Oh Lordy, such a great chappie ahead. So much fun writing this one!

Smile

Rachel finally hit her last step of her Regional performance.

"Run it again," Both Sue and Shelby said together. They were in the auditorium. Rachel had been working for the past hour. She took a breath and nodded, that she was ready, resuming her starting position. The music started and she was off.

This choreography was the most intense Rachel had ever done. She wore simple black shorts and a black sports bra. She was barefoot. She was also completely covered in sweat. Her hair was wet with it and hung loose around her shoulders as she moved from one move to the next smoothly, making it look incredibly easy. It was her free period, which had become another practice session with either Sue or her mother.

She was completely lost in the dance and didn't notice the glee club enter in the side door and stop in their tracks. She could barely see at all with the spotlights turned all the way up. She nailed the trickier part of the dance and continued on. Finally the song ended. She held her ending pose; waiting for the all clear from her two toughest critics, besides herself.

Rachel put a hand over her eyes so she could see, she received a rare smile from Sue, and Shelby stood up and clapped. Rachel then heard whooping from the side and turned only to be all most knocked over by Britney who had come up and actually picked up Rachel, squeezing her with a squeal. She began gushing about how great it was then, after seeing Rachel's slightly uncomfortable face, quickly set Rachel down.

Rachel was still out of breath. She put her hands on her knees and caught it, then glanced up. The whole glee club was standing still, eyes wide in awe. None of them could believe what they'd just witnessed.

Puck almost laughed out loud at the whole situation. They'd obviously forgotten how talented Rachel was and what she was capable of. He was having trouble keeping his eyes off of her lean form, and just about every other glee club guy was having the same problem. He looked to the doors at the back of the auditorium and saw lots of guys staring in.

Rachel noticed this too. The final bell rang. She ran her fingers through her long, wet hair and moved to her coaches. She took the critique papers they gave her and grabbed her dance bag and pulled her zip-up Julliard sweatshirt on, not bothering to zip it up, then slipped on her purple Converse. She walked out into the buzzing hallway, passing the guys at the auditorium entrance, happy that the day was over. She grabbed her stuff and made her way to the football field for practice, trying to get her second wind and smiled at the memory of her weekend.

She'd spent Saturday hanging out at Dalton. She'd found herself getting closer and closer with all of the Warblers, especially Logan. She'd been texting with him almost non-stop. They had hung out in the park together and had seen a movie. Rachel could not wait for homecoming, which she'd finally finished helping out with. She'd gotten a group together that consisted of Santana and Britney, herself and Logan, Kurt and Blaine, Tina and Mike, Artie and Quinn, and Sam and Veronica, a girl from the Poms squad. Puck had asked to join the group, to which Rachel had readily agreed.

Santana had asked Britney at the end of Blaine's party to homecoming, giving Britney a single rose. Britney had immediately accepted, and the two had "gotten their sweet lady kisses on".

Artie had asked Quinn, much to her surprise, and after a second of thought, Quinn had accepted. Artie had been thrilled.

Rachel walked onto the football field. She slipped off her sweatshirt once more and pulled on her dance shoes. She called the gathered girls together and led the stretches. She pulled her hair up into a super-high ponytail and began walking the group through the brand new routine that she'd made up over the weekend for the Homecoming game, all the while receiving whistles from the other side of the field.

As soon as practice was over, Rachel realized just how exhausted she was. She packed up her stuff slowly, and was the last one of her teammates to get out. She stopped in the girl's locker room, to splash water on her face and put on deodorant and stepped out, just as Puck stepped out of the boy's locker room, just across from the girls'.

He smiled at her, and Rachel returned the smile. She fell into step beside Puck and a comfortable silence followed. She pulled out her phone to call Shelby for a ride, as Shelby had told her to do, since Rachel had come to school with Kurt, but Puck wordlessly put a hand on the small of her back and steered her toward his truck.

"Thanks," Rachel said. Puck nodded and hopped in the car, to be joined by Rachel, who immediately turned Puck's XM radio onto the Broadway station and started softly singing along, as she had when they'd been dating.

Puck glanced out of the corner of his eye at Rachel. Then looked away fast, yelling at himself silently. Sitting there, smelling as good as she did from her shower, looking as hot as she did, he couldn't help the feelings that he had barely even admitted to himself still existed. He clenched his fists on the steering wheel trying to clear his thoughts. He took a deep breath and let an easy smile come on his face.

"Rachel, you're gonna kick ass at Regionals," he said. Rachel smiled widely.

"I'd like to think so. Anyway I was texting Jesse earlier today, and he said that we could use his aunt's beach house while we're there. He said I could bring as many people as I want too," She looked at Puck out of the corner of her eyes, "You wanna come?" Puck blinked.

"Hell yes," he said, pulling into Rachel's driveway.

"I'll see you tomorrow, Puck," she said, as she got out, Puck saw on her iPhone that she'd gotten a text from that Logan Warbler guy. He watched Rachel walked into her house. He sighed and shook his head, pulling out and going home.


Rachel walked in and started texting Logan. She got ready for bed. Soon, her phone buzzed with another number. She smiled when she saw who it was. It said "Call Me" Rachel did, wondering what he wanted. After that she passed out on her bed, exhausted, but excited for the next day.


Rachel woke up the next morning and looked at her clock, seeing it was six-thirty. She yawned and slowly sat up, stretching. All of the sudden, she heard somebody coming up the stairs. She thought for a second. Her fathers were in Cincinatti this week, so nobody should be here. She looked around wildly for a weapon. Finding none, she saw her doorknob being opened, she grabbed Barbra, her gigantic teddy bear and hurled her straight at whoever was coming in.

She let out a sigh of relief when she saw it was Kurt, who looked pissed. He walked in and over to Rachel's mirror, fixing his freshly gelled hair. He turned to Rachel, who looked back apologetically. Kurt sighed, and let and excited smile come to his features.

He ran over and grabbed Rachel's sleeping mask and strapped it on her head and over her eyes, slapping away Rachel's hands when she tried to push it up.

"Kurt! What the hell is going on?" Rachel asked as she was pulled out of bed by a surprisingly strong Kurt. Kurt sighed dramatically.

"I texted you this last night. Obviously you didn't see it, being so busy texting Logan. Anyway, Shelby is going out of town for a couple days and she wanted to do your fitting for your homecoming dress now, just to make sure it fits. You're still not going to see it till the night of..." Kurt said fast, leading Rachel out of her room and carefully down the stairs. Rachel heard a lot of voices.

"Britney, don't mess with Rach's dad's glass sculptures," Rachel heard Santana say. She also heard Shelby and Quinn discussing Beth. Rachel sighed and allowed herself to be led along.

She walked in and heard Santana's laugh.

"Nice PJ's Berry." Rachel smiled. She was wearing her fleece pajamas that were purple and had gold stars all over them. It consisted of short shorts and a long sleeve button up shirt with a collar.

"Shut up," she said good naturedly. Then she felt her pajamas being ripped off. She sighed dramatically, wondering if there was no privacy in this world. Was nothing sacred? She felt a strapless bra being put on her and super soft material float over her head. She heard gasps, and squeal from both Kurt and Britney. She could practically feel all the smiles aimed at her.

"Alright," Rachel said, "Can I get ready for school now?" Laughs came from all around. Rachel was redressed and the mask was pulled off. She saw a black garment bag lying on the couch.

"How are you guys all awake and energetic?" Rachel asked, yawning. A Lima Bean cup was pushed into her hands by Quinn. Rachel laughed and sighed as she tasted her favorite autumn drink, Pumpkin Spice Latte. Yum.

Rachel turned to go up to her room and was followed by everybody but Shelby who said she had to run to the boutique after dropping a kiss on Rachel's forehead, taking the mystery dress with her. Apparently Kurt was giving everybody a ride.

Rachel stared into her closet, sipping her coffee, while everybody else piled on her bed, chattering animatedly about their own homecoming attire. She looked at the few shirts that she had kept from her "toddler" period as Santana called it and had an idea. She pulled on a slightly sheer yellow top with lots of little black polka dots and a flat black collar that if she turned the right way you could see her black bra. She tucked into a tight slightly high-waisted black leather miniskirt. She put on her black leather ankle wedge booties (/look/2425487-black-booties-black-neck). She turned around for approval and was met with stares and smiles. Kurt snapped a picture and uploaded it to his Twitter.

Britney whistled.

"Me gusta," Santana said smiling. Quinn clapped, with a smile. They all made their way downstairs, chatting animatedly. Rachel grabbed her bag and headed out the door. They all piled into Kurt's car. The music was turned up and they were all off to school. On the car ride there, Rachel invited everybody to the beach house that December.

She sent a text, telling Puck that they were just pulling into the parking lot.

They all walked into the school and stopped in their tracks. Standing in wait surrounded by all the glee guys, plus Puck, was Blaine Anderson; in regular clothes. He smiled his charming smile at a VERY surprised Kurt. Rachel stepped up and snapped a picture of Kurt's surprised face and put it on her Twitter. Blaine walked up and gently pecked Kurt's lips, regardless of the staring students. Kurt threw his arms around Blaine's neck and didn't let go.

Rachel smiled at Puck. He'd called her last night to see if she could get Kurt to school at a certain time so Blaine could surprise him. Rachel watched as Kurt and Blaine walked off to the auditorium to be alone. She was incredibly proud of Blaine, who she knew had bad memories of schools like this. She wouldn't let anybody touch either Kurt or Blaine.

She turned to Puck and saw a similar determination in his eyes. Without thinking, she squeezed his "lovely" bicep, just as she used to when they had been dating, as a thank you.

"Thank you, Puck," she said, then walked off quickly to join Quinn, suddenly embarrassed. Puck watched her walk away sadly.


Rachel stopped in front of the closed door. She took a deep breath, and then turned when she heard footsteps approaching.

"Puck?" she asked with a smile.

"You're joining again too?" Puck asked with a laugh. Rachel bit her lip and nodded. She took a deep breath and turned the handle and the two walked in. They were met with cheering. Rachel was immediately engulfed in a hug from Kurt, and many hugs followed. Puck and the boys were doing the clap-on-the-back, fist bump thing boys do, Blaine-included. Rachel stopped when she saw Tina and Mercedes sitting in their seats, not sure what to do. Rachel walked over, all eyes on her.

She stopped in front of the two and the three just looked at each other for a while. Rachel looked down and took a deep breath.

"I know that you guys… aren't exactly happy with me and for whatever reason… I want to be your friend again," Rachel said, surprised that tears came to her eyes; she hadn't realized how much she had missed the two.

"You guys were my first friends here in glee club and… I want you guys back," Rachel said, as a tear fell from her eye. Tina and Mercedes' faces softened. They looked at each other and stood up, both enveloping their tiny friend in a hug. The whole club cheered.

Rachel pulled back and wiped her eyes, and then turned to the corner where Lauren was standing with her arms crossed and an eyebrow raised. Rachel smiled. She walked to her bag and pulled out five giant Hershey bars of varying flavors which she'd stacked on top of each other and tied them together beautifully with a dark purple ribbon. She theatrically handed them to Lauren, who looked from the chocolate back to Rachel, and gave a nod.

"She can stay." Everbody laughed. Rachel looked over at Finn and he gave her a nod, and the two forgave each other for the past in that one moment.

Mr. Shuester looked on from the side, unable to contain his joy at seeing his kids together again. Rachel thought for a second and walked over to the guitar player, as she had so many times before, and whispered a song in his ear. He nodded and quietly told the rest of the band. The glee kids all smiled to themselves, knowing fun was soon to follow.

The guitar player began the song and Rachel jumped straight in, singing with all the joy she felt now, huge smile on her face. She was standing on the raised seating section with her arms around both Santana and Britney's shoulders on either side of her.

You know that I'm a crazy bitch
I do what I want, when I feel like it
She jumped off the ledge, flipping her hair in the process.

All I wanna do is lose control
But you don't really give a shit
Ya go with it, go with it, go with it
'Cause you're fuckin' crazy
Rachel smiled at Mr. Shue's raised eyebrows

Rock n' roll
Rachel went up to Puck and, hands on hips, sang to him.

You-ou said "hey
What's your name?"
It took one look and
Now I'm not the same.
She circled him.
Yeah, you said "Hey"
And since that day,
You stole my heart and you're the one to blame

Rachel turned from Puck, blushing slightly, as the rest of the club joined in, dancing together.

Yeah
Rachel closed her eyes, singing with all she had, not able to help the smile on her face.

And that's why I smile.
It's been a while

She did the Charleston in time with Britney.

Since everyday and everything has felt this right
And now
You turn it all around
And suddenly you're all I need
The reason why,
I-i-i, I smi-i-i-ile.
Rachel walked over to Blaine and the two mimed the next conversation, singing together, harmonizing as they did it.
Last night I blacked out, I think.
What did you, what did you put in my drink?
I remember making out and then
Oh oh
I Woke up with a new tattoo
Your name was on me and my name was on you.
I would do it all over again
She walked over and danced with Tina and Mercedes, all three singing the part together, Rachel loved this.
You-ou said "hey (hey)

What's your name?" (what's your name?)
It took one look and
Now I'm not the same.

Yeah, you said "Hey" (hey)
And since that day, (since that day)
You stole my heart and you're the one to blame

She jumped up on a chair and sang to her whole glee club.

And that's why I smile.
It's been a while
Since everyday and everything has felt this right
And now
You turn it all around
And suddenly you're all I need
The reason why,
I-i-i, I smi-i-i-ile.
The reason why,
I-i-i, I smi-i-i-ile.
She jumped down and walked through, hugging as many people as she could.
You know that I'm a crazy bitch
I do what I want, when I feel like it
All I wanna do is lose control
You know that I'm a crazy bitch
I do what I want, when I feel like it
All I wanna do is lose control
She was surrounded and they were all dancing together.
And that's why I smile.
It's been a while
Since everyday and everything has felt this right
And now
You turn it all around
And suddenly you're all I need
The reason why,
I-i-i, I smi-i-i-ile.
The reason why,
I-i-i, I smi-i-i-ile

Rachel was surrounded in a huge group hug, and she felt her eyes watering again, with tears of happiness. She was home.


Song: Smile by Avril Levigne

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