Something Good Can Work

AN: Thanks so much for all the reviews, alerts, and favorites! I'm sorry for the delay in updates – this past week was tech week for my school musical, so it's been pretty crazy. And then, the day I finished a chapter, ffnet decided to magically stop working. Whoopee. In advance, I apologize if I've inaccurately portrayed any eating and self-image disorders; any mistakes were not intentional. I also do not own any aspect of Glee. Once again, thanks for reading, and enjoy!

Sweat poured down Sam's face and rolled off of his back. The teenager was sprinting on the treadmill in McKinley's weight room, feet pounding away as though there were no tomorrow. It had been exactly two days since Sam's not-date with Rachel, and the blond jock had been wallowing in self-hate ever since.

Rachel turned to Sam, grinning mischievously. "Well, I must say...not bad. Not bad at all. I feel that the love story between Neytiri and Jake, although overdone, was rather touching. Did you know I was planning to audition for Avatar on Ice?" Sam grinned goofily back. This was the perfect life to him...sitting next to Rachel, talking about the best movie in the world...sitting next to Rachel. But then, without warning, that voice in his head started whispering to him, telling him that Rachel was staring at his flab in disgust, that he could never impress her. And before he could even stop himself, a question burst out from him.

"Do you think I'm fat?"

There was a second of shocked silence, and in that one second, Sam had his answer. Of course she thought he was fat; how couldn't she? After going out with Puck and Finn, she could never deign to look at a lowlife like him. Rachel couldn't even give him a straight up answer – who knew how disgusted she felt? Before Rachel could open her mouth, the blond teen shot up off the couch, trying to hold back tears. He pushed away the shocked brunette's outstretched hand with an "I get it. I know how you feel – just next time, say it to my face, will you?" With that outburst, he rushed out of the Berry household, slamming the front door after him.

The two singers hadn't talked since that day. Not for lack of trying on Rachel's part – Sam had to admit, the girl showed a surprising amount of determination when she was trying to get something. He had been ducking in nearby bathrooms and janitor's closets for the better part of the day, trying to avoid her. Sam already knew what she was going to say; he didn't want to hear some weak, lame-ass apology followed by fake sincerity and concern. He saw the way she had looked at him on Saturday, the way her eyes had evaluated his pathetic body. And while he finally knew that he could never deserve Rachel, the least he could was to try and come up a little closer in standard to the other boys, right? It would just take a little extra effort, that was all.

He just had to eat less and work out more. Which was normal, wasn't it?

The jock mentally went through his daily calorie intake. Sam never ate anything without checking the nutrition sidebar first, so he knew exactly the number of calories he consumed per day. For breakfast, if he just cut down from and apple, a banana, and milk to an apple and water, that would help shave off a little weight. And for lunch he could have a vegan salad. And for dinner...Sam cursed. His mother believed in the "feed your children until they burst" philosophy, so he'd never get away with his little diet. How the hell was he supposed to work the flab off if his mother insisted on giving him so much food? Then the perfect idea hit him – he would just have to purge it out. All those carbs and proteins couldn't be that beneficial anyway, so what was the harm in ridding himself of the toxins?

Of course, he would also have to get into the workout room more. The blond boy decided to double his time from two hours to four. So what if it sounded a little tough? That was probably what the other guys did anyways. No pain, no gain, he thought. With these new goals in mind, he upped the speed of his treadmill for the last half hour.

Perhaps it's not the solution yet, but it's a start.

Two weeks later, an exhausted, gaunt, sickly teenager stumbled into the weight room. His cheekbones stood out, his hand were trembling, his hair and eyes were dull, and there was a continuous burn in the back of his throat from the vomiting. On top of that, he was failing his classes, skipping Glee, and steadfastly avoiding a now less persistent Rachel. Despite all this, Sam felt...proud. Finally, he was on the road to perfection. Maybe, someday, he'd be able to look Rachel in the eye and she would gaze at his fit, toned body in wonder. Maybe someday, he'd be able to look Quinn in the eye and she would regret cheating on him.

If only he could look himself in the eye first.

Sam shuffled over to the full-length mirror tiredly. He lifted his shirt off and examined himself with a critical eye. Yes, he had definitely dropped a good number of pounds. And so what if his ribs were beginning to stick out? What did it matter that his arms and legs looked painfully thin? That was obviously just part of the process. Soon, his abs would rival that of Puck's and even Mike's. He just had to work a little harder. The teen sighed and headed off towards the treadmill. Might as well get some exercise in before his next purging.

In the meantime, Rachel was steeling herself to do something she never thought she would have to do – skip Glee. Yes, the situation had actually gotten this incontrovertibly bad. She, Rachel Barbara Berry, was going to voluntarily miss this afternoon's Glee rehearsal to go and look for Sam. What were things coming to? Sam was just a high school guy. Had he really wormed his way so deeply into her heart? Did she really care for him so much that she was going to go to these lengths for him?

The answer to that was yes.

As much as she wanted to hate the blond boy for driving her to this with his stubborn attitude and melodrama, she couldn't. Rachel found, to her great surprise, that Sam was quite possibly her best friend in all of Lima. The best thing that had ever happened to her, if she could be honest. He was sweet, genuine, smart, kind, funny...her fathers liked him. Her fathers actually liked him, even after they had sworn that they would never like any boy after everyone that had hurt their princess so much. (Except for Puck. Puck was her friend, and he was Jewish, which put him in their good books.) He was pretty much everything to her now, putting her back together after Finn had broken her. She couldn't just abandon him after all of that.

With this in mind, the tiny Jewish girl determinedly marched past the choir room and headed towards the gym. Perhaps Sam was shooting hoops...

Those nasty, tiny voices in his head were back. Sam thought that after starting his road to recovery, they would go away. But it seemed like the problem had just gotten worse. Every time he ate a bite of food, or got a test question wrong, or even exercised, the demons in his mind would come and haunt him. They jeered at him, mercilessly picking out every flaw in him and blowing it up times a billion. These voices were his worst enemy, much crueler than any classmate or bully could be. And with them constantly in his head, Sam felt like he was being pulled underwater. He was drowning in self-hate and misery, and no one was there to save him.

Well, look who it is. Our resident fatso.

Sam shook his head as if to fling the voices out of his head. He didn't want this again.

Trying to shed some pounds again, eh? Well, it isn't working. You'll never be thin. Or handsome.

The teen's breath grew heavier as he tried to outrun the taunts, feet hitting harder and harder.

No wonder Quinn cheated on you with Finn. Who would want to stay with someone as disgusting as you?

Sweat rolled down Sam's face, mixed with tears that the boy refused to acknowledge.

Because you are disgusting. You're no better than the dirt on the floor.

He wasn't crying. Sam didn't cry. He was better than that.

You'll never be worth anything.

Sam ran faster, pushing his boundaries.

Fat.

Faster.

Ugly.

Faster.

Stupid.

Faster.

The weight room grew fuzzy as Sam started getting tunnel vision. His head swum, his breath came in wheezy gasps, and his eyes rolled back in his head. In his hallucinated state, he almost thought that he could hear Rachel calling out for him. The voices reached a fever pitch.

Stupid fatty dumb ugly worthless useless no-good geek loser freak show idiot coward failure slow flabby overweight disgusting challenged trouty mouth fat cheeks ugly hair doughy arms no abs fake

Just before Sam hit the ground, his eyesight fading and his body aching, he vaguely heard the door slam open and a girl's shocked gasp.

"Sam? Sam?"

AN: And there's chapter four! Thanks so much for all the support – it's been your guys' reviews and incredible stories that inspired me, and I think this is my favorite chapter so far. Okay, so now for my thoughts on "Original Song –"

KLAINE. KISSED. HOLY. CRAP.

I swear I screamed like a fan girl when I saw it! Also, "Trouty Mouth" might just be the best song in the world. Sam's face when Santana was singing it...priceless. In addition – Quinn's now my least favorite character, I think Brittana is endgame, Finn needs to be pushed off of a stage, and Puck and Mercedes' songs are also among my favorites. Can't wait for this Tuesday!

cheers,

~Avalonfreak