Yeah, I went there. How could I not?
Pairings: Quinn/Rachel, Santana/Brittany, Tina/Artie, Will/Emma
Disclaimer: Don't own Glee, nor do I own "I Am Number Four".
If anyone decides to read, hope you like it! I'm about halfway through the book, which the plot will follow with my own little spin.
This is season one of Glee, by the way. Enjoy!
"Time to leave!" Leroy shouted. The motionless brunette, still standing in their now emptied house, sighed deeply.
"I heard you the first time," the girl grumbled sullenly to herself, slinging her bag over her shoulder. She cast one last, mournful look at her bedroom—it was one of the nicest she had ever lived in, so far—and shut the door behind her, silently cursing the order of the many universes, which more than likely despised her for no reason.
She walked quickly across the front yard and clambered into the Jeep.
"Took you long enough," Leroy muttered, revving the engine and stepping firmly on the gas pedal.
"You're too impatient," the girl snapped back, glaring out of the window. "I'm sure five extra minutes wouldn't be detrimental to your precious schedule."
"You know why we have to leave," Leroy barked. "You're acting like a child. Timing is everything."
The girl simply huffed. Leroy's eyes softened guiltily, and he cast a regretful glance to his protégée.
"Why don't you pick your new alias?" He suggested, hoping to lighten her mood.
"I already have."
The Jeep found a path to the highway, easily slipping into the flow of light traffic.
"What is it?"
"Rachel Berry. I picked a name from that nonsense sitcom you like, along with a type of fruit. It's an unconventional and unique pseudonym if I do say so myself."
Leroy chuckled as 'Rachel' tried not to laugh too much at her own joke.
"Well, I can't argue that it's not creative. You've outdone yourself."
Rachel smiled a little. "Where are we off to next?"
Leroy kept a careful eye on the road as he dug out the atlas they always used to find a new location. Rachel liked it. It was a piece of their little life—a life of constantly moving from one place to another, staying under the radar around the States—that never changed. Rachel didn't get to keep pictures or videos of their past, with Leroy's fear of detection (he was extremely paranoid). Instead, they just had this same atlas to plot a new place to live when necessary. It wasn't enough, but it was all right.
Leroy pointed vaguely to a state in the Midwest. "Ohio."
He shrugged. "The town I picked, Lima, it's very small. Not very noticeable. Out of the way, not a big city...you know the drill."
"I'll be sure to tip a cow over while we're there," Rachel said gloomily. "That might be my only form of entertainment."
Leroy laughed. "Try to cheer up. Maybe you'll make a few new friends."
"Yup. I'll tell my new friends all about my secret life as an alien named Four who escaped my home planet, Lorien, and that I'm here to quietly assimilate into human society at the same time I'm avoiding being murdered like my counterparts by vicious, power-hungry savages," Rachel quipped dryly, and Leroy scowled.
"Must you ruin the moment?"
"Yes! I don't want to keep moving around all the time, Leroy! I want to settle in one place for awhile and make real friends and have a life!" Rachel exclaimed in frustration.
"We've had this discussion," Leroy growled. "I'm sure you haven't forgotten that your fellow 'aliens' have died. Three of them in less than ten years. And you're next."
"I think you're being a bit dramatic," Rachel mumbled petulantly.
"I'm being realistic," Leroy insisted. "I'm protecting you. Why can't you understand that?"
"I just want a life."
"I think you're adapting to being human too closely."
"Wasn't I supposed to do that?" Rachel countered triumphantly.
Leroy sighed, defeated—(unfortunately, stubbornness was their shared trait, and he had to pick his battles)—and said nothing, turning his gaze to the highway.
Rachel lapsed into silent melancholy and continued to curse the order of the universe with every swear she knew, both human and Loric, which was quite an amount.
"Hello, my name is Deborah Puckerman," the real estate woman greeted them warmly, shaking hands with Leroy as they began to speak logistics, discussing the house's foundations, furnishing, and price. Rachel set her jaw and eyed the living room instead, which was decorated modestly, void of any dust or peeling paint. The walls were covered in a blueish wallpaper, similar to a cloudless sky on a summer's day. Rachel spied two large bedrooms from the bottom of the stairs, and a bathroom between them.
Rachel rolled her eyes and turned to find Mrs. Puckerman smiling at her while Leroy's gaze bored into her head, warning her to be courteous.
"What grade are you in, dear?"
"Junior," she answered brightly, mockingly—only Leroy noticed her insincerity—"I'm seventeen."
Leroy frown deepened as Mrs. Puckerman smiled wider, oblivious.
"I know a few teenagers in your grade, including my son—maybe you'll meet them tomorrow, hmm?"
Rachel nodded and excused herself as faux-politely as she could, hurrying up the stairs to claim a room before Leroy could glower at her again for her insolence. She picked the smaller bedroom, feeling slightly apologetic to her protector; he was right, again. He always was. He was only trying to keep her safe all this time, and she was just endangering herself if they decided to stay in one place for too long and anything unusual could occur. Or worse, something unusual could arrive...
Mogadorians. They hunted Lorics hidden on Earth with savage ferocity, vying to destroy their race altogether. Rachel shivered.
If you met a Mogadorian, chances are you wouldn't live to tell the tale.
Three of her fellow Loric teenagers were dead. Number One was killed in Malaysia. Number Two was murdered in England. Number Three was hunted down in Kenya. Rachel was next in line of the remaining six hidden in plain sight, the succeeding teenager under the charm. At any moment, day or night, she could be assassinated, further lessening the chance of repopulation and revival of Lorien, the planet they'd be forced to flee. She and her counterparts were the last hope of continuing their race.
Pressure, pressure, pressure.
Rachel pressed her cheek to the cooled window, watching sadly as the sun set lower in the distance.
Why couldn't she just be a normal human being? Was that too much to ask?
"Yes, Daddy," Rachel stressed the next morning, annoyed. "Do I seriously have to call you that again?"
"Would you prefer 'Father' or 'Dad', Rachel?" Leroy inquired patiently, his smile unwaveringly calm. "It's your choice."
"My choice would be to smack you upside the head," the brunette sighed. "But I won't...Dad."
"You know, you remind me of those...tempermental actresses in television or films. What are they called...divas. Yes, that's the one. You're acting very similar to a diva."
"I am not!" Rachel screeched indignantly, only amusing Leroy further.
"My point is made. Anyway, let's go over the basics. What's in your backpack?"
"Five day's worth of dried fruit and nuts, which can double as a lunch. Spare socks and thermal underwear. Rain jacket, handheld GPS, and a knife disguised as a pen."
"On you at all times. Keep an eye out for the signs, Rachel. Your Legacies are going to appear any day now. Hide them at all costs and call me immediately."
"I know, Leroy," Rachel sighed wearily.
Legacies were powers only Lorics could gain, differing between each teenager except for the shared ability of telekinesis, which Rachel had yet to possess, much to her disappointment and Leroy's relief. Unfortunately, when Legacies did arrive—usually as each teenager matured—they were painful, obvious, and often explosive.
She would have to be very careful and stay on her toes.
"Any day," Leroy repeated, his fingers drumming anxiously on the steering wheel. "If your fingers disappear from view, or if you start to float, or shake violently, if you lose muscular control or begin to hear voices even when no one is talking to you. Anything, don't hesitate, just call me straight away and I'll come and get you."
"I have my phone with me," Rachel reminded him. Leroy smiled encouragingly, his seriousness momentarily dissipating.
"Good luck, sweetie. You'll do great."
Rachel offered a small smile in return. Leroy was the closest person in her life. He kept watch over her, stressed over new locations and identifications, found shelter and jobs, and she would never be thankful enough for his care. He was nearing fifty years old now, having spent ten years on Earth since their arrival. He remembered the transition clearer than her—she was about five when Lorien became uninhabitable because of the terrifying Mogadorian siege.
She adapted quickly, unlike him. Too quickly. He still had the mentality to preserve old Lorien traditions. She adopted human desires, human indulgences, a human mind.
"Go on," Leroy ordered, stirring her from her reverie. He nudged her side, his voice turning teasing. "Get to class, darling."
"Thank you, Father," she replied playfully. "I'll knock 'em dead, as these witty humans say!"
She darted from the Jeep like a cheetah before he could reply with anything more than an exasperated chuckle.
Rachel walked through the parking lot toward her new school—William McKinley High (Rachel remembered studying the president, a failure in his tenancy, she recalled)—and heard curious whispers about her and stares following her movements. She resisted the urge to roll her eyes. She always got attention as the new student. It was tiring after such a long time. Rachel had lost count after twenty schools. Too much effort to keep track. She took a deep breath for luck and entered the building.
"I know a fellow Jew when I see one," a handsome, mohawked boy drawled, materializing at her side, standing tall and muscular to her petite height. "It's all in the nose."
"I'm sorry?" Rachel questioned, confused as she touched her nose self-consciously.
Jew? Oh, Judaism. Right. A religion found on Earth. Keep up, Rachel internally chastised herself. Stop acting so alien, E.T.
The boy only snickered. "I'm Noah Puckerman, but you can call me Puck, or Puckasaurus. All the ladies around here do."
Rachel raised an eyebrow, regarding him skeptically. "Well, Noah, it's been invigorating listening to your ego-inflamed introduction but I have to go register for my classes."
"I'll walk you," Puck offered tauntingly, his expression shining with mischief. Deborah Puckerman clearly had not passed her manners onto her child.
"If you must, seeing that I just can't get rid of you," Rachel sighed, exasperated.
Puck leered confidently at her and led the way past groups of endless students crowding the hallway, muttering about her and something about Puck 'nailing the new girl already'. Rachel clamped her teeth together and held her head up high, ignoring the whispers and slight laughter brewing her her wake, and caught up to Puck, who leaned casually against the doorframe of the main office.
"Anytime you did a guide, ride, or friend," he winked, proud of his little rhyme, "you can ring me. I'm always available."
"Fantastic, thank you," Rachel answered impatiently, gesturing to the office. "Would you mind moving?"
Unfazed by her abrupt dismissal, Puck laughed and ambled down the hallway, disappearing into a sea of football players. Loud bellows of male laughter echoed off the walls as Rachel stormed into the office, mumbling curses under her breath. If Puck was any indication of the boys in McKinley to come, she was doomed.
Rachel found her first class—AP American Lit—without difficulty, and showed her slip to the teacher, who signed it and gestured for her to pick a desk. She sat down in the second row, fishing out a notebook, school supplies fixed purposely on top of her alien essentials, and uncapped a regular pen, doodling absently.
Students filed in slowly, yawning due to all nighters and chatting loudly.
"Who is she?" A girl snarked, the tone invading Rachel's highly sensitive hearing.
"Puck says he saw her earlier," another girl murmured softly.
"Ah. That must be the 'smoking hot Jew' he was so excited about."
Rachel's mouth tightened into a frown as she withdrew her pen from her paper, having stabbed a hole clean through it and into the tabletop. She eyed the hole speculatively, seeing no danger of discovery. Loriens contained immense strength, multiple times greater than humans. She would have to be more careful. Her appearances always did stir curiosity and suspicion (that was less often) and she had yet to completely understand the fact that all humans were not friendly.
Deborah Puckerman could be just an anomaly. Not everyone in Lima would be pleasant. Males were abrasive, disgusting, and immature, varying with age. Females of Earth seemed to grow steadily nastier with age, hiding their thoughts and disdain behind fake, simpering smiles and promises of secrecy, only to result in such secrets spreading like wildfire. Rachel learned swiftly not to trust anyone, especially with the common cliche of cheerleaders. Cheerleaders were usually the one who provoked her the most.
"New girl!" The first girl hissed.
Rachel sighed, and lifted her gaze, finding a blonde and a brunette sitting in front of her, turned around in their chairs. The blonde was smiling; the brunette was scowling.
"Can I help you?"
"I'm Brittany," the blonde beamed. "And this is Santana. What's your name?"
"Rachel," the fourth Loric teenager replied, nearly offering her previous identity from Florida—Jane Richmond— "Rachel Berry."
"Rachel Berry," Brittany mused, her eyes twinkling with delight. "It sounds like a tropical fruit. Fruit tastes good, doesn't it, San?"
Santana laughed provocatively; Rachel blushed.
"I like you," Brittany announced. "Santana, she's our friend now. No insults, even if she dresses like my grandma. Are you a grandma?" She asked of Rachel.
"No," Rachel answered politely, sensing Santana's warning glare, silently daring her to reply rudely to the sweet blonde. "I don't have any children or grandchildren."
"If I may interrupt what is probably an enlightening conversation," the teacher snapped unexpectedly, "would you three mind paying attention to the lesson?"
When the trio had quieted and the teacher resumed his monologue about persuasive arguments, Rachel distinctly heard Santana mumble "shithead" under her breath.
Indeed, Rachel thought.
Rachel's day at McKinley progressed smoothly and decently, until just before lunch, when she was closing her locker. A hand tapped her shoulder.
When she'd turned to greet her newest questioner, she was met instead with a mouthful of frozen, flavored ice, tasting like manufactured grape substitute.
"Slushie for the new girl," a burly football player sneered, tossing the cup at Rachel's feet as the hallway erupted in spiteful laughter. Rachel wiped the purple sludge from her watering eyes, too shaken and surprised to speak, but was just in time to see the boy emit a howl of pain as he sank to his knees, hands feebly covering his groin.
Standing pointedly in front of Rachel, face turned from her view, was a blonde girl, slightly taller than her and had her hands on her hips.
"Karofsky," the blonde snarled, "what the hell?"
"She's a new loser," Karofsky growled, wincing. "I was sending a message of how we do it in McKinley. What are you gonna do about it, Fabray?"
"Kick you again?" The blonde offered scornfully, aiming her sneaker into his abdomen, earning a strained yelp from Karofsky.
"You're nothing without the Cheerios and Hudson," Karofsky cursed, clambering awkwardly to his feet and shaking himself off. "I'll get you tomorrow."
"If you can walk tomorrow," was the sardonic retort from Rachel's defender. Karofsky muttered obscenities as he pushed through the dispersing crowd, and whispers followed in his wake. Students shuffled past, cowering from what Rachel presumed to be the blonde's angry expression, and finally, the girl turned around to face her.
Rachel was sure she'd never seen a human so lovely. She'd walked through dozens of schools, watched endless television and films, and seen photographs, but no one seemed to match the teenager in front of her. The blonde was stunningly beautiful—skin tone rivaling ivory, eyes with a pleasing, tawny shade, and a winning smile to boot.
"Hi," the girl grinned charmingly. "I'm Quinn. Sorry about that guy. He's an oaf."
"That's okay," Rachel stammered, feeling her face burn slightly—twice in one day, how unusual— "T-thank you."
"Let's get you cleaned up," Quinn suggested, grabbing Rachel's hand. "I have some gym clothes you can borrow in my locker for the rest of the afternoon."
Without further ado, Quinn tugged an unresisting Rachel along, stopping first at her locker and then guiding the slushied brunette into the nearest bathroom.
"So," Quinn declared brightly, wiping off some of the slushie on Rachel's ear, "I heard through the gossipy grapevine known as Brittany that your name sounds oddly fruity."
"Um, yes," Rachel smiled, nervous. "I'm Rachel Berry. I'm a new student here. My d-dad and I just moved here from...Florida."
"Where's your mom?" Quinn questioned curiously. Rachel blanched instinctively and the blonde's smile dropped. "Oh, sorry. I didn't mean—"
"It's fine," Rachel interrupted kindly. "She died a long time ago."
Yeah, she was murdered by a barbaric race of aliens, but that's not really acceptable small talk, is it?
"Still, I'm sorry. You must miss her, huh?"
"Yes. I was very young when it happened," Rachel admitted. "It was...very sudden. My father was devastated."
Quinn hummed sympathetically into subsequent silence and soon after, finished cleaning Rachel's hair, now void of slushie. Handing her the spare set of gym clothes, Quinn hopped up to sit on the sink when Rachel stepped into a stall. Changing quickly, Rachel emerged in a pair of shorts and an old t-shirt that was several sizes too big.
"Good," Quinn smiled. "At least you aren't walking around with a complementary slushie facial all day. That's the worst."
"Thank you for your help," Rachel replied shyly.
Quinn shrugged, almost self-depracatingly. "No problem. What are friends for?"
Rachel couldn't help but beam enthusiastically—Leroy was right, she was making friends— and Quinn laughed in response, jumping off her perch and striding to the door.
"Shall we?" Quinn queried, waving her hand in a dramatic sweep, as if to escort Rachel around like a queen. "Lunch isn't over yet."
"Okay," Rachel agreed happily, and Quinn pulled the door open, allowing Rachel to step by first before following the girl outside into the hallway.
"You can sit with my friends and I," Quinn surmised, leading the way to the cafeteria. "They won't mind."
Before the brunette could open the doors, Quinn's hand on her wrist stilled any movement, and Rachel turned around to face her, curious at the holdup. Quinn held up an elastic band and carefully pulled a silent Rachel's hair into a ponytail, pushing stray tresses behind the shorter girl's ears, and leaning back to admire her handiwork.
"Better," Quinn decided proudly, flashing a wide grin. Rachel felt her skin flame up again and managed a dazed smile before the pair went into the lunchroom.
Quinn Fabray, Rachel thought, mystified. A human I want to learn about. That's a first.
"Can you sing?"
Rachel blinked, suddenly aware of many pairs of eyes on her, all sitting around her at the table. She cleared her throat. "Pardon?"
The boy who offered the inquiry—Artie, bespectacled and in a wheelchair—smiled politely before repeating himself. "Can you sing?"
"Oh. I sing occasionally, yes. My father thinks I'm quite good—"
"Yeah, yeah," Santana interjected, scowling. "No need for an hour-long speech. Try out for glee club, would you?"
"Glee club?" Rachel reiterated curiously, tilting her head to the side. "What's that?"
"A show choir," a girl dressed in gothlike attire—Tina—answered quietly. "We need a twelfth member to compete with other schools in Ohio."
"It's really fun," Quinn added, sending another blush-inducing smile in Rachel's direction. "Mr. Schuester's trying to revive what everyone thinks is a lost cause."
"Why is it a lost cause?" Rachel asked, automatically thinking of her own Loric dilemma. "With plenty of effort, you can fix anything."
The assembled group—Quinn, Santana, Brittany, Tina, Artie, Mercedes, and Kurt, the last four she'd met only a few minutes ago—exchanged approving looks.
"We need an attitude like that," Artie nodded. "The club's not really focused lately. We're getting complacent without the required amount of people for Sectionals."
"And you think I can help you?"
"You've got the drive," Mercedes mused. "And you can sing, or so you say."
"We're all in it," Quinn continued. "It's the best part of the day, and we need a strong female lead to match the male lead."
"Who's the male lead?" Rachel questioned. Quinn's smile seemed to lessen in brightness, and Mercedes sighed.
"That kid over there," the diva replied, jerking her thumb towards the football players's table. Snickering with a few other boys, an obviously tall guy was high-fiving Noah Puckerman, both laughing loudly amongst the team sitting with them. The boy was relatively average looking, with a silly beam and happy eyes that resembled a child's.
"Finn Hudson," Kurt explained with an almost dreamy look. "Quinn's ex-boyfriend, the quarterback and the male lead of our glee club."
"Rein it in, Cinderella," Santana snapped. "Try not to pant over Finnessa like a dog chasing a bone. Honestly, Hummel, it's pathetic."
"I'm not pathetic," Kurt grouched moodily. "Can't I appreciate what I see?"
"I find it funny," Quinn murmured, humor returning to her eyes. "Finn's biggest fan isn't me like he wants it to be, it's Kurt."
"How is he the lead?" Rachel wondered hesitantly. "If he's on the football team, which doesn't look like the friendliest bunch, what made him join your club?"
"He's trying to get Quinn back," Brittany declared, earning glances from the other occupants of the table. "He wants to impress her by doing both."
"Basically," Mercedes agreed, "Finn's being a golden boy to try and make Quinn his girlfriend again."
"S'not working," Quinn grumbled. "I'm done with that idiot."
Santana chuckled. Tina tried to hide a smile while Artie couldn't stop his if he wanted to. Before Rachel could react to any more news, the bell rang shrilly.
With a few more pleads, Rachel did decide to consider auditioning for glee club, much to the group's relief.
"Where are you off to, Rachel?" Quinn asked, when they'd left the cafeteria and returned to the brunette's locker, retrieving the discarded books.
"Spanish III...with Mr. Schuester," Rachel answered vaguely, tucking her schedule into a binder.
"I'll walk you there—I have him for second period in the mornings."
The blonde led her to the other side of the school, and went inside the classroom first, where an early-thirties, easy going teacher was already talking to Quinn when Rachel entered. The man nodded, and smiled kindly at his newest student, who turned slightly red under the scrutiny. Quinn squeezed her hand once before departing, and the class already assembled watched Rachel curiously, like she was a particularly interesting television special. Mr. Schuester turned to face the class, clapping for their attention.
"Buenos dias, clase."
"Buenos dias, señor Schuester," the class replied dutifully, as per routine in every Spanish class.
"We have a new student with us. Her name is Rachel Berry, please make her feel welcome," Mr. Schue added, looking pointedly at Suzy Pepper and Lauren Zizes.
"Sit down, Boy Hips," Lauren jeered. Stifled snickers drifted from every side, and Rachel sat down, rolling her eyes at human immaturity.
Her class passed slowly and painfully, as she listened to the other students butcher the language and feeling erasers pelted at her back. When the bell rang, she sighed.
"First day's always the hardest," Mr. Schuester offered sympathetically. "Anyway, I heard from Quinn that you might be considering joining the club."
"The lost cause," Rachel amended, and the teacher laughed.
"Exactly. How about you give it a try? Wouldn't hurt to give it a go."
"Sure," Rachel shrugged—what else did she have to do after school?—and Mr. Schuester grinned.
"Great. Do you have anything in mind yet? Practice starts at three in the choir room."
"I do. And I'll be there."
"For those who haven't met her personally," Mr. Schuester announced, "this is Rachel. She's here to audition."
The ones she hadn't spoken with—Mike, Finn, and Matt—nodded, while Finn's eyes then gradually drifted to the front row, where Quinn was sitting with Santana.
How predictable, Rachel silently scoffed, feeling an odd sense of annoyance with the quarterback for absolutely no reason.
Mr. Schuester sat with the club and Rachel moved to the center of the room. Leaning over to tell the pianist her selection, Rachel cleared her throat, preparing.
"On my own...pretending he's beside me...all alone I walk with him 'til morning..."
Her singing was actually a pastime, something discovered with amusement and boredom. During one of her repetitive weekend days about two years ago, she'd found a movie to watch to fill up the hours. Funny Girl. She'd liked it so much that she had wanted to sing just like Barbra Streisand, the lead, and her admiration of the film grew until she was renting movies from Broadway, listening and memorizing songs as she went. Les Miserables was one of her favorites, and she'd chosen the song at random.
The scene in front of her eyes as she sang was extremely funny. Quinn's jaw dropped, Santana's eyes widened, Brittany beamed, Kurt and Mercedes looked torn between awe and jealousy, Tina and Artie smiled appreciatively, Matt, Mike, and Puck were stoic but astonished, and Finn simply looked surprised, as if she was reciting Tennyson.
Mr. Schue looked utterly delighted.
"But only on my own..."
Rachel finished with heaving breaths, and loud applause snapped her out of her stupor, led primarily by a gleeful Quinn and Brittany.
"That was excellent, Rachel," Mr. Schuester praised, looking impressed. "I think we have our new female lead, certainly well-earned, don't you guys think?"
Serious, firm, and eager nods followed, with only slight reluctance from two shell-shocked, pouting divas in the back row.
Quinn jumped up from her seat and wrapped Rachel in a hug before she could move, and felt her heart stutter and a blush crawl laboriously from her cheeks to her ears.
"That was awesome, Rachel," Quinn gushed, eyes sparkling. "I didn't know you'd bring down the house like that. I can't to see what else you've got!"
"Thank you," Rachel murmured bashfully, feeling like she'd thanked Quinn a million times today. Really, her face was practically on fire!
While Mr. Schuester and the pianist chatted about the performance, and Quinn had drifted to talk with Brittany and Santana, and the rest of the group had dissolved into conversation, Rachel let herself relax and a small smile settled on her lips, only to dim when she looked up the the back of the room. Finn was staring at her, his expression morphing from confusion, irritation, and a slight hint of jealousy, which became more obvious when he examined Rachel's happiness and her eyes darting to Quinn.
His eyes narrowed. Finn was slow, but he wasn't stupid.
Neither was she. Rachel had untold strength and agility, but this game was set on human levels.
Finn was envious of the growing friendship between Rachel and Quinn, while Rachel was jealous of the history between the blonde and the quarterback.
When Finn's cold gaze met her own, Rachel clenched her fists behind her back, still standing in front of the room, and felt her palms begin to burn.