Author's Note: This idea popped into my head and wouldn't go away until I put it on paper. 20,000 words later, I've got a story that I'm really proud of. The timeline of the story jumps around a lot, so pay attention to the italicized time markers. Also, the story is in 7 roughly equal parts for the simple reason that I didn't really want to upload 20,000 words in one go.
The story takes place roughly two months after the events of the episode "Ron and Diane," and uses information from lots of different parts of Parks and Recreation. I love Ron and Tammy, and I want them together. And for those of you who don't know, Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally (the actors who play Ron and Tammy) are married in real life and I met them and they are seriously the cutest couple ever.
Anyway, please read and review. I'd love to hear your thoughts! Enjoy!
Getting What You Want
Ron Swanson was sad. On the outside, he didn't look any different than when he wasn't sad, but he was sad all the same. It was the end of yet another failed romance. Ron was starting to think that he couldn't have a successful relationship at all. He and Diane just couldn't make it work, so here he was, walking into JJ's Diner to drown his sorrows in meat.
He sat down and ordered the aptly named Swanson Special. The enormous plate arrived with a T-Bone steak, scrambled eggs, and a heaping helping of bacon. The day immediately improved. But suddenly, Ron felt a tingle through his body. It made him both nervous and aroused. It could only mean one thing.
"Tammy," he growled.
The petite brunette sat down across from him in the booth by the window. "Hi Ron," she said tentatively.
"It's been a while."
"Yeah it has. How have you been?" she asked. Her pretty face looked at him with genuine concern which was, in all honesty, freaking him out.
"In case you want to ruin my happiness, I'm afraid you're too late. I've had a crap day, and I'm not in the mood for any of your filth."
"I'm so sorry, Ron. What happened?"
There was no trace of sarcasm, condescension, or mockery. It was unlike Tammy. She wanted something. She always wanted something. But Ron couldn't imagine what it could be.
Ron didn't answer. He just stared at her with that adorable mix of confusion and fear. Tammy had to try not to laugh. It was so Ron. But if she was going to get what she wanted, there was no room for anything other than honesty in this conversation, especially on Tammy's part.
Tammy decided to take advantage of Ron's silence. After all, as long as they weren't yelling, it wouldn't end up with their naked bodies tangled together. Again, she had to suppress a smile. "Anyway, I came here because I want to talk to you. I know we always say we're going to talk and it never ends well, so I wanted to really try this time. I don't know what's been going on with you, although I'd like to, and I know you have no idea what I've been through. I've been out of town for a month or so, and I've realized some things. Do you think we could go somewhere private? Maybe to your house?"
Ron's gaze shifted from Tammy's face to his plate of glorious food. This time, Tammy did laugh. "Ok, finish your Swanson Special. I know I'm making you uncomfortable, so I'll just have a cup of coffee at the counter. Just please don't leave without me. We both know that if you try to escape, I'll find you."
He gave a curt nod, noting her amused smile and the strange sentimentality that sparkled in her eyes. She stood up and walked over to the counter of the diner as she said she would, leaving Ron to his meal.
The next day, Ron walked into the Parks department with his head down, acknowledging no one as went right into office and sat down. Donna noticed him come in and realized what was happening. She went to talk to Tom.
"Tommy. We got a problem."
Tom Haverford turned to face where she stood in the doorway of the office he shared with Leslie Knope. Leslie was at a City Council meeting, so he had the office to himself today. "What's up, Donna? Aw man! Did will. send back my gift basket?"
"No. It's Ron. He's acting weird."
"Ron's a weird guy, Donna. One time he told me that he appreciated the craftsmanship of a flight of stairs."
Donna shook her head. "I mean weird for Ron. He just came in looking ashamed. Which is an emotion. Which is not like Ron Swanson."
"Maybe he's just upset. Didn't he and Diane just break up?"
She gave a smug smile. "Did I mention he's wearing the Tiger Woods?"
Tom's eyes went wide. Tiger Woods wears a red shirt and black pants whenever he feels invincible. Ron wears the same thing after he has sex. "Wait, and he's not laughing and giving people money and stuff?"
"Nope. The man just walked up in here hanging his head like a dog."
Both Tom and Donna were speechless for a moment. They had no idea what to do about Ron. Obviously he had sex, and it was good enough that he wore the Tiger Woods, but if he wasn't in his usual post-coital happy mood, something was very wrong with this situation. They just didn't know what.
"Hey guys. Is there a problem? Anything I can do?"
Tom sighed and snapped, "No Jerry, get out!"
Jerry Gergich's sweater-vest clad form slumped back to his desk, leaving his coworkers with their troubles. None of them noticed Ron Swanson in his office, replacing his framed photograph of a plate of breakfast food with its former occupant, a pretty brunette holding a plate of breakfast food. As he did so, he thought that perhaps soon he could replace this picture with the one he took this morning of Tammy smiling in his kitchen as she cooked his bacon.
"Ok Tammy. We're at my house, alone, as you requested. What do you want from me?" Ron asked.
Tammy looked around the living room of the house they once shared. "It's different. You've changed a lot. I haven't been here since I moved all my stuff out."
"I had to scrub the walls to get the stench of evil whore out of the place."
She rolled her eyes. "Oh real nice, Ron." Tammy took a deep breath. She couldn't get mad. She couldn't rise to his taunts. It would only end in a rage and passion-induced session of lovemaking that would undoubtedly ruin what it was she was working for. "Can we please just sit and talk? I can make you dinner if you want."
Ron sat at the edge of his old, boring brown leather sofa. "I just had a Swanson Special. I'm good on food for a while. What do you want, Tammy?" He was starting to get annoyed. It wasn't like her to waste time like this. He was used to being seduced (which, with Tammy, wasn't hard) or else manipulated in some other way. This wasn't any of that. She was stalling. She was nervous. For the first time, there was a crack in that tough, crazy veneer that was Tammy Swanson.
Tammy cautiously sat down at the other end of the sofa, making sure to leave a lot of space between them. She crossed her arms, pulling her black cardigan sweater tighter around her as though it were armor protecting her vulnerable areas.
"Ron, I want to ask if you're seeing anyone. I don't think it would be right for me to say what I need to say if you've got a girlfriend. I don't want to ruin another one of your relationships."
He had to laugh. "Since when? You've tried to run off every woman I've been with since we got divorced!"
"Just answer the question, Ron."
Ron sighed. "No. Diane and I broke up this morning. You met Diane when you tried to seduce me at the woodworking awards dinner."
"She was nice. I'm sorry it didn't work out."
There it was again. Actual sincere compassion and sympathy. Ron had no idea what to do with that. Tammy wasn't usually one to have goodness lurking anywhere in her lack of a soul.
"Did you have something to say other than asking my relationship status?"
Tammy took a deep breath. This was it. She had no excuse to back out. It was now or never. "Yeah. I know this is going to sound really stupid, especially coming from me, but I want you back, Ron. I want to have a real try at a relationship. Our marriage sucked, but I've recently been forced to do a lot of thinking and I've realized some things about myself and how I feel about you." She looked straight at him with an honest pleading in her warm brown eyes.
Ron's eyes went wide. He was waiting for her to laugh and say she was joking and then come at him with a knife or something. That was expected. This was not.
"Are you fucking kidding me?" he asked, still too surprised to say anything else.
"No, I'm not. I've realized that all I've ever wanted was you. I wanted you to give me what I wanted, do what I wanted. I wanted you to want me for the sheer sake of having that power over you. But it all boils down to the fact that I want you. And I want to try something I've never done before: I want to make you happy. I care about you and what you want, and not just how that affects me. You are the only man I've ever loved, Ron. And I've never stopped loving you. I understand if you can't believe that, but I hope you'll give me the chance to try to show you."
Ron was utterly bewildered. He blinked rapidly before answering, "Tammy, we can't be together. We know that. We fight like cats and dogs, and we screw like rabbits on crack, and it's insane. That kind of insanity isn't good for either of us."
"But I want to try to have a relationship that's different than that. And to be honest, the insanity is all my doing. I do crazy things, and I make you do crazy things. I'd like to believe that if I work at it, we can have something different, something healthy and…I don't know…nice." She shrugged her shoulders and gave a small smile. She hoped so much that he would be receptive to what she said. For the first time in a long time, possibly ever, she was being completely honest with him. Part of her brain told her to shut her stupid mouth and just mount him like a rodeo bull, but that wouldn't really be a good beginning to this (hopefully) new phase in their relationship.
Ron put his face in his hands and groaned. "What made you do this now? Are you on drugs or something?"
She laughed. "No, although they did try. It's like I said, Ron. I've done a lot of soul-searching recently, and this is what I got when I came out the other side."
"I don't know if I can ever believe that you'll change. We've got plenty of wonderful anecdotal evidence that proves otherwise."
"And don't I know it. Don't worry, Ron. I know exactly what I've done every step of the way in regards to you and me. I've made a series of very deliberate choices. Some of them were very bad, but they were my choices nonetheless. And I'll understand if you don't want to give this a shot, although I really hope you do. I'll give you some time to think it over." She stood up and slung her purse over her shoulder. "I'll leave my number on the notepad by the toaster. I can show myself out.
Tammy smiled as she jotted down her phone number on the pad. They had a hell of a fight fairly early on in their marriage when she had insisted that they needed a notepad and that it should be by the toaster. Ron said it should be by the sink, closer to where the telephone hung on the wall. She had insisted that it would just get wet by the sink and completely undermine the point of having a pad of paper in the kitchen to begin with. And where was the notepad now, years after Tammy had moved out? By the toaster, right where it belonged. No matter what Ron said, there was a part of him that would always take her views into consideration.
For a while after Tammy left, Ron remained seated on his couch, thinking. It wasn't even his couch. She had bought it for their house from a consignment store. It was faded and worn when they got it, and time had not improved its appearance. But the couch was comfortable and there was no sense in getting rid of a perfectly functional sofa, so Ron kept it after she left. With a small smirk, he recalled the countless occasions they had gone from a screaming match in this living room to the hottest sex imaginable on this couch. Good times.
That made Ron realize the one thing he had always known but never wanted to acknowledge: he and Tammy had something that he never experienced with anyone else. And not just sexually, although no other woman could do what she could. No matter how often they fought and no matter what ridiculous antics they got into, Ron and Tammy had a connection unlike any other. Sure, she made him crazy. Sure, she was an insane psycho bitch a lot of the time. She didn't deny it. But Ron Swanson was never happier than when he was with Tammy. It was only when they were apart that he would realize the idiocy of what she did to his life. Could she really change that? Could she even change at all?
Maybe it was the recent breakup with Diane, or maybe it was the weird sincerity of the conversation he and Tammy had just shared, but something made Ron get up off the couch and walk over to the notepad by the toaster. On it was a note in that familiar elegant script:
I hope you'll let me show you how great we can be.
With a smile, he picked up the phone. "Hey, it's me. Didn't you offer to cook me dinner? Because I'm starting to get hungry."