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 was confused. Matt had said the prank would work. Matt had said it would be funny. Matt had said he'd burst through the second choir room door with his own water gun. Matt said a lot of things, Mike thought bitterly as he trailed behind Mr. Schue on the way to Figgins' office. He didn't think it was funny anymore, and he was already planning out his speech for the next time he saw Matt.
Mr. Schue sighed as he pulled open the door to the outer office. "Have a seat," he said.
Mr. Schue entered Figgins' private office and pulled out the intercom from the desk. A second later, his voice boomed throughout the school. "This is Will Schuester," he said. "We had a false alarm – there's no intruders. Principal Figgins, if you could meet me back in your office ASAP? There's…an issue that needs attending. Thank you."
Mike let out a long breath, leaning his head back against the wall as Mr. Schue re-entered the outer office and sank into the chair next to Mike. "What the hell were you thinking, Mike?" he asked softly. "What was going through your head when you were planning that out?"
"Look, it was Matt's idea, I just went along with it and I shouldn't have, and I'm sorry," Mike rushed. "I feel terrible about it."
"Wait, you mean Matt Freeman?" Mr. Schue inquired.
Mike frowned. Matt Freeman was the goalie on the hockey team, whom Mike had never spoken to directly. He probably didn't even know who Mike was. "What? No. Matt Rutherford."
Mr. Schue shook his head. "Don't know him. Go on," he prompted.
Mike's stomach began to twist and curl around itself as he stared at his teacher, trying to figure out if he was joking or not. "Matt Rutherford," he said slowly. "He's in the Glee club!"
Mr. Schue's brows knitted together. "…No, he's not."
Mike could practically feel his brain heat up as it worked to process the information he was currently receiving. Mr. Schue was a terrible liar and a lame joker, and when he was serious he was serious, so there was no way that what he was saying right now was untrue. But how could that be? Mr. Schue made it his mission to connect with his students – all his students – so how was it that he could just forget who Matt was?
"Mike?" Mr. Schue said. "Are you all right?"
Mike didn't respond, trying to remember the last time Matt had spoken during Glee practice so he could give Mr. Schue's memory a boost.
"Mike, what does Matt look like?"
"What? Um, he's…about six feet tall, he's half black, he's on the football team…" Mike stammered. "Why do you need me to tell you this? He's one of your students!"
Mr. Schue placed a hand on Mike's forearm in an attempt to console. "Mike, calm down. And believe me when I say that I have never had or heard of a student by that name and description."
Before Mike could protest (again), the door opened and Figgins walked in, looking rushed and slightly freaked out. "William! What in the name of Elvis is going on?"
Mr. Schue was still watching Mike with a mix of worry and disappointment. "You want to tell Prinicpal Figgins why we're here?"
Mike sighed, resigning himself to his fate. "It was a prank," he confessed. "It was a stupid, dumb prank."
Figgins pressed his lips together. "Why don't we go into my office."
His head hanging, Mike stood up and followed Mr. Schue and Figgins, falling into one of the chairs across from the principal's desk. Just as Figgins was about to open his mouth and begin speaking, the door burst open and Sue stormed in, her eyes blazing.
"William! I should have known that one of your kids was behind this! Principal Figgins, I'm submitting my vote for capital punishment!"
"Sue!" Figgins cut her off loudly. "Please. This is between myself, Mr. Schuester, and Mr. Chang. No one is going to be executed and I don't care how much pull you have with the school board! Now, if you'd be so kind…?" He gestured towards the door.
Her nostrils flared and she turned to point at Mike's face. He flinched. "You have no idea how far up this creek you are without a paddle. You can be sure that Gloria Allred and I will be pressing charges!" And with that final threat, she stormed out the door.
Mike gulped audibly. Mr. Schue sighed. "Mike, she's never once followed through on that threat. I wouldn't be worried about her if I were you."
Letting out a long breath, Mike forced himself to calm down.
"Now, Mr. Chang," Figgins began, leaning back in his chair. "While I'm not going to have you executed, you must understand that what you have done is very serious, and severe punishment will be dealt."
Mike nodded wordlessly.
"Have you anything to say?"
"I was just going along with Matt – it wasn't my idea," Mike said. "But I should never have done it, and I'm really, really sorry."
"Which Matt are we speaking of?" Figgins inquired.
Figgins pressed the intercom and asked Mrs. Pearson, who had returned to her desk a few minutes ago, to find Matt Rutherford and bring him to the office (and if he was at home, call him in to school), and then returned his attention to Mike. "Tell me how and why you and Matt decided to pull this prank," he said.
Mr. Schue sat quietly and listened with a dubious frown as Mike told the story of how the other Glee kids had pretended not to know who Matt was and that had resulted in Matt's suggestion of returning the favor. Mike was just about to say (again) that the prank had gotten out of hand when Mrs. Pearson poked her head into the office.
"Mr. Figgins, I'm sorry to interrupt, but I tried to look up Matt Rutherford's schedule and contact information on the school database, and there's no students registered under that name."
Figgin's bushy eyebrows snapped together, and he glanced at Mike in confusion. Mike was wide-eyed and his heart was picking up the pace again. This had gone so far beyond funny by now.
"Thank you, Mrs. Pearson," Figgins said, dismissing her. Once she'd scurried back to her desk, he leaned forward, speaking directly to Mike. "Mr. Chang, the longer you continue to lie about this, the more severe your punishment will be."
"But I'm not lying!" Mike cried, at his wit's end. "I don't know what's going on, but Matt Rutherford was the one who came up with this idea, not me, I swear!"
"Mike, calm down, okay?" Mr. Schue said softly. "We just want to hear the truth."
"This is the truth!" Mike's voice rose. "Look, Matt Rutherford has been my best friend since eighth grade! He's in your Spanish class and Glee club and the football team so I don't know why you don't know who he is!"
Figgins cut him off. "Mr. Chang, if Matt Rutherford attends McKinley, then why are his records not in the database?"
Mike ran a hand through his hair, more than a little freaked out. "I don't know – Matt's always been good with computers. Maybe he hacked into the system?"
"That's a pretty long shot," Mr. Schue said. "Look, Mike…if Matt is your best friend, then why is he letting you take the fall for this alone?"