Traditional wisdom (alright, mostly comic books) would say that evil geniuses don't have best friends – don't really have friends at all. Just minions. Matt thinks that's bullshit, but lately, looking at Mike, he can see the downside. Mike's great, he really is, and Matt is truly grateful to have someone he can sit in comfortable silence with. It's a sad fact that most people just can't quit talking for more than ten seconds at a time, and Matt likes his quiet. (He's planning world domination, and it's difficult when someone just wants to tell him about their day. Or worse, expects him to talk about his.) But if he has friends, he's expected to care. And damn it all to hell, he does.

Because, see, Mike's been his best friend since kindergarten, and Matt doesn't want to think how long it would take him to find another person who can keep his mouth shut. Not that he couldn't do it – he totally could, has the algorithm for it stone cold down and kept where (almost) no other person can find it.

So while he could find another person with the ability to shut up, he doesn't particularly want to. Mike's a good fit. They share the same interests, and Mike doesn't have many annoying qualities. He's not a jerk, like Puck. He's not a complete fucking moron, like Finn. He doesn't spit, he's not picky with his food, and he's never hit on any of Matt's sisters. (Lucky for him.)

It's not his fault that he's an idiot when it comes to women. It took Matt a while to see the pattern. The two of them would go out to a club – because there's nothing Matt can't do with a computer in the way of alternate identities and fake documentation – and they're good-looking guys, and they've got moves. They pick up girls pretty quick. They lose them pretty quick, too – after only a few dates. It's usually Mike's fault. His girl dumps him, the other one soon follows. Matt is fine with this. The longer a girl stays around, the more she expects him to talk to her. Mike is a good excuse; they're a package deal.

He's fine that Mike can't keep a girl. What is increasingly not fine is Mike's reaction. He gets this kicked puppy look on his face. Every. Single. Time. It's like he can't understand what he's doing wrong. Matt hates that look. He has a dog, and he has a best friend. They are not the same, and he doesn't want them to be. Mike shouldn't need looking after, if for no other reason than Matt is not willing to become Santana in drag. (Mike certainly isn't Brittany, and he won't be getting Brittany anyway, if Santana has anything to say about it.) He has his pride – refuses to be an evil genius without a decent sidekick. And okay, so Mike's superpower is dance, which is not real ace if Armageddon comes along, but he can hold his own.

Usually. Now he's just becoming mopey. Doesn't complain, thankfully, but looks more and more pathetic. It's at the point where Matt can hardly bear to watch. Now their silence just makes him uncomfortable, and he's simply not down with that shit.

It clicks for Matt when he finds his friend watching the latest Beyoncé video. Not just once, but over and over, and he's not staring at her arse – no, not Mike. He's staring at her feet. And that's when Matt sees it, sees Mike's Pattern of Doomed Relationships. It's really very simple. They go to clubs, for the dancing and the girls. They date girls until Matt's ears bleed and Mike gets dumped. The dates they go on with these girls are to clubs, for dancing. (They like to dance, and loud music discourages talking.) Mike spends his date-time watching his girl's feet, learning their moves. Matt hypothesises that this is initially attractive to women – it makes Mike look shy and (Matt gags a moment) cute.

But four dates, and he's still looking at feet, and not at their eyes or their tits? He's practically screaming fetish.

(Every so often, when the girl's not that great a dancer, Mike will get bored with watching the parts of them he does watch and watches other people instead. Other women. He gets dumped real quick then.)

Now Matt's not a saint. He's dropped some particularly annoying girls some very heavy hints about how much they need to exfoliate their heels, and what shoes they should be wearing. (Get the platform ones you can put goldfish in, and if you're really lucky he'll show you how to swallow them. You know, like oysters.) He can be pretty sleazy when he wants (it behoves an evil genius to have a flexible character) and it moves things along. Sure, it doesn't make Mike look particularly good, but what he doesn't know won't hurt him, and Matt only does it when the girl's a real horror. He's a good friend that way.

But even the horrors seem to be dropping off lately. (Perhaps some of the hints have spread a little too far.) Besides, Mike's not too enthusiastic about going out anymore.

It's because Mike is his best friend that Matt decides to use his powers for good and do him a solid. He's been thinking about it for a while, but when Rachel Berry is singing "Gives You Hell" to poor stupid Finn, Matt finds himself staring at her with a dawning smile on his face.

He's very good at chess (of course) and the answer to his problems is staring him right in the face. And in half a second, Matt understands that all he has to do is sit still for approximately twenty more seconds and the plan is in motion. For the space of one song, Rachel's going to try to make Finn jealous. It's not going to be with Kurt, for obvious reasons. Tina and Quinn are there to rein in Artie and Puck, and Matt is keeping his arse in his seat, thank-you very much – at least until Rachel has taken the time to work through her choices and realise that Mike is the only option left. And bless both their easily manipulated little hearts, they're up for it, and Matt gives it a few seconds before joining in, just long enough for them to get a good look at each other.

Unfortunately, they're stupider than he is. (Most people are.) Matt finds it very frustrating when instead of realising new possibilities they return to the status quo immediately post-dance. He thinks Rachel is the harder problem, and seriously considers leaving a Skinner box on her doorstep. Purely to help her recognise her tendency to keep pulling on the one lever in the hope of eventual reward, because sure as hell the continual resulting shocks aren't doing anything to change her behaviour. What? It's a charitable action.

He refrains; being fairly sure that Rachel doesn't do subtlety – ever – and won't get his.

Jesse St. James is a problem. One, watching he and Rachel together is plain disgusting. It might as well be masturbation, they're so obviously dating their own mirror image. Two, Rachel has fallen back into the same back and forth pattern of dating drama she had so perfected with Finn, and Matt is tired of watching that clichéd train wreck. (He's in Glee because it's fun, and high pitched relationship drama yapping at him constantly is ruining it.) The one very small upside is that Rachel has shown some improvement: her patterns are the same, but she responds well to obsession. She appreciates focus in others. Matt sees this as an advantage; a boot he can use to kick her oblivious arse towards a better option.

The third problem is that Jesse is an obvious spy, a bomb waiting to go off. Matt admires evil genius in others, and the Vocal Adrenaline attempt to undermine New Directions is clever. He doesn't deny it. Why should he? But if Jesse wants to break their lead's heart and send her scary wailing through the corridors of McKinley three days before Regionals, he needs to understand that he's playing with the big boys now. So Matt hacks into the school computer system, checks locker numbers and schedules a fire drill. Stays behind in the confusion, and five minutes alone with Jesse's laptop means the other kid has a lot of explaining to do when very inappropriate, very illegal images pop up in his PowerPoint presentation later that day.

And when VAs star singer is led away, white and shaking, Matt doesn't feel even a microsecond's worth of temptation to go up to him, smile kindly, and say "Guess you got yours, you smug prick". Because Matt might not have been subtle, but he's not stupid either. Sticking round to gloat after the showdown is the mark of a very inferior genius. Had he been playing Jesse's part, he wouldn't have stayed to the end of school day – it would have been a hard clean break and gone. Besides, he's already wasted one word on Jesse ("Hello") and he hasn't budgeted for more.

(Rachel may spend Regionals trying not to cry, but Jesse spends it in juvenile detention, beginning very lengthy, very mandatory sessions with a counsellor much less useless than Miss Pillsbury. (Matt doesn't think an evil genius should necessarily start fights, but he understands the value of finishing them. Bitch deserved it.))

In a just world, that would be all he needed to do. But his superhero sidekick was still acting lame, and Rachel's nobody-loves-me-so-leave-me-alone histrionics had painted a giant target on each of her argyle sweaters. And fuck, but it's tiresome. Matt comes to school after they win Regionals, and he's in a good mood, and he sees Mike staring maybe a little wistfully at Rachel across the hall, and he's in a better mood, because maybe he can sit back after all, when Karofsky throws another slushy in her face and it all turns to shit. Rachel's wailing in the bathroom, and Mike's grinding his teeth and muttering about kicking the arse of the whole damn hockey team – which, no, he'd only get his legs broken and Matt would be without a superpower sidekick, which would defeat the whole point of interfering in the first place. Frankly, he blames Puck. Son of a bitch started the whole slushy craze in the first place.

Matt can't understand it. Why did these people insist on making his life so complicated? But he's not stupid enough to think that life as an evil genius doesn't entail working for the title, so he takes another look at Mike's unhappy face and prepares for battle.

He buys three tickets for a new dance performance two towns over, gives one to Mike and insists Puck take the other. Tells him its hot girls dancing. (It really isn't.) No use asking Rachel, she's refusing to trust anyone these days, which is way overboard if you ask Matt, but she doesn't, silly girl. He makes sure to talk about it in Glee practice, though – that is, he starts Mike off and doesn't shut him up. By the time the performance rolls around they're all sick of hearing about it – seriously, Mike is obsessed with dance – but Matt notices Rachel listening despite herself. Beginning to see the other compulsive freak in their group. Finally.

The day of the performance Matt cuts a class, steals Puck's guitar from the music room. Unravels one of the strings, leaves it with a badly spelled note of familiar insults. Stuffs the guitar into Karofsky's locker. (Those locker numbers came in handy – Matt's plans always have a back up.)

Puck loses his shit, obviously. He loves that guitar, loves how it gets him girls. It's the work of a moment to let him cry off going out in order to track the thing down. It takes significantly longer to convince Rachel to take the extra ticket, but she's interested now despite herself, and after kicking his ankle a couple of times, Matt manages to get Mike to open his mouth long enough to add his invitation.

It's actually a positive that Mike is so engrossed watching the dancers that he ignores Rachel a little bit. It gives Matt the opportunity to lay some groundwork, and because the performance is only two hours long he doesn't bother trying to be subtle. With Rachel, he'd be there all night.

An hour in, Matt has drummed into Rachel's head the difference between competitive and complementary. Mike's got a nice enough voice, but he'll never be competing with Rachel for solos. Rachel can move pretty good, but even she knows to leave the choreography to Mike. She won't care that he likes to scope out other people dancing, because if they were singing she'd be all over it, and vice versa.

It's a match made in performance freak show heaven. And yes, it likely means that Matt will be spending more time with Rachel in future (because Mike? totally whispering in her ear about the dancing right now, and she's gazing up at him like she's a Disney woodland creature with concussion), and that's sure as hell going to cut into his quiet time. But he's a good friend, and he'll deal.

When he checks his phone in the interval and sees a message from Puck (found it), Matt smiles to himself and pictures what Karofsky's face is going to look like tomorrow.

He's an evil genius, and a very good friend. Comic books be damned.