A/N: I own none of this, not the songs, not the movie, not the characters, and certainly not the music that is everywhere.
A/N 2: The number of favorites has inspired me to write a second chapter; thank you all, you are the rhythm I follow :) I have the general idea that I'll be going with this, but welcome suggestions. Also, if you're wondering, M chapters will come after plot and tension develop; you have that to look forward to!
Beca awoke the next morning slumped over her computer and sound equipment. Her neck was stiff and mind still foggy from dreams of dodging bullets, walking tremendous distances, wanderlust and love. She heard the low murmur of conversation outside her open window, and it created a dull backbeat to Kimmy Jin's ruffling of papers at her desk. Of course she was awake and studying, it was nearly 9am, which was the Korean noon as her roommate always reminded her. Stretching her arms and yawning, Beca did her best to ignore her cohabitant's disapproving glare. Rolling her eyes, Beca readjusted the wires to her headphones and placed her latest mash up on low volume repeat, collapsing ungracefully back into bed. As the music flowed into her, visions of curly red hair and vibrant blue eyes moved with the rhythm of her mix, and Beca drifted off as she tried not to think about what all of this might mean.
The next thing Beca knew, her father was giving her an ultimatum about joining a club, and in her half conscious stupor, she agreed because he said if she made an effort, at the end of the year he'd help her move to L.A. That was the end goal, of course, because she needed to start paying her dues to the record industry. It wasn't too terrible of a deal; how difficult could it be to get involved? It's not like she'd actually have to enjoy it, just pretend to like it long enough for her father to meet his end of the bargain.
She made her way to the shower, contemplating what club she should join. As she turned the water on, thoughts of Chloe, the gorgeous red head with the voice that sounded like liquid smiles came flooding back. As the warm water poured over her, her mind absently started replaying the scene from the night before. Perfect teeth, spot on pitch and timbre, perky breasts, porcelain skin marked by dainty freckles, and those stunning bright blue eyes. Like staccato notes, they pierced Beca's soul, forcing her into an exchange of eye contact that simultaneously had left her feeling both safe and exposed. "See you at auditions," the girl had called before leaving Beca. Auditions...for that acapella group, the Barden somethings. Belles or something equally southern. Not that it mattered; at this point all that mattered to Beca was satisfying her end of the deal with her father. If in doing so she was able to spend some more time with Chloe, well, that was a bonus. But why did she want to spend time with her? With all the daydreaming and thoughts it was as if she had a crush on her! But that was ridiculous logic, right? Chloe was too upbeat and cheerful, too sweet, too straight and yet...Beca's eyes snapped open and soap ran into them. "Fuck!" She uttered, closing them just as quickly, wiping frantically at them, knocking over her shower caddy in the process. "You okay in there?" the now familiar voice of the red haired singer melodically traveled through the thing barrier of polyurethane, and seemed to dance with Beca's pulse. "Uh, yeah, I'm good," Beca hurriedly replied, hoping that there wouldn't be a repeat of last night. Not that she didn't want to catch another glimpse of the older girl, but because she needed time to process these thoughts she was having. Once she worked it out through music she would understand; tempos, rhythm, notes, sounds, those were the things that made sense to Beca. Words and thoughts so often were misleading or confusing, but songs made sense; they were somehow real, and were the best way she had to think about her feelings. She heard singing from the stall across from hers, and Beca closed her eyes and let Chloe's voice wash over her, losing herself in the splash of Regina Spektor's Folding Chair.
For Beca, sexuality was a lot like music; it was fluid, it came from within, and it there was always beauty to be found if you lookedl. Part of what allowed her to excel at mash-ups was her diverse and eclectic musical tastes. She never limited herself to genres, and preferred instead to listen to an individual song, let the lyrics and beats speak to her, and if it sparked within her, she accepted that. So, too, for people; sex and gender were genres she refused to limit herself by, and instead listened to the rhythm of the person. If she liked the music within, she'd think about how their songs might combine. Some mash-ups were stranger than others, and yet no past reprises had come close to Chloe. She was undeniably attractive, of that Beca was sure, but everything about her personality seemed contrariwise to Beca's. She was bubbly and cute, peppy and popular. She was timpanis and flutes to Beca's electric riffs and bass beats. Their songs couldn't possibly combine, and yet there was that DJ that somehow managed to combine Stevie Wonder and Metallica into an amazing mash up called Sad but Superstitious. Sometimes the most unlikely combinations end up creating the most beautiful melodies. With a smile, Beca thought about how their song, the song of BeChloe, would sound and the rhythm inside her began a slow crescendo. As Beca walked back to her room, her mind raced with ideas for a new mix.
Hours later she stood up from her laptop and ejected the flash drive that held her mix from last night, as well as a few others. What each mix had in common was that they all blended two seemingly different bands into a singular melodic harmony. Spektor's Folding Chair and Calvin Harris's Feel so Close was inspired directly by Chloe's impromptu vocal performance that afternoon. Stretching, Beca rose from her chair and glanced at the clock. It was dinner time, and she had yet to eat today. Auditions for the acapella groups were at 7, and if she hurried she could grab a quick bite on her way. She slid the small flash drive into her pocket, and headed out to the Italian Kitchen, the campus dining facility closest to the auditorium and with the most edible fare.
She arrived to the auditions late, and could hear Kelly Clarkson's Since You've Been Gone rolling out of the wings and through the hallway. Not wanting to sing such an over the top number alone, when prompted to sing something Beca did the first thing she could think of and (much to the chagrin of the blonde leader) began a rhythm on the bottom of an upturned empty plastic cup. Seeing Chloe's look of awe and amazement forced Beca to look away as she sang, because the short notes from those blue eyes were just too much to take in with so many spectators. As she walked out of the auditorium, she passed by the two older Bellas discussing the performances. On impulse, following the rhythm, Beca quietly and secretly snuck the flash drive into Chloe's purse while Chloe was talking to the blonde about the auditions. She didn't know why she did it, but it seemed right. After all, the music on the drive was inspired by the red head. Whether Chloe knew it or not, it was their soundtrack.