Disclaimer: nopeee. dude, I don't even own the whole car sentimentality thing that I used for the 1967 Mustang ahaha so funny right
A/N: sorry for the long wait, dolls, but here you go. stoner!f!Romano is just amazing right?
also, writing this is making me ship US/Russ. tell me, guys, should I botch the eventual US/f!UK and Ger/Russ plot and just make this into US/Russ? lol
unedited - I wanted this out fast, so I'll look over it later and pick up the mistakes. please point them out if you see any.
warning, there's marijuana use in this chapter. if you don't wanna see it, skip the section between the double asterisks.
Jones's wibbling, trembling state gets around fast, even though nobody knows why. By break, Yong-Soo - who was famous for both his incessant gossip and his parties, which were the craziest parties in the history of crazy parties, and who had decided in seventh grade that the Jones-Braginski duo should be called the Cold War Couple - declared that the obviously emotional and erotic codependency between the two most popular seniors at school had suddenly exploded in terms of faggotry; by lunch, the teachers were shooting both members of the Cold War Couple wary looks, as if they feared that the faggotry could catch or that Jones would suddenly throw a tantrum.
And, oh, does Jones suddenly throw tantrums. Every time he sees Eleanor with Liz Hedervary or any of the other Dancers, to be more specific.
Ivan puts up with Jones's moping (read: Jones's irritability, snappiness, douchebagginess, etc) for all of four days before he decides that yeah, it's time for an Intervention.
Interventions are serious shit, though, and Ivan's broke but Lucy owes him a favor (and at Saint Justine's, where The Rules reign supreme, favors actually matter), so he calls it in first thing Friday morning.
Well, not really. It's more like Romy calls him on Thursday night at two thirty in the morning and asks if he has a lighter, and in the split-second gap before him saying that he doesn't and her hanging up Ivan fits in a quick btw I need an Intervention and she stays on the phone for another thirty seconds so he can explain, and then he signs away his life and immortal soul, and then she tells him that he'd better fucking bring a lighter tomorrow or the deal's off, and then he asks if they can drink instead, and then she hangs up, and then he goes back to sleep.
"You really didn't have to do that," says Jones, but he's obviously and awkwardly grateful. Ivan sighs, long-suffering, and punches him in the jaw for good measure. Jones, for his credit, merely groans and rubs at the reddening skin and doesn't sock Ivan back.
The distress doesn't set in until last period. "I hate you," he tells Jones after practice. It's almost 5:30, and on a Friday the parking lot's empty. They're standing by Baby, Jones's beloved 1967 Mustang - the one the two of them rebuilt from the ground up (meaning that Alfred rebuilt it while Ivan shouted encouragement and stole his wallet to pay for pizza) the summer before last but which Ivan can honestly say that Jones never lets him drive - and Ivan's sore in places he really doesn't want to be sore in. "I really, really fucking hate you."
Jones, rifling through his Jansport for Baby's keys, laughs but doesn't pause to respond. "Yup. I still think you're crazy." He unlocks the trunk and pushes it open.
Groaning, Ivan drops his gym bag on top of Jones's. He's got his license and his own car and everything but he's lazy, and since Jones lives literally down the street Ivan usually just hitches a ride to and from school, but today's the Intervention. Romy could totally pick him up from his house, but that'd just make everything awkward. "I'm practically whoring myself out for you today."
"It ain't proper whoring unless you're wearing the panties I bought you last year," snickers Jones as he slams the trunk shut and walks around to the driver door. "Just admit that you loved them and maybe I'll get you some with a hammer and sickle on them for Christmas."
The aformentioned panties, which have this weird pattern of pseudo-stars-n-stripes on them, were soft and lacy and purchased from some weird boutique Jones found while visiting folks in New York; Ivan's got thin hips, so the undies fit pretty snugly, but he's never, ever, ever, ever going to admit that yes, he likes those panties very much and wears them after particularly grueling practices because the smooth shift of silk on his sore nether regions is much more relaxing than cotton briefs or boxers. "Absolutely," he scoffs instead.
"You sure you don't want a ride?" Jones offers again after he's climbed into the front seat and reversed out of the spot. "I can just drop you at Lucy's."
"Nah, it's fine," Ivan sighs, jamming his hands into his pockets. "I'm calling this a favor, Jones. You owe me big time."
"Want me to do your physics homework?" (Physics is Ivan's worst subject. It's also Jones's best.) "For the rest of the month?" Jones adds after Ivan fails to reply. "And I'll get a copy of Chernenko's next three tests and do them before class and give you the answers."
Considering the state of Ivan's own love life, it's a pretty bad deal. He takes it anyway. "I also need a lighter."
Jones leans over to open the glove compartment and extracts one of the many Zippos he's collected over the years. He doesn't smoke but he used to; Ivan's smoked all of two times, both of which he hated, and he avoids it unless the occasion calls for it. Today the occasion calls for it.
Ivan takes the offered lighter and flicks it open, tests the fluid left, and puts it into his pocket. "Don't give that back to me," Jones warns him. "Vargas'll touch it and I don't want to catch her slut."
Snorting, Ivan steps back from the car. "Like you don't have it already, you filthy, double-standarding misogynist. Now get your ass out of here. Lucy'll charge me double if she sees you."
Jones laughs and salutes before swinging his car around, very nearly hitting Ivan (who jumps further out of the way and shakes a fist toward the guy menacingly) and speeding out of the lot.
Not twenty seconds after Jones departs, a silver Audi drives smoothly up to Ivan. The passenger window rolls down as the car slows to an almost-stop, and Ivan has to walk to keep up.
Interventions at Saint Justine's are, apart from being the sole event in which associations deemed by The Rules may be overlooked, generally one of three things: highly-publicized deals with the Frenchman, whom Ivan's got no patience for; highly-scandalous deals with Nat Arlovskaya, whom Ivan could wheedle into helping him for free but who wouldn't be able to do much because Cheerleaders can't associate with Dancers either; or highly-illegal deals with Lucietta Romana Vargas, who can help because she's a Gamer, and Gamer girls are allowed to hang out with Dancers. It's a plus that Ivan genuinely likes Lucy, even though she's usually baked out of her mind during their shared English class.
"Get in, loser," sneers Lucy Vargas, leaning over to open the passenger door, "and tell me you have a lighter."
Ivan pulls the Zippo out of his back pocket and throws it into the cupholder, next to the probably empty Starbucks cup, before sliding in and pulling on his seatbelt. Lucy thankfully already adjusted the space, pushing the seat back as far as possible to give Ivan place for his freakishly long legs, and she accelerates as soon as Ivan gets his belt on.
"We're going to the top of the world by Wal-Mart. There's a Jack-in-the-Box like two minutes from there and God, have you ever had those curly fries while high?" Laughing, Lucy speeds onto the freeway and cuts off some hideously orange Toyota. Her sweater today is light blue with a cartoon monkey on the front, and is, as always, too big and hideous over her black leggings and ankle boots. "Anyway, tell me what's up."
"Are you gonna, uh. Change the substance depending on severity?"
Lucy throws him a look. "Braginski, do I look like I'd waste my salvia on an Intervention?"
"Just checking," he grumbles. "I need help with Jones. He's being a cunt."
"That's descriptive. Cunt as in me or you?"
(She's asking whether Jones's recent issues are because he's bringing them upon himself, a la Romy, or because of his own piss-poor luck, a la Ivan.)
"Ooh." Lucy grimaces, overtakes a Hyundai without indicating. "So that's why he's been flipping out. Who's the lucky lady? Assuming that it is a lady. Never know with you Jocks."
"The exchange student."
Ivan sighs. "Yeah."
"I see your problem. Liz isn't gonna let Jones touch her, you know."
"That's why we need you."
"So sweet," laughs Lucy. She exits the freeway and Ivan cringes as she speeds through a yellow light. "I love how you used a favor to get him help. You sure you're crushing on Kaltherzig, not Jones?"
Ivan rolls his eyes. "Pretty sure. I don't want to hotbox."
"Good call, I just got a car wash."
Lucy parks along a generally unused road at the top of the hill and unlocks the door. "Can you get the pipe? It's under your seat." She heaves herself up out of her seat, stretches, twists her hair over one shoulder; there's an obnoxiously hot pink and white feather on the left side of her head, attached somewhere beneath her bangs, and one long streak of pink highlight from the nape of her neck down over the left side.
"Nice colors," comments Ivan as he gets to his feet. It's not windy but it's cold, grass still wet from rain earlier in the day, and they sit on the Audi's hood to pack the pipe.
"Aren't they? You're taking too long, give me that." Lucy plops down next to him and crosses her legs, taking the plastic bag from Ivan and laying it over her thigh. There's a long, narrow first-aid box in the bag; she pops the top and extracts the pale blue blown-glass pipe and the little package of weed from inside, the latter of which she tears open with her teeth. "I told Matt to get me medical, so this won't fuck you up. Also, I've got Abercrombie in the trunk."
"Got a guy on the side?" Ivan's teasing; Lucy's boyfriend, whom she's very committed to, is captain of Saint Justine's varsity soccer team and is notorious for using exclusively AXE.
She sneers, possibly-probably hurt at the idea that Ivan might think she was cheating. "Antonio left it at my place a while ago and I never got around to giving it back."
Lucy packs expertly, strips the stems clean and picks out the seed before temping the leaves down with her ring finger. She swaps the pipe for the lighter in Ivan's hand. "You first," she says, testing the lighter a few times.
Ivan swallows and cringes as he lifts the pipe to his mouth. Lucy heaves a sigh and reaches over to adjust his hold on it, because he's only ever used joints, and she lights it for him too.
"Drag, breathe, exhale," she reminds him, and clucks her tongue at the sight of the thin, pale smoke he blows out. "Light it yourself this time - tilt the pipe toward the side and hold the flame against it, and suck til you feel it in your throat."
He cheats again and inhales the smoke just to the back of his mouth, but his throat itches and he coughs wetly. Lucy laughs loudly and whacks him on the back, stands and walks around to probe through the backseat of her car for a much-needed bottle of water. Ivan drinks half of it in one go when she hands it to him. "Ow," he groans, rubbing at his tearing eyes as Lucy takes her own two hits.
The pipe's empty after five or six more rotations. Ivan's throat burns; Lucy's fetched him another bottle of water and the aforementioned can of AXE from the trunk, and she sprays herself once over with Pure Seduction before striding out.
"So now that that's done," she says, rubbing her hands with white citrus sanitizer from the mini-bottle dangling from the lanyard around her neck. Ivan reaches out and she spurts some onto his palms. "What do you want to do about Jones?"
Ivan coughs and breathes slowly for a few seconds before responding. "I don't - I don't know."
"Man, you're gonna make me think this up on my own?" Lucy groans and leans back on the hood of her Audi.
"I thought you could just talk to her -"
"You make it sound like Hedervary would let Elly out of her sight. It's not like you and me - I can't just, like, swoop in and grab her and run away real fast."
"That's true, but -"
"Also, Hedervary knows about Jones's crush," Lucy points out. "You think she hasn't already filled Elly's head with fallacies of how much of a douche Jones is?"
"I know she has, but -"
"And we can't even get Francis to help. She fucking hates the guy."
"Yeah, I saw her break his nose, but -"
"Maybe we can get her at a party? I know Kaltherzig's throwing one next weekend. Who knows, we might be able to kill two birds with one stone and sort out your problems too." She leers.
Ivan sighs. "Is Elly the partying type? She doesn't look like it."
"I don't actually know," admits Lucy, and then, more carefully, "I was thinking I'd get Feliciano to find out." Ivan's mouth twists; it's no secret to the school that he abhors the younger Vargas, but Lucy's the only one other than Alfred who knows why.
Hint: it has something to do with the amount of time Feliciano, as an absolute moron in desperate need of help in literally every subject, gets to spend with Kaltherzig in the form of Monday-through-Friday 6PM-to-8:30PM tutoring.
Still, there's nothing Ivan can do about it. He's technically not even allowed to be at Lucy's house, because The Rules don't sanction Jock-Gamer interaction. Technically, though, they don't sanction Runner-Gamer interaction, as seen with Lucy and Antonio, who are definitely going to win the Most Likely to Still be Together in Ten Years vote at the end of the year, either, and illegal or not those two are sickening in how much they adore each other. Seriously. Ivan's got some very racist West Side Story allusions that he stifles only by remembering exactly how much material Lucy's got to blackmail him with.
Ultimately, Ivan finds it too hard to concentrate, and he leans back and closes his eyes as Lucy muses aloud to herself. She's probably figured everything out, he placates himself by thinking as they climb back into the car and pass the bottle of white-capped Rohto between them. It stings like a motherfucker - tears well and drip down Ivan's cheeks at the intensity while Lucy tilts her head back and aims carefully to avoid smearing her makeup.
He shudders as she starts the car. "That feels like fucking - ugh, that's like liquid nitrogen."
"Sorry about that," says Lucy, and probably means it because she tells him that there are napkins in the glove compartment, which he uses to mop at his streaming eyes. "I'm craving barbacoa. You still want Jack-in-the-Box?"
"Chipotle sounds good," he replies, and she lets him pick the music as she drives. The first preset is for a top-40s channel, and he's not high enough for Justin Bieber so he changes it to classic rock. It reminds him of Jones's car - Baby's radio is always on rock alternative, but the box of tapes in the backseat are all classic bands and Jones, famous for his love of old rock, tends to play one of those instead. Lucy shoots Ivan a dubious glance and a grin, but says nothing.
Ivan orders online - one barbacoa bowl with everything for Lucy, one carnitas burrito with extra meat and guac for himself - and gives her the ten in his wallet to pay for his own food when she goes inside. They eat in the car, down the road from Ivan's house, and after Lucy convinces him that Billboard is too bearable when baked, spend an hour singing horribly along with whatever Ryan Seacrest has for them.
All in all, it's a good Friday, and Ivan says that confidently because the text from Hedervary doesn't come until 12:01 AM.