mzminola: knees-down view of a kid in white stockings and black shoes who is standing on tiptoe. (Default)
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THIS IS IT GUYS. Hope you had fun!

Title: Drummer Boy
Author: mzminola
Fandom: Glee!
Genre: Alternate Universe
Premise: What if Finn never sang in Glee club, because he was already in Jazz Band?
Rating: high as the show itself, plus extra for swearing.

Warnings for the fic as a whole: Anything the show has is likely to show up here, so pretty much all of the bullying and phobias and barfing and other issues. If you are worried about specific triggers please let me know and I can give you a heads up.

“Puck’s been careful of Quinn in club since forever,” Artie said, waving one hand dismissively. “They’re friends. Why is this bothering you now?”

“I’m not sure,” said Rachel, leaning in close, and looking around as though anyone would bother to listen to them. “It just feels like he’s amped the protectiveness up, recently. And he keeps glancing over at the band. I’m telling you, something’s going on.”

“Are you saying it’s weird to look at the band?” Artie asked, putting as much indignation in his voice as he could muster. “Are you saying we’re not worth noticing? You know I play guitar in like half of our numbers, and so does Puck? Musicians have a bond, Rachel, I’m hurt.”


Trent wasn’t entirely sure how he wound up in the teleconference about Rachel’s suspicions, but it made him feel like he was part of a conspiracy.

“This could make Quinn’s boyfriend dump her though, right?” Tina asked. “Wouldn’t that free her up to date Puck? I thought Rachel liked him or something.”

“I never know which way that girl is gonna jump,” Mercedes said. “If she got Puck to come clean to Quinn’s boyfriend himself, it might make Quinn give up on Puck completely. And if I can think of that, Rachel can think of that.”

Santana chimed in again then. “You all do know that back when Rachel was getting Jacob to suppress the Quinn story, she blackmailed Quinn over the solos in club, right?” Santana said. “I don’t want the crazy drama that could happen if Rachel found another piece of information to blackmail Quinn over.”

“Wait, she did what?” Artie asked. “How do you even know that?”

“Because Quinn came to me to find reciprocal blackmail material, duh,” Santana said. “But Berry’s so fucking open about everything, she doesn’t have anything to hold over her. Which is too bad, because if I had found something I totally could have used it myself.”

At that point, Kurt suggested keeping Rachel in his basement until they got through Sectionals, but that idea was shot down on account of Rachel’s talent. Sometimes Trent wondered about Kurt. He wasn’t sure what he was wondering, exactly, but he was sure it was something.


Quinn listened patiently to Rachel’s family story, knowing full well where she was going with it.

“Have you even met my boyfriend?” Quinn asked, when Rachel was finally done. “Trust me, my doctors and I have been over every single possible branch of our family trees. Everything’s fine.” And it was; Quinn had made Puck give her his family medical history, what little he knew of it, and she’d given that to her doctors. Quinn might not like talking to Miss Pillsbury, but she had written her a thank-you card on floral stationary for that Planned Parenthood pamphlet, and the addresses; she couldn’t imagine going to one of the two specialists Lima had and still try keeping this from her parents for as long as she had.

“Oh,” Rachel said, looking a little puzzled. Then she gave her big stage-smile. “Well, I’m glad everything’s fine. See you in rehearsal!”

Quinn sighed, and went to class.


As soon as Mr. Schuester was gone, Artie confirmed with the rest of the club that their set-list would include Proud Mary, with their wheelchairs. He remembered Mr. Schuester had mentioned it when last rattling through their set-list, and, well. It was a routine they all had down.

“Are we all agreed on Don’t Stop Believin’?” Rachel asked. They had expanded the choreography since their original rendition, but at the core it was still the routine Artie and Rachel had worked out.

That left the ballad.


Oh wow.

He’d known Mercedes was amazing, but this was a whole new level. Having people audition for solos was great. He needed to conspire with Kurt to have this happen more often once they won Sectionals.


“Miss Pillsbury, you cannot let him on the bus,” Quinn said pre-emptively, spotting Jacob ben Isreal approaching from the far side of the parking lot.

“Of course not,” Miss Pillsbury said. “He doesn’t have a permission slip.”

Quinn waited anyway, leaning against the side of the bus next to the open front door while Mr. Schuester and Miss Pillsbury talked. Jacob ben Isreal said he was there for journalistic purposes, and that the Sectionals competition was open to the public.

“I’m sorry Jacob,” Miss Pillsbury said, before Mr. Schuester could say anything. “But all of the Glee club and Jazz Band had to fill out very specific permission slips for this.”

“I have a note from my parents,” Jacob said, putting his bag down to fish in it.

“That’s nice,” Miss Pillsbury said. “But our permission slips included information and waivers on using this specific rental bus.”


“Are those your parents over there by that car?” Mr. Schuester asked.


“I’ll walk you over,” Mr. Schuester said, putting an arm over Jacob’s shoulder and walking him away.

Quinn nodded in satisfaction and boarded the bus, followed shortly by Miss Pillsbury. She smiled to herself as the doors hissed shut.


Rachel spent half of the bus ride telling them all about the previous competitions she’d been in- none of them for show choir, of course, this was her first year for that- but they couldn’t deny how useful her perspective would be for this, could they?

She covered theater etiquette, and things that were Acceptable Backstage and How To Be Polite To The Competition and everything and anything she could think of that would be relevant.

Eventually Puck, from his half of the backseat, said that if this was how she always got with stage fright, he felt bad for her dads.

Rachel immediately took umbrage, she did not have stage fright, she was simply concerned for everyone else who didn’t have enough experience as her-

“I vote we run through our vocals,” Mercedes cut in, from her seat next to Tina, near Artie.

“Seconded,” Kurt said, shooting his hand into the air. He was in the other half of the back seat. There was plenty of room for other people back there, but he and Puck were the only ones who had gone for it. Matt and Mike were in the second-to-last row, in the seat opposite a couple of guys from the Jazz Band.

The rest of the drive was spent singing.


Leaving in the middle of a performance was definitely one of those things that Rachel had said was incredibly rude, unless it was an emergency. Cell phones and lights of any kind were also rude, she had told them, but that was true of the movies too.

As soon as the Jane Addams show choir finished their last song, Artie turned on the flashers on his spokes, seconds before the house lights came up.

He wanted to storm out, but found his way up the aisle blocked by the throngs of others getting up for this intermission. Some of them weren’t even leaving, they were just standing in the aisle discussing the performances with each other.

That was definitely on the “what not to do” list Rachel had given them on the bus. Fuck them. He was ready to start ramming some fuckers if they didn’t move their fucking asses.

The ankles and shins of the audience member ahead of him were saved by Tina grabbing the handles on the back of his chair. He twisted around, and saw her expression was distant, nervous, fixed on some far despairing point. He sighed heavily.


“Excuse me,” said Miss Pillsbury’s bright, chipper, Extremely Polite voice said.

When had she gotten ahead of him in the aisle?

Miss Pillsbury was addressing the other audience members, who glanced over at her, startled, and then their eyes went past her to Artie and Tina.

The aisle cleared quickly after that.

As soon as they were clear of the door, Artie gave his wheels a sharp shove. Tina didn’t really have a firm grasp right now anyway. Artie broke free, and aimed himself for the nearest wall.


Jacob tried to approach them for a quote. He must have convinced his parents to drive him to the competition.

Normally, Santana thought, sighing to herself, this was the exact situation Puck was for. But Puck was over next to Kurt by the window, freaking out, just like everyone else, except Matt and Mike. Those two boys had gotten separated from the others in the crowd, and Santana wanted them back before she started strategizing.

No way in hell was she gonna let them all lose this thing. Not now. Not ever.

Santana turned to Brittany.

“Think you can keep the little creep distracted until I get back?”

Brittany grinned. “He wants quotes, right? I got this.”


Miss Pillsbury called Will, because to hell with him being banned from interfering, the other Show Choir directors had clearly thrown good sportsmanship out the window.

But Will just groaned and started talking about first his marriage falling apart, and now Glee club wasn’t even going to make it past Sectionals, this was all Sue’s fault, they weren’t even going to get a shot at Regionals-

This was less than helpful, and Miss Pillsbury ended the call.

“You’re these kids faculty advisor,” she told herself quietly. “So advise.” She took a deep breath, turned around, and clapped her hands.

“So! Which one of you put together that stunning number you did for the pep assembly?”

Artie and Rachel peeled themselves off their respective walls and looked at her wide-eyed.


New Directions didn’t return to the auditorium for Haverbrook’s performance, though they did send Tina with Miss Pillsbury to spy and report back; Don’t Stop Believin’ was causing most of the audience to tear up.

Miss Pillsbury herself told them she had something she needed to do during the intermission, but that if they had any issues while working on their new set-list, they should page her immediately. She had given all of them her cell phone number on the bus ride number, in case of emergencies.

There was a brief squabble over the issue of how, exactly, the other choirs had gotten their set-list, but it was brought to a close by Rachel. They got two of their songs worked out quickly after that, but the third proved to be troublesome.


“We need a third song, right?” Puck said. “And we’ve already got choreography for Push It, we just need to work in the rest of you guys.”

“We can’t do Push It for this,” Rachel said. “This may be my first time with Show Choir, but I know the Ohio competition circuit. Push It is far too scandalous for the judges to approve of.”

“The Jane Addams girls weren’t afraid to sex it up,” Puck said.

“And that’s going to hurt them in the judges’ room, trust me,” Rachel said. “And we want to distinguish ourselves from the other groups anyway.” She did that little sniff of hers, chin coming up.

“We need something most of us know,” Artie pointed out. “Preferably that the band can do too, though if we absolutely must we can go without back-up. I think.”

“What about Yellow Submarine?” Trent asked.

“That is perhaps a little too well known,” Rachel pointed out.

“How about Hate On Me?” Mercedes said. “We could split up the verses.”

“Can I get the one about peach pie?” Tina asked.

“We didn’t bring enough brass guys,” Artie said. “And we don’t have any choreography that uses the whole group for it. Even what we worked out with Miss Sylvester was pretty…pretty loose…”

Artie trailed off, and the room, buzzing with ideas, quieted down.

“…we don’t need the whole group,” Artie said, breaking the quiet. “We don’t need everyone for every number! It’s in the rule book! She said so!”

“That’s right,” Rachel said, tilting her head thoughtfully.

“We can do one of the mash-ups,” Artie said excitedly.

“You boys,” Rachel said. “Do yours.”

“Are you sure?” Trent asked.

Confessions with My Life was way better than Halo and Sunshine,” Mercedes said. She gave Rachel a fond look. “And besides, we can’t have Rachel wearing her voice out between opening with the ballad and closing on Somebody.”

“My voice would not wear out,” Rachel said, again with the tiny little sniff. Then she smiled broadly. “But I appreciate your consideration.”

“Okay, so we’re all agreed?” Artie asked, looking around the room. “Open with Rachel’s ballad, get the girls into the wings while the boys rock out, and then everybody back for Somebody to Love?”

“Sounds like a plan,” Quinn said with a nod. “Any objections?”

Everyone just grinned.

“Okay, I’m gonna get the band on board with the set-list change,” Artie said, rolling himself over to the door of the green room. “Can you guys run through the choreography of Somebody to Love a couple times? Just want to make sure Rachel’s really got it down.”


Finn thinks it’s kind of cool that things worked out the way they did; Brad came as the band kids’ chaperone, since they did different things backstage than the singers, who were being watched by Miss Pillsbury. Brad had told them that this would count as a test, grade wise.

They don’t get a spot in the audience, which makes Finn kind of sad, since he wanted to watch the other performances. Maybe they’ll be on Youtube.

So they’re all pretty surprised when Artie rolls in and says scratch the old set-list, they’re doing something new. Tracer asks Artie what’s going on, why the change, and that’s when they first hear about the other show choirs stealing their songs.

That’s so not okay. Finn gets a flash of maybe why Brad wanted them to stay out of the actual Glee club politics; this was fucked up. Like, psyching the other choirs out could understand, that was the sort of thing the football teams did to each other. But stealing their songs? That’s like…it’s like…actually sneaking into the other guys’ locker room and busting their equipment or something.

Finn isn’t a hundred percent sure of that analogy, actually, but now’s not the time. Artie has a plan, and okay they already know all these songs, that’s good. The band can do this.

While they run through the new set-list, a couple of the guys glance over at Brad; but he really did mean what he said about said about this being a test. Brad’s got his chair tilted against the wall, leaning back with his arms crossed and his eyes closed.

He’s listening to them, Finn knows, and he’s gonna be listening extra hard from the wings while they perform.

“I trust you guys,” Artie had said.

They can do this.


After talking with the band, Artie returned in just time to part of the planning process for the choreography to Rachel’s ballad.

He gave his full approval for Santana’s plan to bust in through the doors and storm the aisles.


God damn was that trophy satisfying to hold. They passed it around the group, marveling at the feel of it in their hands, though Miss Pillsbury politely waved it away when it almost passed to her.

Quinn decided that another thank-you card for her was in order.


“We kicked ass, dude,” Puck said, holding out his fist to Trent.

“Yeah we did,” Trent answered, smacking his knuckles into Puck’s without any hesitation. Puck laughed, high on stage-adrenaline and victory, and he slung his arm over Trent’s shoulders. Together, they walked to the bus where their friends were waiting.


“We should do something nice for Mr. Schuester,” Rachel said sleepily from her seat on the bus. Mercedes had taken her arm on the walk over, and now, after several reassurances of “It’s fine, girl, I swear, didn’t we sing about this?” Rachel was leaning on Mercedes, resting her head on her shoulder.

“You know,” Rachel continued. “For getting us to Sectionals.”

“What did you have in mind?” Quinn asked. She was in the seat near Artie this time around, with Mike. Matt and Puck were up near the front with their football buddy who was in the Jazz Band.

“There’s this one song…” Rachel said. “My Life Would Suck Without You.”

“We should use all our choreography,” Brittany said. She was in the back with Kurt, Tina, and Santana. Santana and Kurt were giving Brittany tiny braids, though she’d made Kurt apologize for calling her and Santana moles back in the green room first.


~to be continued~


mzminola: knees-down view of a kid in white stockings and black shoes who is standing on tiptoe. (Default)

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