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WARRIORS

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Brad sighed deeply, looking at the piano part he was just handed to by one of the Glee Kids. He frowned. Those keys were certainly not the same Schuester had given him one week prior. And this was clearly not the song the club was supposed to song right now.

For a moment, he thought he would demand an explanation. The students had never done something so drastic about their teacher’s assignments/song choices before. He was almost out of the stage, going to see William to question the sudden modifications of the number, when he saw the kids in a corner of the backstage.

They were all there, gathered in an awkward, tight and clearly needed hug. The little group was silent, holding onto the others like the world had just crumbled around them all. None moved out of their embrace, and the pianist felt like an intruder, as if he didn’t have the right to see them like… well, like this.

Brad took one more look at his part. He mentally sung the keys to himself, trying to fit them to this different rhythm, this different tone, this different song. He sighed again, turning back to his piano.

 

Whatever.

 

The kids wanted this song ? They would have it.

 


 

 

“Well, guys, you’re on !”

 

Will gave a thumbs up to the curtains, not even sure that the students heard him. At his side, Emma tightened her coat around her, as if she was cold. She had printed another shirt after the “Ginger” one, because obviously, everyone knew she’d never ever had a problem with that. But she still wasn’t sure about this one. It was very…. Revealing.

She looked up at Will, who was still beaming at an empty stage, waiting for his pupils to begin their number.

 

Emma suddenly came to the conclusion that this whole thing was a really, really bad idea.

 

And the students had apparently come to the same conclusion, as no one had appeared to begin the performance. Even the band wasn’t there, as they had to be for this particular song to work out.

But Will hadn’t seen that yet, as he was still smiling brightly and cheering.

Finally, she heard the first notes. A calm piano, introducing with clarity the number.

 

And she immediately knew that something wasn’t right.

 


 

This is an anthem for the homesick, for the beaten,

The lost, the broke, the defeated.

 

There wasn’t any choreography, any student dancing andgoing onto stage. Will frowned, still glancing at the curtains, feeling a bit lost. That wasn’t the song they agreed on, right ? He felt his own smile falter as the curtains opened.


A song for the heartsick, for the standbys,

Living life in the shadow of a goodbye.

 

All of the glee club’s members were on the floor, sitting in a circle and holding hands. None of them looked at him, eyes closed, swinging to the rhythm and keys.

Puck, between Santana and Tina, had sang the first part, his brown hoodie still on, like all the others. He didn’t made any movement to reveal his shirt, his hand never leaving the girls’.

 

Do you remember when we learned how to fly?

We'd play make-believe; we were young and had time on our side.

You're stuck on the ground, got lost, can't be found.

Just remember that you're still alive.

 

Sam followed, Mercedes’ hand squeezing his, his red hoodie matching her hairband. Artie was by his side, his wheelchair on the background.

Contrary to the original performance, they waited for one more measure, before they all sang the chorus together, in an incredible and never heard before harmony.

All of Will’s anger and disappointment was brushed aside by their incredible voices.

 

I'll carry you home.

No, you're not alone.

Keep marching on,

This is worth fighting for,

You know we've all got battle scars.

 

You've had enough,

But just don't give up.

Stick to your guns,

You are worth fighting for.

You know we've all got battle scars.

Keep marching on.

 

This is a call to the soldiers, the fighters,

The young, the innocent, and righteous.

We've got a little room to grow.

Better days are near,

Hope is so much stronger than fear.

 

Santana took the verse, her melodious voice accompanied by Britt any on the last line. She squeezed the Hispanic girl’s hand tightly, their hoodies both navy blue and tightly shut.

The blonde girl looked on her other side, holding Kurt’s hand tighter than before, and Will just caught at this moment that they both looked ready to burst into tears.

 

So if you jump, kid, don't be scared to fall.

We'll be kings and queens in this dream, all for one, one for all.

You can light up the dark,

There's a fire in your heart,

Burning brighter than ever before.

 

Tina shut her eyes firmly, almost crushing Puck’s and Mike’s hand in hers. She sang, her voice right and strong, but she felt that one single tear sliding down her cheek as the last world left her lips.

One measure, and once again, they were one unique voice.

 


I'll carry you home.

No, you're not alone.

Keep marching on,

This is worth fighting for,

You know we've all got battle scars.

 

You've had enough,

But just don't give up.

Stick to your guns,

You are worth fighting for.

You know we've all got battle scars.

Keep marching on.

 

One, two, three measures, and as much nervous gulps between them that the spectators couldn’t hear. All of them wanted to run away.

 


On and on, like we're living on a broken record.

Hope is strong, but misery's a little quicker.

Sit, and we wait, and we drown there,

Thinking, "Why bother playing when it's unfair?"

They say life's a waste, I say they lack belief.

They tell me luck will travel, I tell 'em that's why I've got feet.

Left, right, left, right,

Moving along to the pulse of a heartbeat.

This could be the last chance you have to fly.

Do you like the ground? Want it to pass you by?

Man, you had it all when you were just a kid.

Do you even remember who you were back then?

What do you want in life? Will you be twice as strong?

What would you sacrifice? What are you waiting on?

Don't stop, march on.

 

Artie, once again, gave them an extraordinary rap performance, even without his usual tricks and physical accompaniment. He still didn’t look at their public – if you could consider one jock and two professors a real public for a private and personal performance, really.

They once again waited longer than the original, four full measures, and for a second, Emma was sure that Brad had seen the kids needed a moment to pull themselves together.

The last chorus was by far the more beautiful.

Not by its exemplary technicality, the justness of each note or the piano playing beautifully behind them. All of this was perfect, and for Emma, perfection had always been something very important, but here, now, looking at these kids sitting in a circle, looking at these kids holding onto each other, looking at this family, she knew why.


I'll carry you home.

No, you're not alone.

Keep marching on,

This is worth fighting for,

You know we've all got battle scars.

 

You've had enough,

But just don't give up.

Stick to your guns,

You are worth fighting for.

You know we've all got battle scars.

Keep marching on.

 

They all got up, singing the last vocals all together, still holding onto one another. The piano stopped, and Brad would probably never say it, but he was really happy his part was cut there, because he wasn’t sure he could have continued to play when the kids opened their hoodies.

 

Maybe he didn’t like them as much as Will or Emma. Maybe he wasn’t always the most comprehensive to them, or maybe he wasn’t the biggest fan of the Glee club.

But kids like them should never have written those things to define themselves.


Oh-ohhhh-oh-ohhhh
Oh-ohhhh-oh-ohhhh
Oh-ohhhh-oh-ohhhh-ohhhhh

Oh-ohhhh-oh-ohhhh
Oh-ohhhh-oh-ohhhh
Oh-ohhhh-oh-ohhhh-ohhhhh

 

Finn and Rachel were the first ones to open their hoodies, as the leaders. Maybe because the others would never do it if someone didn’t take a step forward. Maybe because Finn saw how Kurt and Brittany, crying in the silence, were ready to run away. Maybe because Rachel saw how Quinn and Puck tightened their grip onto their own hoodie.

 

They looked at each other, took a deep breath and opened their hoodie.

 

Finn’s said “Orphaned Leader” and Rachel’s “Anorexic Star”.

 

Just that, and Will knew all hell had just broken loose in his life.


Keep marching on.

 

With the last line, all of the others opened their hoodies, some of them with shaking hands, sobs or a true confidence and a look to the world, like daring the world to say anything to them.

 

Santana’s spelled “Self-hating Bitch” and mirrored Mercedes’ “Self-loathing Diva”.

Puck’s and Sam’s were also similar. “Fatherless Badass” and “Homeless Heartbreaker”.

The teacher could have almost taken Artie’s and Tina’s shirts as jokes if it didn’t immediately made sense. “Sickly Standing” and “Clinically depressed Goth”.

Mike and Matt both revealed the same thing about themselves. “Top grader Junkie” and “Best player Addict”.

Lauren Zizes had just wrote “Once skank Sister” and held Quinn’s hand despite their whole history for Prom when she revealed her “Useless Mother”.

Emma would never ask if she talked about her mother or herself.

 

Oh-ohhhh-oh-ohhhh
Oh-ohhhh-oh-ohhhh
Oh-ohhhh-oh-ohhhh-ohhhhh

Oh-ohhhh-oh-ohhhh
Oh-ohhhh-oh-ohhhh
Oh-ohhhh-oh-ohhhh-ohhhhh

 

The two last members of the group, placed in the center, seemed like two children suddenly. They were crying without a sound, holding hands tightly. After what seemed like an eternity, they looked at each other, before opening their hoodies.

 

“Fabulously Scar(r)ed” and “Raped dancing Fairy”.