Title: Fallout (1/2)
Rating: R (adult)
Genre: Romance, humor, angst
Summary: After Annie's completely failed, and yet, successful, attempt at getting Jeff to join the Glee club with the rest of the group, Jeff takes home a souvenir.
Disclaimer: I don't own Community and I make no money off of it.
A/N: My first Community smut fic. Well, first posted, not first written. (yes, there are more) I know I have the last chapter of 5 Clichés to post, but I'm done with this one now, but for the very, very end, and the 5 Clichés fic is being a butt.
Jeff glanced up at Britta's question, startled that she'd suddenly appeared where no one had been just seconds before. His eyes followed hers to his bag on the floor by his chair. Crap. "None of your business?"
If anything, his casual dismissal of her question made her even more curious. She crossed to him, peering into the bag, yanking it open as he tried to close it. The crinkling plastic sounded overly loud to him under her suspicious gaze. "And, yet, you're treating it like something. Curious."
"The only thing curious here is why-"
"It's a Santa suit!" Her bright eyes landed on him. "You're stealing a Santa suit?"
Stilling at her accusation, thinking quickly, he scoffed, then gave that up as a vain pursuit. Britta wasn't dumb, and when faced with a lie, she'd scratch at it like the claws of one of her cats stuck in the fabric of her couch. "Yes."
A smirk lit her lips, but then suddenly dropped away, eyes narrowing suspiciously. "Wait. Why are you stealing a Santa suit?"
"I... just am. None of your business." As brush offs went, that was one of his worst. He sounded like a five-year-old faced with a bully's taunt and no come back.
Her smirk rode higher and he knew-knew-what she was thinking almost as if he were inside her head listening in on each and every thought process. "Are you, Jeffrey Winger, actually a fan of Christmas? Is all that 'oh the darkness is what's inside our hearts on Christmas and only comes out during... with the- mistletoe and evil and-' shut up!" She pointed at him and poked him in the chest with each new word. "You're a closet-Christmas nut. You only say you hate it. You probably secretly enjoyed the glee thing."
How close to the truth, and yet, so, so far away.
Yeah, he'd enjoyed the glee club thing, but only for a brief and shining moment in which he'd also hated himself and berated himself and wished himself anywhere but where he'd been.
Anywhere but where Annie was.
Anywhere but where Annie was straddling his lap and baby-talking in a completely non-sexy way that somehow wrapped around and actually became sexy. To his eternal shame.
Smart. Strong. Beautiful. Sexy. All were words he'd use to describe Annie. But when she was singing to him-just him-and slinking around in that outfit. When she was looking at him like she'd been earlier that day. When she was pouting at him like a naughty schoolgirl... well, they all knew he had a thing for that.
So, was it really beyond belief that he'd respond to her?
Absolutely not, hence the reason she'd used the tactic. He just hoped that she didn't try it again soon, but without the baby-talk. If not for the baby-talk and the complete lack of actual Annie in her seduction, he'd have been more than tempted. He was only human after all and his plans were known for changing. A lot. And Annie was... Annie was...
Annie just was.
And he wasn't quite ready yet.
"Earth to Jeff. Come in, Jeff."
Snapping back to reality from visions of Annie dressed in that outfit, reading something from one of her books as she straddled him, he blinked at Britta. "What?"
"I said you're a big, fat phony, and you just kind of stared into the distance."
He nodded, ducking his head like she'd caught him. It was better than the truth. "Yeah, I- totally. You got me." Seeing her eyes narrow at his easy acceptance and admission, he towered over her. "Don't breathe a word about it to anyone, or I will destroy you. I have pictures."
That seemed to break her off of his scent. Whatever else Britta was or was not, she could sniff out his bullshit better than almost anyone else, so he had to work extra hard to cover his tracks.
"Oh, please. I have pictures, too. You're not the only one who knows how to use a cell phone camera."
Startled, he stared down at her. He'd been bluffing. What did she have on him? "Great. Why don't we mutually get rid of our mutually assured destruction?"
She scoffed loudly, rolling her eyes. "As if. I'm not giving up a bargaining chip that easily. I'm saving it for the right time. And that time will come, Jeff. It. Will. Come."
"Okay, duh-rama Queen." Zing.
She sneered for a second before losing interest and beaming. "You're playing Santa. Who for? Oh, is it underprivileged kids? Awww," she practically squealed, reminding him of too many women in his life. He had to get new friends.
"Yes. That is exactly what I'm doing. Totally that."
Britta and soft didn't go hand in hand, but she occasionally liked to let her inner girl come out to play and he liked to taunt her about it, but tonight, he just wanted to get home, so he let it go.
"This is such blackmail material. You know I'm going to use this against you, don't you? There are so many things that I- oh, oh. You're so going to be my go-to guy on psych class stuff."
She brushed that off as if he'd said the world was flat and it didn't matter in the least. "Next semester, we're-"
"Hey." Annie breezed into the room, looking around for something. Or avoiding looking at him?
Jeff went to grab the bag to make sure it was folded over, but Britta beat him to it.
"Jeff's stealing a Santa suit!" She pulled a corner of the suit out for Annie's inspection, practically hopping in her excitement.
Annie crossed to the couches and grabbed a book with a triumphant noise. Her eyes found his after Britta's words registered and she smirked. "Really? Why?" Her smile dropped away. "Do we want to know?"
Glaring at Britta, he grabbed the bag and shoved the suit sleeve back inside, seeing Annie's eyes dropping to it. "Remind me to never give you secret spy information, because you suck at this." Calming his panicked breathing, he darted his gaze back to Annie, hoping she hadn't really seen the suit.
He wasn't ready for this yet. He had plans! And a time schedule... though, he wasn't completely inflexible.
"Oh," she squeaked, and there went his hope of getting out of this with his dignity intact.
"Yes, I'm a secret Santa-lover. Love Christmas. And cookies and kids and toys and wrapping... paper and... there are tears and- I'm leaving now. To go to-"
"An orphanage?" Britta drawled gleefully.
Annie and Jeff stared at her.
"I didn't mean- orphans aren't funny." Her head dropped along with her amusement.
"Making fun of orphans, I think your trip to hell is almost complete now. Good show!" His deflecting technique only worked for a second.
"Yeah, well... you're in love with Christmas!"
Seeing the rest of the year play out before him with constant taunts from Britta, he dropped the act and smirked at her. "Actually, I have a date with this elf I met at the Christmas display in the mall." Wincing, seeing Annie's eyes harden and Britta's narrow, he barreled on, full speed ahead. "The suit's for her."
"It's a Santa's helper suit, Britta. There are no underprivileged kids in this fantasy scenario. Just one under-dressed woman with-"
"Okay, officially grossed out now and everything has returned to normal. Thanks, Jeff, for staying completely in character." She gathered her backpack and rolled her eyes on her way out the door. "You ruin everything."
"No, that's you," he called after her, but she just flipped him off and continued out. "And you sound like Abed!" Still nothing, she didn't run back in to argue with him, and now he was alone.
Alone with Annie.
All the air seemed to have left the room with Britta. Breathing in the quiet, vacuum-stale air, he tossed Annie a look, wiping the plastered on smirk from his face. He expected disappointment and hurt and he got that and so much more. How could one face hold so many emotions?
"I have to go, Abed's waiting for me. We carpooled." She crossed by, so close to him, but barely disturbing the air around him as she passed. He could smell her, a scent he'd never not be able to identify with Annie and sex and Christmas. "Have fun on your... date."
The last words were tossed out cheerfully and he gave a halfhearted wave like an idiot. A giant, awkward, not-sure-what-to-do-with-himself idiot.
Staring at the bag at his feet, he resisted the urge to kick it.
Inanimate objects couldn't shoulder blame.
No matter how much he wanted to assign to it. And no matter how much he felt the stupid outfit was at fault. No matter how much he couldn't not grab the bag and take it home with him. There was just no way that Santa's helper suit was going to stay at Greendale. No way in hell.
The thought of the dean wearing it for one of his festivals or dances or a book signing or whatever, made Jeff shudder.
He sighed, glancing around the empty room that they called home for a few hours a day each week. Much as he was happy to be away from Greendale, he would miss this place. And everyone in it.
Grabbing the bag, he took off down the hall after Annie.
He blamed this school for a lot of things, and this was no different. The mere fact that he was running-walking mildly quickly-to set the record straight with a woman, disturbed him. That was a lie. It would've disturbed him two and a half years ago. Maybe even last year if he were honest with himself, and he usually was.
He spotted her amid the milling students and easily closed the distance between them. Instead of saying anything, he merely kept pace for a few yards.
This honesty thing was still hard for him.
"Jeff," she said dryly, giving him a run for his money.
"Look, there's no- I don't have a date." That was good, wasn't it? To the point, factual, and he was done. This didn't need to turn into a whole thing where they had a heart to heart and he ended up seeing yet another piece of himself that he didn't like.
He had a therapist for that.
Annie glanced at him. As looks went, it was more unreadable than he liked. "Okay."
Clearly, she thought he was amusing her. Clearly, he'd given her precedent to believe that. Womanizing, Annie-avoiding, commitment-repellent, these were just a few of the attributes he'd come to be known for. She couldn't know that he was changing, because he never let her or the others see that he was. They saw it as more of a surface thing so they didn't actually believe it.
But he was.
"While this was a good walk as walks go, I have to get home before..." She paused, turning to stare at him with a scrunched up face. "Wait. Why are you taking it then?" The words tumbled out as if they'd just occurred to her and he wished they hadn't.
None of this was going well. His intentions were dropping fast and he scrambled to hold onto them, but they refused to be grasped in light of this new wrinkle. His plans never really went well, did they? He was great at speeches and moralizing-when it came to others-and manipulation, but his planning usually sucked.
Grabbing her arm, full of new plans and new intentions, he pulled her into the nearest empty classroom... except there were three people inside, staring at them.
"Do you mind?" he snapped, glaring their way.
Rolling his eyes, he dragged Annie out the door and into the room across the hall. This one was empty, thankfully. Stopping just inside the doorway, he waited until the door clicked shut before turning to her. Facing her curious, but amused, eyes.
Straightening her shirtsleeve, she glanced at the clock on the wall, which only pissed him off.
Best laid plans.
"I'm taking it, Annie-" He sighed, giving up all pretense. "I'm taking it because there are some very... pleasant memories attached to the suit," he shook the bag at her, "and I can't bear to see anyone else wear it. Ever."
She gave him a little raised eyebrow with a lip twist that clearly said she was skeptical.
"But mostly because it has pleasant memories attached to it." He fought the urge to hang his head and continued to look straight at her.
The sincerity in his voice must've convinced her, because her whole expression softened and he was just sucker enough to feel his chest tighten and his stomach drop in the way that only Annie could affect him. Loser was right. What kind of a winner would actually be standing in an empty classroom of a community college with a girl too many years his junior to make him comfortable-though he was working on that-letting himself be taken in by a soft look and a smile that he felt all the way to his toes, and not lose some serious cool points?
He smiled back, feeling relief pour through him. He hated having Annie upset with him. He didn't mind her being pissed at him, though it wasn't ever really pleasant, but he couldn't stand her disappointment. He didn't live his life by her approval, but she was his moral compass.
"That's kind of sweet-" Her eyes widened suddenly, and she blurted out, "Are you going to... I mean, will you- have you ever-" There'd been no thought to the question and actually voicing it made a furious red blush creep up her neck and cheeks, finishing the sentence for her.
And just like that, his plans changed again.
He knew exactly what she couldn't ask.
And he'd be lying if the thought of her asking didn't stir his body into life. Not as much as her and the suit and the dancing and singing had, but, yeah, it was there, lurking. Hiding in wait.
His mood shifted.
Leaning forward, close enough to feel the heat coming off of her, he looked down at her lips, wanting nothing more than to take them with his own. That'd be too easy though, and he'd waited this long already. He could wait a little longer. So, he merely looked. And if his gaze was more heated than usual, and her breath caught, and his fingers twitched along with other parts of him, then so be it.
His voice was just a breath out, low words that brushed across her cheeks. "When you can ask the question, I'll answer it." Feeling her breath on his jaw as she looked up at him, feeling himself swimming in the heat and the softness and the scent of her, he resisted the urge to throw his plans in the trash for a third time. "See you after Christmas break." It took everything in him to turn around and open the door when all he wanted to do was drop the bag and touch her everywhere.
Anticipation fueled a lot of what Jeff did. It was his lifeblood in so many ways. The foods he ate, the women he dated, what the future held for him; all of them were fueled by anticipation in one way or another. Rarely did it physically hurt him.
Right now, waiting for Annie's words to come out, even though she was clearly scandalized and embarrassed, he felt his chest thump painfully and his palms begin to sweat.
The way his pulse pounded, he felt like he'd done a good five miles around town.
He waited, hand on the doorknob, hoping she got the words out, but equally hoping she didn't.
He had plans.
"Are you- have you...?" Instead of getting the words out, she groaned in disgust-at herself or at him?-and then sighed. "See you after the break, Jeff."
Instead of feeling disappointment at her inability to ask the question, his lips curved up and he pulled the door open, leaving Annie and the school behind.
Plan? Neatly in place.
Anticipation? Off the charts.