A/N: This was born out of love (just like Rachel Berry) when a friend and I were talking about how our girl needs to stop caring so much, be selfish and tell the club she's not going to take it :)
Disclaimer: The characters of Glee (and the borrowed scenes) are the property of FOX and Ryan Murphy. No copyright infringement is intended.
All She Wanted
Rachel Berry wasn't an ordinary girl. From a young age, she survived primarily on her two gay dad's love, show tunes and Broadway bravado. Funny Girl just spoke to her in ways Walt Disney never could and West Side Story was made with her life in mind.
She knew the moment she tapped her way to first place in her amateur tap class when she was three—and it seemed almost natural to prepare a small acceptance speech thanking her family and the angels—that she was made for the bright lights of Broadway. Sure, being from Lima, Ohio definitely offered its fair share of obstacles—the place was so unknown it was completely possible to blink and miss it on the highway while driving passed—but she wasn't one to give up. She was talented and all the iconic stars of previous generations agreed: she had to stop at nothing to achieve greatness.
But, the road was just as lonely as it was going to be at the top. Nobody wanted to befriend the girl that knew all the Broadway classics by heart and thought argyle and plaid happened to give her the perfect silhouette. Instead they viciously tossed colourful sugary beverages in her eyes, which truthfully she could never understand. The money her tormenters went through on slushies in a week could definitely be put to a better use. Helping one of the many socially conscious charities she planned on supporting when she's famous was certainly better than ruining everything in her wardrobe.
Yet, it was getting harder to ignore all the bad in her life and hold her head up high day after day. She still didn't have a boyfriend, everybody hated her, heck, aside from snide remarks and slushie showers nobody even acknowledged she existed. All she really wanted was for somebody to want to be there, for somebody to really like her.
So that was why it mattered when she found out Quinn was pregnant. Sure, it was awful—and some part of Rachel way down was tickled pink at the fact the cheerleader was finally getting a taste of karma—but, it also effectively took away the only person that was ever in her corner: Finn. When, he was around, the petty insults and the slushie facials didn't seem so bad anymore because she had someone that cared about her no matter what, except he really didn't, did he? Just like everybody else.
The Glee Club only tolerated her for her voice and though it hurt her somewhat to admit, it was fine. She'd take all the sarcastic jibes and the constant putdowns when she got a little too excited about things, just because being apart of the club made her special. They would be special—she knew that for sure.
But, finding out Finn just wanted her for her voice—invited her out on a date, kissed her and lead her to believe he liked her as much as she liked him just so she could help him get a scholarship—it just made all the crap she put up with in Glee not worth it anymore. Now, every last person in that room couldn't stand her and how was she going to feel special if she didn't feel like part of the group at all? It was like finding out your favourite singer was lip-syncing her way to a platinum record or that Santa Claus wasn't really real—it just left her feeling cheated and so betrayed.
She had quit the play, after the nightmare of Sandy Ryerson sneaking into her room in a sequined cat burglar suit to try to suffocate her with his own matching sequined pillow had plagued her unconscious mind three nights in a row. Clearly, any more time with the man would be detrimental to her health and she wasn't about to risk her bright future on a school play that Ms. Sylvester built—even if it was Cabaret.
On the bright side, when the slightly demonic cheerleading coach realized she wasn't giving any indication she was returning to Glee, the woman actually left her alone—it was kind of ironic that even Sue Sylvester only wanted her for her voice too, well, only wanted to keep her voice away from Glee Club anyway. Somehow that whole revelation made her feel even worse.
When Mr. Schuester—with his over the top excitement and bright vicarious eyes that matched the highlights in his curly brown hair—cornered her in the hall one day, Rachel feared the worst. It had been hard enough standing in the back of the auditorium and watching the club sing with that alcoholic, April Rhodes—though if she was being perfectly honest it was a little satisfying to know that they didn't go back on to finish the set when the woman seemed to disappear during intermission—but it was going to be even worse, now, he was going to beg her to come back.
She could feel it, along with the churning in her stomach and the weird tingling from her sixth sense. Rachel really didn't want to disappoint him because he was right when he said he was her only fan. But, she was done helping people that clearly didn't want her—she had more self-respect than that.
"Rachel," the man said with a bright dimply smile that she could admit was mildly attractive but definitely not enough for Miss Pillsbury to get weak in the knees over, "I'm glad I caught you."
And, while Rachel would normally let this carry on, since she was almost positive there'd be enough compliments mixed into his speech that she'd enjoy it, she knew how it felt to be lead on. The more Mr. Schue talked, the more he'd believe she'd be coming back and unfortunately that wasn't going to happen.
"Mr. Schue," she exclaimed, raising one of the hands that she had wrapped around her body to keep her books to her chest. "While I appreciate what you're trying to do, I'm not coming back. I refuse to be apart of something special that doesn't make me feel special. It's demeaning and damaging to one's self-esteem to continue to masochistically subject one self to a continuous stream of hurtful words and tactless actions. So my resignation stands but you have lots of leading potential in the room, you'll be fine without me."
With a small sigh, she walked away cradling her books a little firmer to her chest. She wanted to turn back and tell him she changed her mind, especially when she knew he was staring at her while she walked down the hall to her next period class, but when she remembered the sarcastic comments and Finn just thinking it was okay to use her like he did—Rachel kept walking.
She saw Kurt and Mercedes trying to hide their faces with the doors of their lockers as she passed them. They had been clearly eaves dropping on Mr. Schue's attempts to lure her back and Rachel couldn't help but smile slightly when they whirled around to face the inside of their lockers when they realized she had caught them. Both started whispering to one another about something Rachel just couldn't make out and it didn't really matter since common sense pretty much made it impossible not to know it was about her.
The warning bell went, and Rachel turned her head to figure out how far away she was from History, when the cool burning sensation of corn syrup in her eye and ice sliding underneath her shirt welcomed her with the kindness of a head cold.
Nothing was ever going to change. She was still a little abrasive, bossy and conceited. People still thought she was a doormat they could walk all over and dump beverages on. But, at least she was doing something; she was standing up for herself where it mattered most. Because Glee Club was important to her and she just wanted the people she cared so much about to at least respect her enough to pretend they cared back.
Sighing, she realized the halls were now empty and she slowly spun on her heels to head back to her locker for her emergency slushie removal kit. At least it wasn't cherry—she hated cherry.