Prompt by rashaka: Annie makes individual mix CDs to cheer everyone up and celebrate their 4th school year (or New Years?) but Jeff reads too much into her song choices for him and starts to obsess about it.
Word Count: 1456
Disclaimer: I don't own anything and no copyright infringement is intended by any of my fanworks.
A/N: I think I'm now even with the number of posted comment fics. If not, I'll make it up tomorrow. It's quite late here and I desperately need sleep!
"Oh, Annie, you put Radiohead on here!" Britta reached over to hug Annie, genuinely touched. "And oh, there's some stuff I don't recognize. Is it stuff you like?" Annie shook her head and smiled.
"I wanted to make CDs that represented your past, our time at Greendale andour future together. I know you don't get a chance to listen to a lot of new music since your car radio broke so I picked out stuff that reminded me of you. And some stuff that recommended." Britta nodded absently and hugged Annie again.
"What's on your CD, Troy?"
"Our high school football team's senior year anthem, and, aww! Annie!" He put a hand to his chest, moved. "Vitamin C's Graduation, bracket Friends Forever bracket." He smiled bashfully and then pulled her into a hug. "I'm going to listen to this as soon as we get home." Annie shrugged off the praise and beamed.
The group slowly moved out of the study room toward the cafeteria still discussing their personalised CDs save Jeff. Annie stopped at the door, looked back at him for a moment before sighing and walking back. She approached the study table where he sat, scrutinizing the CD case, slowly.
"Is something wrong, Jeff?"
"What? No." He turned his head to look up at her immediately, a smile pasted on, and rose. "Ready to go?" She nodded hesitantly and turned to head out, glancing back at him, but he was still smiling. Resolving to get to the bottom of it later, Annie headed to the cafeteria with Jeff in tow.
"What'd you get?" Abed turned to look at Jeff, then at the CD Jeff held in his hands, his fingers rapping against it rhythmically.
"I'm assuming you mean what songs are on the CD Annie made for me?" Jeff nodded. "Hmm." Abed lifted his brows in faux-surprise as he hmmed. "Your curiosity is so unexpected." Jeff's glare cut Abed's second eye roll short. "'Mr. Roboto' by Styx, 'I'll Be There For You' by The Rembrandts, Joe Cocker's 'With a Little Help From My Friends' – the list goes on. Nothing too surprising but touchingly heartfelt. I understood what Annie was saying. Why?"
"You found the message in your CD pretty clear, huh?" Abed nodded.
"Jeff, despite how Annie and I have connected physically, we're just friends and both of us knows that. We haven't always understood each other but we understand each other now. We know where we stand and we're both happy with our relationship. So yes, the message of my CD was clear because our relationship to each other is clear. If your CD confuses you, maybe it's because you just don't like what you're hearing." Abed patted Jeff on the shoulder in a perfunctory manner figuring he needed it, given the stunned look on his face.
"I wouldn't do this kind of sloppy exposition for anyone else, you know!" As Jeff shook his hand off and did an about-face in the opposite direction, Abed sighed and shrugged, unable to stop himself from calling out after him.
"Winger." Jeff huffed in response. "What's got your tongue? If it's another guy, I don't want to hear about it." Jeff turned to glare at Pierce.
"Nothing. What are you so cheery about it?"
"I bribed Garrett for a discman, that kid can find anything, and listened to Annie's CD. Put me in a good mood!" Jeff scoffed.
"Oh yeah? Why is that? Was it personal and heartwarming and thoughtful?" Pierce eyed him in confusion.
"Actually, yes, it was all of those things. She put Ben E. King's 'Stand By Me' on there and Fleetwood Mac's Sugar Daddy – great song, that – and Bob Dylan's 'Blowin' in the Wind' and Simon & Garfunkel's 'I Am a Rock' – I think that's a reference to my abs – and The Eagles' 'You Are Not Alone' and," Pierce didn't stop for a single breath as he continued. "Clapton's 'Knockin' on Heaven's Door' and-" Unable to take it anymore, Jeff cut him off at the next break.
"I get it, okay? Annie loves you!" Pierce reared back, ready to be offended. A second later, his mouth closed.
"She does, doesn't she?" Pierce's head was tilted to the side, pondering, his voice wondrous. "She does. Thanks, Jeff." He slapped Jeff on the back amiably and left, humming. Alone again, Jeff's head dropped to the table.
"Jeff?" Annie called out quietly, unsure if he would be there.
"What?" She moved further into the closet, sighing inaudibly.
"What are you doing in here?" He was lying prone on the floor, exactly as she'd found him after the election debacle in their second year.
"Nothing. I just wanted to be left alone. Clearly not possible at this school." Annie rolled her eyes.
"Of course it's not possible at Greendale. We're not exactly good at keeping secrets in our group anyway." She nudged his legs over, sliding down to take a seat beside him. He pulled himself up into a seated position and glared at her. "What is it, Jeff? Something is clearly bothering you. Everyone is worried. Except for Abed, but, you know." She waved her hand dismissively, knowing Jeff understood.
"Fine. You want to know?" Annie nodded. "I don't get it." She frowned not sure what he was talking about. "The CDs. You made everyone these highly personalized CDs representing their past, and your relationship with them, and the group, and what you hoped for their future. You added their favourite songs and new music you thought they'd like… And I got this!" He held up the CD she had made for him, waving it in her face. "This, Annie!" She moved out of the range of his hand-waving and frowned again.
"You don't like your CD?" He gave a deep sigh.
"That's not it and you know it, Annie. If I have to stop pretending, so do you." She bit her lip, staring at him silently, before she finally huffed.
"Okay, you're right, Jeff, is that what you wanted to hear? Your CD isn't quite as personal as everyone else's. But nobody else has gone out of their way to deny things about our relationship, to tell me I'm imagining things, to ignore me and avoid me the way that you have!" Annie words cut deep and she was only just getting started.
"You don't like it when I mention you aren't a lawyer so I guess I can't put anything like that on the CD. I thought it would be cruel to put George Michael's Faith on there so that was left behind. And there's nothing between us but friendship, right?" She didn't wait for a response. "No, definitely not. So there goes all that. Did you want me to maybe stick some songs on their about having a secret fuck buddy relationship with a mutual friend? Should that have made it on the CD?"
"So, yeah, Jeff, I admit it. I made your CD all about friendship because that's what I thought you wanted and I was tired of trying to make something grow in an inhospitable climate. That CD was me letting go." She glared at him, angry and frustrated. "What do you want from me?"
"I'm sorry." The two words stopped her short for just a moment. "I'm sorry that I ignored you after the Tranny Dance. I'm sorry I couldn't be honest with you. I'm sorry that I denied the 'Annie of it all'" Jeff couldn't stop himself from rolling his eyes at the phrase. "I'm sorry I was an ass." Annie studied his face seriously, trying to figure out what was going on in his head, before she decided to make an apology of her own.
"I'm sorry I confronted you publicly. Considering what happened at the Tranny Dance, I probably should have known better… But Jeff, I still don't know what you want from me." He nodded slowly.
"I know. But Abed said something today and it made me think… He said he knew exactly what you were saying to him with the CD because the two of you knew where you stood with each other and you were both happy with your relationship. He said that… He said maybe the message was clear and I just didn't like it." Annie watched him silently. "I'm almost 100% certain Shirley is right and Abed is a witch." Annie laughed. "He was right. Your CD was all about being friends and I realized… You're an awesome friend, Annie, but that's not what I want."
"And what do you want, Jeff?" He leaned in slowly, giving her ample time to move away. She didn't. His straightforward answer of 'you' was lost against her lips.