"Rachel, you'll be singing the solo at Regionals." Mister Schuester stated, handing a music sheet to an overly excited Rachel Berry without acknowledging the other glee kids rolling their eyes. "You and Finn will handle the duet too, and all of us will decide on the group number."
He grinned at the group as he took a step back in the choir room, taking in the sight of his unimpressed club kids. They all slumped in their seats or crossed their arms over their chests as they glared at him. Instead of focusing on that, however, he simply smiled at Rachel who smiled back, fully aware of her annoyed peers but simply putting it down to jealousy.
"Come on guys, perk up! We're going to Nationals!" Schue exclaimed happily. "That's amazing."
"Not as amazing as actually singing there would be." Quinn mumbled.
"She said, not as amazing as-"
"Thank you, Sam, I did hear her I just.." He sighed and shrugged. "I thought you guys would be more excited about this."
"Yeah, we're thrilled to be swaying in the background as Rachel sings all the songs." Tina said, emphasising her sarcasm with an eyeroll.
"There's the group song."
"Which she'll sing lead in." Kurt scoffed. "Even though group songs are supposed to be a group thing, it's kind of in the name."
"Sorry if you're disappointed guys, but she's our star."
"She's one of many stars, she's just the only one that gets to shine." Mike complained.
"This is an important competition, we need to put our best foot forward."
"But we all have feet." Britany mumbled.
"I know you're all talented but you need to know when it's your time and when its not."
"Well, apparently, it's never been anyone's time but Berry's." Santana spat.
"Only 'cause she's wasting all ours." Mercedes muttered.
"It's just weird, dude." Puck straightened in his seat. "You talk about how accepting and open this club is, like everyone gets an opportunity in here, but then you treat her like she's the only one who's earned the attention you say all of us deserve."
"True that." Artie clicked his figers.
"Now hang on a minute." Rachel stood to her feet in front of everyone and crossed her arms. "Just because I am more talented than all of you doesn't mean you have to be so petty."
"Oh hell to the no." Mercedes objected. "You are not more talented than anyone else here, you're just a bigger diva."
"I work harder than all of you."
"And you know that how?" Kurt said slyly.
"Well I must do since I'm the only one here who gets real recognition."
"You get that because of the bullshit biases in this room." Santana corrected.
"I am sorry you're so jealous Santana," Santana scoffed at that. "But if you cared more about using your voice to sing rather than using it to hurt people then maybe you would be getting solos too."
"She's plenty nice, just not to you." Tina grinned. "And last time someone else got - no, earned - a solo you threatened to leave."
"I deserved it more."
"I will go all Lima Heights on your white passing hetero ass, bitch!" Santana threatened as she stood up.
"Santana sit down." Schue demanded, and she reluctantly sat back down. "I'm sorry you all feel that way, but I've already prepared the set list and it's been decided. Stop being so selfish." Schue commented, like he couldn't just change the plans accordingly. "That's it for today's session, I hope your attitudes have improved by tomorrow."
As everyone packed their stuff up, rolling their eyes with annoyance or sighing with annoyance or doing something else with annoyance, Rachel raced to Mister Schuester's side. She promptly asked about her solo and discussed her friends' 'betrayal' with him as well. Friends probably wasn't the right word for people she was forced to work with who hated her guts just a little more every time she opened her mouth.
Even Finn, her own boyfriend, had been suspiciously quiet at the back during that brief argument. Just as Will reached his office with Rachel, shouting something over his shoulder about practicing and shutting the door, Puck started rooting around in his bag. Kurt stood from his chair and started to sway and hum gently.
"The hell are you doing, Kurt?" Mercedes asked in an amused tone.
"Oh, didn't you hear him telling us to practice?" Kurt responded. The group laughed and a few started swaying in time with him through small giggles.
"I like Glee." Sam sighed. "But this is getting ridiculous."
"It is ridiculous." Santana agreed. "And a total load of bullcrap, I am way too talented to be backup for the basic broadway bitch."
"Her voice would sound better to me if it wasn't so constant." Quinn claimed, getting a nod from everyone in agreement.
"Maybe we should try to convince him again tomorrow?" Brittany suggested weakly.
"He's stubborn and stupid, won't happen." Tina shook her head and smirked when Quinn giggled at her comment.
"I'll say something if you do try again." Finn added. "Even I'm getting kinda tired of her voice."
"Aww trouble in paradise?" Santana mocked.
"I bet she's real vocal in bed." Mike grinned, and Finn slapped him on the arm.
"She is." Kurt groaned. "It's vile, I hear it through the walls."
"Kurt!" Finn hissed. His brother simply laughed as his gaze drifted towards the front of the choir room.
Everyone's gaze did, actually, as Puck stood at the front with a book in his hand and a smug smile on his face. That smile meant that either he'd just gotten laid or he was about to try to get laid, both were not uncommon for him. He just waited there, though, until everyone was turned in their chairs to face him.
"What's this Puckerman?" Santana asked, pointing towards the book in his hand.
"The choir show rulebook." Puck said smugly. He held the book up to show the rest, grin growing upon his face. "I read it through and-"
"You read something? I'm impressed." Kurt teased.
"Shut up, Kurt." Puck smirked. "I read it through and it said that we don't actually need a solo. We have a max of 3 songs to perform, Schue always chooses solo, duet and group but it can be anything." He opened the book to the first page and passed it to Tina, who read the rule before passing it to Quinn. "See?"
"Yeah, I see, but why are you bringing it up?" Tina asked.
"Because it means we can do this without her." Puck stated. "I suggest a duet, trio and group number so more of us are on show. Then we can have different people showcase their talents next time, so on, you know."
"Wait... You really think Schue will go for that?" Quinn tsked.
"No way, he'd never go for it." Sam said and Mercedes hummed in affirmation.
"And Rachel might kill us all." Brittany spoke with no sense of humour in her words, like she wasn't overexaggerating in any way. She wasn't, really.
"Definitely would." Finn mumbled.
"Who cares? We should do it anyway." Puck scoffed. "Behind their backs, secret society shit, we'll be ready by Regionals and if Rachel wants to join she can, if not then she can just watch us win without her." He watched as the book reached Kurt, who raised his eyebrow at the page. "And Schue can see us be fucking awesome without his bullshit Journey songs."
"That's real risky, and how would we even manage it?"
"Come on 'Cedes, you know me, I'm the baddest of asses, if I can't get away with it nobody can."
"Ridiculous sentence." Santana mumbled.
"Good idea, though." Kurt breathed, meeting Puck's eyes. "Is it accompanied by a plan?"
"Yes it is. We got the rest of the day, thank fuck this was an early session." Puck smirked. "We'll audition in the auditorium privately after school, no Rachel." He pointed at Finn.
"So we audtion in twos or threes?"
"That's what I thought, unless any of you would prefer to solo?"
The group all looked at each other. They all waited for something, expecting just one hand to shoot up in hopes of soloing at Regionals, or at least auditioning to. Alas, not a single hand rose, which they all found slightly bizarre. They were so used to being pitted against each other for solos that they didn't even realize they'd rather sing as a team.
It was always 'only one of you can solo' and never 'do you want to solo?', and as soon as they were asked such a question, they knew the answer. No. They didn't. They wanted to sing and prance around on stage like the gay ass team of losers they were together. In fact, they were more curious about who they would sing with instead of how they would beat the other.
Mad, the minute Schue and Rachel left they all felt more like a team than they usually did. In fact, they would often stay behind just to chat and sing and play as a group. All of them would hang out at Santana's house or the Hudmel's every so often when the homes were empty, without Berry. It was amazing, them all being together without arrogant assholes ruining it.
"Thought so." Puck nodded. "Alright, get into groups, decide on a song and we'll meet in the auditorium for auditions after school, sound good?"
Everyone exchanged excited looks with each other before nodding happily and clapping a little at the new plan. Just as they launched into a joyful conversation about the future of New Directions, Rachel reentered the room with a large smile on her face and took Puck's place at the front.
"Hello, would you like to hear my solo." Rachel said. Sure, it should've been a question but it didn't sound like one in any way, which is why everyone groaned and left the room before she could continue. "Guys?"