When the Head Cheerio Falls in Love, You Don't Question It
Rachel giggled at a joke Brittany told as Quinn put her hair up into a ponytail. "Thanks Q," she said.
"No problem. Hey, isn't that the new chick?" she asked, pointing to a girl with glasses and a Story of the Year tour shirt.
"Her name's Santana, I think," Rachel said, nodding. She stared down the hallway to where the girl was struggling with her books.
"I heard she's some sort of genius or something," Brittany said.
"You'd think she'd know to bring a bigger backpack if she was a genius," Quinn replied.
Rachel watched as a herd of volleyball girls came down the hall. One of them pushed Santana into the lockers. They laughed as her books went flying. Rachel glared and marched toward them. "Apologize," she snapped.
"Make us, Berry—Ow!"
"Don't talk to my captain like that," Quinn said, calmly twisting the girl's ear. "You made Santana drop her books. Apologize."
"See," Rachel said when Quinn released the girl. "Not so hard. Now move along." She stared at them as they passed. "Hey, you okay?" she asked Santana.
"S-sure," the girl stammered.
"Walk with me to lunch?"
"See you later, awesome blondes!" Rachel called to Brittany and Quinn.
As the two brunettes walked away, Quinn whispered to Brittany, "Oh, she's got it bad for the geek."
Brittany giggled and took her hand as they walked to their study hall.
"So…where are we going?" Santana asked.
"I figured we'd eat in the choir room—away from the crazies. That way we can talk."
"W-what did you want to talk about?" Santana asked nervously. It was that critical period—the first week at a new school. She'd done this all before, seeing as both of her parents were in the military, and she knew to not let her guard down until she'd found at least two allies.
"Calm down," Rachel said gently. "I just…noticed that the denizens of McKinley High were giving you the normal welcome. And I thought you could use a friend."
"Cheerleaders aren't usually this nice," Santana muttered.
"How many high schools have you been to?"
"Yep. It doesn't help that everyone kind of thinks I'm a freak."
"I have a super good memory—like 98 percent recall or something like that. And when I get into a subject I know, I tend to ramble. And…well, there's other stuff," she mumbled, averting her eyes.
Rachel smiled. "That's cute."
Santana blushed, then jumped as the door banged open.
"Yo, Rachel—oh, sorry. Didn't know you were talking."
"It's cool, Finn. Hey Sam."
"Hey Rae! We just wanted to see if you wanted a slushie. The machine is broken and it's on permanent 'pour' mode."
"I'll take Tropical Blue. You want one, Tana?"
The new girl shook her head, watching the boys.
"Oh right…Finn, Sam, this is Santana. Santana, these two are on the football team. They're in glee club with me too."
"We're co-captains," Sam said. "Anyway, we're going back to the cafeteria. Catch you two later."
"He seems nice," Santana said.
"He is. They both are."
"So…are you…dating one of them?"
"Who, one of the guys? Whoa, no," Rachel said, laughing. "No, I…play for the other team, shall we say…."
"Really?" Santana asked, praying she didn't sound as hopeful as she felt.
The bell rang.
"What class do you have next?"
"Spanish with Mr. Schuester."
"God help you," Rachel said, laughing. "He's awful at it. Fantastic glee teacher…needs to give up foreign languages for good."
Santana laughed for the first time since she'd transferred here.
It took three weeks—Quinn owed Brittany dinner, because she thought it would only take one. Three weeks, and the whole school was buzzing about Rachel freaking Berry dating the new girl. No one gave them too hard of a time though. When the head Cheerio falls in love, you don't fucking question it.
The Cheerios gave Rachel a lot of good-natured teasing for swooping in, knight-on-a-white-charger style. Rachel laughed, and just made sure that all of them had Santana's back.
The entire geek population of McKinley absolutely revered their new leader with the eidetic memory. Things had gotten slightly better for them, now that one of their own was on the top of the social ladder.
The glee club welcomed Santana with open arms (okay, semi-open arms. There were a few jealous glares...). Rachel had sat with a look somewhere between pride and absolute smugness as Santana sang "Anytime You Need a Friend" for her tryout. She'd gotten a standing ovation—Mr. Schue had actually cried.
"So," Quinn asked. Brittany had demanded a double date that Friday, so the four of them were chilling at Breadstix. "Shaping up to be a good year?"
"The best," Santana said, smiling at Rachel. "Let's just hope I don't have to move."
"If you do, you can just run away and stay with me," Rachel told her. "Having your own wing of the house has its perks."
"Oh, I bet," Brittany mumbled.
The girls laughed, and debated possible Sectionals songs as they waited for their food.