A/N: Otayyy...pre-fic warnings.
Um...I'm a total Renthead. I LOVE it, listen to the songs almost pathologically, and they are constantly stuck in my head.
And while I still watch Glee and most often enjoy it, I find it's gotten really preachy recently, and not nearly as genuine as it used to be. I am also nowhere near Will Schuester's biggest fan, but worry not, I won't turn this entire A/N into a rant. Hopefully, no Glee fans are offended by this, but if you are, just click that back button. If not, enjoy!
Just to clarify, this is WAYY AU, because for the purposes of this story, Rent and its characters are real people, who have had a musical made about their lives. And Angel is not dead, because really, who wants Angel to be dead?
Disclaimer: Don't own them, but a girl can dream.
"Rent?" cried Rachel Berry, throwing the sheet music in front of her down in disgust.
"Yes, Rent," said Will Schuester, picking it up and calmly handing it back to Rachel. "It speaks to a different demographic, it's applicable now yet works perfectly in its time frame, and the songs are still popular today."
"Like that one about the 560,000 minutes?" asked Finn, earning one of Santana's classic scoffs.
Will laughed lightly, but gave an agreeing nod.
"Seasons of Love, which is the song I believe you are referring to, Finn, is one of, if not the most famous song of the musical. In fact, there are many that know it word-for-word, but don't even know its musical of origin. Rent is filled with amazing songs of all types, and this week, we're going to nail down some of them. Get up, let's go!"
An hour later, Will stood back and beckoned Brad, the piano player, over to accompany the teens. As an opening number, he had picked Seasons of Love because most of the teens were familiar with it already, and he hoped to move up to La Vie Boheme before the week's end.
He had delivered his usual inspiring speech (those did seem to be frequent nowadays, didn't they?) and dismissed Glee for the day, confident the students would know the sheet music by the next day's rehearsal.
Giving the parts turned out to be somewhat of a challenge. For how well they knew Seasons of Love, the students knew very little about the show's actual stars. All stars were in the two songs selected, and most had solos in La Vie Boheme, but Will had grown so accustomed to who would sings leads and who would do backup, that he had cast Quinn as Mimi, Puck as Roger, Finn as Mark, Matt as Collins (had to find out sooner or later what he could do), Kurt as Angel, Brittany as Maureen and Santana as Joanne. That, however, meant that the two solos in Seasons of Love would go to Santana and Matt. Will wasn't worried about Santana's part, but Matt was still an unproven singer, preferring to add his skills to Glee as a dancer. Oh well, worst comes to worst, he'd give the solo to Rachel. She was more than a little disgruntled about not being given a starring role, anyway.
The next day, as the Glee club gathered in the choir room to rehearse, Will couldn't help the excitement that coiled in his stomach. This assignment, this musical, was huge as far as social influence goes. And certainly, the students would have looked up their roles online to learn the character they would be playing and their mannerisms.
What he certainly didn't expect, however, was the flood of questions that he was bombarded with.
"A stripper, Mr. Shue? I'm a stripper?"
"Dude, this guy has the virus?"
"Lady kisses," (this one was from Brittany).
"Guys!" Will called, trying to corral the noise. It worked mildly, the noise quieted slightly.
"Guys, this play has huge social influence. It occurred when AIDS was rampant and had a permanent stigma attached to it. That's one of the main reasons it was so popular. Quinn, your character's...profession, is not mentioned in this particular song, nor is 'the virus', Puck. Let's give it a shot."
Puck led the group down to the auditorium, and Will arranged the lighting as the students set themselves up. When they were all ready, Will settled himself in the chair to listen.
"Five hundred, twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes..."
A week later, correction after correction, rehearsal after rehearsal, Will was finally satisfied with the club's performance. It had definitely not been an easy ride. Quinn and Puck's energy was perpetually low, with baby Beth at home, Rachel was telling anyone who would listen what a better Mimi she would have made, and Finn was...somehow just not fitting into the role of Mark.
Still, after a week of rehearsing Seasons of Love, the club had successfully learned the song and choreography for La Vie Boheme, and Will had absolute faith that it would be spectacular. So much so, in fact, that he barely noticed when another spectator came in and sat quietly in a chair near the back.
Lights suddenly flooded the auditorium and the Glee club took their positions.
"Bohemia is dead..."
Will clapped as hard as he could as his students finished. Their performance had, in his opinion, been amazing. He got up, ready to go congratulate them in person, when a very familiar voice stopped them.
"William, I'm going to be very honest, mostly because I really don't think I can morally lie to Tinkerbell the Fairy. That would be what you look like with that hairdo, by the way."
Will's shoulders slumped and he slowly turned to face Sue Sylvester.
"What do you want, Sue?"
"What do I want? My needs in life are fairly simple, Sandra-Dee-circa-end-of-Grease. Food, water, shelter, occasionally a good conquering-of-nations. Oh, and also, for your little glee clubbers to not butcher what is widely regarded as one of the most successful and socially aware musicals of the nineties."
Will furrowed his brow in confusion. "What are you talking about, Sue? My kids did an amazing job."
She chuckled, giving will the distinct impression of what a cat must have looked like before it chased a mouse in increasingly small circles.
"Come on, Sue. I challenge you to find a group that would do that better with less than a week of practice."
She grinned. "Oh, how you are going to regret those words, Will."