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

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.

Chapter specific warning: Violence described in specifics, rather than loosely.



Mike couldn’t believe how different Tina looked in sweats.

He also couldn’t believe Puck had enough Glam Rock knowledge to compare David Bowie and Lady Gaga.

Rachel spying on Vocal Adrenaline, on the other hand, was well within the realm of usual New Directions behavior.

~

Burt and Carole are calling this a “trial period” which means Finn packs like he would for camp, but his drums and posters and stuff are still back home. He does bring his Xbox, but has to set it up in the living room, since he left his bedroom TV back home and Kurt doesn’t have one in the basement.

It turns out that Kurt lives even farther from school than Finn, so walking is no longer an option. There’s a school bus stop only a couple of blocks away, but he always hated taking the bus in Junior High, so it’s back to getting a lift with Kurt again in the Navigator.

Finn asks Kurt if they can leave early, and Kurt says sure, and sets his entire schedule back by half an hour the night before. Finn’s having trouble sleeping in a new place, and can tell Kurt’s awake too. He tries not to think about that. In the morning, Kurt’s tired and groggy but still goes through his entire morning routine with more precision that Finn, who pulls the covers over his head when Kurt’s alarm goes off and doesn’t get up until Kurt says “You wanted to leave early, right?”

“Dad gave me some cash to re-decorate,” Kurt says, during the drive to school. He’s in his Cheerios uniform today, since he hasn’t finished his Lady Gaga outfit yet. “Any requests?”

“Whatever,” Finn says, elbow propped up on the window ledge, cheek resting on his fist. There’s a couple of guys from the basketball team already there when they arrive, and Finn goes around the back of the school while Kurt walks briskly across the parking lot towards the main doors.

In the locker room later, before practice, Baker and Langenthal ask how his ride with Hummel was that morning, making air-quotes around the word ride and laughing.

Finn doesn’t make any baskets in practice.

~

Sneaking in to spy on Vocal Adrenaline seemed like a supremely bad idea to Quinn, yet somehow there she was with Mercedes and Rachel, up on a balcony, watching dancers covered from head to toe in red Chantilly lace get chewed out by their director, Shelby Corcoran, for not being theatrical enough.

Rachel going down to talk to Miss Corcoran seemed like a worse idea, but Rachel was walking like she was enchanted, like Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, and ignored Mercedes and Quinn’s hissed admonitions.

They felt like they were watching something painfully private, when Rachel told Miss Corcoran she was her daughter. Mercedes and Quinn snuck back out and sent Rachel a text, telling her to meet them at Mercedes’ car when she was done.

~

Kurt’s finished his outfit for Glee, and he’s walking around school all silver and glittery, with Artie’s Goth girlfriend, who’s covered in bubbles. Finn kind of likes how visible they are, since he can see them coming down the hall and duck away, so no one can say he’s spending more time with Kurt now than he used to spend with Quinn.

Azimio’s still saying “Guess we know why Puck had to do the work for you, right Hudson? You were too busy catching gay from that little Kurt kid to knock up you girlfriend,” in new and different ways every time he and Karofsky run into Finn. He’s just glad they’re not on the basketball team.

~

Quinn and Mercedes were buzzing with anticipation strong enough for everyone to notice, but refused to say why until Rachel walked in, covered in stuffed animal toys, and broke the news about finding her mother herself.

~

“Those don’t look like Gaga costumes,” Mr. Schuester said, when Artie rolled into the choir room in his theatrical costume, Puck, Matt, and Mike following close behind and glittering.

“Well, we decided to focus on the theatrical aspect of this week’s assignment, rather than on the Lady Gaga portion,” Artie explained. “And since Puck pointed out the similarities between Lady Gaga and David Bowie, we felt the Glam Rock movement was worth exploring.”

Artie gestured to his group. “Matt and Mike are different variations on Ziggy Stardust, while Puck’s paying homage to the more rock, less glam, portion of David Bowie’s career. I myself tapped in to Bowie’s film career, which is why I appear before you today as Jareth, the Goblin King.” He made a sweeping motion down himself.

“Where’s Trent?” Mr. Schuester asked.

“He’s got a stomach flu,” Artie said. “He’ll be gone all week.”

“Where’s Jesse?”

“He’s got a family thing,” Rachel said. She was wearing a Lady Gaga outfit sewn for her by her newly-discovered mother.

“Now,” Artie said. “If you’d be kind enough to follow us to the auditorium, we’d like to present our take on theatricality.”

~

Kurt was walking with Tina and discussing the boys’ performance of David Bowie’s Dance, Magic, Dance, for which Artie had taken the lead, when Azimio and Karofsky once again appeared to express their dislike of Lady Gaga.

When their hands had gotten near his face, Kurt had been expecting to get hit, like back in Junior High, but fortunately all they did was rip of his and Tina’s wigs and throw them down the hall. Kurt had retrieved the wigs, and brushed Tina’s out before handing it back to her with a flourish.

Later, he asked Finn to maybe have a word with them. They’d listened to Finn back in the fall when he was their quarterback. It couldn’t make that huge of a difference that it wasn’t football season, could it? All three of them were still on sports teams, after all, though not the same ones.

Finn said it wouldn’t be a problem if Kurt would just go back to dressing and talking how he had that week he was dating Brittany.

That was not a particularly helpful response.

~

Quinn liked her Gaga outfit; the pink ball of spikes discouraged people from approaching her in the hallways, which was a relief. She was getting tired of the comments regarding her rumored promiscuity. At least when she was carrying something that looked like it could puncture a lung if thrown right, no one repeated the comments to her face.

Santana, Brittany, and Mercedes had started walking in the halls with her. She suspected they’d worked out a schedule so she wasn’t alone, but didn’t ask.

Brittany and Santana kept making Little Monster claws and growling and snarling at people, and laughing if they shrieked.

~

Finn didn’t like the room.

He hadn’t responded to any of the swatches Kurt had shown him earlier, and he’d just shrugged during dinner when Kurt has listed a couple of classic films as potential design inspirations, and he didn’t say anything when Kurt got the fabric and leaned it in the corner to wait for when he’d have time to redecorate.

Under those circumstances, Kurt thought it was extremely rude of Finn to say he couldn’t live there, that it was too girly. It was even ruder of him to say that all the nasty things people had been saying at school were somehow Kurt’s fault. But Kurt couldn’t do anything about people at school. He could do something about the room.

Kurt had already changed the basement once. He could do it again! They could re-re-decorate. And Finn said “Okay, good,” and that was good, Kurt was sure he could do a better job if Finn actually told him what he wanted for the room and-

And-

No.


~


Kurt isn’t looking at Finn anymore now.

Isn’t saying “hi” when they get to class.

Crumples up the note Finn passes over in Spanish without reading it.

He’s not at the cafeteria for lunch, either, though Finn keeps staring around hoping to see silver glitter, and Tracer and Saunders have to remind him to actually eat something.

All of Finn’s anger and sadness over Quinn and Puck, and his frustration and fear with everyone else at school, has balled up into a knot of misery in his stomach, pounding in his head, aching in his chest. It’s all twisted around that one word he just had to go and say, which Burt had made very clear was unacceptable.

He can’t unsay it, though he did spend the rest of that night after going home to their old house staring at the digital clock on the top of the stove, hoping maybe this time it would start going backwards instead of just slowing down.

~

Puck took the floor during Glee club. It felt like he’d run through what to say a million times, trying to find a way to tell her how he felt, without making her sad or mad for once. When he was finally standing alone in the front of the club though, guitar stung over his back, all the complicated ways of saying what he felt were gone, and he was left with the bare bones.

“I know you don’t want to raise a kid with me,” Puck told Quinn, who blinked at him slowly through long pink lashes. “And I know I’ve really screwed a lot of things up for you. But. I miss being your friend. I miss being able to tell you that you’re awesome, getting into food fights with you, all that. I wanna be friends again, if you’ll let me.”

He pulled the guitar around and sat down on the stool he’d pulled over, and beckoned to the guys. “My Bowie Buddies said they’d help me tell you how awesome you are.”

Once Mike and Matt and Artie were settled around him, Puck strummed the first notes, and started singing.

Cold fire…you’ve got everything but cold fire…

The other joined in when he reached the chorus, and the titular line echoed softly around the room.

To sing a song of when I loved the prettiest star…

~

Shelby told Rachel they shouldn’t see each other anymore, not for a while.

A gold star glass couldn’t really make up for being told, however euphemistically, that her mother didn’t want her.

Rachel wished Jesse’s family thing would be over soon. She wanted him to hug her. She wanted someone to tell her she was worth keeping around.

~

Finn comes to the choir room, and sits down at the drum-set.

Today isn’t a mandatory rehearsal, so only about half the band is there. Puck and Quinn are talking together when they come in, and don’t even glance toward the band. Quinn’s carrying her scary pink spiky thing and Puck’s dressed like a rock star. Everyone’s in their costumes today, not just the girls.

Artie’s the only person besides Brad and the other band guys, who already patted him on the shoulder a couple times, to notice Finn. He rolls over, brushing some strands from his Goblin King wig out of his hair.

“You back for sure?” Artie asks.

Finn rubs the back of his head. “I think so,” he tells Artie. “Hey, can you do me a favor? I really gotta talk to Kurt and he’s avoiding me.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” Artie says, nodding, and then rolls back over to the front row of chairs.

Kurt still hasn’t gotten there by the time Mr. Schuester asks the singers why they’re all in costume today, and Finn’s worried, because Kurt never misses Glee rehearsals; even when he looks furious, or hides next to the drums during the choreography, he’s still there. Finn hears Artie ask what the point of all this theatrical stuff was, and Finn’s glancing between the door and the clock and in between catches sight of Brad, who rolls his eyes when Mr. Schuester answers that he didn’t actually have a point with the costumes.

Artie’s Goth girlfriend shows up then, back to her old self and no longer covered in bubbles. Finn’s worry over Kurt being gone is strong enough that he doesn’t even feel scared when she admits to threatening Principal Figgins with vampire attacks to get the dress code relaxed.

Then Artie looks around and asks where Kurt is. Which means Finn isn’t the only one to notice, and if it’s not just him noticing it means something is really wrong.

It’s in the rules of proper conduct they got at the beginning of the year, that if they’re not playing anything, the band kids are allowed to leave. Like to go to the bathroom or get forgotten music from their locker. They just have to be quiet, and not draw attention to themselves. Behave professionally, Brad had told them.

Finn’s not quiet.

~

Kurt was backed against the same window for the second time that week, but without Tina this time. That was probably for the better, he thought, as Azimio politely offered Karofsky the first hit.

It was the first time Kurt had been directly punched since Junior High, and his head smacked back against the window pane, barely cushioned at all by his wig. While he was still reeling, a second punch, by which of them he couldn’t tell, landed directly on his left shoulder-pad, crumpling it, but missing his shoulder.

Old instincts kicked back in, and Kurt dropped to the ground. He’d dropped at the same time the third punch was launched, and above him came the sound of knuckles hitting thick glass and a curse of surprise and pain.

He curled up on the floor in anticipation of kicks, because that’s what had always happened in Junior High.

The kicks to his ribs were expected.

Finn Hudson’s voice yelling “Leave him alone!” was not.

~

The clatter of the drum-set being knocked over had caught everyone off guard. Even Brad’s eyes had gone wide, and he was blinking slowly as one smaller drum, freed from its stand, rolled across the room.

“Did he know something we don’t?” Artie asked Tina, but her hands had gone to her mouth, and he heard her utter a small “Oh shit,” before she turned and ran for the door.

Artie rolled after her, ignoring Mr. Schuester saying “We have practice, guys!”

Behind him followed the clatter of heels and flashes of glitter. Artie caught up to Tina faster than he had expected, because she’d slowed down, and was clutching at her hair as she stomped down the hall.

“I didn’t see which way he went,” she told him.

“Kurt must have been on his way to practice,” Artie said. “Right? What’s his last class? Which way would he be going to get here?”

“English,” Quinn said, joining them with the rest of the kids of the New Directions clumped around her. “It’s upstairs.”

“Mr. Schuester said if we run off every time one person is late we’ll never get anything done,” Rachel added. She sniffed and shook her hair a little. “Jesse’s not here and neither is Trent, and if we keep losing track of people at this rate we’ll wind up at Regionals with too few to compete.”

They had all kept walking as they talked. Tina had taken the lead again, now that she knew where to go, with Artie close behind and everyone else following haphazardly, trying not to trip in their heels or rip their costumes on each other.

The group hesitated at the sight at the bottom of the stairs, though only for a moment. Kurt was curled up in the corner next to the window, arms over his face, and Finn Hudson was rolling around on the floor fighting Azimio and Karofsky. The fight was too close to Kurt, and stray feet and fists kept knocking against his legs, which were tucked up in front of him.

Tina, Artie, Mike, and Puck broke hesitation with motion, speeding towards the fight. Tina yelled “Hey!” as she ran, and Azimio pulled out of the fray to look up.

Quinn broke hesitation by recoiling from the scene, dropping her pink ball of spikes to the floor and holding both arms in front of herself. Mercedes and Brittany stepped in front of her, and Santana and Matt stepped in front of them. Rachel just stood there looking shocked.

Mike and Tina grabbed Kurt and pulled him out of the corner, while Puck and Artie dove into the fight. Artie wasn’t sure how, exactly, he got out of this wheelchair and onto the floor, though he was pretty sure it had something to do with forward momentum and an abrupt halt from rolling straight into the combatants, but that wasn’t as important at the moment as keeping his arms locked around Karofsky’s. Puck was hauling back Azimio, and Finn was pushing himself up, sitting on the floor and poking his jaw.

Then Mr. Schuester’s voice said “Principal Figgins’ office, all of you, now.”

~

You weren’t supposed to move Cheerios who got hit in the head in practice, not until someone checked for a concussion, and considering how red the skin over his cheekbone was and the way he was clutching his skull, Kurt definitely got hit in the head. But Mike and Tina had already moved him, so Brittany figured it wouldn’t hurt to move him some more.

Mr. Schuester was herding everybody else towards the Principal’s office, but he wasn’t very good at keeping track of everyone. Brittany pressed herself and Kurt against the wall, and watched to make sure Azimio and Karofsky were in the group heading for the office too, and then put her shoulder under Kurt’s arm and started heading for Coach Sylvester’s office.

But Kurt’s Gaga shoes had gotten kind of squished, so they had to stop and take them off, and go the rest of the way with Kurt in just his socks. They were pale blue, to match the gems on his shoes. His wig was askew, and Brittany pulled it off and carried it for him.

Coach Sylvester quickly slammed her diary shut when Brittany pushed the door open, but she didn’t yell at them, which was nice. Brittany hadn’t been sure if Cheerios who weren’t in uniform were still allowed to use the Cheerios’ Sports Medicine stuff.

Coach Sylvester shined a flashlight in Kurt’s eyes while he told them what had happened, about getting cornered.

“You lose consciousness at all?” she asked him, after putting the flashlight away.

“No,” Kurt said. “My head’s ringing, though.”

“Looks like a grade one concussion,” Coach Sylvester said. She made him take off the top part of his Gaga costume to get a look at his ribs, and he just had an undershirt underneath. She sent Brittany to get Kurt’s spare uniform out of his locker.

When Brittany got back, Kurt was holding an ice-pack to his face, and another one to his ribs, and Coach Sylvester was reading off a list of symptoms that meant he should get to a hospital.

“Brittany!” she said. “If he starts vomiting or doesn’t recognize you, call me. Got it?”

“Got it, Coach,” Brittany said. She passed over her cellphone, since Santana had sent her a text while she was getting Kurt’s spare uniform, and her text-to-voice converter hadn’t been working right since Lord Tubbington got in a fight with her phone.

Coach Sylvester took Brittany out to the hallway and read the message aloud while Kurt got changed. Santana hadn’t been directly involved in the fight, but had managed to work her way into the Principal’s office while the other non-participants had been left in the waiting room.

Once Kurt opened the door again, clad in red and white, and still pressing ice-packs to himself, Coach Sylvester told Brittany and Kurt to wait there, and left.

~

Principal Figgins’ office was rather crowded. Azimio and Karofsky were in the two chairs in front of his desk, with Artie next to him. Puck had helped Artie back into his wheelchair after Artie had been talked into letting go of Karofsky’s arms, and now seemed reluctant to get too far away, keeping his arms on the handles of Artie’s chair and looming.

Mr. Schuester was leaning against the door, and Mike was leaning against one wall with Finn Hudson, and Tina was leaning against the other wall with Santana Lopez, who had her cellphone out. Mercedes, Matt, Rachel, and Quinn were out in the anteroom with the secretary.

Mike couldn’t keep his foot from tapping. Finn had started talking as soon as the door was closed, saying Azimio and Karofsky had been beating up Kurt, but then those two drowned his voice out, saying Kurt had started it by hitting them, which was clearly a lie because Kurt didn’t hit people. He just didn’t.

Mike actually got his mouth open to say so, but Principal Figgins had cut everyone off to ask the only teacher present what had happened. But Mr. Schuester just put his hands up and said “By the time I got there, everyone was on the floor. I have no idea how it started.”

“Tina and Mike weren’t on the floor,” Santana said. She’d put her cellphone away, and had crossed her arms. “They didn’t throw any punches, they just hauled Kurt out of that corner he was hiding in. Didn’t even kick anyone, which is a lot more restraint than I would have shown.”

“Thank you, Miss Santana Lopez,” Principal Figgins said in a tired voice. “You and Miss Tina Cohen-Chang and Mr. Mike Chang are free to go. I’m afraid everyone else will be subject to our Zero Tolerance policy on violence, which requires a two-week suspension.”

“Two weeks?” Mr. Schuester said, startled. But Mike could see Mr. Schuester doing math in his head, see him relax, when he realized Regionals was farther out than that.

“Kurt’s not even here,” Mike said, just as the door opened.

“I miss anything, fellas?” Coach Sue asked, stepping into Principal Figgins’ office.

“Sue, your Cheerio Kurt Hummel has been accused of assaulting two others,” Figgins said, gesturing to Azimio and Karofsky. “While Finn Hudson asserts Kurt Hummel was on the ground when he arrived, he is unable to verify that-”

“Now that doesn’t make any sense,” Coach Sue said, scrunching up her face and shaking her head a little. “My Cheerios are Goodwill Ambassadors, getting into petty fights just isn’t their scene. Now, I can tell you what is a menace in this school.” She pointed to Santana’s footwear. “It’s those damn heels for Glee club,” Sue said. She sounded downright cheerful. “Poor kid tripped on the stairs. Would have gotten a nasty head injury if these two gentlemen hadn’t broken his fall.” She pointed to Azimio and Karofsky.

Figgins leaned back in his chair and sighed through his nose, lips pressed shut. Santana was smirking, and next to Mike, Finn looked confused.

“Well,” Sue said, looking around the room. “Now that that’s settled, why don’t we let these kids get back to butchering the American songbook.”

Principal Figgins put one hand over his eyes, and made a shooing motion with the other.

“Does this mean we’re not suspended?” Finn asked.

Principal Figgins nodded, and repeated his shooing motion without looking up.

~

Will Schuester seemed to under the false impression that she had just helped his Glee club get out of trouble. “Sue, it’s really great of you to help us out like that-”

She cut him off before his naivety and assumption that he was part of an “us” with their students could make her vomit. “Don’t get sentimental, William,” she told him. “I’ve got Nationals coming up. Can’t have my only vocalist getting suspended.”

That did the trick, and he stood there gaping a little in the hallway as Sue walked away. Santana Lopez wriggled her way out of the mass of kids streaming out of the office, and jogged to catch up to Sue.

They didn’t talk as they walked; Santana was writing texts, and Sue was re-doing the choreography for Nationals in her head to minimize torso movement from their vocalist. She’d also have to draw up an alternate routine in the off-chance that his concussion turned out to be worse than she thought, but that was unlikely. Sue Sylvester knew her head injuries.

“You got someone who can give you a ride home, kid?” Sue asked Kurt, who’d stayed in her office with Brittany, as directed.

“Mercedes Jones can,” Santana said, without looking up from her phone. “Already asked. It’ll be a while though, Mr. Schuester’s ranting again.”

Brittany sighed, and leaned her head against Kurt’s shoulder. “I can get myself home,” he told them.

“No driving for a week, kiddo,” Sue said. “And by the way, if anyone asks, you tripped on the stairs.”
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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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