She's The Twelfth Man

(a Glee retelling of Twelfth Night/She's The Man)

rating: M

characters: Rachel Berry & Noah Puckerman

genres: Romance/Humour

prevalent ships featured: Puckleberry, St. Fabray, Klaine, Brittana & Tike

minor ships featured: Finchel, St. Berry, St. Corazon, Quick & Pezberry/Berrittana

When Principal Sue Sylvester disbands McKinley High School's glee club, citing 'lack of interest' as the reason, Broadway-destined junior Rachel Berry is devestated. McKinley's long time adversaries – Vocal Adrenaline – are not interested in recruiting her since her one-time boyfriend, full-time best friend Jesse St. James graduated from their school and their shaky allegiance ended.

Luckily for Rachel, a new spot has opened at the prestigious private school her old friend Kurt attends; Dalton Academy. She's perfect for that all-important twelfth position in their now lacking glee club – the Warblers – with her killer voice, impressive dancing abilities, intense leadership qualities and radiating enthusiasm. But there's one small, minute, absolutely microscopic element of her DNA that doesn't quite fit with the rest of the criteria needed to attend Dalton Academy; a Y chromosome.


Prologue

The first tinkling notes of a ballad play out in the darkness, a familiar melody that once was only a ghost of a symphony in her mind. The audience are completely silent as she steps onto the stage, the yellow beam of light slicing through the darkened theatre and onto her mark. She has done this a hundred times, even on this very stage, yet she can't come up with an explanation as to why her chest suddenly tightens or why her first instinct is to run backstage and away from the spotlight. This wasn't how it was supposed to go.

She hears a minor chord, and knows that's her cue to pull herself together and get ready to sing. Her classmates are waiting in the wings, encouraging smiles pulled onto their faces like carnival masks – but their nervous and apprehensive eyes are all she can focus on. They don't trust her to do this. They don't trust her at all. She wouldn't expect them to after everything that has happened, but she's still the same person. Just a different name.

There's one bar in the introduction to go before she has to sing, and for the first time, she doesn't want the solo. It's so irrelevant now to everything she wants. Her getting this solo feels wrong; it's a lie. There's so many people who deserve it more than she does, and didn't have to lie to get it. She casts a glance at these people as they wait on either side of the stage, fixing and altering their outfits for a final time. They each offer her weary smiles before turning away. She deserves that.

But her eyes settle on Noah's, just as the introduction is coming to its close. She can hear the faint beating of the drum and the determined, dramatic sound of the brass band as they build to a crescendo and she knows her part comes next.

She knows the melody perfectly. She knows the words better than any other lyric she has performed.

But as she stands there, she can't seem to take her eyes off his or her mind off the night he wrote the words that once meant so much to both of them.

The music stalls, her cue is missed. The piano tries to repeat the bar, to build it up again, but again, she doesn't sing.

He seems to know what she's doing, and she thinks she sees the determination in his eyes falter a little, almost soften.

She can't sing this song anymore.

It was never meant to be a solo.