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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.



Finn’s tapping his drumsticks against his thighs while Mr. Schuester talks to the Glee club kids. Really, Finn wants to just start wailing on the drums; he’s really energetic today. He’s feeling good about basketball, and he got to make out with Quinn between classes so take that Santana “you kiss like kindergartners” Lopez, and his test in History class got cancelled.

But after the notorious “Johnny tuning his bass while Mr. Schuester failed at being inspiring” incident, Brad had sent everyone a mass text reminder that they could noodle on their own time; being in a Glee club rehearsal was equivalent to playing a gig, and while whoever contracted you has the floor, you don’t distract them with background noise.

So Finn’s drumming on his legs instead of the drums, while Mr. Schuester explains that Miss Sylvester has instituted a sign-up policy for the auditorium. Something about it being too cold for the Cheerios to practice outdoors. Finn looks at Quinn confused, because he was pretty sure the Cheerios took over the main gym when it got cold, and the P.E. classes and after-school sports had to meet in the mini-gym and do laps in the hallways.

Quinn just rolls her eyes, so Finn figures it’s more Glee club politics, and decides not to worry. Brad’ll let them know if they’re meeting anywhere outside the Choir room anyway.

~

Carole had asked Quinn if she wanted to keep the couch that folded out into a bed, or replace it with a new one. So when the furniture moving people showed up, Quinn was not surprised, but Finn was. After Finn made it clear that that armchair is staying, Quinn dragged him out of the house to go for a walk. Better than staying inside and getting disconcerted by the change in furnishings.

“I just don’t get why she’s being all weird,” Finn muttered the next morning, pulling on his seatbelt in the front passenger seat of Kurt’s Navigator. In the middle back seat, Quinn raised her eyebrows.

“Carole’s not being weird,” Quinn said. “She’s in love.”

There was a stunned silence from Finn, and Quinn saw Kurt’s fingers dance on the steering wheel before going back to their usual firm grip. The rearview mirror wasn’t angled right for her to see anything besides Kurt’s hair, but she got the impression he was grinning.

“…with who? ” Finn finally asked, a couple of blocks later.

“With Kurt’s dad,” Quinn said.

“They had one dinner together!” Finn said.

“They’ve been going out a few times a week ever since,” Kurt said. “And last week Carole and I hit the town for a make-over for her.”

“It’s been really obvious,” Quinn said. “The furniture was not the first thing in the house to change, Finn. How did you miss when all the curtains got switched? Or the tablecloth?”

“Your new ones go with the retro feel of your kitchen better,” Kurt added. “You’re welcome.”

Finn groaned and buried his face in his hands. Quinn giggled.

~

Everyone got their feathers ruffled when Mr. Schuester said they’d be rehearsing in a roller rink until Mr. Schuester could locate the sign-up sheet and book them some time in the auditorium. So Kurt gave a little speech about “sense of place” or something like that, and sang something that was, in Artie’s opinion, incredibly sappy.

And Kurt kept sneaking in these tiny little glances at the band while he sang, specifically their drummer, Finn. Artie noticed because it was pretty much the opposite of Puck, who’d been doing his best to never look at the band during practice lately; even when he and Artie played guitar with them, Puck had focused on Artie and the singers, not on the other Jazz Band guys.

So Kurt was paying attention to the band, and Puck was avoiding it, and if it was just Puck being weird Artie would have chalked it up to sports drama, or baby drama. But Kurt hadn’t played sports since quitting the football team, and that was the only thing connecting him and Finn as far as Artie knew.

Mercedes was still barely eating, that pretty-boy spy from Vocal Adrenaline was still dating Rachel, and when Artie’d left his back-pack open in Civics class the asshole behind him had stuck gum all along the zipper.

This week sucked.

There’d also been some fights over equipment lately in the AV club, and Susie Saunders and Tracer from Jazz Band weren’t speaking to each other; Tracer had said something about “Oreo heresy” when he’d asked, and Artie decided not to investigate further.

What was it with the clubs Artie was in and drama? Maybe he should join a nice quiet club, like Scrapbooking Enthusiasts. Or maybe Artie was cursed and if he joined them, there would be an epic battle over the last glue-stick or something.

~

Trent lurked nervously in the hallway near Miss Sylvester’s office, hoping Kurt would show up soon. There had been too few copies of the map and driving instructions to get to the roller rink, and Kurt had promised to make a copy for him with the Cheerio’s photocopy machine, if Trent swore to never let anyone know that Cheerios regularly used the machine for non-Cheerio purposes.

Becky Jackson came out of the Coach’s office, and hardly spared him a glance.

“Hi Becky,” Trent said.

“Hey, loser,” Becky replied.

Trent had never known how to reply to that particular greeting, not since his classmates had started saying it in Junior High. Fortunately for his nerves’ sake, Kurt came jogging down the hall at that moment, map to the roller rink fluttering in his hand. Which meant he hadn’t been in Miss Sylvester’s office, and Trent could have waited somewhere else maybe and not made the mistake of thinking he could say “Hi” to a Cheerio that wasn’t in Glee club.

“Hey Becky, hey Trent,” Kurt said. He handed the map over to Trent, and smiled. “You ready to go?” Kurt asked Becky.

“As soon as you ditch the deadweight,” Becky said.

“Trent’s not deadweight,” Kurt said, and turned to Trent. “We’re going to the fabric store for patterns, do you want to come?”

Becky rolled her eyes and Trent’s self-preservation kicked in. “Maybe not today,” he said.

“Okay,” Kurt said with a shrug, and held out his arm for Becky, who took it. “See you in Glee club,” Kurt said, turning a little to wave goodbye as he and Becky walked down the hall. Becky didn’t bother sparing Trent a backwards glance.

~

Dinner at Breadstix, when all five (or was it five and a half? Counting Quinn always confused Kurt since she used the phrase “eating for two” but it wasn’t like you needed seating for two) of them ate together for the first time since that night at the Hudson’s house started out nice, aside from Finn sulking.

Then Burt managed to draw Finn out of his sulk with a question about sports, which would have been great except that soon the two of them were in their own world of strange terminology and reminiscing over injuries. And sometime while Kurt was trying to figure out where the conversation had gone so terribly wrong, Carole and Quinn had gotten talking about a book series they were working their way through, one that Kurt hadn’t read.

When the dinner was over and Kurt got back to his own room, he started ripping down the paint swatches from the wall.

It wasn’t like the basement could have comfortably fit three teenagers anyway.

He didn’t voice that particular comment to his dad though, when Burt asked what was wrong.

~

Jesse woke up early every day, and sent Rachel a good-morning text. Then he checked his e-mail, and got the latest version of the choreography and song arrangements for Regionals from Shelby Corcoran. He worked on choreography before school, and memorized lyrics during his classes.

The e-mail from Shelby always included a query regarding his progress with Rachel- was she wondering about her birth mother? Did she want to meet? Had Jesse even managed to bring it up in conversation yet? Jesse hadn’t; the topic just hadn’t come naturally to their conversations.

He carried the cassette tape Shelby had given him in the inner pocket of his jacket, just in case an opportunity arose.

Once he got it planted, once Rachel listened to it, his part would be done, and he could go back to Vocal Adrenaline.

Jesse didn’t tell anyone, but he kind of hoped once Rachel found her mother, she’d come back to Vocal Adrenaline with him. Her talent was wasted at McKinley.

~

Finn’s eating lunch with Matt and Mike today; they were from the half of the basketball team that played football in the fall, rather than hockey, and he just feels better with the football guys than the hockey guys. Plus they were in Glee club, so they’re used to the times he uses the plastic dining hall forks and spoons to tap out drumbeats on his lunch tray.

Quinn’s snuggled under his arm today, but halfway through lunch one of the Cheerios faints, one of the ones in Glee club, and Quinn bolts over so fast Finn actually falls over on the bench. Finn’s not sure what to do; Mike and Matt look really worried, and Artie and that Goth girl from Glee are calling for a nurse and it’s getting crowded and Quinn’s in the middle of it.

The Cheerio- Mercedes! Mike and Matt exclaim –wakes up pretty quick, and Mike and Matt work their way through the crowd to help her stand up.

Finn and the handful Glee kids who were at lunch that day are hovering, and Quinn waves them all away. Finn wonders if he should text Kurt, who’s not even at lunch today, or if this is part of Glee politics, or maybe it’s Cheerios’ politics which he’s not banned from, not like Glee, but is infinitely scarier.

The bell for the end of lunch rings before Finn can make up his mind, and he goes to class. Quinn’ll probably tell Kurt what happened anyway.

~

“Best. Pep assembly. Ever,” Artie stage-whispered to Tina, after the song was over and Kurt and Mercedes were hugging, and regular students and Cheerios were all chatting together in the middle of the gym, and Mr. Schuester and Coach Sylvester and all the other teachers looked like they didn’t understand what just happened.

~

Carole and Quinn were taking Kurt to the movies, and Quinn knew Burt was coming over to talk to Finn. Carole said she’d be down in five minutes, which Quinn knew would be closer to ten. On her way out of the house, Quinn waved to Finn and Burt, who were settling down to watch a sports game in the living room.

Kurt was waiting outside, looking mournfully in through the window by the door. Quinn touched his elbow with the tips of her fingers, and he looked away.

“Carole’s still getting ready,” Quinn said. “Come on, we can wait by the car.” Kurt let her lead him over to Carole’s car, and then leaned against the back passenger door. Quinn leaned against the car next to him, one hand on her stomach.

Kurt tilted his head to look up at the stars. “Mercedes said you’re the one who finally got her to eat,” he said.

“That’s true,” Quinn said.

“You’re a better friend than me,” Kurt said. She couldn’t tell if he sounded guilty or wistful.

“That’s not true,” Quinn said. Kurt opened his mouth to argue, and Quinn held up a hand in the empty air between them. “No. Let me guess. Since you put on the uniform, school’s been different, right? You haven’t gotten Slushy’d, or swirly’d, or even had spitballs lobbed at you, and neither has she. For the first time at school you’ve felt like you could concentrate in class, and go through the hallway without flinching.”

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him nod. “It’s like magic,” Kurt whispered. “No one’s touched me. No one’s stolen her pens in class, or flushed her make-up down the toilet. We actually get smiles from kids who aren’t in Glee.”

“And you didn’t want to lose that,” Quinn said, and snuck a glance at him. She suspected there were tears, but it was hard to tell out here in the dark. “Neither of you did, and you thought helping each other meant, help stay on the squad. You think I didn’t used to do the same thing with Brittany and Santana? ‘cause I did. And they did it for me. Oh, are you sure about that bagel, Quinn? I think you can handle ten more sit-ups, Santana. Hey Brittany, guess what’s new about the Master Cleanse this week? If you think a week of celery was bad, you should have seen our Freshman year. Being in the Cheerios can be Hell on earth. We had to be the Unholy Trinity to survive.”

“Hell on Earth,” Kurt said softly. “And no one quits.” He brought his gaze down from the stars and glanced over at her, and then out at the dark lawn. “You’re going back, aren’t you.”

Quinn gave her stomach a protective stroke. “If I have to rip the uniforms off of every single other girl in the squad to get mine back, I will. Not until after…until I get my baby settled, though.”

Kurt went back to looking at the stars. “…Puck still bugging you about that?”

“Don’t say that here,” Quinn hissed, glancing towards the house.

“Right, sorry,” Kurt said, but then added in a whisper, “Secrets don’t last with this many people in on them, Quinn. You’re gonna have to deal with it eventually.”

Carole came out of the house then, jangling her keys. “There you are, Quinn. Hey, Kurt. Ready for the movies?”

“Mm-hm,” Kurt said.

“We’re going to split one of those giant tubs of popcorn,” Quinn said, pushing herself away from the car.

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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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