A/N: So, this is part of the Expect The Unexpected series I'm working on, which is, frankly, exactly what it sounds like. As part of my everlasting quest to defy any and all possible cliches, something completely unfathomable occurs with one member of the Glee club in each fic of the series. The goal? To have each character (even Matt and Mike, poor underfed pups) so far out of their league, but still remain in character. This is installment number nine, but none of them are connected plot-wise, so there aren't any prequels you have to read for any of them. Some will be tragic, some scary, some mysterious, some humorous. Enough jabber - please enjoy!
On The Rise
Me and him, him and me,
We're always together, as you can see.
I wish he'd leave so I'd be free
I'm getting a little bit tired of he
And he may be a bit bored with me
But I guess there's worse things we could be
Instead of two, we could be three
Me and him, him and me.
~Shel Silverstein, "Us"
Mike whistled as he collected his change off the counter and walked out of the gas station convenience store with two slushies in hand to where Matt was leaning against his pickup, flipping his keys around his fingers. Taking one of the Big Gulp cups, Matt chuckled and said, "You know, I think we might be the only two guys on the team who buys slushies to actually drink them."
Mike laughed and agreed as he climbed into the passenger seat. Matt hopped in behind the wheel and turned on the radio, pulling out of the lot as the sounds of Green Day filled the cab.
"Oh, by the way, man," Mike started. "Kurt's having some sort of party tonight – he announced it yesterday when you were out sick. Anyways, it's like a celebration for getting another year or something. You game?"
"I dunno. Who else is gonna be there?"
Mike knew that Matt was not the kind of guy to leap at the opportunity to go to a party. He vaguely remembered Matt saying something along the lines of not enjoying the over-stimulation, but from what Mike understood, Matt was simply not quite as keen to socialize as most normal teenage boys on football teams. Not that he'd pass up an opportunity to get laid, though, which meant that if Santana or Brittany were going, he was sure to show up sooner or later (Matt had only managed to do Brittany once, and that was sort of because she had a brain the size of a walnut, but hey, he was always up for new territory). "Well, since it's Kurt's party Mercedes, Tina, and Artie go without saying. Quinn's going, too. I'm not sure if Puck or Finn are, but I know Rachel is…"
"Uh-oh," Matt smirked while keeping his eyes on the road. "This party is now destined to end up as a diva-off, isn't it?"
"Almost definitely. So, are you coming, or do you want me to bring the video camera so you can watch the epic fight later?"
Matt slurped down a particularly large gulp of slushie. "Fine, I'll be there. But bring the camera anyways. YouTube calls."
A few seconds later, Matt hissed through his teeth. "Ow…major brain freeze."
And if Mike's eyeballs hadn't felt like they were about to pop out of his skull, he would have laughed. "Ditto here," he said.
Later that night, Mike sat on the couch in Kurt's basement bedroom with Brittany, who was being rather obvious in her attempts to make out with him. Mike was in a rare mood, though, and didn't feel like getting down and dirty with the dumb (though admittedly very hot) Cheerio. He wasn't feeling that great, anyway. Maybe it was that massive slushie he'd had earlier coming back for some digestive payback.
The majority of the Gleeks were either digging into the pizza Kurt's dad had ordered for them, dancing to the Hummels' seriously awesome sound system, or (in Puck's case) making out with Santana. Looks like Matt's chances with the HBIC for the night were shot, Mike thought with a slight chuckle.
"What are you laughing at?" Brittany asked.
She frowned, swallowing a gulp of her diet Pepsi. "People say that to me a lot."
"They'll laugh at something and when I ask about it they just say 'nothing'."
Mike grinned and leaned back. Brittany was dumb, yes, but she did tend to pick up on things like that, and he could tell that she didn't appreciate being treated like she had the IQ of a tadpole (even if it was true). "I was just thinking that Matt lost his chance with Santana tonight."
Brittany gave him her trademark confused look. "What do you mean?"
Mike pointed over to where Puck and Santana were playing tonsil-hockey. "Matt was hoping to do that with Santana first."
"I don't get it."
Mike sighed – he didn't want to have a birds-and-the-bees discussion with the airheaded cheerleader, but then it was her turn to say something that confused him.
"Is Matt your imaginary friend?"
Mike did a double-take so fast that it hurt his neck, then mustered up an intelligent "…What?"
She grinned. "I have an imaginary friend too – his name is Donald. He's a duck."
What is it with this girl and ducks? "Britt, Donald Duck is a cartoon character, he's not imaginary."
Brittany frowned with such an intense look on her face, she looked almost exactly like Finn trying to listen to Rachel for a split second. "But Santana said he wasn't real…"
"Well, he's not, but—" Mike gave his head a shake. "Never mind. Why did you ask if Matt was my imaginary friend?"
"Isn't that what he is?"
"Oh. So who is he?" Brittany looked genuinely curious, which threw Mike off-guard. This was the girl who could remember the name of every single person she'd made out with (and if it took up precious brain capacity, then so be it), watching him and expecting him to tell her who Matt Rutherford was. Matt Rutherford. Mute Matt. Shaft. He may have been quiet, but he wasn't invisible, and not even Brittany was that dumb.
Mike brushed off his confusion with a nervous laugh. "Maybe you should lay off the beer for tonight, huh, Britt?"
Brittany looked startled and peered into her Pepsi can. "There's beer in here?"
Pinching the bridge of his nose, Mike scanned the room for his comrade-in-arms. His stomach was churning now – he still wasn't sure why, but he had an unpleasant feeling that his slushie was going to make an encore – and he didn't want to deal with Brittany's… Brittany-ness. Strangely enough, Matt was nowhere to be seen.
"Yo, Finn!" he called, and Frankenteen looked over from where he was raiding the neatly arranged buffet table (courtesy of Kurt). Mike stood up and walked over to him. "You seen Matt?"
Finn frowned, his mouth full of pizza and tried to voice a question. Rachel, standing beside him with a virgin cocktail in her hand, reached up and patted his shoulder. "Swallow first," she reminded him.
"Have you seen Matt?" Mike repeated.
Finn gulped down his mouthful of food, still looking bewildered. "Who?"
Mike sighed, exasperated. Finn was exponentially smarter than Brittany, which really wasn't saying much, but still. There was absolutely no way he'd forgotten who Matt was, regardless of Matt's lack of conversational skills and personality presence.
Rachel shot him a worried look. "Mike, are you feeling all right?" she inquired, tilting her head to the side in a fashion that made her look almost exactly like a cocker spaniel.
He rubbed the back of his neck, annoyed and more than a little fed up. "Look, guys, I didn't sleep that well last night, and I'm tired. I'd like to go home. So whatever amusement you're getting out of this thing is going to waste. Will you just tell me where Matt went so I can get a ride?"
Finn slowly put his pizza down on the table, still regarding Mike with a rare serious look. "Dude, you okay?"
"I'm fine," Mike snapped. "I'd just like to get a ride."
The gargantuan boy exchanged a confused look with Rachel, then fished his car keys out of his pocket. "I can give you a ride, dude." Mike was about to protest that no, he came with Matt, and he'd like to leave with Matt, thanks very much, but Finn cut him off. "Really, man, it's fine. Come on." He clapped Mike on the back and led him upstairs, telling Rachel he'd be back soon.
"Okay, seriously, are you feeling okay, dude?" Finn asked the second they were out the front door. "'Cause…you're acting weird and stuff."
"I said I'm fine," Mike insisted. "I'm just feeling a little sick to the stomach is all. Too much pizza I guess. Messes with the dancing."
"Uh-huh," was Finn's intelligent reply. Mike could tell from his tone, though, that Finn thought that there was something more than an upset stomach.
When Finn finally pulled up in front of the Changs' house ten minutes later, Mike thanked him briskly for the ride and got out. Stopping before going inside, Mike leaned down and spoke to Finn through the drivers' side window. "Look, can you just tell Matt to give me a call tomorrow? We have plans."
Finn regarded Mike with a perfectly even stare. "Dude, I have no idea who you're talking about."
A/N: Please leave a review and tell me what you think of it. If you enjoyed the first chapter and are interested in the concept of this series, add me to Author Alert to be notified when the other installments in the series are posted. So far, Brittany's, Santana's, Tina's, Kurt's, Mercedes', Artie's, and Puck's are posted - please check them out.