Fandom: !Fanfiction, Glee
Personaggi: Leo, Adam, Harper
Verse: Broken heart syndrome
Genere: -
Avvisi: -
Rating: PG
Prompt: Written for the COW-T #8 (prompt: voice)
Note: -

Summary: Leo shows up in school with laryngitis, which means he probably won't be able to perform at the choir showcase in three days. Not until Harper fix him, anyway.

Harper's screams can be heard from down the hall, which is exactly why half the school – football team included – is now crowding the doorway to the choir room to take a peek inside.

Harper is not new to screaming. In fact, she spends quite a lot of time doing it since screaming is the only way she can express one of the two emotions her cold, inhuman heart is able to replicate: contempt and disgust. Singing is not an emotional outlet for her as it is for many people. She sings because, in her opinion, she has to. That is her call, the task God himself has given her. Not to share her beautiful voice with everybody who has ears would be ungrateful of her. Screaming, on the other hand, is her weapon of choice, the way she punishes the unworthy, which is pretty much everyone except her.

So, her screaming is not what brought people to the choir's door, it's the nature of it. The undertones of desperation, the nuances of end-of-the-world, the shades of betrayal, the gradients of I will never be happy anymore in her voice. Also, the fact that she has been ranting about for twenty minutes straight without catching her breath and that is quite impressive, it must be said.

“You did it on purpose,” she thunders, standing on the last step of the bleachers, her finger pointed at Leo in utter outrage. “Confess!”

Leo looks at her with annoyance, which is what he does every time she says something stupid, or whenever she opens her mouth; two things that frequently happen at the same time. He is sitting on the piano – something he's not supposed to do, but his uncle is not there to stop him – swinging legs that are still a little bit too far away from the ground for his taste. He will have to grow up at some point, right?

“Oh, but this is so typical of you, Karofsky-Hummel!” Harper goes on, saying his last name as if it carried the plague; yet, she says it all nonetheless because in the length of the name there is all the power of her reproach. “You're so self-centered that you don't see anything past the tip of your nose! You don't revolve around anything, so it's obvious that it must be the universe to revolve around you, right?”

Leo tries to say that he's sorry, but it turns out it's really hard. One, he's got no voice. Two, he doesn't really care. He does, however, draw a sad smiley face on the blackboard. “Oh, do you think that's enough?” Harper screeches, climbing down the steps like the fury she turned into. “You let the whole team down, you put the future of this choir in jeopardy and you think you're going to get away with it by drawing a sad smiley on a blackboard?”

Leo draws another one.

Adam entering the room – after working his way through the crowd – is the only thing saving Leo from a punch in the face. Adam's innate sense of justice and order must have brought him here to set things right. No matter where he is or what he's doing, if there's a fight somewhere, his spider sense always tingles, so he can go and stop the hate. If he's not the school's official moral compass with recognized powers of punishment over the evildoers is only because headmaster Sylvester hates him with a passion. She claims that she doesn't trust people so naturally blond, whatever that means.

“What is going on here?”

Leo welcomes his appearance with a sigh of relief. Here he comes, his best friend and savior. He will set the world straight or, at the very least, take him away from this terrible girl. “He's an horrible person,” Harper answers right away, taking advantage of the fact that Leo can't stop her unless he wants to physically shut her up. “That is what's going on. He should be ashamed of himself!”

“What did you do to her?” Adam turns to look at him, so much disapproval in his eyes that it's painful to watch.

Leo frowns. That's not what he was expecting from a boy he cooked mud pies for when he was three. His mud pies were precious and now he's starting to regret having wasted them on the blond kid who was ready to take his pants off for him. No voice, she mad, he writes.

“First of all, that's the worse grammar I've seen you use in a while,” Adam comments, disappointed. “Second, aren't you supposed to sing something somewhere in a few days?”

This something somewhere is actually a choir showcase at Jefferson Highschool, in Delphos, some fifteen miles away from Lima; the first gig of twenty, if he remembers correctly. They do that every year – touring the state and give little shows in other schools and sometimes hospitals and retirement homes – to get ready for the competing season. It's not exactly Leo's favorite thing to do in the world, especially after Blaine gained the title two years ago, but it's nice. It's not like he would intentionally miss it. It's an extra-curricular activity: there are credits to gain and school hours (and even days) to legally skip.

“Ah! He remembers!” Harper cries out. “You know, at first I thought you two knew each other's schedule because you're best friends or whatever, but it's actually Walker who knows both of the schedules. You can't be bothered to even know yours!”

Leo sighs and grabs his felt-tip pen again. Not on purpose, he writes.

“That's not even the point, you know?” Harper says, and then she pinches the bridge of her nose, which is never a good sign. Sometimes it precedes her storming out of a room, threatening retaliations. Sometimes that's the prelude to her screaming even more. “I want to believe you would never actually give yourself laryngitis just to spite me or the group. Not even you can be so stupid! But it doesn't mean you did everything you could possibly do to avoid that! And why? Because you simply don't care!”

Now, that is a lie. He did what he could not to get sick – he always does everything he can not to get sick, because getting sick means staying home with Kurt fussing around him all the time – but there are things a boy simply can't avoid doing and sometimes those things lead to laryngitis. For example, dancing shirtless at the Prince of Persia plunged in suds. There is no such a thing as saying no to that. Especially if your thirty-seven years old boyfriend is inviting you to join him on the dance floor and he looks like you could spend the night licking him; which he did, by the way. Always well within the limits of Blaine's parts he's willing to lick, but still.

“How did you manage to get like this, anyway?” Adam asks. Meanwhile, their audience got bored – they know there's nothing to see anymore now that the school's quarterback and peacemaking extraordinaire he's here to save the day – and they're starting to walk away.

Leo looks at him and he manages to be so expressive with his face that Adam even understands things that he would have rather not know. He makes a disgusted face. “Nevermind, don't answer that.”

Leo shrugs, he couldn't even if he wanted to. Harper shakes her head. She obviously has no idea of what Adam just understood and she didn't, but it doesn't matter. Whatever Leo did to end up like this stinks of betrayal to her nose, and that is the problem. “I should replace you,” she says after a while, with the grave tone of an educator on the verge of giving his pupil a very hard lesson. Point is, she's the lead female singer of the choir, not the director: spotlights and praises, but no power to take decisions.

Leo shrugs. First, he doesn't really care. He likes to sing as he likes to do a bunch of other things, it's not like he lives for that or anything, so if he can't go touring with them, he will mourn his lost extra credits and deal with it. He is not his father, so that's not a threat for him. Secondly, despite his lack of interest, he's well aware of his talent and he knows that Harper can threat to replace him (or ask his uncle to), but she really can't do it. Nobody else in the choir is currently at her level except him. Her choice is between singing alone or singing with someone who would downgrade her performance.

But will U? He writes on the blackboard and then grins at her.
“I swear to God, someone should slap you until your head fall off!” She growls in frustration and storms out of the room in cloud of hate and revenge. Leo starts to laugh, or at least try, but Adam slaps him in the back of his head.


Harper gives him exactly two hours of peace – the time it takes him to go to his last class and back home – then she shows up at his house with a trolley. Leo and Adam are playing Bulletblast in Leo's room, literally destroying another two-people team on the other side of the world, somewhere in Sweden or something, when Kurt shows her in with the proud smile of a father who finally sees his boy having contact with other people his age.

“Leo, Harper is here to see you.”

He would like to say that she could sit down and watch him, if that's what she wants, but he would have to write it down and he's too lazy for that, so he sighs and turns to look at her, a clear What the hell do you want, witch? plastered to his face.

“I thought about it,” she begins, as Kurt closes the door. “Our first show is in three days, and it's not a lot of time for you to recover, but we still have some wiggle room.”

He makes a puzzled face. “For what?” Adam translates, automatically. He's been doing that since they left the school – at the Lima Bean, at the bookstore, at the comic shop – and now he can't stop, even if Leo's face is pretty clear.

“First of all, take this.” She opens her trolley and takes out a little black device, some sort of phone, but with a keyboard. “My father used it when he had vocal chords surgery last year. You type in what you want to say and he says it. Try it!”

Leo types in for a few seconds and then presses the enter button. “Harper is an annoying prick,” the device says in a metallic, cold voice. Leo chuckles voicelessly even after Harper throws him a pillow.

“Shut up, idiot!”

“I will never shut up anymore! You were stupid enough to give me the power to speak again!” The robotic voice says. And then adds, “Ah Ah Ah”.

Adam can't help but chuckles too this time. This is ridiculous. She throws him a pillow too. “That is not a toy,” she explains. “It's to help you keep your voice at rest while you heal. As of now, you're not allow to speak or even laugh. You can't strain yourself in any way.”

“Alright. I like this thing,” Leo types in. “I might even give up voice all together.”

“That is not an option,” Harper says flatly. Then she starts taking out things from the trolley and for a moment it looks like she will never stop. “Now, I used to suffer from laryngitis all the time when I was younger. A real nightmare, believe me, my career was constantly at risk. But I couldn't skip too many lessons, so I became an expert in quick recovering.”

“The world will never thank you enough for not having deprived it of your squeaking three years old voice,” Leo types in. She ignores him. Damn, she's getting better.

“This,” she goes on, giving him an unlabeled bottle, “is my cure-all syrup. It's eucalyptus and ginger. It tastes like a nightmare but it works like a miracle. Go on.”

She gives him a spoon – that too coming out of the trolley – and watches him until he opens the bottle, pours some of the syrup in it and puts it in his mouth. The moment it touches his tongue, Leo wants to die. It is so awful that he's sure he's gonna puke. He gurgles something as he looks for a bottle of water, tears streaming down his eyes.

“Tell the doctors what I ingested, so they will save me,” he types as he lies on the floor, pretending to die.

“You will take it twice a day,” Harper goes on, unfazed by his corpse. “And you must eat a lot of citrus. It's good for infections.”

She pushes towards him an actual bag of oranges. “Did you buy him oranges?” Adam asks, frankly perplexed. In all these years of friendship with Leo, he doesn't think he ever bought him anything edible. It feels weird. Like, these are things your mom buys for the house.

“Yes, I don't trust him to do it himself,” she explains. “You will avoid meat, milk and any type of sugar.”

“Sure, I can always photosynthesize,” Leo nods, quite seriously.

“Sort of,” Harper nods too, seriously serious, tho. She gives him another unlabeled bottle. “This is solar-charged water. That's an old wife's tale, but it works, I don't know how.”

“What is it?”

“Water left in the sun,” Harper explains. And when he's about to put his fingers on the keyboard, she adds, “Don't ask, Karofsky, just execute.”

And there's such determination in his eyes that, for the first time, he feels like doing exactly like she asks. Apparently whiny Harper doesn't work on him the way decisive Harper does. So, eventually, he gives in and nods.

“Good,” Harper smiles, but not in a friendly way, and closes her trolley, ready to go. “Wear a scarf around that neck at all times and get some rest. In time I will teach you some exercise to gently train your voice when it will be back. And for God's sake, at least try to get better for once!”

She gets to the door and Leo is about to take one big sigh of relief when she turns back. “Oh, I forgot. It's either you get well in time to sing with me or I'll kill you, and then I get to tell my audience the tragic story of your departure. Goodbye, Leo. Adam.”

Leo stares at the closed door for a very long time, wondering if murder is in the realm of things Harper would be willing to do to help his career. “Give me that water,” he types in. The fact that he doesn't know the answer to that question is reason enough to start doing what she says. Besides, he either dies at her hands or drinking her potions, he might as well go the most humane way.

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