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15 May 2010 @ 12:53 pm
This City Is For Strangers :: Fic  

Title: This City Is For Strangers
Author: WhenLighteningStrikes/youcallitwinter
Rating: Boderline R
Pairing: Will/Rachel
Words: 1800
Summary: She tries so incredibly hard, and she wants so badly to grow up, but in this moment she's very, very sixteen.
Setting: After Like a Virgin in 'The Power of Madonna'
Author Notes: Well, I apologize in advance. I'm still getting the hang of the fandom and I have a feeling I should have attempted Rachel first. :) And, I should really start looking into the number of plot contrivances I seem to be able to fit in a single fic.
Disclaimer: disclaimed

 


 

He opens the door and (yeah, well, hindsight is twenty-twenty).

-o-

"Rachel?" The thing is; he should have guessed. How many other people in his life would have tried developing a harmony through a repeated pattern on the doorbell?

He slumps against the frame, too tired to ask her how she got his new address. And he knew he'd partly opened the door because he'd thought it might be Emma again. Emma, who'd given him a stricken look, told him she couldn't do it, and had run away in the middle of their would-be lovemaking session. And now he's aching and aroused and Rachel Berry has the worst timing ever.

"Mr. Schue, I have something to say," she begins determinedly and his mind slips to another day, another time when she'd been inside his house and it strikes him with all the subtlety of Brittany trying to play a Beethoven symphony- this (whatever this is) is a really, really bad idea.

"Rachel, whatever you might have to say, I'm sure it can wait till the next Glee club meeting. I don't really think this is…"

"…appropriate," she ends, wryly, twisting her lips into the expression that's so familiar, he nearly smiles. Nearly. "Yes, Mr. Schue, I am aware you feel so. However, I was caught up in a dilemma and had it not concerned the Glee club, I wouldn't have come to you."

He glances over her head, at the blinding night outside, and common courtesy demands he call her in, but it's a self-preservation thing and he won't. "Right. Good. What is it?"

She stares at a fixed point, somewhere near his wall-clock, "Mr. Schue, I think this…thing…we have is disrupting my routine."

He stares at her blankly, "which thing who has is doing what?"

("Admit it Mr. Schue, you don't like me very much"). There are several things that annoy him about Rachel Berry. She makes him lose coherence, and mostly he's left standing as she walks out the door, like some badly made, straight-to-DVD-movie. And though she's his student and he's supposed to be the mature one in their mess of an almost-relationship (almost-friendship, almost-understanding, almost-sympathy, almost-a lot of things) there are times when he creates his set-lists just so she won't have the upper hand, and when he thinks about it (rarely) he hates the fact that she reduces him to high-school tactics.

"This," she points to herself, and then, almost reluctantly points her finger square at his chest, "I am extremely disappointed Mr. Schue, and as one professional to another, I think your behavior falls short of expected standards."

"Rachel," he doesn't laugh, and it's no mean feat because she tries incredibly hard and she wants so badly to grow-up, but in this moment, with her hair tied up, her face free of make-up, wearing one of her usual childlike dresses, she's very, very sixteen, "I apologize for my unprofessionalism, but under your expert guidance, I'm sure I shall soon see the light."

"You're being sarcastic, Mr. Schue," she says severely, "and frankly your ability to laugh off a matter which is surely going to affect our chances at Regionals is rather disturbing."

He schools his features into seriousness, and feels his insides clench in tenderness, but she'll never forgive him if he ruffles her hair, "I'm sorry, Rachel. But you're going to have to explain this one to me."

And because he's looking at her, he catches the sudden helplessness in her eyes which makes him realize that she'd been hoping for some sort of telepathic communion, "Mr. Schuester, as you are aware I had…feelings…for you a while ago. And I am aware I messed up and embarrassed both of us pretty badly," she's moving her hands a lot (and no, no this isn't good), "and I also know that as a teacher, it was your moral responsibility to…say the things you did. And that special mash-up you made to explain your tactical position on the subject-matter," ('temptation, frustration, so bad it makes him cry', which just goes to prove that on top of everything else, he's also a fucking idiot), "but I also don't think it's fair that you should keep punishing me for that…indiscretion, especially since it's affecting my performing skills, and I really think…" She's talking too fast and if there's anything he's known about her, it's that she has a knack for bringing into sharp focus those conversations which should only really be going on in parentheses.

"Rachel," and (oh god) it had to be this, right now, obviously, "I can assure you I'm not 'punishing' you or anything, you're completely overreacting. It was just a phase and it's passed, and you are exactly like all my other students to me," (it's true, she's just a lot more persistent, and infuriating and she sings and makes him feel...makes him feel, but she's almost exactly like all his other students and, well, he's started accepting the almosts).

She looks straight at him and swallows hard, "you don't touch me, Mr. Schue."

He laughs outright then, and it sounds a little odd, like he's trying something on for size but it doesn't quite fit, "that's insane, Rach, I touch you quite a lot." And he hopes she's still too young to get the various implications because that's not what he means. Although he doesn't need to justify, even in his mind, because the possibility of it meaning anything…other than what it means on the surface, is non-existent.

Before he can react, his hand is entwined with hers (he can think of thirty-three countries off the top of his head where it's probably illegal) and almost as part of a reflex action, he snatches his hand back, "What the hell are you…"

"See," she tells him, and she's never been able to establish her point without that tone of triumph (and how exactly is it that he mostly seems to end up on the losing end?) "Hence proved."

"Don't be ridiculous, Rachel," he's snapping, and maybe there's a professional code and written rules about how to deal with a situation like this but every conversation with Rachel Berry is a confrontation and if he's able to form sentences, he calls it a victory, "and I don't think this is the time or the place to discuss something that is nothing more than a figment of your imagination."

"Don't think I haven't noticed, Mr. Schue. You haven't chosen me as your partner to show a dance routine since I…since...that time. And as bizarre as your choices for the solo performers are, at least you make them with a view of neutralizing the edge that my training has given me over the other members, which admittedly is a lot. But how exactly would you like to be told, repeatedly, that you're so unattractive that even someone as asexual as a teacher is repulsed by you? Although admittedly, in pop culture teachers aren't really considered asexual, in fact movies like 'Notes on a Scandal' and songs like the Busted hit, What I go to School For, definitely serve to create an erotic dimension in the conventional student-teacher relationship. Not to mention that I myself felt an...attraction towards you, although I assure you it's completely gone, so... "

He interrupts. Because it'd be nice if he could manage to get through this endless night with his sanity intact. Only one person could have said that, paraphrased in Rachel-Berry-terms, "Puck is in permanent word-vomit mode, Rachel; he doesn't mean half the things he says."

"Well, Noah, whether intentionally or unintentionally has hurt me very much, and I think I deserve some sort of explanation." She crosses her arms over her chest and he blames Terri ("no, honey, you know what's immoral is me having to deal with the fact that my husband spends all day with young girls who are perkier and younger than I am") but he doesn't stare because he's asexual. And thirty-two. And her teacher. And in the middle of that there's probably a whole textbook on morality and ethics.

He's had to memorize each expression, each curve of her lip to know when exactly she was going to storm out and how he was going to convince her. So he knows this expression. And he knows that beneath the drama queen act, she's actually hurt. And she's sixtee…(wait, hasn't he already covered this?)

"I just want you to touch me once," she says bluntly, and it hits him hard in the gut, because she hides behind words a lot, and now she isn't, "Finn didn't want to touch me. And Jesse tried to, right now, but I…I could only think of you because…well, I suppose he looks a little like you. And I couldn't go through with it since I got so angry that you'd deliberately jeopardize our chances at Regionals for something as petty as a personal grudge. So I came here."

And she'd probably left Jesse somewhere, just as hard, just as aching as he was.

He grasps her bare shoulder tightly, (maybe her skin always feels just as impossibly soft as it does under his hands right now and maybe if…and in a wild moment there's an empty room, and that dress and he's not there, and she's not there; just her dress and his bed- stark, real, impossible), and closes his eyes, pushing her away.

She looks up at him, starry-eyed, with that wide smile which makes her look ten, (better run girl, you're much too young, girl) "see that wasn't so hard, was it, Mr. Schuester? I'm glad we've been able to put my unfortunate crush behind us. You seem to have no problems touching any of the other Glee members and as a firm believer in equal opportunities in the professional field, I think I'd have been compromising my principles had I not brought up your aversion to physical contact with me. See you at Glee practice thursday".

She's turned away, (and he hasn't compromised his principles either, so maybe that's something, unless the whole principle-compromising thing extends to the mind) but she's turning back towards him again and if he'd been staring he'd say her color is higher, but he isn't, obviously. Watching her or anything. "Is that Can't Get Enough Of Your Love", he curses himself for not shutting off the whole damn playlist that was going to be the soundtrack for the night before that never happened.

"Miss Pillsbury was here," and he doesn't need to explain, she probably doesn't want it, doesn't need it, but he still does because if there's anything he's learnt in this past hour, it's that when it comes to Rachel Berry, he never graduated high school.

"Oh," she considers this for a second, "it's a fairly conventional choice, of course, but I'd added it in as well." (oh, fuck, no, why the hell doesn't she just stop), "Along with How Deep Is Your Love. The 'No Doubt' version, because it sounds softer. And, Nine Inch Nails' Closer because I've heard it's a turn-on, although I don't see it myself, but Jesse might. And, well, Scarborough Fair. I know it's probably never been on any 'songs to make love to' list, and probably nobody has ever used it and the theme too doesn't fit traditionally, but...I don't know. I just, it's so..." she stops, with a pleading look, as if she's willing him to understand.

Then she shakes his hand, beaming, and he doesn't watch her walk away. ("I'm your teacher, Rachel, and I'm sorry, but that's all I'll ever be").

He closes the door and leans against it, just as Scarborough Fair starts playing on the recorder upstairs.

-o-

And it's only later when Emma calls him a slut in front of the entire staff-room that he realizes why. Why he'd jeopardized a real relationship for meaningless sort-of-flings. (Shelby and April remind him of someone. Almost.)


Fin.

 

 
 
Current Mood: lazylazy
 
 
 
catja catja catja starts with ckitsune13 on May 15th, 2010 07:53 am (UTC)
Oh wow, I really, really enjoyed that. I loved Will's fragmented narration, and his frustration, and the little threads of desire running through his interior monologue. Rachel was both infuriating and funny, and oh god, their song choices matching up is exactly the sort of ~sign~ that both of them would take. And the last line just killed me. Great job!
youcallitwinteryoucallitwinter on May 15th, 2010 08:55 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! Actually I'd seriously thought I'd moved away from whole angstangstangst thing, but whenever I try out a new fandom, I seem to slip back to the basics for some odd reason :S And I found it very suspicious that the two people he nearly-but-not-quite cheated with are Rachel call-backs: Shelby's looks and April's singing. :)
0penhearts: g r like a virgin0penhearts on May 15th, 2010 08:31 am (UTC)
I love this.

It's hard to make sarcastic!Will work, but you totally did, and you walked this fantastic line between canon and fantasy and Rachel was perrrrrrrrrfeeeeeeeeect and by the end of it? I didn't even miss that there was no sex.

Jeez, I mean, he barely touched her twice, (and I love that that was the whole point because of course that's something Rachel would come to him about in the midst of not losing her virginity to Jesse. Of course) but the bluntess of Will's inner monologue gave this whole thing a really nice dark edge
catja catja catja starts with ckitsune13 on May 15th, 2010 08:37 am (UTC)
HI YOU!

I love how we see good new W/R and we LEAP upon it. :D I expect myr_soleil to show up any minute now. And oh wow, OF COURSE Rachel would leave in the midst of losing her virginity.
(no subject) - 0penhearts on May 15th, 2010 09:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - myr_soleil on May 16th, 2010 01:03 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - youcallitwinter on May 15th, 2010 09:11 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - 0penhearts on May 15th, 2010 09:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
manueluv: pic#100807956manueluv on May 15th, 2010 09:47 am (UTC)
My my, another Will/Rachel Fic!!! Guys, what exactly happens this week? <3

Ah, such tension between them. It is great to have an one-shot from Will's perspective. I like that the past conversations he had with Rachel pop up every now and then and, oh, the inner demon Will has to constantly fight at this very crucial moment.

And, I love love love that most fics of this ship contain a list of songs!! I mean, it seems like there is a soundtrack for every Will/Rachel fic. :D:D:D

BTW, the line "Brittany trying to play a Beethoven symphony" is brilliant! LOL
youcallitwinteryoucallitwinter on May 15th, 2010 10:32 am (UTC)
Haha, thanks you so much! I probably shouldn't have tried Will in the beginning though, because he requires much deeper analysis, since it's mainly his 'morality' interfering with the chemistry. And I always found it odd that he made Rachel sit in the back-seat (seriously, what did he think she'd do, jump him?) because obviously then the possibility of attraction is not one-sided.
I took the easy way out though, instead of looking deeper, I just put him in a scenario where he's already frustrated and not in control of his emotions. :)
(no subject) - manueluv on May 15th, 2010 11:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - youcallitwinter on May 16th, 2010 11:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
infinityonhigh2infinityonhigh2 on May 15th, 2010 02:05 pm (UTC)
I loved this, so different and it worked so well. :)

The fact that he only actually touched her twice, made it even more intresting! Great stuff. Hope you write more soon :)
youcallitwinteryoucallitwinter on May 15th, 2010 06:15 pm (UTC)
Well that's more because I couldn't figure out how to go further and keep Will in-character, lol, but I'm still glad that made it interesting for you! Thank you so much :)
mireille: (glee) don't stand so close to memyr_soleil on May 16th, 2010 01:02 am (UTC)
Wow, this is really good. I love the moment that you set the scene, it gives so much more tension to the moment, ahhh. It's great that you put actual quotes from the show, too (the Terri one about students being perky, oh my - this show really wants us to ship them, it's incredible). And the playlists! Perfect touch.
youcallitwinteryoucallitwinter on May 16th, 2010 11:05 am (UTC)
Oh yes, the show totally does! Terri being afraid of Will having an affair with a student and looking in the direction Rachel'd gone while talking about the "teenage sluts" whose arms he can "fall into"...*sigh*
Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it :)
Emma: will/rachel lovesmittenrosebud on May 16th, 2010 08:52 pm (UTC)
That was excellent! (And may I just say you handled Will very well, there was absolutely no need to try attempt Rachel first :))

I love how Rachel arrived at Will's doorstep pretty much mid- (potential) virginity loss because she was so annoyed with Will. It's such a characteristically Rachel thing to do.

I also loved how Will's narration was so fragmented. It really made his frustration at Rachel always winning arguments and his sexual frustration over Emma and over Rachel come across clearly. I do love me some "Will's inner monologue" ;)

I found it adorable that they both put Scarborough Fair on their sexytime playlist. Everytime they interact on the show it reminds me of how alike they really are. It was a really excellent touch. I also felt that it changed the tone of the fic from straight angst to a touch of hope that one day Will is going to remember that moment ('cause let's face it, how many other women is he going to come across who wants to get down and dirty to that song!) and they will get it onnnn! *g*

Really really enjoyed it!

P.S. Almost forgot: I adored the last line! Shelby - Rachel I got, but the April - Rachel similarities never really clicked until I read that. Clearly I have much to think about!! :D
youcallitwinteryoucallitwinter on May 17th, 2010 09:33 am (UTC)
Aww...thank you so much, this is really sweet of you!

ALSO, SO MUCH ICON LOVE. That whole scene practically screamed "combustible UST", I thought it was highly "inappropriate" (and also surprisingly hot) the way Rachel touched the lapels of his coat with her feet. Also, his having to watch her while she showed-off her body's flexibility must have been hard (pun totally n...who am I kidding, intended). And since this was practically one of the beginning episodes, the writers seem to have been shipping them since a long time ;)

Will doesn't behave like a teacher with a Rachel. She seems to bring out his competitive spirit, and they're so very alike, Will's just better at hiding it. And the fact that when he's the one showing the dance moves, he very pointedly doesn't touch Rachel or touches her for a second while he's very free with the others (lol, I noticed only cuz I wanted him to touch her and was watching very closely:), while Rachel stares at him with this soft smile. Aww.

I'm glad you liked the ending! April and Rachel have a lot in common. The singing (which was the main reason Will was 'in love with' April), then the I-get-what-I-want attitude. The divatude and not to mention they both wanted Will ;)
(no subject) - smittenrosebud on May 17th, 2010 08:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - manueluv on May 17th, 2010 11:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - smittenrosebud on May 19th, 2010 09:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
TattooedSiren: glee rachel-sadtattooedsiren on May 18th, 2010 01:59 am (UTC)
Great fic. I so love the idea of Rachel realising that Will doesn't touch her anymore and kicking up a fuss about it. Perfect.
youcallitwinteryoucallitwinter on May 18th, 2010 04:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you :) Earlier, there was no setting, it was just a random visit to Will's house. Then I remembered Rachel hadn't been able to go through the act with Jesse, and I could imagine her standing in front of the mirror, thinking about Will instead!
umeboshicons: Sheldon Gleek by meumeboshicons on May 18th, 2010 11:08 am (UTC)
I really really loved this one. Nothing really happened, but the tension, the sparks this twho have, was all there! You did a wonderful job with Will personality, I hope to read more from you soon!
youcallitwinteryoucallitwinter on May 18th, 2010 04:44 pm (UTC)
Haha, you totally caught me out, absolutely nothing happened. It was more of a Will-inner-monologue thing than anything else, I suppose. But I'm glad that worked out for you!
Taylah: Matthew/Leax_rose_tyler_x on May 20th, 2010 11:10 pm (UTC)
Ugh, I'm late to this party, but holy crap, like 0penhearts mentioned, this was so good the no-sex was actually even better than if there had been sex. It's such a tricky thing to write Will and Rachel and the underlying sexual tension between them, because right at the top of it, there seems to be actually something going on, on a different level that's more romantic than sexual, though you still can see sparks flying when they're together. Now, being able to put the two together is probably the most complicated thing when it comes to these two. And you did, so this was great. I loved it.
youcallitwinteryoucallitwinter on May 21st, 2010 09:51 am (UTC)
I would LOVE to try Rachel/Will sex, but I honestly can't figure it out (although your icon- love, love- screams it!) Because I can't think of a realistic enough situation in which Will would completely lose his head and forget that Rachel is his student/sixteen. And the ones that were awesome, have already been done, lol. And now that they've finally revealed Shelby as Rachel's mother (took 'em long enough), you can imagine that Will was instantly attracted to Shelby (and boy, was it instant and hot or what) because he'd been repressing so much, that when he finds this Rachel-look-alike, it's finally an outlet. That's my denial and I'm sticking to it :)
Thank you so much! Glad you liked it.
Too Cool For a Portmanteau: Chain linkdevlinacardigan on June 14th, 2010 05:46 am (UTC)
♥ and this line:

She looks up at him, starry-eyed, with that wide smile which makes her look ten, (better run girl, you're much too young, girl) "see that wasn't so hard, was it, Mr. Schuester?

Complete perfection. I love your voice and the way this entire fic was set up. It was Lovely.
youcallitwinteryoucallitwinter on June 26th, 2010 11:26 am (UTC)
I am so late, sorry! I've just stopped checking my ID because I have a horrendous guilt-complex and I feel terrible that I don't review-reply on ff.net anymore :S
Thank you so much! Schueberry has so many endless possibilities and although the whole of Will/Rachel in Ballads was set up in a comedic tone, I think that was mostly because they didn't want it to come through just exactly how much chemistry those two have. Laughing at it would be easier for the writers, rather than looking closely at the number of times they touch/eye-sex each other and realizing "oh, shit"
Or, you know, maybe it's Matt and Lea, I just can't figure where all the chemistry comes from. Either way, definitely OTP :)
pingback_botpingback_bot on January 5th, 2011 06:00 am (UTC)
And my lameness continues...
User firthgal referenced to your post from And my lameness continues... saying: [...] something to happen between them in the future, and I really enjoyed it. This City Is For Strangers [...]
pingback_botpingback_bot on March 23rd, 2011 04:58 pm (UTC)
And I was like, "Baby baby baby oooooooooh, baby baby baby NOOOOOOO!"
User firthgal referenced to your post from And I was like, "Baby baby baby oooooooooh, baby baby baby NOOOOOOO!" saying: [...] I enjoyed this fic so thoroughly. (also, this author wrote one of my favorite Will/Rachel fics [...]