Author's Note: Written for Haywire for Yuletide 2012.


Ann knew that she didn't mold her relationships to fit her personality - it was the other way around, if her stacks of old exercise clothes and other assorted paraphernalia was any indication. She couldn't help but lose herself completely into her relationships. If she dated Ron, maybe she would have an array of plaid button-down shirts and various nature guides to join the pile of things from previous relationships, along with a healthy disdain for government.

Except she wasn't dating Ron - or Chris, or Andy, or Tom, for that matter. But for all that she wasn't, at least not anymore, she was, however - "Leslie?" she murmured, her voice thick with sleep. This couldn't wait until morning. Not when it would haunt her dreams tonight, at least until she did something about it.

"Ann! Are you okay?" Leslie's arm tightened around her torso, squeezing her with a small degree of gentle force - an apt phrase to describe Leslie's approach to life, except that sometimes a small degree ended up being the equivalent of gale-force winds. "Do I need to go hurt someone? Because I will. When I wake up in the morning, and if by hurt, you're satisfied with a sufficient series of pointed glares and an angry word or two. I don't think that my fists are particularly good weapons."

Ann laughed at the mental image of Leslie getting into a knockdown, drag out fight with someone for her sake. It was a sweet sentiment, if not more than a little disturbing. "No, nothing like that." She paused for a moment and let her fingers trace over the sheets, gathering her thoughts and the courage to express those thoughts out loud. "I'm not going to have to start wearing pencil skirts and watching C-SPAN now, am I?"

"What would make you think a thing like that?"

"Well, you know my history with boyfriends -"

"Yeah, and we're girlfriends. There's a difference there already," Leslie interjected. "Gal friends. Two women who love each other -"

"- You didn't even let me finish."

"Go on, then. I'm listening." Leslie propped the side of her head up on the palm of her hand; she ran her fingers mindlessly through Ann's hair.

"And how I tend to get so wrapped up in what their interests are that I completely change myself to fit around them."

"Ann, you beautiful, beautiful lady meerkat. You know that I love you because of who and how you are, and not because you share my taste in classy, tasteful blazer sets or anything like that." She kissed the side of her head and cradled Ann closer to her, pressing her up against her chest. "You don't have to change who you are just because you're dating me now."

She could never help herself - it was too easy to smile when Leslie called her beautiful; it had always warmed her heart, even before they got together. Even though she wasn't entirely too sure what she had in common with a meerkat - or any of the other things she had ever been compared to over the years. It was how Leslie tended to express her love in a unique way, in a way to which no one else ever could compare. Always had been, in a manner of speaking. "I know, but I'm afraid I'm going to anyway."

"If you want to watch C-SPAN with me, I'm not going to stop you. You know that. That's a healthy interest in my interests, not changing your whole personality. Unless you forgo watching those weird medical mystery shows you love so much in order to watch it. Then I might have to worry."

"You'd give me the inside scoop on every single female Senator, wouldn't you? Running commentary and all."

"Yes, I would. We have more female Senators now than we've ever had before, and you can't miss out on this great opportunity that we have before us to watch them in action. These ladies are our inspiration."

Ann curled into her embrace and looked up with her, a mixture of fatigue and love clouding her eyes. She remembered all too well the ecstatic expression Leslie had when the results came in, seeing all those women in new positions of power. "You'll be a great Senator one of these days. Senator Knope. I'd vote for you. I'd always vote for you."

"Thank you. I like the sounds of President Knope better, but if both President Obama and Joe Biden can make the leap from the Senate chambers to the White House, so can I," she said, her voice catching somewhat on Biden's name. Old habits had to die hard, after all; it was a fact of life, like her incurable joy when she could dote on a sick loved one, helping them with all of their tasks and bringing them chicken noodle soup - hot but not too hot. In another life, she could imagine the two of them meeting at the hypothetical hospital where they both worked. Fall in love over patient charts, and sneak kisses behind the nurses' station when no one else could look their way. But Leslie had a thing for the Vice-President. That much was never in question. And she found it strangely adorable, and not at all threatening. Unless she heard about something mysterious and unexpected happening to Jill. "And of course, I'd have my lovely and beautiful First Lady Ann Perkins-Knope by my side. I couldn't do it without you, you know."

"Of course." She yawned and pressed her cheek into Leslie's side, feeling her warmth under her. How could she ever doubt that she would be left behind if the right guy came along? Leslie wanted her. "I don't know where else I'd ever want to be. I like being right where I am."

"That's good, then," Leslie said, the faint edges of sleep beginning to creep into her voice, slurring the words into each other. "Because I like you being right there. Just as you are. No changing yourself for anyone, most of all not me, you hear me? You're my beautiful, sexy, talented Ann and I love you." Her statement came with her tilting Ann's face upward for a firm, yet soft kiss; Ann had become accustomed to the inherent contradictions that came entangled in the entirety of who Leslie was. Leslie was the personification of a tornado. A wonderful tornado, that could come through and upheave your entire life for the better. Which was the complete opposite of what a tornado was in reality, but again with the contradictions that served to define Leslie.

"Okay. Okay." She laughed as she returned the kiss in kind. Clearing the air with Leslie could never be considered a bad thing. Maybe now she could sleep with a clear conscience on the matter. "I love you too, okay?"

"Good." They began to drift off to sleep facing each other; Ann's leg locked possessively over Leslie's, while Leslie had a hold on her waist. "But if you ever wanted to just wear one of my pairs of sensible heels and a white blouse with a few buttons undone, maybe one of my skirts -"

"You wouldn't complain?"

"Never."