ellydash: (mercedes being adorable)
[personal profile] ellydash
Title: Mama Said Knock You Out
Author: [livejournal.com profile] ellydash  
Pairing/Characters: Terri Schuester/Sue Sylvester, Howard Bamboo, Kurt Hummel, Rachel Berry, Kendra Giardi, Will Schuester
Rating: R
Word count:
Spoilers: Through 2x20 (Prom Queen)
Warnings: Ableist language
Note: Well, this happened, and I’m not quite sure how. Post-Prom Queen AU. Light on plot, heavy on ridiculous. Alternate title: “How Sue Sylvester Got Her Groove Back.”

Summary: The secret Terri’s hiding might just be exactly what Sue needs to regain the upper hand over Will.

It’s not like she really wants to leave Sheets ‘n Things, but the assistant manager position just isn’t cutting it for her, salary-wise. Nasty old Martha Biggs clearly isn’t retiring any time soon, and until she does, there’s no room for Terri to move up.

She needs more money, and soon. Time’s running out.


Terri wants to make Will sorry for what he’s done to her, and she wants to swallow him whole, and she doesn’t know which one of these she’d like to do more.

Okay, so she doesn’t want to literally swallow him whole. She’s not like some psycho, for God’s sake. It’s a symbolic thing, like one of those metaphors, because what she really wants to do is make Will need her again, just as much as she needs their old life. She wants him tied back to her. She wants him begging to be let back inside their marriage, because the world outside the two of them makes him miserable.

The thing is, it’s making her sort of miserable. Terri actually has to cook for herself now. Those sodium-filled Healthy Choice meals tasted a lot better once she figured out you’re supposed to take the plastic tray out of the box before you heat it, but she misses Will’s dinners just the same. She spends most nights by herself, now, tucked into her tiny studio, watching the soaps her DVR records during the day. This isn’t the life she’d planned, not at all, and she isn’t sure, exactly, how it went so damn wrong. Something to do with that emaciated bug-eyed ginger homewrecker, and that stupid glee club, and the way both of those things had made Will smile to himself when he’d thought Terri wasn’t looking. She’d liked it so much better when the only thing making Will smile was Terri herself.

And, honestly, she's not proud of that whole fake pregnancy thing, but it was mostly Kendra’s fault, anyway. Terri’s always been terrible with peer pressure. Will can’t still be holding a grudge against her for that teeny tiny mistake in judgment.

“He probably forgot about it by now,” Howard Bamboo interrupts, and usually she’d hiss at him to shut up when she’s in the middle of a rant, but it’s kind of nice to have someone actually paying attention, even if it’s freaking Howard Bamboo.

Talking to Howard is pretty much just like talking out loud to herself, except people don’t stare at her when she talks to Howard, and sometimes, like today, Howard talks back, forgetting that she’s told him to stay quiet. She’s watching him organize the bath mats by brand, standing behind him with her hands on her hips.

“I just don’t get why Will hasn’t come crawling back to me yet,” she says, capping off her long monologue, and then, “For crying out loud, Howard, Rubbermaid goes before Wamsutta, not afterwards. I’ve told you a million times.”

“Maybe he forgot to do that too?” Howard suggests, reinserting the Rubbermaid package. “It happens. People forget things.”

Terri sighs, irritated. “Howard, you have a lunch break coming up in twenty minutes.”

“Lunch is my favorite meal of the day,” Howard says.

“You’re going to spend your lunch break helping me figure out what I want to do about Will. Got it? I want a list of suggestions hand-delivered to me by one-thirty p.m., or I’ll make you fold king-sized fitted sheets until your fingers get numb and drop off.” She figures she might as well try delegating this to Howard, like she delegates everything else; it’s not like she’s got any better ideas. Besides, the fitted sheet threat should give him enough motivation to produce at least a few suggestions. Who knows, maybe he’ll stumble across something halfway helpful.

Howard gives her a list at one-thirty p.m on the dot, with a single entry. Roast beef sandwich, it reads.

“What the hell kind of idea is that?” she hisses.

“I couldn’t come up with anything else because I was so hungry for my lunch.” He watches her, expressionless. “It's the only thing I could think about.”

Well, it does sound appealing. She’s been craving all sorts of disgustingly fattening foods lately, foods she normally avoids with an upturned nose and an overwhelming sense of superiority. “Give me half,” she says, feeling charitable, “and I won’t make you fold those sheets. You can spend the rest of your shift in the back-to-school section. And try to avoid helping the ugly kids, all right? It’ll be a good life lesson for them.”

Howard’s face registers alarm, and for a second, she think he’s going to protest – college students scare him, she knows; they’ve got too much freedom – but he nods and turns away, shuffling back towards the break room for his sandwich.

Terri’s hand strays to the still-small curve of her belly, unnoticeable beneath the unforgiving bulk of her store apron. She leans against the towel display, watching Howard disappear behind the break room door. Maybe she can take Howard with her, when she goes. She's already planning on smuggling out a few sets of satin sheets.


It’s three weeks into her association with the Legion of Doom before Terri figures out that Sue Sylvester has absolutely no idea what she’s doing.

The realization makes her a little dizzy. This, after all, is the woman Will used to refer to as the Elizabeth Bathory of the cheerleading world (“Okay,” he’d amended, once, “that’s a little harsh. As far as I know, she hasn’t actually killed anyone or bathed in the blood of her victims. Yet. Not for lack of trying”). Will’s definitely overestimated Sue’s ability to scheme. Whatever damage she’s managed to do to the glee club over the last year or two clearly has more to do with luck than skill.

“We’re gonna win this,” Sue growls, one night not long after Terri’s emailed her resume to 4chan and Bed, Bath and Beyond. They’re meeting in a park on the periphery of town, hunched over either side of a picnic table next to the playground swings. “I’m gonna amputate Will Schuester from my life like you’d excise a decaying, gangrenous, vest-addicted extremity from an otherwise flawless body. And you better bet, Honey Badger, that when I take him down, his Von Trapp family goes with him. It’ll be the greatest act of philanthropy the world has ever seen. I just might file a tax deduction on my victory, get humankind declared a charitable organization.”

Terri still isn’t quite sure why they can’t do this over the phone, but Sue’s insistent on staying away from anything that might be wiretapped, at least until Becky’s learned how to dismantle listening devices with a blowtorch and several paper clips. It’s dark out, too, their only light the lamps lining the park pathways, and it’s kind of cold. She’d much rather be in front of a fireplace with a mug of hot chocolate and someone rubbing her feet, not listening to Sue ramble on and on about annihilation and gag orders that require literal gags.

“Why are you wearing a top hat and beard?” she asks, because it seems like something that needs further explanation.

Sue flicks her finger against the rim. “Gives me a sense of history,” she says, sounding pleased, and the black felt beard waggles as her chin moves. “Much like one Abraham Lincoln, I’m an emancipator, liberating civilization from the shackles of Will Schuester’s existence. The similarities end there, though. My emancipation isn’t just limited to black people, because unlike ol’ Abe, I don’t discriminate. All human beings deserve to experience life without Will in it, regardless of the color of their skin. Also, I’m pretty sure Lincoln’s height was an optical illusion generated by small, underfed children lining the soles of his boots.”

“You’re not going to actually murder him, are you?” Terri asks, horrified. She isn’t sure what she wants Will to do, but she knows she doesn’t want him dead. That would severely limit her options.

“Should’ve read that legal contract you signed more closely, Honey Badger. There’s a death clause on page 22, third paragraph, fourth bullet point. Allows me to use you as bait, weapon and/or co-conspirator in the eventuality I decide to take my own statements literally.”

Terri’s eyes widen.

“However,” Sue continues, “unless extenuating circumstances force me to drastically alter my plans, I’m thinking I’ll allow William’s weak, oily heart to continue pumping blood. Spoke to Gloria Allred about it, and she advised that it might be a good idea to let him live. She’s got a point. I can’t make Will miserable if he’s six feet under.”

Well, that’s a relief. Terri really depends on that monthly alimony check, meager as it is. “What are your plans, Sue?” she asks, trying to sound just as sweet as she knows she really is, deep down. “That April Rhodes thing went nowhere quickly, and Will didn’t respond to my anonymous attempts to lure him to those illegal fetish websites. What do we do next?”

“Glad you asked.” Sue straightens her top hat, looking around them for signs of eavesdroppers. “Bees. A lot of them. In his car. I’m trying to figure out how to open that thing without touching it myself. Don’t wanna catch whatever disease he’s got that makes him think cardigans are acceptable.”

Terri tries not to let her disappointment show on her face. It’s a terrible idea. There’s nothing clever about it, nothing that would result in Sue actually getting what she wants. (Terri’s really going to have to figure out exactly what she wants from all this, besides her old apartment, because that doesn’t seem like a good enough reason by itself to take on a part-time, unpaid job as a minion. Especially when Sue’s health insurance plan consists of several Band-Aids and a small bag of unmarked oxycodone. Terri’s a pragmatist, at heart.)

“General, I have some information that might be useful to us,” she says, slowly. If bees are all Sue can come up with, it’s probably time she came clean.

The reasons she hasn’t informed Sue about her condition yet aren’t exactly clear to her, but they’ve definitely got something to do with Will. Something to do with not knowing, exactly, if she wants him back, and suspecting that once Sue finds out, Terri’ll have started something she won’t be able to stop. It’s really so much easier not to think about any of this. Thinking takes effort, and effort isn’t nearly as much fun as watching Phyllis be mean on The Young and the Restless.

Sue’s face registers curiosity behind her ridiculous beard. “Go on.”

“So,” Terri begins, taking a deep breath, “late last year Will got sick and I went over to our old place to help nurse him back to health. You have no idea what he gets like when he’s feeling under the weather. Widdle sickie needs someone to take cawe of him.” Her last words slide into the soft lexicon of baby talk, and Sue wrinkles her mouth in revulsion, shoulders tensing like she’s about to abandon the scene any second. “We made love. It was a beautiful moment. Until he completely destroyed it by bringing that bleached blonde whore into our home.”

“Beautiful,” Sue snaps, “is one of the words I’ve gotten court-ordered to stay at least fifty feet away from any description of Will Schuester’s love life. This better have a point, lady, because my patience is dying faster than Abe Vigoda.”

“We didn’t use protection –”

“Oh, dear God, don’t tell me he gave you a venereal disease,” Sue groans, standing up, her beard bobbing indignantly. “Fantastic. I now have a hideous, nightmarish mental image burned onto the back of my retinas. Just thinking about it’s like staring directly into a nuclear blast. Seriously, I’m gonna park myself in front of a chemical eye-washing station, keep my face under the hose for about two years. We’re done here.”

“And I’m pregnant,” Terri blurts out.

Sue freezes mid-step, staring at Terri. “Bullshit,” she says, slowly, but she doesn’t sound at all convinced. “I would’ve noticed something like that.”

“No,” Terri says, quickly, “I’m not – look, I’m just very tiny and petite and I haven’t been showing much until recently.” She stands up, unfastening the trench coat belt, and crosses over to Sue’s side of the table, reaching for her hand. Sue’s clearly too shocked to resist, so Terri pulls the hand towards the soft rise of her belly, placing Sue’s palm flat against the top of the curve.

Sue startles at the contact, her upper lip curling in a snarl of disgust. For a second Terri’s sure she’ll pull back, but just then there’s a little kick: perfectly timed, a push right under the tips of Sue’s fingers. Good baby, helping out Mama, Terri thinks, thrilled. I’m gonna pay for the surgery of your choice when you turn sixteen, just for that.

“Holy Madge, mother of Mercy,” Sue manages. She doesn’t move away. “You’re telling the truth.”

“Well, of course I am.” She’s indignant, conveniently forgetting that Sue has every right to question her honesty. “I’ll be six months next week. Due in August. I’m planning on one of those twilight births, like they used to have in the 1960s? Retro is so in.”

“You’re carrying Will Schuester’s unholy, hirsute bastard spawn,” Sue says, and the awe in her voice provokes a rush of pride in Terri. She can’t remember the last time she’s pleased someone this much. “Normally, that news would prompt the immediate expulsion of my partially-digested evening protein shake onto your blouse, thereby improving it significantly, but now that Will and his mentally-ill ginger are sniffing around each other again like a couple of hamsters in heat, this is something I can use.”

Terri preens, and Sue pats her belly briefly before withdrawing her hand. The park lamps flicker, once, like they’re underscoring Sue’s approval.

“In my darkest hour of need,” she continues, staring closely at Terri, “I came to you for assistance, and you, unlike those who came before – you, Honey Badger, have not disappointed me. This is the greatest moment of my life.”

The look on Sue’s face mirrors her own, Terri knows: stretched, cracking, joyful.


“I SWEAR TO GOD, IF YOU BOYS DON’T BE QUIET RIGHT NOW, I’M GONNA REPLACE THAT PLAYSTATION 3 WITH AN OLDER, SLOWER PLAYSTATION 3,” Kendra hollers, and then says, into the receiver, “Hi, Terri. Fat yet?”

“Nope,” Terri chirps. “I guess I’m the only one in the family who doesn’t have the ass-expanding gene. Hey, I’ve got a question. Can you still call it baby weight when your kids are in grade school?”

Kendra sniffs. “It’ll happen, don’t you worry. You’ll be walking around, minding your own business, and then, blam, all of a sudden, you’ll have sandbags for tits and stretch marks on your thighs that look like tire prints. It’s science.”

Her phone calls to Kendra are a regular thing, not because she actually likes talking to her sister or anything, but because Kendra’s shrill voice in her ear breaks up the dull routine of her days. Kendra’s the only one, besides Sue, who knows about the baby, and it’s nice to talk about it, sometimes, although she’d never tell Kendra her horror of gaining weight, or how she doesn’t exactly know what to do with the baby once she’s got it. They pee a lot, Kendra’s told her, sometimes right in your face if it’s a boy, and they’re all wimps until you train ‘em to toughen up, so they cry about everything. At least when they’re older, Kendra says, you can get them to read you your People magazine out loud.

Terri guesses that when her little one’s born she’ll just sort of look at it and probably know what she's supposed to do.

“You tell Will yet that you’re having his not-fake baby?” Kendra asks, suddenly, and then, “GET YOUR HANDS OUT OF THERE. THAT IS NOT SOMETHING WE DO IN FRONT OF OTHER PEOPLE.”

“I’m gonna tell him. Eventually.” She doesn’t mention Sue to Kendra. Kendra wouldn’t get Sue; she’d just make fun of her, call her sad, old, and dried-up, and maybe it doesn’t make sense but Terri really doesn’t like the idea of Kendra ragging on Sue. Sure, the woman’s a little sad, the way her entire life’s become about taking down Will and the glee club, but the way she’d stared at Terri after Terri’s confession – that look on her face made Terri feel kind of important. Needed. No one’s looked at her like that in a really long time. Not since Will.

“Well, you just better tell him soon, Terri, or else you’ll be squatting in a hospital room all by yourself. You need someone you can threaten to kill during labor. That’s what a husband is for.”

“I said I’d tell him,” she repeats, annoyed. And she will, just as soon as she figures out what she wants.

“Hey, don’t get your control tops all in a bunch,” Kendra snaps. “I’m just telling you the – NO. DO NOT CUT THE PHONE CORD WITH THOSE SCISSORS. DON’T YOU DARE. DON’T –“

The line goes dead. Terri listens to the audible click before hitting the END button. Those nephews of hers might be cruel ginger accidents of nature, but right now, she feels a little surge of affection for them.


For some stupid reason, Sue won’t make her a protein placenta margarita, even though it’s late and it’s been a really long day, and they’re plotting in Sue’s office after hours, which is exactly the kind of situation where you need to be swimming in tequila.

Sue’s implacable. “No can do, Honey Badger,” she insists, taking a sip out of her own nearly empty glass, placing it on the desk, and Terri slumps in her chair, pouting. “That placenta of yours doesn’t need presoaking from mine. William’s issue already has enough excuses to come out less than optimal. I’m not gonna sanction another one.”

“Oh, that alcohol thing’s an old wives tale,” Terri says, brightly, seeing a possible out. “Kendra says that Mom didn’t put down her bottle of Popov during any of her pregnancies and you don’t see anything wrong with me, do you?” She makes a wide sweeping gesture, indicating that Sue should acknowledge her obvious flawlessness. “I mean, I guess our brother Joey has really wide-set eyes, but we’re pretty sure that’s from him laying on his face too long in his crib. It’s not like he’s actually retarded or anything.”

She thinks, for a second, that she sees Sue wince a little after she tells her about Joey, but it’s a ridiculous idea, Sue Sylvester wincing at anything. You’d have to have a soft spot to wince, and she’s almost positive that there’s a sheet of metal just behind the outer layer of Sue’s skin. It might even be medically possible. Too bad she’d never taken that nursing class; she’d know for sure.

“Don’t care,” Sue says, and clears her throat, sitting up straighter in her chair. “That mash of cells and hair currently feeding off your body like the precocious flesh-eater it undoubtedly is – that’s my investment. I want it treated like royalty.”

The word makes Terri think about Prince William and that pretty girl he’d married, the one who wasn’t much better than common trash but somehow managed to worm her way into becoming the future Queen of England. What a wonderful role model! If this baby of hers is a daughter, she’ll tell her that story before bed every night: scheme hard enough, and one day too your smiling face will be stamped on commemorative dinnerware. It’s really the American dream come true.

“Hey, Single White Female,” Sue snaps. “You’re getting that crazy look again. Dial it back down. I need you thinking straight right now. This is precious information, and we need to figure out how to release it so that it does maximum damage.”

“I could just tell Will,” Terri offers. She’s considered it, and it really does seem like the best option, because she can’t imagine Will not prostrating himself at her feet with the news that she’s actually giving him the son or daughter he’s always wanted. “I could call him up, or go over to our place, or stop by his classroom during the day.”

Sue shakes her head, running her hands over the chair arms. “Not effective. Same reason I can’t tell him. The news needs to come from an unexpected source to be appropriately devastating. Someone he trusts implicitly. Someone I can rely on.”

“One of his glee rugrats?” she suggests, reluctantly. Terri hates the idea of bringing those brats into this. The only good thing about having Will gone is that his kids aren’t in her life anymore. “Wait. Will’s always had a soft spot for that Finn Hudson. What if I asked Finn to let Will know? I bet he’d do that for me.”

“I’m not gonna risk turning the greatest opportunity I’ve ever had to ruin William’s life into a remake of The Graduate,” Sue counters, and Terri tries not to blush or look away. “Finn Hudson can’t be trusted with something this sensitive. That kid couldn’t count to twenty-one if he was barefoot and pantless. But you know, it’s not the worst idea, using Will’s glee club to break the news to him.”

There’s the hum of a vacuum somewhere a few rooms down; the cleaning staff working late. Terri absentmindedly presses several fingers to the top of her left breast, massaging the sore, stretched skin. She’d never admit it to Kendra, but what she’d said about sandbags isn’t all that far from the truth. Her damn bra’s way too tight, and it’s already a size up from what she’s used to wearing.

“Will might get jealous if we used Finn,” she says, remembering the way he’d called her “Mrs. Schue” with most of the affection he’d given Will. She’d liked Finn. She’d liked him a lot. He’d reminded her of blank slates, early days, fresh starts. “If we played it right.”

“Jealous,” Sue repeats, but she’s got a weird look on her face that makes Terri feel suddenly uneasy. Her eyes follow the movement of Terri’s hand, still pressing over her swollen breast. “Yeah, we might be able to get Will jealous. If we played it right.”

“That’s what I just told you,” Terri says. She never gets enough credit for anything.

“I’m gonna ask you to stop doing that and come on over here, Honey Badger,” Sue instructs, indicating with a wave of her hand that she wants Terri to cross over to the other side of the desk, where Sue’s sitting. “Sit right there, on the edge. Face me.”

Terri stands, not knowing exactly what’s going on, a little nervous from what she’s hearing in Sue’s voice and can’t name, but she obeys her instructions. She sits gingerly, bracing her hands on the desk lip, crossing and uncrossing her feet.

Sue rolls her chair forward and leans in, touching Terri’s exposed thigh just above the knee. Her thumb strokes the taut skin, sliding up towards the hem of her skirt. “Spread your legs,” she says, low, and Terri gapes at her. “You know, lady, I can be exceptionally generous when there’s something in it for me.”

Terri’s trying to figure out what in the world Sue could be getting out of this, but she’s still stunned enough at being propositioned by Sue Sylvester that nothing’s occurring to her. “I’m not – "

“Oh, don’t try and tell me you wouldn’t welcome a little relief. I’m willing to bet no one’s touched you since William last dipped his fun-sized sugar stick in your candy pouch. Let me break this down for you, Terri: I have skills ol’ Curly Sadsack couldn’t acquire with Gene Simmons’s tongue and a GPS system. See that trophy third from the right, on the top row?” She gestures at the case against the nearest wall.

“Is that really – ?” Terri squints, astonished, trying to read the small print. “I didn’t know they even had awards for that.”

Sue shrugs. “Who knows. I had it engraved myself. Point still stands, Honey Badger. This, right here?” She points to her mouth. “The greatest weapon never tested in the New Mexican desert. J. Edgar Hoover opened a file on it just before he disappeared in the women’s shoe department at Nordstrom’s, not to be seen again by human eyes or sales help.”

“But I’m not a lesbian,” Terri protests. “Plaid clashes with my skin tone, you know.”

“Well, I’m not in the habit of eating Will Schuester’s warmed-up leftovers,” Sue retorts, and she slides out of her chair, kneeling on the floor. Her hand pushes up Terri’s skirt, revealing the tops of her thighs. It’s weirdly warm, that hand, like Sue’s actually human or something. Terri shivers. She should probably be offended by Sue’s insult, but it doesn’t seem nearly as important as the track Sue’s making with her fingers. “Looks like we’re both gonna make an exception. Just try and keep quiet. These walls are thinner than an Amish phone book.”

It sounds slightly better than the rerun of Desperate Housewives she’s got waiting for her at home, anyway, and it’s not like Sue’s asking her to make any effort, so Terri obliges with a slight shrug, sitting halfway off the desk, opening her legs wide. And it’s true, she hasn’t been fucked since – “Ah,” she gasps, as Sue’s finger slips below the ridge of her thong, pulling aside the offending strip of fabric, and, yeah, maybe she’s hornier than she’d been willing to admit to herself. Just that promise alone makes her clit ache.

“Mmm,” Sue murmurs, clearly enjoying the way Terri’s squirming. “You’re already getting wet for me, aren’t you?” Her head dips suddenly between Terri’s legs, the crown covered by the swell of Terri's belly and the bunched fabric of her skirt, and Terri does manage to keep quiet, but only just. She pushes a fist against her mouth and watches the back of Sue’s neck, trying not to wobble off the desk. Will would just completely freak, if he knew what they were doing. She wonders, suddenly, if that thought’s occurred to Sue. Maybe she should bring it up, when she's not so distracted.

Sue’s tongue runs lightly over the damp cleft, nudging inside just a little. Terri whimpers.

“That’s right,” Sue says, hoarsely, pulling back an inch or two, hands gripping hot on the inside of Terri’s thighs, “that’s what I like to hear,” and Terri can hear her swallow, the sound loud in the still, thick room.

“Would you please ask Mrs. Schuester to stop glaring at me, Ms. Sylvester?” Rachel asks, sounding nervous. “I’m feeling very uncomfortable. I’m also not sure why you’ve forced us into skipping class and coming to the Lima Bean. If my two gay dads find out I’ve left McKinley during school hours, I’ll get into a lot of trouble, and I really can’t risk losing my allowance right now. West Side Story’s getting released on Blu-Ray next week.”

Kurt’s mouth drops open. “It is? Any extras?”

Two deleted scenes,” Rachel says, and Kurt lets out a little coo of pleasure before Sue raises her hand to stop them, face pinched with annoyance.

“Dear God, you two, remind me to stay far, far away from the terrible Pillow Talk remake you'll inevitably film for your senior year class project. Hey, Honey Badger, pull it back a little, all right? Your resentment’s curdling my cup of Splenda.”

Terri sniffs, giving Rachel one last glare across the table. “Lolita,” she mutters, and takes a sip of her coffee. These two aren’t the ones she would’ve chosen – she’d wanted Finn, no matter how soft the kid’s skull might be – but Sue’d been adamant that Rachel Berry and Kurt Hummel were her weirdly similar aces in the hole.

“Porcelain, I’ve noticed your reinstatement at McKinley hasn’t prevented you from keeping up your interspecies footsie with that long-mouthed refugee from the Shire.” She acknowledges Terri with her eyes, not bothering to move her head. “Kid’s got a jaw that comes unhinged when he sings. It’s uncanny.”

“He’s not from the Shire,” Kurt mutters. “And yes, Blaine and I are still together. Very happily.”

“Well, no need to try and defend his honor for my benefit. I’m finding the look on your face sufficiently amusing. That unhinged jaw isn’t necessarily a bad thing, by the way. Gonna come in handy at some point, if it hasn’t already.”

Kurt’s head and neck are bright red now, and Sue smirks, letting him stew for a few uncomfortable seconds before continuing. “All right, I know you both have a busy day of grandstanding to get back to, so I’ll get right to the point. I have certain information I’d like the two of you to relay to William. Sensitive information that requires a deft touch, or, at the very least, extremely enthusiastic and highly prepared delivery.”

Rachel brightens somewhat at that last part, but she still looks suspicious. “What information?”

“Mrs. Robinson here,” Sue says, gesturing with her thumb at Terri, “happens to be in pod.”

“You’ll need to translate that for us, Coach Sylvester,” Kurt manages, exchanging a glance with Rachel. “I don’t –”

“Knocked up. Gestating. Up the duff. Enceinte. Harboring a fugitive. That clear enough for you, Porcelain, or do I need to ask Mrs. Schuester to show you her version of what Hollywood so infuriatingly refers to as a ‘baby bump’?”

“Not necessary,” Kurt says, quickly. “Really, really not necessary.”

Rachel’s staring at Terri in shock. “Oh, my God,” she breathes. “Poor Mr. Schue.”

“Poor Mr. Schue?” Terri shrieks, suddenly infuriated. “Poor Mr. Schue? Look, you little strumpet, you’ve got no idea what I’ve been through in the past six months. No idea at all. I’ve had to work five days in a row every week since your beloved Mr. Schue walked out on me.”

Sue’s hand presses against the top of her leg, briefly, under the table, a warning to control herself, and Terri shuts her mouth, suddenly chastened.

“Porcelain, I’m giving you the honor of being the first one to tell him. Because William only seems to pay attention to you kids when you’re wailing like oversexed banshees for his aural pleasure, I’m gonna have you do it through song and dance. I’ve choreographed an extended routine for you set to Beyoncé’s latest single, with lyrics altered to fit this particular situation. Figured you couldn’t resist another opportunity to tackle her smooth melodies and infectious beats, especially when you take into account my impeccable sequencing.”

“Um,” Kurt says. “Wow. Okay, Coach Sylvester, I’m flattered that you went through that much trouble for me – ”

“Your gratitude is appropriate and duly noted,” Sue comments, with a little nod of her head.

“ – but I’m going to have to decline your offer. I’ll admit that I’m as much of a rubbernecker as the next teenager obsessed with tragedy, but there’s a big difference between slowing down to watch an accident happen and adding your car to the pile. I just can’t do that to Mr. Schuester.”

“Neither can I!” Rachel interjects, looking indignant.

“Thought you two might say that.” Sue swirls a coffee stirrer in her cup, and Terri watches, feeling a little nauseous as the saturated white lumps of Splenda blend with the faint streaks of coffee drizzled on top. “You might think about reconsidering your position. As the first Cheerio to occupy the Oval Office once said, ‘You’re either with us, or you’re with the terrorists.’ Kids, Honey Badger, I repay loyalty with loyalty. Quid pro quo, Clarice, and all that. You know, if it weren’t for the sudden, inexplicable mass malfunction of electronic voting machines all over Ohio during the 2004 election, my Cheerio might’ve missed out on that second term in office.”

Rachel’s mouth drops open. “Are you really saying you’re responsible for – ?”

“You have no proof,” Sue rejoins, airly. “You also have no eyes, Tiny Tim, otherwise you might’ve caught a glimpse of yourself in the mirror before you left the house this morning. Congratulations, kiddo, I haven’t seen an ensemble that horrible since Captain & Tennille opened for a Kroger’s in Sandusky a few years back.”

“She’s got a point there, Rachel,” Kurt says, scanning her outfit with a quick up-and-down glance, while Terri asks Sue, “Wait, you actually went to see Captain & Tennille in Sandusky?”

Sue chooses to ignore this, and Rachel speaks up, her voice a little shrill. “Ms. Sylvester, I’m extremely appreciative that you thought of us in your time of need, and I admire your commitment to loyalty, but we’re Mr. Schue’s kids first and foremost. He’s our teacher. He means the world to us.”

“I know exactly how much he means to you,” Terri hisses, glaring at Rachel. “I remember the way you sniffed around our apartment last year, waiting for him to come home. You never got those rust stains out of the bathroom grout, you know. I had to pay some obese Mexican woman ten whole dollars after you left to do it for me.”

“Honey Badger, I’m not gonna warn you again,” Sue grits, and Terri falls silent. She can rustle up the girl for the cash she’s owed later, when Sue isn’t looking. “Focus. As for you, Rachel, your misguided loyalty is sad and over-invested, much like your outfit. William won’t always have final say over whether or not your bleating gets prioritized over the bleating of the other ambiguously gendered billy goats that make up glee club.”

“What, exactly, are you saying?” Kurt asks, recovering a little from his obvious embarrassment.

“Well, I thought I was being perfectly obvious, Porcelain, but apparently your brain’s been softened by the exhausting process of translating hobbit language. William, mandated by the courts and Gloria Allred to provide for his offspring, will be required to look for a second source of income in order to make his child support payments, leaving him no free time to mislead your motley crew.”

“And glee club will be disbanded,” Rachel finishes, her tone miserable.


That’s something new. Terri looks closely at Sue, not sure why she hasn’t confirmed Rachel’s prediction. The last she’d heard, disbanding the glee club was Sue’s entire reason for existing, no ‘presumably’ about it. Sue hasn’t shut up for the last three weeks about wiping those brats off the extracurricular roster.

“You might have noticed that in recent months, I’ve suffered from the effects of what I like to call a ‘negative winning’ situation.”

“I think you mean losing.”

Offensive, Porcelain,” Sue says, sounding momentarily wounded. “The glee club, on the other hand, is inexplicably enjoying a ‘positive winning’ situation. In light of Schuester’s inevitable and incredibly satisfying absence, I’m considering taking advantage of that situation, lending you my considerable talents as a fourteen-time Nationals champion and unparalleled choreographer. Considering your current director thinks effective choreography is having his male and female leads circle each other like a couple of wrestlers looking for weak attack points, it won’t be difficult to make massive improvements.”

So that’s the new tactic. Terri crooks her head to the side, trying hard to imagine what Sue’s thinking. Remove Will from the picture, infiltrate them from the inside, maybe win a few competitions in the process, then crush them when they least expect it. Somehow. Details probably to be determined later. Lawsuits, too.

“You’d be the head of glee club,” Kurt says, slowly, and a small smile tugs at the left corner of Sue’s mouth. “You’d be in charge of giving out solos.”

“Kurt!” Rachel exclaims, rotating to face him. “I know you’re not completely enamored with Mr. Schue, but you can’t really think this plan is something we should support.”

“Well.” Kurt seems to be deliberating. “Maybe.”

Sue stands up, abruptly, pushing back her chair. “Think about it, Steve and Eydie,” she advises. “You think about it carefully. And you think about the fact that if you break the news to William about his impending fatherhood for me, I’ll put you both front and center at every single competition next year. Local, regional and national.”

Kurt and Rachel look carefully at each other.

“We’ll consider it,” Kurt says, after a pause, and when Rachel opens her mouth, he hisses, “Later, okay? Later.”

“Don’t wait too long.” Sue gestures at Terri to stand up, too, and Terri does, quickly enough that she gets a little light-headed. “You know how to reach me.”

She follows Sue out of the coffee shop, trying to keep up with Sue’s long strides. There’s a quickness to Sue’s pace that she hasn’t seen before, a little spring in her step that’s new.

Kurt comes through for them, in the end. Well, Sue had said he would.

(“He’ll do it,” she’d told her, talking quietly into the back of Terri’s neck, hands sliding over Terri’s hips. “He’s a good kid, when he’s not betraying me for some school choir straight out of a drooling sodomite’s bizarrely specific fantasy. Hey, don’t tell him I said that, about being a good kid.”

Sometimes Terri really, really wishes Sue would just be quiet.)

There’s a voicemail on Terri’s phone from Will, not three days after they meet with his kids at the Lima Bean. Sue’s in the room with her when they listen to it for the first time, both knowing exactly what he’s calling about before they’ve heard the content of the message.

Terri sets her phone on Sue’s desk, pressing the speaker button while Sue, next to her, braces her hands on the edge, leaning down over the phone like being closer to it will wrestle out the reaction she’s anticipating.

“It’s me,” Will says, inside the phone, sounding tinny. “Hey, listen, there’s something I really, really need to talk to you about. I just had this conversation with Kurt Hummel, and he seems to think - okay, I’m praying he’s wrong, he’s heard that you’re - just call me, okay? Please. We need to talk. Call me as soon as you get this. It’s me. It’s Will.”

The phone beeps, signaling the call’s end, and Terri looks up from the desk to see Sue’s grinning face.

Got him,” she says. “We got him. Now we make him sweat. Don’t call him back until tomorrow.”

“But - "

“That’s an order, Honey Badger.” Sue pushes the phone back towards Terri. “Now, can I trust you to wait on this, or you need monitoring tonight?”

“I don’t need monitoring,” she says, indignently. “I’m not a child, you know. I can control my impulses. Unless we’re talking about Smythson metal lanterns, in which case you honestly can’t blame me for needing four of them.”

“Monitoring,” Sue continues, as if she hasn’t heard anything Terri’s said, and she probably hasn’t, “might also involve getting Chinese take-out and watching First Blood from my new Roman Coliseum-inspired couch while we discuss our next move. Hypothetically.” She bends down to rummage through one of her open desk drawers while she says it, not looking at Terri, moving around unknown objects, and Terri says “Oh!” out loud because this is apparently how Sue Sylvester asks people out on dates.

Well, she doesn’t exactly have any other plans for tonight.

“I’m more of a Pearl Harbor kind of girl,” she counters, and Sue straightens up. Is it Terri’s imagination, or does she look a little relieved?

Platoon. Final offer.”

Terri pretends to consider this for a second or two, and then nods. “I like chow mein,” she says. “I want a lot of it. Two cartons. And you’re buying.”

Sue dips her head once, agreeing, and she doesn't elaborate, which is kind of amazing.

The more she thinks about the idea, the better it makes Terri feel. Someone actually wants to spend time with her, even if it’s just time spent stuffing their faces and watching people kill each other in fantastically violent ways. That’s still way more than she’s had for a long time. Even Will hadn’t wanted to marathon Jerry Bruckheimer movies with her, towards the end. 

So she leans in, impulsively, and kisses Sue on the mouth.

It’s not much, just a little peck, but it’s the first time she’s touched her without being prompted. It’s the only way Terri can think of to say thank you.

She pulls back, noticing that Sue’s cheeks are pink.

“Well,” Sue says, after a moment, and, again, “Well. All right.”

She turns, abruptly, without further comment, and walks past Terri, out of the room. Terri watches her go, noticing with some amusement that her stride isn’t exactly steady.


Somehow, in between Platoon and too-large bites of noodles and Sue’s trophy tour and Terri wanting to go out for mocha fudge ice-cream and Sue proposing they do something else instead and Terri deliberately grazing her breast against Sue’s arm, saying, “I guess I could be okay with that,” not saying that, weirdly enough, she's been waiting for it all night; somehow, in between all that, they completely forget to talk about Will.


His face turns purple when he sees her belly, his eyes fixed on it to the exclusion of everything else in Sue’s office, even Sue.

“I need to touch you,” he says, immediately. “It. I need to touch it. I need to make sure, okay? You owe me that.”

“Your ex-wife doesn’t owe you a damned thing, William,” Sue snaps, and Will looks at her, startled, but Terri says, “No, let him. I don’t want him to have any doubts.”

She lifts the bottom of her blouse just high enough to show her midsection, arms tingling with the sense, built into her body from five months of pretending, that she shouldn’t be doing this. Will takes a step towards her, his hand out, and she waits for the pressure of his palm over her skin. There’s nothing.

“Oh, my God,” he says, miserably, dropping his hand, and she lets her blouse drop, too. “Oh, God, Terri. After all those months of trying, and then one stupid mistake when I’m not in my right mind, and it actually happens. You’ve got a baby in there. You’re carrying my son or daughter.”

“Will, buddy, that’s just a really excellent summary of the situation we’ve found ourselves in.” Sue rises from her seat on the desk, walking over to the two of them. Her arm slides around Terri’s shoulders, in a companionable gesture. “With those observational skills, I’m honestly shocked CliffsNotes hasn’t poached you away from McKinley by now. How does Erma feel about babies, by the way? Diaper duty's probably out for her. Sad.”

Will turns his attention to Sue then, and there’s real fury in his face. “Don't you dare talk to Emma about this,” he orders, gesturing at the door. “I’ve had it up to here with your attempts to sabotage my life, Sue. Every time I turn around, you're trying your absolute best to make me miserable, and you know what? I am through being your doormat. Get out.”

“This happens to be my office,” Sue points out, nearly singing with the joy of impending triumph. “And speaking of making you miserable, I’m thrilled to be the first one to point out to you that child support, which the magnificent state of Ohio legally mandates you pay to this lovely lady standing next to me once she gives us the gift of your becurled spawn, is incredibly, undeniably expensive. I can’t imagine what after-school activities you’ll have to give up in order to earn a little more on the side.”

The truth of what Sue’s implying hits Will, and he takes a step back, shaking his head in pointless protest. Terri feels for him. He’s still her widdle sweetie, despite all the hell they’ve gone through in the last year and a half. He’s still the same guy who’d followed her around the hallways during high school before she’d agreed to go out with him, leaving daisies in the slots of her locker, writing her silly notes during class with their initials surrounded by hearts. She'd loved that he'd wanted her enough to make an idiot out of himself.

Maybe she needs to let go of daisies and hearts, though. Maybe what she needs is Platoon, and maybe she needs the ugliest couch she's ever seen in her life, because the person on the other side of that couch seems to actually like having her share it. 

“Will,” she says, her head reeling a bit from what she's just figured out. "Listen, honey, you’re still the baby’s father. You can see it as much as you want.”

“As Christopher ‘Biggie Smalls’ Wallace once sagely noted, the mo’ money you come across, the mo' problems you see. See, Will, you’re actually a lucky guy. Eliminate the money, eliminate the problems. No gats in holsters, no girls on shoulders.” Sue ruffles the top of Terri’s head with her free hand, as if to emphasize the point. “That thick monthly check of yours will go a long way towards keeping Honey Badger and her cub in the state to which I’ll become accustomed. Guess you won't be leaving us for Broadway any time soon. Too bad. I was looking forward to pelting you with rotting fruit on your first opening night.”

Oh, that means Terri won’t have to find a new, better paying job after all! It’s a good thing, probably, because the responses to her resume weren’t very encouraging. Bed, Bath and Beyond apparently has no plans to hire anyone until the holiday season. 4chan had sent her an email response with some sort of cartoon bear in it, nothing else, except now her computer won’t turn on.

“This is war,” Will says, seething. “Interfering in my personal life like this? I can't forgive you this time, Sue. You’ve gone too far.”

“Oh, William,” Sue purrs. “It’s been war all along. You've just been too busy scanning the stained, laminated pages of karaoke selection books for song ideas to notice. Hey, we’ll be seeing you in August, buddy. I’ll give you a call when we’re on the way to the hospital, let you know little Susie’s on her way.”

Will’s face changes, then. It’s not just the name he’s responding to, Terri knows, or the 'we' Sue'd used. He’s seeing something, too, maybe the way Terri isn’t moving away from Sue, maybe the way Sue’s leaning into Terri, familiar with easy intimacy. “You wouldn’t,” he says, slowly. “You aren’t. Oh, my God, Terri, tell me you’re not. You haven’t.”

It’s the shot of adrenaline and joy she’s been missing since he'd left her: hearing Will beg her for something. She doesn’t answer him, but she doesn’t need to. He’s clearly guessed. See, she wants to tell him. See, someone still wants me.

“You have no idea what you’ve just started,” Will manages, deflated, and Sue grins down at Terri, squeezing her upper arm.

There’s real happiness in that grin. It isn’t strained, and it isn’t cracked. It reaches all the way to her eyes. Terri realizes, surprised, that Sue's actually kind of pretty, when she smiles. It's a real point in her favor. Terri likes attractive people so much more than unattractive ones. 

“You might be right about that, Will,” she says, and she doesn’t look at him, not even a little, still fascinated by what she’s seeing for the first time in Sue’s face. “You might just be totally, completely correct.”
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