Disclaimer: No profit is made from this work. It's purpose is to promote the show through exploration of the characters/settings/situations.
AN: Spoilers through "Modern Warfare." I actually started this a while ago but then some big news in another fandom broke and I got distracted. After the finale I needed to express my love of Jeff/Britta somehow and was inspired to finish. Enjoy!
The Personal Journal of Professor Ian Duncan
Head of Psychology, Greendale Community College
Jeff's been blathering on for the past half hour about the paintball game. I may hang myself.
He keeps referring to it as a "war" which I find rather excessive. Clearly he's exaggerating to make his own pathetic existence seem somehow more worthy. I'm not sure how winning an all night battle waged with paint can help bolster his damaged self-confidence, but I suppose the old adage can be adapted: washed-up-lawyers-trapped-in-community-college-hell can't be choosers.
The ceiling probably isn't even strong enough to hold the second story of this building so I'm not about to trust it to the task of holding my body aloft so that I can choke on my own weight. And what would I use to hang myself with anyway? There's not much in this tiny office except books and papers.
Wait, what was that? Jeff said something mildly interesting.
"You had sex during the game?"
"War," he corrects absently. "And yes. With Britta." He smiles that cocky, self-satisfied smirk he did after getting me off by linking my DUI to 9/11. I hated that smirk even then. "In the study room," he adds and the smirk turns into a Cheshire grin.
"Couch?" I offer mildly even though I'm man enough to admit, at least in the privacy of my own journal, that I really did want details. Who wouldn't?
"Table." Now the grin just might break his face and I'm tempted to let this conversation continue just on the off chance that I'll see that happen.
"Damn," I say and stand. "As much as I'd like to continue this conversation, if only on the off chance that you'll actually break the laws of nature and smile so wide it breaks your face in half, I do have class."
He makes a sound that clearly illustrates his displeasure with any sort of class and precedes me out the door. Unfortunately, he waits to walk with me down the hall. Damn. And this time in the bad way.
They're still cleaning up after the game. Oh goodness, the game. I still haven't related the complete overreaction of the entire Greendale population, have I? Apparently it lasted into the wee hours of the morning -- this is why I left campus the minute people started mentioning "spring fling," rhyming events are always dangerous around this place -- and no square foot of the campus seems to have escaped being painted. I swear, just walking down the halls the soles of my feet must have turned a dozen different colors, I'm frightened to even look at them. Pelton's been freaking out all day in his compartmentalized way, pretending everything is fine when just one look in his eyes tells you he's screaming inside.
Jeff's blathering continued all the way down the hall, this time he was going on about raisins and disco for some reason. I let him, figuring the survival instincts will kick in and he'll disappear on his own when I actually start teaching my class. His rant about disco has somehow turned into a rant about high schoolers and I politely continue to not listen.
It's less than a minute later when, amidst the flow of students, comes a familiar blonde neo-feminist. I'd forgotten she was in this class. I watch her and Jeff doesn't seem to notice, I often don't look at him when he's talking. She's looking at everything except us, a haughty expression on her face evidence that she's not as pleased as Jeff about what happened between them.
The clock ticks over to one o'clock and Jeff, seeing my teacher-face begins hot-footing it out the door, only to freeze when he sees Ms. Holier-than-thou-Perry. Well, well, well, maybe Jeff isn't as okay with what happened as he'd like me to believe. For a moment he's a deer in headlights, then she finally looks his way. They're all smiles and quiet waves hello and goodbye and he leaves. Hopefully never to be seen again.
The rest of the class was boring as hell. The only thing that made it bearable was that halfway through Leonard started cussing out Starburns over some slight. I really should fill out that preliminary paperwork to have Leonard institutionalized, but I just can't find the will to do it.
Regardless, I'm back in my office, enjoying the peace that comes from knowing that I don't have office hours right now and no one should be coming knocking on that door. And of course, I've barely finished writing the last sentence before someone does.
Perry. Couldn't she go annoy Jeff? At least at the end of that discussion she'd get sex and I'd get to hear about it.
"Hello, professor," she says with an apologetic smile. She may be a first class bitch when she's ranting during my class but she has a killer "sorry" face, there's no way I can be angry with her.
Plus, she had sex with Jeff, clearly her standards are low. Maybe she wants a better grade. I'm not saying I'd take her up on it! I'm also not saying I wouldn't, I'm just theorizing.
"Listen, I--" She looks at everything except me and I can see the exact second she decides to use the old "my friend has a problem" excuse. "I need some help analyzing a novel for my English class."
Well, at least it's a slightly original take on the excuse.
"And why, pray tell, would you come to me for help with English? Aside from the obvious, I mean."
Her blank stare is insulting.
"Because I am English."
"Oh! Right! That's … not why I'm here, um -- I actually came to you because I'm doing my term paper on how romance novels treat women."
The sound of my head hitting the table is audible. "Seriously? You? I never would have guessed that you would do a paper exposing the evils of romance novels." My sarcasm was also quite audible.
"Romance novels aren't evil."
That may be the most surprising thing I've heard all day.
"They empower women to take control of their sexuality and use it in the relationship instead of just being used, which is why I need your help. In the novel I'm currently analyzing I've run into some trouble."
"How so?" Perhaps the only reason I don't ask some sort of sexually charged question is because there are too many to choose from.
"Well, the hero and heroine were in a warzone."
If I hadn't already guessed where this was going I still wouldn't be at all surprised.
"They escape a battle and the hero has been injured. The heroine patches him up and they end up finally giving in to the sexual tension."
"And now the hero is just ignoring everything that happened! He's being a total dwonk and ruining his own worthiness to even be a romance novel hero."
Worthiness to be a romance novel hero. Sudden mental image of Jeff as Fabio on some overly shiny romance novel cover, complete with giant bird/phallic symbol in the background. Not laughing has never been this difficult.
Unfortunately she seems to be waiting for me to say something and if I open my mouth I'm afraid whatever comes out will cause her to kill me.
"And," she picks up finally, "I'm hoping you can give me some psychological insight into why the hero is being such an ass."
After swallowing several times I'm finally able to speak. "Do you think I could see the book? I'm a pretty fast reader and it should take me no time at all to catch up to the events that are bothering you."
Somehow she manages to both pale and blush at the same time. "Uhhh, I lent my copy to a friend. To Pierce actually. I don't think I'm ever getting it back. But I remember everything that happened."
I settle back into my chair. This should be good. "Why don't you start from the beginning?"
If I was a nice teacher I'd get in touch with whoever Britta has for English -- assuming she really is taking it -- to tell them that she deserves an A for writing a fictionalized version of her own autobiography on the spur of the moment. It was truly a sight to behold. She never even broke narrative once, always kept herself from referring to the heroine as "I" or the hero as "Jeff." Though she did refer to him as "that asshole" more than once, but I'm not sure if that counts.
I honestly thought she'd break completely during the "seduction scene" as she calls it. She spent far too long on the feel of Jeff's chest -- when they finally invent memory erasing technology that's the first thing to go, even before the sight of great-aunt Myrtle naked -- and I'll have to talk to Jeff to see if the whole "opening up" conversation really happened. If it did and he actually does care about being a good person … well, I'm not sure who he is anymore.
She's gone now. The narrative took long enough that she was almost late for study group. I walked her, too intrigued by the idea that Jeff Winger might be an actual person to let her stop. We reached the doors just as Tiger, one of the villains of the story, appeared on the scene. What the hell was Chang doing in the paintball game? Could the rumor be true that he's enrolled in a class now? Heaven help that poor teacher.
I considered asking Perry to skip her study session to finish the story but Edison saw us through the window and called out, alerting everyone to our presence.
"Professor Duncan!" she said as Britta entered the room. I preferred to remain outside, mostly because Jeff's friends frighten me.
I smiled thinly, hoping that if I said nothing there would be less chance of getting pulled into a conversation. Of course, Annie seemed to be the only one likely to speak to me. The housewife was more concerned with the drained look on Perry's face, the old man and the football player were enthralled by some magical new feature on a cell phone, the odd boy was typically content to watch, and Jeff --
I'm not sure what Jeff was. At the moment the look on his face was enough to send me running -- not that I literally ran, bad ankles and all that -- but he was definitely less happy than usual to see me and since he's never actually happy to see me that's saying something.
Maybe it was Perry, his focus seemed torn between the two of us. Perhaps he was just having trouble with the idea that two separate spheres of his life (the "mate" and the "colleague" -- not that we're so much colleagues anymore) would intersect shortly after so momentous an event.
That must be it. Jeff's not deep enough for it to be anything else.
Jeff's back, lounging on my couch like this is his bachelor pad. If he'd leave I could check my e-mail to see how Perry's fake romance novel is progressing.
After her study group yesterday she filled me in on the end of the battle -- Chang had a bomb, why am I not surprised? -- and the idiotic couple's decision to act like nothing had changed. Unfortunately she had to leave early because her car's in the shop but she promised to e-mail me more of the story when she got home. The internet's out at my apartment and I've been dying to see what stupidity strikes next. These two really are addicting when they're not real.
But Jeff refuses to leave and I don't dare risk reading about his six pack abs while he's in the room. What he wants here though, is a mystery. He's just lying there. Come to think of it, I don't even think he said hello when he came in.
"Listen, Jeff," I say finally, unable to take the silence, "if you have something you want to get off your chest I'm -- well, I'm not happy, but I'm sure I could bring myself to help. Otherwise I do have work to--"
There's a faint knock on the door and Perry sticks her head in. "Oh!" Again the pale/blush. How does she do that without her entire circulatory system just imploding on itself? "Sorry, the 'in session' sign wasn't on the doorknob. I'll just --" She tries to back out of the office but I stop her, insisting that Jeff's being useless and she's actually one of my students so she has preference.
Jeff gives me the same look he did yesterday in the study room, only this time it's at least ten times more forceful. He does get up to leave though, sidling past Perry in the small space between couch and door. He touches her elbow, cupping it as if he's just helping to guide her body past his when anyone who went to high school or has seen a movie knows that it's just an excuse for physical contact. Their eyes meet and it's the clichéd sappy moment when suddenly they're not world-hardened idiots, they're vulnerable idiots in an extreme state of like.
I may puke.
"You sure you don't want a ride home?" he asks and heaven help us he actually sounds concerned, like he's a real person with feelings an everything.
"You get out two hours before I do, you don't want to wait around all that time. Anyway, we'll use less gas between us if I take the bus."
He rolls his eyes but there's no malice in the act.
Their touchy-feely moment is over as quickly as it began and Jeff's out the door, the reasons for his strange behavior and murderous looks gone with him.
This time Perry's set on getting insight and I'm required to actually give some while still pretending that we're talking about a book and not real life.
"It's really both of their faults," I say and barrel on before she can become angry with me. "They both agreed that nothing had changed and the hero, being a man, isn't about to try beginning a relationship unless there's a trigger. That trigger should have been their lustful release and now they're stuck until some other outside force -- hopefully this one less damaging than a war -- forces them to face their feelings once more. One can only hope that next time they don't make the same mistake of sweeping those feelings under the rug."
"So you don't think there's anything -- psychologically wrong with the guy?" she asks and I almost feel sorry for her.
"No, not him or the woman. Both are just people. Feelings are hard, if they weren't I wouldn't have a job."
"Okay," Perry says, clearly unhappy with my prognosis but still glad to have any answer at all. "Thanks for your help." She shoulders her bag and heads for the door.
"Perry?" I call before she can close it behind her. "You'll have to tell me how it works out for our ill-fated duo. Not now," I add, not particularly wanting to see what her fantasy ending may be, "you have a paper to write after all, but whenever you get a chance."
She nods and leaves me in peace until my next class.
I am in pain. I think I may have a concussion but Pelton is insisting that I can't because that would mean there was a fight. Which there was.
Sometime after Perry left the housewife barged into my office, looking like an angry bear ready to bite my head off.
"I need to talk to you about some friends of mine," she said thinly.
I'm not ashamed to say I snapped at her. "Oh, good Lord! What is wrong with you people? If you have some unresolved sexual tension with that perverted old man, first off I don't want to hear about it, but at least have the decency to tell me the truth! Also," I added more calmly, "you have to be sent here by the student clinic, otherwise I'm not legally allowed to council you."
"Don't be disgusting!" she yelled and swung her purse in an arch that would never actually reach my head but scared me into pulling back all the same. "And if I was here for me I'd say I was here for me! You shouldn't imply people you've never met are liars."
"All right," I said cautiously, "which friends are you here for? If it's about that strange boy he's completely safe, the middle eastern kid seems to have mellowed him out."
"This is about Jeff and Britta and how you are a horrible friend!"
I balked, which was the wrong move because it allowed her the opportunity to continue, but I couldn't help it. I let Jeff lounge on my couch all morning, I pretend to listen while he goes on and on about whatever not-meaningful-at-all events are happening in his life, I even let his not-girlfriend describe his chest to me! In what freakish Monty Python universe am I not a good friend?
"How could you just steal Britta from Jeff when everyone knows he's been trying to date her all year?" Her question turned into a high-pitched exclamation about halfway through so it took me several seconds to understand what she was saying. While I processed I think she started chastising me for sleeping with students, but I'm not sure, I was understandably preoccupied.
"Wait!" I bellowed, silencing her. "You think I'm sleeping with Perry?"
That wiped the look of pure hatred off her face.
"Of course not!" I didn't add that if she'd wanted me to I probably would have, but that was immaterial.
"Oh," she groaned, falling into the chair across the desk.
"Well," she said sweetly, "there may be a teensy problem."
"Jeff thinks you're sleeping with Britta."
"So?" I wasn't used to the idea of human-Jeff yet, if I had been I'd have been worried sooner.
"He's gonna kill you."
Jealousy. I should have realized that was the look I'd seen on Jeff's face. There's really no excuse for my ignorance except that I'd never seen Jeff jealous before. Over cars and suits and expensive knick-knacks sure, but never over something so simple as a woman's affections.
I was going to die.
"I'm not," I said slowly, talking about the sex not my imminent death. "I just have to convince Jeff that I never did and he'll have no reason to kill me."
"You really think Jeff wants to talk to you right now?" the housewife asked incredulously.
"I'm not that stupid," I scoffed. "But he'll listen to Perry. Where is she?"
The housewife glanced at the clock over my door. "Her dance class just let out. She'll be heading to the bus station, you'll have to hurry if you wanna catch her."
I left the woman in my office, running despite the burn in my ankles. I knocked over at least half a dozen students and Chang in my rush to get across campus.
The bus depot is on the other side of the faculty lot and Pelton makes a big stink every time a student cuts across the lot instead of taking the designated paths around. I didn't have time for paths and unfortunately Pelton was out with his bullhorn. Thinking me a student he yelled for me to stop, then for security to catch me. That only made me run faster. I nearly got hit by Slater's car as I ran past the guard station at the lot entrance.
"Perry!" I called. She was just stepping off the designated path and paused at the sound of my voice. I staggered over to her, gasping for air, my ankles nearly giving out. I instinctively grabbed onto her shoulders to keep my balance.
"Professor Duncan?" she asked, all concern. "Are you okay?" She began pulling me towards the uncomfortable seating in the center of the depot.
I began gasping out the reason for my appearance. "You have -- to tell --"
"Jeff!"she cut in.
"Yes," I said, too tired to realize why my weight was suddenly being pulled away from her, "Jeff Winger. You have to tell him --"
And then I get punched in the face.
I was only vaguely conscious during the yelling match that ensued between Jeff and Perry but the housewife filled me in -- she'd followed behind me, arriving just in time to see Jeff pull me away from Perry so he'd have an easier time aiming.
Apparently the two of them yelled for a whole five minutes while the housewife made sure I was okay. What they yelled about for that much time is a mystery to even her. She says there was something about self-sacrifice and a bathroom and then it devolved into an argument about their first days at Greendale. When the housewife was sure I wasn't in any immediate danger she shut them both up and told Jeff that Britta and I weren't sleeping together.
I have a pain-laced memory of waking up enough at that moment to tell them that Jeff was displaying all the classic symptoms of jealousy and that Britta was having trouble dealing with their "just friends" status. There was some yelling about doctor-patient confidentiality -- which is bull, neither of them ever went to the clinic first -- which Pelton broke up, insisting that if the mess -- being me -- didn't get cleaned up "lickety-split" the city would be "all up in his face."
So now I'm in pain and Jeff got off scot-free because we weren't on school property. Oh, and he also got the girl. They're making out across the quad, giving Edison and that strange shirtless boy a run for their money. All I got out of all this is the housewife mothering me and I doubt Jeff'll be sharing many of his relationship details with me in the future so I don't even get that benefit.
"Here's your juice," the housewife says. Her mothering comes with drink delivery and homemade brownies, it's not all bad.
She settles down beside me on the bench and lets out a sad sound. Jeff and Perry are arguing. Ha! Maybe they'll break up and then who will they come crying to? Not their old pal Ian, that's for sure. They can find another free source of psychological hel-- oh. Jeff shut Perry up by kissing her, now they're making out again. Damn.
"Oh, that's nice!"
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