No Glee until Nov. 1st, so we'll have to post this fan fic we found!
Rachel was off by herself, and “by herself” was how she was mostly found these days, practicing. In the distance, she could hear the boys running football drills. The clash of their pads and their grunts and shouts seemed like far off meteorites striking some far off planet. “That’s where I belong,” she sighed aloud, “another planet.” With effort, she composed herself and began to sing. Music was her refuge. Music was her escape.
Her voice was strong and clear. The misty morning seemed to catch each note in a drop of dew, and it seemed to reflect back to her. Each word she sang seemed to hang for a moment, shimmering in the air. She lived for experiences like these. She felt like she was the Little Mermaid singing teapots and flowers to life. When she was in what Mr. Schue called “good voice” she felt like she could make a nightingale blush.
At times like these all of the isolation and competition and hard work were worth it. And yet…and yet. Something was missing.
Her foot struck something solid in the grass.
It broke the spell.
She bent down to pick it up. It was a rock — a small pebble, really — but it looked to her at that exact moment and in that exact light like a little dog. There was a little crack where a happy puppy smile would be, and the rock was chipped to look like two alert ears. There was even a thin, sandy tail. How lucky. How very lucky to find a puppy pebble.
Her dress had no pockets, so she held it in her palm and walked back toward the football field. Finn would be done soon, and she wanted to be with him. She wanted to listen to him talk about himself. She loved when she could just forget about her own problems and let someone else’s wash over her. She loved to lose herself.
As she arrived at the field, practice seemed not to be over. In fact, it seemed as active and violent as ever. She took a seat in the bleachers next to Kurt. He smiled as she approached. Rachel loved Kurt. It was so…relaxing to be with him. He projected such a quiet…strength. Not the kind of strength Finn was displaying on the field right now, but a strength of character. He was himself and he let her be herself.
“Can you believe they added an hour to football practice today?” asked Kurt, “We don’t get extra practice for glee club.”
“No,” she smiled, “we don’t,” she snuggled up next to him and put her head on his shoulder.
“Well,” said Kurt, “I don’t give a Hoover dam. I don’t give a Grand Cooley dam.”
Rachel smiled and played along. “I don’t give a Jean Claude van Damme!” she laughed.
Kurt applauded with short, happy claps. “Well, played, girl,” he said. “High five!”
He held his hand up, and when she met it with her own, the pebble fell.
“Oh!” she cried.
It had fallen under the bleachers. Under the bleachers was where the bad kids were. It was dark under there.
“What happened?” asked Kurt, his face filled with the same concern a women in a carpet cleaning commercial gets when a glass of wine has been spilled, “You look so suddenly sad all of a sudden.”
“It was my puppy pebble,” she said.
“O...k,” said Kurt, “All I know is if I dropped my puppy pebble, even if it went all the way to hell, all the way to the lake of fire, I wouldn’t give an Aswan High dam who tried to stop me. I’d go get it.”
Rachel said she guessed she better.
She got up, descended the bleachers and made her way around the back. The entrance that led to the space underneath yawned, black and foreboding. She shivered thinking about Kurt’s mention of hell. Sometimes she could be very superstitious for no reason. She thought about her puppy pebble lying all alone down there and her heart filled with empathy. Steeling herself, she walked in.
She was consumed in shadow.
It was foolish, she thought, to have figured she could find anything here in the dark. Was she supposed to feel around in the damp earth and grass and spilled soda and who knew what else? Why hadn’t she prepared? That was Rachel, Rachel thought, always rushing into things.
There was a sudden glow.
Someone had opened a cell phone. It was a flip phone like a poor person would have — or an old person. The face that appeared in the blue (ghostly?) light wasn’t an old person’s, though. It was Quinn’s face. Quinn’s young face.
“Oh!” said, Rachel.
“What are you doing down here, little mouse?” said Quinn. “This is where the cats live. You don’t want to be down here for long, little mouse.”
Rachel felt funny. It was a mixture of dizzy and sleepy and alert all at once. She felt very far away from herself. She felt very unsure. Quinn, a girl she knew very well, seemed suddenly to be someone she didn’t know at all.
“Well,” said Rachel, “I came down here for a…rock…I dropped.”
Quinn raised an eyebrow.
“You came into my house looking for a rock?” she smiled, “No rocks here, little mouse. You should probably turn around and go back to Mouseville.”
Rachel knew none of this made sense. Why was Quinn talking this way? Why hadn’t her eyes adjusted to the dim light under the bleachers? Why did she feel cold in the pit of her stomach?
She ran. She ran and didn’t look back.
The rest of the day was a blur. She drifted through class, drifted through lunch with Puck and Finn, drifted through glee club. Did she sing? Did she sleep? She felt so far away. She felt so…high in the air. Was she a cloud now? Was she Rachel the cloud? She even saw Quinn once in the hallway, but Quinn didn’t say anything.
Homework. Did she do it? Dinner. Did she eat it?
Soon, she was in bed. She dreamed the space under the bleachers was a cave, and the feel of her blankets on her body made her dream she was a cave woman wearing furs, strange furs from a strange animal. Quinn was there too, and Quinn wore furs, but the furs seemed to be her skin. Was Quinn a cat? What was happening? Why was she having these thoughts? Most of all…was she really asleep and dreaming, or was she awake and…pretending?
In the morning, she fumbled for her phone. She had missed three texts from Kurt.
END PART ONE
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