When John Arnold informed the cops that he had witnessed Thomas Harding attack Rachel Berry while she was running on Sunday morning, the authorities formally arrested the eighteen year old and charged him with assault.
Even though Tom's lawyer tried to bargain with the prosecutor handling the case, the attorney refused to accept any deal because she had such a strong case. Aside from Rachel, John would act as a witness. His testimony would not only include the assault on Sunday, but he would attest to being that Tom told him that he vandalized Rachel's locker, as well as those of eight other student, and that he smashed a brick through a window in the Berry house to intimidate her. Other evidence included Tom's DNA, which was found under Rachel Berry's fingernails from where she scratched him in her attempt to get away (the detectives had taken samples when they interviewed her at the Lopez residence) as well as on her running tank top and shorts, Tom's blood having been transferred onto them from when Rachel punched him in the nose. Although not as strong as the DNA and witness testimony, there were also two surveillance tapes being submitted into evidence: that of a hooded figure entering McKinley High School via the north side entrance and another of Thomas and Rachel Berry sitting outside the Lima Bean Wednesday afternoon.
The prosecutor was also going tack on a hate crime penalty enhancer due to the fact that Thomas physically attacked Rachel for no other reason than her religious beliefs. Realizing that the only way he could best serve his client under these circumstances, Harding's lawyer had to take the case to trial. He lost, of course – please, even if they had no evidence, once the jury got a look at Rachel's Bambi-eyes it was all over for the eighteen-year old. After he was found guilty, Rachel didn't stay for sentencing. Yes, she was glad Thomas Harding would be made to take responsibility for his crimes, but she took no pleasure in watching a family loosing a child to prison.
"Why didn't you stay for the whole thing?" Puck asked after he had found his girlfriend – they made it official two days after prom who had left the courtroom. Rachel was seated on the steps outside the courthouse.
"Hearing the guilty verdict was enough for me." Rachel shrugged. Deciding not to push the issue, Puck changed topics.
"So, you all packed for New York?" The New Directions were competing in three days.
"I've actually been backed for six days," she said sheepishly. Puck laughed.
"Of course you have." When he saw Rachel blush he added, "I love your crazy." Rachel smiled.
"It's not crazy, Noah, it's preparedness."
"Hey, crazy, prepared, I dig it." He said with his palms facing outward.
"That's very sweet, Noah."
The New Directions landed in New York Thursday at noon. Even though it was raining when they arrived in the Big Apple they all had smiles on their faces. The skies cleared up by three Mr. Schuester, accompanied by Coach Beiste – as if one man could handle chaperoning these kids – treated the kids to a red-bus sight seeing tour. Rachel went through an entire memory stick in one hour; she wasn't the only one. Although they did practice in one of the conference halls in the hotel, they spent the majority of the day before the competition begging and succeeding in getting Mr. Schue to let them do more sight seeing.
On the day of the competition Kurt did an amazing job with Mika's Happy Ending; it honestly sounded as if the New Directions was made up of fifty singers rather than just thirteen. Their second song was Seasons of Love. They had been afraid that another choir was going cover the song since it was just such a perfect show choir piece, but luckily they were the only group that decided to celebrate Jonathan Larson's brilliance. Then the New Directions closed with Reach for the Sun by the Polymorphic Spree. When they left the stage the McKinley students and their director were very proud of themselves. They advanced to the finals where Rachel performed The Show Must Go On by Queen and the entire group sang Arcade Fire's Wake Up. They were flawless; but so were the other finalists. Even though they didn't win, their third place trophy took the sting out of the loss.
Thank you to everyone who followed this story! You guys are amazing! PS If anyone knows RM tell him Lea Michelle MUST sing the Show Must Go On – that song was MADE for Rachel Berry.