A/N: Hello everyone! This is the first of hopefully many fics that I'm going to be posting here. The song is by Oranthi and the wonderful characters of Glee do not, and unfortunately will probably never, belong to me. I hope you enjoy! Love, Ema…

A Mess In A Dress

Glee was in shock. Hell, the whole damn school was in shock. Rachel Berry walked in not wearing a crazy outfit. No knee-highs, no patent leather shoes. Nothing. No, Rachel Berry, queen of the sweater vest, walked into school today in a dress.

Oh yes. A dress. But just not any dress. Because this is Rachel Berry, and Rachel Berry never does anything halfway.

The dress was knee length, soft and totally in style. It accentuated her curves while still making her look like some sort of earth goddess personified. Blues, greens, and purples hid and flashed themselves together on the length of flowing satin, while a rope white braid held up the dipping neck line. Gladiator sandals and a braid in her hair made it perfect.

All day, everywhere, The Dress was the gossip of the hour. Before even first period began, everyone knew and cell phone pictures made it as far as Japan. But still, no one noticed. Nobody, save one.


He noticed the sunglasses.

Everyone else thought that they were just another part of the fantastic outfit. Large and black, they took up half her face, but heck, it looked great…

But he had gotten used to seeing sunglasses like that over the years. His mom pulled them out of the drawer every so often. Hiding from him and his sister what she didn't want others to see.

Nobody but him noticed the silence either. They were too caught up in the different Dress. But he watched her, like he always did, and he saw how quiet she was. Words only trickled out of those soft lips, unlike the flying they normally did. And when they did finally bust out of the barrier that was her lips today, they were quiet and quick, taking up as little time and as little sound as possible. It was as if she wanted to be noticed, but only on the surface. Like The Dress was the main focus today and she, she just wanted to fade away into the background.

When Glee practice finally rolled around, he was excited. Who would have ever thought…him-him-excited for Glee Club? Oh if the rest of the school knew…the slushies he would have had to endure…

But he thought that Glee would make her talk. Make her want to show off and show the world, just like she showed them everyday, how great she was. How wonderful, perfect, radiant she was and how one day, somewhere in the not-so-distant future, she was going to burst out of this one horse town and make her mark on the world.

Yet today in Glee was like today in school. Not one utterance unless it was to sing a backup part. How she managed to convince Schue to let them practice Tina and Mercedes' duet all of practice he had no idea. Usually, it was all "Rachel and Finn this" and "Rachel and Finn that" since those two had finally gotten together. They were the stars of not only Glee, but the whole school. "Finnchel", as they were dubbed, were the most talented, popular, it-kids in all of Lima, even if Rachel dressed like a toddler and Finn didn't have two brain cells to rub together. They were perfect.

Only they weren't. And he was the only one who noticed…yet again. Finn's brow would crease and the corner of his eyes would turn down when he was angry. He was usually the only one who could notice, because he was usually the only one who ever saw him (caused him) to get mad. But he could see that Rachel now saw it too. And she was scared of it. Scared of him…

Every time Finn's face would contort, every time he clenched his fist, she would flinch. It was like clockwork. He could have set his watch by it, if he wore a watch, which he didn't, because it would ruin his look. Guys like him didn't need watches, and girls like her didn't need to flinch.

Gah! How couldn't Finn see it? He had in his arms (all the time…) the most perfect, beautiful, talented girl in the world, and he gave her a reason to fear him. It wasn't right…

"Mr. Schuster, I have a song that I've been working on and I think that it would be beneficial to everyone if I were able to sing it." Those simple often-uttered words brought him out of contemplation. However often the words had been spoken, in similar variations, they were very different today, just like everything else. Quiet, but with a new sort of confidence in them that he hadn't ever heard from her. Most times, her confidence was in your face, just like she was. She used it as a barrier to keep the world at bay, and to show them who's boss. But this was different. It was as if she had something to say, something to tell everyone, something that would change them all.

Little did he know now, but he was right.


Quinn Fabray knew Finn's moods. She knew them so well because they were the pinnacles on which her life had existed for so long (too long).

Quinn knew happy. Happy was when Finn looked at Rachel in the beginning. How his eyes lit up with a light that she hadn't seen directed at her since the truth of her child's parentage came out. The light had died until Rachel took his hand and made everything better, like she always did. Then the smile had come back on his face and they were perfect. The long walks along the football field, holding hands and talking about nothing and everything. The lunches ate outside in the Quad, snuggled up close, dreaming of the future and just relishing in the moment. The solos, duets and ballads that made up "Finnchel". In the beginning.

Quinn knew sad. Sad was when she told Finn that she had lied, when he and Rachel had gotten into their first fight. When Finn said the wrong thing at the wrong time and everything went downhill from there. The mopey looks, the wringing hands, the opening and closing of his mouth-oh yes, classic Finn sadness.

Quinn knew Anger. Anger was always capitalized in her mind, because it was the most important the most potent, the one mood she had to look out for. When the Anger came, she began to know Rachel as well.

Quinn learned Rachel's moods because they were so similar and so different than her own. She could relate so well, and yet, at the same time, they were total opposites. Rachel's happy was what made Quinn feel sad. Rachel's anger made Quinn feel like she should cower with the other Gleeks in the corner, away from the wrath of Rachzilla. And Rachel's sadness made Quinn pick her up off the ground and hold her like a little sister, which, in a way, she was.

When Quinn had first stumbled upon Finn and Rachel arguing in the Glee room, she had been surprised. Since when did Finn-nice, easygoing Finn- get so worked up about…Rachel and Puck? What? What was Finn talking about? Everyone knew that Rachel and Puck had been paired together in Bio and had begun to form sort of an uneasy alliance against Mrs. Danvers, because Danvers hated them both. Vehemently.

Which was why she probably paired the two of them together in the first place. But after a rather large spill and a few very strong words, the two had actually been inseparable in class.

Quinn suspected that Rachel was helping Puck bring his grades back into the passing side of the spectrum and Puck was making Rachel's classes with students who mostly disliked the…erm… boisterous girl bearable. People thought Puck to be stupid, but he was actually rather smart. His grades had fallen because he had been working his butt off to get the money they needed for their child. And Rachel, contrary to popular belief, was actually pretty cool.

But Quinn could see why Finn would be insecure about Rachel and Puck together, as Puck had knocked up his last girlfriend. But Rachel wasn't Quinn, Rachel was just Rachel. She was faithful, loyal and ridiculously headstrong. But she wasn't a cheater and she was head over heels in love with everything about Finn. Rachel praised and adored everything- from the way he looked at her to the very ground he walked on. And yet here he was, yelling at her, much louder than Quinn had ever heard him yell, because she had helped Puck with his algebra homework. In the library with Finn just two seats away, no less.

Quinn just couldn't believe it.

Nor could Quinn believe what she had seen next.

"Smack"

"Sob-please no…not again Finn…"


Kurt had always secretly thought that Rachel Berry had some pretty big balls. He had admired the way that she could walk down the hall and not see the ugly looks that were thrown her way. They way that she could convince others to do her bidding and yet still remain ridiculously naïve.

But Kurt didn't think that he was ever more in awe of Rachel Berry's balls until she had shown up in that dress.

He, being the fabulous person he was, knew just what dress that was and just who had designed it…and the price tag. He was speechless on all three accounts. He was also devoid of all thoughts and words when he saw how well she rocked that dress, even with the large amount of makeup she had on and those odd sunglasses. And when Rachel Berry raised her hand in Glee and asked to sing. He was a little afraid of what was to come.

Kurt had the right idea.


Rachel was terrified, but she knew it was time. It was time to make her stand. So, she picked out the dress she was going to wear and the song that she was going to sing and she waited the day away.

She couldn't talk, couldn't breathe. She was surprised at how well she had managed to get through classes and lunch without them-him-noticing. But the time had come and even though her backbone had been ripped out and shredded to pieces along with her heart, she was going to do this.

And so, Rachel Berry opened her mouth and sang.


According to you I'm stupid, I'm useless, I can't do anything right. According to you I'm difficult, hard to please, forever changing my mind.

They were shocked. Yet again. Those words, so quiet and so simple, held a fire in them that no song sung by Rachel Berry before had ever held. Most of her songs held a certain passion, but a restrained, controlled front and the need to be the best was always clearly evident. But not this time. Oh no. This time, Rachel Berry sang from her heart-no, her very soul. It was raw and powerful, showing off Rachel-just Rachel-at the very heart of her being. This was what she was trying to tell the world, and more importantly, herself.


I'm a mess in a dress, can't show up on time, even if it would save my life. According to you. According to you.

Kurt finally got the dress. Kurt realized why she had worn it to school today of all days. He saw it when she flung her arm out and the dress moved with her, both showcasing her words and giving them something to look at. It was her battle armor, her weapon of choice. It was the shield and the sign and the advertisement and the bloody slap in the face to her life and her predicament. What ever that was… Kurt barely turned his head and saw a color previously only seen on Cheerios uniforms gracing Finn's face. What was even more surprising was the rage on a certain Mohawked man's face. But it wasn't directed towards Rachel…


But according to him I'm beautiful, incredible, he can't get me out of his head. According to him I'm funny, irresistible, everything he ever wanted. Everything is opposite, I don't feel like stopping it, so baby tell me what I got to lose. He's into me for everything I'm not, according to you.

With this, Quinn saw something she never thought she'd see again. She saw the old Rachel, the Rachel Berry who could take on the world and come out with a gold star and a Tony award in hand. She was back and no matter what would happen next, Quinn knew that she would be all right. Finally…


According to you I'm boring, I'm moody, you can't take me any place. According to you I suck at telling jokes cause I always give it away. I'm the girl with the worst attention span; you're the boy who puts up with that.

Artie didn't know if he had ever been more proud. He didn't even think that the time when he had rolled down a flight of stairs and managed to stay upright compared to this. And that had been an accomplishment. Rachel was facing those demons, the ones that haunted her everyday and those that she saw every time she looked in the mirror. No longer was she going to take whatever shit that asshole was going to throw at her, but she was going to stand up and do them all proud. And when, sometime in the future, Rachel Berry, star of numerous Broadway shows and tours around the world sat down and penned her autobiography, Artie knew that she would see that this moment, this song, changed it all.


According to you. According to you. But according to him I'm beautiful, incredible, he can't get me out of his head. According to him I'm funny, irresistible, everything he ever wanted. Everything is opposite, I don't feel like stopping it, so baby tell me what I got to lose. He's into me for everything I'm not, according to you.

Damn, Mercedes always knew that Diva could belt it out, but she never thought that the skinny white girl had this much soul. Heck, Mercedes didn't even know that people could have this much soul, let alone show it to the world. It was as if their resident Diva extraordinaire was seeing herself and others in a new light. Not the mask of stage lights or the bitter, jaded view of those damn lights in the girl's bathrooms, but in a clear, sunlight kind of way. One that showed that while yes, there were shadows all around, but there was also a sort of redeeming light that graced them all. "And hot damn," thought Mercedes, "I'm looking at it…"


I need to feel appreciated, like I'm not hated. oh- no-. Why can't you see me through his eyes? It's too bad you're making me decide.

Tina knew what that was like. She knew what it was like to be scorned and disapproved of. Rachel did as well. That's one of the reasons that Tina had scooped the Old Rachel off the floor behind the gym and drove her home, no matter how much stage makeup and denial that Old Rachel plastered on her face. Tina knew, and Tina had a good guess why Rachel knew. If that reason ever got out, there would be hell to pay, and Tina, well, Tina would sit back with this New Rachel and watch the world get its comeuppance.


According to me you're stupid, you're useless, you can't do anything right. But according to him I'm beautiful, incredible, he can't get me out of his head.

Will had heard this song before. Maybe not in this exact form, but he had heard the message, the meaning and the words being uttered out of countless girls mouths over the years. Not everyone was subject to this information, but Will had sung them himself when he had found out about Terry. He had sang from his heart, just like Rachel was doing now, about the pain and the betrayal of one that was loved so dearly. And so when Rachel whipped off her sunglass and showed all of Glee the dark purple smudge surrounding her eye that was definitely not from just staying up late, Will wasn't that surprised. Oh yes, he was furious and hell-bent, but surprised, no. Not after the first line of the song when everything finally fell into place. The distance Rachel had put between her and the others, the drop in her perfect GPA and the way she shied away from Finn in Glee and well…everywhere now made sense. And there was going to be hell to pay if he had any say in the matter. Oh, and he'd make sure that he had a say in the matter.


According to him I'm funny, irresistible, everything he ever wanted. Everything is opposite, I don't feel like stopping it, baby tell me what I got to lose. He's into me for everything I'm not, According to you. According to you. According to you I'm stupid, I'm useless, I can't do anything right.

The song was at long last over. The words she had meant to be said had been said and the song had been sung. Rachel felt peace for the first time in months. A hopeful feeling, one she used to know so well, once again erupted into her and filled her chest with warmth. And then…

"Oh Hell No!"


Finn was Pissed. Yeah, Pissed with a capital P. He hadn't been this Pissed in a long time, but he sure was now. Not only had that bitch trashed him in front of the all the Gleeks, but she had once again disobeyed him and not covered up her little accident. Yeah, she took a "tumble" last night, once again, right into that stupid doorknob. Like always. Rachel was Just. So. Clumsy.

Their relationship had been great in the beginning, and then she had to go and ruin it. Instead of always jumping to do what he said, she chose to go and suggest something else. Like doing homework instead of video games and snuggling instead of watching TV. Who the hell did she think she was? The Queen of fucking Sheba? No, she was supposed to hang on his every word and worship him like Quinn hadn't. So what, he'd changed a little since they began dating, but wouldn't you if yet another of your girls was fucking your best friend?

And Finn just knew Rachel was. No matter how hard she reasoned, how hard she pleaded, he knew that they were doing It. All that time spent together, the way Puck was actually turning in homework and hanging out with the Gleeks instead of the football team was all just a ploy to lure her in. And Rachel, being the stupid, naïve, nagging bitch that she was believed it.

And now there was this song. It came out of nowhere! She stood up there and proclaimed, loudly and proudly like always, that she too was picking Puck because he noticed her. Yeah right, Puck noticed anything with two legs in a skirt. And the two-leg part was negotiable.

"Oh Hell No!" Finn was going to put an end to this shit right now. He jumped up and grabbed Rachel's arm. Just as he began to pull her and her ungrateful ass towards the door, he felt a tapping on his arm. He turned to yell at whoever it was and…

BAM.

Finn was out like a light.


He turned and looked at Rachel. He knew he loved her, but he wasn't going to jump right into a relationship with her now. No, she needed to be healed by all of Glee and put back together again with love and hope and courage. Well, actually, she just needed to open her eyes, because all of this was surrounding her and in her already. And goddamn, he was going to help her see it.

Noah gathered her in a hug. Her arms went around him while Schue called security and the rest of Glee joined together in one of the largest and most heartfelt hugs to ever grace the halls of William McKinley High School.

Everything was going to be all right.


"Rachel?"

"Yes Noah?"

"Great punch…"

"Thank you. I'm pretty proud of it myself."