Work Header

Empty Chairs

Work Text:

Summary: There were no more songs sung at McKinley


There was no singing in the halls, no music to be danced to, those that had returned ti McKinley walked as though numbed, several of them had been seen leaning against lockers or sitting against them, knees drawn up and faces hidden.

As bells rang and students headed to classes some students could be seen remaining as they were and none, not fellow students nor teachers had the heart or strength to as them to go to their classes. even Sue Sylvester did not have it in her to mark them tardy or absent from her class.

At the end of the day they all found themselves at the Choir room, as if they had been drawn there.

The chairs were set up on the risers as always, just waiting for them to take their seats and like zombies, many of them began to stumble towards their usual spots.

Noah Puckerman watched them from the entrance and could not force his feet to move to the chairs yet, he could see the ghosts of the ones they had lost, sitting there, could almost hear their voices rise up in laughter and song.

He moved slowly for the risers, his fingers ghosting over a chair on the bottom row, Kurt had been sitting in this chair last Friday, he'd been partnered with Puck for this week's Glee project, they had been planning on working in it on Sunday after they got home from the competition, though they had been talking about it on the bus trip home.

Suddenly Puck couldn't bring himself to sit in one of the chairs, falling to sit on the cold floor in front of the chair.

The others turned to him in shock.

"Puck?" Rachel asked softly, voice shaking.

"I...I can't... I can't." Puck felt like he couldn't breath as his breath hitched and he gasped and tears began to stream down his face.

Rachel moved towards him, soon kneeling on the ground next to him, holding Puck around his shoulders as the others gathered on the ground as well.

Soon enough they were all sat on the floor together, close enough that they were all touching shoulders and knees or backs. And they waited, waited for their missing members, for Mister Schue.

But it was not Mister Schue that entered the quiet room.

Without saying a word Coach Sylvester came and sat on the ground with them, for a long moment she said nothing and they were glad.

"I don't know how Schuester would have dealt with this. I'm not sure if a song can fix this." Sylvester said softly, worried about making them hurt worse.

"Singing..." Finn shook his head, sniffled and wiped his eyes and nose on Puck's shoulder, "Singing doesn't fix it."

"It's not supposed to fix it." Tina continued when Finn stopped to sob again.

"Then what is it supposed to do?" Sylvester asked, serious but understanding, it was the kindest she had ever been to them and it almost hurt her un-beating heart at the reason she was being so soft to these children this Monday.

"It's an expression." Rachel said softly.

"Of what?" Sylvester asked.

"Of our feelings, the ones we can't give words to." Santana explained further, "Or where small words just aren't enough."

"How can you express this with a song? There can't be a song for something like this." Sylvester whispered, a tear making it's way from her eye as she found herself trying to hold them back from falling, she was the adult here, she should be strong for them, these children who had lost their friends and mentors.

A hand settled on her knee and was soon followed by several others on her legs, shoulder and arm.

No words were spoken as she looked into each expressive, tear-streaked face, each one offering comfort and understanding and Sue Sylvester allowed herself to cry with them.

There were no songs sung that Monday in the Choir room where so many voices had found songs to sing, there was no dancing to music played or songs belted out. On this sad little Monday there was only silence and tears and grasping hands and comfort from unexpected places.




Principal Figgins had decided that there was to be an assembly and he allowed a time slot for the grief stricken Glee club to do as they would for their absent members at the end, a goodbye to their friends and teachers.

After several speeches and memories, announcements and offers for counseling, sudden sobs ignored as Miss Pillsbury would not be there for advice or comfort and then Principal Figgins found his seat.

The gym lights dimmed a little but they could all see the remainder of the Glee club rise from the stands and make their way to the floor.

Some of the students were surprised to hear the first notes of music, for there had been none after school in the Choir room where the Glee club had gathered quietly each day.

"There's a grief that can't be spoken," Finn Hudson began,
There's a pain goes on and on
Empty chairs at empty tables
Now, my friends are dead and gone."

Finn's voice cracked on the last word and they could all feel the grief he felt, several people were crying already.

"Here they talked of revolution,
Here it was they lit the flame,
Here they sang about tomorrow,
And tomorrow never came." Puck's voice was strong but soft as he sang and they were all reminded of Kurt Hummel's performances with the Cheerios.

They all stepped forwards and there were gaps in their arrangement, like others were meant to be standing there, singing with them.

"From the table in the corner," They all sang together, voices rising in harmony,
"They could see a world reborn,
And they rose with voices ringing,
I can hear them now!
The very words that they had sung
Became their last communion
On the lonely barricade," Their voices fell, softened, "At dawn."

"Oh, my friends, my friends, forgive me." The entire school startled at Sue Sylvester's voice joining in, alone for the moment before the students joined in again,
"That I live and you are gone,
There's a grief that can't be spoken,
There's a pain goes on and on."

The group dropped back except for the girls, Santana, Tina, Rachel, Quinn, and Sylvester.

"Phantom faces at the window," Santana sang followed by Quinn,
"Phantom shadows on the floor."
"Empty chairs at empty tables
Where my friends will meet no more." The girls sang together, the boys stepping forward again to join in.

"Oh, my friends, my friends, don't ask me
what your sacrifice was for
Empty chairs at empty tables." As one their voices softened, tears falling from their eyes as they all reached out over the distances between them, the gaps, the places where others should have been, to take each other's hands, even Sylvester, until they were all connected, and they sang the last line.

"Where my friends will sing no more." They nearly whispered and then they al allowed Sylvester to lead them from the Gym.

No one questioned where they were going, no one questioned Sylvester's involvement, they were too stunned at how much grief and sorrow and feeling that had been in that performance.

There were no more songs in McKinley's halls, no dancing to music from the members of the Glee club, but they would meet after school in the Choir room with Sue Sylvester, they would sit on the floor and in silence, sometimes the would talk about the ones they had lost, songs they had sung.

But there were no new songs sung in the Halls, only the echoes of the song that had been sung before, the Glee club would sing now more.



A/N: Explination: None, but I had feels while I was listening to 'Empty Chairs at Empty Tables' from Les Misérables and then this happened.

--After a competition, on the way back, the bus crashes. Kurt was sitting next to Puck and Puck tried to shield him but failed, Kurt bled out while they were waiting for emergency personnel, Brittney died nearly instantly, hitting the window and breaking her neck, she never woke from the nap she'd been taking, Artie also died from impact, Mike died from surgery complications and Mercedes is in a coma, they are unsure if she will wake. Emma Pillsbury got impaled and bled out on the way to the Hospital, (Dead on Arrival) and Will, like Kurt bled out, but he had been trying to account for his kids and didn't realize he was hurt. The others walked away with somewhat minor injuries.

---Also, despite their antagonistic relationship I think that Sylvester would be at a loss without Will around, I think in her own way she thinks of him as a friend even if she doesn't do it right.

-I know having song in the text is confusing so here's a cheat for who sings what parts.

There's a grief that can't be spoken, (Finn)
There's a pain goes on and on. (Finn)
Empty chairs at empty tables, (Finn)
Now my friends are dead and gone. (Finn)

Here they talked of revolution, (Puck)
Here it was they lit the flame, (Puck)
Here they sang about tomorrow and tomorrow never came.(Puck)

From the table in the corner, (All)
They could see a world reborn, (All)
And they rose with voices ringing, (All)
And I can hear them now (All)
The very words that they have sung (All)
Became their last communion (All)
On this lonely barricade, at dawn. (All)

Oh my friends, my friends forgive me (Sue Sylvester)
That I live and you are gone (All)
There's a grief that can't be spoken, (All)
And there's a pain goes on and on (All)

Phantom faces at the window, (Santana)
Phantom shadows on the floor, (Quinn)
Empty chairs at empty tables where my friends will meet no more. (All Girls)
Oh my friends, my friends don't ask me (All)
What your sacrifice was for (All)
Empty chairs at empty tables (All)
Where my friend will sing no more. (All)


All includes: Rachel, Puck, Finn, Quinn, Santana, Sylvester, and Tina.

Everyone else is dead or injured. I believe this is set sometime before Blaine appears as I generally don't like his character or the way he acted as a person. Don't mind the actor, didn't like Blaine Anderson. That's just my opinion, yours can differ, just don't hate on my decision not to include him, if you don't mind.