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Yeah, you'll note that it isn't more Dragons.

I can't feel badly about this, because! Some undisclosed number of years ago last Monday, the illustrious and most excellent beta, meta-buddy, and psychic twin of mine, crown_of_weeds had the good sense to be born. And in return, we pay her tribute every year with trinkets and small fics. Pretty sure that's how that works.

So! Let us have a story with every little Klaine at all. Let us celebrate with Artie Abrams, pimp master extraordinaire.

Title: R-Money Abrams And Ohio's Best Underground Hip-Hop Dance Crew
Rating: PGish, maybe PG-13 for one scene of makeouts
Word Count: 6,000 even
Summary: The life and times of Artie Abrams, leader, badass, and all around pimp-master extraordinaire.

The question is not, “How did R-money Abrams end up the leader of northwest Ohio’s most badass and hardcore underground hip-hop dance crew?” If that’s the question you’re asking, you’ve already missed the point. The question is, “How do you survive, knowing just how much more badass R-money Abrams is than you, and where are you ever going to find bitches even half as hot as his?”

Artie’s magnanimous. He’ll even introduce you, if you like. Of course, Blaine’s got a mean right hook and a boyfriend out east, and Tina’s got both of those plus a pair of steel-toed boots, but that’s their business. Artie can’t be tied down.

It’s a twelve-man crew, plus Artie to make thirteen. They don’t all come out of McKinley High, but he’s got two embittered ex-Cheerios plus Brittany, Sugar, and three of the new kids in Glee club. Rory drives the van. It’s probably more illegal than just using Mr. Schue’s name to borrow the school field trip van every Saturday night in the first place, since Artie’s not sure Rory even has a license in Ireland, but he wanted to help and he’s even less street than Blaine. It’s a good thing Anderson makes good arm candy.

Sometimes, when he’s really feeling it, or they’re up against some crew he wants to cream even more than usual, Artie will get out there and lead the number himself. Somehow, none of the other crews ever quite seem to expect the kind of choreography Artie can bring down to the floor. Otherwise, he trades off rapping with Blaine and the new girl from glee club, sits back in the chair with his arms crossed, watching his crew do him proud.

They always win. He’s R-money Abrams, the white kid from Lima who’s finally proved himself hip-hop enough to roll with any gangsta in Ohio. He rules. End of story.

The summer before senior year, everything just sort of clicked together for Artie. Mr. Schue was worthless as a teacher and eighty percent of the club was more concerned about their futures than their present problems, which meant that if anybody was going to pull New Directions together, Artie was going to have to do it himself. So yeah, Artie’s the one who got them through Nationals alive. That summer, when the Jane Addams girls wanted an unofficial alleyway rematch, Artie’s the one who pulled enough dancers together to kick their asses.

Power feels kind of good. It’s not like it’s letting it go to his head or anything--mainly because Tina will smack him down like the hand of an angry god--but yeah, this whole being in charge thing suits Artie. He likes having an outlet to show off what his crew can do. It’s nice to win at things, for a change.

After the showdown with Mr. Schuester right before Nationals, and the meltdown of their performance, and then graduation, there came a sort of a zen lull, in the life of Artie. He knew who he was. He was a smart, competent badass, who knew how to speak so people would listen, who knew how to lead, who knew how to make things happen. He also happened to be a skinny, nearsighted white guy in a wheelchair, but he’d spent three months trying to explain to Quinn how much that mattered, or didn’t. He may or may not have gotten through to her, but he’d finally been able to put words on it for himself.

He was also sort of uncomfortably aware that watching Kurt and Mike finally make out at drunken post-graduation Spin The Bottle was turning him on way more than it probably should if he were actually going to keep calling himself one hundred percent heterosexual. But he was more than a little tipsy himself, and he was Artie freakin’ Abrams, so whatever. Sam had gotten drunk enough to start teaching Puck some advanced stripping techniques, and the least Artie could do was contribute some dollars to the experience.

They get Mr. Schue temporarily fired in October for recruiting Patrick out of the showers in the boys’ locker room. Coach Sylvester does most of the work, but Patrick is freaked out, and Brittany is pissed off because last week Mr. Schue basically implied that she and Santana were Just Good Friends, and Artie, for one, has had it with Mr. Schuester manipulating the club into incredibly inappropriate situations to solve his own personal problems. If his marriage with Miss Pillsbury is falling apart, then that sucks, and Artie would totally help if he wasn’t expected to watch Mr. Schue dress his club members in skintight spandex and feel them up onstage to fix it.

So they get him fired, and the glee club disbands for about three days before Sugar’s dad waves some money at the problem and Miss Castle takes over. She’s about as sober as April Rhodes and if Puck were still in the club, Artie would give it about five days before she ended up doing something that should get her fired even faster than Mr. Schue.

Brad keeps eyeing her like he’s trying to figure out how many pieces he’ll need to dismember her into, in order to fit her into guitar cases and smuggle her out to the incinerator. She alternates between watching them, hungry-eyed, while they sing, and rambling on about her show choir conversion club.

This, Artie decides fairly quickly, is not going to work out.

Brittany didn’t graduate with the rest of the class. The conversation Santana and Artie had before she left for Chicago, she leaned over and put her hands on the armrests of his chair, bringing her face just a few inches away from his own, and declared, in her most sickly-sweet tone, that if he didn’t keep an eye out for Brittany next year, she’d come back and see to it that he’d never have any reason to go looking at a pretty girl ever again.

Artie would have kept an eye on Brittany anyway--not more than he would have watched out for Blaine now that Kurt was gone, exactly, or for Sugar, or even for Mr. Schue, but he understood what Santana meant before she said it. That meant he understood why she had to say it, even though Brittany had broken up with her, all but ordered her to get the hell out of Lima while the getting was good. Brittany broke up with him more than a year ago, and he was still ready to accidentally roll over the foot of the occasional asshole football jock who thought he knew what Cheerios were for.

The three dancers on Artie’s crew who didn’t come from McKinley, came from Brittany’s dance classes. He’d been sort of wary when Brittany started bringing them along last summer, when Mike was still around and before Harmony and Patrick and Shay even joined the New Directions in the first place.

It wasn’t that he didn’t trust Brittany and her sense around people, it was just that...well, this was Artie’s, maybe more than anything ever had been before. A thousand times more than that tragic ‘fuck you’ of a Christmas special last year. You could krump in a wheelchair, it turned out, if you really meant it. You could also trust other people to be your dancing legs for you, and it works, it does, if they’re the right people and they understand why. Brittany’s friends were great dancers, but that didn’t make them right

He’d underestimated Brittany, in the end. Stacy talks all the time, a constant, nervous babble, practically vibrating with barely-laced tension whenever she isn’t dancing. Tanner, six foot four and skinny as a crane, talks about as much as Mike and still jumps whenever someone comes up too fast from behind him. Eileen doesn’t talk at all, out loud. Artie has been picking up sign language as fast as he can. Eileen moves so quietly, she never looks angry at all, except for when she dances. There are too many things he wants to be able to ask.

Artie isn’t altogether sure what kind of deal Kurt and Blaine have going on this year. He thinks it has something to do with Blaine thinking it’s hot when Kurt makes out with other guys he meets in New York City and then tells Blaine all about it, and Kurt having a highly developed sense of fair play. He doesn’t entirely care. What Artie knows is: Kurt is a generous friend, and Blaine is a really good kisser.

They don’t usually go too far below the waist, but after the first couple of times of tentative kisses and careful brushes of hand against face, Blaine started relaxing into it more. Artie thinks maybe Kurt convinced him that he really didn’t mind. That time where they set up the laptop on Artie’s desk pointing to the bed with Skype open probably helped.

So now it’s all roving, stroking hands, and Artie knows the feel of Blaine’s shoulder blades flexing under his shirt almost as well as he remembers the curve of Brittany’s hips. Technically, the rule is, no hands inside pants, and Artie completely respects that. They’ve been helping each other with college applications, and every single place Blaine is applying to is within an hour of downtown New York. Blaine hasn’t asked him to help shop for rings, but Artie’s about half convinced that’s mostly because of the memory of last year’s Finchel disaster has Kurt a little too wary. Artie’s just borrowing Blaine to test out a couple of things.

There’s no actual rule about contact through the pants, and they’re eighteen-year-old boys without access to any other hands but their own, so Artie’s first real experience with the wonderful world of gay orgasms has involved a whole lot of frottage. It’s really, surprisingly nice. Brittany had always gone right for the main event, and he and Tina had never gotten even this far.

So yeah, Artie’s not straight. He’s not gay, either, not if his reaction to Brittany, Shay, Sugar, and Harmony’s number in glee last week is any indication. He and Brittany should start a club.

Yeah. Bisexual, disabled McKinley High survivors. Not where Artie thought he’d be as a freshman, but honestly? It’s a pretty cool little club.

Sugar ends up being the one to figure out how to get rid of Miss Castle, since clearly coming to school drunk every day hasn’t been enough to get her fired so far. She doesn’t mean to, but the whole group is at Breadstix drowning their troubles in free breadsticks and diet soda, and Sugar goes off on how, “really, she’s not a very good singer, the world would be better off if she’d just get back on the wagon with her whole show choir conversion group thing.”

Artie still has Bryan Ryan’s business card. Bryan Ryan, apparently, is now a minor god of local community theater, but he still has the number of the guy who organizes the show choir conversion twelve-step program, and he’s able to give them the name of Miss Castle’s sponsor.

Three days later, Artie wheels past Figgins’ office and glances inside to see Miss Castle weeping at Figgins’ desk, gesticulating dramatically. Excellent. Job well done.

Except that after that Principal Figgins goes out and re-hires Sandy Ryerson. Yeah. Artie’s gonna need another plan.

They took on the Jane Addams girls first. Three days after that, Artie found one of them waiting around his front lawn, eyeing the locks on the windows speculatively.

“I want another rematch,” she said.

“We beat you guys fair and square,” Artie said. “Two years ago, and at Nationals, and last week. I’m pretty sure that’s enough.” She rolled her eyes.

“Those Addams girls couldn’t do real dance if it punched them in the face,” she said. “My old dance crew, up in Toledo. They wanna see what you can do.”

Artie crossed his arms and pondered, staring the girl down calmly. There wasn’t really much of a question in his mind, but there was no reason for her to know that.

“When and where?” he asked.

That weekend, they loaded up three different cars and drove the two hours up to Toledo, where they met a slightly terrifying-looking gang of street dancers in a damp back alley. They were good. They were really, really good.

A month later, Artie loaded his crew up and drove back to Toledo, to prove that they were better.

Tina is kind of Artie’s best friend, these days. It’s funny how things sometimes turn out.

When Mike and Brittany were around, they made an awesome foursome, and really, by winter break of their Sophomore year Artie had gotten over pining for her in any romantic way. She’s good at remembering his dreams; he tries to get her solos, when he can.

Tina was the one who talked him into taking on the third challenge, after they beat the Jane Addams girls and lost to the crew from Toledo. She’s his right hand woman. Literally, sometimes. That’s how they roll into competitions, Blaine on his left, Tina on his right, Brittany behind them leading the rest of the dancers, Rory bringing up the rear with any equipment they’re gonna need for this one. She’s brought the hair streaks back, but only for dance crew throwdowns, and they’re always bright red.

Show choir is kind of a joke these days, but music, dance, that always matters. Winning something matters. They win.

Tina’s looking at schools all up and down the east coast, and at least two in California, even though Mike’s in Boston and not planning to move any time soon. She has the regular amount of teenage angst about that, but Artie doesn’t mind listening to her. Sometimes they head out to Breadstix, just the two of them, like old times, and laugh at how the waitress seems to remember when they were dating and thinks they might be a couple again. Sometimes they bring Brittany, and Blaine, the only ones who are old enough to really remember before, and even then Blaine’s just barely honorary. They usually end up sitting with the two girls on one side of the booth and the two boys on the other, teasing and half-flirting all night long, and watch the waitress try to figure out what’s going on when she comes by to take their orders. She remembers Artie and Brittany and Mike and Tina and she was, Blaine reports, the nicest waitress whenever he came here with Kurt--but there’s something a little comical about her confusion now.

“We’re all just friends,” Tina tells her finally, out of sympathy. It would probably go a lot farther towards easing her confusion if this weren’t also the night that Brittany decides to teach Tina how to kiss a girl, right there in the booth.

Artie sees Blaine’s tight, frozen expression when Mr. Ryerson pats his shoulder a little too lovingly after a particularly good solo, and calls an emergency meeting at Breadstix that night.

Something tells Artie that Puck is their best asset here, although he happens to be off cleaning the indoor pool of some ritzy gated community’s private club, so they have to conference in via cell phone.

“What’s the best way to get a teacher fired?” Artie asks, and Puck says,

“Sleep with them and let Figgins find out about it,” with enough ease that it makes Artie wince.

He glances across the table, where Blaine is letting Patrick explain the fine art of a perfect air hockey game, and says, “Yeah, that one’s not gonna work. I don’t think any of us particularly want to take Mr. Ryerson for the team.”

Puck makes a small noise of sympathy. “Rough one,” he says. “But hey, if it’s Mr. Ryerson, all you have to do is goad him into a nervous breakdown, or get him caught selling pot on campus.”

“Wait, Mr. Ryerson sells pot?” Artie asks, and Puck snorts.

“You remember that bake sale a couple years ago that bought you that bus?” Puck asks.

“Suddenly, so many things about that day seem clearer,” Artie says. “So, how does one go about entrapping a choir teacher into offering to sell them pot?”

It turns out the chair is still good for something. All Artie has to do is make a few pathetic noises about chronic pain and agony, and Mr. Ryerson is falling all over himself to offer a little chemical relief. Brittany gets the whole thing on tape, because she’s standing right there with a camera but Mr. Ryerson, like Mr. Schuester, somehow doesn’t think the host of a successful weekly web show can actually turn a camcorder on.

It’s a humiliating acting job, and a pathetic tape, but Artie doesn’t get more than a minute into talking himself out of showing it to Principal Figgins before Mr. Ryerson comes into practice and smiles directly at the boys in the very back row. Patrick looks like he wants to crawl behind his chair and hide. Blaine looks like he wants to die.

He knows better than to think that charges are going to get filed against Mr. Ryerson this time, either, but it gets him banned for campus for at least another few months, so Artie considers it a job well done.

Eileen Crane is a senior at Haverbrook, though she’s not in their show choir. Artie asked her why once, haltingly, with a lot of fingerspelling, and she rolled her eyes and signed back something about music that he only caught about half of.

She has a hearing aid that boosts her up to almost 40% that Artie’s only ever seen her wear once. Without it, she has just enough hearing at the low-frequency end of the spectrum to pick out a heavy bass beat, although she says she’s known dancers who didn’t even have that. She’s been taking lessons from anyone willing to teach her since she was old enough to argue her parents into it. She has the most highly-trained internal sense of rhythm of anyone Artie’s ever met.

She and Brittany met in a class of mostly-hearing dancers a year or two ago. Artie’s not completely sure how they managed to keep up a friendship, since Brittany only learned to read in sophomore year and she’s way worse about mixing up words in sign language than in spoken English, and Eileen has this hilariously emphatic rant about accuracy and lip reading that he sort of loves to get her going on, just to watch her hands move. Watching them prepare for competitions, he thinks it’s really all about body language. They’re both dancers, both hyper-aware of their own limbs; Brittany always understood communication best when it wasn’t in words, anyway.

After the first time he saw Eileen dance, when Artie knew she would be sticking around the crew for a while, he went home and youtubed basic ASL fingerspelling. Stacy could sign, and she and Eileen would sit in the back of the bus, fingers flicking back and forth so fast it made Artie’s eyes hurt to try and keep up with but, as the leader of this gang of misfits, Artie figured he should be able to have an actual conversation with his own dancer. The first time Blaine caught him practising, he opened up a Skype channel to Kurt and made Artie repeat himself. Kurt almost popped a button from laughing so hard.

Kurt corrected his position on a few things, and gave him a few tips so that the first time Artie actually tried to sign to Eileen, he didn’t make a complete fool of himself. She did grin at him a little mockingly, and Artie was pretty sure she could tell exactly how much of what he knew came from Wikipedia, but he got an IM that night offering to teach him some more, if he really wanted to know.

They Skype twice a week now, and sometimes she lets him get away with defaulting to the chat function, but other times, Eileen pretends not to understand what he’s saying unless he does it in sign.

She’s angry about things she never talks about and he can only tell because nobody dances like that unless they mean it. Her mom and her little sister are hearing and her dad is Deaf, and that’s all Artie knows about any of them even though he and Eileen have been having these conversations for months. When Artie asks what her plans are for after high school, she says she wants to become the first Deaf person to win So You Think You Can Dance, but Artie’s pretty sure she thinks she’s going to end up a high school math teacher.

There’s a paperwork mix-up or something, after Mr. Ryerson. Artie wheels into the choir room and starts grinning, because there, leaning against the piano in her inappropriately short skirt and a pair of boots up to her knees, is none other than Miss Holly Holiday.

“Hola, glee clubbers!” she waves cheerfully. Artie nudges Rory along, because he’s kind of stuck gaping; Tina and Brittany high-five up on the risers.

“So you’re our new choir director?” Artie asks. Miss Holiday nods.

“For as long as you’ll have me,” she says. Artie can work with this.

“Excuse me?” An extremely attractive head containing a set of very shiny teeth pokes around the doorway, followed by an equally attractive body. “Can I help you? I’m David Martinez, I’m the new interim director for this glee club.”

“Woah, hold on there, partner,” says Miss Holiday. “Holly Holiday, substitute teacher. I’m directing this glee club until they tell me they’ve found Will a permanent replacement.”

Two of the most attractive people Artie’s ever met are now frowning at each other just a few feet away from his chair. “I was told that I’d be the temporary director.”

“Why don’t you both direct glee club?” Artie finds himself suggesting. “You’re both pretty much the coolest teachers we’ve ever had at McKinley, so it only stands to reason, if you work together, New Directions will end up having the best year ever.”

“Hmm,” says Miss Holiday, and looks sideways at Mr. Martinez.

“It’s fine with me if it’s fine with you,” Mr. Martinez says.

“Okay,” says Miss Holiday, not taking her eyes from Mr. Martinez’s. “Since it’s the first day for two of us, how about we work on getting-to-know you songs. Pair up with somebody you don’t know very well and work on a duet. Sound good?”

Mr. Martinez, who Artie had sort of always pegged for being gay (all right, maybe that had mostly been his rich inner fantasy life talking), smiles at Miss Holiday like she’s the most fascinating thing in the entire room. “Can I request you to be my duet partner?” He offers her a hand. Miss Holiday takes it and smiles.

“I thought you’d never ask,” she says.

On one hand, neither of them make anybody strip down to nothing more than a pair of gold lame shorts. On the other hand, you can only catch your teachers making out in the choir room so many times before Coach Sylvester finds out and decides that something has to be done.

Blaine’s bedroom is on the third floor of a house with very narrow staircases, so whenever they hang out, they go to Artie’s house. Blaine brings his laptop about half the time; sometimes they come right from school, sometimes they go looking through youtube at other underground dance crews, trying to work out the choreography, and occasionally, they indulge in Kurt’s voyeuristic streak. All this means that, when Blaine comes in and sets up his computer on Artie’s desk for a Skype conference, Artie still doesn’t realize that today is anything out of the ordinary until Blaine walks over to his closet and throws the doors open.

“Woah, hey, wait a second,” Artie says. The Skype window flickers.

“There you are,” says Kurt, businesslike and gone tiny through the speakers. “Hmm, Artie, lean a little closer. Blaine, see if you can find anything in there that isn’t a sweatervest.”

“What’s going on?” Artie asks suspiciously.

“Blaine told me about your new potential girlfriend,” Kurt says.

“Who?” Artie asks.

“Eileen,” Blaine calls over from the closet. “Kurt, how do we feel about bow ties?”

“Find him a shirt first,” Kurt calls back. “Not everybody can pull off your particular brand of Brooks Brothers chic, particularly if they’re going for the hip-hop gangster look.”

“Woah, woah, woah, who said anything about the hip-hop gangster look?” Artie asks. Kurt gives him an arched-eyebrows look through the computer screen.

“You’re trying to impress one of your street dancers,” he says. “Brittany always said your biggest insecurity was your glasses. Hmm. Any chance of getting contact lenses by the next time you see her?”

“How drastic are we going?” Blaine calls. “Because this isn’t a sweatervest, but I’m pretty sure it’s from when we did Lovegame back in September.” Artie glances over. The shirt is black, and has enough straps that it would probably fit into Kurt’s wardrobe, and he doesn’t actually know why he hasn’t gotten rid of it already.

“I’m not really comfortable with that,” Artie says, and Kurt nods seriously.

“Probably,” he says. “We’re going for new and improved you, not Rachel Berry as a sad clown hooker. You should probably ask her to teach you the ASL for those lyrics, though.”

“I still think he should get the whole crew to serenade her with an ASL version of Come On, Eileen,” Blaine suggests. “Just don’t do it in the middle of the Gap.”

“Have I mentioned how much I appreciate your ability to joke about that now?” Kurt asks. “All right, let’s see our options.” Blaine comes over from the closet with three shirts Artie doesn’t even entirely remember owning.

“All right, Artie, hold them up,” Kurt instructs, and Artie, bemused, complies, one by one. “Hmmm,” says Kurt. “How would you feel about Blaine giving you a haircut?”

In the end, Artie vetoes the haircut, but accedes to a few lessons on gel and styling while Kurt watches carefully. He hasn’t been wearing the sweatervests to dance-offs but all right, maybe it’s a little hard to be pimping in coke-bottle glasses and a button-down. Kurt, with Blaine’s help, gets him into a whole bunch of sort of tight t-shirts with quirky slogans; ‘geek chic’, he calls it. Artie can dig it.

He gets a few days of use out of his new look at school before he sees Eileen at that weekend’s dance-off. They’re back in individual cars, since there’s at least a thirty percent chance that Mr. Martinez would actually notice if they signed the field trip bus out in his name, if he isn’t too busy sucking Miss Holiday’s face off. Or sucking on other things. Artie and Brittany shared a not-so-discreet high five the other day, when they realized that they were the only people in glee club who could really appreciate the combined hotness to its fullest.

Eileen raises her eyebrows at his new hairstyle, then grins, and turns to Stacy. He can only catch a little of their flashing fingers before they pile into the back of Blaine’s mother’s station wagon.

They drive three hours out to Akron for this one. Artie doesn’t really get any face time with Eileen until after they dance. The crew from Akron is almost twice the size of theirs, and they’re good, perfectly in sync, and ferocious, but Artie’s dancers...Artie’s dancers don’t lose to anyone. You can only bottle up rage and passion so long before it crystallizes into something explosive and unbeatable, and Lima, Ohio is a powderkeg.

Afterwards, they end up at a Waffle House at three in the morning, the only customers besides a pair of dead-eyed middle-aged women who look like they’re just off a night shift and can’t quite bear to go home. Artie manages, mostly because he’s been perfecting his telepathic control over the rest of New Directions for months, to will everybody into place such that he can roll up to the table right next to Eileen.

She’s pretty, and she’s awesome, but the thing that really makes his stomach turn over is the way she looks at him--like she thinks that just maybe he can impress her, and she’s just daring him to try. That’s the look she gives him when the waiter finally manages to collect their giant, fourteen-person order and walks away.

Artie’s not entirely sure he’s got this one down, because he had to ask Kurt instead of Eileen, and Kurt smiled way too much and he’s never satisfactorily explained just where he learned ASL, anyway. You--date--with--me--? he signs, and he must have at least gotten some of the meaning across, because she smiles. That, or Kurt lied and he just asked her something about elephants, but she signs back,

Not the Waffle House? and nods, so he thinks he’s in.

B-R-E-A-D-S-T-I-X, he fingerspells, because if there’s an ASL symbol for that then he sure doesn’t know it yet. You’ll like it. I promise.

Artie runs into Mr. Schuester in a Walgreens at 8:00 at night. He’s trying to decide if it would be way too presumptuous to pick up condoms, or if it’s better to be safe than sorry, when a familiar voice calls his name from down the aisle.

Mr. Schue looks...well, he doesn’t look bad, exactly. He’s cleanshaven and he doesn’t reek of alcohol, which is kind of more than Artie expected. He looks tired, though. Wrung out. He’s wearing his wedding ring, Artie notices, but Miss Pillsbury hasn’t been, lately.

“Artie. Hey,” Will says, because it’s Will now, isn’t it. He’s not their tiny god of the choir room any more. He’s just a tired-looking man who they all used to know, who there is absolutely no reason for Artie to feel responsible for. “How’s it going?”

“Pretty good, actually,” Artie says. It’s sort of true. He’s got another date with Eileen tomorrow night, and next weekend they’re driving all the way to Indianapolis for a five-dance-crew meet.

“Yeah?” says Will, and breaks into an honest smile. “That’s good. The club’s okay? Getting ready for Regionals?”

And all right, the truth is that the club is a mess and has been ever since Will left. Miss Holiday and Mr. Martinez saw them through Sectionals before they spontaneously eloped to New Orleans over the weekend.

Coach Sylvester has been in charge of supervising the club since then. Artie really misses his unauthorized use of that field trip van.

“We miss you,” he says, and Will lights up, so happy that Artie feels like he should look away or something.

God, Will’s just as big of a fuckup as any of them, isn’t he? And yeah, it was his job to be better than that, to teach them, to give them something, but he let them have a space that was marginally safer than the rest of school and enough freedom to learn how not to hang themselves with their own rope. That’s got to count for something.

He’s an even worse leader than Finn ever was, but, damnit. Artie feels kind of responsible for him anyway.

“What are you doing these days?” Artie asks instead, and Will shifts, looks aside.

“I’m a CPA,” he says. “Terri made me take the exam back when we first got married, and it’s a good fallback.”

Artie sighs. He can’t believe he’s about to say this, but Will looks miserable. This is the guy who used to bend down to tie Artie’s shoes for him, but he was also the only teacher at McKinley who bothered to notice. “Do you want to come back?” he asks.

“Hey,” says Will. “I’m fine. You guys shouldn’t worry about me too much.”

“No,” said Artie. “What I’m saying is, I can get you back.”

Will draws back in surprise. “Artie...” he says, then trails off.

“I know whose complaints Coach Sylvester used to get you fired, and I know how to get them withdrawn,” Artie says. “Plus, they let Mr. Ryerson back on campus, so it’s not like their standards are all that high. And Santana would kill me for saying this, but they’re missing a Spanish teacher right now.”

“Artie...” And now Will looks ready to melt with profound gratitude, and yeah, this is the right decision, even if it is probably going to come back to bite Artie on the ass. “Thank you. You guys have meant so much to me, over these past couple of years--”

“I know,” Artie cuts him off. “That’s why I have a few conditions.”

“Conditions?” Will asks, and Artie nods.

“You’re not in charge,” he says. “You suck at it. It’s one thing when you’re trying to be inspiring, but every time you think you’re supposed to get all forceful, it’s your students who suffer for it. If you’re going to use New Directions to work out your own personal problems, you’re going to do it just like the rest of us. That means you go along with what the group decides, you back us no matter what when we need it, and you never decide to throw your authority around just because you think you know what’s best,” Artie says. “Understand?”

Will’s face is getting all stern and I Am Teacher-y. “Artie, you can’t make demands like that,” he says. “I’d be your teacher, you can’t--”

“Yes we can,” says Artie. “We’re all doing fine without you. You gave us something that we’d never had before, a space of our own, but you couldn’t keep it a safe place and half the time you didn’t even try. We can take care of ourselves, and more than that, we can take care of each other.”

The new freshmen already have it so much better than Artie ever did, and he can’t even hate them for it, because he’s been working his ass off all year to make it happen. Nobody’s gotten pregnant, nobody’s almost died, and if half the club has been a suicide risk at one point or another, Artie honestly doesn’t think any of them are right now. That’s more than he can say for any given point of his sophomore year, let alone that mess with Karofsky last spring.

They’ve got a handful of members that aren’t on Artie’s dance crew, Finn-types with no coordination and Quinn-types too buttoned up to admit that they need it, too, yet, but yeah, Artie still considers them his. He owns this glee club. He can make it run.

“Okay,” says Will, “but--”

“No buts,” says Artie. “Take it or leave it.”

It takes some convincing to get Patrick to take back his story and fast-track Will back into the school, but luckily, he’s back on Becky’s good side, and she helps smooth things over with Coach Sylvester. The first day Will is back, they put on a not-so-impromptu ‘welcome home’ number.

If Will realizes that Artie’s not the only one who only still calls him ‘Mr. Schue’ out loud, he has the good sense not to say anything about it.

So yeah. R-Money Abrams and the Lima Diamond Dogs rule the circuit. He rolls in to any throwdown, hot Asian chick on one arm, hot prep school boy on the other, and they both flirt with him just the same even though half the circuit knows he’s dating one of his dancers instead. He lays down some sweet rhymes, for a white boy. It’s starting to get around that he can dance, too, stuff that’s pretty cool even by street standards. Mostly he sits back and watches, though. R-Money’s the puppet master. He sets the beat, and his crew hits the dance.

And ain’t nothing wrong with that.


( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
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Mar. 7th, 2012 06:11 pm (UTC)
Kyaaa ! With Kurt and Blaine, Artie had always be my favorite character and gosh this fic is a pure awesome tribute to him !

Thank you for this jewel ! crown-of-weeds is a very lucky person to get a fic like that for her/his birthday ! :D
Mar. 7th, 2012 10:07 pm (UTC)
Artie is kind of awesome. Sometimes, very quietly so--but yeah. More people should love Artie. (And everybody should love Weeds, I highly recommend her journal/fic/as a person.)

Artie celebration FTW :D
Mar. 7th, 2012 06:36 pm (UTC)
Oh my lord. This might actually be the greatest thing I have ever read.

Can this be canon? Can they film this and call it season four?

(Seriously, this is like, everything I love about Glee wrapped up into one fic and made awesome. Thank you so much!)
Mar. 7th, 2012 10:31 pm (UTC)
Oh, no, it can't be the greatest. I'll have to find you a list of really awesome novels ;)

Seriously, though, thank you. I would love to see this for Season 4. Particularly the rotating cycle of fail!directors for Glee Club, but that's just me :)
(no subject) - jakia - Mar. 7th, 2012 10:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - narceus - Mar. 7th, 2012 11:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 7th, 2012 08:07 pm (UTC)


that was great though, just. yeah. yeah. *_*
Mar. 7th, 2012 10:31 pm (UTC)
It is the hottest ship you didn't even realize you needed to be shipping. True facts.

Yay you liked it! :D
Mar. 7th, 2012 09:39 pm (UTC)
The only word that accurately describes my feelings about this is YES.

So awesome.
Mar. 7th, 2012 10:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you!!!

Artie love 4ever
Mar. 7th, 2012 09:48 pm (UTC)
That is fantastic.
Mar. 7th, 2012 10:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you!!!
Mar. 7th, 2012 11:26 pm (UTC)
Once again, I cannot handle the fact that this exists.

Best. Birthday present. Ever.

Thank you <3

(Oh god, what do I have to do for YOURS now?)
Mar. 8th, 2012 12:42 am (UTC)
I do <3 you, you know. I hope you know.

(I am pretty sure we have said several times over the past several days that the point is, you don't have to do anything. If the mood should strike you, however, at least you have until October? And you know I love your vids more than most things.)
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 12th, 2012 03:58 pm (UTC)
Apparently I managed to answer every comment around here but yours. You should consider this flattering, because you say so much it's awesome and I want to give it time and attention. (And not a sign that I am a scatterbrained disorganized sort of person, which...is also true.)

This fic is, I think, quite possibly my second try and first actual success at writing fluff--although I feel like there's content and stuff in here, so it's not quite cotton candy. But yeah. I glad it inspires Good Feelings, because those are so much harder to get than angst, most of the time, and hey, birthday!fic. (It all flowed really easily in this one, though. Artie being awesome is just love.)

You know, somebody has to actually call Mr. Schue on his inappropriate-bordering-on-sexual-harassment shit eventually. And we all know he'll come out the other side of it fine, but at least for a while....

I love Miss Castle. I love that until Mrs. Hagberg (who apparently teaches every other subject in school) she's the only WMHS teacher we meet. She was so perfect. (And Bryan Ryan was necessary. So necessary, I tell you :))

See, the difference between Artie and Will is, Artie pays attention. Artie would notice Sandy making Blaine uncomfortable where Will would just notice a threat to his authority over his students. And because he pays attention, he can see how much of this glee club thing really does matter--but he can do it right.

I'm just saying: SING is the first really angry song we've gotten out of ND in two seasons (and it was Sue's idea). Artie lets his dancers krump from day one.

I love that bisexual!Artie is basically canon now. Saw that coming a mile off, so so happy. On the other side of the coin, I didn't realize I shipped Holiday/Martinez until I wrote it, but apparently nobody else realized they shipped it until they read it here, so now I'm kind of hoping that's going to be a thing :)

Will needs the glee club so much more than they need him, which makes him sort of toxic, when he has power over them, but is also exactly the reason he belongs. Poor, fucked-up, once suicidal, insecure, clingy, son of lifelong alcoholics that he is...oh, Will. You're the only one who doesn't get to graduate, and it is so tragic.

In conclusion, your comments will never stop making me very very happy, and I'm glad you liked the fic :) Thank you!
Mar. 8th, 2012 05:19 pm (UTC)
This is everything I never knew I was missing. You are amazing.
Mar. 12th, 2012 03:39 pm (UTC)
:) thank you
TBH, I never knew exactly how much I needed this in my life until I started writing it. Pretty sure everyone needs a little more Artie ruling at stuff, just sayin'.
Mar. 8th, 2012 11:30 pm (UTC)
I want to believe this is the plot of season 4. Perfection.
Mar. 12th, 2012 03:40 pm (UTC)
I would die a little bit. It would be awesome.

Thank you so much!
Mar. 9th, 2012 03:50 am (UTC)
This makes me so very happy! I love the little callbacks to things in the Glee of Christmas Past, like Ms. Castle, Jane Addams, Haverbrook, and Holly Holliday ...

Mar. 12th, 2012 03:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I really enjoy dropping little callbacks to older stuff. I tend to be of the mind that, when writing fanfic, if there is a canon character or element that you can use to fill a need or solve a problem, don't go inventing a new one. It was so much fun to go finding canon solutions to all the little needs in here :)
Mar. 9th, 2012 08:31 pm (UTC)
This is all sorts of awesome. :D Why can't Glee's writing be like yours?!
Mar. 12th, 2012 03:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

And Glee has the unfortunate handicap of being a visual medium (which means no exposition, and we only get to see the inside of characters' heads on very occasional voiceovers) with a limited amount of time per episode (so they have to tell their stories in highlights and snapshots and expect the watcher to be smart enough to connect the dots). Me, I get to do anything I want with no costuming budget.

In conclusion, thank you, and also this is why I will never write for TV. :)
Mar. 9th, 2012 11:23 pm (UTC)
This story was AWESOME. LOVE IT TO BITS.
Mar. 12th, 2012 03:43 pm (UTC)

Very glad you enjoyed it :D
Mar. 10th, 2012 12:55 pm (UTC)
Just re-read as a cheer-up :D

You know my feels. This is still the most badass thing ever (should definitely make it open source (is that the right word?) because it is an awesome S4) and my favourite thing the Internet has given me this week <3
Mar. 12th, 2012 03:44 pm (UTC)
Oooh, I kind of like that idea. I mean, I'm not entirely sure what else there is to do in this universe? But OTOH, I said that about 'When The Lights Go Out', and I've been brainstorming sequel Christmas!fic since, well, Christmas, so.....hmmmm

Glad it helped your week! <3
Mar. 16th, 2012 04:32 am (UTC)
Oh wow this fic is actually perfect! It actually feels like it could be canon and dammit I want it to be so bad! So happy to have found this!
Mar. 30th, 2012 02:17 am (UTC)
Thank you! I would love if this were S4 canon. We can only hope :)
Mar. 19th, 2012 10:02 pm (UTC)
I am not even going to be able to explain how much I love this story. I love your initial description of Blaine and Tina. I love how many people in Artie's world know a little ASL, and the Youtube Generation ease and matter-of-factness with which he sets about learning. The effort doesn't even give him pause, and that reveals so much about this group of kids and the values they've taught each other. I love the rapport between Blaine and Kurt, because it feels unique and complex even though we don't see much of it; I can feel the weight of the conversations they've had, the struggles they've weathered, the trust they share. I love Eileen's secrets and anger, and Artie's willingness not to know everything at once. I love the parade of useless teachers and the lurking message that the single most valuable thing a teacher can do, sometimes, is create a safe space and then get the hell out of the way. I love that Artie, who dreams of dance, has figured out how to make it central to his world, and that he already possessed everything he needed to achieve that.
Mar. 30th, 2012 02:26 am (UTC)
I love the particular things you picked out, here, so much. A lot of this story was about skimming just enough of the surface of things to understand that bigger, more complex things were going on underneath that maybe we didn't entirely need to know. So, the things about Artie that have changed since Season 1, the conversations Kurt and Blaine must have had that we never see, what Eileen has to be angry over or how she faces her dreams, even...none of it's quite explicit, here, which makes me really glad you're seeing it anyway.

Artie is awesome, and I can only hope for something similarly cool for him next year. Thank you, for reading and commenting. I'm glad you liked it.
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