.
Damn it. Now her makeup's running.
She doesn't know how long it is before she finally gets herself to stop staring at her computer screen and go to bed, but it's after dark and her dads have gone to bed and she's tired, so she doesn't really care what time it is. She can't sleep, though, and the comments are still in the forefront of her mind.
Okay, the fact is that she doesn't have much of a personality. But that's what being a celebrity entails – you are there for the public, not for yourself. If you're a celebrity, you're there to be photographed, idolized, talked about, fawned over, and you're an image for people. The 'celebrities' who try to maintain some form of self end up doing B-rate movies at best.
She wonders if her desire to be a star is driven only by her need to be noticed as someone different or if she actually has what it takes. God, why does she even want all this?
Suddenly, she wants very much to be in the choir room, where she can be herself and not worry about people judging her. She could sing about her feelings without people telling her she sounds whiny. Okay, Santana probably would tell her that, but she knows the Latina doesn't really mean it because she's stopped commenting on Rachel's videos. And the only time the others tell her she's being annoying is when she actually is being annoying – like when she walked into the classroom with that strip of duct tape across her mouth. That had been a stupid move and she knew it.
She shouldn't have overreacted to losing the lead at Regionals, she understood that now, but it wasn't wrong for her to be upset over it. Right? If people give her all this shit and she doesn't get anything? That's normal, isn't it?
The following afternoon in Glee club, she's still feeling kind of down – down enough to get Finn to notice that she's unhappy, anyway – and doesn't talk as much as she usually does. Then Mr. Schue takes his usual spot at the front and announces the new assignment for the week.
"You have to choose a song that describes you."
A ripple of groans and mutters of disappointment at such a cheesy assignment passes over the club, and Rachel just takes the assignment in stride with very little reaction, until Mr. Schue adds an addendum.
"And here's the kicker. It has to be from a genre that people would never assume you'd listen to."
A couple of the others murmur in excitement at the new development, and thousands of song titles begin running through Rachel's head, from Broadway, Top 40, Jazz, Pop, and even a few off-beat indie songs. She pays little attention to the rest of the lesson, straining to think of one that would be unusual for her to sing, and soon realizes that she has bragged about every single genre she knows and listens to. Damn it.
At almost ten p.m. that night Rachel still hasn't found a good song. The only progress she's made is that she's realized she's angry, so she's researched Green Day, Blue October, AFI, Audioslave, and even some Rammstein (Lord knows she would never sing that without destroying her vocal chords) and none of them seem to fit her. She's beginning to wonder if she should just do one of her regular songs and accept the lower grade when she finally finds the right one.
She falls asleep grinning that night.
The next day, Rachel volunteers to be the first to perform, and a few people roll their eyes not-so-subtly. She chooses to ignore them and instead whispers the title of her song to the band. Mr. Schue sits on a chair with the rest of the Glee kids as Rachel takes her place and immediately pictures herself standing alone beneath a solitary spotlight on a dark stage (her usual mindset for performances).
She begins to sing.
"What if I wanted to break? Laugh it all off in your face? What would you do?"
She sees Mr. Schue raise his eyebrows, pleased at her choice of song though he's never heard it before. She forces herself to remember all the nasty comments people have left on her MySpace videos, and a trace of anger slips into her words.
"What if I fell to the floor? Couldn't take all this any more? What would you do, do, do?" She can feel the rage bubbling in her chest as she grows louder, and it feels great to release it. She remembers why she wants to be a singer. "Can't break me down! Bury me, bury me! I am finished with you!"
A few of the Gleeks look surprised at the ferocity in her voice, but then they shrug it off. After all, Rachel always gives a top-notch performance.
"What if I wanted to fight? Beg for the rest of my life? What would you do? You say you wanted more – what are you waiting for? I'm not running from you." At this, she looks directly at Mr. Schue, though she's not entirely sure why. "Come break me down! Bury me! Bury me! I am finished with you! Look in my eyes! You're killing me, killing me! All I wanted was you!
She knows there's actually a little bit of screamo at this point of the song, but rather than do that she just raises her voice even louder. A couple people look startled, like they're just realizing she's serious.
"I tried to be someone else, but nothing seemed to change," she practically screams. Truer words had never been sung. "I know now – this is who I really am inside! Finally found myself, fighting for a chance! I know now – this is who I really am! Oh, oh! Oh, oh!"
She tries to access the rage that will enable her to fully belt the last few lines. It works. "Come break me down!" she challenges them. "Bury me! Bury me! I am finished with you!"
And abruptly, she's finished with the song and she's out of breath and tired. It briefly enters her mind that she's never felt so relieved after a performance. She realizes that the rest of the club is applauding and standing up and smiling at her.
A/N: So, what'd you think? Worth a review?
The song was "The Kill" by 30 Seconds to Mars.