Disclaimer: Glee belongs to Ryan Murphy and company.

Prompts: Written for 500prompts for #76 (letting go.)

Notes: This was written at the end of Season Two, before Season Three aired.

For a moment, a brief moment, she can pretend that they're nothing more than a boy and a girl standing in front of one another. She can pretend that things are vastly different between them, that he didn't feel the need to hurt her so that Kurt could save face and that she doesn't desperately need him even now. She can pretend that they're standing there, toe to toe, hearts in their mouths with no lies between them tarnishing every single breath that they take. She can pretend that he never said that he was completely gay and that she was okay with that admission.

And then the moment's gone with the first note of music. Their voices meld together as they sing together. They lose themselves in the song and everything else ceases to exist. Before she knows it, the song is over and the rest of New Directions is lukewarm in their responses as they take their seats. Even Kurt is cool towards them (it doesn't matter anymore that Blaine transferred schools for Kurt.) Rachel sighs and accepts the fact that glee is all about passive aggressiveness and jealousy. They all act like they care but deep down they're all willing to stab one another in the back if it means that they can get a little further ahead. (Everyone thinks that they deserve it more than she does. It being the simple recognition of talent. It'd be nice if one day, her supposed friends could just honestly appreciate her.)

Afterwards, Rachel is the last to leave. She watches as the others pair off or leave in groups; her fathers tell her that she's just in a socially awkward phrase and that once in university, she'll excel in social situations. All Rachel knows is that she's still on the outside looking inwards. Rachel sighs as she shuffles some sheet music together, uncaring that it's not really in order. When Blaine re-enters the classroom. Rachel is quiet and full of nerves.

"Hey," Rachel quietly says.

Blaine doesn't say anything. Instead he invades her personal space, one hand grasping her hand as their mouths collide and she feels so desperately alive and for a moment, she's not alone anymore. And then they breathlessly pull apart. This is better than singing with him.

"I told Kurt that I forgot a book," Blaine says as he picks up one from the chair that he had been sitting beside earlier.

"Oh," Rachel says. (It's always about Kurt, protecting Kurt, making sure Kurt doesn't find out.)

She's not sure how she feels right not but she knows that the indescribable emotion isn't a good one. Her chest feels tight and she turns away from him. She can hear him move towards her and she doesn't want this. It's not worth a stolen moment here or there.

"Don't," Blaine softly pleads as he reaches out to touch her arm.

"You belong to Kurt," Rachel flatly responds.

"A person can't own another person."

"No but you're his boyfriend by your choice and I refuse to ruin my friendship with him by being the other girl yet again."

"Rachel, please..." Blaine begins but trails off when she turns around and stares at him.

"I can't do this again, please don't ask me to. You wanted to be with Kurt. You transferred to be with Kurt. You choose him over me."

"Rachel I care about you," Blaine tells him. "What I feel with you is so different than what I feel with anyone else."

"That may be true but you did this. You picked Kurt over me. You told me that you were completely 100% gay in the coffeehouse and that you didn't feel anything when we kissed."

"I didn't lie,"

"Then what is this?" Rachel asks as she waves a hand between them.

"I don't know," Blaine honestly admits.

Rachel sighs as she folds her arms against her chest. It's bad enough that they have the one lie between the. She refuses to have anymore. It'll only destroy the both of them and eventually Kurt as well. Rachel arches an eyebrow at Blaine.

"When we sing together, I feel things that I don't feel with Kurt."

"So then I'll tell Mr. Schue that I can't do anymore duets with you."

"No!" Blaine exclaims as he steps closer to her and grasps her biceps as if he's afraid that she'll run from him.

"Then no more lies, Blaine. It's not fair to me, to you or to Kurt."

"Fine I want you all of the time. I thought that if I let you down in the coffee shop it'd make it easier on all of us. I do care for Kurt but I want you too."

"Oh Blaine," Rachel softly says as she cups his jaw. "We can't hurt Kurt."

"But what about us? Don't you feel something as well?"

"I do but Kurt is one of my few friends."

"Rachel," Blaine says.

"No Blaine, if I don't have Kurt then the others will side with him and I'll have to leave glee club this time and then what? I'll have nothing in this high school. Half of them are already looking for a way to kick me out as it is. No, I'm sorry Blaine but I won't choose you over glee or Kurt, no matter what I might feel. It's not enough anymore."

Blaine lets her go and steps back. He nods in resignation and a heavy silence fills the room. She knows that Kurt must be suspecting the worse of them but she doesn't care enough to stop Blaine from moving closer and kissing her again. This time it's a sweet and chaste kiss, a mere brushing of their lips. And then he's gone and she collapses into a chair.

She's tried to change, to mould herself into an acceptable version of herself so that the rest of glee will like her but it's never enough. She gave up Finn over the summer because Quinn needed him more. She doesn't try to push her ideas through anymore, instead she suggests that the others take the lead more than she does but it's not enough. She just wants them to win Nationals this year and she's doing everything she thinks will help but the rest of them still don't like her. They're all a family but her. And now she's had to give up something else, yet another sacrifice.

She counts down how many more days until high school will be over and her real life will begin. Rachel can only hope that in New York (or anywhere else she goes to) will be different, that people will like her for who she is, that they will appreciate her drive and determination, that she won't have to sacrifice everything to just blend in with the rest of the group.

When she finally stands up, Rachel feels tired. Tomorrow she'll go to Mr. Schue and ask him to not pair her up with Blaine anymore. She doubts that their conversation today will change anything. She knows that what she feels for Blaine (and what she suspects he feels for her) won't just go away because they agreed to ignore it. Sooner or later, Kurt will notice the chemistry between them and he'll overreact. And it won't matter that they're not acting on it, the fact that it'll offend Kurt will be enough.

Rachel refuses to think of what might happen after high school when none of this will matter anymore. She won't let herself imagine a possible happy ending for herself and Blaine. She doesn't think that happy endings are meant for someone like her.

((END))