Rule Number One

Beca walked carefully up the path to the auditorium trying not to limp, desperately hoping for a day of singing rehearsals rather than rehearsing choreography. Beca didn't want anyone to see her in pain and ask the reasons behind it, she would rather keep that to herself.

She walked into the auditorium just as her Captain Aubrey Posen called a start to rehearsals by demanding 10 laps to warm up. Beca dumped her stuff and fell into line with the rest of the Bella's hoping Aca-Nazi Aubrey hadn't noticed her slightly late entrance.

Aubrey raised her eyebrow at Beca's less than on time entrance but since Beca had immediately moved to join the cardio laps without a mutter decided to let it go. However, she noticed something was slightly off about the girl's movements but since she was completing the laps, didn't think any more about it.

Chloe who was pre-med at Barden had also noticed Beca's slightly different movements as well, slowed down slightly to bring her into step with Beca, "Hey, everything okay? You're moving stiffly"

"I'm fine Chloe, slightly twisted my ankle whilst doing my own cardio"

"I could take a look for you?"

"Thanks, but I'm good" Ignoring the pain in her ankle Beca stepped up her pace and pulled ahead of Chloe, distancing herself from this conversation. She absolutely didn't want Chloe looking at her ankle.

Chloe stared in bemusement as Beca suddenly took off, she didn't miss the flash the pain that crossed Beca's face as she sped up. After a hellish 3-hour practice where Beca had to stop herself from wincing every time, Aubrey finally let them go.

Just as Beca went to leave the auditorium, the two captains called her back, she stopped, turned and faced Aubrey and Chloe with trepidation. "Beca, are you okay? Your movements have been stiff" Chloe asked concerned.

Beca sighed heavily "Chloe I told you, I just twisted my ankle doing the cardio you demanded we do in our own time"

Aubrey jumped in sounding pleased "Well done Beca, pushing through your pain will make you stronger"

Chloe glared at Aubrey "As the Pre-med student here, pushing through the pain could make it worse and then where would we be for Regionals?"

As the Captains argued, Beca slowly turned and made her way quietly of the auditorium and to her dorm. She actually liked doing the extra cardio that Aubrey had demanded from the Bella's, as a kid she had always been hyper and to combat the extra energy her parents had enrolled in her practically every sport her town offered. She had taken to Mixed Martial Arts like a duck to water and had kept up with it all through high school.

Barden actually had a pretty decent sports programme and she had signed up to continue with her MMA training, she was working towards her 2nd dan Black belt. None of the Bella's were aware of this and she wanted to keep it like that.

Beca iced her ankle, she knew the best way to treat her injuries and while she knew her own limitations, often didn't listen to her body and kept pushing herself.

The next morning with her ankle feeling better, she took off for her morning exercises which usually consisted of a 5-mile run, stretches and push ups. Deciding to try a different route, she set her workout playlist to play and took off.

Aubrey and Chloe stretched out before they set off for their run along their favourite route, it was often devoid of people and it was an even 5 miles along a river path. Aubrey set the pace, around halfway another runner came up behind them and blew past them in a fast sprint. Aubrey subconsciously taking this a challenge upped her pace to try and match speed with the female runner ahead of them but found she couldn't maintain that speed and fell back to her usual steady rhythm. Chloe grinned at her "WOW, someone actually faster than you!"

"Shut up Chloe, not everything is a race"

"Based on how quickly you upped your pace to try and catch her, says that you do think it's a race"

Aubrey had no reply to that and kept moving. Chloe had found herself watching the mystery runner and thought she recognised the graceful movements of her body.

Between Beca's rehearsals for the Bella's and her rigorous MMA schedule, she found she didn't have problem keeping up with her schoolwork but making time for friends was proving difficult, she had blown Chloe off several times and Chloe hadn't been texting as often.

Beca found herself with a block of spare time and reached out to Chloe to catch up. Chloe had been overjoyed to receive a text from Beca and eagerly met her at a campus coffee shop. They chatted for a few hours until they were interrupted by a senior who Chloe recognised as Luke "Hey Becky, good luck tomorrow"

"Thanks Luke" Beca tried to smile but came out more like a grimace. She just knew Chloe was going to ask "What's happening tomorrow? We have Bella practice 2pm"

"Oh, it's nothing, I have a test in the morning" Beca lied quickly

"A test? Why would Luke know about it, he shouldn't be in any of your classes?"

"It's just a test and I've seen Luke around the music department enough, he would know what tests are coming up"

Chloe still felt something was off but could practically see Beca's walls climbing higher, so decided to drop it.

The next afternoon Beca didn't show for Bella's practice, Chloe tried to calm Aubrey down by explaining Beca had a test in the morning and it had probably over run. Aubrey just huffed but knew Beca wouldn't be able to just leave an exam because she had extracurricular activities to attend.

Beca made her way quietly to the auditorium and slipped into the back and joined in with practice, her test had taken an additional 2-hours, but she was elated, she had earned her 2nd dan Black belt. Not that anyone would know she was elated as Beca rarely showed any emotions.

Aubrey noticed Beca slipping in but continued the rehearsal, she would hold Beca back at the end. Beca apologised for her test over running but couldn't leave if she wanted a passing grade. Aubrey grudgingly agreed but made Beca run 30 laps anyway. Chloe was gathering up her stuff when she saw Beca running her laps, her eyes suddenly widened, Beca had the same graceful way of running that the mystery runner that overtakes Aubrey at least 3x a week on their favourite running path. She smirked to herself knowing that Aubrey wouldn't be able to stand knowing Beca was the runner who beat her all the time.

After Beca had earned her new belt she reduced the amount of time she spent training and concentrated on making mixes, she regretted the fact she had turned down the Radio station internship but she just couldn't cope with school work, Bella's, MMA's and Radio station. She was also glad she didn't have the extra MMA training when Aubrey suddenly increased the length of Bella's practice in preparation for Semi-Final's in a month. She didn't want to have to tell Aubrey that she couldn't make it, Aubrey would have definitely kicked her out.

After the semi-final's disaster, Beca retreated into herself, she found she needed a new outlet since she no longer had Bella's. She found herself wandering around Campus late at night and during one of her nightly walks came across a warehouse in the middle of a wooded area, curiosity aroused she cautiously walked in and walked into an underground fight club. She watched for a bit before deciding she could do better than some of the fighters here.

Without realising it, she was standing next to Luke who was another MMA fighter on campus. Luke looked down at the tiny fighter, jerked his head at the ring "Want in?"

Beca shrugged "Why not"

She fought in two fights that first night and won both with minimal damage to herself, she found herself exhilarated and got a decent night's sleep for the first time since the Semi-Finals. During Spring Break, she kept returning to the underground fight club where her fights got harder but she kept coming out on top, she returned to her dorm room with more damage to her body each night but just couldn't stay away, it's not like she had anything or anyone else to do. Bella's was over, she had pushed all her friends away.

Rather than feeling sorry for herself, she poured everything into her fights each night, with people now aware there was a new fighter on the scene, more and more people showed up each night placing bets on the fighters, she had actually made a decent sum of money in the fortnight she had been fighting.

Idly wondering to herself if Fight Club was to be kept secret, how did all these new people find out about it and showed up in their droves nightly. She didn't care too much though as all these extra people betting, gave her extra cash to use for LA.

The last night of Spring Break, Beca received a text saying the Bella's were back in the Finals and she was expected at rehearsals. Not knowing what to do for the best, she went to the Fight Club as usual but since she was so distracted with the Bella's, lost her first fight. Her ribs were black and blue but thankfully not broken, she had a split lip and red marks around her neck from when she was put in a chokehold.

Back at the dorm, she iced her bruises and wrapped her ribs. Lying on the bed she fell into a fitful sleep without setting her alarm. "Fuck" she muttered to herself the next morning, it was 10am and rehearsals had started 90mins ago. Carefully cradling her ribs, she got out of bed, threw some clothes on and hid her split lip the best she could with makeup. Heading to the auditorium, she paused outside to take a breath, deciding on how to apologise. When she paused outside, she could hear whistling and screaming coming from inside, she ran inside, stopped and stared at the chaos in front of her. "STOP, what the hell is going on?"

All the Bella's in front of her stopped in their tracks.

Chloe lit up when she saw Beca standing at the doorway although her face fell when she saw Beca's horrified face gazing over the chaos in the auditorium. Aubrey stood up straighter and "What are you doing here? This is a closed rehearsal"

"Aubrey" Chloe glared at her best friend. "I texted Beca, she needs to be here, she makes us better"

Beca smoothly cut in before the two best friends could argue any further "I came to apologise, what I did was a dick move"

Aubrey huffed and reluctantly agreed to allow Beca back into the Bella's knowing they did need Beca to compete in the ICCA's Final's. After rehearsal was finished, Chloe bounced up to Beca and threw her arms around her waist in an enthusiastic hug, however she wasn't prepared for Beca's immediate wince of pain when Chloe crashed into her ribs.

"Beca, what's wrong?" without waiting for an answer, Chloe tugged at Beca's shirt and managed to get it up high enough to see Beca's black and blue ribs. "OMG what the hell happened to you? Did you get mugged? Have you phoned the police?"

"Chloe, stop I'm fine" Beca said whilst batting Chloe's hands away from her ribs.

"Your black and blue, how is that fine?"

Beca sighed wondering how to get out of this, Chloe wasn't going to let the matter drop after actually seeing Beca's ribs. If I agree to let you look at my ribs, will you let the matter drop?"

Chloe stared back "Fine, but I will get the truth out of you eventually"

"You can try Beale, I'm a vault" Beca lead the way to her dorm and stripped down to her bra, allowing Chloe to run her hands gently over Beca's ribs, as Chloe made her way round to Beca's front, the tension between the two girls grew. "All good Dr Beale?"

"Yes, can't feel any breaks, your breathing is regular and you're not coughing up any blood"

Chloe continued to run her hands gently up Beca's ribs, brushing up the side of Beca's breasts delighting in the shiver Beca gave and ran her finger over Beca's split lip. Chloe leaned forward and laid a gentle kiss on Beca bruised and split lip.

The emotion behind Chloe's kiss almost made Beca tear up and confess everything about the Fight Club and how she was using it to sort out her emotions regarding Semi-Finals. However, she knew Chloe would freak out and she didn't want this moment to end.

Beca and Chloe didn't get to spend much time together outside of Bella's rehearsals which Aubrey had stepped up in intensity, she had relented into allowing more updated music into their set list. The Friday night a week before Final's Aubrey had let them go around 8pm, Chloe had asked Beca out for coffee but Beca had made up an excuse and left. Chloe was perplexed, her and Beca's relationship was getting stronger, they were taking it slow and Beca had never blown her off since they made up after Semi-Final's.

Chloe decided to take a walk about campus, it was too nice a night to spend in her shared apartment. Half an hour into her walk, she spotted Beca walking in the wood beside campus. Chloe hurried her pace and walked into the woods, following Beca's trail right into the warehouse which Chloe didn't even realise existed.

Stepping into the dimly lit warehouse, Chloe was surprised to see crowds of people hanging around exchanging cash. As she continued walking further into the warehouse, she spotted Luke and Beca arguing, sidling closer she could hear Beca angrily exclaim "I'm not participating, I have the ICCA Final's in a week"

"C'mon Beca, you're the best in here, if you keep your head in the game. Think of the cash you can pocket from this"

"No, I can't take the risk and also Chloe will kill me if I turn up with more bruises with no explanation, she's already been way too understanding!"

"Tough Beca, I already signed you up"

Beca threw her hands up in exasperation glared at Luke "Well dude, get me out of it, I didn't consent"

"Too late, you're up" and with that Luke pushed Beca into the makeshift ring.

Chloe suddenly clicked that this is was an underground Fight Club and from the conversation she heard somehow Beca was one of the best fighters. She watched from the back instinctively knowing that if Beca caught a glimpse of her, it would throw off her concentration and could get her hurt.

Chloe watched Beca take down all her opponents flawlessly, wondering where Beca learned all these moves, she gasped when Beca's opponent suddenly came out of nowhere and kicked Beca in her still tender ribs. Beca doubled up in pain but still had presence of mind to finish her opponent as quickly as possible. Few minutes later Beca was crowned the winner of the night. Luke bounced up to her and handed her an envelope of cash. "Great night Beca, told you that you would make a decent chunk of change"

Running high on adrenaline Beca forgot her annoyance with Luke and high fived him. As Luke moved away, Beca caught a glimpse of Chloe watching her. Beca warily walked over to the redhead. "What are you doing here?"

"We can talk later after I check out your ribs again"

They walked in silence back to Beca's dorm, both girls worried about how this conversation was going to go. "Shirt off"

Beca did as she was told, deciding not to test the patience of the redhead tonight. Chloe wasn't as gentle as the first time she had done this but didn't cause Beca any additional pain. "Ribs are fine, you were lucky it was a glancing blow rather than a direct hit."

"Thanks Dr Beale" Beca teased testing the waters

"Not tonight Beca, what the hell were you doing there? How did you learn to fight like that?"

"I have a 2nd Dan belt in Mixed Martial Arts and have practised since I was a kid, I'm here at Barden on a sports scholarship, I found the Fight Club after Semi-Final's and found it was a great stress relief"

Chloe was upset that Beca had turned to Fight Club after Aubrey had kicked her out of the Bella's but kind of understood that this was who Beca was, someone who didn't show their emotions and found different ways to release stress. Seeing how upset Chloe was about it promised that she wouldn't go back to Fight Club. After the emotional talk and adrenaline come down Beca crashed out on her tiny bed, Chloe curled around her. Everything would be okay with the two girls.

The following week found the Bella's backstage at the ICCA's in New York, taking a deep breath Beca stepped out onto stage and gave the signal for their set to start. After an epic setlist that no other acapella group could hope to match, the Barden Bella's were crowned the winners of the ICCA's.

High off adrenaline and being crowned champions Chloe bounced into Beca's arms and kissed her. The other Bella's started catcalling as they noticed the couple.

Beca smiled at Chloe in her arms, Aubrey had passed the Captaincy of the Bella's onto Beca and she couldn't wait to see what she could do with it using more up to date music, Chloe was staying nearby for grad school, so would be available to help coach the Bella's if she needed additional support. It felt like everything was slotting into place.