Author's Notes: Based on the prompt from the glee_angst_meme:
"Did anyone else notice that Artie seemed SUPER enthusiastic during Blaine's audition? I haven't seen him look at anyone like that since before he broke up with Brittany.
So I'm thinking Artie has developed a sudden crush on Blaine. This confuses and upsets him for most of the obvious reasons. Challenging his impression that he's straight, the fact that Blaine has a boyfriend who, while maybe not quite a friend is at least someone Artie respects.
So, of course, Artie has lots of angst on the subject...and if Blaine does take the role of Tony that will put the two of them in close proximity, but in a professional sense. Having to be professionally close to somebody you're falling for a little more every time you see them? Lots of potential angst."
He's never been one for the whole love-at-first-sight thing.
He doesn't get how it would work. How can you make that judgment with that little to go on? He fell in love with Tina slowly, because she understood him and stood by him, was there. He fell in love with Brittany for her sunshine and hope, just making everything a little bit better. Those are the sorts of things that actually matter.
Sure, he's been attracted to girls on little evidence before; completely captivated, even, but it's never lasted for more than three weeks.
For such a nerd, he's never really bothered cataloging any of those feelings.
When he sees Blaine's audition, it's stunning. Amazing. He wants to be up there with him, in the music; he'd do anything to be a part of that. He doesn't really think the feelings through. He guesses that's just what a really brilliant performance does.
It's all he can manage after the performance to come back into reality, catch his breath, be professional. He does what he has to, and looks down at the sheet. Audition sheet, right, because this is a proper audition with procedure and other fun things.
"Wait," he says. "It says here you're only auditioning for the role of Bernardo."
Blaine nods, clearly a little red and out of breath. "Or Officer Krupke, either," he says.
Artie's not sure what to do. "Well – would you mind reading for Tony?"
Blaine doesn't answer. He doesn't answer for a good long time. Something suddenly spikes up in Artie; like he's lost a support harness and is hanging on by a very thin thread. Understandably, it's not the most pleasant feeling he's ever had. He needs Blaine to answer right now. He needs Blaine to say yes.
Disturbingly, he feels like he's being watched.
Blaine hesitates some more before finally coming to the deeply inconclusive conclusion: "I – I don't know."
"Why – why not?" Artie asks, wincing as that question comes out far higher and more confused than he meant it to. Professional, Artie, he tells himself, and frowns at the weird tone his internal monologue takes on there. Does his internal monologue even have tone?
"Well, the lead usually goes to a senior..." Blaine says.
"That might be typical, but–"
"And I feel like I need to catch up on work for the new school, so I might not have time, plus there's stuff for Glee and..."
"...And?" Artie's got that feeling like Blaine's not telling them something, and what kind of director would he be if he didn't fully explore what's blocking his actors options?
"...Well – this is gonna sound stupid, just to warn you – but, uh, I kind of wanted to play opposite Kurt's Tony. This meant a lot to him, and I don't want to – uh – steal his thunder, I guess. Does this make sense?"
Oh yeah. Kurt. Artie feels a sinking feeling, remembering human people with human relationships and the effect that has on The Art. "...I see."
"It's okay, Blaine, there's no pressure," Miss Pilsbury says, turning to Artie and possibly giving him some kind of wary look. Oh, right, there are other people here. Embarrassed, he turns away from Miss Pilsbury's look only to realize Coach Bieste has a much worse one. Out of options, he turns back to Blaine.
Blaine sighs. "Look, I'll think about it, alright? I mean, it's not like I wouldn't like to be lead, it's just... complicated."
"It's alright, Blaine, we understand," Artie bursts in, sounding as professional as he can. "We'll uh, give you a few days, go through the rest of the auditions, and I'll get back to you later, okay?"
"Great," says Blaine, grinning. "Well, uh, see ya tomorrow I guess."
"See ya, kid," says Coach Bieste. "Hey, is he uh, last for today?"
Miss Pilsbury checks the sheet. "Yes, he is," she says. "Alright then, well, goodbye."
"Hey, you need some help getting down the stairs?" asks Bieste.
"Oh, I'm fine; the ramp's right there," he points to it, and sees Blaine getting his things, climbing off the stage and heading towards the door. He feels an uncharacteristically childish urge to beat him there.
He gets to the ramp and heads down as quick as he can, but of course, Blaine was much closer to begin with. "Damn you for defeating me," he says.
"You got to the door first."
Blaine laughs. "I see. See you tomorrow, Artie!"
Artie smiles. "See you."
When he gets home, his thought processes don't really change. He's thinking about the musical and it's casting.
He's still thinking Blaine would be a perfect Tony – maybe opposite Rachel or Mercedes, he's not sure. Even Tina, if he can convince her to audition (she keeps saying when she had to do Tonight, she blew the last note, but he's reasonably suspicious that on one level or another, she did that on purpose). Of course, he has to make Blaine willing first, but... Maybe he should think about people outside the Glee club actually. That guy who's also in his calculus class was pretty good (Aaron? Arnold? Something beginning with an A.) Still, the Glee club has the most experience in these sorts of things. Maybe it's a touch egocentric, but... well, of the auditions they've seen, the best ones mostly were from the Glee club.
Admittedly, not that many people from outside the Glee club were willing to audition, which may be a factor, but still.
So, preferred cast so far. Blaine as Tony. Probably Rachel as Maria. Tina as something, because he is not letting her get away with not being part of it. And Kurt as something, because he was freaking amazing in his first audition, if not, y'know, Tony.
That is going to be very awkward to explain.
He sighs. For a desired cast, it's very incomplete. A little haphazard. The only person he's really certain of is Blaine, who he might not be able to get anyway. Damn those human beings with emotions and choices and such.
He looks towards the clock, wondering when dinner will be. 6:15, the clock says. Wow, he really spent over an hour and a half thinking about all this? He hasn't even considered most of the minor roles!
He hasn't really considered anything but Blaine's audition.
Artie frowns at how that thought comes out. Okay, yeah, he needs to think about the rest of things. Again, that A-guy would probably get a major role, even if giving him that would probably require memorizing his name...
His thoughts slip back to Blaine's audition anyway. Who'd best play opposite him? He and Rachel had that thing last year, which could either help the performance, or just make everything awkward and piss of Kurt. Artie's starting to get a little annoyed by having to think about Kurt while doing all this. Selfish, but he just wants what's best for the show. And what's best for the show is, he's pretty sure, Blaine.
"Artie!" There's a knock on his door and his mother calling. "Are you going to leave your room and/or computer at any point, and prove to us you're still alive? Because you don't get cooked dinner if you don't!"
"Yeah, fine Mom!" he calls back. "I'm just thinking about the casting for the school musical."
"Huh?" He hears his mother open the door and come in. "Oh right, they asked you to help direct that, didn't they?" He turns around and nods at her, and she looks over her shoulder. "Oh, well ain't that a sight for sore eyes. Your computer's not on."
He rolls his eyes and says "Yes, mother," getting a laugh.
"So," she says, "how's it going? The musical, I mean."
He shrugs. "Fairly well, so far," he says. "I mean, it's not overly developed, but we haven't even finished auditions yet, so y'know."
Mom nods along. "Any standouts so far?"
He hesitates for a moment, but then realizes he doesn't really have a reason to hesitate. "...Yeah. Yeah, there is," he says with a confident grin.
Mom gives him a weird look. "Okay, what's that smile for? Let me guess – some girl auditioned and you've taken a liking?"
She chuckles. "Oh, teenagers," she says. "Anyway, now you've proved yourself alive, I'll make you dinner. You be objective now!"
"Yes Mom!" he calls as she goes away.
But then he thinks.
Of course, Mom was wrong about there being some girl. Every time a teenager is happy, it's about the opposite sex. Stereotyping, that's what it is.
He's not like that about Blaine. It was just a really good audition. Anyone'd be enthusiastic about that.
However, he's starting to realize he hasn't thought about anything but since he got home.
Artie promises he's not trying to eavesdrop. Seriously, he just came back because he left his Bio folder in here. Of course, people had to stay back after class and have meaningful conversations or something.
The door's closed and initially, he holds back because the people inside seem to be using Important and Emotional tones of voice, so it'd probably be very embarrassing for them and awkward for him if he interrupted, whoever they are. However, the longer he lingers outside the door (which probably isn't really a very good strategy for avoiding that embarrassment/awkwardness), he gets the opportunity to place their voices.
"I'm happy for you Blaine, really," says Kurt, sounding distinctly unhappy. "But I'm gonna be jealous, I can't help it. It's not fair and it's certainly not your fault, I just..."
"I know, I know," says Blaine. "I promise I won't accept it if you don't want me to."
Artie's stomach churns a little. Really? Why would Blaine give up the best role just for a guy?
"No, you should Blaine, really," Kurt protests. "I know you want to; you shouldn't be held back from that just because I'm petty. I'll probably get a good role one way or another, so don't worry about it. I know I was good, just not... Tony."
"You don't have to worry about me all the time, really," Kurt says. "You'll be the perfect Tony. Go, be your big romantic heroic lead."
"Kurt, I will be just fine if I don't accept, okay? I don't need to be in the spotlight all the time."
Artie can't see (being below the height of the window is hiding him, after all), but he assumes Kurt is giving a rather dubious look because the next thing he hears in Blaine's indignant "I don't!"
Kurt sighs. "It's just... you already transferred to McKinley to be with me," he says. "You shouldn't have to give this up for me too."
"Kurt," says Blaine. "What I want most of all is for you to be happy. I'd be willing to give anything up for that."
"That's... sweet, Blaine, but maybe not particularly healthy."
There's a pause and Artie wonders if this is a good moment to go get his book. Will they know he's been eavesdropping? Is there going to be more important information to overhear later? He probably shouldn't do that, but still, it's his show and, even if his spying's not quite justified, it is at least explained. Blaine shouldn't give up the role if he wants it to protect Kurt, especially if Kurt's telling him not to. This whole thing is getting complicated and he just wants to put on a good show; why can't Blaine just pay attention to him over–
"Look, Blaine," says Kurt very slowly and reasonably. "If you want to take the part, you should. You deserve that."
See, that makes sense. So they can all calm down and make West Side Story–
Blaine sighs. "You are entirely too good a boyfriend," he says. "I keep thinking you may turn out to be a hallucination."
"...Not my usual type of compliment, but I'll take what I can get."
"Oh, well, maybe you just affect the functioning of my brain."
Artie's getting uncomfortable with this and remembers why he came here to begin with. Oh right, Bio work. He suddenly opens the door.
Kurt is leaning in very close to Blaine and jumps away when he hears Artie, quickly going red. Yeah, there's that embarrassment and awkwardness.
"Uh, sorry guys," he says. "Didn't mean to interrupt. Just... left my Bio folder here."
"Oh," says Blaine, grabbing said folder off a nearby table. "Was wondering who left that. Here."
Blaine passes him the folder and Artie stares up at him. Does he know I was spying before? Is he going to bring up the role? He feels nervous, like the folder's going to fall out of his hand, and he wants Blaine to say something before he dies of sheer awkward.
"...What?" asks Blaine.
"Huh?" Artie realizes he's staring for no good reason and shakes himself out of it. "Oh, uh, nothing. Thanks. See ya."
"Bye," says Kurt. Artie quickly wheels himself out.
Artie's got no reason to be so anxious. He got what he wanted, didn't he? Blaine's probably going to accept the part.
So why does he feel... sick?