Disclaimer: I own nothing but the plot to this story and my OCs. The rest all belongs to Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan, Brad Falchuk, the various songwriters, and to the writers of any joke that may not be mine.
There were days that Jack Harmon felt that it would be a bad idea to get out of bed. Then it would dawn on him that he is Jack Harmon and any day is made better by the sheer fact he was gracing the outside world with his presence.
But, this was one of those days where not even his ethereal presence would bring a shine to a terrible situation. What could lead someone with sort of mindset to believe all hope was lost? Well, that answer is quite simple and that revolves around two people: Sandy Ryerson and Sue Sylvester. Two people who had no idea what it meant to create a piece of art that was a Kander and Ebb musical. Instead, they were using for their own means.
Jack wasn't positively sure what Sylvester's intentions were, but he knew that Ryerson's goal was to create some sort of monument to his vanity. Unfortunately, he didn't seem to understand that he was directing a show with one of the vainest (because he's honest) men on the planet.
Of course, it's only vanity if you create an image that masks your deep-seated insecurities. For Jack, those sorts of things never existed, but he uses the term 'vanity' merely keep from confusing the peons of the world. It was sort of a shield because, if the peons did not appreciate the image that an actor or sing creates; they would never buy tickets for their concerts or movies.
Still, why was he even performing in a show that was being systematically chopped to pieces by an effeminate, extremely creepy teacher? Well, part of it was the result of his adventurous spirit. He had never turned away from a challenge. But, he was beginning to think this was the first mistake he'd ever made in his life. He could only imagine the aftershock should this become common knowledge.
However, there were some benefits to working inside the belly of beast. It was during the audition periods for the show that Jack had found a kindred spirit Lima, a worthless cow-town overpopulated by the American versions of the Aboriginal people.
It had been more than two weeks since the school's small theater community had learned that the spring musical would be the classic, Cabaret. Jack hadn't expected anyone other than himself to be any good. This was a high school production, not a community theatre one, so he had packed up his ear plugs and was getting ready to put them in when a brunette girl stepped onto the stage, a look of supreme confidence in her eyes.
For some reason, one that Jack hadn't been able to understand at the time, he placed his ear plugs in his pocket.
"My name is Rachel Berry," introduced the girl, "and I am auditioning for the role of Sally Bowles."
He had heard about Miss Berry, they even shared a dance class their freshmen, before he had moved on to the more advanced studies. Maybe the familiarity was keeping him from putting in the ear plugs, he'd have to wait and see.
"For my audition song, I will be singing, 'Taking Chances' by Celine Dion," Rachel explained further.
'Not something I would pick,' Jack thought. 'But, it could work.'
"Don't know much about your life," Rachel began to sing, "don't know much about your world, but don't want to be alone tonight on this planet we call Earth."
Jack cocked his head to the side, she was good…really good. He sat up, watching this tiny girl with the powerful voice continue to sing.
"You don't know about my past and I don't have a future figured out," she confessed. "And maybe this is going too fast and maybe it's not meant to last. But, what do you say to taking chances? What do you say to jumping off the edge? Never knowing if there's solid ground below, or a hand to hold, or hell to pay. What do you say?"
Jack listened to her sing. It was the greatest thing he had heard since he had purchased the cast album to Spring Awakenings. Could this be why he was hanging around this show? It certainly wasn't to put up with Ryerson, who he was seriously contemplating in turning into one of the boy sopranoshe seemed so intent on molesting.
"Don't know much about your life," Rachel concluded, "don't know much about your world."
And, for the first time since this whole thing started, and possibly for the last so long as he was involved, Jack Harmon smiled.
"Finally," he remembered shouting, "someone else with talent!"
From that moment on, Jack kept to the shadows, waiting for the moment where he would have Rachel alone and they could talk, two talents in a sea of mediocrity.
This had proved easier than Jack had initially anticipated, as Ryerson seemed to monopolize her by tossing inhuman levels of criticism at her performance. He, himself, couldn't find any holes in the performance. Still, Ryerson seemed obsessed with breaking her spirit for his own twisted pleasure. She was one more bad day away from sashaying out of the door and Jack, himself, wasn't that far behind.
It was bad enough Ryerson planned to write himself into the show as Cleopatra.
'Which is odd,' Jack mused, shuddering at the thought, 'strangely whimsical, but odd.'
Still, while Ryerson's criticism of perfect, which, surprisingly, included himself, Jack had not been allowed to touch the piano.
"The 'talent'," he would say mockingly, "shouldn't touch the piano."
'And teachers aren't supposed to give their students handjobs. So, we're all breaking the rules,' but Jack had wanted to say.
Unfortunately, Ryerson started yelling at some inconsequential member of the chorus before he had a chance to say it. But, at the moment, Ryerson was not in the room, so Jack could enjoy himself.
Jack cleared his throat as he began to play the piano.
"Everywhere I go, I'm followed by a lot of people," he sang, "such a lot of people, it's almost a parade. And if you see all the people, they're everyone I ever was and everyone I ever will be, all the lives of me…"
Jack, while playing this song, he was working on a volume of empty sheet music. The first song in what he would, someday, call his magnum opus.
"And if I make you feel good, after knowing all you know is really only all that you see…All the lives of me."
As he played the final notes, Jack felt that someone was watching him. He turned around and there was Rachel Berry standing in front of him.
"I'm sorry," she apologized. "I didn't mean to interrupt you."
"I thought you were Ryerson," he said to her, sitting up from the piano stool. "If I have to hear one more rant about how the talent isn't supposed to touch the piano, he'll be joining the ranks of the Castrati."
She gave him a strange look. He sighed at her; of course the gold was false.
"They were a group from the 1600s, boy sopranos that, to preserve their high voices, were…"
"I know what they are," she cut him off. "I'm just stunned that someone my age knows about them."
"As am I," Jack said, a flicker of admiration in his tone. "To be honest, I didn't think I would see you again. Considering the hell Ryerson put you through I half expected that he was going to replace you with that one girl with the lazy eye."
"Which girl with the lazy eye?" Rachel asked, she would get to the other topic later. She did not remember the girl with the lazy eye.
"I think her name is Yuki," he provided.
"He doesn't have a lazy eye, he's Asian," she blanched, as if stunned at what she had just heard.
Jack stared at Rachel quizzically.
"He can't be Asian, he's terrible at math," argued Jack, "and no one is that pretty and a boy. Expect Leo DiCaprio in the 90s. But, it's irrelevant; you're here so I'll be able to understand Sally for one more day, at least."
This seemed to silence Rachel for the moment, allowing Jack to return to his work. He looked up at Rachel occasionally, pondering if she knew he intentionally insulted Yuki.
"Why did you think I quit?" her question cut through the silence.
Jack nodded and turned back to the small girl.
"Because, one, if Fred Ebb saw what Ryerson is doing to his show, he would roll out of his grave, die again, and do a 360 before planting the casket back in the grave," he began to play the top half of the song. "Two, he's been on your ass since you started."
Jack turned back to the piano, pushing the key cover up again. He seemed distracted by the instrument; his demeanor wordlessly saying that he had intentionally insulted Yuki for the express reason of it would give him silence.
"Why did you think I quit?" Rachel finally asked.
"Because, one, if Fred Ebb saw what Ryerson is doing to his show, he would roll out of his grave, die again, and do a 360 before planting the casket back in the grave," Jack said, as he began to play an unfamiliar composition. "Two, he's been on your ass since you started."
"Some directors are difficult," Rachel argued. "Like Jerome Robbins. He was notorious for being difficult."
Jack snorted at this comment. "But, he was a genius. When you're a genius you're allowed to be as annoying as humanly possible. Actually, you be as annoying as divinely possible and get away with it. Ryerson is not that genius," Jack concluded, his attention still on the composition on the piano.
Jack studied Rachel, he knew that she knew that we was right, Ryerson was ruining the production and she was powerless to stop it. This was one of those times where she wished that she could quit and return to glee. But, that wasn't an option; there was no glee club to fall back on.
"I don't recognize that song," she blurted out, the music had been helpful in strengthening her resolve to sticking it out in the hell Ryerson called art. "Is it a new piece or did you write it?"
"I wrote it," Jack's focus was on the song.
"It's very nice," Rachel said honestly.
Jack nodded. "I know that it's nice. But, it'll be better once I find the right notes and lyrics for it."
"Can I see it?"
This is what got Jack's attention off of the music. He seemed surprised, almost paranoid of handing it over to anyone. He reached for the sheet music.
"I normally don't do this; I lose more music that way. Though, you're not the type that would ruin someone's work."
He handed Rachel the papers. She examined them, Jack studying her as she did. Her facial expression told him everything he needed to know. She thought it was good, but not perfect. Jack was a perfectionist, until the day came that he viewed the song as perfect or a theatrical producer said the same, it would never be ready for public consumption. Still, to have a talent of equal measure seem to enjoy certainly stroked his ego.
"Is it just one song, or is it something else entirely?"
"It's a song for a musical that I've been working on for the last couple of years."
This caught Rachel's attention. "A musical?" she inquired, taking the free chair by the piano. "About what?"
"Well," Jack began, "I've had this dream for a long time that if Evil Dead deserves a musical so do all the other B-horror movies," he explained. "Of course, I've considered the fact that any idea I present to the American Theatre Wing would be rejected purely on the basis that it is too good for the peons of the world, it may never be produced."
He took a breath.
"Though, when I finally take over the world it will be one of the first things I mount for my entertainment. May I have it back?"
Rachel handed Jack his music, which he carefully brushed, as if to remove any existing creases. He placed the music in his folder.
"I don't want blood soiling my hands," he said. "Ryerson will be here any minute and I'm in no mood to listen to him squawk."
Jack slowly closed his eyes, getting one last look at Rachel, who now seemed deep in thought. He wasn't sure what she was planning, but the very idea that someone was plotting to get rid of Ryerson once and for all. It allowed him to relax. He would have to tell Dr. Latham about this little development in their next session.
He stepped out of the dance room, his legs barely able to cover point A and Point B as he walked passed Sue Sylvester's office. The light was still on and she was, no doubt, boiling a bunny or sacrificing a small dog to the cheerleading demons for her next trophy. Did this woman ever go home? Or did she live under the school in a Bat-cave or something?
Jack leaned toward the window, ducking low to make sure she could see him. Sue Sylvester was, indeed, in her office, hurtling darts at the door. Jack craned his head around, spotting the dartboard, which was actually a blown up picture of the Spanish teacher, Will Schuester, and what looked like members of the glee club. She seemed to be chanting in tongues, but he could only make out about four of the words.
"Must destroy glee club! Must destroy glee club!"
Jack had only seen the glee club perform once. And he had not been impressed by their dance choreography or their choice of song. So, it seemed beyond his ken as to why a multi-timed nationally ranked champion like Sue Sylvester would care if the glee club existed. It's not like they were topping the Cheerios.
Jack slipped further down the wall, putting some serious on the subject. Yes, the glee club did suck, but still, it had potential. As always, Jack's curious nature got the best of him and he had gone onto the internet and checked out McKinley's glee club in the 1990s. The group had been the top of the social pyramid and they had taken Nationals. It helped that one of the people in the group looked like Neil Patrick Harris and had his amazing talent as well.
Still, if the current club got to be as good as that, it would put Sylvester on the share the spotlight on the attention train. That was something she could not, and from the looks of things, would not tolerate.
Jack sat there, thinking, recalling the numerous times where he tried to topple the Cheerios' carefully constructed pyramids (though the pun did not escape him and he shuddered). He had yet to succeeded, but that hadn't deterred him, Cabaret was meant to be his chance to topple the Cheerios, but he was beginning to think there was another option. Maybe there was something that could help him in his quest to toppling those short-skirted, back-flipping credits to their gender.
Maybe, just maybe.
Only seconds prior, Rachel had told Ryerson where to go and quit the show.
"Understudy!" the obnoxious closet case screamed.
"Excuse me, Mr. Ryerson," Jack interjected. This was the time. "I have a few things I'd like to say to you."
"What is now, Harmon? We have no star. If you could call her a star," he snorted.
"I would," he said bluntly. "But not for here."
"Was that what you had to say?"
"Nope. I actually wanted to tell you something that's been a long time coming."
Jack waltzed right to Ryerson, a smile forming on him lips.
"You've studied German, right?" Jack asked.
"Yes," he replied.
"And you know what dummkopf means, right?"
"Well, you can kiss mine, I quit."
Jack stamped out of the room, his strut back in play and the spring back in my step.
"Good luck having a show without talent," he cautioned the director, loose application, of course, leaving the room.
That night, Jack entered the auditorium. One of his sources in the jazz band had told him that the glee club was holding its Invitational performance on this night. He wasn't sure what to expect.
What he got was a powerhouse performance from a tiny blonde woman with a big-ass voice. He might have to question to where they got her. She seemed a little old to be in high school. Hell, she looked old enough to be his mother.
She seemed to give them the boot in the ass they needed. Shame Rachel couldn't have been a part of that considering she's one of the founding members.
Of course, for those of you familiar with the history of New Directions, you know that Rachel returned and, with the help of Finn, led the glee in a show-stopping performance of Queen's Somebody to Love. Which, once upon a time, Jack would've considered blasphemy. But, now, now it gave him hope that this motley crew would be worth his time and his talent.
After the show, Rachel exited the auditorium.
"Pretty good up there," Rachel heard a voice sneaking up behind.
"Jack?" she said, surprised, but mostly happy that he had seen the performance. "What are you doing here?"
"Considering that you stormed out of rehearsal this evening I was wondering what the fuss was about," he said. "Plus, I wanted to see if what Coach Sylvester was ranting to Ryerson about was true."
"And did you find out?"
"Oh, it is," he replied, staying cloaked in the shadows of the empty school. "So much so, I told Ryerson to kiss my dummkopf and I quit the show."
"You quit?" Rachel was legitimately stunned. The Emcee was a role written for this actor and he quit.
"Don't sound so surprised," he said. "Actors leave their star-making roles all the time for a juicer one."
Rachel examined his face, which was half-covered by the darkness. "And what role is that?"
"As a member of glee," Rachel almost choked on the air when he said those words. "I audition tomorrow and I will get in."
He turned into the darkness.
"Until them, Fraulein Berry," he said, craning his head out of the darkness to reveal his face. "Auf wiedersehen! A bientot! Good night…"
"And good night to you, Herr Harmon," she said back. "I am overwhelmed."
A/N: And that was the first chapter of See It My Way. I'd love to hear what you guys think of it. Feel free to leave your opinions, critiques, and thoughts when you've finished reading.
Until next time, good morning, good afternoon, good night, and good luck to all the people of the world.