Change of Directions
Genre: Romance, Humor with a slight dash of Angst at appropiate times
Pairings: Faberry. Brittana. Puckleberry bromance, Pezberry sismance
Disclaimers: The usual. Don't own anything.
Summary: AU. Rachel grew up in New York instead of Lima and under this different circumstance, she's developed a more badass character. When she gets sent to Lima, so she can bond with her birth mother Shelby, lots of lives are changed on the way and maybe even some stupid school hiearchies.
AN: This is the first chapter of a long, exhausting ride. I hope you are prepared.
"Are you sure that you don't want me to drive you to you scho -"
"Yeah, just give me your car keys," I interrupted her harsher than I had intended to, receiving a hurt look in return. I didn't mean to snap at her, but it was partially her fault that I was stuck in Lima now and that sucked, real hard. Out of all the places in the USA, my biological mother had to live in Lima, Ohio. That I could find it on Google Maps did surprise me a bit.
"Which one?" Shelby, my birth mom, asked. She held out two car keys. "The Range Rover or the Escalade?"
I arched my eyebrows at this. "Don't you have a car that doesn't scream 'Bust my windows'?"
Shelby drew her lips to a thin line in irritation, like I had asked her this question a thousand times.
"I've told you to attend Carmel High, where everyone drives Range Rovers!" she sighed, visbily annoyed. I rolled my eyes at this. We had discussed this over and over and I still didn't want to go to a school where she would be hanging around all day. It was enough if we saw each other from late afternoon to the next morning, I didn't need to encounter her in the school hallways, too.
"No, only the members of Vocal Adrenaline drive Range Rovers." I knew all about her very generous sponsors.
"Yes and the rest drives Escalades," Shelby replied like it was obvious, with her hands on her hips and a stern look plastered on her face, "McKinley High is a joke. A school that doesn't support musical education, I don't know what's wrong with the headmaster."
"I don't care. This school's nearer than Carmel and I'm only going there for a year, so what difference does it make? By the way, I'll take the motorcycle."
Before Shelby could block my way to the keys hanging on the wall, I reached around her and snatched the keys to her Ducati. When I had first seen the bike stand in her garage, I had rubbed my eyes twice and pinched myself. But then I had remembered that she used to be young, rich and foolish, too. And that was where our first and only resemblance could be found. And that precious baby was apparently a souvenir of Shelby's 'wild days'.
Grabbing my backpack off the floor with the other hand, I quickly skipped out of the house to stride in long paces to the garage.
"You are not old enough to drive and you don't even have a driving licence for this!" I heard Shelby shouting after me.
"Don't worry, I took yours," I yelled back, swinging one leg over the Ducati.
"What? You'll never pass for 35!"
Ignoring her and biting back a snide remark that she was no way just 35, I put on the matching black helmet which looked as badass as thebike. Keys in ignition, one swift kick and the motor was growling in a low, deep bass which vibrated through my whole body. I smoothly rolled out of the garage, not wanting to scratch the Range Rover parking next to it.
"And do you even know how to drive it?"
Startled, I saw Shelby waiting outside the garage with her arms crossed, a sceptical look on her face, which did have lots of resemblance to mine. She really was just the older version of me.
I pushed the tinted visor up, so she could see me smirking at her and I turned the engine off to hear her better. "Learned it from YouTube. Took me a few scratches and wounds to finally get it right, but our house in the suburbs of New York turned out to be useful after all."
Shelby looked unconvinced and didn't hesitate to doubtingly ask again, "And if the police stopped you? How do you explain the age difference between you and that photo on my driving licence?"
Now she was being downright pessimistic and I let her know that by rolling my eyes.
"First," I said, raising one gloved finger (I do care for safety cause I attract injuries like a magnet), "does Lima even have something like a police station? Second," I added another finger, "I'll just tell them that I had a face lift or something. And third," I quickly continued before Shelby could indignantly interrupt me, "I'll be too fast for them to catch me. Bye, have a good day!"
With that, I pushed my visor down, kicked the Ducati to life again and sped off. I didn't have to look into the sideview mirror to imagine a horrified Shelby standing there with her arms slack to her sides.
"One little sratch on my baby and I'll kill you!"
I barely could hear her in the fast increasing distance.
She'd get over it. She'd have to because things like that were going to happen more often now that I was here. I guess she needed to find a way to deal with it. After all, it was her wonderful idea to let my fathers send me to Lima to spend a whole – let me repeat it for dramatic effect - a whole year in a hicktown. I really didn't mean to be rude, but - I was from New York City. You grew up with lots of self-confidence surrounding you, it was literrally in the air, in the subways, on the streets, in the cabs...
I stopped my train of thoughts when the building of McKinley High came into my view. I hadn't expected for the school to be so near Shelby's place. I drove behind the school to find an abandoned place to park the motorcycle. Maybe riding an expensive motorcycle to school wasn't such a good idea either, but at least it was smaller than a SUV and easier to hide behind some trash container.
Upon entering the school, the first sight to greet me were masses of blurry faces in the hallways, none of them acknowledging my existance. For now, it was a good thing. Nothing felt worse than being singled out as the new kid the moment your feet touched unknown school ground. And I intended to build a reputation that would let them quickly forget that I was just "the new kid".
I had to find the headmaster's office first, maybe that jock in his red and white letterman jacket holding a slushie cup could point me the way. But then he turned away and walked up to someone from behind and that someone was still taking out books out of his locker. That was when I understood what the jock had in mind after I had caught a glimpse of his sneering expression.
Not with me, son of a -, there was nothing I despised more than sneakily attacking someone from behind and not giving them a chance to defend themselves.
"Really, dip shit? Slushies from behind? You don't have balls or what?" I said loudly after I had walked up to his backside.
The jock turned around in surprise, obviously not used to being talked to like that. But when his beady little eyes landed on me, his expression changed back into his sneer, which I really wanted to wipe off his face. I knew I was two heads shorter than him and maybe the big height difference gave him a false sense of security and confidence, but I didn't let that bother me. The more he underestimated me, the more fatal for him.
"Do I know you?" he slowly said with a crooked smirk, looking around to see if there was a crowd to witness his power over the seemingly weak ones. Well, if they wanted to see someone get humiliated, they could have it.
"No, I don't think so," I replied sweetly, before hitting the bottom of his slushie cup, effectively knocking the icy content into his shocked face. The mix of ice and corn syrup was dripping off his face as well as his sneer. I think I slushied some of his ego along with it, because the small crowd he wanted to impress was impressed now, but not by him.
"But I bet you're gonna remember me now." I said, to add to his humiliation. Halfway wanting to leave, I turned back to him and saw him still trying to process what had happened. "Oh, and tell your mom I'm sorry that she's gotta wash your jacket now. Tell her to wash it twice, maybe that stench of misery will get out then."
Now that I had made my point, I turned to smugly stride away. I heard foot steps nearing me and for one second I thought it was the jock trying to pull some sneaky stunt from behind again, but these foot steps were too light to belong to a giant idiot.
I stopped walking so whoever that was could catch up with me.
I turned around to see a thin, well dressed boy who embodied the stereotype of a gay man. And when I took a closer look, I recognized him as the almost-victim of the slushie attack. Guess I had saved his designer jacket.
"Are you new here?" he asked politely and even his voice was so cliche, high-pitched with a gay touch.
"Me, new? Nah. But you all are new to me. This school's new to me. Lima's new to me. I'm just same old me," I dryly said and I had tried real hard not to be ironic about it but it slipped out. This whole live-in-Lima-for-one-year thing was starting to get to me and now, after I had spent ten minutes in this lame school, I think I had seen enough. Even the supposed to be 'cool jock' couldn't come up with a better prank than slushie facials.
"It's okay, being the new kid is always hard, you just need time to adjust to here," the boy said with sympathy. "I'm Kurt Hummel, I actually wanted to thank you for saving me. Well, not really me, but my jacket. It's my favorite and it's unique, designed by -"
"- one of the gazillion designers who all claim to be unique." I stopped him before he could ramble. I knew fashion and I knew the trends, I was living in New York City for god's sake and you couldn't be not fashionable if you regularly paid attention to what the people wore on the streets or sometimes looked through a magazine.
The slightly hurt look on his face didn't go unnoticed by me and I felt bad for rudely cutting him off, when all he tried was being nice and making small talk. I gave him a small smile.
"What I tried to say, was, you're welcome. I'm sorry, didn't have such a good week. You're really okay."
That made him smile again. "Thanks. But I have to tell you though, you just messed with one of the biggest jocks in this school. His name's Karofsky."
My expression went slack at that and I pointed over my shoulder, my left eye twitching comically. "That giant idiot who doesn't even dare to put a single toe out of his closet?"
Kurt reacted quite astonished, which confirmed what I had said.
"Wow, how do you know?" he asked, intrigued.
"Yeah, the stench of misery..." I sighed with a dirty grin and Kurt took a second to follow, but then his eyes lit up and mirrored my smirking expression. I liked him. Even if he was the stereotype of gay, he wasn't afraid of showing it. And I learned that this meant a lot in Lima. Hell, it meant a lot in Ohio.
"Just to be sure," I quickly said, "are you -"
"Straddling the rainbow? Yes." I grinned at that. Straddling the rainbow. Couldn't have said it better myself, that guy was really starting to grow on me.
"Well, you could have been super metrosexual. Who knows. Why do we still label ourselves?" I said, shrugging and earning an admiring glance from Kurt.
"Yes, I am saying this all the time! People should stop categorizing us! Wait – is it only my watch or do we really have classes in two minutes?" he suddenly said, after his eyes had strayed to his watch, since he was gesturing wildly with his arms to make a point.
I shrugged my shoulders since I had no watch and this school was too poor to have a clock in every hallway. "Why don't you go to your class? I'll have to talk to the headma-"
"Ahh, what do we have here? A new kid! In McKinley High! I thought I had already scared all the parents with potential new students away from this school..."
A middle aged woman in a tracksuit was nearing us and I muttered out of the corner of my mouth to Kurt, "Who's that?"
But before he could reply, the woman with the crazed look was already standing in front of me.
"Who chained you by your brains and forced you to go to this school?" she lowly hissed. Seriously, I wasn't in the right mood to throw my sass at her like I would normally do in a confrontation, so I just raised my eyebrows unimpressed and replied in a bored tone, "No one. Came here voluntarily."
"Liar," she breathed heavily into my face, making me pull a grimace and take a few steps back.
"Who had you drugged, kidnapped and thrown into this school?"
Was she serious? I looked at Kurt for help but he shrugged helplessly.
It was time for a drastic measure. I pulled my backpack to me, opened it and stuck my arm in it, searching for my solution.
"I swear, if you pull out a gun, I will make you swallow your bullet first."
I ignored the madwoman and took out what I had searched for. That seemed to confuse her.
"What are these? Ecstacy? I don't have nerve buds to stimulate, I can't feel them. You can't bribe me," she said, crossing her arms.
I rolled my eyes and showed her the writing on the pill bottle I just took out.
"Painkillers. For horses. I always slip one of these into my teacher's coffee when he starts to become an agressive ass. Which means everyday."
That was when Kurt, who still hadn't gone to his first class, hesitantly rejoined our conversation.
"Er, I don't think that these painkillers are any good for humans..."
I looked at him thoughtfully. "You're right. But he's not human and," I turned to the madwoman again, "by the look in your soulless eyes, neither are you."
I had expected an outraged reaction or any reaction at all, but she only gave me a scanning look. Kurt cleared his throat.
"Just to be sure," he tentatively added and I grinned at the familiarity of this sentence, "you do know that death could be the result of overdose."
I chuckled at this, "Yeah, I know, one of the best side effects."
"And you don't think that your teacher is going to die if you keep doing that?"
I gave him an indignant look. "I hope so! I'm not stealing it monthly for nothing!"
Completely forgotten about the crazy woman in her tracksuit, we both startled when she suddenly exclaimed, "That is absolutely -"
Even I didn't see that one coming; I didn't need someone holding a mirror to my face to imagine my dumbfounded expression. And my new gay friend, who seemed to have experience with that strange woman, just looked at her warily.
"Have we been listening to the same conversation?"
He got ignored by the short haired woman, whose eyes were now focused on me, scanning my face.
"Kid, where have you been all my life? If I weren't so sure that I never had sex with something male, I would have believed that you're the lost daughter I gave away the second my eggcell got inseminated! What's your name?"
Now I understood the wary look on Kurt's face and I was to hundred percents sure that I wore the same expression.
"Rachel. Rachel Berry."
"OK, Ray that is."
I didn't even make an attempt to protest. I just shared a confused look with Kurt. What was she going to do? Why the sudden change of her behaviour?
She suddenly put her arm around me and I was too tired to fight her.
"You know what, Ray, I have a wonderful feeling that this is the start of a new, sick and twisted friendship. Follow me. Hummel, go to class."
Kurt gave me a pitiful look before he left me alone with that crazy woman. How could he? I thought we were friends! At that moment, the school bell rang.
"What about me? Don't I have to go to class, too?" I cautiously asked her, but she waved it off. "Nah, you're with me, kid. No teacher hates his life so much to mess with me when I don't want to be messed with."
"And the headmaster?"
That made her only more amused.
"Psh, everyone knows that I am the one ruling this school. I'll cut his welcome speech short to the basics. Killing, stabbing and masturbating is not allowed on school grounds, the canteen lady is a transvestite, the food in the canteen is poisoned and the best thing about this sad school am I, Sue Sylvester, Coach of the Cheerleaders, Guinness world record holder for having the most trophies. Ever. And besides 251 trophies and medallions, I've collected three pinkies and one middle finger in separate jars."
I cringed at that. Really?
"I know! Cheerleading injuries. Maybe I should have given them their fingers back...their cartwheels are quite sloppy now. But if they think that this is hard, then they should wander around in desert for one week with only a bottle of motor oil filled with nails and grinded cockroaches in their backpacks."
This was quite tiring to listen to. "You didn't really experience this, did you?" I half asked, half stated it as a fact. I watched her expression still stay the same, hard and intimidating to anyone who didn't see through her like I did.
"No," she said shortly after a pause, "but it would've been hard."
I rolled my eyes. Again. I couldn't stay with her any longer or her madness would start to get to my mind.
"Coach Sylvester, while I really appreciate our new friendship, I have to find the headmaster. The real one."
Sylvester snarled at this. "Pah, you don't need him. He's as important as the rat's nest under my bed."
I ignored the urge to shudder in disgust and slowly replied, "I'd like to try my new painkillers on him, would that be alright? These pills are from Columbia."
Her expression changed at once. She smiled sadistically and patted me on my shoulder.
"I'm starting to doubt my non-pregnancy. Go, kid, do what I would have done, too, if the police didn't already suspect me to plan a lethal attack on Figgins."
I sighed in relief when I got away from her. Scary, I first thought, then, Lima did have police officers.