A/N: The sequel is coming! Check the author's note on my last drabble for details. :P For now, just be assured that I'm not dead, the sequel will begin to be posted in no less than two weeks, and you should visit (W)(W)(W)(DOT)trueglee(DOT)(NET) :D
"But we won Sectionals," Rachel whispered, her face pale and her eyes flooding with tears. Mr Schuester nodded grimly, despair in his eyes.
"I know, guys. We've done everything right. But after the damage done to the auditorium was fixed the Glee Club has no money left," the teacher took a deep breath. "Principal Figgans has cancelled Glee Club."
Tina sobbed into her hand before burying her face against Mike's shoulder. Rachel collapsed into her seat next to Finn with a stunned expression, not reacting when her boyfriend grabbed her hand. Around the choir room the gleeks sat in silent shock, Kurt gripping Harry's hand so tightly his bones creaked. The wizard didn't react. How could this happen? Artie broke the spell with a tiny voice.
"Is - isn't there something we can do?" the wheelchair-bound boy pleaded, wheeling himself forward a little. Mr Schuester shut his eyes against their hopeful faces.
"I suggested fundraisers, offered to put money in myself - he was adamant. The Glee Club hasn't earned the school any acclaim, so he's pulling all funding."
The room went quiet again, Tina's little sobs the only sound in the room. Brittany turned to whisper something to Santana, but the Latina girl just shook her head, her eyes bright. Harry let Kurt pull away to slip an arm around a shell-shocked Mercedes' shoulder, and the wizard looked at each of the kids with sympathy.
He loved Glee Club, he did, but for him the most important part was spending time with his friends. He didn't love the spotlight like Rachel or Kurt, didn't need to dance like Mike or Brittany. He wasn't a natural performer; it wasn't an outlet for him like it was for everyone else. Looking around the room at his friend's broken hearted faces made his chest ache; he hated seeing people who meant so much to him in so much pain.
"If all our parents put some money in, maybe we can raise enough," Rachel muttered suddenly. Her face was twisted in concentration, her mind clearly racing, but Mr Schuester shook his head.
"Not this kind of money. It wouldn't be right," Mr Schuester sighed, hands on his hips. "I guess we could keep brainstorming-"
"Wait, what? Money? This is just a money thing?" Harry interrupted, sitting up. At the other's incredulous look he rushed to clarify. "No one ever told me that it was all about money, I thought it was a competition thing. So you're saying if we had a private donor, we'd be fine?"
"This isn't just a couple of hundred dollars, Harry. Figgans is insisting - probably at Sue's suggestion - that all performing clubs have at least half of the budget of the Cheerios to be viable. The cheerleaders have half a dozen private donors, and all the other performing clubs have school support. We'd need someone to donate something like $10,000 a year just to be allowed to continue until Regionals, and we'd still have to win."
There was a desolate pause as all the gleeks but Harry's shoulders sagged. Harry stared at Mr Schuester with a deadpan expression.
"You remember that I'm filthy rich, right?"
There was a start across the room. Every head snapped to face the wizard, staring at him in bafflement. Kurt slapped a hand to his face as realisation dawned, and tentatively hopeful looks started being exchanged between gleeks.
"Wait, seriously?" Artie spoke up after a pause. "I mean, I know you have a nice house and all, but you don't seem rich."
"And you dress like a hobo and drive a rust-bucket of a car," Santana snorted, tossing her hair over her shoulder and folding her arms with a disbelieving scowl. "Come on, short stuff, you really expect us to believe that you're ballin'?"
"I don't know what that means, but I have a lot of money, yes," Harry shrugged, already reaching into his bag to pull out the chequebook he kept in the side pocket just in case. "I'm the last living member of an old family - of several old families, really. All the old families in England are interbred to hell, and so many people died in the last two years that I ended up inheriting from my sixth cousin twice removed and stuff."
"I can't believe I forgot about that," Kurt muttered into his hands, looking up at Harry apologetically. "You're so normal I just don't think about it. Can you donate money to the club?"
"Of course," Harry went to stand. "I'll go and see Principal Figgans now."
Excited chatter broke out across the room. Harry found his exit hindered by unexpected hugs from Mercedes and Rachel, both girls squealing thank yous into his ears. As Harry was passed into Puck's arms for his thank you hug Mr Schuester sent Mike out of the room to get the principal. The teacher's face was split into a relieved grin, and Santana was shooting Harry calculating glances.
Harry allowed himself to be manhandled back into his seat, shooting Kurt an embarrassed smile when the boy giggled at his blush. Finn and Puck were throwing ideas for sets and extravagant performances at one another over Harry's head, and Tina and Brittany seemed to be literally dancing for joy. It would have all been sweet if Santana hadn't taken that moment to slide herself onto Harry's lap (with, he noted reluctantly, impressive grace) and smile innocently into his shocked face.
"Harry, sweetie," she purred, running a manicured finger up his chest. Behind her Kurt was raising his eyebrows into his patented Bitch Face, and around the room the gleeks quietened to watch the drama. "You know you're just my favourite boy, don't you?"
"Santana, if you want something, just ask. I'll give it to you on two conditions," Harry shook his head, shooting Kurt an apologetic glance. His boyfriend gave him a thin smile, folding his arms and sinking back into his seat. Harry turned his gaze back to the cheerleader on his lap. "First condition, you get off my lap before Kurt kills both of us. Second condition, you treat me like you always have. I already consider you a friend, for some mad reason, so you don't need to butter me up if you want something."
"I want bling," she answered automatically, the sugar dripping away from her voice to leave the girl's usual dry drawl behind. "Real stuff, none of that dollar store crap. Consider it my payment for not telling Coach Sylvester where you lived when she asked."
Harry blinked, "Oh. That was... actually nice of you. Thank you, Santana."
She waved a hand dismissively, her cheeks darkening a little, "Whatever. Just give me some ice and we'll consider it even."
Kurt leaned over to Harry's side as the cheerleader slunk back to her girlfriend and patted him on the hand, "Don't worry, sweetie, I'll tell you what 'ice' and 'bling' are later. Right now, just bask in your hero status."
"Oh god," Harry groaned, rubbing his forehead. "That's the last thing I want. I just did what any of us would have done if they could have."
"Probably," Kurt nodded, before smiling a little guiltily. "After buying out the new season Vogue collections, of course."
Harry perked up at Kurt's words, but the countertenor raised a hand to cut him off, "No, you're not allowed to buy me the entire new season Vogue collection just because I said I wanted it. You're my boyfriend, not my sugar daddy."
"You're no fun," Harry pouted, reaching out and catching Kurt's hand in his. "How am I meant to spoil you if you won't let me ply you with designer goods?"
"Harry!" Mr Schuester called over the celebrating room, his face still stretched in a smile. Principal Figgans had entered the room at some point, and he was staring at Harry with worryingly eager eyes. "Principal Figgans-"
"Would like to thank you for your generous offer, young Mr Potter!" the headmaster trilled, clapping his hands together and rocking up to the balls of his feet. "If you are willing to donate the necessary funds then of course I will be more than happy to sign off on the Glee Club continuing. Something in the range of $16,000 should do quite nicely."
"What do the Cheerios get?" Harry asked as he stood, slipping the chequebook out of his hoody pocket. When surprised flickered in the Principal's eyes he continued, cutting off whatever he was about to say. "You know what? Don't tell me. Just double it."
As the principal spluttered the gleeks broke out into excited whispers. Harry ignored the noise in favour of filling out the cheque, handing it over to Figgans to write in the amount. Harry signed the slip with little flourish, eager for everything to get back to normal, but the principal was still staring at him with disturbingly hungry eyes.
"You know, Mr Potter," he said slyly, his voice oozing what was probably meant to be persuasiveness but sounded more like sleaze. "There are many clubs and institutions within William McKinley High that could benefit from extra funding-"
"Funding they don't get because you'd rather spend it on sporting facilities and flashy showcases, you mean," Kurt snapped, stepping in between his boyfriend and the principal. "Harry isn't your wallet, Principal Figgans. If you want the band to get a bus that doesn't break down for the next competition, maybe try diverting some money from the 'impressing the superintendent' fund."
Kurt was shepherding the spluttering principal out of the room while he spoke, his back stiff and his movements jerky. When he slammed the choir room door shut on the headmaster's back he turned around with a little growl that Harry would never admit he found adorable, "Really? Begging you for money? This is what he stoops to? Good Gaga he's sad."
"This is why I try to keep the money thing a secret," Harry muttered, glaring at his shoes. "As soon as people know it's like everyone wants something. And if I do give them stuff from then on I can't tell if they're being nice to me because they like me or because they're trying to get a new TV out of it."
"Harry, dude, even though this is super exciting and everything, you know that we don't care, right?" Finn assured him suddenly. Harry looked over to where the tall boy was standing amongst the gleeks, and smiled weakly when he saw the earnest expressions on every face. "We just like you because you're nice and stuff, not because you're rich."
"Although if you wanted to give me a Playstation 3, I wouldn't say no," Artie quipped, striking a faux-innocent pose to show he was joking. Harry's smile strengthened as Rachel began nodding frantically.
"He's right, Harry - Finn, I mean, feel free to ignore Artie. You're our friend, and I for one have no interest in trying to get presents or money out of you," she paused there, looking a little sheepish. "I would, however, suggest that as you're now our donor you might have some say in how the Glee funds are spent, and I have some helpful suggestions as to where those funds should go."
"Yeah, I am passing that particular buck to Mr Schuester. He's in charge of where they all go. Feel free to suggest to him," Harry drawled, smirking a little as the horde descended on the teacher, every gleek shouting suggestions and pleas. Kurt side stepped the mob gracefully, shooting the suddenly frazzled Mr Schuester a pitying look as the man tried to calm the excited group, before stepping over to Harry.
"You're already planning on buying Artie a Playstation 3, aren't you," he sighed, not bothering to make it a question. Harry shrugged sheepishly.
"I actually really like buying people stuff, okay? And Ron and Hermione have never let me," the wizard huffed, smiling a little when Kurt kissed his cheek idly. "They both have access to my bank accounts but they refuse to use them. They share this tiny little apartment in London, completely ignoring the fact that I own the deeds to something like four townhouses."
"They refuse to take advantage of your wealth? Those bastards," Kurt deadpanned, ignoring Harry's grumpy poke to his side. "It's almost like they respect you as a person rather than as an ATM. The nerve."
"Shut up, you're so mean to me," Harry pouted, sighing when Mercedes and Rachel started arguing over whether to buy pink faux-leather or zebra striped velvet sofas for the green room. "How long do you reckon it will be until it's all over the school?"
"I'll swear everyone so secrecy, don't worry about that," Kurt reassured him. "My only concern is Coach Sylvester. No doubt this whole funding issue was her idea - she's probably been working on it for months. When she finds out that you thwarted her in minutes she'll be furious."
"I'm not afraid of her," Harry protested, before rethinking. "Okay, she did try to set Mr Schuester's hair on fire with a blow torch last week - I'm not overly afraid of her. More cautious, really."
"Oh Harry Potter," Kurt sighed sadly, patting Harry on the shoulder with pity in his eyes. "You still have so much to learn about this school."
"You're not wrong," Harry agreed amicably, watching with a bemused expression as the other gleeks began to form a spontaneous human pyramid in order to convince Mr Schuester of the importance of moving set pieces to their musical growth. "Merlin knows none of it makes sense to me yet."
The roar echoed down the McKinley corridor, despite the wall to wall students milling about. Every boy and girl froze where they were, heads snapping around the face the familiar, terrifying sound. Those that could ducked out of the way, into open classroom doors and bathrooms; several scurried into the janitors' closet. Harry felt the hairs on the back of his head stand up as he forced himself not to flinch at the approaching footsteps, slipping a few books into his locker with forced casualness. You have faced down four armed killers holding nothing but a towel and won, Potter. You're not going to be intimidated by -
"Midget," Coach Sylvester growled, slamming a hand into the locker next to Harry's head. Behind her Harry could see the nervous, pitying stares of various students, and he forced himself not to sigh as he looked up into her (slightly disturbed) eyes.
"Yes, Coach Sylvester?" he asked her tiredly, taking the last book he needed out of his locker and beginning to wrestle with his bag. "Did you need something?"
"I need many things, Midget," Sue snarled, looming over Harry threateningly in a manner that reminded him of Severus Snape. He briefly imagined the two meeting - an angry Coach Sylvester locked in a room with an irate Snape - but forced his mind to less frightening matters when a cold shiver ran down his spine. That is not a scenario for ordinary minds.The coach went on, oblivious to Harry's musings. "I need the Presidency, so I can solve this nation's problems in a day. I need William Schuester to stop assaulting my senses with his hair gel and dress sense. I need a Cheerio squad that isn't afraid of a couple of lions but right now, all I need are answers."
Harry waited for a moment, unsure whether he was meant to say something or if this was a dramatic pause. When the coach looked at him expectantly, he tried, "...what about?"
"There is a vicious rumour going around this school, Midget," the coach's voice became quiet and dangerous, and Harry resisted the urge to pull back or put his books in front of him for protection when she leaned in closer. "A malicious, disturbing rumour that I hope you will be able to disprove."
"If this is about me and Kurt and the shower head in the Boys locker room, that is completely untrue. I think Santana may have started it," Harry assured the teacher, shooting a droll, unimpressed look at a couple of guilty looking classmates standing behind her. "I'm a little disturbed at how persistent that rumour was, actually. It was almost like people wanted it to be true."
"Yeah, I already knew that. I actually started that rumour in the hopes that Schuester would be blamed for making you glee clubbers hypersexual," Coach Sylvester frowned in irritation, pulling back a bit to look suspiciously down the hallway. "It didn't work. But that's not what I'm referring to."
"Really?" Harry raised an eyebrow, annoyance at the coach's admittance bleeding some of his nervousness away. "Then what rumour are you referring to?"
"The rumour," the coach hissed, leaning in again. "That when your pathetic club was faced with closure due to lack of funding, you handed Figgans a cheque and said, 'double the Cheerios budget,'."
"Oh," Harry relaxed a little, leaning back against the lockers. The wizard tried to remember what Kurt said about the coach and the rules of Show Choir. "Yes, I did. New Directions now has a budget of twice that of the Cheerios. And if you raise the Cheerio budget, I'll raise the Glee budget. Private donations are allowed so we're not breaking any rules, and I can afford it."
For a moment the cheerleading coach just glared at the small teenager, eyes burning with rage. When she spoke, it was in a dangerous whisper, "You have made a powerful enemy today, my friend."
With that, she whirled around and stalked down the hallway, teenagers diving out of her way with every step. She shoved those who didn't get out of the way in time, screaming at anyone who stared at her rage. Harry stared after her, open-mouthed, before shaking his head and closing his locker with a quiet click. When he turned to go to class (choosing to the take long way that didn't mean he'd pass the coach's office) he found Mr Schuester and Mercedes hurrying down the hall towards him.
"Harry," the teacher said breathlessly, looking at the chaotic, slightly shell-shocked corridor with wide eyes. "Are you all right? Have you spoken to Coach Sylvester?"
"I saw her corner you and ran like the damn wind," Mercedes added, scurrying up to Harry's side to look him over. "I got Mr Schue as fast as I could but I thought she'd have chewed you up and spat you out by now."
"She just left a few minutes ago. Did you know that she started that rumour about Kurt and me?" he demanded, waving off Mr Schuester's concerned gaze with a weak smile. "Apparently she was trying to get you fired for inciting inappropriateness, or something. But I'm okay. Weirded out, but okay. She's a little off, that woman."
"Yes," Mr Schuester agreed automatically, then starting and glancing around nervously as though realising what he just said. "But I didn't say that, right?"
"Don't know what you mean, Mr Schue," Mercedes smiled sweetly, tugging on Harry's arm to look it through hers. "We better go to class, you on my way, white boy?"
"Sure, I don't want to walk passed Coach Sylvester's office anyway," Harry agreed, smiling up at his choir teacher. "Thanks for rushing to my aid, Mr Schuester."
"No problem, Harry. It's the least I could do," the teacher patted the boy on the shoulder. "I'll see you in Spanish, yeah?"
"See you then, sir," Harry waved as the man walked away, allowing himself to be dragged down the corridor by Mercedes, nodding politely as he was regaled with tales of Coach Sylvester's past acts of crazy, not mentioning that he'd heard many of them from Kurt. He made a mental note to keep an eye on Principal Figgans and the various club budgets. I wonder how angry Coach Sylvester would be if I donated to all the clubs in the school after all?