mzminola: knees-down view of a kid in white stockings and black shoes who is standing on tiptoe. (Default)
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A NOTE ABOUT THE TITLES: For simplicity's sake, I'm doing what I did for the first section, and have the chapter number and title matched to the episode it's based on.

Thanks to crown-of-weeds for beta'ing this. All remaining typos, continuity errors, etc, are totally mine.

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: As high as the show itself, plus extra for swearing, and violence in later chapters.

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.





A couple times after Kurt started driving Finn and Quinn to school, Carole Hudson had told him she really appreciated it, and offered him gas money. He always said it was “no big deal” and turned the money down. They really were on his route to school anyway, and it wasn’t like he needed more incentives to spend time with Finn.

The Monday morning after they won Sectionals, Carole insisted that Kurt and his father join them for dinner sometime soon. “Honestly, I won’t feel right until you do.”

“Well we can’t have you feeling un-right,” Kurt said, as Quinn and Finn were getting buckled in. “Thank you so much for the invitation. I’ll ask Dad about his schedule and get back to you tomorrow?”

“Wonderful,” Carole said.

~

Thursday at 7PM, Quinn opened the Hudson’s front door and welcomed in Kurt and Burt Hummel. They’d brought a tossed salad in a glass bowl with saran-wrap stretched over the top, and a single layer-chocolate cake for dessert. Kurt introduced her to his father, and then Quinn led them into the house.

The Hudson kitchen was decently large, to make up for the lack of a dining room, so that’s where the table was. Carole had timed things so all the cooking was done before their guests arrived.

“Dad, this is Carole Hudson,” Kurt said, as the two parents shook hands. “Carole, this is my dad Burt. Dad, this is Finn.”

“You’re the kid that plays drums, right?” Burt said, shaking Finn’s hand. “Helped Kurt here practice kicking for football?”

“Yes sir,” Finn said.

Quinn hid a smile as everyone got seated and served; Burt and Carole had looked absolutely smitten when Kurt introduced them to each other. Finn might have noticed too, he kept giving the two adults little puzzled frowns as their talk over dinner moved from the regular “parents bragging/complaining about their kids” conversation and into a “getting to know you” conversation.

Kurt asked Quinn how basketball season was going, since she went to the games to cheer on Finn from the stands, and to make mental notes on how the Cheerios would do in-game cheering differently if she were still their captain.

“We’ve only had one game,” Quinn said. “Finn, you were talking earlier about some record number of somethings you got in football this year?”

“Huh?” Finn re-directed his eyes back to the teenagers’ end of the table. “Uh, yeah, I got sacked more than anybody else.”

Neither Kurt nor Quinn was really sure what that meant, but it got Finn talking about football and basketball. Apparently Coach Tanaka was hardly bothering to direct them at all this season, just showing up for practice and games and looking sad. Finn was pretty sure that was why they won their first basketball game.

“Most of the time his gameplays for football were pretty confusing,” Finn said. “I mean, we only won when Kurt kicked for us, but then Coach totally dropped that dancing idea. I think the basketball team’s doing better ‘cause he’s just kind of letting us do our own thing.”

“Fascinating,” Kurt said.

~

It had been a week since they won Sectionals, a week free of dumpster-tosses, swirlies, spitballs, and Slushies. Most of the kids at school ignored Trent and the other Glee club members as usual, but he noticed some measuring looks from jocks and Cheerios.

The Cheerios were still wearing their uniforms everywhere, despite Coach Sylvester getting suspended without anyone waiting to replace her. Rumors said Principal Figgins would start interviewing replacement cheerleading coaches in a week or two.

Trent got to school about a week after winning Sectionals, a Monday, and noticed the Cheerios were looking…smug. That was worrying.

Rachel hadn’t noticed them; she and Mercedes and Kurt were starting to think the week free of harassment might be the dawn of a new age, or something like that. Jacob ben Israel certainly seemed to worship the ground Rachel walked on, albeit in a creepy sort of way, but that wasn’t new.

So as it happened, when the four of them rounded a corner just in time to see three football-players holding large plastic cups, Trent was the only one to duck.

Trent got some Slushie in his hair, but Kurt, Rachel, and Mercedes got the full force right in their faces.

~

The basketball team won their first game of the season last week, so none of the Glee guys on the team had been Slushie’d yet. And with Coach Sylvester fresh back from her brief suspension and chomping at the bit to destroy something, neither of their Cheerios had been Slushie’d either.

Mike didn’t think it would last though. He and Matt had debated wearing their Letterman jackets again, you know, as camouflage. But the patches of red moving through the hall still made Trent and Tina and some of the others instinctively shrink, so Matt and Mike walked in to Glee club out-of-uniform, so to speak.

Mr. Schuester wrote “Hello” on the board, and asked how they all answered the telephone.

“No, she’s dead, this is her son,” Kurt said.

…no wonder he prefers texting, Mike thought.

~

Santana had never had this problem before. Once she discovered she had ambition, she’s followed it. Once she’d tasted fame, she’d chased it. Being a Cheerio put her on top, doing what Coach Sue said got her where she wanted to go, and now the position of being Head Cheerleader was being dangled in front of her and Brittany…

The problem was she didn’t want Glee club to get disbanded.

But she didn’t want to get kicked off the Cheerios, either, and she knew for damn sure which team kept her safer at McKinley.

They were just gonna have to be pieces in Coach Sue’s games a while longer. Which meant for now, figuring out a way to destroy Rachel Berry.

~

Finn thinks Sectionals was intense, but like also exhilarating. Brad had actually given them a nod and a thumbs-up when they got offstage.

They take a week for just jazz-band stuff, and then go back to supporting the Glee club in their weekly rehearsals and assignments. Kurt talks to him and Quinn in the car about what song they want to do for this Hello thing Mr. Schue’s got them doing; Kurt and Trent always seem to go to the Beatles for everything, Finn thinks, but that’s cool. Ringo Starr’s a cool dude.

So around the middle of the week, Finn’s playing drums and Artie and Puck join the band on guitar, while Kurt and Trent sing Hello Goodbye.

The club likes it, and Finn high-fives Tracer when they finish. Then Mr. Schuester starts talking, about it being a potential song for Regionals, which is like, how far away? If only they re-did the arrangement a bit; and Kurt and Trent sounded great, they really did, but Mr. Schuester’s got some choreography ideas they could do if Rachel and Puck sing the leads instead.

Trent sort of laughs nervously and says he’s fine with that, he’s not ready to be in front for anything onstage anyway. “You sure, dude?” Puck asks. “You sounded fine.”

“Yeah it’s cool,” Trent says, as he’s sitting back down.

Quinn catches Finn’s eye and flicks hers towards Kurt, who took a seat in the back after the performance was over. Kurt’s got his fingers pressed against his temple, and is very carefully not looking at anyone.

Finn looks back at Quinn and shrugs.

~

Santana had already done digging on Rachel before Sectionals, during that whole blackmail fiasco with Quinn, so she knew destroying Rachel Berry, who was one of the most obnoxiously driven people Santana had ever met, wasn’t going to be a matter of ruining her reputation, or finding the right insults.

“And Coach Sue tried to lure her over to that musical, right?” Santana said to Brittany at their table at Breadstix. “And that didn’t work. So we can’t just try to drive her out of the club.”

“Totally,” Brittany said. “But I’d be cool if we did.”

“Yeah me too,” Santana said. She twirled some noodles with her fork on her fresh plate of spaghetti. The blonde Junior from the basketball team who was paying for the food was in the bathroom, and Santana was taking advantage of his absence to strategize. “So I’m thinking, we’re gonna have to find a way to drive the club away from Rachel. Mr. Schuester can’t make up his mind if he’s loyal to her or not, so that’ll make things even worse.”

“Cool,” Brittany said, taking a drink of her soda. She elbowed Santana as their date came back.

“So what’re you ladies talking about?” he said, slipping back to his side of the booth.

“How much better the basketball team is then the football team was,” Santana said.

He liked that; he’d been a hockey player during the fall, not football. He started talking again, and Santana tuned him out. Under the table, she linked her pinkie through Brittany’s.

~

Opportunity to gather intel presented itself Monday morning, when Santana and Brittany turned a hallway corner in time to see Rachel get Slushie’d by an off-season hockey player.

“Come on, this way,” Santana said, leading Rachel to the nearest girl’s room. Brittany hung back by the blow-driers while Santana helped Rachel get the Slushie gunk out of her face and hair.

“This is nice and all,” Rachel said, patting a paper-towel over her hair. “But why are you helping me?”

“What can I say,” Santana said, shrugging one shoulder. “My respect for you went up a notch at Sectionals. You really came through for us with that Parade number.”

“Oh,” Rachel said, and gave a tentative smile. Santana gave back a somewhat smirky one, and held out her arm.

“Come on, we’ll walk you to class,” Santana said. Rachel took her arm, even more tentatively than she’d smiled, but then her face lit up when they stepped out the bathroom door and Santana didn’t shake her off. Brittany took Santana’s other arm, and leaned past her to ask how Rachel’s weekend was.

“It was amazing,” Rachel said with a dramatically dreamy sigh.

“Really?” Santana asked, a purr in her voice.

“Well, last week at the music library, I had the most amazing duet with the cutest guy,” Rachel said. “And he invited me out Friday night, and we sang again, and on Saturday we had dinner together.”

“Hotter than Puck?” Brittany asked. He was their only basis of comparison for guys Rachel Berry was interested in.

“Hot in a different way,” Rachel said. “But much more romantic. We share a poet’s soul.”

“That sounds gross,” Brittany said, but quietly.

“What’s this poetic soul called?” Santana asked.

“Jesse St. James,” Rachel said with another dreamy sigh, just as they passed Mr. Schuester in the hallway. “He’s the lead male vocalist for Vocal Adrenaline.”

The three of them arrived at Rachel’s classroom just then. “See you in Glee club,” Santana said, detangling their arms.

~

Artie couldn’t believe what he just heard.

“She’s dating the lead of Vocal Adrenaline? ” he asked.

“You know any other Jesse St. Jameses?” Santana asked, arms crossed and hips tilted. “They’re not just dating. He’s romancing her, and they’re singing together.”

“He’s playing her,” Kurt said matter-of-factly. He and Artie had been on their way from lunch when Santana flagged them down in the hallway. “I told you their motto, right?” Kurt asked.

“Murder or be murdered,” Artie murmered, and glanced at Kurt. “Why’d you look into them, anyway?”

“I research all our competition,” Kurt said.

“If he was putting the moves on anyone else in this club, I’d leave it be,” Santana said, uncrossing her arms to hold her palms up. “But we all know that girl is desperate for affection. She’ll answer anything he asks, just to keep that sweet love a-flowin’.”

“She’s also competitive as all get out,” Artie said, frowning. He wondered if Rachel would consider transferring schools for the sake of a Glee club, and decided he didn’t want to know the answer to that. “Maybe she’ll end up playing him,” Artie suggested.

Santana and Kurt both snorted in derision at that.

“We’ll talk to her,” Artie said, waving his hand. “Thanks for the heads up.”

“No problem,” Santana said, and walked away down the hall to join Brittany, who’d been breaking the news to Mercedes and Tina.

~

“I’ve doubled my rates,” Lauren Zizes said, as soon as the two Cheerios sat down at her table in the library. The price of the various pieces of equipment she needed to bug sections of the school had been rising as of late.

“We have a different proposal than usual,” Santana Lopez said, sliding an opening-negotiations Snickers Bar across the library table. “One-time acting gig. Coach’ll explain the details if you show up.” The Snickers Bar was followed by a slip of paper with a classroom number, date, time, and the words “McKinley High Old Maids’ Club”.

“What’s this ‘one-time acting gig’ paying?” Lauren asked.

“Your usual personal cut of the fee,” Lopez said. “No equipment costs, no workers necessary. Just you and your amazingly unlovable face.”

“You just tripled my personal fee,” Lauren said. Lopez narrowed her eyes and was opening her mouth to hiss something nasty when the leggy blonde, something-Pierce, if Lauren remembered right, cut in.

“We’ll pay it,” Pierce said. “Just be there.” With that, the two Cheerios left.

Lauren tucked the slip of paper into her dog-eared copy of New Moon.

~

“I did it,” Rachel said with a defeated sight to Artie, Kurt, Mercedes, and Tina before Glee club practice. “The epic romance of Jesse St. James and Rachel Berry is no more.” Her arms lifted a smidge, and then flumped down to her sides.

“Aw, babe,” Mercedes said. “We’re proud of you.” She walked over and gave Rachel a hug.

“It’s tough,” Tina said, not getting out of her seat, but still smiling at Rachel. “Taking one for the team. But we appreciate it.”

“Appreciate what?” Puck asked, walking in with an arm over Trent’s shoulders, and Mike and Matt walked in a split second later.

“Rachel cut her brief and passionate ties to Vocal Adrenaline,” Kurt said from the side of the risers, his tone flat. “We appreciate her noble sacrifice.” He didn’t sound appreciative at all. Artie glanced over at him, but Kurt was looking away.

After practice, Artie called for Kurt to wait up. Quinn paused too, but Kurt waved her ahead.

“She was lying, wasn’t she?” Artie asked, once Quinn was gone and Kurt was sitting back down in the chair next to Artie, his satchel twisted around to rest on his lap.

“I don’t actually know,” Kurt said. “But if anyone would relish the inherent drama of a secret romance, it’s definitely Rachel Berry. We’ll find out soon enough; after all, what’s the point of a secret romance if you don’t tell anyone?”

Artie thought about that sentence for a moment and then shook his head. “Anyway,” Artie said. “We can’t actually kick her out over this.”

“I know,” Kurt said. He sighed. “And frankly, I don’t want to. She’s gonna need us once she does realize, irrevocably, that he’s playing her.”

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

January 2013

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