[GFS Exchange Fic] The Motta Enigma by sceptick for dominant_spoon
Written for: dominant_spoon
Prompt:Sugar/Lauren; a newer-new rebel Glee Club, this time with Lauren and Sugar on lead.
Pairings: pre-Lauren/Sugar, mentions of various members of New Directions
Rating/Warnings: PG, no warnings in particular. No spoilers.
Word Count: 3,400
Notes: A thousand apologies to the recipient for the tardiness of this pinch-hit. I sincerely meant to get it in sooner, and I’m truly sorry. Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy it!
Summary: Lauren’s got a plan. A good plan. Sugar’s got a plan, too, though, and it might be even better.
Spying is a tricky art. It requires patience, dedication, stealth, cunning, and snacks. Tons of snacks. Boatloads of snacks. It’s essentially laying a siege, only the other person doesn’t know about it and you don’t have to haul around a catapult. Lauren could haul around a catapult, because her muscles are bigger than Coach Sylvester’s ego, but she prefers not to.
Speaking of McKinley High’s highly-feared cheer coach, she’s Lauren’s latest target. Rumor has it that Sue is preggo, but her baby-daddy’s identity is a complete mystery, and there’s no way in hell Lauren’s letting Jacob Ben Israel get the scoop on that first. Not that he would ever dare to go up against Sylvester. Not many in this school would. But Lauren counts herself in a different breed than the average McKinley drone – better looking, for one. Bigger balls, too. It takes balls at least the size of the Death Star to drill a tiny hole through Coach Sylvester’s office window in order to eavesdrop on her. That kind of thing could be fatal.
Point is, it’s a delicate operation. She’s crouching beneath Sylvester’s window, surrounded by snacks chosen not for their deliciousness but for the lack of noise their packaging makes while opening them, dressed in her made-specially-for-this-mission spying gear: an outfit that is head to toe the exact beige color of the wall behind her. She’s been using this kind of outfit since she first started spying, back in ’98. Got to the root of her elementary school’s cookie black market using a fuscia body suit. Ah, the good old days. Unfortunately, she didn’t think of getting the idea copyrighted until after the second, gayer Sherlock Holmes movie came out. Millions of potential dollars and infomercials, wasted. Guy Ritchie is on her list.
Things are going smoothly. All she’s overheard so far is Sylvester doing some kind of weird pregnancy yoga, complete with a mantra of hatred centered around Will Schuester which she repeats to herself in a low, soothing voice. Bizarre, and not quite what she’s looking for, but kind of entertaining all the same. Sylvester has a way with words which Lauren admires. Things stop going smoothly, however, when some random girl wearing too much pink and a smile too big for her face plops down beside her and starts speaking in a high-pitched, excited voice that’s way too similar to Rachel Berry’s for Lauren to feel anything other than immediate dislike.
“Hi! You probably know who I am already, but I’ll introduce myself anyways,” the girl says. “I’m Sugar Motta, and I was your more talented replacement in New Directions. Nice to meet you!” Then she reaches into Lauren’s sack of Fuzzy Peaches and takes one.
That’s strike one. Lauren Zizes only gives people two strikes before they’re out, because she’s worth better than three whole freaking strikes. Take one of her Peaches? After a first strike like that, Strike Two might lead to another kind strike, if you catch her meaning. The kind where her fist meets this Sugar chick’s stripy-socked shin.
The mission comes before revenge, though, and the decibel Motta is reaching could seriously compromise it. Sylvester’s a wily old fox, with ears to match. If she catches wind of Lauren’s operation, Lauren is screwed. Among other things, though, Lauren considers herself a master improviser, at least as far as plans go, and she immediately grabs another Fuzzy Peach and shoves it into her listening hole to muffle Motta’s piercing voice. McGuyver’d like a boss, she thinks. She smirks to herself for a moment in self-satisfaction before turning to face her new least favorite person ever.
“I’ve heard of you, all right. Heard you’re all bark and no bite. No talent, either, for that matter. Not nice to meet you.” Burn firmly delivered, she pops a candy in her mouth.
Motta’s mouth gapes open for a solid minute, her eyebrows raised in comical disbelief. A few people passing by in the hallway give her weird looks, but she doesn’t seem to notice them.
That’s worth a little respect, Lauren thinks grudgingly.
Finally, Sugar regains her voice, and she says, “Just because my voice doesn’t garner any kind of mainstream approval doesn’t mean it isn’t awesome. There’s a reason hipster is in right now, and that reason is spelled M-O-T-T-A.”
Lauren snorts with laughter, rolling her eyes. Yeah, right.
“It’s true!” Sugar insists. “Maybe you can’t see it, and maybe Mr. Schue can’t see it, but that’s because you’re blinded by my good looks, that’s all. I’m so hot I turn everything around me into static, including my own singing.” She nods with the conviction of a religious fanatic. Lauren is kind of fascinated.
Lauren cracks her knuckles once, then her neck. As interesting as examining this girl’s weirdly egotistical psyche might be – and it’d undoubtedly make one hell of a good documentary – the mission comes first. So she turns to Sugar and says, “Alright, listen up. I am all for confidence, and you’ve obviously got that in spades. I can dig that. But go have it somewhere else, okay? I’m busy.”
Sugar’s face falls in a ridiculous slide of toothy grin into puckered, almost-teary frown. It’s like her face is made of rubber or something, it’s crazy. It also makes Lauren feel kinda sorta almost bad. Knock it off, she orders herself, grabbing another Fuzzy Peach and turning her eyes awkwardly away from Sugar’s pinched eyebrows and quivery lower lip. Sugar walked into what was clearly a top-secret intelligence mission, complete with cammo and everything, and started talking. You just don’t do that, okay? If Lauren had to get sharp to give her a clue, and if that clue had to be painted in neon, covered in super-shiny glitter, and accompanied with loud music in order to get her to notice it, well, that was her own damn fault.
Actually, put that way, being cruel to Sugar for the sake of eavesdropping on Coach Sylvester’s private life seems kind of bitchy. Off to her right, Sugar gives an audible, melodramatic sniff. Lauren rolls her eyes, but on the inside she’s pretty much already cracking.
People have been saying she’s gone soft, since joining the Glee Club. Who would have thought dating Puckerman would’ve been bad for her reputation? Maybe it’s true, though, because Lauren glances over, and she just can’t take the crushed look on Sugar’s face. Lauren put it there, and she feels like she just kicked a cute, over-excited cartoon animal in the face or something. That’s pretty much how Sugar looks.
Lauren sighs, then says, “That was maybe a little harsh. Sorry.” She nudges the candy bag over towards Sugar, too, as a peace offering.
Sugar’s face executes a reversed version of the previous slide, sad to happy in no time flat. She takes a Peach and pops it into her mouth. “I totally knew you’d come around,” she declares, her voice muffled a little by the sticky goodness in it.
Lauren huffs a laugh, amused a little by this weird human being despite herself. “Sure you did.”
“Duh! And you’re lucky you did, because I have the proposition of a lifetime for you and you only,” Sugar says. Then she frowns. “The peachiness isn’t working with my lip-gloss.”
“What an awful tragedy.”
“Right? Like, can’t we all just get along?” Sugar says, rolling her eyes. She slumps back into a more relaxed position against the wall, like now that she’s won Lauren’s grudging approval she can chill out. “That’s actually why I’m here,” she continues. “Because obviously we can’t, or at least, that stupid glee club can’t.”
Lauren’s ears perk up. When she’d quit New Directions, she’d taken all of her bugs and cameras with her, leaving the choir room clean. The goal was to go totally cold turkey on those choir freaks, but it’d left her with one hell of a blind spot in her gossip pool. “Explain,” she says, turning to give Sugar her full attention.
“There are just so many problems, you know? They can’t do anything right. I keep telling them and telling them that if they put me front and center they wouldn’t have to worry about practicing as much because I could carry them all the way to Nationals, but do they listen? Ugh.” Sugar crosses her arms, then leans in towards Lauren confidentially. “All they care about is Mr. Schue’s love life and satisfying Rachel’s ego and their constant big gay crises. So Santana makes out with other girls? I do too sometimes, which makes it okay, so what is all the fuss about? Seriously, they are all totally self-centered. I find that so unattractive in people who aren’t me.”
Lauren sits in stunned silence for a moment, trying to figure out what to say to that. It’s not that she disagrees on any particular point, except for all the rampant egotism – she has an ego of her own, sure, but she likes to think it’s not as abrasive as all that – but it was delivered in such a sincere, frustrated way that she doesn’t even know where to start. Does this call for awkward comforting? A solid, supportive punch in the arm? A rousing speech? Lauren doesn’t really do those things. She’s too much of a cynic, and that’s how she likes it.
Sugar takes her silence as a cue to continue. “I thought everything would be fixed once my way more popular and awesome spin-off group, the Troubletones, rejoined their little club, but apparently it takes more than that to earn Mr. Schue’s gratitude. Some people, am I right?” She doesn’t wait for an answer. “So I left, obviously. I’m Sugar Motta, okay, I don’t have to put up with that kind of thing.”
“Do you always monologue like that?” Lauren finally cuts in, raising her eyebrows.
“No,” Sugar says, frowning. She scrunches up her nose. “Most people don’t let me talk for that long.” There’s nothing to say to that, really. There’s a tight, uncomfortable feeling in the pit of Lauren’s stomach. She’s pretty sure it’s sympathy.
Sugar doesn’t seem to mind the silence, now that she’s spoken her piece. She starts humming, slightly off-key but not enough that Lauren doesn’t recognize the song. It’s some kind of pop crap. Sugar waves her head in time to the music, her eyes half-shut and her mouth half-open. She looks totally ridiculous, and Lauren kind of wishes she had her camera. Not in a mean way, but in a “I want to capture you on film so I can try and figure out your deal at a later date” way.
Since her camera’s not at hand, Lauren settles for simply asking. “So what’s your game, Motta? Why talk to me? Because I’ll tell you straight up, I am done with that glee club and everyone in it. If you’re looking for some dirt on the sly, you’re gonna have to find someone else.”
“What?” Sugar says, and she looks genuinely clueless. Then she figures it out, and Lauren can see the moment of realization on her whole face. It’s truly ridiculous. “Oh! No, ha, no. I could care less about what they do from now on.”
“… I couldn’t care less.”
Sugar frowns. “Excuse you?”
“I’m pretty sure it’s ‘I couldn’t care less,’ not –“
“Ugh, grammar. Nobody cares,” Sugar says, giving another huge eye-roll and flapping her hands around uselessly to express her disdain. Lauren gets that itch for a camera again. She also grins a little, helplessly. She’d found Puck’s weird-ass quirks endearing, and apparently that held true for this nutjob too.
Sugar continues, completely oblivious to Lauren’s thoughts. “I figured it was time to strike out on my own, you know? Again, I mean, since last time totally didn’t work and Mercedes took over. She was amazingly awesome, so it’s fine, whatever, I don’t care. But that’s not how it’s going to go this time. This time, it’s going my way. The Sugar way.” She pauses, then pulls out an iPhone and speaks into the mic. “Note to self: ask Daddy to buy me a galaxy and name it the Sugar Way. End note to self!”
Lauren stares at Sugar silently over the frame of her glasses with wide eyes. Sugar stares back, although she doesn’t seem to know why their impromptu staring-contest is happening in the first place. Finally, Lauren breaks it off with a shake of her head, and says, “Okay, skipping over the freaky galaxy stuff, because frankly I am not touching that with a twenty-foot pole, what was that about striking out on your own?”
“Starting my own show choir, obviously!” Sugar says. She spreads her hands in the air, as if framing a title. “The Troubletones, version two. I was thinking maybe The Sugartones? That has a nice ring to it, right?”
“Uh,” Lauren says. She doesn’t really like where this is heading. “Yeah. Sounds great.”
“Oh, good,” Sugar says, and her grin is reaching creepy-Cheshire-cat levels of stretchiness. “I worked really hard on it. Stayed up until like three in the morning last night, thinking about potential names, and that one was totally the best by a mile.”
Lauren was still caught on one thing, though. “So if it isn’t my wicked spy skills you need, why are you here?”
Sugar shrugs in what was totally meant to be a casual way, but came off stilted and false, all angles and half-rolled eyes and weird stuff like that. Possibly the least believable show of nonchalance Lauren has ever seen, and she spent a year in a cramped choir room with Rachel Berry. Sugar fidgets with her jangly charm bracelet for a minute, then spits out, “I want you to help me start it.”
Lauren snorts. “Seriously?”
“Totally seriously!” Sugar rushes to assure her. She reaches out to grip Lauren’s arm in an uncomfortable, half-Indian-burn type grip. “Last time I recruited Santana and Brittany, and they brought their Cheerio peeps. You can do that! You’re on the wrestling team and you’re in the AV club and you’re the head of the Twilight fan club –“
“You know an awful lot about me for a chronic narcissist,” Lauren says, trying and failing to yank her arm away. For such a tiny person, Sugar’s weirdly strong, and Lauren has no leverage, the way she’s sitting. Sugar takes full advantage of this fact, leaning in closer and tightening her grip unconsciously in her fervor. “I looked you up, duh. My dad has connections – not to the Mafia or the KGB or whatever this week’s rumor is, though. If that spreads, I’ll know who did it. Anyway, you have connections too! You’re in touch with McKinley’s nerd legions, and that’s who I want. People who will be too scared to try and steal my spotlight away from me.”
Lauren sighs loudly, yanking ineffectually at her arm one last time. “If I say I’ll think about it,” she grunts, “will you give me my arm back?”
Sugar makes a vaguely apologetic noise, and then Lauren is back in possession of her own arm. “Thank you,” Lauren says, and Sugar kind of blushes. She dips her head to bump it against Lauren’s arm, in yet another weird gesture. Lauren’s starting to think she might not even be human. Some kind of alien or something.
Her hair is insanely soft where it brushes against Lauren’s wrist.
Okay, that thought is way too weird to be having in a busy McKinley hallway while dressed in a full-body, beige, spandex suit. Lauren clears her throat noisily. “Say I do it. What’s in it for me?”
Sugar lifts her head immediately. “First off, you get to spend time in my awesome company,” Sugar says, and she gives Lauren a big, toothy smile. Her shameless egotism is kind of growing on Lauren, because she finds herself chuckling quietly in response. Sugar’s smile becomes bigger at that, and she continues, “Second, you’d barely have to do any work at all. I’ve already got fliers and sponsors and a coach – you may have heard of him, his name is Jesse St. James? Anyway, apparently he’s super talented, and The Sugartones get the cream of the crop, always. I looked up some pictures of him, and he has way better hair than Mr. Schuester.” She looks disturbingly pleased about this. Then, with still more enthusiasm, “Oh! And I’ve already picked out our competition songs. We’ll start with a mash-up of “All ‘Bout The Money” -- which I don’t fully understand, but I like the title! -- and The Archie’s hit song “Sugar, Sugar,” because it really speak to me, you know? Then –“
“Skip to the part where I care, Motta.”
Sugar huffs in frustration. “I thought all of that was pretty awesome.”
“And I think show choir is stupid,” Lauren says. “You’ve gotta sell me on this, Motta. I’ll do it, but only if the price is right.”
Sugar nods slowly, her eyes flicking back and forth as she thinks. Lauren watches. Then, suddenly, Sugar squeaks and sits bolt upright, her eyes wide (too wide, weirdly wide, what the hell) and shining, and she says, “You could film it!”
“You could film the whole thing, and make a movie out of it, and it could make a bajillion dollars! My Daddy knows people, he could get it into the festival circuit and then maybe Disney would pick it up and I could meet Mickey Mouse for real –“
“Okay, take about a million chill pills, alright?” Lauren says. “Your enthusiasm is exhausting.”
Sugar shuts up, thank god. Her enthusiasm is actually almost as endearing as her weirdness, and it’s all really reminding Lauren of Puckerman in a strange way, but with less machismo, which is nice. Lauren takes another Peach and pops it in her mouth as she considers Sugar’s offer. It’s the last one, so she scrunches up the bag and lobs it at the garbage across the hall. It hits some freshman, and she snorts out a laugh as he squeaks and scurries away, glaring at her.
Beside her, Sugar giggles.
Lauren feels the sudden overwhelming knowledge that this is going to be a thing she’s going to do. She’s going to let herself get sucked up into more show choir craziness, as if she hadn’t filled her life’s quota already last year. And all because of that damn itch, telling her she could be catching that weird, high-pitched giggle on film right now if she agreed. Also, kind of, because… well, she’s always had a soft spot for the dumb ones. Exhibit A, Noah Puckerman.
“Fine,” she sighs, then she lies, “But only because I want an in with those festivals. Also, since you’re loaded, I expect there to be snacks and Gatorade at every rehearsal. Just so you know.”
“So done,” Sugar says, and then she throws her arms around Lauren’s shoulders and smacks a cherry-scented kiss on her cheek. Lauren shrugs her off, but her face heats up embarrassingly. Sugar doesn’t notice, she just continues on, getting to her feet and dancing around on the spot with excitement. “Do you think your wrestlers could lift me? We should try and work that into every number we do. Also, do you know if animals are allowed in show choirs? Not as performers, but as props, because I’ve always wanted to have a pony on stage with me. And what’s the rule as far as sabotage goes? And –“
Lauren lifts herself to her feet. “We can discuss that stuff later, Motta,” she says. “For now, I have a beige, spandex wedgie the size of that oceanic rift James Cameron went down into, and I want to deal with it. So. Scat.”
Sugar tosses her a sharp, cheery salute and skips off down the hallway. That is, until she turns over her ankle when she flubs a landing on her bubble-gum pink heels, and then she more hobbles. Lauren watches, shaking her head in disbelief, but she’s also smiling slightly. That was the weirdly-adorable cherry on top of that whole weirdly-adorable encounter. Then she turns to find a washroom. Beige is really not her color, and the sooner it’s off, the better.
She leaves the final Peach where it is, clogging her eavesdrop-hole in Coach Sylvester’s window. It’s really none of her business who the Coach’s baby daddy is. Besides, she’s got a new, better project.
C₆H₁₂O₆, she’ll call it. The Motta Enigma.
Or maybe just The Sugartones. It really does have a decent ring to it.