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17 April 2011 @ 01:59 am
[fic] we'd set the fire to the third bar  
we'd set the fire to the third bar
community | jeff; jeff/annie
season two/asian population studies | pg-13 | 1500
He's pretty sure Annie had thoroughly misinterpreted the 'Not Meant To Be' sign that the universe was so obviously hitting her with.




Mostly he forgets the entire age thing.

(And then she comes to class wearing a glittery headband and draws hearts in her notebook and— oh. Here we go again).


**


“Well”, says Pierce, like he gets it. And that, more than anything else, should be a good enough indication of how messed up the entire situation is, “Rich is younger than you.”

Okay, so maybe Pierce doesn’t get it.

“Yeah,” he says, and thank god he’s perfected that why-is-everybody-but-me-a-moron tone, because he’s getting a lot of chances to employ it here, “by a whole year. Give the guy a medal, somebody.”

“What are you saddled on your high horse for? You’ve kissed her. And that pretty much killed the shock slash creep factor for all of us.”

“Uh, correction, she kissed me." because that's important here "and that was mostly for Greendale. Although I’m pretty sure she wanted to kiss me anyway, but there is an official excuse for the incident when she wants to pretend she didn’t.” and there was that other time, but he doesn’t talk about that, because, hello, he’s a lawyer, not a writer. He’s not analyzing this any more than absolutely necessary.

“Give the guy a medal,” says Pierce, with signature unoriginality. “Somebody’s missing something here and I’m fairly sure the polls say it’s not me.”

“No,” he says, and seriously, why is he trying to explain this to Pierce again? “I’d known Annie since ages before she kissed me,” just to be clear, he’s not the one with the perversion here, “and she met Doctor Perfect in the summer, a month back. While dragging a river and finding human finger”— okay, so that? Won’t ever not be hilarious and unromantic and completely unsexy. He’s pretty sure Annie hadn’t correctly read the ‘Not Meant To Be’ signboard that the universe was so obviously hitting her on the head with.

“Oh, that’s what this is,” Pierce nods his head sagely, “the difference between the uncle you’ve known since forever taking advantage of you, versus the hot, older, mysterious stranger taking advantage of you. I suppose I can understand the attraction of the aged uncle; it’s like a direct challenge to nature. And you know how children today like to rebel.”

“Rich is not hotter than I am,” because really, he’s so not. And it’s an unfair argument because he doesn’t have the benefit of the skills of evasion which they’d probably have taught in Law 101, if he’d ever bothered to go to law school.

Pierce looks at him with that half-smug expression like he’s lived so much longer (undisputable) and knows so much more (there’s a ‘yeah right’, attached to that somewhere). It annoys him, that look.

“Please,” he scoffs, “You’re one to talk. Like you don’t make some sexist joke related to her every single day of the week, and twice on Thursdays.”

“But you see Jeffery,” Pierce’s smugness seems to increase exponentially, “I’m not the one spending his life falsely justifying the attraction of the barely legals coming my way. I want to have sex with Annie. I’m not lying about it. And I’m pretty sure there’s a lesson in morality in there somewhere. That’s what my moral science teacher taught me. Nice woman, came to visit me at home about my report card. Turned out she wasn’t so bad at the physics of biology either, if you know what I mean.”

Okay, so maybe Pierce, in an incredibly unnecessary sexist way, does get it.

(Which sucks, by the way, if anyone was wondering.)


**


“You know where your colossal ego comes in?” maybe there was some special finishing school that Britta went to where they taught classes on ‘how to be a Grade A bitch’. “The point where you think that all this Rich-appreciation vis-à-vis you has something to do with external factors and not the fact that you’re a jerk and Rich is a nice guy.”

“And,” Shirley chimes in (seriously, Mother Hen has an opinion on this non-topic?), “that nice young man wouldn’t be able to sweet-talk the Holy Virgin into his bed if he had the opportunity.”

Which, really, is more a compliment than anything else.


**


See, the thing is— he’s not stupid. And he’s a man. Which automatically adds up to ‘it’s a fact universally acknowledged that younger girls are hot’. The man part of him understands the appeal of firm breasts and supple thighs. And the intelligent part of him knows that, statistically speaking, it means something that the average age of the girls in porn movies and Maxim covers is probably less than Troy’s IQ.

“It’s cliché,” Abed tells him. “An overdone, boring story arc. The May-December romance has existed from the time of Caesar and Cleopatra, circa 100 B.C., and probably even before that in undocumented times. It’s not such a big deal anymore. You need more social taboos to break to keep the interest— student-teacher or father-daughter or something. Which is why nobody’s particularly reacting to the Annie-Rich dramatic reveal. Although, the Sexy Doctor-Younger Girl storyline would probably garner more viewer interest than Random Older Guy- Younger Girl storyline. But again, if you really want to increase your target rating points, go for aliens; there are some stories that never get old.”

He’s a boring, overdone story arc. That’s good to know. Not that ‘he’ means him specifically, but, like, somebody with no life who’d think stuff out and consider feelings or something, instead of just going ahead and just…banging the chick. (He knows the lingo, okay, he’s cool. Modern.)

She comes in just then, arm-in-arm with Nick, Rick or whatever the hell his name is, “Jeff, Abed, what are you guys doing here?”

The important question is; what had she been planning on doing there with that guy? Except, he’s Jeff Winger, and he doesn’t care. Noticing the context and subtext is pretty much in the basic lawyer handout.

“Talking about love,” he says, and she misses the sarcasm entirely as her eyes light up. Like she thinks it’s natural for two guys to stand in an empty room talking about love.

“Can I join in too?” she says, and if he hadn’t known her so well, he’d probably have missed the wistfulness entirely. But he does and he doesn’t. It amuses him a little. And it’s just a little sad. And by sad he means lame, obviously.

Rich looks at him and grins over her head like they’re together in some different group, affectionately laughing over her naivety. And he’s damned if he ever lets himself be classified with Doctor Wonderful, “yeah, sure.”

And later, when they’re gone and he thinks he needs intensive psychotherapy to counter all the sunshine and rainbows she’s left behind, Abed looks at him, “It’s not that overdone. Maybe if it’s done well, then the whole Random Guy angle could probably attain a cult following. A very small cult following. And mostly within the twelve to fifteen demographic. But still.”

It’s something like sympathy. Warped, referential, Abed-sympathy. But still.


**


“Dude, you’re jealous.”

See what he meant about Troy and the IQ? Because that? Is so not it.


**


Rich opens the door, and there’s this moment when Jeff thinks this is some sort of karmic retribution. One final temptation before he takes on the saintly mantle he’d just groveled at Doctor Wonderful’s feet for.

Annie’s looking at Rich, her clothes dripping, and he thinks something stupid like- oh, that’s probably going to end well. In the hospital probably, with baby-talking nurses trying to shove hot soup down her throat. And then he hates himself for being too old to be able to see the romance in this rain-drenched scene which she had so obviously been aiming at.

“I got you this,” she says to Rich, her hair plastered over her face, and he clenches his hands before he can do something stupid, like push it back. She’s holding out some two-penny stuffed toy thing and it’s the most ridiculous thing ever, “you know, you won it for me at that side-mall on the way to the river. But, if I keep it, I just won’t have closure and that’s important to me because…Jeff?”

He can point the exact second when her eyes slide over Rich’s shoulder and spot him, because they grow wide and she makes her distressed Disney face and he thinks he hates the universe.

“What are you doing here?”

And he finds, to his mild surprise, he has no idea.

So there’s this moment when he’s standing there and she’s standing there and Rich is standing there and really, Abed would’ve panned this scene if he’d been critically reviewing it because it’s suddenly too much and he doesn’t even have a wisecrack to tide it over. It’s just him and his lawyer talk and stupid bathroom almost-confessions which even he doesn’t get, no matter how many shots he’s given to perfect the scene.

“Maybe it’s not that complicated,” he says bluntly, “maybe it’s not as complicated as having to decide pizza toppings or choosing credit courses or figuring out different ways to embarrass Pierce and make Britta laugh and all those things which are really, really complicated. Maybe it’s just as simple as some guy and this girl and the universe not giving a damn either way.”

So maybe it’s not exactly profound and meaningful, and mostly it doesn’t even mean anything and she’s looking at him, with that half-confused Annie-look, like she’s trying to figure out the deeper meaning. And he should tell her there isn’t one, because…well, because, it’s him. And if he’d wanted deep, he’d probably have jumped in some well at the beginning of this thing.

“Okay,” says Rich (he’s still here?), “you lost me at maybe?”

“Oh,” she says, “oh.” And smiles. Really smiles.

And it’s not even an answer really, but that’s all right. He hasn’t asked the question. They’re both still rain-drenched and young and stupid. He has time enough, after all.


**


“You slept with the first guy you kissed? That guy who turned out to be gay.”

And she’s laughing and they’re outside and it’s still raining hard (and she’s totally going to end up in the hospital, but whatever. He hasn’t had a chance to visit it since they got their new batch of nurses, so that’ll be just as good an excuse as any).

“You know,” and she’s still all wet clothes and meaningful moments and nineteen-year-old charm, “when you don’t have the ‘prince’ option, the frogs are just as good for the basics. You were my second kiss though.” And then he’s kissing her again, because he needs to make sure he has the maximum in the first ten. He’s Jeff Winger, after all, his mother brought him up to be competitive.

She kisses like he remembers. Like a teenager, all wild enthusiasm and no technique and he thinks it might be the hottest thing he’ll ever experience.

(He’ll visits her at the hospital later. And he’ll flirt with every nurse in her room and she’ll half-sit up, her nose red, eyes watering, and she’ll have him thrown out within an hour because that’s how much he’ll annoy her. And then he’ll text her something dirty and imagine her blushing. And then they’ll probably go back to the study group and maybe everything’ll be the same. Or, not.)

But, right now, he’ll settle for kissing her in the rain because she’s always wanted to live that out. And it means something that the cheesiness doesn’t give him heartburn. Maybe debates and politics and elections have always meant something, even when he’d desperately wanted them to not.

Whatever, he’ll figure it out. Maybe not right now. Maybe not today. But he will. Because, hello, he’s Jeff Winger and he might not have been to law school, but he’s still raising the bar. And it’s only when she kicks him for it that he realizes that he’s said it out loud but then she’s kissing him again, so that’s there.


**


(And then she comes to class wearing a glittery headband and draws hearts in her notebook and he steals both and then she’s making Disney faces at him and really? It’s just this simple).
 
 
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wallows: baby showerwallows on April 17th, 2011 12:49 am (UTC)
There is nothing about this I don't absolutely adore. You made kissing in the rain so(a couple more ooo's) romantic and yet not sappy. Pierce is awesomely funny and Troy with the succinct wisdom. Annie returning the plush toy to Rich, oh man broke my heart. And of course Jeff being Jeff with the vacillating.
Maybe debates and politics and elections have always meant something, even when he’d desperately wanted them to not.
The ending is just so cute and funny and precious. *loves*
youcallitwinter: it's no more than a dream remembered.youcallitwinter on April 17th, 2011 11:00 am (UTC)
Aww, thank you so much :) I've always thought Annie would be the sort of person to want all the romantic trappings and unfortunately real life mostly doesn't work out like that, ergo the hospital, haha. The ending almost classifies as fluff- I am so out of my comfort-genre, I didn't even know what I was doing!
eva_aftagrl on April 17th, 2011 01:00 am (UTC)
So I may have a thing for kissing in the rain, but fear it is too cliche for Community ever to do it with Jeff and Annie on the show. Therefore I have to live bicariously through fics like these.
youcallitwinter: it's no more than a dream remembered.youcallitwinter on April 17th, 2011 11:04 am (UTC)
Although, it could also work the other way round; since it's a cliche, Community might just decide to do it. They love lampshading generic tropes. Haha, I think Jeff would only do it for Annie, otherwise he'd be too cool for it. Thanks :)
(Anonymous) on April 17th, 2011 09:30 am (UTC)
This was so beautifully written, I'm really starting to enjoy your writing style and keep wanting to read more. I personally think it was very in characters for practically all characters you mentioned, even Troy and his one-liner!
youcallitwinter: it's no more than a dream remembered.youcallitwinter on April 17th, 2011 11:07 am (UTC)
Thanks a lot :) Mostly when I write fic, I have a tendency to just go for the ship and let the other character disappear from the universe (that's usually because I do't get much time to write). But in Community, just EVERYONE is so brilliant (and HARD to write) that you feel like adding them in, so I'm glad that worked for you!
oh you're in my veins: {Community} Annie: Awkwardhbics on June 11th, 2012 07:17 pm (UTC)
This is adorable. I love how you've written both of them.
Pierce was a bit of unusual wisdom, which I thought was a nice touch.

I also particularly love:
then he’s kissing her again, because he needs to make sure he has the maximum in the first ten
because it is so very Jeff to be that competitive.
youcallitwinteryoucallitwinter on June 2nd, 2013 06:44 pm (UTC)
So...I kind of made a fic masterlist and got back to all the old fics, so here I am, replying a year later, sorry! Thanks so much, I do love the Jeff/Annie dynamic for how involved they are in each other and they're both intensely competitive in their own way, haha. Thank you!