ext_163098 ([identity profile] raving-liberal.livejournal.com) wrote in [community profile] storyof3boys on August 14th, 2016 at 01:04 pm
Recognition
Title: Recognition
Rating: G
Character(s): Sam, Finn, Brittany, Kurt, Tina, Mike, Mercedes, Noah, Santana, Artie, Quinn, Rachel
Warnings: None
Authors’ Notes: While looking for something else entirely, we found this work, unfinished, in our Google Docs. The last edits had been made in 2012, and we had apparently just abandoned it and forgotten about it. So here it is, a literal missing piece of SOTB, given a loving polish by [livejournal.com profile] davidofoz for your reading pleasure. [And while your instincts will likely scream otherwise, Taliaferro is pronounced "Toliver"]
Word Count: 5260
Summary: Graduating with the McKinley class of 2012 brings with it a certain notoriety.

Or read on AO3.



Sam

Sam’s been at LSU for all of a week-and-a-half when his roommate, Taliaferro, enters the dorm room with the announcement of, “Evans, I found out your deep, dark secret.”

Since he wasn’t aware he had a deep, dark secret, Sam first feels confused, then a little panicked. Baton Rouge is so hot and wet that everything he owns is growing mold, mildew, or both. Sam believes it’s fully possible that he could have grown a deep, dark secret under the same conditions.

“Taliaferro, you’re full of shit,” Sam says, casually as he can. “I don’t think I have a deep, dark secret.”

“Me and Prejean Googled you during lunch and guess what we found?” Taliaferro asks.

“My stats? My game tapes?” Sam guesses.

Taliaferro shakes his head with a smug smile. “Nope. Guess again.”

“I’m pretty sure I’d remember if I had a sex tape,” Sam says.

“Wasn’t that, either,” Taliaferro says. “Thank god.”

Sam leans back in his desk chair. “Okay. So what’s my deep, dark secret?”

Taliaferro’s smile gets even more smug. “Twelve minutes of you singing and dancing.”

“Oh,” Sam says with a chuckle. “Is that all? That was on my application.”

“Yeah, but we didn’t know about it,” Taliaferro says. “Wait till the rest of the guys find out what a good dancer you are. You’re getting recruited for the Mikie’s, for sure.”

“No. No way. My performance days are way over,” Sam says.

“I’m telling ’em,” Taliferro insists.

“I really just came here to play ball, you know,” Sam says. “I really thought my singing and dancing days were behind me.”

“Last year, the swim team did a 18-person choreographed dance to ‘My Humps’ and ‘Single Ladies’.”

Sam groans. “Come on, man. Don’t tell the guys about the glee club thing, okay?”

“You can buy my silence,” Taliferro offers.

“How much?”

“I want your desserts from the dining hall at dinner for a week.”

Sam sighs as he mulls it over, but he has to admit it sounds like a fair trade. “Alright,” he tells Taliferro. “A week of desserts, and nobody hears anything about ‘Somebody Told Me’.”

Taliaferro sticks out his hand and Sam shakes it. “Deal.”


Finn

Finn loves just about everything about Madison. He loves the town. He loves getting to play football. He loves the QSA. He loves the Wisconsin Singers, maybe secretly even more than he loves playing football. He gets to hang out with Trish, Syd from the QSA’s friend. He gets to hang out with Jen and Laurie and Theresa, with Reuben and Kenneth, with the two Matts and the three Chrises, and with Apelu, who looks like he should sing baritone, but who is actually a tenor.

They have one actual rehearsal between auditions (which he totally aced) and the first day of class, and at that rehearsal, Chris #2 pulls a video up on his phone and starts passing it around the room. Finn recognizes ‘Complicated Rules’ right away and tries not to make a weird face as everyone in the room looks at him.

“You didn’t sound this good at the audition,” Laurie says. “I mean, you sounded good, but not this good.”

“Well, I had more time to practice for Nationals,” Finn explains.

“Did your team really write that song?” Jen asks.

Finn nods. “Yeah. My brothers did. I don’t write songs anymore, since I’m not really that good at it, and they are. They’re going to college for music.”

“You mentioned that three or four times,” Reuben says, laughing. “This is really good, though. You should have performed this at the audition.”

“Nah,” Finn says, shaking his head.

“Why not?” Theresa asks.

“Feels weird,” Finn says. “It’s out of context or whatever. Plus, it’s a duet, and there’s only one of me.”

“Still, you could have at least said you were from a Nationals-winning show choir,” Reuben says.

“You might’ve found the other original song we did, then,” Finn says.

“Found it!” shouts Chris #3. “Aw, it’s sweet. Not a great song, but it’s sweet.”

The Singers all crowd around to look at the phone, and Finn cringes as they get to the very end where he kisses Rachel. The Singers let out a collective ‘awww’, which Finn pretends not to hear. Luckily, the director arrives and everyone has to take their positions, so nobody talks about ‘Pretending’ or the kiss for the rest of the rehearsal. As they’re leaving, though, Jen slips Finn her number. He looks at it for a full minute, trying to decide what to do about it, whether he should just throw it away or not, and then he decides with a sort of sinking feeling that there’s no reason not to call a girl and ask her on a date, so he shoves the number into his pocket and promises himself he’ll give her a call the next day.


Brittany

Everyone at FSU has been so nice to Brittany, up to and including everyone at her first audition for the Flying High Circus. She had been pleased to receive the callback for a second audition, and even more pleased that this time, the waiting area has enough seats for everyone, since the first round auditions hadn’t provided very many chairs.

In seats across from Brittany’s, two girls keep elbowing each other and poking each other, giggling the whole time as they whisper to each other and occasionally point at Brittany. Brittany assumes they probably saw her first audition and now feel intimidated by her talent. Santana always told her she had never met anyway as flexible as Brittany. Maybe the girls wish they could be that flexible.

Three more people get called in for their second audition before the first girl actually speaks to Brittany. “Excuse me,” the girl says. “We just had to ask…”

“Yoga,” Brittany says, “and lots of sex. Hot yoga. Hot sex, too, actually.”

The girls look confused and exchange a look with each other. “Uh. What?” the first girl says.

“That’s how I became so flexible,” Brittany says.

“Oh, no, that’s not…” The first girl looks at the second girl and sort of shrugs. The second girl shrugs back and then looks at Brittany.

“We’re pretty sure we’ve seen you on YouTube,” the second girl says. “That’s you, right? Fondue for Two?”

Now Brittany feels even happier than she already did from getting a callback and thinking about having sex with Santana. “That is me!” she says happily.

“We love your show!” the second girl says.

“We love your cat!” the first girl says. “He’s so amazing.”

“I can’t believe it’s really you,” the second girl says. “Are you here for the callback? Does that mean you go to our school?”

“I do go to this school,” Brittany says.

“You’re like a YouTube famous person,” the first girl says. “I remember when you did the whole episode on the Elmer’s glue conspiracy. I never even thought about the glue industry being a monopoly.”

The second girl nods. “And your interview with the roadie from Elton John’s tour? It was, just, it was so insightful!”

“It really made us think about the issues,” the first girl says.

“The issues are very important,” Brittany says.

“Brittany Pierce!” a voice calls from the doorway into the audition space. Brittany stands and smiles at her new friends.

“It was nice to meet you,” Brittany says.

“Oh, will you autograph my cat notebook before you go?” the second girl asks, digging into her backpack and pulling out a notebook with cats printed in rainbow colors all over it. She hands it to Brittany, along with a black Sharpie. Brittany quickly signs the notebook and hands it back.

“Good luck in your audition!” the first girl says.

“Maybe you can do some acrobatics on Fondue for Two some time,” the second girl says, as Brittany heads for the doorway.

“I try to avoid mixing my business and personal lives too much,” Brittany says apologetically. “But it was so great to meet some fans!”


Kurt

Kurt is unimpressed by the name of Marymount’s GSA, but he decides to give the group a chance despite the uninspired moniker of ‘G-SNAP’. There aren’t a huge number of students there, about the same size as a PFLAG meeting at McKinley, so Kurt discards the idea of slipping in unnoticed.

One of the upperclassmen who apparently holds an office in the group greets him almost as soon as he’s in the room. “Welcome! Are you a freshman?”

“No way,” one of the others says. “You look really familiar!”

Kurt mentally groans. During his first meeting of his musical theatre class, two of his classmates—that remind him strongly of Rachel and Jesse St. James—had insisted they recognized him from somewhere. Zachary and Victoria had oh-so-helpfully informed the entire class that Kurt was a member of the 2012 national champion show choir. By the next class meeting, half of the class had watched every competition video from his senior year, and half of them had questions.

He hadn’t really enjoyed answering questions about “Marching On,” or who that had been with him and Noah. That’s still too raw, too painful, and Kurt worries that it will always be that way. There are things they don’t talk about, pictures they ignore, words they avoid. They talk to Finn, they text him, they FaceTime once a week, but there are limits.

“No, I am a freshman,” he insists, smiling slightly. “Just a freshman.”

It takes three weeks before anyone puts it together. The topic of discussion is community activism, and Noah tags along, both of them slightly amused and curious. Maybe it’s the two of them together, and someone asking where Noah is from, or maybe it’s just that Kurt has things to say on this topic. They weren’t perfect, but they did do better than some groups at including more than, as Santana put it, just the G. The kids at Marymount are well-intentioned, but very focused on their own peer group and the issues of their perceived peer group.

Kurt’s in the middle of attempting to explain that the trans individual he’s known, admittedly singular, didn’t want special attention paid to his trans status, he just wanted to be treated the same as all the other guys were, when the one that recognized him the first day interrupts him.

“Wait, you’re from Ohio? Where in Ohio?”

Kurt exchanges a rueful glance with Noah. “Lima,” he admits.

“Lima. Like the school board thing, last year?”

“Yes. That Lima.”

The guy’s eyes light up almost disturbingly. “You’re the endure guy!”

Kurt winces. “I…am.”

“That’s why you looked familiar!” He turns to the rest of the room. “Remember that speech that went viral back in April? That was him!”

Kurt sighs and leans against Noah’s shoulder. He never thought a school board speech and show choir could result in such lack of anonymity.


Tina

When Tina gets to Wellesley, she doesn’t mention much about home or even Mike at first. She doesn’t want to be the girl who followed her boyfriend in their minds, and she doesn’t want to be the girl who gets weepy when high school is mentioned. It’s easier to concentrate on Wellesley and slipping away weekends to see Mike, at least at first.

Tina joins the Wellesley Debate Society, and in late October, while they’re discussing the upcoming elections, Tina pipes up with some of the statistics she learned during the school board fight. Marriage equality isn’t quite the same as what they were fighting for, but they’re related, and the statistics are still relevant. A few people nod, adding their own statistics, but then a few minutes later, one of the other girls points at Tina.

“Wait, aren’t you from Ohio?” Tina nods. “Are you from that town with the school board thing? That had so many people working on it win the show choir competition?”

“Wow, I didn’t realize anyone had connected that,” Tina says as she nods again.

“I was at Nationals. Do you know—oh, wait! You were there!” She grins at Tina. “You guys have some amazing dancers! And the swing dancing, I loved that!”

“That was so much fun,” Tina agrees, returning the smile. “It was a great day, that Thursday. We won Nationals and then went back to the school board vote that evening.”

“People, you should listen to Tina if we get a resolution about LGBT rights!” the girl says. “She’s already done all the research.”

Tina laughs. “I wouldn’t go that far, but I guess we did get a win under our belt.”


Mike

“This class is going to be the end of me,” Rebecca sighs. “I can’t seem to think outside the generic box.”

“I know what you mean.” Alex shakes her head. “I would never think to take a leap. I was in show choir, and when we were at Nationals? There was a group that did swing dancing to The Killers. The Killers!”

Mike grins to himself and sings softly. “Somebody told me that you had a boyfriend who looked like a girlfriend.”

“Yes! That’s the song,” Alex agrees. “They even had two same-sex couples. I mean, who comes up with things like that?” The three of them, along with Patrick, who’s been quiet, sit down at a table with their food.

“You’d be surprised,” Mike says casually. “The Killers are surprisingly easy to choreograph for. They’re a good crowd-pleaser, too. I think ‘Human’ was actually more effective and definitely more ground-breaking, but it was definitely an Invitationals number, not one for competition.”

“The same group did a number to ‘Human’ too?” Patrick shakes his head. “See, this is why I’m struggling. I never would imagine a dance to ‘Human’.”

“Oh, it was fantastic.” Mike grins, warming up to the subject. “Really good to funk out the other groups. Our Regionals set list might have actually been better than our Nationals set list, to be honest, but we didn’t have an original song for Regionals.”

Alex blinks. “That— that’s your group? Your choir?”

“New Directions,” Mike nods proudly. “We put in a lot of practice on those dance numbers. I think the others were going to kill me!”

“Wait, you choreographed this awesome routine or whatever that Alex is talking about?” Patrick asks. “Swing dancing, The Killers, all of that?”

Mike nods again. “Yeah, we did ‘This Is War’ and an original song—a duet—for our other two songs for Nationals. The choreography for the duet wasn’t that complicated, because Finn’s not the best dancer out there, but I think ‘This Is War’ turned out really well.”

“You should bring the videos to class,” Rebecca interjects. “Or at least let us watch them sometime soon! Was Tina in your show choir, too?”

“Yeah, she was.” Mike grins. “All twelve of us were seniors last year. It’s been a little odd not to be singing all the time. I keep thinking I’ll get used to it, but well. We’re over two months in now and it still seems a little surreal.” He laughs.

“But you won Nationals,” Alex says, still sounding disbelieving. “Why didn’t I realize that?”

“I wasn’t exactly a featured vocalist.”

“Still. I bet you were dancing.” Alex shakes her head. “Yeah, we definitely need to watch any videos you have!”

“They’re all on YouTube,” Mike points out wryly. “But yeah, sure, if you really want to.”

“Let’s invite the entire class!” Patrick grins at Mike’s slight wince. “I mean, I don’t think most of the people that raised their hand at the beginning of the semester meant they’d choreographed for more than themselves, or maybe themselves and a partner.”

Mike concedes the point and ducks his head. Yeah, Patrick’s probably right; when their professor had asked for a show of hands regarding who had previously done any choreography, over half of the class had raised their hands. Mike, too, had doubted that most of them had done any group choreography.

“You’re probably acing the class,” Rebecca says enviously. “Aren’t you?”

“I’m doing pretty well,” Mike says. Yeah, the assignments are going really well. Writing about dancing is something new, though, and it took him a few weeks to find his sea legs, so to speak. He won’t have a 4.0, that much is certain, but his GPA for his first semester of college won’t be horrible, either. “Better than some classes, definitely.”

“Speaking of class, Modern Technique won’t get into our heads by osmosis,” Alex says cheerfully. “Time for class!”

“This is the part where we all shake our heads sadly at you,” Mike says. “You’re way too excited about that class for it to be the Monday before Halloween.”


Mercedes

If Mercedes is being completely honest, she didn’t expect it. She’s read a few funny Facebook status updates from some of the others from back in Lima, sure, and they laughed over a few stories when everyone got together over Christmas break. But Mercedes didn’t speak at the school board meetings and she didn’t stand out (or over) everyone else during glee club performances.

Sometimes, though, before their official practice starts, the members of the Spelman College Glee Club like to sing through more current songs, taking parts as they come. It’s not a conscious decision, especially since she can’t really remember all of the choreography, but when someone puts on the radio and “This Is War” comes on, Mercedes easily knows all of the words and a few of the motions.

One of the other freshmen stops and stares at her. “Wait, you were in show choir, weren’t you?”

Mercedes laughs. “Yeah, I was. New Directions, McKinley High, Lima, Ohio.”

“You won Nationals.”

“We did,” Mercedes smiles.

“That is so cool.” The other girl grins. “We weren’t even in the top ten, but going to New York was awesome.” She shakes her head. “So, New Directions, huh? How does this glee club stack up?”

“No need to give the guys equal time,” Mercedes says smartly. “Naw, I miss ’em sometimes, you know? We’re all scattered around the country now. It’s a little strange, right? Sometimes I expect to hear some of them when we’re all singing here.”

“Exactly! After three or four years with some of the people in my group, it seems odd not to hear their voices.” The other girl—whose name Mercedes can’t quite remember—shakes her head. “Glad to know I’m not the only show choir veteran! I can’t believe I didn’t realize before now.”


Noah

“I think I’ve seen you somewhere,” the kid in front of the counter says to Noah.

Noah shakes his head. “I’ve been working here since August. Six months now. You’ve probably just seen me here before.”

“Oh, I’ve never been in here before!” the kid says excitedly. “I’m visiting for auditions. It’s only my second time in New York City.”

Noah remembers what that was like, even the third time he was in the city, back for their second time at Nationals, and he nods. “You like it?” It’s mid-morning and traffic is light in the store, so Noah moves over to make the kid’s drink himself, even if he probably shouldn’t call him a kid.

“Love it. Last year I was here for Nationals for show choir,” the kid says. “I guess that’s a little— maybe I shouldn’t admit that?”

“Nothing wrong with show choir,” Noah says, maybe a little too defensively. Show choir isn’t the same as writing musicals, but it’s close, and even without that, the three years of New Directions were, in the end, probably among the best in-school things he’d done at McKinley.

“Yeah? It was… were you in show choir?” the kid asks, and Noah nods. “Yeah, so it was so cool. We didn’t get into the top ten, but we stayed and watched the groups that did. There were some neat groups.”

Noah thinks he’s going to get away with it. He nods and lets the kid keep talking while he makes the venti mocha, and he’s putting the lid on it when the kid more or less freezes in front of him.

“Oh, hey, that’s where I’ve seen you! You were with the group that won, weren’t you?” The kid launches into a tale about the announcement of the winner and how he’d watched them all meet the judges, and Noah figures that makes sense— they were pretty excited about the judges.

“Yeah, that was us,” Noah says. “Now I’m at Mannes.”

“Oh, right, okay,” the kid says, nodding and looking abashed, like he thinks he should have somehow known that already. Then he brightens. “I was right, though. I have seen you before.”

Noah laughs and hands the kid his mocha. “We didn’t make top ten two years ago, you know.”

“Yeah?” The kid brightens as he takes his drink. “Cool.”

“Good luck with your auditions, kid,” Noah says before he heads back to the register, and the kid smiles and waves as he heads out the door. Noah shakes his head a little. The odds of someone recognizing him at work are pretty damn small, he’s pretty sure, but it’s still a little cool. “I should have gotten a picture or something,” he mutters to himself. “It sounds like a story I’d make up.”


Santana

Sometimes it feels like there’s always a protest. Santana doesn’t mind that, because there usually is a reason to get mad. She’s pretty sure some of the other women at Mills get off on protesting, using a good protest like foreplay, and even though that’s not Santana’s kink, she can appreciate how it might be someone else’s.

Santana throws herself into life at Mills, because however much she might miss Brittany, it’s going to be years, if ever, before they live in the same city again, and even if Santana misses some of the others more than she thought she would—well, she’s only going back to Lima on holidays. Lima isn’t the place where she lives, not any more, and more than that, it’s not where any of them live anymore. Visiting around Christmas made that abundantly clear to Santana. Rachel keeps clinging to the idea that the twelve of them have a bond, and maybe she’s right. Santana’s just pretty sure it doesn’t mean what Rachel seems to think it does. Six months since they’d all been in the same place, almost down to the day, and the differences Santana saw in some of the twelve of them were staggering. None of it was particularly surprising, though: the way Puck was dressed, the break-up of Sam and Mercedes, or Rachel’s still-horrible but somehow different fashion sense. A few things weren’t different: Tina and Mike, the way Puck, Kurt, and Finn stuck together the entire time.

Still, there’s parts of herself she doesn’t talk about at Mills. She doesn’t want to be known for where she’s from, so she keeps quiet when they talk about school boards. She doesn’t want them to think she expects solos or something, so she doesn’t talk about show choir. When she’s at a meeting about a protest in March, though, she finally snaps.

“It’s almost like we need a cheerleader!” one of the girls says, snidely, and most of the room starts laughing.

“2, 4, 6, 8, here’s our protest don’t be late!”

“I thought the point was to be heard,” Santana says dryly.

“Well, yeah.”

Santana cups her hands around her mouth and shouts out “What do we want?” There’s a pause, and she smirks. “That’s why you need a cheerleader,” she says, dropping her hands back down. “Because we get shit done.”

“You were a cheerleader?” the first girl says, looking a little abashed.

“Two-time national champions.”

“I recognize you!” One of the juniors grins suddenly. “Equal protection! When do we want it? Now! Right? The school board.”

Santana sighs. “Yes. That was me.”

“You were a cheerleader.”

“Wanky.” Santana shakes her head. “I never thought Lima, Ohio, would get it right about ‘taking all kinds’ over the big city.”


Artie

Artie begins his sophomore year with an extra degree of enthusiasm. Between his AP courses and his freshman year, all his gen ed requirements are now behind him, leaving him free to get into the meat of film production. This semester, he starts the final course in the first phase of his production series: Directing in Television, Fiction, and Documentary. He takes his spot near the front of the classroom and eagerly awaits the start of class.

He isn’t disappointed. His instructor jumps right into the nitty-gritty of directing, after a brief round of introductions, and Artie rolls out of the classroom feeling like he’s finally making real progress towards his career goal. As he’s trying to decide whether he’ll hit the cafeteria for lunch or if he’ll go back to his dorm to eat, one of the girls in his class stops him with a hand on his arm.

“You mentioned in class that you’d won an award for a documentary you made in high school,” she says. “Was that for Alphabet Soup?”

Artie feels himself break into a wide smile. “Yes, it was. Have you seen it?”

“I watched it with my older brother. He’s gay, and he really liked it. My name is Carrie, by the way.”

“Artie Abrams,” Artie says, holding his hand out. When she takes his hand to shake it, he kisses the back of her hand instead, which makes her laugh.

“I need to get to my next class,” Carrie says. “It was nice to meet you. I can’t wait to tell my brother that you’re in my class this semester!”

“Maybe we can work on a project together some time,” Artie says. Carrie smiles at him as she retrieves her hand from his grip.

“I hope so,” Carrie says. She gives Artie another smile before walking in the opposite direction of the cafeteria. Artie watches her walk away before turning and heading towards the cafeteria for lunch. It’s nice to have his work appreciated, especially by a cute girl with an interest in film.


Quinn

The best part about Colorado College is how much anonymity Quinn has. She wouldn’t have guessed how important that would be to her, but severing ties with who she had been in her life before, back in Lima, gives her the freedom to redefine herself however she wants. Here, she isn’t Quinn-the-teenage-mom or Quinn-the-Cheerio. She’s just Quinn Fabray, the new Quinn Fabray.

She discovers that the new Quinn Fabray is quiet. She isn’t particularly competitive, nor does she want to be. She enjoys working collaboratively. She enjoys dating, but doesn’t define herself through the boys she goes out with, even the relationships that become a little more serious over the first two years she’s in Colorado. Quinn likes this new version of her. She doesn’t pretend that the things she experienced in high school didn’t happen or that they aren’t important, but they don’t define who she is anymore. She doesn’t lie about her past, but she doesn’t feel the need to volunteer too much information. Quinn is, at her core, the happiest she’s ever been.

Sometimes she misses performing, either with the Cheerios or the glee club, but she doesn’t seek out similar activities at college. Instead, she joins a book club, an environmental advocacy club, and, on a whim, the beekeeping club. It’s at the beekeeping club where she almost has a brush with recognition.

Quinn is waiting for her turn to put on the protective gear and inspect the club’s beehive when she hears two other members of the club, whose names she doesn’t know, discussing cheerleading. Despite herself, Quinn turns towards her fellow beekeepers with a smile.

“I was a cheerleader in high school,” Quinn says, surprised to hear the words coming out of her mouth, after two years of revealing very little about herself.

Jenny, a newer member of the club, seems excited by Quinn’s admission. “I was, too!” she says. “I didn’t realize the beekeeping club would be such a draw for ex-cheerleaders.”

“It’s both very different from cheerleading and very similar,” Quinn says.

“Both are about protecting the queen,” says the other girl, Amanda. Quinn and Jenny both laugh, because it’s true.

By the time class is over, Quinn, Jenny, and Amanda have exchanged contact information, and Quinn and Jenny walk together back towards the student housing. Though the conversation had drifted to other topics, Quinn says something that must remind Jenny about cheerleading, because Jenny asks, “Were you a cheerleader for all of high school?”

“I quit for a while, but went back to it,” Quinn says. “We had a very competitive squad.”

“Our school did, too,” Jenny says.

“Our coach was extremely competitive,” Quinn says.

“She couldn’t be worse than ours,” Jenny says.

Quinn laughs. “Trust me, she could.”

“I heard a story once about a coach from somewhere in the Midwest—Iowa, maybe?—who wouldn’t let her cheerleaders eat real food during competitions,” Jenny says, and Quinn winces.

“She sounds terrible,” Quinn says.

“Their team was at the National Cheerleading Competition the same year our team made it. We didn’t get very far, of course, but it was still fun. That coach’s team was amazing, though, even if she was scary.”

Quinn feels a brief moment of panic, waiting for Jenny to say something to indicate she has connected Quinn to the McKinley team. She imagines herself trying to explain how different she is now, how anything Jenny might have heard about the head cheerleader of that team isn’t really who Quinn is today. The moment passes, however, and Quinn realizes Jenny has moved on, talking about the time she made it to the next-to-last round of her regional spelling bee. Quinn smiles and nods as Jenny talks, making a note to herself that she might want to consider finding a new therapist, one that’s locally-based.

One day, Quinn would like to be comfortable being recognized. Today, she’s just glad she wasn’t.


Rachel

Rachel’s heard stories, of course, or read them, from most of the New Directions alums, about being recognized at college. She doesn’t have a story, and she doesn’t really understand the stories, either. When she introduces herself to a classmate or to a class at the beginning of each semester, she always includes a brief resume of her accomplishments—winning Nationals in 2012 is prominent on that list—as well as a fun anecdote about herself. More often than not, that anecdote is her participation in the Lima school board regulation changes, since it serves as a good introduction to the kind of person she is and the kind of people her friends are.

Of course, it means that when people think they recognize her, it’s never really her that they’re recognizing. It was amusing the first time a tourist near Broadway thought she was “the girl from RENT!,” but after a couple of years and several times, it’s no longer as fun. At the beginning of her third year at Juilliard, Rachel decides to experiment with not using her usual introduction. To her surprise, though, some of her classmates fill in the parts she doesn’t say, and Rachel laughs a little as she sits. She had no idea anyone was paying such close attention, though she supposes she shouldn’t be too surprised. Still, it means no opportunity for her little experiment, and she sighs. Some people are just meant to be recognized, not to leave it all up to chance.
 
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