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[personal profile] black_hat
Pairing: olderRachel/Will
Warning: she’s of age but yeah. Older man/younger girl; a fic in which I have clearly lost my mind.
Summary: Will Schuester is in crisis.



Will Schuester always played it safe.

He wasn’t one to take risks, to step out of his comfort zone. It was easier that way. Back in Lima, he’d sleep in his one room apartment and think about how quiet and peaceful and easy this town was.

Underneath, sure, it was vicious as any town populated by people but most here preferred easy. Small matters were magnified by a thousand. Life and death struggles over renting an auditorium for an hour…

In a very small (big) way, he appreciated Sue. She was a dragon and she was still—by far—the worst person he had ever met. He’d be irritated and irate and alive, fighting for the rights of the students in the arena of high school.

Figgins was the emperor and they were the jousters. He was the knight fighting the dragon. Glee Club was important when she wanted to take it away from him. When she left, he expected to feel relief but instead there was just a feeling of something missing.

Her sister had passed away, he’d heard, and he had never thought of Sue in the context of someone having a family. He didn’t ask anymore about it or try to find out who the sister was.

The kids moved on. They made it out of Lima, each and everyone of them. He had made a crucial difference in their lives. He’d like to think teaching them music and how to sing what they felt change the course of their destinies.

At first, all the kids sent some sort of memento. Quinn and Puck with their new baby was his favorite picture. Then, over time, the postcards and letters stopped. Except for two.

Brittany and Rachel.

Brittany’s cards were always a mystery with one sentence phrases and conflicting addresses. He should be worried but the cards never stopped, so he took that as a good sign.

Rachel’s were much more elaborate: her standing in front of her Broadway sign, posed in presentation of her achievement. Stars shining in her eyes.

He’d gotten the cards steadily from her—the evolution of a nobody to a somebody.

But her cards were never from a student to a teacher. She never thanked him for imparting her with great talent. She never thanked him for never giving up on her. She didn’t thank him for teaching her about teamwork.

If she had, she would have been dishonest. On all accounts. Rachel never learned how to share with other people. Near the end, she was at odds with all of her peers but she never stopped fighting for the solos.

She’d go after them with –chose me or lose—and the others hungered to win so badly that they had to let her.

He never realized she was a young girl because she was his rival for control of the club to the bitter end too. She’d never thank him for advice nor took his advice like the rest of the kids.

Christmas holiday came. No one could speak Spanish yet in his class. Emma was home for the holidays, close and too far.

He got his paycheck and went home and listened to Lima. Now, he hadn’t planned to leave. He hadn’t planned to stay. The next morning of the holiday, he woke up and decided to take a trip.

To anywhere he wanted to go. By himself, just himself. For himself. It was about time.

New York was just the first city to come to mind.

***

Will would be honest.

He never expected Rachel Berry to make it. All the talent in the world wouldn’t help you if you couldn’t—or wouldn’t—speak to other people as equals. It was a hard truth but it was the truth.

Last time he checked which was back in Lima, Ohio.

Will bought himself tickets to a show that sold out two days later. He watched her: not with the intent to critique. His natural reaction to seeing a student on stage would be to offer advice. This time he could enjoy the show.

It was quite a show. She held her own.

The roar of the audience was—what he had expected all along. Rachel had done well for herself. Good for her. He stood up after the rest and clapped. He noticed that Rachel came on the stage to bow first and was the last to leave, her hair lustrous and her smile blinding.

It was some show. Will hadn’t planned on going back for a second viewing. He hadn’t intended to let her know he had been there. It was just for private support, a cherished memory, another victory.

But he bought another ticket and this time came with flowers.

He talked to a bodyguard after the performance (a sound still ringing in his ears and in the walls of the place) and the bodyguard decided that he was no threat.

Rachel walked behind the curtain alone, in all red, looking down. He wanted to call to her first but she felt his gaze and looked up.

“Mr. Schuester!” she gasped, surprised, and he felt satisfied and a little bit braver.

“Rachel. I saw your performance.”

She walked towards him, obviously not a young girl anymore. She was aging and fitting into her skin now. The stage outfit was revealing and the makeup brought out her features. Her legs were what shocked him. In an innocent ‘oh so above you’ way, her sweaters had hidden what hadn’t been hidden at the time.

“I’m very proud of you,” he blurted out as she stopped before him. Why he said it? Well, he was proud of her. Truly. He just didn’t have the authority to say it, and to stop the moment from crashing against the wall, he thrust the flowers into her hands.

“Oh!” Rachel held the flowers away from her outfit, and he could have died. He felt like he was thirteen years old on the playground, giving flowers to girls. He saw the drops of water from the stems hit the floor and couldn’t look away. “They’re lovely. Of course I received floral arrangements often but yours is much more important to me.”

Will nodded. “I’m glad you like them.”

“Did you come to see me?” she asked, and after the flowers, he’d thought that’d be obvious.

“I wanted to see you on the stage. You’ve arrived, your dreams have come true.”

Rachel smiled brightly again. “They have. They’re writing a book about me, you know,” she said, and he felt stabbed, betrayed. Singing on Broadway was one thing ,but a book—as if she was--: “The American dream. It’s immensely gratifying for someone from Lima to recognize that fact.”

Will wanted to frown and grimace but he maintained his composure. She was what, twenty-five now? He couldn’t exactly scold her.

“You deserve it.”

“Thank you.”

They stared at each other, and his face was starting to hurt from the smiling. “Well-.”

“Do you want to dine with me tonight?” Rachel asked. “You’ve come all this way, and I could show you the city. I know New York, Mr. Schuester.”

“I’m visiting friends,” he said. He wasn’t. Rachel began to nod, accepting his apologies, but he heard himself say, “But I’m here all week. I think they’ll welcome the break from me for one night.”

“This is wonderful. My limo is waiting out front.”

“I actually need to swing by my friend’s place first. I forget a few things, a few things from Lima. Can I join you in an hour?”

“Certainly, Mr. Schuester. Or shall I call you William?”

“Mr. Schuester is what I’m used to by now.”

Rachel nodded and smiled (beamed). “I’ll see you in an hour. So exciting!” she exclaimed and walked away with style and purpose.

He wondered what he had gotten himself into.

***

“You haven’t changed a bit. What’s your secret?”

Will was still stuck on how huge her apartment was. Oh wait—her penthouse apartment. Her penthouse apartment that was larger than his place back home. His place would have made a nice extra closet space around here. The lights from the city shone through the windows and the white, shiny floors were clean enough to eat off of.

There was the best of everything. Leather, sleek materials. A lot of black and whites. A lot of extremes.

“Hair gel,” he answered, absent-mindedly.

“…That’s a method I certainly never heard of. If you need help, I can direct you on how to eat. You’re probably not familiar with-.”

“I’ll improvise,” Will said, smiling and was half glad that he got to see her face before he sat down. He ate the food the good old American way. Then he noticed that she wasn’t eating. “Aren’t you going to…”

“I’m not. I have a performance the next three days. I’m on a strict regime.”

Good god.

“But you’re so thin. I mean, you’re beautiful but--.” And he didn’t mean to say that.

She didn’t seem to notice.

“It’s just like Barbara told me-.”

“Barbara?” Will asked, uncertain, a smile fixed upon his face.

“Streisand. Really, William.”

“Mr. Schuester,” he reminded her, his former lapse forgotten. Buried. He was ready to get out of here but he couldn’t leave. She hadn’t changed. He wanted something from her—had wanted something from her but he couldn’t say what it was. He just wanted to shake her.

“We’re all adults here,” Rachel said. “I suggest you start to act like one. Perhaps, however, if you call me Ms. Berry, I’ll forgo calling you William.”

“No. No,” he protested. “No.”

He could have said no all night. It felt like he was.

“That’s rude of you.”

“You can’t speak to me…like that, Rachel,” he said, giving up on eating.

“I’m being honest.”

“You’re being—impossible. As usual.”

“And it’s gotten me far.”

“I’m not going to argue against that, but to put it in perspective-.”

“I’m the star. You’re the teacher, to put it in perspective…” The realization hit her instantly. “I’m so sorry.”

But the damage was done. It was like every layer of civilized conversation was stripped away in an instant. He was stripped bare in an instant of any dignity he could have had with her, and this was always how it was with Rachel.

She stood up as he stood up. He threw his napkin down on the table, a fit of anger he couldn’t hide. He felt three feet tall.

“I really am sorry,” she repeated. “I know how I can be.”

“Do you? All I ever wanted was to do my job and be good at it, and from the beginning, you wanted to do my job for me. You couldn’t let me help you, could you?”

“What would you have done?” she asked softly, stepping up to him. “To help me.”

His mind went blank. He had a thousand lines and reasons and now he had nothing. Nothing he could say to her. He stared down at her furiously.

“Nothing. I’ve got nothing, Rachel. Is that what you wanted to hear?”

She put her hand on his chest. He got images and words of lyrics. He had the picture of himself as a man. He guessed he never got over taking from everyone. Giving and giving always turned out as taking.

Will honestly did not know the difference anymore.

So maybe—he couldn’t do a thing for Rachel. Maybe that was what he found himself meeting her midway and grabbing her up close to him. She kissed him back, not yielding but demanding, pulling him towards her, and things progressed.

He’d hate himself for this. He knew already. He went forward because it was the one thing she’d want from him, and the—the thought was in the back of his mind.

He didn’t push her away.

He found out that she was a virgin but by that time, it had gone too far.

***

‘I’m sorry,” he said, holding his head in his hands and sitting at the edge of her bed. “I’m so sorry.”

“Don’t be. Don’t be, Mr. Schuester.”

He winced.

“I’m on birth control. I’ll take the proper measures to prevent pregnancy.”

He just stared at her emptily. She smiled at him, and he didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know what to do.

“I’m so sorry,” he said again.

“Don’t be. I wanted you. We’ll all adults here.”

He didn’t feel like an adult. He didn’t feel like a man.

“Do you feel better?” she asked, holding the covers up to her.

“I only wanted…well. I don’t know what I want.”

“Who does? Before I only wanted your acknowledgment.”

He turned slowly, eyes wide and aging. Paling.

“I think we’ve made our beds, William. I think we have to lie in them. I’d like not to have to lie in mine alone. I know you don’t.”

“I’m not sure,” he said, shaking his head. He should say something profound. He should know something. But she didn't want or really need anything from him. In some sick way, was this for his benefit?

He honestly didn't know.

“I’ve gotten that impression. But here’s what we need to do. You decide by tonight if you’re staying for the week…I doubt you were beforehand…or if you’re leaving. Either way, if you’re honest with yourself, that’s all I ask.”

He couldn’t hide behind delusions. He nodded and she left to get ready. He heard the shower running. He waited on the bed and tried to decide.

His mind was blank.

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