Disclaimer: Nope, just a fanfiction writer. I would be a man, if I owned it, wouldn't I? So nope.
Story: Times when Jesse is a secret jerk, and he knows it, and times when he's not. Finn Hudson got how many second chances from Rachel? Why is he any different? St. Berry
Set from "Hello" and guesses towards future episodes.
Spoilers: Definite spoilers for the back nine, and definitely for the first thirteen episodes. Spoilers for S1.14 "Hello" and maybe S1.15 "The Power of Madonna."
Warnings: Language, implied sex…
Pairings: Rachel/Jesse

The Stone in the Glass House

He first sees her at her Sectionals. It's flawed, her performance. But he's still caught. He likes the timbre of her voice, the confidence that oozes from her. He absolutely loves the shine in her eyes that tells everyone she's living in the moment, and knows it matches his eyes in the same way when he sings.

He first meets her at the music store he frequents whenever he can.

It is also the first time he knows he's a jerk, but outwardly swoons her and he knows he has when she's smiling and blushing at him softly. This is his rival. This is his target.

But of course this one is his rival, because no one else (definitely no one from her little club) nearly has the same amount of talent and star power she does. So he knows Rachel Berry will be the only one to ever challenge him and equal him in a way he's been looking for for years in someone he thought would only ever be in his dreams.

But he's been instructed a task, and doe eyes and trembling lips can't push him from his dreams.

She would understand. Because she's just like him.

So he introduces himself, gives her a backhanded compliment as he gives his honest opinion about her performance at Sectionals, and entices her to the piano. She's in awe of him, knows who he is. And he's quite pleased and smug about that, his confidence given a little boost –not that he really needs it.

She has talent, this one. She can really sing. And he knows she lacked Barbara's force in her performance, but maybe he can mold it into something exceptional, something that can really match him.

And then she sings.

His jaw almost drops, and he wonders why she didn't sing like this in Sectionals. He thinks his heart almost stops.

She's absolutely perfect and can more than match him. She could, just maybe, even be better.

He finds his task harder to do.

The next time he's secretly a jerk is when she's walking uncertainly onto his stage, in awe of it but clearly looking for him. He turns the lights on and it's bright and blinding, just like the angel in front of him when she truly performs. He watches her for a second, admiring and longing, until he notices she's starting to get afraid and calls out for who's there and threatens about having a rape whistle. He chuckles inwardly and steps forward.

She spills out her insecurities and her fears, and he listens attentively. It's his task to seduce her, and he'll be damned if he half-asses his performance. Because he never does. And his listening has nothing to do with being genuinely concerned and worried. It doesn't.

He acknowledges he's an accomplished liar as well.

He glimpses Shelby in the darkness, reminding him of his task and tries not to tense or frown into the kiss that he shares with this beautiful girl. He's upgraded. He's not a jerk. He's an asshole.

And then the next time he knows he's a jerk, it's their first date on Friday. She's exuberant and he echoes her wide smile with one of his own. He drives her to an Indie band concert, they have a good time, and then Rachel shyly leans closer and kisses him.

He initiates. He always initiates. For her to make the first move, makes his heart warm at the same time a voice in his head chants 'Asshole' over and over again.

Their secret love affair goes on and he's happy, and sometimes he forgets this is a task and he should be working not having fun. Rachel Berry is work, not his Juliet. They may seem like Romeo and Juliet, but they're not. Because he's the villain and he's more like King Richard III than Romeo.

"And thus I clothe my naked villany
With odd old ends stol'n out of holy writ,
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil."

God save his soul.

The next time he is a jerk, he realizes that truly he isn't a jerk. He isn't even an asshole. He's an utter bastard.

He's a monster.

She willingly gives him her virginity and he takes it without a word, and he knows he'll go to Hell one day for this –for defiling an angel –but he's playing the devil and he doesn't want to give up the charade. He's fully in love with her now, and he will admit to it, but he'd lose her if she even had a hint about his deception. So he lies and plays both sides and get to be selfish and have and eat his cake at the same time.

"And seem a saint, when most I play the devil…"

One day, he'll get his dues.

Shelby knows he's slept with her and tells him to break it off, that he's done his job and now it's time to finish it off. Break the little girl's heart and make her cry, she says.

Jesse gives a fractured smile and finishes his task.

Rachel doesn't call him a jerk, an asshole, or a monster. She just sits and cries and asks why.

And he says because he's fascinated with her, because she's his rival. And he goes against everything and tells her, even after this, she needs to come back stronger and sing and sing and sing. Sing like she's never sung before, and meet him at Regionals. Because he wants to face her and sing together like they belong to do in that world, and to face his punishment at the hands of this angel who he's sinned against.

She takes one last look at him, blank-faced and tear tracks visible, and leaves without another word.

The days that passes are unbearable and he goes to practices and Shelby is proud, and the others know he's done something for them, not quite sure what, but they're proud too. He should be proud of himself. But he's not.

A glass house is a glass house. It's beautiful and you could see through to the inside and see everything. It's bared and vulnerable. She was his glass house, fragile but beautiful being that she is.

He was the stone that shattered the glass house.

And now he, the stone, lies quietly and lonely in the middle of shattered glass and sharp edges and nothing else matters.

He waits patiently for Regionals and for his Judgement Day to come. Heaven or Hell awaits him, and he knows without a doubt she will lead her Glee club to the finish and they will come meet face to face once more.

She sings and this time his heart really does stop.

She was in awe of him the first time they met, but now the roles are reversed and he's the one in awe. She's beautiful as always, and this is how he'd always loved seeing her sing. This had the force, the power that her performance at Sectionals didn't have. He wants to clap politely with his teammates, all who are disgruntled and just the slightest bit worried, but all he can do is be genuine and watch in awe and yearning.

He wants her more than ever, and he probably always will.

The song his Glee club likes to perform matches his choice now. He was on the highway to Hell, and he was helpless against the truth. And honestly, he was looking forward to the ride.

It's a tight decision, but it's decided. McKinley's New Directions win Regionals and are on their way to Nationals.

He smiles truly and hopes her well.

Disappointed, Vocal Adrenaline returns home empty-handed and Shelby looks at him suspiciously. But it's all over and he doesn't care what she thinks. He'll still go to UCLA, he'll still be singing. He just won't have Rachel.

He keeps track of her. He finds whatever news he can of her, and saves it. Whatever photo he can find, he keeps. And he wonders if she still remembers him.

She wins Nationals and he thinks he's happier about it than if he had won it himself.

Two years pass. He's a college student, and he's done minor roles in TV shows and there's a major role coming up that looks like he might bag it. No, he hasn't given up and fallen in disrepair as one might think after losing one's love of their life. Things are normal, boring, and he's still on the up and up. But he's lonely.

And he refuses company that isn't Rachel Berry.

She's won Nationals for the last two years of her high school career, and then she's graduated and he hears that she's gone straight to Broadway and that she's playing Mimi in Rent. It's a big break from the start and he's happy for her.

But that was some time ago, and he hasn't heard a word about her since. He needs to hear something before he does collapse in anxiety and grief, because he is living the life he wants and it's okay and normal but secretly he is dying inside without her.

He wants to hear her sweet voice again. He wants to see her doe eyes. He wants to feel her soft skin against his once more. And it's like a recycled circle of pain and remembrance, and he has no one to talk to about it.

He remembers briefly hearing Finn Hudson being her boyfriend for junior and senior year, and he remembers screaming inside and outside and trashing his apartment so badly that the police are called on him and he has to convince them that nothing was wrong.

He grins sadistically hearing that Rachel dumps him immediately after graduation and that the two no longer even speak. He doesn't know why, but frankly he doesn't care as long as Hudson is out of Rachel's life and there is a chance for the two of them.

He wonders about traveling to New York and seeing one of her shows, watch her and be in awe of her again. But he's scared that she won't want to see him and he's scared that he's risking everything for a chance that might not even exist.

Jesse isn't a jerk, an asshole, a monster, or a devil.

He's a coward.

And maybe he's a bit of a glass house himself.

He goes to his classes, and takes a stop at a coffee house to buy one so he wasn't as dead on the outside as he was on the inside. Instead, he glimpses doe eyes and angelic lips and thinks a car may have run him over and he's dead and he might actually have gone to Heaven.

His mind doesn't really work anymore, but it works enough to realize this was reality and Rachel Berry was in a coffee shop. With him. In front of him. Near him. Dear God, he's lost his charisma, his charm, and this meeting is entirely different from their first and from what he'd imagined all these years when they'd meet up again.

But she runs out of the coffee shop, passed him, and out of his life for a second time –and he's stuck frozen like an idiot. When he finds himself again, he runs out but she's gone again, and he thinks he's not a coward. He is an idiot.

He doesn't cry to himself in his car.

And then he's going to rehearsal for his major TV role, and she's there and he's breathless. He's not going to let her slip away again, and he refuses to be the coward he thinks he might be. So he strides over to her confidently, just like he used to be before Rachel Berry, and holds out a hand.

"Hi, I'm Jesse. I've seen your performances, and I have to say. They're brilliant," he's more honest and humbled, but he keeps that self-assured tone in his voice to prevent himself from trembling visibly and in his voice.

Rachel watches him warily, but takes his hand.

"Thank you."

He gulps and tries to fumble for words that used to come easier when he was younger and more cocky, but she initiates first again.

"I ran away because I'm not ready to face you again, and I still don't think I am…but we're going to be working with each other now so I think a truce should be called," Abrasive and taking command as always.

He smiles.

"I'm Rachel," she whispers and completes their first meeting in as many years.

They work together, and he finds out that Rachel is taking a break from Broadway and deciding to try some straight out acting. She landed the role opposite him, and he finds it's like destiny. The two of them reunited and a couple on screen like they should be off.

From work to sharing coffee. And then small lunch dates. He doesn't want to have his hopes up, but he's hoping against all odds that he has this second chance.

"I broke up with Finn, because all along I still wanted you. After so long pining after him, you stole my heart and kept it since," she murmurs and he's starting to get excited. "He was angry, of course, about it and we got into a huge fight until I blurted out I was still in love with you. It's why we don't talk anymore."

Jesse thinks he might be grinning ear to ear by now if it weren't for the fact he reminds himself not to be too hopeful.

"I don't want to be in love with you. So give me my heart back and let me move on with my life," she states flatly.

He deflates and thinks he wishes he could pretend to be Romeo again. Being exposed as King Richard is horrible.

He abruptly stands up and startles her, confusing her as he walks away and goes to his trailer. He trashes it. And then he cries.

He steps out and doesn't look at Rachel, who's standing blankly outside his door. He walks passed her and they're ready to shoot, and the showface makes a reappearance.

Rachel and he have a horrible time, but no one knows except themselves and each other because they know each other so well.

They walk on eggshells around each other for a whole week until Jesse caves in and corners her, because he doesn't know how to live much longer without her in his life in some way.

"How many chances did Finn Hudson get from you?" he demands. "How many?! And another after my betrayal. How is it fair that you give him so many chances to be with you and I have one chance that gets blown to smithereens because you and I both know how important our dreams are to us! You're just like me and you would've done the same thing! Neither of us wanted to stay in that hellhole when we were trying to reach for the stars!"

"I wouldn't have done the same thing!" Rachel protests vehemently. "I would never have used your feelings!"

"Not even if it meant getting out of Lima? Of becoming a star? Not even if your friends had cornered you and pressured you into it?" Jesse says quietly and she's just as quiet. "I was 18 and an idiot. And I didn't know how rapidly I would fall for you. How hard. Please, Rachel. Just look at me."

She reluctantly does and he's begging her with his eyes to see that for once he's sincere.

"I love you," he states quietly. "I always have. I never lied about that."

Rachel sighs quietly and leans towards him.

"If you hurt me again, I won't just leave you. I'll walk away completely."

It's a promise, not a threat.

She leans up and kisses him, and he wants to cry again but this time in joy. He hasn't done that in years.

"Why am I so different that it's so hard to give me a second chance?" he asks, clutching her close and putting his chin onto the top of her head.

"Because I love you," he could hear her sniffle. "You matter more than he ever did, and it hurt more to know you used me because I cared for you more than I ever had for someone. It's harder to give you a second chance because what you did hurt me more than if anyone else did it. Because I love you," she repeated.

He holds onto her tighter in response and thinks that this time won't be ruined.

The shattered glass house is being rebuilt, and the stone still lies peacefully inside.

Started 4/16/10 –Completed 4/16/10