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.
It was night time. That magic time of the evening when the only people inside of a building were the lollygagging janitorial staff and hooligans out to cause trouble. In was during that time that a figure moved through the halls of William McKinley High School.
This figure was in the building to cause neither trouble or clean the building. No, his intentions were slightly more personal, if not a little unusual.
He crossed the halls covertly, knowing that if he were spotted he would either be tossed frm the building or be dragged into a spree of trouble-making that was about as uninventive as that terrifying gay love child of Pikachu and Sonic the Hedgehog.
That was not going to happen. When he reached his destination, he opened the door to the music room. Scanning around, he found no one.
"Good," he muttered to himself as he closed in on his final destination: The supply closet.
He opened the door and slipped right in. Shutting the door behind him, the small enclosed space was soon filled with the light, almost totally stealthy snores of one Jack Harmon.
"Just do what I do," Santana advised. "Don't say 'no'."
"Totally," Brittany stated, "what's the worst that could happen?"
There was an awkward silence as Santana nudged her friend, pointing over to the best answer to "what's the worst that could happen?"
The conversation continued, Mercedes citing that she couldn't wait for a guy to pissed at her for telling him 'no' while Tina mentioned Artie's insensitive speech about how she had to change her looks to be with him.
"Hey, guys," Mr. Schuester interjected, "don't wanna interrupt the sorority meeting, but are you really having that much boy trouble?"
"You wouldn't understand Mr. Schue. You're a guy." Quinn stated.
"It's just that-" Rachel stopped speaking for a moment; there was a new sound in the room. Was somebody snoring? "Does anyone else hear that?"
"Yeah," Quinn whispered.
"Where's it coming from?" Tina asked.
Mr. Schue and the others listened carefully. Well, Brittany cowered behind Santana as the other girls listened for the snore.
"Santana, what if it's a ghost?" Brittany asked.
"It's not a ghost, Britt," Santana gritted. "Ghosts aren't real."
"They are in the Scooby-Doo movies."
Mr. Schue and girls exchanged the usual "WTF" look that comes with being associated with Brittany before Rachel spoke up.
"I think it's coming from the supply closet."
The snore grew louder when they focused on the supply closet.
"Okay, one of us has to see what it is?"
Quinn looked at Rachel. "We do?"
"Yeah, Berry," Santana added. "I don't normally take the advice from Tubbers," Quinn shot a glare at Santana, "but…maybe we should get the hell out of here."
"I knew it was a ghost."
"What if it's the Chupacabra?"
Mercedes craned her head around to the dimwitted Cheerio, unsure of what to say. That seemed to be a rule in the glee club that, at least once a day, Brittany would say something that no one had a counter for. They would merely stare at her incredulously. Today was Mercedes' turn.
"It's probably nothing that bad…" Mr. Schue was at a loss.
"Besides," Mercedes added. "They're sleeping, whoever they are."
"Just don't get eaten," cautioned Brittany.
Mr. Schue approached the closet prudently, not realizing that Rachel and Quinn were a few steps behind him. He placed his hand on the doorknob and pulled the door open. A sharply-dressed figure fell from the closet and landed on the ground, not moving a muscle despite the force of its collision with the floor.
Mercedes moved first, turning the figure over. It was Jack, still snoring away. Rachel dropped to the ground and began shaking her friend.
"Jack? Jack? Jack?"
Quinn managed to crouch down next to the sleeping tenor and the diva trying to shake him awake. She started shaking Jack as well. Jack's eyes fluttered open; he yawned and stretched on the floor. He look at Rachel and then at Quinn.
"Oh man," he said groggily, "I'm having that dream again."
Rachel and Quinn exchanged surprised looks as Jack sat, taking notice to the other girls in the room.
"What in the hell are you guys doing in…" he looked around, losing any traction with this train of thought, "…the music room. Was I sleeping in the supply closet?"
"Yeah," Quinn replied.
Jack made a noise that sounded like a drone. "So long as I right about where I was sleeping."
He rubbed his head and pulled himself to his feet.
"Last time I sleep clothed," he stretched and began to walk toward the door. "Rachel, have I missed anything today?"
As the bell rang and the girls began to file out of the room, Quinn turned to Mr. Schue.
"The point is Mr. Schue, women still earn 70 cents to every dollar that a man does for the same job. That attitude starts in high school."
That left the teacher with some food for thought as the pregnant teen exited the room.
"What the hell was the Pregnoid yammering about?" Jack asked Rachel while they walked through the halls of McKinley. "I wasn't really listening. I heard something about 70 cents and I spaced out."
"She was talking about how, despite the great strides women have made, men still don't respect us the way that they should."
Jack nodded. "Makes sense. That's kind of why I'm glad I'm a guy. No offense."
"None taken," Rachel said. "So, why were you sleeping in the supply closet?"
"A very good question," he replied. "One that I can try to field later, but we have to clear the air about something that's been weighing on my mind for the last couple of days."
"All right," Rachel said, bracing for whatever bombshell her friend was about to drop.
"I know you're seeing Jesse!"
"What? No! No, I'm not." Beat. "How did you know?"
Jack laughed. "There's not a lot of things that take place in the glee club that I don't know. I'm just letting you know that I personally think you did the right thing not telling anyone."
"You're not upset?" Rachel asked. "Because I know we said that we wouldn't withhold the truth about anything from each other."
"I fine with it." He wasn't. "I just wish you had told me sooner. I'm a lot more helpful in Romeo and Juliet situations when I know what the hell's going on." He is.
"Thank you." Rachel hugged her friend. "Now that that's out of the way. Why were you sleeping in the supply closet?"
"I'll tell you later," Jack said, popping open his locker door and his satchel dropping into his arms. "You have a class to get too and so do I."
Rachel pursed her lips. Best not to push. Jack would tell her why when he wanted to. Considering that he kept his mouth shut about her and Jesse, it was the least she could do.
Now, you must being asking yourself, Constant Reader, why is Jack sleeping in a supply closet? And maybe you're not. Well, regardless of whether or not you are wondering, I'll tell why.
As it has been stated, Jack is the son of one of the most successful men to ever live in Lima…possibly the world if not for all of those frivolous lawsuits. Unfortunately for young Mr. Harmon, that success comes at a price. The price being, sometimes, Jack is left alone for extended periods of time.
Such was the case only yesterday. He had returned home.
"Dad?" Jack called out as he stepped into the foyer of the well-maintained Tudor-style mansion he and his father called home. "Dad?"
Jack crossed into the hallway, entering Kristopher's office. The old man was nowhere to be found.
"Dad?" Jack repeated, shutting the door and heading for the kitchen.
He crossed the island where he spotted a note. His eyes perused it. His father had been called out of country because of an experiment gone wrong in Marrakesh. He couldn't go into details, but if they didn't want a repeat of the whole Chernobyl Farm incident, he wouldn't be in town for a few weeks.
Jack placed the note in the garbage can and sighed. Looking around the empty house, he found himself, for the first time, in a long time, unsure of what to do.
Rachel and Jesse were going to a Wiggles concert. He was thankful for the bugs he had placed all over the school especially the library where the two had their clandestine rendezvous. A little melodramatic for his taste, but he could see where Rachel would be drawn in.
No, it was best to leave her to her date. She wanted something like this for so long that she didn't need her friend ruining it for her because he was lonely.
Jack took a seat in the living room, turning on the television. He wasn't really interested in the repeats of I Love New York, but the cacophonous sound of the irritating slut and her foul-mouthed suitors was, at least, a reprieve from the silence.
That reprieve didn't last long. That was when Jack decided to return to the school. A place where there were people, if only for a few more hours.
In hindsight, that had not been one of his better plans, so he had to find another way to be surrounded by people when his father wasn't around. A place where no one knew him or cared about why he was spending time in the place he was spending time.
New Directions was in the choir room, waiting for Mr. Schuester to arrive. Yesterday, he had assigned a brand new project. They were tackling Madonna. Not one of Jack's favorite singers, but any woman that was talented enough to have Sondheim do an entire movie soundtrack for her certainly had a good quality or two.
Regardless of his personal feelings, Jack had to disagree with Mr. Schue's reasoning for creating this assignment. Jack was a firm supporter of equal rights. I mean, what's the fun of making fun of people that weren't on equal footing? But, he felt that this was not the time for the sort of lesson. Regionals was only a few months away and they needed to focus on that, not on empowering themselves.
"How are we doing on the assignment?" Mr. Schue asked.
"I gotta repeat what I said before, Mr. Schue," Puck was the first to speak. "This assignment sucks. Madonna is all about female empowerment. Sure, for girls, that's cool. But, for guys, it's a whole different story."
"Ahem," Kurt cleared his throat.
"Sorry," Puck groaned. "I mean real guys."
"Oh, that is just wrong," Kurt turned his head as Jack snickered.
Quinn looked to her boyfriend, "You know, Puck, I for one think Madonna's music can translate to males as well as females. Granted, not as much. But still."
"What if Madonna was a guy," Brittany wondered, "would she be Man-donna?"
"Lord knows I hate to agree with Jew-Jock," Jack said. "But, he's right. This assignment is garbage; Madonna has no business being in show choir. We should focus on Regionals, not personal empowerment."
"I'm surprised, Jack," Rachel said. "I thought you would be up for the challenge?"
"Challenge?" he chuckled sarcastically. "Please, I'm in no way discrediting her talent, but I'll repeat what I said. She has no business in show choir."
"You fear Madonna," Tina smirked.
"Jack Harmon fears nothing," he said confidently.
"Be that as it may," Rachel pressed. "Me thinks Jack is afraid of performing Madonna."
"Refer to my previous statement."
"Then prove it," Mitchell said, standing up and walking to the center of the room with more confidence than a writer pitching a good show to a Fox executive. "How about a bet?"
Jack cocked a brow, intrigued.
"Hey now," Mr. Schuster said. "What's this about?"
"I was planning on doing a Madonna number," Mitchell said, a grin on his father.
"Are you serious, Bambi?" Jack asked.
"So, what's the bet?" Artie asked.
"Assuming that I'll agree to it," Jack said.
"We both perform Madonna songs," Mitchell explained, "whoever does better, as voted by our friends, wins."
"Hmmm," Jack stood, pondering the proposal. "Could be interesting." It was interesting. "Okay, I'll agree as long as if I win…" He had to make this one good. "New Directions must be renamed…Jack Harmon's New Directions."
"Dude, I don't like this," Finn said.
"Agreed," Mitchell nodded.
"Wait, don't we get a say in this?" Santana mentioned.
"If I win," Mitchell's tone of confident, bordering on arrogant, "then you have to call us all by our real names for the rest of the year."
Did all the air just leave the room?
"Impossible," Jack shook his head. "It isn't by choice, I simply don't remember."
"But, you remember our nicknames," Mercedes pointed out.
"True," Jack agreed, "but, only because they're easier than real names."
"Then we'll pick new nicknames and you'll remember them," Mitchell offered.
"The Almighty Puckasauras," Puck supplied, smirking.
Mercedes tossed out hers, "Chocolate Thunder."
"Gold Star," Rachel said.
"The Hottest Bitch in Lima," was Santana's choice.
Bitch was one of many words used to describe her…
"Mr. Schuester," Brittany said.
"No, that's what I want my nickname to be; Mr. Schuester."
"Now that frightens me," Jack shuddered. "But, if it means that my name will be plastered across every one of your chests, then so be it. Yes, our outfits will feature my name and likeness. Bambi, it's a bet."
Jack placed his hand out and offered it to Mitchell. The taller boy tilted his head to make sure Jack wasn't wearing a joy buzzer before he finally shook his hand.
"You know you got me burning up, baby," Mitchell sang and danced in the cafeteria, showing more confidence and theatricality than Jack had ever seen in the teen. "You know you got me burning up baby."
The entire room had erupted into a massive dance sequence. He was going for the kill, Quinn seemed into the performance, everything in her body language indicated it.
Mitchell moved in close, right in front of Quinn, inches away, "Burning up for your love!" He exclaimed. "Burning up for your love!"
Jack slipped into the shadows. He would have to bring his 'A-game' to trump the kid, but there was something else that he noticed. Mitchell and Quinn were close, really close. To the point where they looked as though they were about to kiss.
"So," he heard Mitchell ask, "Can I count on your vote?"
Quinn was about to answer when Puck came storming out of nowhere toward the two.
"You're done, Mason!" Puck hollered, pulling the moment about, "I told you to back off!"
"You were just flirting with cheerleaders!" Mitchell retaliated.
Jack rested against the wall; this was starting to get interested. Though he had to confess, Mitchell's emotional performance was unexpected. Maybe the kid stood a chance against him after all.
"Stop!"Quinn commanded, moving in between Puck and Mitchell. "Puck, this is just a show for Mitchell's assignment and the bet with Jack."
"We had to pull out all the stops," Quinn designed the lie, "Honestly, would you rather have Jack win and have us be at his mercy for Regionals?"
That stung a little bit.
'I'm not that bad.'
'Yeah, you kind of are.'
'Oh, shut up. I didn't ask your opinion.'
Quinn ripped into the two boys, both of whom had a look on their face that was a cross between anger, shame, and absolute defeat.
She pointed to them both. "Stay away from me!"
And like that, she was out of the cafeteria so fast that she didn't even bother to notice that Jack was standing by the doors. He watched the pregnant girl vanish from sight and turned his attention back to the scene in cafeteria.
For one to understand how this was playing out in Mr. Harmon's head, one must remember that for almost all of his life, Jack has gone after the things he's wanted. To him that was the true meaning of empowerment.
However, in a few moments, Mitchell Mason had shown that he had something of that same spark that Jack had always possessed. He was going after something he wanted.
Empowerment had brought him to this and it hadn't ended the way he thought it would. It was something for Mr. Harmon to think about.
Jack was lying in a motel room, trying to sleep. The sounds of people entering and leaving the room had relaxed him, but the sounds of the more disreputable noises that rang from the rooms that surrounded the room that Jack was currently in.
The motel was another attempt at circumventing his loneliness without having to ask for help. Again, it was not one of his better ideas, but it was better than nothing…and it gave him some ideal blackmail information for later in the future.
"So, you want a room for the night?" the clerk repeated from behind his desk, his tone that of indifference to the idea that he might be providing a minor with a motel room.
"Yeah," Jack replied, sliding a crisp 50 dollar bill across the desk.
"Well," the clerk eyed the money before handing Jack the room key, "Mr. Grant, I hope you enjoy your stay."
"Same here." Jack took the key and walked up the stairs to the third floor.
He made his way to the third floor, spotting something out of the corner of his eye. He saw Finn standing outside of a room. He seemed hesitant, as if he was weighing the situation at hand.
Jack slipped into the shadows, watching as the door opened to reveal Santana Lopez standing in the doorway.
"I thought you'd never show up," she said, seductively leading Finn into her little den of iniquity.
The blonde tenor watched the door close, making a note to remember this moment for future reference.
Jack sat up from the bed and sighed. This plan wasn't working either. Maybe it was time to swallow his pride and accept the fact that he was actually getting used to having friends.
"I'm glad you two could be here," Jack said, leading Finn and Rachel into the music room. "I've been going through my catalogue of songs and I think I've found the perfect song to trump Bambi with."
Jack cleared his throat and the jazz band entered the room.
"Granted, it's not as big as what he did…"
"You saw that?" Finn asked.
"Yeah," Jack said.
"I didn't see you there," the tall teen said.
"I'm a shadow, Gigantor," Jack stated. "Most people don't even know I'm in the room until it's too late."
Finn looked at Rachel, who shrugged at her dramatic friend's statement.
"So," Rachel asked, "what's the song?"
"Crazy for You,"Jack answered. "It's one of my favorite Madonna songs. And, it shows that empowerment doesn't need to be grandiose."
"That's stunning coming from you," Rachel said.
Jack laughed, patting Rachel on the shoulder. "You're finally learning."
Finn watched the easy interplay between the two. It had always been something that made him a little jealous. But, when he and Rachel were sort of together, it wasn't so insecure about the friendship. Now, they weren't. But, Rachel was with Jesse…All of this drama was starting to make Finn's head hurt.
"You okay, Apache Chief?" Jack asked. "I figured, as the captains, you two could check out what I'm planning to do for the others. A sort of preview of coming attractions, if you will."
Jack took off his jacket, resting it on a nearby seat. He stepped to the center of the music room, turning to the band leader.
"If you may," Jack commanded.
With a snap of his fingers the docile sounds of one of Madonna's greatest hits filled the air. Jack walked to the piano, resting his elbows on the instrument and he began to sing:
"Swaying room as the music starts, strangers making the most of the dark; two by two their bodies become one." \
He pulled himself onto the piano with a flawlessly fluid motion.
"I see you through the smoky air; can't you feel the weight of my stare? You're so close but still a world away, what I'm dying to say, is that…"
Jack's gaze locked on Rachel, who was watching her friend sing as she ignored the visibly jealous Finn.
"I'm crazy for you, touch me once and you'll know it's true I never wanted anyone like this, it's all brand new, you'll feel it in my kiss, I'm crazy for you, crazy for you."
The band switched gears, Jack twisting around on the piano, stretching out across it. When Jack rolled over, he was singing to the assembled members of the glee club.
"Trying hard to control my heart," he practically purred in the direction of Santana, "I walk over to where you are; eye to eye we need no words at all."
Jack leapt off of the piano and glided across the room gracefully, confidence in each movement.
He fell to his knees in front of Tina and Brittany, a cocky smirk on his face as he serenaded the two, "Slowly now we begin to move," he slithered across the floor, stopping at Santana, "every breath I'm deeper into you." She wretched and looked away as he threw up his hands and Mike and Matt grabbed them and launched him into the waiting arms of Kurt, who looked ready to push him to the floor. "Soon we two are standing still in time," he spun around in Kurt's lap, singing in Rachel's direction, "if you read my mind, you'll see…"
Leaping to his feet, his arms extended, Jack was in his element and in all his glory.
"I'm crazy for you, touch me once and you'll know it's true. I never wanted anyone like this, it's all brand new, you'll feel it in my kiss, you'll feel it in my kiss because…"
The sound repeated itself as Jack sang into the finale of the song: "I'm crazy for you, touch me once and you'll know it's true. I never wanted anyone like this, it's all brand new, you'll feel it in my kiss…I'm crazy for you…Crazy for you…Crazy for you…Crazy for you…"
The music began to fade out as he swayed to the music.
"It's all brand new, I'm crazy for you…And you know it's true, I'm crazy, crazy for you…Its all brand new, I'm crazy for you…And you know it's true, yeah, I'm crazy for you…Crazy for you baby…I'm crazy for you…"
The song ended and Jack took a bow.
"So, what's the good word?" he asked confidently, cracking his neck and back. That sojourn in the motel was real murder. But, hey, it was a place that had people.
What he got from his cohorts was dead air. Clearly the glee club was either not behind the performance, were still pissed at him for his and Mitchell's wager, or they were still against him for his past…indiscretions against them.
"I liked it," Mr. Schue finally broke the silence. "You took a Madonna classic and made your own."
Jack turned to his teacher and smiled. "Thank you, Mr. Schue. It wasn't all that difficult to be honest. Just a few alterations here and there to suit my suprerior voice and I had a masterpiece."
An annoyed Puck exited the room, soon followed by Kurt, Mercedes, and soon, everyone was gone but Mr. Schue and Rachel.
"As terrifying and undemocratic as the wager you and Mitchell have made," Rachel began, "I would have to say you might have this one in the bag."
"Damn right." Jack was confident.
Sure, Bambi had pulled out a surprising move in the cafeteria, but that didn't mean that
Jack would lose. It was just one of those things, like water being wet.
The boys, sans Mitchell, had wrapped up their performance of "What It Feels Like for a Girl" when Puck spoke up.
"I am not down with this, I like being a dude."
"They must be playing a fun game of miracles in Heaven today," Jack commented, "because I agree with this guy."
Puck was just a few moments away from flipping Jack off when he spotted Mr. Schue's disapproving eye.
"That's because it's easy to be a dude," Finn showing a shocking amount of clarity.
But, Puck was quickly on him. "Mr. Schue, I think we're going to need a new baritone 'cause Finn would like to become Finnessa."
Mr. Schue, ever the peacekeeper, nipped any fight in the bud. "Finn has a point. I mean, haven't you realized how low morale has been lately?"
"I have," Artie added. "I think the way I've been treating Tina may have sent her over the edge."
He then told the story of how a simple 'hello' to Tina turned into a rant about her own empowerment.
"It's funny," Jack said to Kurt, "Rachel's my friend, but I'm beginning to love Jinx."
"Mr. Schue's right," Finn added. "We've been treating the girls like crap. Not caring about their feelings, not listening, objectifying. That's the right word?"
'Of course he couldn't hold onto a woman. He couldn't even hold onto the right word.'
"As an honorary girl," Kurt cut in, "I have to agree. This team shouldn't work, but it does because we respect each other's talent."
Everyone in the room missed it, but Jack's eyebrows went up on that statement.
"And if want to make it to the next level, we have to start respecting each other as the individuals, really see each other."
'It was pretty ballsy of him to make the challenge. And morale is pretty low…maybe we could…'
"Why were you singing with us, Mr. Schue?"
Mr. Schue bit his lip. "Because, apparently, I need to learn that lesson."
"Fine," Puck said, "but I am not singing this song."
"We don't have to. We just have to make things right with the girls, show them we get how it feels."
'It doesn't have to be just the girls.'
The next New Directions meeting was a sour one, to say the least. Everyone who meant something to anyone in the group was scattered to four corners of the room. Jack could understand why. Which was why he never flirted with the girls in the club, just made things awkward.
Regardless, there was something he had to do. Not just for the sake of Mitchell, whom he would stomp on any given Sunday, but for the rest of the group as well.
He had to nip the Madonna-Off in the bud. Jack stood up from his chair and cleared his throat.
"In light of the current lack of any strand of positive energy in this club at the moment, I've come to a conclusion that I would now like to present to Bambi," he gestured to Mitchell.
"What?" Mitchell looked terrible. He knew if he lost the bet he would be hated by the club, maybe a couple of members would hate him even more than they already did.
This was not lost on Jack, who merely smirked.
"Draw," Jack said.
Rachel was in utter shock. "Jack Harmon offering a draw?"
"What's the catch?" Mitchell asked quickly. There was always a catch with Jack Harmon.
At least, that was the common belief.
"I realize how hard it is for any of you to accept that this is me being genuine," Jack said. "But, it is. Obviously, nobody is in the mood for something like this. And, it wouldn't be fair to either of us if you voted now."
"No catch?" Finn wondered.
Jack shook his head.
"Deal," Mitchell spoke up.
Jack nodded his head and returned to his seat next to Rachel. Meanwhile, Mr. Schuester went out of the choir room for a quick minute.
"That was very nice of you, Jack," Rachel whispered.
"We're divided enough as it is right now, voting over something would just make it all the worse."
Oh, and you know how some things keep getting worse for some people? Well, this is the part of the story where the ND kids are given theirs. Mr. Schuester walked into the glee club with its newest member: Jesse St. James!
Tonight was not a good night for Jack Harmon. He had always been a light sleeper. It was part of the reason why he wished he had a soundproof room, but if he didn't hear everything going on in his house, how would be know if his father was in trouble?
So, in hindsight, the fact that he was trying to sleep in a truck stop might appear to have been a really bad idea. The sounds of the trucks had woken him up and, on one occasion, caused him to fall to the floor of his car, the heater for the backseat gabbing him in the lower back. That, coupled with having the twist and turn to find the right sleeping combination, made for a rather miserable night.
But, there were still people in the general vicinity.
Jack had managed to lose the others by the time he reached his destination. He waited for Mitchell to complete the process of getting his books settled in his bag before he took a breath and shouted:
Mitchell almost left the floor, whipping around to confront the balladeer. The rest of his body, of course, didn't bother to tell his legs he wanted to turn and he soon went tumbling to the ground.
"I have to confess," Jack said, "that was very amusing."
Mitchell glared at Jack, standing up and making sure his legs were completely straight for the confrontation he had been waiting for since he challenged Jack to a Madonna-Off.
"Of course you thought it was funny." Mitchell's tone was biting.
"Bambi, I wanted to talk to you." Jack bid Mitchell to follow him.
Mitchell refused to move. Granted, this empowerment thing via the Madonna assignment had sort of blown up in his face, he had learned that standing your ground against one Jack Harmon was the only way to get what you wanted when dealing with him. This was not lost on Jack, who smiled wickedly.
"I see you're not going to make this easy," Jack said. "Alright, I'll give you this one. I was with the guys and we were discussing something important. About making amends with the people we've wronged. They've pissed off the girls and, I must confess, that I may have overstepped my bounds a couple of weeks ago."
He didn't have to elaborate for Mitchell to understand what he was talking about.
"And I wanted to say that-" How could he apologize without saying the words? "-that you'll never have to worry about it again."
"Why apologize now?"
"It wasn't an apology," A big honking lie, "it was more of an assurance. I confess that you and the Pregnoid would make a rather good couple." He raised his finger to silence Mitchell. "But, I also mention this because of one other thing. You stood up to me."
Mitchell's eyes conveyed a sense of curiosity.
"I'm still not sure what place she has in show choir, but Madonna gave a castrated lamb back his testes. And big brass ones at that."
"For all the good it did me," Mitchell said under his breath. Though it was more a soto voce under his breath as Jack heard every word.
"Doing something brave and brazen can sometimes backfire," Jack said with a shrug. "You shouldn't worry about that."
With that Jack turned on his heel and moved down the hall, a look of satisfaction on his face. Maybe it hadn't helped out Mitchell, but it had allowed Jack to get something off of his chest.
Now, he had to take care of one last thing…
Jesse was standing in the hallway, searching for Rachel.
"Looking for the sophomore lockers?" Jack appeared behind the curly-haired performer.
"Yeah," Jesse said, clutching his chest.
"Sorry about that," Jack said.
"You snuck up on me."
"I'm very good at that." Jack returned to the original topic. "I know where they are." He extended his hand. "Jack Harmon, by the way."
"I know who you are" Jesse said, shaking the blonde balladeer's hand. "You're kind of hard to miss in glee. And I've seen some of your work on the internet."
"Flattered." He really was. "But, um, I want to talk to you about something important. Well, someone important."
Jesse raised an eyebrow as Jack motioned him to follow.
"You're dating my friend," Jack explained, leading Jesse down the hallway. "Rachel is not just my friend; she's my best friend and, quite honestly, my only friend."
"I respect that," Jesse said. "I know I may have been monopolizing her time…"
"I have no problem with her dating you," Jack said. "But, I want to make one thing perfectly clear. My only goals in this sphere of time are that everything that happens is for the betterment of the glee club and, and this is very important, to make sure she's happy."
Jack turned in on Jesse, almost pinning the senior against one of the closed classroom doors.
"Keep that in mind if you're playing this club or playing her," he said in a threatening whisper. "Because if you're doing either one, I will shave off all that pretty hair of yours and use your bald head as target practice with my paintball gun." Jesse's eyes widened at this turn of events. "Are we solid?" Jack stepped back and extended his hand.
"Can't say you've given me much choice," Jesse was kind of intimidated, but he tried not to show it. Jack seemed to be as overly dramatic as both Rachel and himself. Best to let him live in his little fantasy world.
He extended his hand to Jack.
"Splendid," Jack said. "Now, let's go find Rachel."
When they did find Rachel, she was talking to Finn. About what was anybody's guess, but Jesse took this as the opportunity to slide up behind her and challenge Finn to a sing-off in the parking lot.
What happened next surprised even Jack Harmon. Finn extended his hand to Jesse and welcomed him to the group.
Jack walked over to the couple. "I'm not sure what to make of that," he said. "But, I'm on your side because you're dating my friend."
Rachel smiled. Her boyfriend was a part of her glee club and he had hit it off with her best friend. And she didn't have to work as an intermediary. Things were starting to look up.
Rachel was alone on a darkened stage, stepping into the dim spotlight.
"Life is a mystery," she sang, "everyone must stand alone. I hear you call my name and it feels like home…"
The spotlight came up and the rest of the New Directions appeared, singing in unison.
"When you call my name, it's like a little prayer. I'm down on my knees," they spun to the ground on their knees, before popping back to their feet in concert, "I wanna take you there. In the midnight hour, I can feel your power, just like a prayer, you know I'll take you there."
They split off again, this time letting Finn stand in center.
"I hear your voice," he sang, "it's like an angel sighing."
At the corner of stage, Kurt took his cue, "I have no choice; I hear your voice, feels like flying."
He gave Mercedes a peck on the cheek as she took her solo.
"I close my eyes, oh God, I think I'm falling. Out of the sky, I close my eyes; let the choir sing, Oohhhhh…"
Jack turned to the center of the top row, signaling for the curtains on the stage to come up. When they were raised, a church choir emerged from the shadows, joining in with the glee.
"When you call my name, it's like a little prayer. I'm down on my knees, I wanna take you there. In the midnight hour, I can feel your power, just like a prayer, you know I'll take you there."
Jack leapt to front of the line, the choir singing as he joined with his friend, who were dancing and harmonizing with the choir.
"Just like a prayer, I'll take you there. It's like a dream to me…"
The movements of the New Directions were a little off, but they were loose and, as much as it pained Jack to agree with Finn, the tall co-captain had been right. They were best when they were loose. The group may not have been popping on all cylinders, but they were on their way back.
"Just like a prayer, your voice can take me there. Just like a muse to me, you are a mystery. Just like a dream, you are not what you seem. Just like a prayer, no choice your voice can take me there!"
And maybe, that was something Jack could take to heart.
Jack was about to lie down on the couch. He was tired, too tired to even want to be around people. Who knew doing the right thing could be so taxing? Had he'd known, he would've crushed Bambi and been a total ass to everyone so he would have some energy by the time the day was over.
Still, the glee club was back to working together…Well, there were still a few bugs in system, but nothing that couldn't be fixed. Jack, much to his own, surprise actually had faith that one of the groups' many love triangles would work itself out without his interference.
He was about to lie down when he heard a knock on his door.
"Odd," he thought aloud.
Reaching underneath the couch, he produced a .357 Magnum his father always had for safe keeping, and walked toward the door.
Looking through the peephole, he saw something that surprised. It was Rachel and Jesse, bearing a cavalcade of musical DVDs and bootlegs of other shows that had yet to be made into movies.
He opened the door.
"I have to say I wasn't expecting you guys here," Jack said.
"Well," Rachel said, pushing past her friend, "it's come to my attention that, in the throes of my unending bliss," Jesse smiled at that one, "I may have forgotten one of the most important people in my life."
Jack, who had hid the gun behind the door, slipped the hammer back onto the pin and turned on the safety.
"And that would be?" he asked coyly.
Rachel arched an eyebrow at Jack. "You. Jesse suggested that there was a great way to spend time with the both of you."
"We come bearing the musicals of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. And few surprises," Jesse said from the doorway. "So long as you're not too busy this evening."
Jack looked at Jesse and then to Rachel.
"I don't have anything planned," he said.
And he hadn't. Not to mention, he didn't have to beg and plead for companionship after all. His pride was saved again.
Rachel let out a celebratory giggle, throwing her arms around Jack before grabbing Jesse's hand and leading him into Jack's living room.
"What's first on the docket?" Jack asked, slipping the gun into a nearby alcove in the wall. You know, that secret spot in everyone's house where you hid weapons? That alcove.
"I was thinking, maybe," Rachel was at her animated best, "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying." She turned to Jesse. "And then, Jesse has a copy of Spring Awakenings that he, himself, recorded when he went to see the show live."
"I was almost busted," Jesse said, "but it was worth every moment of heart-stopping terror."
Jack took a seat next to the couple as Rachel turned on the television and the movie began.
A/N: Looks like the story isn't dead. I'm hoping to do more work on it in the coming weeks. I've been pushing myself to get started because I want to get to the second and third seasons before the year is up.
Though, I must confess, this was not what I truly had in mind when I started this chapter. Hopefully, it's as good as the previous ones because I'm not so sure.
Regardless, it's not up to me to decide. It's up to you, the readers to give me the word on the chapter's worth. I can't wait to see what you guys thought.