A/N: I should be in bed right now (as I should be most of the time that I am writing), but this started coming and could not be stopped. Started as Rachel!Angst and turned into Rachel/Mike. Oh well, I'm good with that, too ;).

I sincerely hope you enjoy!

By now he's already back to performing on Carmel's clearly superior stage. And she's still at McKinley, sitting all alone on the bleachers.

She feels betrayed. She feels guilty. And she's apprehensive of how the Gleeks will treat her now. She is, after all, the one who brought the traitor into their midst. She's the reason they have to scratch what they've made of their set list thus far. She's the one they've always hated anyways; this is just one more reason for them to shun her. She dreads the thought of once again flying solo in the hallway and the lunch room.

Imagine Rachel's surprise when she is joined on the bleachers by Mike.

She remains silent and stoic as he sits down beside her, choosing to keep her gaze focused forward. She can sense him turning towards her, but still remains as she was. He bumps her shoulder with his, saying, "Hey," and trying to get her to meet his eyes.

She caves in, turning her head towards him. His face is solemn and concerned, and she bites down on her bottom lip in a desperate attempt to quell the tears she can feel coming. He reaches out and puts a hand over top of hers. She looks away, but makes no move to withdraw her hand.

She breaks the silence. "Everyone saw it coming," she starts, quietly. "Heck, I knew that he was playing me. But he came along with his stupid, cocky smirk and his amazing voice, telling me that he cared about me. And I believed him; if only because I was craving the attention and affection that he gave me. He promised me, promised me, that he wouldn't hurt me; that he cared." Now she's on a roll and (try as might) unable to stop. "I chose to ignore the signs of manipulation. I pushed it to the back of my head and refused to listen when everyone was telling me to break it off. Easy for them to say, isn't it?" She ploughs on, not expecting an answer. He doesn't interrupt, knowing that she needs to get this all out. "They aren't the ones who've been social pariahs ever since they set foot in this school. They don't get called Man-Hands or RuPaul. They don't cry themselves to sleep at night, muffling the sound with their pillow because they don't want their parents to hear them and ask what's wrong." She takes a shuddering breath, looking down, embarrassed by what she's just admitted.

The tears start rolling, and something inside of her is just waiting for Mike to bolt and leave her to drown in her sorrow and heartbreak. But he doesn't. He wraps his arms around her from the side, and she rests her head on his shoulders as she begins to sob. He stays right beside her, whispering sweet nothings in her ear.

When she finally regains control over her emotions, she tries to pull away from him; he holds tight. He waits until he feels her relax into his arms before adding his two cents.

"He's a douche," Mike tells her, "and he's an idiot." She nods, knowing the truth of both statements. "He's a douche for lying to you, leading you on, and hurting you. And if he was here right now, I'd punch him in the face for breaking his promise, and for making you cry." It's small, but it's the first smile to grace her lips today and he'll take what he can get. "And he's an idiot," he continues, removing his arms in favor of placing his hands on either side of her face and forcing her to look at him, "for letting such an amazing and beautiful person like you get away from him. I have no doubt he'll come to regret at least that, if nothing else."

Rachel looks into his eyes, searching for any signs of untruth; she finds none. She wipes away the salty tear tracks on her cheeks, and sniffles. "I just," she starts to say before pausing, unsure of how to say what she needs to say. "I trusted him, foolishly, just like I trusted Finn a billion times. How come every time I put myself out there and put my trust in another person, they lie to me and let me fall on my face?" It's a quiet, hypothetical question, but Mike answers it anyways.

"Because they don't know a good thing when they see one; and they've taken you for granted. It's all them, Rach . . . not you. All the blame's on them." She'd like to believe him. But one can only be beaten down so many times before they're wary of standing back up.

He can see the hesitance written plainly in her eyes, and sighs a little ruefully.

"One day, I'm going to make you see that I'm right," he tells her, vowing to start doing so immediately. "And I won't let anyone hurt you again, ever. They're going to have to go through me."

She wraps her arms around his waist, expressing the immense gratitude that she can't seem to find the correct words for. "Is that a promise?" she asks him, her voice muffled by his shirt.

"Definitely a promise," he tells her, gently kissing the top of her head, "and one that I fully intend to keep."

She revels in the comfort and security of his embrace, her head resting on his chest. "I think I can live with that," she says, listening to his steady heartbeat.

"I'm glad."

The End

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