Length: 1473 / 12,591 (so far)
Spoilers: Season one to be safe, but this is completely AU.
Summary: “Once the shooting is over, I’m going to Ohio. As Rachel Berry. And I don’t want anybody to know anything about my life here. It’ll be like a clean slate.”
Disclaimer: Everything you recognize is not mine.
Author's note: This is unbeta-d. So all the mistakes - and I'm sure there are plenty - are mine. English is still not my first language.
A/N2: For this prompt at the Rachel/Quinn meme. It took a long time and it's still not finished, but I'm getting there so I decided to start posting it. I hope you'll like it. :)
The bright lights of New York City flicker through her eyes as she passes them, wanting nothing more than to get home and pretend the rest of the world doesn't exist. It's a feeling she has grown to know in the past few years, but still seems to eat her up everyday, like it's feeding on her melancholy and sadness alone.
She shouldn't feel like that; she knows how lucky she is, and how many girls would kill to be in her place, but sometimes – lately, even more so – she can't help but feel a little overwhelmed by everything. She feels as if she's being suffocated by all the people surrounding her; blinded by all the flashlights exploding in front of her eyes. She always knew that fame came with a price, and she'd always been more than willing to pay it, but when it came down to it, no matter how mature she appeared to be, and how incredibly down to earth she tried to be, she was still a 17 year old teenager, and life on the spotlight wasn't easy.
More often than not, she thinks about how things would be if she had moved to Ohio with her parents. Yes, she loves her Mom, but things in New York are different. There isn't a single soul out there who doesn't think of her as a product, a means to earn more and more money, or somehow try to climb the social ladder of the show business. She feels like she's more of a thing than a person, and it's just harder and harder everyday to keep her head high and take it all in stride.
She knows that things won't change; she hoped for it in the first years, but it only got worse and she is well aware that it's bound to continue like that.
There's only one thing to do, really, and even though she's been putting off for ages, it still feels as if a weight is lifted off her back when she finally makes a decision. She loves her life, there's not even a question about that. She loves New York, loves seeing her face in each and every billboard, but she can't help but wonder about everything she's missing. She wants to know what it feels like to have a normal life, without having to worry about every step she takes.
Surprisingly enough, the idea of leaving her dreams behind is not as hard as she thought it would be. Truth is, she's been there already, she lived the dream. Her dream. And somehow, she could never shake off the part of her that kept wondering about what other things there were to life.
And if there's anything in her life that Rachel Berry is sure that she is not, is a coward. She always fought too hard for the things she wanted, and she knows that there's no way she's backing off now.
Not a chance.
“I want vacation,” it's the first thing she tells her Mom when she gets home, the green spots on her skin still showing.
“I'm sorry?” her mother asks, face scrunching up in confusion, as if Rachel had lost her mind. “Rachel, honey, you know now is not the time for that.”
“I don't care,” she defies, her chin sticking up in the air, and making her mother cross her arms in front of her chest. “The shooting will be over in another week, two at the most. After that, I'm moving back to Dad and Daddy's house, and I'll finish High School like a normal person. I deserve that.”
“Don’t be stupid, Rachel. You deserve better than that!” her mother says, pinching the bridge of her nose as she lets out a small sigh. “You’re a star.”
Rachel’s shoulders slump as she lets her body fall into the massive couch that stood in the corner of their living room. “Well, I’m sick of it.”
Shelby snorts, her hands flying in the air as she raises her voice. “Millions of girls would kill to be in your place!”
“Then let them!” Rachel yells back, crossing her arms in a petulant way. She makes an extra effort to stay sit though, because she really wants this, has thought everything through and through and storming out on her mom will do her absolutely no good. Shelby Corcoran is an older version of her, and she knows how to play the woman very well. Taking a deep breath, she continues in an even voice, “Once the shooting is over, I’m going to Ohio. As Rachel Berry. And I don’t want anybody to know anything about my life here. It’ll be like a clean slate.”
“Do you really think it’s that simple, baby?” her mother asks, her voice taking a soft tone as she sees that Rachel really wants this. “I know things aren’t easy, but you’re famous. All over the world. You can’t just hope people won’t recognize you and that paparazzi won’t follow you all the way to Ohio. You’re Rachel Corcoran. Your face is plastered in every single billboard of this town.”
“This is New York, Mom. You know as well as I do that Lima is an entirely different matter. It’s as close to another reality as you can get. And I want to try; I need to try.”
She rests her head in her hands, taking deep breaths and trying to calm herself. She knew it wouldn’t be easy; when she first came to New York, her Mom made anything and everything to fuel her career, and she knew that in some ways, Shelby lived through her. Rachel was everything the woman could never be, had accomplished everything her mother had once dreamed of. Something in her heart breaks at the knowledge that she’s leaving everything behind for her own selfish reasons, but she also thinks that as her mother, Shelby should support her no matter what. Besides, it isn't as if she is retiring. She’s only seventeen and she’s built a name for herself, something that most people could only dream of. She knows it won’t be easy to leave this life behind, but she won’t know unless she tries. And her mother needs to understand that.
She feels the couch shifting next to her, and sooner after that, her mother’s arms are wrapped around her shoulder, warm lips placing a comforting kiss on her forehead, “I take that you already spoke to your Dad’s about this?”
“Of course,” her mom says with a small grin tugging at her lips. “You wouldn’t be my Rachel if you hadn’t planned everything already.”
“I do apologize for always leaving you as the last to know,” the younger brunette moves, wrapping her own arms at her mother’s waist, and falling back into the comfort zone that never failed to protect her. “You have to agree, though, that it’s far easier to convince them than it is to convince you. And either way, they could still have said no. I was merely being cautious.”
“You tricked me,” Shelby states, but there’s no accusation in her voice, only something akin to amusement. “And besides, I’m not your guardian, legally, so if you ever wanted to go back home, I wouldn’t be able to stop you.”
“I wouldn’t have done it if you had a problem with it, Mom.” Her tone is regretful, but Shelby can notice the conviction in her voice, and she only nods her head, knowing that her daughter is telling nothing but the truth. “I’m sorry.”
“I’m your Mother, sweetheart. I want only what’s best for you.”
“I’m aware of that, just as I’m aware of how much our life here is of great importance to you.”
“There’s nothing in this world that’s more important for me than your happiness, Rachel.” Shelby confesses in a whisper, and Rachel feels her heart swoon with joy as she hugs her mother tighter, burying her face in the crook of Shelby’s neck. “I love you, sweetie.”
“I love you too, Mom.” Rachel says, her tone matching the older woman’s. “Thank you.”
“I hope you know what you’re doing, Rach.” Is all Shelby says, still holding Rachel in her arms. “This has disaster written all over it.”
The younger brunette raises her head, staring at her Mom, before she moves out of the embrace and stands up, ready to leave the room. “I just want to find a place where people will like me for who I am and not how much money I can make for them.”
And she walks out before Shelby can say anything.