Okay, so I decided to try my hand at a post-ep ficlet for every episode this season. Since we're being benched for spring episodes, I'll have a bit of time to play. Here's the result, which I wrote back 3 months ago after the premier.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1. We're gonna fly to school each morning!
2. We're gonna smile the entire time.
3. We're gonna be more happy.
4. We're gonna finally be fine.
5. We're gonna get more calm and normal.
6. We're gonna fix our state of mind.
7. We're gonna be less crazy.
8. We're gonna finally be fine!
9. We're gonna stand holding hands in a brand new land, far away from the borderline!
10. We're gonna sing like a mainstream dream!
11. And be appealing to all mankind!
12. We're gonna have more fun and be less weird than the first two years combined.
13. And we're gonna live forever.
14. And we're gonna sleep together.
15. And we're gonna finally be sunny and shiny!
16. We're gonna finally be fine!
Summary: Friends don't let friends drive drunk on monkey gas.
Limits and Conditions
We're gonna fly to school each morning!
"Does Jeff look weird to you?" Troy had Annie cornered by the third vending machine. "Cause I think he looks really weird. He has crazy eyes. I keep wondering what happened to the axe."
Glancing back at their powdered friend, Annie had to wince. "Those aren't just crazy eyes, they're... specialcrazy eyes." She widened her own eyes at Troy significantly, and nodded her chin.
Troy tapped his chin with his finger in imitation of Inspector Spacetime. "Like, pink eye special? Pablo got pink eye, but it didn't turn him into The Shining." Annie huffed a breath and gave up. She wasn't as good as Abed at separating Troy's actual naivety from his fake stupid-guy moments.
"I think he's on something. I'll take care of him, don't worry about it," she smiled, and guided her buddy back to the group. True to her word, as the party dispersed she skittered after Jeff with her school bag in her arms. They walked toward the parking lot companionably and when they were well away from the group she planted her feet in front of him.
He bumped right into her. He was so freakishly high up, it wasn't fair. "Jeff!" she complained, trying to wipe powder off her sweater. "You're covered in this stuff."
"Yeah," he agreed. "I had an accident in the vents. Chang had an accident too. I think there was a monkey, and a giant door."
"What kind of accident?"
"I'm pretty sure I accidentally inhaled the monkey gas." His eyes looked inflamed, his hair was a mess, and while she tried to see any broken blood vessels, he reached out a thumb to wipe white stuff off her nose. He gave a dopey smile. "You have some drywall stuff on your nose."
"From your shirt hitting me in the face, no doubt." She pushed his hand away and was resolute in her decision to ignore any contact from him since the debacle last spring. Reading too much into things, right. He could go touch some other girl's nose and tell her not to read into it, thank you very much.
Annie summoned all her resolution and stared into his bloodshot gaze. "You can't possibly think you're going to drive home like this."
"Uh, yeeeeah. I am." Jeff pointed to the west end of the lot, which was not at all where his Lexus was parked. "My car's right over there."
"Well, I won't let you drive in your condition."
"Don't get try to get formidable, Annie, I've had a long day. And these—" He held up his keys, and she snatched them. "Hey!"
"Is for horses," Annie finished. She stuffed the keys into her bra, a location that time and again was proven safe from Jeff Winger. Then she grabbed at his fingers and started walking for her own little car. "You can't drive. Whatever you took, you don't know your limits as well as you think. You're intoxicated."
"How do you know?" he asked archly, and she tugged harder.
"Because you're letting me hold your hand without acting like I have cooties."
"Oh, well then," he said. His fingers almost covered hers, and Annie was aware of every nervous twitch as they crossed the blacktop. "If that's all you're worried about, I'm fine. It's just monkey gas."
She insisted, "I'm taking you home, Jeff Winger."
"Good." He yawned. "I'm tired. It's exhausting being Pierce."
"You're not Pierce." She replied without thinking through her words. "I've never wanted to kiss Pierce."
He faltered, "Annie, remember what I said in May about how some stuff is all in your imagination? Well, I think—"
"I don't care anymore." She let go of his hand to fling the passenger door open between them, and dart around to the driver's side. She heard him sigh and climb in.
Jeff's apartment was on the second floor but only a short walk down the hall from the staircase, which was good because it afforded her just enough time to open the door before he stumbled into the bathroom and began to empty his stomach. Annie stood by the entrance for a few minutes, torn between going in to comfort him, or allowing for the privacy his pride would demand. A particularly unpleasant groan came from behind the door, and she decided to heat up water for tea.
After a few minutes of extended ralphing, she heard the shower click on. Annie took up a celebrity magazine and sat down on his couch. The apartment was chill, but a knit throw was stuffed into the corner of the cushions, and Annie successfully fished it out. She cradled her blend of Assam and Darjeeling between her palms, taking small sips as she waited for him. He didn't shower as long as she expected, considering how vain Jeff was, and Annie lowered her tea cup just in time to see a tall, naked man stroll out of the bathroom.
"Oh my god," she squeaked.
"Annie!" he said in a thin, high voice. He managed to look even more confused than when driven him here.
All she could say was, "Oh. Oh my god."
"Why are you still here?"
"Why are you still naked?" her words rose several octaves, and Jeff looked down with equal curiosity for a second. Then he yelped in surprise and grabbed for a pillow. She threw the couch blanket at him.
His apologies followed him all the way to his bedroom. Annie thought about leaving right then. She'd gotten him home, right? She'd done the responsible friend thing and helped him get home safely. He clearly hadn't slipped and died in the shower, and she'd sort of gotten a free show out of the whole thing. This would be the right time to leave.
Annie bit her lip and sat down. She stared at the magazine again: Ben Chang's scratchy, slanted handwriting had invaded the editorial section with raunchy comments. She dropped it with a grimace.
"I amsorry, Annie." Jeff's voice stated it like they were in the middle of a conversation, and she wondered what he thought they were discussing. She turned to see him by the arm of the sofa, dressed in black jeans and a dark blue t-shirt. Annie stood up, and bit her bottom lip when she realized that he didn't smell like a chemical tank anymore. He smelled wonderful, like Colgate and some kind of expensive body soap. His eyes, bloodshot still, tracked her as she approached.
"For what?" Annie dared.
"I don't remember," he admitted. "I'm sure there's some reason. Did I...sing?"
She smiled, teasing out fond thoughts of him. She'd been trying so hard not to think fondly of Jeff, but it was difficult when the object of her fondness stood there all nice-smelling and vulnerable. "You hit the table with a fireman's axe."
He put a hand to the bridge of his eyes. "I remember that. Sorry."
"You raved a lot, and frothed at the mouth a bit."
"Blegh. I'm sorry bout that, too."
"And you kissed me."
"What? No I didn't!" His hand flew away from his eyes. He gazed around the room in a panic, then back at her. "Did I?"
Annie, who was terrible at being the villain, giggled at his face almost immediately. "No, I'm kidding. Just messing with you!" She jumped a step away, waving her hands.
"Oh," he said, and though she knew she was being childish to jest about it, Annie took a small sting of satisfaction from the whiff of disappointment in that single-word response. That was the Annie of it all, right there, and Jeff Winger could just suck on them apples. She picked up her purse and smiled winningly at him.
"Well, I gotta go….bust a tire, burn some rubber, all of that. See you at Greendale, Jeff."
She made a dash for the door, but his voice caught and held her. "Annie, wait!" Uncertain, she looked over her shoulder. "I know you're still mad at me." At this, Annie raised her eyebrows.
"You're mad at me for lying about Pierce and the group, and for wrecking the table, and..."
"...And?" she agreed. She watched as Jeff's jaw clenched under his stubble.
"And probably for mocking your feelings when school ended," he allowed. "But the truth is, I need you to be my friend. I want you to be my friend again."
"I thought we were all being friends again after your speech."
"I know that, and you brought me home, but..." Jeff rubbed at his neck with one hand, "I still want to ask. Since you attested that you weren't going to be my friend anymore. Like I said after the election, your opinion matters."
Letting herself relax into facing him, Annie pondered the man and the request. Oh, of course she was still his friend-she hadpractically kidnapped him for his own good-but this was typical behavior from Jeff. He needed to satisfy his own feelings of recalcitrance by getting her to define their friendship. Maybe this time she didn't want to give him the satisfaction.
"I have a condition," said Annie.
Jeff blinked. His well-cut body leaned against the wall of the apartment, and his arms were in his pockets. She hadn't seen him look so open in months. Maybe she had never seen him look so open. His eyes were red, but clear.
"Alright," he replied in his most noncommittal lawyer voice. "What condition?"
"Annie, come on—"
She crossed the space in two fleet steps, his words consumed by her lips. Annie knew his arms would go around her, and they did so effortlessly. She snuck her fingers into his damp hair, kissing him the way she'd wanted for months to be kissed. Last semester he'd spurned the idea of her, but Jeff responded to kisses and contact the way a child reacted to sweets: more, more, please more, hard candy or soft cream? Warm tongues or strong hands? Heat and power filled Annie with the knowledge that she could look at him and just takeinstead of asking.
She'd wasted so much time that way in the past: begging and hoping for what she wanted. Annie plunged her tongue one last time into his mouth then stepped away from his hold as quickly and forcefully as she could. With space between them again, she watched his face and listened to his breathing. His hair was mussed, and his lips were shiny with her saliva. Annie wiped a hand across the corner of her own mouth.
"Um," said Jeff. He was too stunned to talk, that was good. Annie nodded to him, grabbed her purse against her hip, and ran for the door.
"So...are we friends again?" he shouted after her.