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FIC: A Nice Guy's Guide to Being Friends with Girls (Glee)
yay drama
dealanexmachina
Title: A Nice Guy's Guide to Being Friends with Girls
Author: dealan311
Word count: ~3850
Rating: PG-13 for language.
Pairings: Mike/Glee girls friendship
Spoilers: 2x09, Special Education
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction - all events and actions are completely made up. Absolutely nothing in this story should be taken as fact. This original work of fan fiction is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License; attribution should include a link to this Livejournal post.

Summary: "You really are the nicest guy I've ever met, Mike Chang.”

Author’s note: This was supposed to be a pinch hit for starbuck_river for glee_rare_pairs but J, your original author checked in at the last minute and you’ll be getting yours on Friday. I had already started this by the time I found out, and Sammi and Kait made me finish it. So here it is. Thanks to gilligankane for keeping me on point, in character, and typo and grammar proofed.

******

Mike Chang is a nice guy.

It's weird to him whenever someone calls him that because it's not like he set out to become one. He just is. It's what he's always been. It never occurred to him to act any other way.

You don't hit or say mean things to people. Apologize if you hurt someone. If you see a friend in trouble, help if you can. Share.

These are lessons he has known since he was a child. Things that his parents and his sisters have drilled into his head and that he, in turn, tries to pass onto his brother. Things he learned in kindergarten and didn't everyone learn that?

Then his family moves to Lima, Ohio, and he realizes that no, apparently not.

The first time he sees someone slushied, he is shocked. He moves to go help the poor girl with green slush dripping down her pantsuit, but his new friend, Matt, pulls him back.

"Don't, man. You step in between the jocks and their prey, you might as well kiss your social life goodbye."

Matt convinces him to join the football team, even though he didn't really play ("Dude, no one does. We're terrible.") but Mike does it more as a form of protection than for a real love of the game. It works; he coasts through freshman year without a drop of slushie hitting his face and no one tries to bully him because they are under the strange impression that he knows kung-fu. He does nothing to refute that rumor.

But even though he's a jock, he tries not to do anything his mother would be ashamed of. He refuses to go with the guys whenever they go to throw eggs at Jacob Ben Israel's house or toss Kurt Hummel in the dumpster. He's never so much as ordered a slushie in his life (mostly because they're kinda gross and bubble tea is so much better, and man, does he miss the West Coast.)

Mike Chang is a nice guy. And some days, even if it means being called a "pussy for not joining in on the fun," it can be hard, but that's just who he is.

Sometimes it's enough.

*

Sometimes it isn’t.

He's lived in Lima long enough to know that people can be pretty small minded. It's not the same here as it was in San Francisco. He's somehow managed to keep a low profile and protect himself. For the past year, he's patted himself on the back for not bullying other people, even though he's been in a position where it's expected of him to do so.

It isn't until Glee that he realizes that not actively contributing to the problem isn't enough.

Rachel Berry, annoying as she is, is no longer just another student. He hesitates to call her a friend; maybe later, on the off chance she dials it back by about fifty and learns to actually care about other people's feelings instead of always insisting on being the lead and storming off when she doesn't get her way, he'll consider it. But she's definitely not just a nameless student among the masses to him.

Rachel Berry, Mercedes Jones, Tina Cohen-Chang, Kurt Hummel- they're his teammates now. Doubly so for Kurt since he's joined the football team.

He doesn't let his teammates get hurt.

He spots it as he comes back from gym class with Matt. He sees the way Karofsky is winding through the hallway, carrying the Big Gulp in his hand. Mike glances at the other end where Rachel is standing, oblivious with her back to the approaching danger.

He knows the rules of McKinley High. He knows the way he's supposed to act, but it never did sit right with him that he stood by and watched Rachel be humiliated that first fateful day.

Contrary to popular belief, he is not a ninja. If he gets into a fight, that will become readily apparent. He's not a fighter.

And then he spies Finn, rounding the corner and walking in Rachel's direction.

"Hey, Finn, go long!" he shouts, grabbing the football from Matt's hands. He throws a perfect spiral down the hallway, nailing his intended target hard on the back of the head. Karofsky trips forward, falling just short of Rachel's feet, slushie spilling all over the floor. Mike runs up to where Rachel and Finn stand over the angry jock, Matt following closely at his heels.

"Oh man, Dave. I'm so sorry," Mike says, holding out a hand. "I have terrible aim, and my hand slipped. Here, let me--"

"I don't need your help, Chang!" Karofsky yells, pushing his hand away. He stands up and looks down, as blue ice slides down the front of his shirt.

"Are you all right?" Mike asks, his face a perfect picture of sincere apology.

"No! Fuck, I just bought this!" he curses, gesturing to his ruined shirt. Karofsky pushes past Matt and stalks away in the direction of the bathroom.

Mike turns to Rachel and Finn and smiles sheepishly.

"I guess your position is safe as QB, Finn," Matt says.

Rachel beams at him knowingly. "Thank you."

"What for?" he asks, eyes twinkling and head tilted in mock confusion. "The ball just slipped."

Mike Chang is a nice guy. He would never hurt anyone on purpose, and he always apologizes if he hurts someone.

Nice guys can have accidents though.

***

Mike Chang is not a bad boy.

To be honest, he’s never understood the appeal of the bad boy.

He sees the way Puck acts: rude and abrasive, skating by on his looks and no small amount of smarm. Rare moments in Glee prove that there's a good person in there, deep, deep, deep below the surface, but for the most part, very little about the way he acts is genuine. He treats people like shit.

And yet girls fall all over him. He doesn't get it.

No judgment or anything, but he doesn’t understand the on-again-off-again thing with Santana. (“San says they have history,” Brittany tries to explain to him one day. “I didn’t know they had that class together.”) But it’s when Santana and Mercedes get into a shoving match over Puck during Glee that he gets really confused. Shocked, really.

He thought Mercedes was smarter than that.

Thankfully, she gets her head together and they break up, and so the world rights itself again. But when he sees Mercedes sitting alone in the cafeteria with a sad look on her face, he has to go over and make sure Puck hasn’t left another broken heart in his wake.

“Hey Mercedes. You okay?”

“Yeah, fine.”

“You sure? You looked kind of sad over here all by yourself. Please tell me you’re not upset about breaking up with Puck.”

Mercedes smiles ruefully. “Nah. That was…I don’t know what I was thinking. I could never date a guy who throws people in the dumpster.”

“Okay good," he says, plopping down next to her. "Because I would hate to see you upset over someone like Noah Puckerman.”

“It’s just, I thought he had changed, you know? I mean the Puck we see in Glee, he isn’t so bad,” she says sadly. “And then he started hitting on me and singing to me, and I thought, why not? Cheerios and football players go together, right?”

“You know you don’t have to be in a relationship if you don’t want to. Being single is fine. We’re awesome, in fact.”

Mercedes lets out a genuine laugh and Mike has to grin back.

“We are,” he insists. “Single people are the coolest of the cool.” He rolls his hands like a snake and bobs his head to a soundless beat to emphasize his point.

“Yeah, okay,” she laughs.

“So what’s really bothering you?” he asks seriously when her laughs die down.

“I’m thinking about quitting the Cheerios,” she says soberly.

“Wow. I take it Coach Sylvester isn’t going to like that.”

“I’m a little worried.”

“Well, do what you have to do to make you happy. It’s your life.”

“You sound like a fortune cookie.”

“It’s because I’m Asian,” he jokes, earning another chuckle.

“On the plus side, now Santana will get off my back. Her Head Cheerio position is safe and she can have Puck all to herself.”

Mike scratches his head. “Yeah. I don’t really get those two.”

“It was funny. When Puck first asked me out, Quinn was the one who warned me about Santana.”

“Really?”

“Yeah it was really weird, actually.”

“She wasn’t upset about you and Puck?”

“No! That’s what was so weird. She’s living in his house, but apparently they’re more like roommates or something. They’re not together.”

“Okay can someone explain that to me? Anyone with eyes can see that he’s so far gone over Quinn Fabray. But then he gets her and then he’s bragging in the locker room about the next conquest he’s planning sleeping with and something about being a sex shark.” He shakes his head. “I don’t get it. Why is he looking for someone new?”

Mercedes snorts. “Please. I stopped trying to figure out white people a long time ago.” She looks down at her plate and picks at her food. “She’s really unhappy there, though.”

“Why doesn’t she move out then? Doesn’t Santana have a huge house?”

“I don’t know. The whole Puck being the baby daddy thing probably makes it weird between her and Santana, and Santana and Brittany are still on the Cheerios. I know Quinn misses it.”

Mike lets out a whistle. “Bummer. I wish I could help.”

“Yeah. Me too. She needs to be surrounded by friends.”

“Why not you?” he suggests.

“Me?”

“Yeah. You guys are friends,” he says. “C’mon. Single people have to stick together, right?”

“Weeeeell,” she says hesitantly, stretching out the syllables. “My brother did move out for college so we have an extra room. I don’t think my parents will go for it though.”

Mike shrugs. “You never know until you ask.”

*

“Mike Chang, I am going to ask you nicely once. Get your skinny Asian butt down here and help me move Quinn’s stuff.”

“Mercedes, it’s 8:30am on a Saturday.” he whines. “Do we have to do this now?”

“The Puckermans are going to temple in half an hour and will be out of the house for the rest of the morning. It’ll be a lot less awkward this way.”

Mike groans into his pillow.

“COME ON. This was your idea.”

“Fine, I’ll be there,” he grumbles. “But you better have coffee.”

*

They don’t have coffee.

They also have no bread or eggs or food because the Puckermans do their grocery shopping after temple, so really any sort of breakfast is out of the question.

In the end, it’s a good thing he thought to stop by McDonalds on the way, just in case.

The look on Quinn’s face when he pulls out a Bacon Egg McMuffin is something he’ll never forget.

She doesn’t have much, which surprises him a little. They manage to get all of her stuff into his car in less than an hour and he follows them to Mercedes’ house.

As he pops open the trunk and starts pulling out her suitcase, Quinn walks up next to him. She grabs a sling bag and waits to walk with him as he carries the suitcase to the house.

“Thank you,” she says quietly. “You didn’t have to do all this.”

“We can’t have a person in your condition carrying this thing, Quinn. You might pop out the baby if you did,” he jokes.

Quinn shakes her head, smiling. “Mercedes tells me that she got the idea from you.”

“Really, it’s not a big deal.”

“It is,” she insists.

“It’s not,” he huffs, dropping the suitcase on the steps and using it to prop open the door. “I’m just a nice guy doing a nice thing for a nice friend,” he says happily.

He smiles at Quinn and gestures for her to go ahead of him inside. “Now come on. I hear Mrs. Jones makes a mean pancake.” She tweaks his nose as she walks past, and Mike has to laugh.

More importantly, though, he gets his coffee in the end.

***

Mike Chang is a nice guy, and that's sort of the problem.

Because nice guys never get the girl.

He doesn't get why some guys act like such jerks to their girlfriends.

How could Artie choose a Halo tournament over spending time with Tina? She's amazing. She's funny and unique and kind. She knows who she is and is confident enough to just be herself. She's beautiful, inside and out, and he doesn't understand how people can't see how awesome she is. If he were Tina's boyfriend, he'd spend as much time with her as possible. He’d treat her right. Artie may be a good guy, but he's a terrible boyfriend and he doesn't appreciate what he has.

It makes him wonder why a girl like Tina stays with him. If he has to listen to her complain about Artie one more time, he's going to scream.

(Not really. He would never scream at her. He does want to tell her that she deserves better, though.)

"I'm sorry, I'm just ranting," she says, wiping at her cheeks in frustration. "You don't have to sit here and listen to all this."

Mike pulls her into a hug and smiles down at her. "Hey, I'm a great listener. I just hate that you are so sad all the time. Pretty girls like you shouldn't cry." Tina laughs in his arms, and he feels a warmth spread in his chest. "See? That's better."

"You're such a nice guy, Mike. Thank you."

He pulls away from Tina and puts on the radio to a upbeat hip-hop jam. "Now come on. Dance it out. No one's ever sad when they're trying to do the Dougie,” he says, pulling her along to the rhythm of the beat. He makes funny faces as he moves around the room until she laughs and joins in.

Mike Chang is a nice guy. He couldn't be badass even if he tried. But he wouldn't change even if he could. Because nothing is worth making girls like Tina cry.

And one day, he's going to get the girl and treat her right and prove that nice guys don't finish last.

***

Santana Lopez is a raging bitch.

Everyone knows this. She makes no apologies for it, and it’s just something that everyone in Glee has gotten used to. It's part of her charm.

But Mike’s fairly certain that she’s never been this bitchy before; at least he’s never seen it. It’s bordering on cruel, but it’s unfocused anger, with no specific target, just anyone who gets in her way. It makes him wonder why that is (and what he can do to help can fix it. For everyone’s sake.).

There’s just something different about the way she is acting. It can't just be that Brittany isn't there to balance out her bitchiness. Although he has to admit, it’s weird walking into Glee and seeing Santana so far away from Brittany. Brittany’s dating Artie now, so of course, they’re sitting on the lower level, but he doesn’t know why Santana doesn’t sit on her other side.

It worries him, though. The only reason they won last year was because they were all on the same page. He doesn’t like the tension that’s building as they gear up for Sectionals.

Things only get worse when Mr. Schue announces that that he wants to feature his and Brittany’s dance moves for the competition. At first, the excitement of finally being allowed to bust out with as many moves as he wants with the best dancer in the club temporarily outweighs the crushing fear of failure and the pressure to perform that follows.

Then Rachel throws a fit, Santana hurls an insult at her, Finn makes a comment and before Mike knows it, Santana’s telling Rachel about the time she slept with Finn, which apparently Rachel was the only one who didn’t know about that.

And Santana knew Rachel didn’t know.

Like he said, raging bitch.

When Santana wins the solo, Mike realizes it’s going to be him, Santana, and Brittany working together, alone, probably every day for the next week.

Oh yeah. His life is awesome.

*

“Take a break, you guys,” Santana says, after Brittany jumps into Mike’s arms on the wrong side for the fourth time. “I need some water and we don’t want another close call, like yesterday,” she says snidely, shooting a glare at Mike.

He looks at his feet to avoid her glare as she walks out of the room. Yesterday, they messed up the flip and Brittany almost landed on her head. Luckily Santana was there to catch her. The rest of practice was hell after that.

Something is wrong. Dancing with Brittany has never been so difficult in his life, and that includes the time he had to teach her and Finn the difference between stage left and stage right for the Time Warp. The steps are complicated, but he knows they can do it.

He looks at her sitting forlornly on the floor, and it’s one of the saddest things he’s ever seen.

“Are you okay, Brittany?” he asks, scooting next to her.

“I don’t know if I can do this, Mike.”

“You can, Brittany. I know you can. We just have to nail the flips and we’ve got this.”

“I can’t.”

“What are you scared of?” he asks gently.

“It’s too much pressure. I can’t have whether we win or lose resting on my shoulders.” Brittany looks down and wrings her hand. “And yesterday, after motorcross practice, I lost…” she trails off.

“What?”

“I lost my mojo,” she finishes.

“Well first off,” he starts, “you aren’t alone.” He wraps his arm around her shoulders and lets her rest her head in the crook of his neck. “It’s riding on all of us: on Santana nailing her solo, on me not crushing you when I flip over your head, and the rest of them dancing and singing perfect harmonies behind us.”

She nods reluctantly.

“And as for the other thing…” Mike frowns. He doesn’t know what to say to that. Brittany’s lost her confidence, and he doesn’t have a solution to this.

“Do you remember when we sang to Mr. Schue last year?” he says suddenly.

“Yeah,” Brittany mumbles.

“Do you remember what I said?”

“You said you had never danced outside your room before.”

“Yeah, well, what I didn’t say was, the reason I didn’t was because I sucked. Like really, really SUCKED.”

Brittany giggles slightly, breath tickling his neck.

“I’m serious,” he continues. “You saw me for Single Ladies during that one practice.”

“You were pretty bad,” she agrees.

“I was really bad. I had no mojo. But I found it when I joined Glee.” He nudges Brittany’s head off his shoulder and turns to face her. “Brittany, there’s nothing I love more than dancing. But the reason why I got better, why I found my mojo, is because I found a reason to dance. You guys are my reason. I love performing with you and I know you have it in you to find your mojo again. All you have to do is remember why it is you dance.”

Brittany’s lips quiver a little and he swears she might be crying before she tackles him to the floor with the tightest hug he’s ever received.

“Thank you, Mike,” she says, voice muffled into his chest. “I needed that.”

“Anytime, Britt,” he gasps, returning the hug. “But can you please let me up a bit? It’s kinda hard to breathe.”

“Oh sorry,” she says, sitting up.

“It’s okay,” he chuckles. “You stay here. I’m going to grab some water and check on Santana.”

He doesn’t know if he’s fixed the problem, but Brittany is smiling again.

For now, it is enough.

*

He watches Santana pace near the water fountain, her face scrunched up in frustration.

Approaching her with the caution of a trainer to a lion, he walks up to the fountain and silently fills up his water bottle, avoiding eye contact.

“She’ll get it,” he says reassuringly, without looking up.

“Of course she’ll get it,” she snaps. “She’s Brittany.”

“I’m just saying,” he continues calmly. “You looked nervous.”

“I’m not.”

“She’s nervous,” he counters.

“She’s nervous because she’s out there alone.”

Mike frowns. ‘I’ll be there.”

“I meant you two will be the only pair. She’s used to dancing with a group. I’m usually right there, dancing next to her. Sometimes even supporting her.” She fiddles with her water bottle and sighs. “Only I can’t this time, because I’m singing and—FUCK.”

Mike places the cap on his water bottle and pulls Santana to a stop.

“You’re making me dizzy.”

“Can we rework the choreography so I'm nearer to her?” she asks, ignoring his comment. “I think it might make her feel better if I’m near.”

He considers it for a moment. “A little. It’ll be too distracting if we’re near you all the time. We can work it so you’re close in the transitions, but we need to have the focus on you.”

Satisfied with his answer, Santana turns and walks briskly back in the direction of the auditorium, not even waiting for him to follow. Mike rolls his eyes before speeding up to catch her.

“What about you?” he says casually, when he catches up at her side. “You ready for your big moment?”

Santana scoffs. “Please. I gotz dis shiznit in the bag.”

"Well, I’m glad one of us isn’t nervous about competing.”

“After two years of Cheerio Nationals, this is nothing. I can do this in my sleep,” she says, reaching for the handle of the auditorium door.

“Santana,” he starts, grabbing her arm before she pulls the door open.

“What, butterfingers?”

He takes a deep breath and prays for patience. “I promise to take care of her,” he says solemnly. “I won’t let her fall.”

“You better not,” she retorts.

“You’re going to be all right, you know.”

“What?” she says, whipping her head around in confusion.

“You and Brittany.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she says, crossing her arms over her chest.

Mike shrugs. “I don’t know if you’re fighting or whatever, but you're never together anymore. It's weird.”

“She doesn’t need me around anymore.” Santana rolls her eyes. “She has a boyfriend now.”

He smiles indulgently at her. “She’s always going to need you. You two are best friends. She needs you and you need her. Whatever it is, you guys will work it out. You belong together.”

Santana looks at him incredulously, like she doesn’t know what to say.

“And,” he adds, pulling the door open for her, “you’re a lot less bitchy that way.”

Santana actually laughs at that (he thinks) and bats her eyes in mock gratitude as she sweeps past him. “Why, Mike Chang. You say the sweetest things. You really are the nicest guy I've ever met.”

“Hey, I’m a nice guy.” Mike grins. "Or so I’m told."

[finis.]

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