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Fic: Reverseverse Ep4: 'Shake-Up', Part 1
role reversal KM
test_kard_girl
Title: Reverseverse Ep 4, part 1
Verse: Reverseverse
Author: Test_kard_girl
Rating: PG, for some sweary language
Characters/Pairings Kurt/Puck, Finn/Rachel, Artie/Tina, most of the regular cast of Glee appear, albeit as their slightly altered role-reversal selves.
Genre: AU
Warning: Puck and Kurt not being themselves
Spoilers: Say through Season 1, although as it's AU, in a very roundabout, squint and you'll miss it kind of way.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Glee or anything to do with it; I just have vivid hallucinations. The role!reversal AU belongs to mundaneone. I’m just playing in it by her very kind permission :).
Author's Notes A tribute and addition to mundaneone’s fabtastic 'A Little Role Reversal', whose characters ate my brain. The original fic was written by mundaneone in response to this prompt from the glee_angst_meme. I hope anything I write in this verse can do her original creation justice. You’ll need to read 'A Little Role Reversal' before you read anything I write, so you get the gist of the characters and the world they live in.
Word Count (This part) 3098
Summary: he "social ladder" is upside down. Puck gets bullied by one ice-queen Kurt Hummel. Doesn't mean he isn't head over heels though.

The Reverseverse, episode 4 part 1: Do you know what revolutionaries do when they de-throne their previous rulers? They cut off their heads. Cut. Off. Their heads.

Of course; he hears them coming.

With weary resignation, Will drags his loafered feet from their contented perch atop his desk, propping his aviators up on his head as the furious cavalcade of gleeks come storming into his choir-room, their pubescent faces alight with acne scars and a phenomenally bloated sense of entitlement.

Yeah okay: Will’s been these kids; all hocked up on talent and overactive hormones; big fish in a Lima-sized pond; no-one with the requisite musical chops around to smack them back into place again. He understands, he really does, he gets them, but—geez-louise— some days he wishes they would just pipe the hell down.

His ears start ringing, and Will throws up his hands: “Guys, one at a time, one at a—” But they pay him no heed; shouting over one another in their need to be the most outraged.

Surprisingly, it’s Artie’s voice that first comes ringing clear through the hubbub:

“Hold up, hold up…” He shoves a gloved hand up into the air, just about making it into Will’s eye-line. “I know what this is. This is another one of your ‘getting everyone outta their boxes’ things isn’t it?”

Will raises an eyebrow. “Not appreciating your tone Artie—” he chastises “—but you got it in one.”

He snaps his fingers. He’s a bright kid Artie. Death to any kind of advanced choreography of course, but still, a bright kid—

“— And what exactly is so bad about boxes?” Mercedes protests, making full use of her impressive lung-power. “I like boxes; y’know why? ‘cos they keep everythin’ where it should be—”

“— Mr Schuester, you know I support your new-found raison d'être of opportunity and inclusion one-hundred percent—”

Will glances at the clock on his iPhone. Wow, that was almost a minute and a half. The shock must’ve been slowing Berry down.

“—But I’m sure—” Rachel casts a frenzied glance around Will’s shoebox of an office “—everyone here will agree with me when I say this is the first step on the well-trodden road to civil war and… and terrorism!” She jams an outraged finger down on the offending pile of paperwork atop Will’s desk: “Yes I said it: terrorism!”

At the back of the room, Santana Lopez raises a cheerful hand:

“…Um, I don’t actually, agree with her—”

“—Rachel’s insanity aside.” Kurt interrupts, stepping neatly in front of Berry and meeting Will’s eyes with a badly-masked expression of complete panic: “I don't think you grasp how important that list is to this school— without a rigidly defined hierarchy McKinley is in very real danger of falling into the same sucking whirlpool of knife-crime and despair as the rest of the Western Ohio school district!” His voice is hastily ascending to dog-pitch: “Is Principal Figgins aware of how much kevlar vests cost these days?--"

"—Or how this crazy is jamming a car-bomb into his big plan for our competitive season?” Mercedes adds, finishing Hummel’s thought-process like they’re conjoined at the head: “We have Invitationals in a week and a half—No-one’s gonna wanna join a glee club that’s bankrupted all of its social currency!"

“Ah.” At that, Will pulls himself up straighter, raising a finger. He was wondering how long it would take someone to mention that: “Luckily, Mercedes, I’ve sorted that one out already... Everyone, I suppose you probably haven't met Messrs Rutherford and Chang."

He gestures expansively towards the back of the room, where the two jocks he’d been cross-examining before all hell broke loose are now huddled together in some kind of terrified defence formation, the whites of their eyes glinting in the appalling office lighting.

As one, the assembled show-choristers follow Will’s finger.

“…Huh.” Tina’s voice is even smaller than normal: “I wondered why they were here.”

“Guess you can thank our resident place-kicker for that one.” Will smirks, tipping his head back towards an exceptionally thin-lipped Kurt.

Quinn Fabray clears her throat: “Can I just say, I think this is a milestone step forward for—“

“—Oh bite down on your pillow Fabray!” Rachel snarls, gripping imploringly at the front of Will’s desk: “Mr Schue, please; you know I'm the last person to criticise your teaching choices--"

"--You re-programmed my iPod last week Rachel.” Will reminds her stonily, lowering his chin so he can more easily stare her down over his nose: “And anyway, let me remind you, because it does seem to slip your mind: I am your choir master and what I say goes. Or;” he adds chirpily: “you can go."

Rachel purses her lips, and Will allows a beatific smile to stretch, glinting, over his perfectly whitened teeth.

(After all the drama with West Side Story, he kind of hoped a slightly meeker Rachel Berry might put in an appearance at some point this week; try and get back on his good side. But maybe he’s already pushed her too far. He should probably be careful, he reminds himself; she is the kind that might get handy with an errant pair of craft scissors.)

"…I don't understand why we're being discriminated against for being successful."

Will drags his gaze away, ignoring Rachel and re-focusing instead on Hummel’s tightly-clenched jaw:

“Well Kurt, the ruling classes are pretty much never on board with revolution.” He explains, going for just a teeny bit patronizing. “But me, y'know: I think I little cull is healthy now and again; lets the new buds blossom..."

He makes blossoming flower shapes with his hands and Rachel starts patting frantically at her chest:

"I'm having palpitations."

Will blanks his leading lady’s drama: "And y’know what’s great? It turns out, WOHN local news and I are on exactly the same page: it's not about the medals anymore guys—” He explains slowly, in the voice most people reserve for talking to their pets –“we're in a recession! But do you know what the top buzzword is of 2009?” He gazes around at the gleeks’ slack, slate-coloured faces: “Equality.”

He pronounces it with immense satisfaction, and can’t resist turning to meet Hummel's eyes again, McKinley’s favourite featured soloist-turned-football jock:

 “Funny, I kinda figured you’d be on-board with that Kurt."

Weirdly, the boy doesn’t seem to appreciate the dig. He shakes his head, cheek twitching at the blatant injustice of it all.

“This is insane.” He pronounces instead, to the group at large, and turns on his heel to execute what would probably have been a well-practiced dramatic exit.

Unfortunately for his ego, Kurt stops dead at the sight of Hudson and Puckerman, who Will noticed join the fray a while back but obviously decided to keep their distance in case of flying shrapnel.

There’s a blotch of awkward silence. Then, Kurt seems to recover himself, and he simply grates an exasperated where have you been? in Puckerman’s direction, before snatching said unfortunate jock by the sleeve and pulling him after him out of the room.

Hudson flinches, obviously expecting the same treatment from his own knee-socked dominatrix: but Rachel doesn’t even do him the courtesy of acknowledgement, and simply storms out in Kurt’s wake, ballet flats slapping against the linoleum.

Devoid of their two-headed hydra of a leadership team, Mercedes, Artie and Tina seem to deflate a bit, perhaps noticing for the first time how many athletic, sports-uniformed bodies they’re currently outnumbered by. Will tries to hide his own moue of distaste. No, this would never have been his plan: cheerleaders; jocks. But… Greater good, he reminds himself, glancing at the ‘Schue’s Corner’ personalised logo graphic currently open on his computer screen. Greater good.

He stretches languidly back in his chair. “Anyone else?” He suggests to the gaggle of disgruntled faces.

The bell rings, slicing the air like a particularly shrill death-knell.

No-one speaks up. Mercedes’ mouth shutters a few times, but she eventually lapses back into stormy silence. Finn’s already gone, lolloping after his girlfriend.

Against their incredulity, Will just smiles widely, and sweeps the pile of papers on his desk neatly into the wastepaper bin.

Yeah, he figured abolishing the Glist wasn’t going to be a popular move— but he has more pressing matters to think of now. WOHN want all-singing all-dancing feather-boaed equality? Well that’s exactly what their new local superstar Will Schuester is gonna give them.

Ah fame. You fickle beast.


*

“Rachel!” Finn calls after the rapidly disappearing head in front of him. “Rachel! Rach!”

He struggles through the roiling mass of students, grateful for the gangly giraffe height that puts him twelve inches over everyone else, but cursing Rachel’s petite genetics that let her duck under elbows and crawl between legs to get away from him.

He pulls to a breathless halt, pricking his ears like a meerkat and listening out for anything that might give Rachel’s location away.

(Damn. Why are mornings with the Gleeks always so hard?)

He lets out a nervous exhale. “C’mon Rach…”

Suddenly, he hears it:

“OUT!”

Finn turns his head. The bathrooms. Well, that makes sense. He squints through the crowd, and manages to make out a sudden rush of disgruntled girls exiting the ladies’, wiping their hands on hastily ripped scraps of tissue.

Finn takes a deep breath. That’ll be her then.

“Rachel…”

He wades over, and realises his disadvantage just in time, screeching to a halt just before his hand raises automatically to push the door open; the door to the girl’s bathroom. Uh. Um. Ok. He knocks, rapping his knuckles on the vinyl. Knocks again.

“Rachel?”

No answer. Though he guesses maybe she wouldn’t answer him— girls do get kinda funny about talking while they’re on the porcelain.

“Rach, it’s Finn—”

Gingerly, he presses an ear to the door; screws up his nose, wondering if that’s totally unhygienic.

He can’t hear anything, and has a flashback to all those films where some hysterical girl runs weeping to the bathroom and crawls out the impossibly tiny window, dropping three storeys and leaving just that lacey curtain fluttering behind her.

Not that the girl’s bathroom at McKinley probably has lacey curtains. Or windows, for that matter. Rach’s probably still in there.

Maybe it’s an entrance to a secret lab?

People are starting to look at him funny now— which wouldn’t bother Finn so much, except he thinks they’re probably aiming their sniggers at Rachel too. Not that Rachel Berry needs him to defend her, Finn reminds himself, but… just…it’s cruel. And for such a midget, Rach can get real Incredible Hulk when she’s mad. He’s not too sure how dangerous she’d get if the whole student body were laughing at her.

Finn raps urgently on the door one more time:

“Rach, open up, it’s just me—“

Suddenly, the door’s yanked violently away from his ear:

“—Go away Finn!” Rachel snaps, eyes flashing red kryptonite.

“Okay, but just, listen for a minute:” Finn gabbles, throwing up his hands. “I know you’re mad and this is a big deal for you—“

“—It is not a big deal for me, Finn, it is a big deal for the entire school—“

“—It’s just a list—“

“—Just a…?” Rachel inhales dramatically, pulling herself up to her full height. Finn bends his knees a bit to make it easier for her. “Finn.” The girl continues, in a deadly whisper: “Without the Glist, this school will implode. Don’t you get anything?” She jabs a finger at her own chest: “I know I’m the most talented person in that group, nay, the entire student body. But without my brilliance officially recognised, my rightful crown has ripped from my head and stomped on! Mr Schuester has opened New Directions up to revolution and anarchy, at our most delicate moment! Do you know what revolutionaries do, Finn, when they de-throne their previous rulers?”

Finn’s brain comes up with nothing:

“Uh..I—”

“—They cut off their heads Finn. Cut. Off. Their heads.”

Rach pauses a second to let that sink in: which it does, pretty rapidly. Finn can’t help ducking his neck closer into the collar of his shirt.
“Yeah but, McKinley has a pretty strict knife policy.” Finn offers weakly.

Rachel’s silence is horrible. Her face is super pale and her mouth puckers at the edges, like she wants to scream and is fighting to keep it in.
The two stare at each other. Finn’s pretty sure girls are starting to line up behind him to use the bathroom, but he ignores them.

He doesn’t like seeing Rachel’s face like this:

“So you’re…scared?” He asks, really really quietly.

Rachel’s eyes latch onto his. For a long, weird moment, Finn feels like he can actually see right into her.

“…I need to get ready.” She replies eventually, low, and smooth as molten chocolate. “…They’ll want interviews.”
And she door slams in Finn’s face.

*

“I can’t speak to Ben-Israel today.” Kurt clarifies, for maybe the twelfth or fourteenth time. “I just can’t. He’s been itching to get his canines into something juicy like this ever since Rach threw him over for your quarterback buddy; it’s like freakin’ Hanukkah come early.”

Kurt grimaces. Simply the thought of being confronted with Jacob’s leering face makes his stomach want to throw-up its wheatgrass smoothie.

“…He’s your quarterback buddy too.” Puck reminds flatly from his place sprawled across half a row of auditorium seating. He has one fist pressed against his forehead like it’s holding his brains in: “Remember?”

“Oh well thankyou Noah, for that massive comfort.” Kurt retorts tightly, even as he wishes he had better control over his snark function: “My musical theatre career might be exploding into a million sparkly pieces but, hey, at least I have football.”

“Didn’t hear you complaining so much last night.”

That’s ‘cos you were kissing my face off.

“My mouth was preoccupied.” Kurt snaps.

Exhaling more loudly than is strictly necessary, he turns away, pacing the well-worn breadth of the auditorium’s centre aisle. He feels sick to his stomach; the same creeping sickness that kept him awake all last night, robbing him of eight and a half hours essential beauty sleep. Eight and a half hours replaying Puck’s lips on his, and Mr Schuester’s local news-scripted wisdom, and staring unseeingly at the room above his head where his dad was still snoring in his armchair. All that, then he comes in this morning to find—

“—And what the hell is so bad about boxes?” He repeats indignantly, echoing Mercedes’ earlier question: “You know where things are, where they should be—“

“—You wanna put me back in my box?”

Kurt swallows hard: “I wasn’t talking about you.”  He says carefully. “And football isn’t where you belong anyway.”

“I can do both. You can do both.”

“Stop making it more complicated!” Kurt grates, fighting the urge to kick a chair: “In case you haven’t been listening, at the moment I can’t do either, because our glee tutor has decided he wants to hang me out to dry in front of the entire student body!”

He’s kind of ashamed at how much his voice doesn’t even sound like his. He hates panicking; he hates it.

Puck snorts, and Kurt takes a precautionary step back as the other boy pulls himself up to glower at him:

“So you’re not officially the most popular kid in school anymore.” He summarises angrily: “So what? You’re the best fucking singer in there— you think Mr Schue’s gonna kick you off the team just ‘cos he’s got a few new background dancers? He wants to win as much as any of you do—”

“—I never get the solos Noah, it’s never me!” Kurt explains, despising how petty it sounds but willing Noah to understand: “All I have is the popular vote. Whatever heterocentric power-couple Schue decides is his new favourite, you can bet your Broadway standards I’m never gonna be part of it—!”

“—I came out to my mom last night!” Puck snaps.

Kurt’s lips part automatically to retort. But the words jam. In his throat. Like a dodgy photocopier.

What?

“…What?”

But Puck’s already up and out of his seat, storming towards the auditorium doors.

He did what?

“…Noah… Noah!” Surprising himself, Kurt starts automatically after him; but he doesn’t have to go far. The other boy stops at the sound of
his name; turns around, hands locked over his head like he can’t believe he just said that.

Kurt stares at him: “I..I don’t—”

“—My sister, Sarah, she was at the game last night.” Puck explains tightly. “Saw us, y’know…kissing and stuff. Got home, told mom; mom kinda flipped out…” He shrugs hugely, like he’s trying to disappear into the shabby collar of his letterman. “So yeah: came out. Like you wanted.”

Something high-pitched starts buzzing in Kurt’s ear-drums.

“Like…” Kurt presses his fingertips against his mouth, his head feeling suddenly very light and very far away. He reaches out to grab Puck’s hands; doesn’t know how to do that; keeps his distance. “…You told her w-what? That… You’re gay? That we—?“

“—That we’re boyfriends.” Puck clarifies roughly, and Kurt feels his heart clench at how the other boy’s face colours just to say it. “That you… Yeah, that we…” He doesn’t finish; just shrugs again, glances at the floor ‘cos Kurt’s gaze is too sharp to keep hold of.

Kurt tries to breathe; stares at Puck’s pale, drawn face. He didn’t notice until right now: the perfect purple circles under his eyes; the tight whiteness of his lips; his shirt from yesterday, still wrinkled from Kurt knotting his fingers in it and yanking Puck closer over the handbrake in his car. Tiny things. But now he’s looking at him Kurt realises Puck looks nothing at all like he did last night.

Shit. His mom knows. His mom knows. Shit shit shit.

Unfortunately, Puck can’t hear what’s going on in Kurt’s head. All he can hear is pregnant, judging silence and a boyfriend who’s too wrapped up in his own Public Relations to give a crap.

“But damn, your Glist thing— that’s…” Noah snorts, hope collapsing visibly in his face like a chip-packet squeezed in Kurt’s fist: “That’s hardcore.”

Kurt tries to fix it: “Noah, Noah wait will you— I didn’t—”

But the other boy’s double his size, and Kurt can’t stop him pulling out of his belated grasp and marching away towards English, the auditorium door smacking damningly off the wall behind him.

Left alone, Kurt closes his eyes.

Fuck. He really blew that.

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I swear I tell myself to take it easy while reading these updates, but I blast right through them, and damn you! What a place to leave off! Your writing is superb as always, and omg, you give the greatest mental images - lovelovelove how I can see what everyone's doing, their gestures and the snappy commentary that goes along with it. Although, my favorite little picture painted had to be:

He struggles through the roiling mass of students, grateful for the gangly giraffe height that puts him twelve inches over everyone else, but cursing Rachel’s petite genetics that let her duck under elbows and crawl between legs to get away from him.

I actually barked at that. xD

Although the bit at the end of that scene definitely got under my skin in a good way.

And then there's the end of the chapter.

...

:|||||||

Goddamn you!!!

Kurt presses his fingertips against his mouth, his head feeling suddenly very light and very far away. He reaches out to grab Puck’s hands; doesn’t know how to do that; keeps his distance.

CAN WE NOT. Dragging my hands down my face. DOESN'T KNOW HOW TO DO THAT and then Puck leaves and I just. My soul is curling into the fetal position. they are so broken.

BBL CRYING FOR ETERNITY

BEST F*CKING COMMENT EVER!!!!

*strokes your hair* it's okay dear, don't cry.

Haha, oh YOU, you're way way too lovely, thankyou so much!! I love when you pick out bits you especially liked, then I can figure out if they worked how I wanted them to. And yay, they did! :D

Yeah, one of the joys of writing Finn is that his brain goes to realms no-one else's would dare approach. Although I am starting to run out of gangly animals to compare him to...

That last scene was an actual bitch. I have so many versions of it you have no idea. But I'm glad you liked that little bit of Kurt's. He's ~not good with emotions.

I will fix the boys soon, I promise. Maybe. If they let me.

Your comments mean the world hun, thanks so much for reading and enjoying! xxx

No, seriously, you're a butt, because you wrote that scene in Kurt's POV mostly, which is AWESOME, but it breaks me up inside wondering what could possibly be going through Puck's mind before he just comes out with it - no pun intended - because Kurt hasn't noticed.

Everything is REALLY PAINFUL in the best way, okay.

hope collapsing visibly in his face like a chip-packet squeezed in Kurt’s fist

Wow, nO??? YOUR WORDS ARE REALLY PAINFUL???

(Actually, I was just re-reading the beginning and the thing about Mercedes finishing Kurt's thought like they're conjoined at the head KILLED me. Also, the Chang-Rutherford defense formation, GOODBYE I AM GONE)

How do you manage to write equal parts poignancy and humor? YOU'RESOGOOD.

OkayI'llstopbeingacreepnow.

pleasecontinuebeingnacreep

I'm glad you think the comedy/drama thing's working. By the time I post these things I've read them so many times I'm not sure if it works anymore. I'm just trying to capture a bit of season 1 ridiculousness really :).

Hopefully the rest of this will be posted more quickly; I'm trying to be more disciplined about my writing. But...I think I've promised that before :/.... Thanks so much for sticking with me babe!

xx

Another great episode.
It is so Kurt to be caught up in the drama and miss the signs that something is wrong with Puck. But, I suppose, at least he is beginning to try. Just boys and the whole expressing emotions bit!

So glad you liked it darling :)

He is beginning to try...But yeah, boys and emotions don't really mix. Drama's really the only way Kurt knows how to deal with things.

xx

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