Title: The Writing on the Walls
Author: TheMastress, or smartalli on LJ
Characters: Rachel/Puck, Santana, Quinn
Warnings: None that come to mind
Summary: She tries not to let it get to her, she really does. But when the cruel words are scratched into the bathroom stall she uses every week, and she's her fellow students' favorite whipping girl, it's hard not to let the words in.
Disclaimer: Don't own it. Not mine. Don't sue.
A/N: From a prompt from the Puckleberry drabble meme. Reviews are lovely and always appreciated. I'm sorry for anyone who reviewed one of my other fics and failed to get a response from me. The system is so screwy right now. So know you have my appreciation, even if I can't respond.
Rachel Berrys' mom should of had a abortion.
No matter how many times her eyes trace them, those words just don't get any nicer or more complimentary. Someone had carved them into the metal wall of the bathroom stall fairly recently. Rachel knows this because she uses this bathroom several times a week and the last time Rachel had used this specific stall was on Monday, after Chemistry class. The words hadn't been there then.
Her eyes trace them again.
Rachel Berrys' mom should of had a abortion.
She supposes she could take some comfort in the fact that whoever it is that carved them is clearly not as smart as she is, since they show very little skill in either grammar or punctuation, but it's a small comfort at best.
"God...I can't stand her."
"She's not that bad, Chelsea."
"What? Are you like a member of Rachel Berry's fan club now or something?"
"No...God, no. I'm just saying, she's not that bad."
Rachel hears a shuffling and she looks down at the floor under the stall door and sees a pair of black ballet flats come into view. "Whatever. That girl is such a freak. How the hell did she manage to get Puck?"
"Maybe she blackmailed him or something."
"Yeah, probably. I mean, why else would he date her?"
Two of the girls giggle and the third says, "Guys, c'mon. She's actually pretty nice. Maybe that's the reason he's dating her."
"Since when does Puck date nice girls? No, she's gotta be a charity case. Like he's dating her to work off some of his community service hours or something."
"God, how do you think he works around that nose when they're kissing? The thing's gigantic."
"I don't know, but he should definitely get a medal for being with her."
The door to the bathroom swings open and Rachel hears the three girls scurry out quickly. The door swings shut and a sink turns on briefly and Rachel lets out a sigh and drops her head into her hands.
She tries not to let it get to her, she really does. But when the cruel words are scratched into the bathroom stall she uses every week, and she's her fellow students' favorite whipping girl, it's hard not to let the words in. It's hard not to hear that she must be a charity case, or that her nose belongs on Mount Rushmore or that she should have never been born. And though she knows the person who carved those words on the stall wall couldn't possibly know about the painful "relationship" she has with her mother, Rachel just knows that those words hurt the most because in a way, they're true. Her mother doesn't want her. Rachel is too much work.
Rachel stands and takes a deep breath, smoothing down the front of her skirt and dabbing at the corners of her eyes with a square of toilet paper. Whoever it is that entered the bathroom a minute ago is still there, and though the words of those girls have certainly gotten to her, she would prefer it if this unnamed person didn't have any extra ammunition to throw at her. Her classmates do perfectly fine on their own without her help.
When Rachel opens the stall door, it's Santana she sees in front of the mirror, applying a coat of lipstick. Santana has stopped her previous outward taunting of Rachel – she no longer writes things on the bathroom wall or slushies her or yells insults at her down the hallway – but Rachel isn't sure what their relationship is, exactly. She knows they work toward a common goal, and both girls have been complimentary to one another in glee more than once, but does that mean they're friends?
Rachel steps up to the sink and washes her hands then pulls a paper towel out of the dispenser. When she turns back around, Santana is leaning against the sink, giving her a speculative look.
Rachel resists the urge to roll her eyes. "You tell me that every week, Santana."
"Well, yeah, but this time it has nothing to do with your skirt. Which is still hideous, by the way."
"No, you look...off. Something's off with you."
Just about the last thing Rachel has any desire to do right now is explain to Santana that the reason she's not feeling all that well has everything to do with the fact that even though she's dating one of the most popular boys in school, even though she is largely responsible for the glee club's success at Nationals – she noticed more than one person with tears in her eyes during her solo – and even though she goes out of her way to be nice to everyone, that people still treat her just as badly as they did before. Appearing weak in front of Santana has never been a good strategy for anyone.
"Are you getting sick?"
Rachel let out a deep breath. "Yes, that's it. I think I might be getting sick. I have an excellent immune system, you know, but every once in a while something creeps through. I imagine it has to do with the close quarters in which we find ourselves every week."
Santana just nods and the warning bell rings. "You're going to be late for class."
"Yes, thank you." Rachel throws away her paper towel and walks toward the door, stopping when she realizes Santana isn't behind her. "Aren't you coming? You'll be late for class too."
She scoffs and fluffs her hair in the mirror. "Like I care about being late. I have Collins this period. He'll pass anything in a skirt. Flash him a little panty and he'll give you an A."
"There are so many things wrong with that."
She shrugs. "What do I care? Not like the whole world didn't see my spankies when I was a Cheerio. It's the same damn thing."
"Besides, I hate doing work. This way he gets what he wants, and I get what I want." The bell rings again and Santana turns to look at her. "You're late."
Rachel rushes out of the bathroom and down the hall, toward Spanish class. Mr. Schuester won't be very happy that she's late, but since this is a rare occurrence for her, he'll most likely let it slide. She's proven right when she slips into class and he gives her a stern look but otherwise says nothing, simply nodding at her desk.
Rachel tries not to think about those girls and the words on the stall wall during the rest of her school day, but she finds them popping into her mind, haunting her.
Rachel Berrys' mom should of had a abortion.
In the middle of conjugating verbs in Spanish.
That girl is such a freak.
Five minutes into her history test.
God, how do you think he works around that nose when they're kissing?
When Ms. Ramirez asks, "Does anyone know what Twain meant?"
He should definitely get a medal for being with her.
She's thirty minutes into a lecture about covalent bonds when a student shows up at the front of a class and whispers something to her teacher, Mr. Tao. Mr. Tao looks up and says, "Rachel? The principle would like to see you. Why don't you go ahead and take your things with you."
She's confused but she nods and gathers her things. When she's done she follows the student through the halls toward Principle Figgins' office. He doesn't say anything, just walks in front of her with his hands in his pockets. She thinks about asking him whether he knows what this is in regards to, but he seems disinterested in talking to her, so she doesn't ask. When they get to the Admin offices he opens the door to the principal's office and walks away, leaving Rachel standing in the open doorway. (She thinks it's a little rude that he said neither hello nor goodbye to her, but she isn't shocked. She's come to realize over time that teenage boys with manners are rare beings.)
"You wanted to see me Principal Figgins?"
"Yes, Rachel. I want to show you something. Come with me, please."
She steps out of his office and he locks the door behind him. It's not until they're about ten feet away from the girl's restroom in the east hall that she figures out where they're headed. She's nervous, even though she has no real reason to be. It's hardly her fault that her classmates insist on writing unkind things about her on the walls of public restrooms. "What did you want to show me, Principal Figgins?"
"It's right in here, Rachel." He opens the door and waits for her. "After you."
She steps into the restroom and he follows after her, walking right over to the stall she'd been sitting in before Spanish class earlier in the day. He opens it with his hand flat on the door and gestures inside. "Do you want to explain this?"
Rachel is confused. Very, very confused. Why should she be punished because someone else carved something into a stall wall? Then she looks in the stall and sees not just the one, cruel sentence carved into the wall, but hundreds more, written in black permanent marker.
Rachel Berry has a gorgeous smile.
Rachel Berry has the most beautiful voice I've ever heard.
Rachel Berry makes awesome cookies.
Rachel Berry has legs for days.
Rachel Berry has a kind heart.
Rachel Berry has beautiful hair.
Rachel Berry is a star.
"I will ask again, Miss Berry. Do you have an explanation for this?"
She swallows and says, "Principle Figgins, I assure you I had no hand in writing any of this. I can provide you with a handwriting example if you don't believe me. And before you ask, no, I didn't put anyone else up to this either. This happened completely without my knowledge."
He frowns. "You realize I can't condone any damage done to school property."
"Of course. It is your duty as an educator to ensure a safe, positive environment for all your students."
"Yes, well...be sure nothing like this happens again."
"I promise to keep an eye out and alert you in the future, should I happen upon any vandalism at McKinley."
"See that you do."
He leaves and Rachel watches him go before she walks into the bathroom stall and closes it behind her, laying a toilet seat cover down on the toilet seat before she sits down. She reaches out and touches one sentence after another, and can't help the tears that start. She touches a picture that had to be drawn by Brittany, since it involves a unicorn and a rainbow, and she doesn't know what that has to do with her, but she loves it all the same.
She loves all of them.
The bell rings and Rachel stays where she is, reading the walls and listening as girls go in and out of the restroom. It's the end of classes, and Rachel doesn't know how long Principal Figgins will allow the words to stay on these walls, so she wants to sit with them just a little while longer before she heads out to glee rehearsal. After a few minutes the sounds of her fellow students die down and she stands up and pulls out her cell phone, taking as many pictures as she can of the walls and the door. She wants to hold onto this feeling for as long as she can.
Rachel takes the handle of her bag in her hand and walks down the hallway and feels lighter than she has in a long time. So when she walks into glee and sees Santana sitting in her chair, texting someone, Rachel can't resist the urge to drop her bag, walk over, and wrap her arms around the Latina.
She's sure doing this will open her up to possible physical harm, but Rachel hugs the other girl anyway. Santana needs to know how much she appreciates what she did, needs to know that her kindness has not been overlooked, so Rachel reasons that any physical retribution would be more than worth it.
But Santana just sits there and lets her hug her, and then after a few moments gives her a small squeeze before backing off and removing Rachel's arms.
"How did you know?"
Santana scoffs and keeps texting. "Please. Rachel Berry thinks she might be sick and isn't freaking out about it? Not possible."
"Well, thank you Santana. You're a good person."
She snorts. "Yeah. Okay."
"Dude...didn't they just restock the vending machines yesterday? How are they out of Nacho Cheese Doritos already?"
Rachel hops up from her chair and dashes across the choir room, jumping up into Noah's arms.
He wraps his arms around her and says, "Hey, baby. Not that I don't love it any time your body is this close to mine, but what's the occasion?"
"I'd recognize your handwriting anywhere, Noah."
She puts her chin on his chest and he hugs her a little tighter. "Yeah, well, whoever wrote that's a fuckin' idiot. Just thought you should know that."
She pulls back and asks, "Do you really think I have the most beautiful voice you've ever heard?"
"C'mon...you know you do."
She smiles shyly.
"Oh please...get a room."
Quinn walks by with a roll of the eyes and Puck goes to retort when he sees Mike walk in, open bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos in his hand. "Yeah, babe...I want to continue this, but..."
She rolls her eyes and gives him a smile. "Go ahead."
He kisses her quickly and jogs over toward Mike, who, seeing Puck, is now trying to hide his bag of chips behind his back. Rachel looks over at the seats and sees Quinn sitting in the top row, her legs crossed, and she makes a decision. As Quinn pulls out her cell phone, Rachel walks up to the top row and sits down next to the blonde, crossing her hands in her lap.
When it appears Rachel is just going to sit there, Quinn sighs, lowers her phone, and asks, "Can I help you with something?"
"It's very sweet, what you wrote about me."
Quinn looks back down at her phone. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"You have very distinctive a's. And you have loops in your l's and t's."
Quinn sighs again, dropping her shoulders and looking over at Rachel. "Look, don't make it into this big thing, okay? I just wrote the truth."
Rachel smiles at her. "Rachel Berry is a star."
Quinn lifts her eyebrows. "Like I said...all I did was write the truth."
Rachel leans forward and wraps her arms around Quinn and the blonde stiffens.
"Can't you just make me some cookies or something?"
Rachel's arms tighten around the other girl and Quinn sighs.
"I guess not."
Here's the prompt from the puckrachel drabble meme: Some selfish person was gossiping about a girl by writing on the bathroom wall. The next day, the whole wall was covered by comments saying how wonderful the girl that was gossiped about was. (Taken from Gives Me Hope)