Jesse drops to his knees on the stage in a fit of exhaustion. The sweat pours off his body, drips down his forehead, his back, and his arms. Jesse grinds his teeth tightly as sweat glides over his skin, stinging as it passes over Jesse's open wounds above his eyes and along his arms.
The stinging and the pain from exerting his body to the maximum forces Jesse to lie flat on the stage, the surface of the wood cooling his face. Jesse breathes in the smell of sweat and the empty auditorium, he closes his eyes and his mind conjures up images of the last two months.
"What were you doing with No Directions?" Andrea asks.
"Nothing, just spying on them. Shelby wanted to know what they were planning and sent me to get Intel." Jesse answers.
"Please St. James, there is another reason you went there, so really what the fuck were you doing?"
Jesse rolls his eyes, before walking off and taking his place for their performance at regionals.
Jesse knows that his team mates are watching him. He's sitting alone at the celebration for winning and he can sense that his team mates still don't trust him. Even after he gave up more than they will know for them, they still think that he has a loyalty to New Directions.
He's about to get up and leave when Shelby stands in front of the group.
"I have something important to share with all of you. Firstly you did extremely well at Regionals, although each of you should take a lesson from Jesse and infuse your performances with a little more emotion."
Several senior members of the group send death glares over to Jesse who pointedly ignores the looks. Shelby continues on speaking.
"That though, isn't what I'm actually here to tell you. I'm officially resigning as coach of Vocal Adrenalin. I have realized in the past few months what I have been missing and that is family. I have adopted a baby girl and because of that I no longer feel the same desire and drive to lead a glee club. So thank you for years of well deserved nationals titles and allowing me to coach you and teach you all to be successful."
Shelby finishes her speech and leaves the room, Jesse quickly follows.
"Are you seriously leaving me?" He asks.
"I'm sorry Jesse, but I can't stay and do this anymore. It's like I told Rachel I need a family, I need to be a mom."
"What about me? Wasn't I family?" Jesse asks.
"You are family Jesse, but you're practically an adult and you're going off to live your own life. You will always be like a son to me, but it isn't enough anymore."
Shelby continues talking and telling Jesse that she loves him and will keep in touch and that when Beth is all settled in Jesse will have to come and sing for her. All Jesse hears is that he isn't enough.
That night all Jesse hears are the voices of those that he loves telling him that he's not enough, that he will never measure up, that it should have been him. He wakes in a cold sweat. Unable to fall asleep again he gets on the treadmill and punishes his body by running so long his whole body feels like it is being engulfed in flames.
That restarts the pattern of nightmares, feeling worthless and punishments. Punishments starting with extreme workouts and hours of practicing performance routines, but gradually the punishments worsen. Soon Jesse finds himself at the threshold where he feels nothing, no pain, no guilt, no anger; the only feeling is worthlessness To counter this he increases the hours spent straining his body, anything to feel even a twinge of life. He even reverts to his habit of freshman year when he would take his Swiss Army knife and drag the blade along his bicep, leaving a crimson trail of blood and the pain of life.
Jesse finds himself avoiding the other members of Vocal Adrenalin. He sits silently in his classes and leaves immediately after practice. The members find no problem with this, but that's not to say that they have left him alone.
They trip him up on stage, once going so far that he skidded down the risers and was left with bruised elbows and knees. They taunt him with being a loser; they blame him for making Shelby leave. None of this phases Jesse, he has become the soulless automaton that everyone thinks he is.
The only time anyone catches a glimpse of the former leader is when he sings. Everything inside him is channelled into the lyrics, he comes alive on stage. He becomes so alive that he feels a shell when it's over that he has to punish and cut himself to ensure that he hasn't left it all on the stage.
Jesse calls Shelby to see how she is getting on with Beth. She sounds slightly crazed, but happy. It's a tone Jesse recalls hearing only once or twice before. It makes him happy for his mentor and terribly sad for himself.
He won't burden Shelby with his problems again. She has too much to worry about now, that she doesn't need to know about his life.
He tells Shelby that he'll call again soon and will stop by in a few weeks when everything has settled down. Shelby says that she would love that and that she can't wait for Beth to meet her Uncle Jesse.
Jesse doesn't see the first punch, but he feels it as the fist connects with his cheek. Jesse recoils back before another blow is landed, just above his eye and Jesse feels the skin split. He feels a blow to his ribs and he drops to the ground.
"You better not cost us nationals St. James."
The voice belongs to Alex, one of the male dancers. He hears Alex gather up the few other guys that were standing, watching the attack and hears them leave the auditorium. Jesse remains on the stage until the blood stops dripping from his eye.
The images are fragmented, consisting of the torment Jesse has put himself through and the torment Vocal Adrenalin has felt they should inflict on him. The last memory is the most recent, happening not even a week ago.
Jesse's somewhat lucky that his parents haven't come to Ohio to check on him yet. Even for being the most absentee and blind people in the world they would notice that their son was beaten. Which would only lead to questions and ultimately a fight that Jesse would have no energy or drive to counter or get into.
He pulls up his weakened body, ignoring the protest of his aching muscles. In fact he smiles at the pain, the only thing that seems real in that moment.
Jesse's making his way across the mostly deserted Carmel parking lot when he hears Andrea's laugh coming from his left. He sees her leaning up against his Ranger Rover, along with Alex and the seven other seniors on Vocal Adrenalin.
"I can't believe they thought that number was any good. I mean swaying around to the music does not make you a show choir." Andrea's voice rings out through the evening air.
"I know. What shocks me is that Rachel Berry, she claims she wants to be a star, yet clearly isn't doing anything to get it." Alex says.
At Rachel's name Jesse feels hollow where his stomach should be, the mere mention of her name causes the guilt in him to swallow him. He knows that the other members are doing this to provoke him; he isn't going to fall for it.
"Don't you agree?" Natasha asks when she spots Jesse standing a few feet away.
Jesse shrugs in response.
"Come on St. James we need an answer." Derek says, pushing away from the car and stepping towards Jesse.
Derek is flanked by the other seniors who form a semi circle around Jesse. Jesse feels the anger radiating off his former 'family.' He knows they blame him for Shelby, he's just thankful that they don't know how big of blame should be put on him.
Jesse mumbles a response and immediately Derek grabs the front of his shirt.
"What was that St. James?" Derek hisses.
"I said she'll be a star before you even get the nerve to move out of Ohio."
Derek scoffs and lands a blow into Jesse's gut. The force causes Jesse to double over, but not fall. Jesse knows that if he falls, he's done. They won't let up. This time he is the seal pup and they are the great white.
"What the hell did you see in that little slut anyways?" Alex asks Jesse growls at the insult. "Well she is I mean she gave it up to you, two weeks ago I saw her with that shaved head football player and last week I saw her with that gangly freak of a male lead. Clearly she gets around. But what do you expect with someone whose mother consistently had a string of male show choir coaches in and out of her bed."
Insulting Rachel made Jesse see red, but bringing in Shelby and insulting her as well made Jesse lose it. He took a swing at Alex landing a punch on the Asian's jaw. Alex staggers back before regaining his balance and hitting Jesse above his eye, reopening the cut.
Pain explodes across Jesse's forehead and he stumbles into Derek. Jesse takes a swing at Derek and misses. Derek grabs him, but with all the working out Jesse is strong, almost pure muscle. He takes another swing with his left and the fist connects with Derek's ribs. Another with his right and this time hit's Derek's face.
Jesse knows he's no match for the rest, but he won't give up with out a fight. No matter how broken he is inside, he won't give them the satisfaction of seeing that he is broken.
That is until he feels Izzie's boot connect with his knee and he drops. From this position the others join in kicking him. He feels three repeated blows to his ribs and Jesse lets out a cry of pain. He feels a handful of eggs smash down on his head and he sees that as repentance for what he did to Rachel. More kicks and punches are thrown down as well.
Jesse doesn't know who lands which kick, but he knows who heel lodges itself in his arm. He hears Andrea laugh as she twists the four inch spike before slowly pulling it out. One of the guys pulls him up to his feet and Jesse can barely stand. His head lolls from the beating and he hopes that this is over, but knows that there is still a little more to come.
"We know what you did St. James." Alex says before landing a punch on the side of Jesse's face.
"We know why Shelby sent you to McKinley; we know why you were with that slut Rachel." Andrea says walking around Jesse as Alex delivers two more hits to Jesse's face.
Jesse tastes the metallic bite of blood, from the inside of his cheek and running down from his nose. He feels it run down the front of his shirt, mixing with the yoke staining his skin.
"You ruined everything for us Jesse. Your little job almost cost us regionals and it cost us the best show choir coach in the country. It better not cost us Nationals." Andrea says, to Jesse's ears her voice sounds miles away. "So for almost ruining everything you have to pay."
With that menacing threat Alex lays a few more punches, before stepping aside and letting each member take a swing.
By the time they are done sweat, yoke and blood drip off of Jesse. He's on his knees in front of them and though he knows he should be afraid, he hopes that the land one more blow that will leave him unconscious and give him a night of dreamless sleep.
Jesse hears the voices of his – he doesn't want to claim them anymore so he won't – he hears the voices of the VA seniors. The sounds are muffled; like they have moved several feet away, but when he cracks an eye open they are all still standing around him staring at his pathetic form. He hears Andrea and Alex discuss where to leave him; he misses most of the conversation, but catches Andrea's evil cackle at the end.
Jesse is lifted from the ground and thrown in the trunk of one the Ranger Rovers. He muffles the groan of landing on his side, still keeping from them the satisfaction of his pain. He feels the car move, but being in the dark and half unconscious gives him no sense of direction. He only finds solace in the fact that they didn't leave him in the lot and that he is finally feeling something.
The car lurches to a stop and Jesse is pulled from the trunk. He doesn't immediately recognize where he is, but is quickly informed.
"We thought this was the best place to leave you St. James." Andrea says as Alex half carries, half drags Jesse to the lighted porch. "We know that you love her, so why not cause you the greatest pain by having her reject you, especially in this pathetic form."
Jesse struggles against Alex; he doesn't want to be left here. He couldn't take it if he has to face Rachel and she rejects him. Alex gives him another hit, before dropping him by the door.
"Have fun tonight St. James" He says, before ringing the doorbell.
Andrea and Alex take off for the Range Rover and jump in before quickly pulling off the drive way abandoning Jesse on the doorstep of the only girl he has ever loved and the only person whose heart he has ever broken.
Jesse feels the bile rise in his throat. He knows he needs to get off that porch, get off the property before Rachel can come to the door, but he knows that in his state that is a near impossibility. He forces himself up on shaky legs. He lets out a moan of pain and falls against the siding. Another groan of pain escapes his lips as his body comes in contact with the wall.
Jesse turns from the wall and takes a step away; he's gathering his bearings, but not quickly enough. The ground spins and he puts his hand out to steady himself. Jesse has never envisioned this kind of punishment for himself, no matter how much he thinks he deserves to be punished.
Jesse closes his eyes, pulls in a deep breath. A sharp pain along his ribs alerts to him that they must be bruised. He forces his lids open and he is face to face with Rachel. Her brown eyes are wide with fear and Jesse freezes.
"No," He grunts out. It's barely above a whisper but the sound of his voice spurs him and he stumbles off her porch.
This is one of 4 new St. Berry fics that i am going to be working on in my spare time. It deals with themes of suicide, death, violence and maybe even sex (later on).
This fic is not trying to down play suicide or anything like that. I know that it's a serious subject and i'm not trying to make it all fluff. it also might seem a lot of this it may seem rushed, but i will try to show that a lot of time passes between certain events later on in the story.
I hope i don't offend anyone and that you stick with this.
Please leave a comment if you have anything to say about it.