Doing It Right: Volume 2: Chapter 28
by Creedog VanDrey

Category: Glee
Genre: Romance/Drama
Rating: T
Language: English
Summary: Santana was given the opportunity to correct her past mistakes with Brittany, and she succeeded, but now she's haunted by dreams that drive her to continue righting wrongs. New York! It's Santana's final showdown with destiny. Can she earn New Directions the coveted title of "Best Show Choir in the Nation"? And (more importantly) can she keep her girl?
Spoilers: 2x22 "New York"

A/N: Ugh, I am not ready have this finished. Granted, at the same time, I'm so ready to put this aside until my next wave of inspiration.

Chapter 28: A Night At Breadstix

So here's what you missed on Glee. New Directions is all geared up to head to New York. Jesse St. James has been consulting for them and he had the best singers try out. Rachel: "Oh my man, I love him so…", Kurt: "But some people ain't me!", Mercedes: "Try a little tenderness…", and of course, Santana: "I'm in love, L.O.V.E. love…" But first they had to deal with some personal issues. Faith explained that she was trying help Santana by making her prom king: "I was the one who counted the ballots… I declared you two the winners." And she got a kiss for her trouble, on the cheek. Uh-oh. Becky got dismissed by Sue because her big sister died, but New Directions sang at the funeral. In thanks, Sue paid for New Directions to go to New York. I guess she's not all bad. "I will be running for the vacant seat on the school board… I plan to take all their spots." Well, I guess that remains to be seen. Inspiration strikes Santana and she writes a song called, "Light Up the World." And that's what you missed on… Glee!

: : :

Arm-in-arm, Santana escorted Brittany into Breadstix, walking straight up to the hostess, whose nametag read "Courtney". Brittany waved at her like they were old friends, which by the way Courtney waved back, appeared to be true. Santana recognized her only as a former JV Cheerio.

Santana stated, "So, party of four, under the name of 'Faith' or 'Jennings' or…" When the hostess didn't recognize anything, she turned to Brittany. "What's the name of Salt Lake's boy toy?"

Brittany was confused by question. She turned to the Courtney. "Faith's boyfriend's name is Daniel Creek."

"Santana!" someone called from the other end of the restaurant.

"That'd be us," Santana remarked, wandering past the hostess booth and grabbing two menus, a wine list, a children's paper placemat, and a set of crayons.

Faith shyly got out of the booth to greet Santana, who grabbed her in a hug that caught both the blondes off-guard. "Looking like a sexy mama, I see," she complimented Faith's white cocktail dress. Faith turned redder than pomodoro sauce. Santana winked at Daniel. Brittany took in this exchange with discomfort, but she too hugged Faith.

"Ow," Faith yelped.

"Sorry," Brittany replied sheepishly, "I take my hugs seriously."

"That's true," Santana chortled, grabbing Brittany's arm and yanking her into the booth with her.

The moment everyone was situated, Faith leaned forward across the table toward Santana and enthusiastically requested, "So, you gotta tell me all about Nationals!"

"You missed out on quite an adventure," Santana hinted, "Shoulda joined."

"I've been working my mom. I bet she's gonna let me join next year."

Santana smiled sincerely. "Hey, awesome."

Brittany forced out a closed-lipped mm-hmm in agreement. Eager to shift the conversation, her eyes wandered around the restaurant. "I think that boy wants you to call him," she told Daniel.

Daniel looked over his shoulder, where he noticed an athletic boy with curly black hair waving his thumbs and pinky fingers, surfer-style, with his tongue hanging out jovially. His date, a petite redhead, was trying to push down his arms.

"That's Gino Clarke from the football team," Daniel explained suavely, "I think he's congratulating me on being out with three beautiful ladies."

Santana grabbed Brittany's face and kissed her passionately. "That clear things up?" she asked after the embrace.

"He seems more excited now," Brittany remarked, looking as if she felt the same.

Faith put her hand on Santana's. "You were telling me about Nationals."

Brittany laid a sharp slap on Faith's hand.

"Ow," Faith yelped again.

"Brittany!" Santana chastised. "Sorry about her. She's very protective of her property," she joked. All the same, she put the offended hand into Brittany's lap, who grinned with pride and laid her head onto Santana's shoulder.

"Well, let's start from the beginning…" Santana proceeded to narrate.

Before she could get too far, the waitress Sandy walked up and asked, "What can I get you folks?"

: : :

"Can I get anything for you ladies?" the flight attendant asked.

Near the back of the plane, Santana and Brittany had three seats to themselves. At the moment, Brittany was leaning her head on Santana's shoulder, reading the fashion magazine that was in the other girl's hands. "A blanket, please," Santana requested.

Originally, Holly had placed Quinn in between the couple, but it became obvious to Quinn that the two lovebirds would make out regardless of her presence, likely on top of her if she didn't move, so she wisely chose to jump across the aisle where Kurt and Mercedes had a free seat, which they were using as a planning board for their Madison Avenue shopping spree. A mention of the size of the wad of spending money her mom had given her for the trip was more than enough to get the pair to squeeze her in.

Unfortunately for her, this put her behind Puck and Sam's seats, so she spent the rest of the flight with her eyes tilted downward.

Santana had laid the requested blanket across her and Brittany. Though the blonde's eyes were closed, she immediately began to squirm in her seat and breathe heavily. Santana continued to watch the flight attendant as the woman helped some travelers a few rows up. Suddenly, she turned her head and locked eyes with Santana. The brunette froze, engaging in a staring match. Brittany then whined with frustration, burrowing closer into Santana's side.

"Is she alright?" the attendant whispered after nearing the girls despite Santana's scowl.

"Yeah, probably just having a bad dream."

"Good dream," Brittany mumbled sleepily.

Santana smirked. "So, if it's not too much trouble, could you do your job and get her another apple juice? It will really make her feel better when she wakes up." Santana used her free arm to cradle Brittany's head against her shoulder: the very image of innocence.

The flight attendant's fake smile was even more transparent than Santana's. "It would be my pleasure, Miss."

As soon as they were alone again, Brittany began squirming again under the blanket, biting the insides of her lips to keep quiet.

Across the row, Quinn's hand stopped blocking the view in front of her and instead blocked the view to her left.

Two rows up, Will hissed to his girlfriend, "Holly, it's illegal. And we're the chaperones for this trip. We're supposed to be acting as good role models. So, no, I do not want to join 'The Club' with you."

"Oh, I'm not joining, Ricosuave. I'm trying to induct you."

: : :

"I don't think we needed the details of the plane ride," Daniel grumbled. He leaned in and added, with emphasis, "Also, I don't think we needed the details of the plane ride." Beside him, Faith was listening with morbid curiosity.

"Whatevs," Santana remarked, "I think we can jump ahead to the hotel…"

: : :

Will forgot how Holly talked in him into agreeing to Puck's suggestion of a single, deluxe suite for the entire choir. It saved them a grand total of fifty dollars for the entire stay. Technically, it did separate the boys from the girls, and it had two bathrooms, which was apparently a necessity since they'd brought seven women.

After Holly had half-heartedly read through the rules to the female members (and Kurt), scoffing at a few of them, Kurt conspicuously dragged her out of the girls' room with a "luggage emergency".

All at once, Quinn, Rachel, Mercedes, and Tina turned to Brittany and Santana. "Here's the deal," Quinn explained, "Us ladies have agreed to make ourselves scarce between the hours of eight and ten PM tonight and tomorrow night. We'll also keep Ms. Holliday occupied."

Santana immediately read between the lines. "You're doing us a favor?"

"You don't have to do that," Brittany remarked after Santana whispered an explanation in her ear.

"Oh, we're not doing it for you," Mercedes explained.

"It's actually a very selfish decision on our part," Tina added.

"We understand that a young couple in love sometimes needs their alone time," Rachel noted, "alone."

"Remember, this is only for two hours," Quinn pointed out, "That should be plenty of time to get your Brittana on."

Santana and Brittany looked at each other. "Straight people," the brunette remarked dismissively.

: : :

"What part of this story doesn't involve 'getting your Brittana on'?" Daniel wondered, adjusting his jeans.

"Brittana was always on," Santana explained, "the whole damn trip."

Even Faith cracked up at that.

: : :

Will didn't like the conspiratory huddle the boys formed the second he turned to leave the room to meet up with April Rhodes.

"So, Artie and I have devised an evil plan," Puck explained.

"We set up a romantic night for Santana and Brittany," Artie explained.

"Wow, sounds real devious," Sam remarked flippantly, eating a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos.

"Quinn gave me the idea," Puck added, "Apparently, she's planning your dates with Rachel now, Finn?"

"She… it's only for one night! And it was my idea… she just helped out with the details," Finn defended, "Most of them, but… I helped a lot, too!"

"Anyway," Puck remarked, "the ladies are giving Sugar and Spice some 'alone time' in the evening, and we figured it would be a killer idea to make sure they're feelings particularly amorous. Because from eight to ten, I plan on chilling in the common area. Finn, you'll get to find out what it sounds like when Santana's not faking it."

"I'll probably still be out with Rachel…"

"Your loss. Artie here is gonna learn the same thing about Brittany."

Artie sneered at him. "Hey, don't insult the brains of this operation! I doubt you could have found an antique music store on your own."

"This sounds like it's going to be a weird plan," Mike commented.

: : :

Brittany was building a tower out of the breadsticks that Santana wasn't eating, so it was a small tower, even though Santana had snuck the breadstick jar from the adjacent table.

"So, I gotta say, between the fact that the doors to the bedrooms didn't lock, the fact that Puck of all people was allowed to sleep on a pile of pillows on the wet bar, and process of elimination said that our mixed-sex directors slept on the couch bed in the common area together, I'd have to say our chaperones weren't that attentive. In fact…"

: : :

Kurt wandered through the girls' room. One of the beds had been given an elaborate four-poster job—using blankets and shower rods—that obscured the occupants on the mattress. The other bed held Rachel, Quinn, and Tina, tangled up with each other. Mercedes was sleeping on the couch. Kurt blew into Rachel's ear; he had a field trip for her.

An hour later, Kurt and Rachel stood in front of the iconic jewelry store. "God, I love this city," Rachel noted, sipping her green tea.

"Isn't it gorgeous?" Kurt asked, "I'm thinking of coming here, after I graduate."

"Me, too. I mean, I say that constantly, but… I don't think I'll be able to not come here. It's like coming home."

"Maybe Santana was right and we should have been friends all along."

"I'd be delighted," Rachel admitted sheepishly, "if you think you can handle me."

"If you think you can't handle me."

They giggled together.

"What about Finn?"

"What about him?" Rachel replied, bowing her head as if she knew what Kurt was about to ask.

"I know you're serious about him. New York is pretty far away from Ohio. You plan on bringing him with you?"

"You make it sound like a he's a large, cumbersome piece of furniture I'm not sure I'll be able to fit in my apartment."

"That's actually a pretty accurate description of my question. I love Finn; he's my brother; and I know he's too big for Lima. But this is New York. You, me, we'd fill this place up to the seams. It's asking a lot of him, though."

"There's more inside of Finn than anyone realizes, not the least of all him." Rachel sighed. "I know you and Blaine haven't been dating as long as Finn and I…"

"Blaine's going places. He's been here before. And LA. And a lot of other big cities. I know it's only been a couple of months, but…"

"You just know," Rachel remarked empathetically.

Kurt responded resolutely, "I'm going to ask him to come with me after we graduate."

"Maybe we'll all share an apartment."

"We probably could. I have an aunt who lives here. And my grandmum has a condo she timeshares in the Upper East Side."

"It's frightening to think we're not dreaming this."

They were split apart when a man walked out of the double doors of the Tiffany's & Co. When they noticed that man was Will, they raced off in opposite directions, hiding in the spaces beside the pillars. After he was a safe distance away, absorbed with his purchase, Kurt and Rachel rejoined.

"That was close. I think there would have been Hell to pay for being out of our rooms without a chaperone."

: : :

Santana counted the fifth person to walk by and given the table a glare. She couldn't be sure if it was the fact that they were discussing their not-safe-for-children conversations using not-safe-for-children words in not-that-lowered voices, or whether it was the fact that she and Brittany were sitting so closely, their hands visibly linked.

Sandy was glaring at them, too, but Santana knew of about a thousand visits to Breadstix where she'd done something to anger the waitress, so it could be that. Politely as she was able, she ordered her food.

: : :

With "Light Up the World" practiced, the group figured they were free to roam the city for a while.

Obviously, they were supposed to stay in their room. But Will had an "errand" to run. Everyone knew where he was going, including Holly, who promised more champagne after their win if they promised not to tell Mr. Schue that she followed him each day.

Most would think the New Yorkers would find clusters of teenagers running around singing songs in public would seem strange, but at that point they were used to it, as choirs had been flowing in all week.

Brittany was running in circles around a field in Central Park, and Santana was collapsing onto a bench with exhaustion. She looked over to the left and she noticed a middle-aged couple walking hand-in-hand. "I guess we weren't the only ones who were inspired by the beauty of New York," she said to herself, Brittany too absorped in her impromptu nature dance to overhear. The couple was two men, she noticed. Empowered, she got up from her seat and managed to grab Brittany's hand, who paused only long enough to grin at the connection before dragging an already flushed Santana into her reverie.

Not too far away, Quinn found Puck trying to spit on cars from a bridge.

"Puck, you got a second?"

Puck apparently hit a school bus, because he verbally awarded himself three-hundred points. "Sure, Quinnie, what can I do you for?"

"We haven't talked much this year," she said seriously.

Puck's demeanor changed instantly. "I was hoping you just had a favor to ask, like scoring you some weed."

"Like you know drug dealers in New York?"

"I could find one. I'm resourceful… as you well know."

"You're gonna get yourself stabbed."

"Says the girl with the bulky purse on her arm and expensive camera around her neck."

"Do you always have to be so impossible?" she growled.

"What do you want from me, Quinn?"

"I want to be able to talk to you without you deflecting with your pervy comments. I want the Puck I fe—" She cut herself short. "I want us to go back to the way we were."

"Quinn, what's happening here? The way we were when? Back when you walked into McKinley as a new student hell-bent on running the whole damn place as a freshman? When we were friends of friends because you only talked to other pretty girls and quarterbacks? When we were sneaking around Finn's back and you tried to ignore your feelings for me?"

"When even if my entire world was crashing down around me, one touch of your hand on my back could give me a moment of solace."

Puck was quiet for a minute. "I wasn't kidding about getting mugged, girl. Don't go anywhere alone. If I catch you alone…"

"You'll what?" Quinn baited.

"I'll stand beside you." And then he did stand beside her, mere inches from her.

Their eyes locked.

They smiled.

"Mama," a child babbled a few yards away, and Quinn and Puck instinctively turned toward the sound of the baby.

: : :

Brittany sneezed when she leaned too closely as she seasoned her salad with pepper. Frowning, she poked at it repeatedly with her fork.

"That becomes important to the story later," Santana explained. She began to cut up the salad in front of her, chopping the lettuce into bite-sized pieces, and cursing at the errant cherry tomatoes that stayed still about as well as the spryer of Brittany's two cats. "Anyway, we're just going to jump ahead to that evening." Once she was satisfied with her work, she meticulously drizzled salad dressing on it.

"So, we weren't going to let New York go to waste…" After tossing it furiously, she switched salads in front of her and Brittany, who grinned, quietly commenting, "Just like Wendy's."

: : :

Santana was pounding on the bathroom door. "C'mon, Quinn, my date's in an hour and I don't wants my hot date to know what color panties I'm gonna be wearing."

In the same room, Brittany was sitting on the bed, hands pearched over her eyes. "Are they… invisible?"

Santana mouthed "dammit" to herself, and told her girlfriend, "Stop guessing. And don't you dare start rummaging through my suitcase," she remarked with absolute severity, "I mean it, Honey. Off-limits." She waited until Brittany nodded before turning back to the bathroom door. "Serious, Q, this date isn't for you."

When Quinn walked out of the bathroom, Santana's jaw dropped. The blonde was wearing a tight, short, black dress, and her makeup was conspicuously heavy. But that wasn't the most recognizable thing.

"And I repeat, this date is not for you. When did you get a haircut?"

"Do you like it?" Quinn asked, blasé.

"It's very Joan Jett. I may jump you." Brittany's head jerked toward Santana, her palms still blocking her vision, and she whined audibly. "Kidding," Santana called out. Quinn walked past Santana, who remarked, "But, Quinn, I'm serious; I can see your coin slot. What the hell?"

"Look, I wanted to look nice, okay? We couldn't exactly bring our whole wardrobe and this is my 'nice' outfit."

"Can I stop hide-and-seeking? I want to see Sexy Quinn," Brittany noted, trying to follow the sound of the girls' voices.

"Fine, just don't call her that anymore."

"Wow," Brittany purred, her eyes wide as she took in the sight, "But don't you have the blue dress, too?"

"You weren't kidding about digging through suitcases, were you?" Quinn asked Santana, "Look, guys, I was feeling unattractive, okay?"

"And you decided, since you'll be serenading your ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend today, you want to make sure he knows what he's missing, right?"

"No, it's not that at all," Quinn shot back, and apparently the conversation was done, as she stormed out of the room.

Santana and Brittany's eyes met. Santana glared expectantly at her girlfriend, who again recovered her eyes.

: : :

For the third time, Santana pushed away her pesto ravioli and wiped the red sauce off Brittany's nose, who had been too eagerly chowing down on her spaghetti and meatballs.

Santana indicated the meal with her fork. "I don't want to be a braggart. Or rather no one else wants me to be a braggart, so why don't you tell them about that night?"

"You don't have a job," Brittany prefaced before delving into the tale.

: : :

Brittany and Santana were escorted through the fancy restaurant by Puck, past a table where Finn and Rachel were sitting, surrounded by the remaining female members of New Directions. Their journey took them through the kitchen onto a portico.

There she found the rest of the male glee club members standing around a single table with a simple tablecloth. On the table was a jar where a handful of breadsticks—likely not her favorite variety, but they were steamy and had the typical sheen of heavy buttering—and a candle stuck in a wine jug.

When the not-at-all-Italian-looking chef walked out with a white ceramic dish—a big one, about the circumference of a basketball—piled high with spaghetti and red sauce, and three tangerine-sized meatballs.

Brittany looked straight at Artie. "For us? San, it's just like—"

"Lady and the Tramp, I know." She mouthed "Thank you" to Artie, who shrugged amicably in response.

Sam handed Puck an accordion—which he made the motions of playing, though the instruments (thankfully?) made no sound—and they began to sing.

Oh, this is the night, it's a beautiful night
And we call it
bella notte
Look at the skies, they have stars in their eyes
On this lovely
bella notte

Inside, Finn and Rachel were enjoying a beautiful dinner as well. Around them the girls sang:

When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you

Brittany was rolling the meatball from one side of the bowl to the other with her nose. She misjudged it and the meatball when rolling across the table, and off the edge, and… into the palm of Santana's outstretched hand. She smiled knowingly and Brittany beamed.

Santana licked the sauce off the palm of her hand and then leaned forward, mouth open, tongue dancing, toward Brittany, who mirrored her actions. Inches away, as the music awkwardly faded away, she paused, pulled back a few inches, licked her thumb and wiped the sauce of Brittany's nose. She briefly sang to her girlfriend.

On top of spaghetti

All covered with cheese

I lost my poor meatball

When somebody sneezed

It rolled off the table,
And on to the floor,
And then my poor meatball,
Rolled out of the door.

Brittany turned to the boys and remarked. "You were singing before you were distracted?"

The boys hurriedly resumed the song.

Side by side with your loved one,
You'll find enchantment here.
The night will weave its magic spell,
When the one you love is near!

Finn held Rachel up after she mimed fainting as she met Patty Lupone.

"You're the second kid to do that to me today," the woman remarked.

Rachel babbled for several minutes about her dreams to work on Broadway.

"Good luck to you," the legend stated, "Don't give up. I didn't make my Broadway debut until I was…"

"Twenty-four," Rachel remarked, "In second grade, we were asked to give a living biography of one of our heroes. I had already researched some of your esteemed colleagues in previous years, so to challenge myself, I dressed up and portrayed you. I got a B because the presentation was supposed to be three minutes and mine was twenty-six."

"Well, I'm honored. Now I believe this lovely group of ladies was serenading you and your handsome date."

If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do

Brittany and Santana were sharing a piece of cheesecake covered in raspberries. Brittany, seeing the glimmer in Santana's eyes carefully picked at the dessert, allowing Santana to consume most of the fruit and crust.

"We've kind of carb-overloaded tonight," Santana remarked, coyly adding, "how on earth are we going to burn off all these calories?"

"There's a gym at the hotel," Brittany suggested, "I'll let you make fun of the contestants on the fat people show."

Santana giggled. "Sweetie, c'mon, I've got two hours to make you too tired to sing 'My Cup' again."

Oh this is the night, and the heavens are right!
On this lovely
bella notte!

: : :

"I know, I know," Santana said, cutting Daniel off from the comment he was about to make. "But I wanted to mark the climax of this story."

"No pun intended," Faith filled in.

Santana grinned at the girl, holding out a fist to Faith. "Way to go, Bible Betty." Faith took an inordinately long time to bump her fist.

"And as with any story high point, it means it all starts to go down from here."

: : :

"I've never seen you like this, Rach," Finn told his girlfriend.

"Well, I am out with my man in the most beautiful city in the world and just met one of the legends of the Broadway stage."

Finn's smile faded. "This city really does make you more alive."

"It does. I was talking to Kurt and we decided we're coming up here after graduation. I already ordered application packets from Julliard and Tisch. I even had them rush-delivered so that they'd be there when we arrived back in Lima."

"That's great for you."

"I ordered packets for you, too, Finn," Rachel said a little softer.

"I… really?"

"Finn, I want you to come with me."

"But… but this city's huge. It took me two years just to find my way around Lima. My mom says it's because she bought me a Game Boy when I was ten and I never looked outside the window when she drove me to soccer practice and stuff. I'd have to get a GPS thingamajig just to walk around New York. Do they even make those?"

"Yes," Rachel replied, "You don't like New York?"

"I think it's gorgeous and bustling and just beaming with life. It reminds me of you."

"But you don't think it's like you."

"Rachel, you know I'd go to Siberia for you," he explained, adding, "You don't have any interest in Alaska, though, right?"

"No and… never mind. Finn, it doesn't matter where we are. If I'm with you, I'm happy."

Finn stared down at his empty plate. "But if you're in New York with me, you're happier. If you're in New York, period, you're happier."

Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in and sees you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true

Rachel had no answer to that.

: : :

"So what happened next?" Faith asked, enthralled.

Santana sighed with resignation. "According to Mercedes, Berry ran off about five minutes later, and Fabray went after her. Half an hour later, they were both in t he wind. And so was Puckerman. It turns out, after Britts and I left to… 'go back to the hotel…'" Santana finger-quoted, "…he said he had to return the accordion he'd rented. We didn't hear from him after that. Finally, about 2:00 AM…"

: : :

The entire glee club was crammed into the common room of their hotel suite, the entire glee club minus Puck, Quinn, and Rachel, that was. Finn was pacing in the middle of the room, calling Rachel's cell phone for the thirtieth time. Will was in the corner with Holly, getting chewed out by the voice of Sue Sylvester over the phone.

Finally, he walked up to the students. "Listen, guys, I know you're just trying to protect your friends, but this is no time to circle the wagons. New York City is not the safest place to be at night. It's not like Lima where people leave their doors unlocked at night."

"That's not true, Mr. Schue," Santana noted, "I've had to sneak into plenty of bedrooms."

Will pulled his co-director aside. "This also is no time to be a cool teacher. Did they tell you where they were going?"

Holly frowned. "I take my responsibilities seriously. I've been trying to keep track of all twelve of these misfits for almost the entire trip while you're off making plans—and eyes—at April Rhodes."

"It's just paperwork. And don't forget it's me who does bed check every night while you go down to the hotel bar."

"…to wait for you, sugar," she hissed, "These kids have been conspiring against me. I know they're just distracting me in shifts so the couples can make out, and I've let that slide because at least they're in the hotel rooms. And it'd be a little hypocritical given the 'bed check' that happens after bed check."

A knock on the door interrupted the argument, and Will was only too happy to excuse himself from the situation to answer it. There he found the three MIA students standing in the door, their heads bowed in shame. Behind them stood Shelby Corcoran. It was too many surprising things for Will to comment on at first.

The three errant kids shuffled in quickly with muted apologies. Rachel took shelter next to her boyfriend, hoping his size would distract from her. Quinn squeezed between the impossibly small space between Brittany and Santana, hoping that she'd get lost in the familiar unit. Puck lazed easily again the bed, becoming the most visible one in the room.

Shelby took one look at Will and remarked, "I take it from that more-than-usually-harried expression that these kids didn't in fact tell you where I was going, and that the person I talked to on the phone is probably that blond boy I've never met."

Being eyed, Sam waved at the adults. "I didn't realize what that was about."

"Sorry, Will," Shelby apologized before turning to Holly, "Hello, I don't believe we've met."

"Holly Holliday, New Directions Co-Director."

"So is this the replacement?" Will's brow furrowed. "C'mon, I live here. I saw your name on that April Rhodes show."

The adults moved the conversation into the hall.

"You know April?"

"I do now. When I first moved up here, I heard about that all-white production of The Wiz she was doing. I tried out for Addaperle and got laughed out of the theater."

"I'm only doing this job for the summer," Will explained, "If it flops, I'm back in Lima ready to prepare for next year's Nationals. If it doesn't, that's why I have an understudy."

"Understudy?" Holly repeated, miffed.

"Understudy at the play."

"That makes a lot more sense."

Shelby noted, "Takes a lot of fortitude to make that kind of decision. If I had made it big my first time here, I wouldn't have stayed. So, are your kids in trouble?"

"We're all in trouble. I already called Rachel, Quinn, and Puck's parents about their disappearance. I have to send them home first thing tomorrow morning."

Shelby tilted her head. "I don't notice a room full of kids, Will. You still playing with a deck of twelve, zero alternates?"

"It's hard recruiting at McKinley. We'll have to disqualify ourselves from Nationals. It's a shame; I think we could have won it."

"Seriously? Got you're just overflowing with optimism, aren't ya? I inherited an award-winning team and it took me five years to get them to Nationals and another three to get them their first national win. Hell, if Goolsby weren't more insane than I was, there's no way they would have won last year with the director change two months before the competition."

"Our kids are good."

"You've no argument from me. You have a knack for finding diamonds in the rough."

"I guess maybe we should have packed a few extra pebbles?" Holly prompted.

"Hmm," Shelby thought, "are McKinley's rules still pretty poorly worded?"


"Because technically, I'm a teacher. I do voice lessons at a private arts school up here. I'm on the recruiting board; you could easily claim that they were chaperoned the entire time, doing an impromptu college visit."

"We'll have to make up some fibs about why we didn't know about it," Holly conspired with her.

"Please," Shelby smirked, pulling out her iPhone, "these things are a communication breakdown godsend. Just say they called you but the messages got lost and their phones died. Lord knows all three of those kids probably abuse the MP3 capabilities, ergo batteries, of their phones."

"I don't feel good about this," Will remarked.

"Gee, I feel spectacular," Holly disagreed, "Will, we're competing Friday with or without you. Now, c'mon, these kids need to get to bed because tomorrow is crunch time. Brittany and Mike outdid themselves on these steps, and Finn's much too large to hide if we can't get him to at least 50 percent accuracy."

: : :

"So, any more excitement?" Daniel asked, looking exhausted.

"Frankly, no, just dancing."

"Dancing is exciting," Brittany stated with conviction.

"Yeah, but I'm still going to skip over the laborious hours of practice we filled the next day with. The only real 'distractions', if you can call them that, were the marriage proposals."

: : :

"He what?" Mercedes cried.

Tina remarked dryly, "He mentioned that his mother had spoken to her cousins in Hong Kong and that they had reserved a highly-coveted banquet hall for October 2012. Mike wants to get married next year."

In the guys' room, Mike was lying face down on the bed. "I'm an idiot," he mumbled into the duvet.

"Hell yeah you are," Puck remarked, You really want to get hitched five months after graduation? A lot can happen in five months."

"Tell me about it," Santana noted.

Sam wondered aloud, "What are you doing here? This is the guys' room."

"Well, Kurt's better at the sympathy shit and I'm better at the tough love."

Mike pushed himself up. "Look, Tina's the one for me, okay? I figured, if we got it all figured out, why not just make it official?"

In the girls' room, Tina sobbed, "And it's not like he thought it was a big deal. It was like he was saying, 'Oh, I should replace my iPod, and probably take a film class in college, and, oh yeah, get married. I can't believe how he thinks that I'm just going to settle down and be his little housewife. He learns it from his mother."

"Despite what my mom thinks," Mike told the 'guys', "this isn't going to change our lives. We're both still going to college and Tina can do whatever she wants, and I'll support her. That's why I wanted to get married, so that we'd both have a partner in life."

Puck wasn't budging. "Still, man, seventeen?"

Mike looked down the line. "Sam, didn't you give Quinn a promise ring after dating her for like a month? And Puckerman, you offered to set up house after high school with her and Beth, right? Artie, tell me you didn't feel the same way about Tina last year that I do right now."

"I might have possibly been looking at small townhouse properties outside of Cincinnati," admitted.

"Finn, Tina told me what you said to Rachel, just last night, that you'd follow her anywhere?" Finn just nodded. "Santana, Brittany and I are tight, as you know. Dare I retell the day she literally leapt from wall to wall at the Lima Dance Studio because you had the 'we're going to college together' speech with her? All you guys have been there."

"Talk to her," Finn suggested.

"Talk to him," Mercedes insisted.

"I mean, would you guy want to get married out of college?" Tina asked.

Rachel, as always, answered first. "I'm not getting married until I'm twenty-five, but if Finn were to propose at an appropriate time, say prom as we're crowned king and queen." Quinn glared at her. "Or maybe at graduation, a moment after we throw our caps in the air, and my fathers are nearby to take the perfect picture. Granted, we may have to pose that one. I'm sure I can get the entire senior class to run through that a half dozen times or so. Or perhaps I'm on the plane to New York and he rushes through to the gate to propose on bended knee…"

"Do any of these scenarios not involve teen movie clichés?" Mercedes asked.

"What about you, Mercedes?" Tina challenged.

"Well, Tina, to be honest, I haven't met him. Raj is a nice guy, but I don't know if he's the one. On the other hand, I want to settle down, and soon. I figure it's more likely to happen in college, but if it's the right guy…"

This didn't help Tina any. She turned her head to Quinn.

"What Mercedes said?" the blonde offered reluctantly.

"I like weddings. And proposals. And jewelry. And love. And kisses," Brittany muttered and then shrugged.

"Blaine would do a singing proposal," Kurt said aloud, off in his old little world.

Back in the boys' room, Santana tempted fate. "Well, hopefully, this day can't get any worse."

Just then, Holly stormed into the room, furious, and was immediately crowded by the feminine half of the club.

In the boys' room, the other half of the club had crowded around Will, holding a ring box.

"Santana, are you supposed to prevent this kind of shit?" Puck wondered.

"I blame Finn."

"Why me?"

"You just admitted that your Keebler elf snuggle toy and testosterone-impaired stepbrother told you that they saw him walking out of Tiffany's yesterday. Connect the dots, dummy."

"Maybe we can focus on fixing things?" Sam suggested.

"League of Badassery, assemble," Santana groaned with a gather-round gesture. She took a seat in front of her teacher. "Mr. Schue, what on earth possessed you to propose to your wily girlfriend of three months?"

Will, tear-streaked, replied, "It was the next step. I've been slowly training her to be a committed, monogamous traditional woman."

Santana stared at her teacher for a long spell. "Yeah, someone else is going to have to take this. I'll work on Holliday. I'll send Hummel."

: : :

"So, anyway, that's what we were doing twenty-four hours before the big competition."

: : :

Santana locked her directors in the boys' room. For the sixteen hours, the member relentlessly worked on their performance, led by interim director Rachel. The group was reluctant about the promotion until Santana gave them a good tongue-lashing.

They practiced steps until their feet were audibly hurting, covered only by the sound of their stomachs growling. Finn was elected to retrieve dinner, having nearly broken every foot in the room, including his own; he returned after ten minutes with enough Burger King bags to fill a grocery bag, which he subsequently dropped why Brittany bowled him over to claim her BK Kids Meal.

Just after midnight, the exhausted group dragged their bodies into the girls' room. The three ex-cheerleaders squeezed onto the couch. Mike and Artie slept on the rollaway bed. Finn, Rachel, Kurt, and Tina sardined themselves onto one bed; and Mercedes sandwiched herself between Puck and Sam on the other.

The next morning, no less than five alarms—three of them set by Rachel's—woke up the group and they drearily dragged themselves out of bed, miraculously managed to get ready in forty-five minutes, and entered the common room just in time to find their directors with several trays of Starbucks coffee and an announcement that the shuttle to the Lincoln Center would pick them up in half an hour.

: : :

"I don't have a solo," Finn told his stepbrother, backstage.

"Way too late to be complaining to me, Finn."

"I'm not complaining. Well, I would be, except, I mean, why aren't I? Shouldn't I be the type of guy who does that? The male lead of the choir that's gonna win Nationals should sing. That's the kind of guy who's going to New York after graduation."

"Rachel told you about that?"

"Yeah. She said you and Blaine are going, too."

"I'm going. And if Blaine turns out to be as serious as I think he could be, then of course I'm taking him with me. She'll take you. She wants to."

"She should take the guy who sings the solo."

"Unfortunately for her, the guy who sings solo wants nothing she can offer. I'm the guy she has help her sneak into Gershwin theater. You're the guy she wants to come home to."

"Well, that's where she'd find me if I moved up here: home."

Before Kurt could answer, Santana called out, "Finn, just the man I was looking for. So I was napping in the dressing room. Actually, that's not important. Thing is… don't kiss Rachel on stage."


"Just don't do it. I'll tear both your lips off. Just don't test me, okay?"

"Okay, Santana, I had no plans to."

Santana pointed her finger at his nose. "Exactly the problem."

: : :

"I'm confused," Faith remarked.

"It's irrelevant. Inside joke." Even Brittany seemed perplexed; neither Faith nor Daniel noticed.

"How were the other choirs?" Daniel asked to get the conversation moving again.

"Really good. But we were all too stressed to pay attention, and too proud to actually like them."

: : :

The members of New Directions were staring stonily at the all-girls choir in short white dresses, with the major exception of Brittany and Santana, who were passionately dancing in their seats to the song.

No, I gotta keep it real now
'Cuz on a one-to-ten

She's a certified twenty (Twenty)
And that just ain't me!

Santana's hand grazed Brittany's thigh. "You as turned on as me?"

Brittany nodded vigorously. "Yeah."

"I'd drag you to the bathroom if I didn't know that our tiny singer wasn't going to have a heart-to-heart with Vocal Adrenaline's tiny singer soon. It'd totally kill the mood."

Brittany missed half of what she was saying. "Oh, yeah, Artie's girlfriend is here."

"Yeah, well, I already threatened him. They can have their sweet geeky kisses back in Ohio. Now, shush, this is my favorite part."

Watch out!
Don't stop the party!

Girly, listen, don't stop the party! (Watch yourself!)

To the window, to the wall!
Show me what you're waitin' for!

: : :

Kurt and Rachel started the show with a duet: "For Good" from Wicked.

New Directions followed that up with Santana's song, "Light Up the World", which she naturally took the first solo on, letting Brittany and Artie sing the refrain. For the second verse, it was Mercedes turn to shine, backed up by Puck and Tina.

: : :

"How'd it go?" asked Faith, her behind not even touching the plastic seat.

"Out of the fifty choirs, twelve others sang 'For Good' as a duet."

"It's a popular song," Brittany explained, "From this Broadway show about Sabrina having a crush on Phoebe Halliwell at Hogwarts."

"…and twenty-eight sang original songs," Santana finished.

"What?" Faith exclaimed.

"Jesse St. James betrayed us. It turns out that 'work-study' program he was on wasn't real. He failed out of school. He'd called all of the other schools that had won their Regionals and inform them of our ace in the hole. I'd've gone all Lima Heights on him, but we couldn't track him down after the competition."

"How bad was it?"

: : :

"Eleventh place," Will informed them.

There was a long silence.

"That means we're a shoo-in for next year," Rachel offered.

All at once, Santana found herself tackled to the ground by Brittany, Sam, Quinn, and Puck. "¿Qué hacen, locos? ¡Suelténme! Su rodilla está en mi vejiga, concha!"

: : :

"I gotta pee," Brittany remarked.

"I'll go with you," Faith offered, slipping out of the booth, and following her to the restroom.

At the sinks, Brittany remarked, "You and Daniel are super cute together."

"I'm breaking up with him."

"Why? I thought you loved him."

"I do, but there's times when it doesn't feel like boyfriend-girlfriend love. He's the best friend a girl could ever ask for, but there's still no spark."

"Is there someone else?" Brittany asked, her voice too controlled.

Faith looked at her reflection in the mirror, their eyes meeting in the glass. "No."

Brittany lathered her hands for the second time. "I can tell that you're lying. It's my superpower."

"Superpower? You really do have one foot out the door of reality, don't you?"

"I don't understand."

"You probably can't tell, because of my frumpy clothes, but I've dropped ten pounds since I started attending McKinley. I've been spending a lot of time at the dance studio. Those advanced jazz classes are a real workout."

Brittany was slow to reply. "I know. How'd you get into them? They don't let beginners in."

"I was the captain of my junior high dance squad back in Salt Lake. I've been dancing my whole life."

"You're not getting Santana," Brittany suddenly pronounced.

"Of course I'm not," Faith replied sarcastically, "I mean, I'm completely straight. And the daughter of proudly homophobic parents. And a sincere chastity advocate. Santana obviously doesn't see me as a prospective girlfriend."

"But you want her to," Brittany surmised.

"I'll settle for her not thinking you're her one and only. I know it's just a dumb crush but it hurts."

Brittany frowned at that, partially sympathetic and partially something else.

: : :

"You what?" Daniel spat.

"Well, given the fact proposals hadn't gone well so far, I threw the darn thing back in my suitcase. New York would have been more romantic, but I'll wait until the time is right. She's the one."

"Want to know something?" He pulled a ring box out of his pocket. "I got Faith a promise ring, too. I'm gonna ask her tonight."

"Good for you. But we are shutting Brittany down the moment the words 'double wedding' come out of her mouth."

"So, when are you going to…"

"Shh," Santana hissed, eyeing the returning Faith and Brittany. If she didn't know any better, she'd think they didn't like each other by the way they were walking several feet apart.

Too airily, Faith asked, "So, you didn't win. What happened after?"

: : :

Will stood before the group. "Listen, guys, I have an announcement to make. This summer, I'll be performing with April Rhodes in her play: Short Storey."

"You're leaving us?" Rachel cried, "Mr. Schue, we can't do this without you."

"I'm not staying, at least not forever. Even if the play continues into the school year, you'll have Ms. Holliday. I'll be back before Sectionals."

"But if the play bombs, which it probably will, you'll come back and Ms. Holliday will be booted?"

Will locked eyes with Holly. "Workplace romances are risky. We both knew that."

"So, you're splitzo for good?" Puck wondered.

Holly answered, "We need some time apart. No point in being too optimistic."

"You're all set to run this thing?" Santana asked the blond director.

"I was willing to do it last semester after Mr. Schue got fired. I have plenty of ideas for assignments and competitions next year, and I've been left with plenty more to supplement that."

: : :

"This is quite a tale."

"Yeah, and it isn't over." She pointed to the other end of the restaurant, where Puck and Quinn were seated across from one another, awkwardly avoiding eye contact with each other, both tense and silent.

"Are you going to fix everything?" Brittany asked.

Santana exhaled with tiredness. "I'm gonna let the dust settle first. Maybe some things will fix themselves. I've actually got about twenty texts from everybody telling me about their lives. It's almost enough to make me question why I made friends with everybody."

: : :

Finn and Kurt were sitting on the couch, watching The Goonies and sipping warm milk.

"So, I asked Blaine if he'd come to me with New York."

"What'd he say?"

"He was a little freaked out. I didn't intend to do it yet but it slipped out. We're probably not at a place where we can ask things like that."

"You guys okay?"

"Yeah, but he's going on vacation with his folks for a week. We'll reconnect after that. I think we're gonna be fine. I think I might love him."

Finn smiled at that, clapping his stepbrother on the shoulder. "Gonna tell him?"

"It can wait until he gets back." He sipped. "You and Rachel still pulling a Casablanca?"

"Yeah, we're taking a break." Finn suddenly found his nearly-empty class of milk very interesting.

"I didn't think you'd give up so easily."

Finn replied with conviction, "I'm not. I realized that I have a year to become the man who deserves—no, scratch that—the man who is going with her to New York. I'm gonna find my calling this year, Kurt."

"I can get behind that project. It sounds like the kind of thing that might inspire a makeover."

"You'll be the first to know, bro." Finn replied, putting his arm over Kurt's shoulder.

: : :

Tina was lying on her bed while on her dresser, her mobile phone played the first thirty seconds of "Getting to Know You" from The King and I. The screen listed the name: "My Mike".

Tina continued to ignore the phone, tears in her eyes, while she clutched a magazine to her chest. Once the phone finally stopped ring, she threw the magazine into the nearest wall and started to sob. The front cover displayed an Asian woman in a wedding dress.

: : :

As they left the restaurant, Santana pulled Brittany into her car. When Brittany questioned why she didn't start the engine, Santana began, "Brittany, I need to be honest with you. I've done something… something kind of unbelievable… something for you… for us. I hope you'll understand why I did it."

: : :

In the hotel suite, Rachel exchanged tense words with Finn. Quinn stared into the middle space, spouting off random details about her life to Brittany and Santana, who sat on either side of her, Brittany stroking her hair and Santana rubbing her back. Mike, Artie, and Sam crowded around Puck, who tried to look as unemotional as possible as he recalled the events of the evening.

Finally, the three adults walked back into the room. Will and Holly immediately got on their phones and started making phone calls. A quick bargain was made and Will ended up calling Principal Sylvester back while Holly took the job of calling the Berrys.

Shelby casually strolled through the roll, carefully avoiding her biological daughter. When she approached the three ex-cheerios on the couch, Quinn excused herself and sought refuge with Mercedes and Tina in the kitchenette.

"Santana, can we chat for a second?"

Surprised that the woman knew her, Santana nodded, patting Brittany on the hand before following Shelby as she made her way out the hotel door, leaving it open.

"Ms. Corcoran?"

"So, how were things the second time around?" the older woman remarked as if it were a greeting.

"I don't understand."

Shelby chuckled. "Don't play dumb with me, Princess. I've been doing this a lot longer than you. I assume you're a friend of a certain Dr. Cross?"

Santana's jaw dropped. "H-how do you…?"

"Know him? Oh, Sugar, I met him five lifetimes ago. You see, once upon a time, I decided that having some gay couple's baby wasn't worth pursuing my dream in New York. And that's how I ended up in some dead-end Cincinnati suburb with a husband of ten years who had the habit of drinking too much followed by hitting me too much." She casually shrugged. "So I decided to try this silly experiment with this aging, drug-addled, formerly licensed shrink. And nine months later—or nineteen year earlier?—I had a reason to live. A baby girl." She looked towards the still-ajar door, where though the girl couldn't be seen, her voice could clearly be heard.

"Rachel," Santana concluded, her mind still reeling from the larger revelation.

"'Christine', actually," she replied, adding the aside, "after the protagonist of The Phantom of the Opera. You see the first time around, I decided to make off with the kid myself. Got arrested in Kentucky for kidnapping, and because of an outcry in the state, they didn't even give her back to the couple that had legal custody of her, and I ended up getting raped in a women's penitentiary for eight years." There was not even a hint of a waver in her voice as this fact. "Anyway, it took me a few more years and some more felonies to find out she was with a couple of rednecks who planned to let her take over the family antique store instead of going to college, so I tracked down Dr. Cross again, and I've been working ever since to make Rachel's dreams come true."

Santana's jaw was still slack. "How long…?" she just barely made out.

"This is attempt number five, and I've accumulated…" she did some quick mental math, "…over sixty years of history rewriting. Granted, I obviously don't experience all that. I still black out through the useless stuff." Her back straightened at the odd look on Santana's face. "Don't you?"

"Not in months."

Shelby's eyebrows shot skyward. "That's got to be a headache. How long did you go back?"

"Five months."

Shelby made a sound that was halfway between a chuckle and a scoff. "Five months? I guess your brain still is teenaged. What life-ruining event did you go through that you knew was so bad after five months?"

Santana's head turned back to the hotel room. "Brittany…"

"You went back less than half a year to get laid?"

"I went back so that I wouldn't lose my chance to be with her."

Shelby bowed her head, shaking from side to side. "Oh, Santana, you don't lose your chance. The last two times before this one, you come out senior year."

"Wait, why would even hear about that?"

"Jesse," she replied plainly, "He's always been my little spy. The last couple of times news of your newfound lesbianism was kind of an afterthought, but this time a whole bunch of stuff changed, all of it about you. That when I started to suspect you were playing around with the history books, too."

"Hold it, so when I went back… did I branch off one of your timelines?"

"Obviously," Shelby replied, "Did you think this was a dream or something? Reality is all about perception. I don't understand the quantum tomfoolery that's going on here, but I do know this world is far too complex to be taking place in my head."

"Okay, so this is obviously a lot to process, but can we focus on how Fire Dancer is your little lackey?"

"Jesse reports back to me. He's knows what I'm doing, and he approves. He falls in love with her every time, so obviously he wants her to succeed."

"Then why did he betray us?"

"New Directions won Nationals last time, and blows it the next year—Jesse sabotaged everyone else last time—and Rachel loses her shot at a prestigious arts college. Boy can't not overdo something to save his life."

"So you're doing all this just to make sure your little snowflake gets her fifteen minutes of fame atop an apple crate?"

"I direct her life as far as I can before I get shot back. I've got two more years left."

"Shot back? You mean you don't keep going?"

It was Shelby's turn to drop her jaw. "You mean your five months is up?"

"I'm just as surprised as you. The deadline came and went and I'm still here. I mean, gladly…"

Shelby began to pace. "Interesting. So you succeeded. You're dating Brittany from the looks of it."

Santana shrugged. "Hell, yeah. I got my girl. Santana Lopez don't lose anything she don't want to."

"Kudos. I guess I probably should have picked an easier task."

"I kind of feel selfish. I can't believe you sacrificed all that time for her."

"Well, I wasn't exactly altruistic the first few rounds. Once I even made it big, but at the expense of her dreams. I jumped back at the height of my career to put Rachel in my place, and I don't regret it for a second. Would you do it for Brittany?"

Santana smiled and lowered her head. "To make her happy? In a heartbeat. I'm lucky that what makes her happy—me—makes me happy, too. I guess if it was Artie who was her soul mate… I'd make it happen." Her voice betrayed the lack of sincerity of the statement.

Graciously, Shelby commented, "I have a sneaking suspicion that she belongs to the person willing to rewrite time for her. Does she know?"


"Secrets don't make for good relationships," she advised.

"Aren't you keeping the secret?"

"Yes. And I'm a 36-year-old single woman who has never had a relationship that lasted longer than a month. My biological daughter is estranged from me and my adopted daughter spends more time in day care than with me."

"I'll consider it, telling her. Honesty's kind of a damn Greek word to me."

"You're preaching to the choir, sister."

There was a lull in the conversation. "Any advice?" Santana asked.

"A warning maybe. I don't know what happens when you die. I haven't yet." She knocked on the door frame. "But there's a chance you're gonna pop back to where you started. Having the brain of a 90-year-old senile woman in the body of a sixteen-year-old girl's gotta be some type of special hell."

"So, what do I do now?"

"This is real life; make the most of it. Don't let a moment pass you by."

: : :

Brittany took is surprisingly well, and Santana wondered why she was ever nervous.

"Wow, that's so cool. And a little scary. What happens next?"

"I don't know. I haven't had a dream in a week. We'll just have to face those challenges as they come. C'mon, there's no way God's throwing us any more fastballs this year."

: : :

"You're disbanding glee?" Holly screamed.

"I'm doing no such thing. On the other hand, as the head and sole member of the school board, I'm making drastic cuts to the extracurricular arts budget. Our standardized test scores are in the toilet and I need to repurpose those funds for academic courses. I expect you'll be the one disbanding glee since you don't have any money."

"What happened to that 'survival of the fittest' trash you were talking? Is this because we didn't place? The arts are important! And, yes, I sound like a cliché, but I've always used creative methods to educate kids. This isn't China, you know!"

"You need to settle down, Ms. Holliday."

Just then, Emma ran into the principal's office. "You're disbanding glee?"

Sue rolled her eyes. "Okay, tell Schuester I need a list of all his lovers because I'm tired of you banshees running into my office." Sue calmly explained, "Extracurriculars are just that: extra-curricular. They can raise their own funds. We need that money for core classes."

"I saw the budget, Sue. It's more than enough money."

"There's no such thing as too much money, Ms. Holliday. Your health classes and any other classes you choose to pick up will be well-funded."

"Wait, what classes am I picking up?"

Sue shrugged and sat back in her chair. "I don't know. Not my problem. Figgins is principal now. You'll have to talk to him about any classes you want to start." She watched Holly carefully and expectantly.

"Choir," Emma finally spoke.

Holly turned her head; Sue did not. "What?"

Emma could hardly speak fast enough to get her thoughts out. "Sandy Ryerson, before he was fired, taught a choir course seventh period. It was cut after his dismissal because no one volunteered to teach it, especially since it meant his budget would be redistributed. Certain people are just obsessed with budgets." She sneered at Sue, who sneered back, clearly wishing she hadn't already resigned her post.

"But Will picked it up."

"Will restarted the glee club, an extracurricular, afterschool activity," Emma explained needlessly, "He didn't pick up Sandy's choir course, because he taught AP Spanish IV that period."


"So, since there's a bunch of money floating around for new classes, if someone were to set up a choir course for next semester, and a certain twelve students left a spot open on their schedules for it, McKinley's New Directions could remain intact."

Sue leaned forward. "And, I, being on the school board, would have no power to affect the club in any way, because it wouldn't be a club; it would be a class, which is under the jurisdiction of the new principal, who especially if he's the bleeding heart type, would allow it."

"So that's it?" Holly wondered.

"No," Emma admitted, "It'd be just like your health class. You'd have to submit a full semester's curricular plan by July 15."

"I'll do it."

"Really?" Sue asked, "Because I've got a resignation letter here that says otherwise."

Emma looked to Holly. "What?"

Holly grabbed the letter and tore it in half. "Plans change. I'm not leaving the man I love without the one thing that makes his day bright. New Directions is still on."

"But you were going to take the other thing that makes his day bright?" Emma challenged.

"A lot of things make his day bright," Holly told Emma, eyeing her deeply.

"I'm making someone else's day bright," she replied half-heartedly, fiddling with her engagement ring.

"So, we're all set," Sue announced, with an evil smile.

"I can't even stand you, Sue," Emma growled. "Holly, one more caveat: the minimum. A class has to have fifteen members to keep."

"So it comes back to that damn recruitment issue."

"You've got until September 20th to pick up three new kids. I have faith in you."

: : :

Santana and Brittany, like most nights, were cradled in each others in bed at the Pierces' home. Unlike most nights, Santana was in a deep, dreamless sleep. Three furry lumps dotted the foot of the bed. Half a dozen notepads littered the floor, filled with lists of "Things 2 Fix".

On Brittany's nightstand sat an analog alarm clock, which ticked away the seconds. Tic tic tic tic…

A/N: I watched Country Strong. It had Gwyneth Paltrow in it and she sang. I forgot what my point was. I also watched Contagion, where she died in the first ten minutes. (Spoiler alert, except the trailers told you that.) It's not like I haven't seen her in other things, but I can't stop thinking of her as Holly Holliday in everything I watch.

So, this marks the end of Volume II. Originally, it was going to include some summer stories, but I'm pushing those to Volume III. After this, I'm going to take a brief hiatus from fanfiction, or this story at least, to finish my Glee novel. Once that gets past the writing stage, I'll return to this, spit out the summer stories, and start to work on Senior Year. It will take inspiration from Season 3, but only minimally. I've already got the overarching plots that I want.

I've set up a lot of it in this chapter, though you won't know it because so damn much of it is eerily similar to what's happening in Season 3 right now. I say 'eerily' because there are several plot points in Volume III that closely parallel Season 3 despite me writing brainstorming them months ago. I'm just as psychic as Santana.