Title: the truth is (i never left you)
On New Directions being more than the sum of its parts.
Disclaimer: Not mine, never mine, and I promise to put them back when I'm done.

AN: I was getting sort of bored of Glee this year. It seemed to be straying more and more from the realms of what even my own suspended belief would buy, losing the individuals in favour of the whole and the whole in favour of the individuals.

And then Furt and Special Education aired over here, and reminded me of why I'd loved it in the first place. Which is what I've tried (and probably failed) to explain here.

The thing about Glee club – the real thing about Glee club – is that really, when you strip it down to the bare bones, it's all a lie. A lie wrapped in fakery and sequins and kids deluded enough to think they understand. Scrape all that away – take away the hormones, the emotions, the adrenaline rush, the sheer thrill of performing – and all you've got left with is a bunch of teenagers who don't even really like each other all that much.

They are not good people. Their flaws are obvious and absolute. Self-absorbed and selfish, manipulative, two-faced, all of them can claim at least one vice as their own, and others besides. Separate them out, boil them down to the tiny individual molecules of what and who they are, and there would be few redeeming features to be found.



If you take all that away, take them apart and label the pieces in neat little boxes, then you take away everything they are, everything Glee is, and that's not really the point. Nothing is that simple, especially not this, whatever they are.

It won't last forever. Heck, it'll barely last another couple of years. No matter how it feels at the time, high school is barely a blip, and they'll all be out before very long, going their separate ways. They won't ever sing together again. No one at McKinley save Mr Schue will remember them, no one will care about that oddball group of kids a few years back who liked to sing and somehow realised that was more important than anything else.

But not yet. Not today, or tomorrow, and that's all that matters. For now they are young and determined and damn good at what they do, and no one can ever take that away from them. Eventually, one by one, they'll leave, and new kids will be roped in, or bribed, or forced, until eventually it's a completely new set of faces.

Except not, because there will always be the link back. Someone who is in Glee club with someone who was in it with someone, and so on and so forth, an unending chain back to those five kids who refused to fall at the first hurdle, who sang their souls out in the school auditorium one rainy afternoon that long-ago September and never quite shut up again.

They'll graduate. They'll move on and out, and mostly they won't look back, but there will be new kids to take their places, with their own dreams and dramas and flaws and failures and hopes and fears. Long after the original mismatched group have become nothing more than a dusty trophy in the cabinet next to a list of names and a photo of faces grown and gone, New Directions will still be there. Different students and different songs, but still the same group, discovering for themselves over and over the beauty and thrill of what they can do.

Being part of something special makes you special, Rachel Berry once said, though it would be years before she fully understood what her young self had instinctively known.

Not individually, no, individually they were just another bunch of confused teenagers, muddling through and mostly getting it wrong. But together…

Together, well. Then, they are and were and always will be something else entirely.

And that is the real thing about Glee club.

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