circumstantial brigade captain. (cereal ) wrote,

fic; Community: nothing to say but the things i know.

title: nothing to say but the things i know.
fandom: Community.
pairing: Jeff/Britta.
rating: R?
words: 8657.
spoilers: A few general things for everything that's aired so far.
disclaimer: Fiction. I don't own anything here.
notes: All right, this was written for my help_haiti auction for the insanely amazing myr_soleil ! I feel like this is totally inadequate because there was, like, a legit bidding war, which makes me feel insanely anxious and flattered at the same time (and, speaking of which, fujiidom , if there's something you want me to write, just let me know and I'll do it! You guys are crazy and AAAAMAZING!), but mostly it makes me feel like I cannot possibly write anything that I'm going to feel is worth that! PANIC FACE.

In any case! She asked for Community fic, Jeff/Britta, maybe roommates or fake dating or Pierce's wedding or girl BFFs. I was able to do the first two! I thought I could get in a Pierce wedding, but alas.



Britta's never been especially girly.

It's not that she sets out for things to be like that. She wears make up (understated and natural). She wears skirts and dresses (mostly with leggings: still counts). And her hair is not actually this uniformly light blonde (it's blonde, just -- you know, dirtier).

Like, she joined a tap-dancing class, for fuck's sake.

But somehow, usually, unless somebody's explicitly hitting on her (uh, Jeff), everyone seems to forget that she could bear a child and, like, lactate? Whatever else girls, women, can do, she can do.

This perception she's not girly though? That all stops with rats.

She lives in a nice apartment complex. It's actually nice, her rent is slightly too high and she never really uses the indoor racquetball court, but those things just prove it. It's nice.

Turns out: nice places get rats.

It's not even 8 o'clock at night and she's out on her balcony talking to a friend on the phone (or smoking a cigarette, whichever, jeez) and then there it is, unholy and black and huge crawling on the building across the way: a fucking RAT.

The following 30 seconds are kind of a blur, but she remembers throwing open the sliding glass door, pitching herself onto the floor and then kicking her feet wildly to get her boots off, like maybe there's a rat in there.

Then, before she even realizes it, she's calling Jeff from her cell phone and Abed on her house phone and screaming into both receivers. Her logic, in retrospect, was probably along the lines of: Jeff's tall and can stomp on rats? And Abed could probably play them a song on a piccolo and they'd follow him. Or something like that.

Abed doesn't pick up, but Jeff does. Like any normal, calm person, she starts yelling: "RATS! RATS! My fucking apartment is infested with RATS!"

The part of her that's still just slightly in control is expecting him to make fun of her and then go back to practicing smirking in his wall-sized mirror (well, not really, but sometimes she holds onto that image of Jeff because it's easier to pretend he's like that than to think about feelings).

Instead he says: "Pack a bag, I'll be there in 10."

She can't even get anything out, not a warning that she won't be sleeping with him, not a disavowal of this as the "damsel-in-distress" archetype, nothing. (Which is for the best, because he's doing her a favor and the only person she actually wants to be a bitch to right now is that rat. And every single member of his family.)

Jeff is there in a legit 10 minutes. He's holding some sort of fireplace iron and has a baseball glove under his arm.

"All right, let's just get you out of here. Where are they? The closet? The pantry?"

He's wheeling around, head on a swivel type stuff, and she feels embarrassed and awful.

"Uh. They're, it's, over there." She points vaguely in the direction of her patio.

Jeff puts the glove on and walks over to the corner by the patio door.

"Behind the table?"

Why is he being so cool about this? Now she feels even more like an idiot.

(Plus, if she's honest about it, he actually looks slightly skeeved out in the face, like even he doesn't want to deal with rats. He's got on big, black, ass-kicking boots and a jacket that's way too heavy for this weather.)

"Hmm," she points toward the door again.

"Oh, did you get them on the patio? Good work!"

The degree to which he seems genuinely concerned about this, and her, is making the few parts of her that didn't want to puke, want to puke. Seriously. She's got to fess up.

Instead:

"Yeah, they're out there! But before they were in the living room!"

"In the living room?! I was gonna give you some grief about this, but that's pretty harsh."

Britta's face is on fire. She forces herself to pull it together anyway.

"You think I'd give you the opportunity to play Lancelot for nothing?"

If she can just get things back to where they're acting normal and her pulse isn't jumping from everything and she's not maybe noticing that his boots look nice on him and how that baseball mitt is playing into her well-hidden, totally deep-seated (and admittedly cliche) jock thing, then it'll be fine. She can notice these things in a safe space, like Spanish class, not alone in her apartment after he saved her.

"I was going to ask about that, the damsel-in-distress thing has to be killing you." And there it is -- the smirk.

"Whatever." She grabs her bag off the table. "Can we go?"

He throws an arm out, "Lead the way, Peter Pettigrew."

"That was -- you! -- Harry Pott --"

Jeff gives a quick eyebrow waggle and then immediately puts on his oblivious face. She realizes, sadly, that no one's ever going to believe Jeff Winger practically just copped to reading for fun. And kids' books! (He did save her from plague-infested rodents, so it's probably fair.)

&&.

She's hashing out in her head the whole car ride what she's going to do about sleeping. She's somewhere between couchcouchcouch and maybe there's a guest room? and would it really hurt to just sleep with him once? when he turns into a hotel parking lot.

"This is presumptuous," is out of her mouth before she can stop and think about it. It's getting kind of old, keeping all this up, but now it's just reflex.

She realizes immediately, from his face, which is not leering, that he's probably just going to make sure she gets a room. This isn't some tawdry stop off so they can fuck.

Both things are wrong.

This is where Jeff lives.

He opens the trunk to get her bag out and she can see he's got a card key already in his hand. She tilts her head instead of just asking what the hell is going on, mostly so she doesn't say anything offensive.

"Yeah, I never really got that whole 'housing' thing figured out."

"Oh." That's all she's got, it really is.

The room isn't awful, but it's not very swanky, not very Jeff either. There's a giant stain on the couch that she can't stop staring at as soon the lights are on.

"I wouldn't recommend sitting there, I think it's a bio-hazard. I'll call down and see if I can get a rollaway."

She waits for him to add, "that I'll sleep on and you can have the bed" to the end, but maybe that's just wishful thinking.

When he gets off the phone though, turns out that just the rollaway was wishful thinking.

"No rollaways. You're either going to have share this bed with me or go back to Nimh."

There's probably at least a little bit of a token fight she should put up, but her adrenaline has totally crashed and she's exhausted, so that doesn't happen.

"Just keep your hands to yourself, Winger."

She can swear his eyes light up for a second, but ever since the thing with the stats teacher, she figures she's just imagining all that. Except for the really blatant stuff, which is more for show anyway, right?

(Right now, the thing with Professor Slater and Jeff is #3 on her Top Ten List of Things Not to Think About. Right between newly appointed #2, rats, and #4, cigarettes.)

&&.

It turns out she touches him at some point throughout the night. She wakes up at light coming through a tiny slit in the drapes right onto her eyes and her arm is slung over his waist. She slides it off as softly and carefully as she can.

Her fingers are just skimming off his hips when she hears, "I think what you're looking for is lower."

His voice is thick with sleep and her hand jolts just enough that she's apparently settled in that crazy hot dipped V guys have. That Jeff has. She pulls her hand back like -- like it's touched a rat.

"In your dreams."

"Yes, yes it was." She's not looking at him, but she can feel the smirk.

&&.

Counting from the time Jeff got to her apartment to the next morning, they have exactly 11 hours and 24 minutes where this whole thing is a secret.

Britta, regrettably, didn't think about driving her own car last night and is now reliant on Jeff. Which is, you know, great. So she's stuck picking up Abed with him.

(She's actually impressed Jeff even volunteered to pick up Abed after he pulled an all-nighter counting falafel supply inventory at his dad's shop, but it's still going to look pretty suspect when Britta's riding shotgun at 7:30 in the morning.)

As soon as Abed's in the car, Britta's word vomiting everywhere.

"We didn't sleep together, I mean, we slept together, but not like that," she rushes out.

Abed's face does that weird Vulcan freeze thing and then, in his rapid fire voice, "I would've just assumed that you had car trouble, Britta, but your overeager explanation makes me thing there's something more here. Hm." He tilts his head, but doesn't say anything else.

Jeff, whose hair looks exactly the same as when he got out of bed, even though she knows he took a shower, turns his head to look briefly at Abed in the back seat. (His sunglasses are big and dark enough that he could actually be looking at her breasts, but she's not going to let herself think about that. Beyond, like, this.)

"Her apartment's got rats," Jeff says.

Apparently this is something Abed feels strongly about, rats, and they spend the rest of the car ride listening to him talk about how rats have been vilified in popular culture, except in the areas where they've been embraced, like certain genres of music, but even then it's about being anti-establishment which actually reinforces the blah blah blah.

She practically jumps out of the car once Jeff's parked, she's already got her bag around her shoulder, but turns back at the last second.

"Thank you, Jeff. Seriously."

"No problem."

He brushes it off like it's nothing, but she knows it's actually not, it was big stuff, good friend stuff (maybe even more than friend stuff) and he went out of his way to help when she was being hysterical.

"I'll make it up to you."

He raises an eyebrow and opens his mouth to say something lewd, but she cuts him off. (Even though she didn't necessarily want to.)

"I'll buy you lunch today?" She's not sure what else to offer, other than, you know, uh, what? And she knows he actually usually gets free lunch by smiling and stuff, but she'll even go 'Greendale Size' (extra large, like ours hearts!) if he wants.

"Sure."

&&.

Everyone but Jeff is already in the cafeteria when Britta gets there, but she's not going to wait through the line twice, so she slides into a seat and pulls the apartment listings out of her bag.

Shirely notices immediately, "Oooh, are you moving?"

"Yeah, my apartment has rats, so."

Abed starts his whole vilified rats thing up again, but Troy puts his hands over his ears and starts shaking his head back and forth, so Abed stops.

(Pierce offers to give her some of the early prototypes for Hawthorne Wipes' spring fresh scent which apparently cause rats to lose bladder control and then chew their feet off. She declines.)

She's found a couple places to check out later when Jeff finally shows up.

"What'd I miss?"

Shirley claps her hands, "Britta's moving!"

He looks at her, "Over the rats?"

How is this even a question? Sure, they weren't technically in her house, but Jeff doesn't know that and pretty soon they will be. Don't they claw through doors or something?

"Obviously."

"Well, you might as well let me look at those, too. The hotel's eventually going to figure out I'm not here on a top secret defense mission and that the CIA won't be reimbursing them."

The joke, not his best, but still, blows by everyone for the fact that he's living in a hotel.

This starts up five minutes of high-pitched fretting between Shirley and Annie (and some commentary from Abed on Howard Hughes). Like, long enough that Britta and Jeff walk away, order food, pay for it and come back to the table.

"A man needs a place to come home to after a long day." Shirley.

"And so does a woman!" Annie.

If it's like watching a ping pong match, the two of them going back and forth, then what Shirely does next is equal to grabbing the ball in mid air, spiking her paddle on the ground and climbing on top of the table.

"There's an empty unit in my complex!"

Game, set, match.

Britta's not comfortable responding to that, like, at all, so she looks to Jeff for help.

"Aw, I'd love to Shirley, but I've got a -- a -- uh -- "

Oh my god. Oh my god. Abort. Danger, danger.

Shit.

&&.

They decide the easiest way out of this is to just both go see the place in Shirley's complex and then say something about it not being right for either of them.

(It's not that Britta doesn't like Shirely, she likes her a lot, it's just -- living right near someone, where they can, oh god, pop over and talk and stay for hours. It's, it's way too much.)

Obviously the other easiest thing is for them to see it together. Shirley sets it up and smiles ominously when she mentions that she won't be there. It's kind of weird, but it'll be a lot easier to find a reason not to take it, if she's not hovering.

What neither of them expect is for it to be amazing. And cheap. And three bedroom, three full bath. Who the hell needs three full bathrooms?

Britta's standing in the living room, the giant, well-lit, giant living room and Jeff is tearing around from room to room imagining an office or bondage chamber or who the hell knows.

They both get to the landlord at the same time and, in sitcom unison: "I'll take it!"

The woman, a buttoned up matronly type, looks pleased.

"You seem like a great young couple, I'll get started on the paperwork."

Wait, what the hell?

She looks at Jeff and he shrugs, whispering to her out of the side of his mouth, "Maybe we're gonna flip for it?"

Yeah, no, that is not what happens.

How it didn't occur to either of them that Shirley would've found some crazy religious community to live in is astounding.

The landlord, Edith, was apparently left the property by her dad, a lapsed priest who embezzled money out of the church and into stocks and real estate and a cocaine problem. Edith decided the best way to repay the church, rather than like, oh, give it back, was to keep the community pure of spirit and God-fearing. Only married couples or women like Shirely, trying to find their path after having their lives upended by evil, were allowed.

This is all actually on a pamphlet in the management office. Britta's trying to get Jeff's attention, smacking him with the pamphlet over and over again, but he's steadfastly ignoring her. They're sitting side by side in front of Edith's desk, knees inches away from the giant cross engraved on the front.

"And the pool, is that heated all year round, Edith?" Britta imagines his charm oozing out of his mouth and onto the floor, where it slinks over to Edith and suffocates her.

(The pool is heated all year round.)

A few more minutes and Britta's had enough. She's picks up her purse to head out the door when Edith leans in over her desk and whispers, "It's rare to find two such clean cut, articulate young people who don't insist on living in sin. I'm going to give you two a leg up, the 'Saving for a Family' discount!"

Edith scribbles on a piece of paper and turns it around so they can both see it, "Paying this monthly, you should have plenty of money for your own little Joseph or Mary in no time!"

She maybe gasps a little. Jeff chokes on his gum.

Jeff reaches his hand over to her knee and Britta almost, almost slaps it off, but then visions of all the things she could do with that extra money dance through her head. Charity! A more fuel efficient car! (And actual selfish things, too, but she tries to bury them.)

In some sort of fugue state, clearly, she covers his hand with her own and they sign a three month lease. ("I'd love for you to sign for longer, but this three month trial period is a tradition and we don't want to make the other residents uncomfortable!" Edith chirps.)

On the way out the door, Britta's mouth is gaping and Jeff's eyes have gone wide and the realization seems to be crashing into both of them.

Then Edith calls after them, "I don't mean to pry, but where are your rings?" They both stare at her. "Your wedding rings?"

She's thinking, well, it's all over now. It's probably for the best. But then, out of nowhere, Jeff:

"They're on their way to the Vatican, we have a friend in Rome who's taking them to be blessed by Pope, uh, Pope --"

Britta jumps in for the save, "Benedict!"

"Ooh, that's nice!" Edith says. It sounds so familiar, so much like something she's heard before --

Oh fuck.

Shirley. Everyone. Fuck.

&&.

Obviously everyone thinks it's hilarious.

Shirley doesn't even seem mad at all that they lied, she just claps her hands together and talks about love blossoming and how much fun this is going to be. She's also got a twinkle in her eye, like she knew.

They're not supposed to move in until the weekend and Britta spends the next three days ignoring everything in class, everything in study group, in favor of weighing this thing out.

It's the nicest apartment she's ever seen, pro. It's so, so cheap, pro. She's going to live in it with Jeff, con? Is that a con? It's a con. (Right?)

They convince Abed and Troy to help them move and all of the sudden it's 7 a.m. on Saturday morning and she's holding hands with Jeff as Edith gives them the keys to their new place. Their. New. Place.

Oh my god.

It feels like that month she spent pretty much constantly on mushrooms in a cabin in Lake Tahoe, but all boiled down into one single emotion.

She almost doesn't even catch Jeff directing Abed and Troy to drop his dresser in the master bedroom.

"Whoa there -- honey," she checks to make sure Edith is out of view and earshot. "What makes you think you're getting the master bedroom?"

"Uh, because it's the master bedroom and not the miss' bedroom?"

They argue for a full five minutes, Abed and Troy still holding the dresser until the finally set it down with a thunk.

Jeff offers to pay an extra $100, but she's not having it. The bathroom in there alone is worth an extra $200, all giant tub and full size shower and well-lit vanity.

Abed steps in and says, since the other two rooms are nearly identical, they should each take one of those, it's only fair, this is just like some movie, blah, blah, whatever.

Another ten minutes, they both, grudgingly, agree to that. (For now.)

&&.

The first night in their apartment goes like this:

Jeff collapses into some giant, ugly man chair and turns on the TV.

Britta cooks herself dinner with Jeff's pots, which are those expensive colored ones, and have clearly never been used. After the fact, using the pots as leverage, he haggles his way into part of her dinner. They sit at the table and eat.

"How was, uh, your day?" Jeff's got a forkful of food dangling over his plate.

It's too weird. It's too domestic and, oh my god, it's kind of nice.

"Are we really going to do this?"

He almost, for a second, looks hurt and she feels bad.

"I just mean, how did this even happen? How are we," she gestures between the two of them with her butter knife, "going to live together?"

"I'll put a tie on the door when I'm with someone -- or someones and you'll put a tie on the door when you're, I don't know, knitting or in downward dog."

She rolls her eyes.

He puts his silverware down. "Listen, we can make this work," he actually sounds pretty serious. "This is a really nice apartment and with the money we're saving, you can actually save an entire whale or feed a small country and I can -- I can figure it out."

(The "it" in his sentence seems to be a much larger thing, like a life thing, so she doesn't push it.)

"Fine. We'll make it work."

If she does save a whale, she's going to name it Dodger after the beagle she had when she was a kid. She doesn't tell Jeff that.

&&.

The first week is even more ridiculous than she expected, which is saying something.

On Wednesday, Jeff's not in class and so she runs home after to see what's going on. When she gets in the apartment, she can hear the distinct sounds of moving and her stomach drops. Had she really been that bad of a roommate? Maybe her mom's right, she's overbearing and impossible to live with. She sneaks around the corner and can see Jeff assembling his desk in the master bedroom.

That son of a bitch.

She sneaks back out and tries not to think about why she felt so upset at the thought of Jeff leaving. She thinks about revenge instead, which is how she ends up sitting in her car waiting for him to leave.

After he's gone, she gets back in the apartment and removes every single screw from his bed frame.

That night, when he finally goes to his room after finishing a paper, she sits perfectly still and hears it, a loud crash and FUCK!

(She helps him move all of his stuff back into his room though and even when they don't finish until well after 3 a.m., it still feels like a good night.)

&&.

They fall into a rhythm after that.

Stuff like this starts to happen:

She falls asleep on the couch and when she wakes up in the morning, she's covered in a blanket and there's a glass of water on the table next to her.

He moves his flat screen into the living room and spends an hour teaching her how to use it. And the Wii. And the Blu Ray player.

She cooks dinner and, if he's not home yet, she makes up a plate him for anyway.

He goes grocery shopping and actually purchases vegetables and the kind of beer she likes.

She switches the hand soap (organic, of course) in the kitchen to something that doesn't make him smell like a fruit basket.

He switches it back.

Pretty soon they've been living together a month.

(Jeff's not brought anyone home, but then, neither has she.)

And there have been some interesting moments, too.

In the kitchen one night, she's rummaging for a snack and he reaches right over top of her to grab a glass off the shelf. He's warm and doesn't smell like fruit, he smells like expensive man stuff and Jeff. Her whole body goes warm.

In the living room, she's doing yoga on the Wii and he walks in. She's covered, tank top, shorts, whatever, but he stares at her for a full minute and then turns to walk right back where he came from. She can't explain how it's not creepy, but it really, really wasn't.

In the hallway, it's 2:30 in the morning and she goes to change the thermostat. He opens the door to his room at the noise and rubs at his eyes, wearing nothing but his boxers. She has an active urge to lick his collarbone and doesn't sleep anymore for the rest of the night.

&&.

At school, things have just started to get weird. It's not that he's turned off the part of him that makes lewd and obvious passes at her, but somehow they're, like, gentler.

Some random Thursday Abed actually tells them that they clearly didn't learn anything from popular culture and that they should not have slept together, because they're much less entertaining to watch now. They convince him he's wrong, about their sleeping together, not about popular culture, but he still insists they're much less entertaining. Like the later seasons of The X-Files.

Troy comes in raging about the hair goop his sister left in the sink and actually looks to Jeff to commiserate. Britta can tell it throws him because he stumbles a second before getting out, "We have separate bathrooms."

It's been almost two months when Shirely corners them after study group. She hasn't shown up unexpectedly at their place at all, ever. Somehow that didn't occur to Britta until now, but all the comments about "letting love blossom" Shirley's made at the lunch table maybe make slightly more sense.

"You two really ought to start coming to bible study. Edith's asking after you." She says it in that super sweet voice, but Britta's not fooled.

Her and Jeff answer in unison, "What?"

"Weekly bible study. It's in the community center. Fridays at 7." She adds as an afterthought, "That's to make sure no one's out going against the word of the Lord."

"Yeah, I'll be going to that right around the time Greendale gets accepted into the Ivy League," Jeff's already packing up his books.

"I'm serious, Jeffrey. You don't want Edith watching you, she'll find you out." Now Shirley's using the voice she uses on Troy, the mom voice.

"Maybe we better go, Jeff. Just once to keep up appearances." Britta's not about to get kicked out of their apartment now that the hard part -- actually living with Jeff -- has worked itself out.

He doesn't look convinced, but she can tell he's going to do it anyway. "All right, but I will be drinking heavily."

The next night, Friday, Britta's running around the apartment looking for her picture bible from when she was a kid when Jeff stops her, "I've got a bible app on my phone. We'll be fine." She rolls her eyes.

They're about to leave when he hands her a water bottle identical to the one in his hands.

"Every time anybody says 'Lord,' 'Jesus,' 'God,' 'Christ' or 'Amen.'"

"What?" He could not possibly have been serious about drinking heavily during bible study. He could not possibly be thinking of turning this into a drinking game.

"You heard me, Perry."

Oh my god, he is.

They're not in bible study for more than 30 seconds when the first "Lord" comes out. Jeff takes a swig from his water bottle and looks pointedly at her.

"I'm not doing this," she hisses at him. "And I smell that already."

He just smiles.

It lasts for another few minutes, her staunch refusal, but when things start getting ridiculous, like crazy, preachy ridiculous, she takes a drink of her bottle -- oh, vodka, obviously -- that'll catch her up to Jeff and then some.

Jeff practically beams.

By the time bible study is over, Shirley's figured them out, she glares at them from across the table and when they finally stumble toward the door, she stops them.

"I can't help you if you don't want to save your eternal souls."

Britta tries to keep it in, she really does, but then it's out, a loud, obnoxious, drunk laugh.

Jeff's laughing, too, and it's warm and they're both stuttering out apologies. Jeff swings an arm around Shirely's shoulders and then he's ushering her outside and talking a mile a minute about never having a path in life and footprints in the sand and keeping Christ in Christmas. Before Britta can catch up, Shirley's smiling happily and walking back toward her apartment.

"What. thefuck. Did you just do?"

"Top secret lawyer -- secret."

"You're not a lawyer anymore either, you can't know the secret!" She's got a serious case of drunk mouth which is, after all, the most unstoppable type of mouth.

Jeff's face falls, he goes all sad eyes and toes at the dirt.

"Oh my god, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean that!" Great, now she's probably going to cry and ruin everything and she'll lose Jeff. Or, wait, she'll lose the apartment. Right. Wait. What.

He grabs her by the shoulders, "GOTCHA!"

"You're not -- Wait, you're not sad?"

"Please." Big, suave smile.

When she goes to swat him in the arm, it somehow turns into looping her arm through his and that's how they walk back to the apartment. (They're supposed to be married anyway.)

They both fall onto the couch once they're back inside. His arm is stretched out along the back of it and she's maybe, slightly, turned into him a little bit. But whatever, that's just, like, where she fell. It's not intentional.

What is intentional is the way she leans her head kind of into his side, right under his armpit. It's also (probably) intentional the way his hand wraps up to curl in her hair and scratch a little bit.

She's thinking about tilting her head up and into his neck when it feels like her head is already tilted. Like her brain is tilted. Fuck, she's drunk. And she's about five seconds away from lighting it all on fire, climbing onto his lap and finishing what they started in the quad months ago. Or before that, whatever.

So she does the responsible thing and stands up. (Does the responsible thing and falls into the coffee table, then stands up.)

"I gotta go to bed. My bed. Without you." She tries to soften her voice and he doesn't look hurt, just shrugs, a little exaggerated, a little drunk.

"All right."

She stumbles her way into her room and gets off her boots and pants before flopping on to her bed. She's in the middle of twisting and turning to get her bra off without going through the hassle of taking off her shirt when she hears Jeff yelling.

"The sheets! The sheets aren't on my bed!"

"What?" She yells back, finally sliding her bra out of her sleeve.

"My bed is NAKED. Someone stole my sheets!"

Oh god.

She's not going to yell to have this entire conversation.

"Come here!"

She can hear him walk down the hall, footsteps heavy and slow. He gets to her doorway and he's wearing boxers and an undershirt. It's not even surprising anymore that she's attracted to him looking like that, but she's so, so tired.

"Britta, someone stole my sheets. The thread count on those is higher than Pierce's cholesterol," he's talking slowly, clearly trying to pretend he's not wasted.

"Are they in the dryer? Did you do laundry?" Bed spins, bed spins, stop these fucking bed spins.

"Oh." He walks away and walks back. "Yeah."

"Well put them on and go to bed. Or sleep on your mattress."

"Brittaaaaa." It's literally the most annoying sound she's ever heard and she once lived with a devoted Sugar Ray fan.

"Fine, same rules as the hotel."

He jumps into the other side of the bed, shaking the mattress when he lands.

"Ugh, all right, seriously, sleep."

She closes her eyes and tries to get everything quiet and still. She's almost asleep when she feels him shift and then feels him brush back the hair on her forehead. He shifts again and gives her a kiss on the skin there.

A part of her tries to muster up something and give him a warning, but instead she scoots back and into him, fitting her knees against his. His hand skirts over the side of her thigh and then wraps around her stomach.

Spooning with Jeff Winger.

It's not that she all of the sudden believes in God, it's just -- clearly someone is fucking with her.

&&.

The next time they have to go to bible study, Britta cuts classes all day. She actually goes to school, but just to swing by Vaughn and pick up some weed. He makes her listen to the entirety of "Getting Rid of Britta," twice, before he'll sell it to her, but it's probably going to be worth it.

She makes butter and then brownies and it's like 10 years ago or like college should've been and when Jeff gets home from school, she lays it out. He looks surprised, but happily so, and they're almost ready to leave when Jeff realizes if they have food during the group, they're going to have to share it and that's just tempting fate, or whatever, too much.

They both shovel down some brownies and head out.

When they walk in, Shirley's not there yet, and there are only a few other people, Edith included, around.

Edith clears her throat, "Although many residents are at the church sorting through clothing donations tonight, since not everyone," she looks pointedly at Jeff and Britta, "Belongs to that parish, I thought it best to hold a session tonight anyway."

Oh shit, so this is it? How are they going to blend in? Oh my god, they have about 15, 20 minutes and they'll be gone. She looks to Jeff who looks equally as panicked, but then tries to slide his cool, calm, collected face into place. It doesn't work.

&&.

What she remembers from bible group, when it's finally over, is a foggy, soft picture of Jeff talking about heaven and colors and Edith's eyes lighting up. She remembers laughing and singing a song and being thirsty.

What she does not remember is being asked to move out, so that's good.

They take the long way back to their apartment, walking through trees and by the pool and around to the tennis courts. She kind of wants to hold Jeff's hand, in fact, her fingers are itching to just pick his hand up and do it, but she keeps pulling herself back, in slow motion.

When she wants to say something, she does, and he's talking, too, sometimes. She finds he's not one of those people that are annoying when they're stoned. Like PIerce would be. Like Vaughn was. He's just mellow and Jeff and, sure, it's kind of hokey or whatever, but when someone's walls are really down and they're just saying whatever comes to mind and you can actually stand them, it sort of means something. Or it means she spent way too much time in Amsterdam.

(It probably means both.)

She sleeps in Jeff's bed that night. Nothing happens again. He drops another kiss on her forehead and she ends up using part of his arm as a pillow. It's not a big thing, except for where it's kind of the start of a pattern.

&&.

If someone had told her she'd just be sharing a bed with the hot super douche from Spanish class back when school first started, she'd have laughed, because, what are we, like, 12?

If someone had told her she'd slept with the hot super douche from Spanish class just once and it was good, but he gives her some speech about not being ready for a deep relationship and then they never talk again, she'd have probably agreed that, OK, that might happen.

Because everyday at Greendale is opposite day (who's 12 now?), the first thing happens.

At school, she's hyper aware of touching him. Like, as in, she won't do it at all. He seems to be going through the same thing. It's almost as if actually fucking would be less embarrassing for everyone to find out than the fact that she has a pillow on his bed and he has a blanket on hers. Those are not the people they are. (As it turns out, it is, but no one needs to know.)

In psychology class, which is more like psychology circus, they're assigned to "Trust Falls" as homework. Professor Duncan makes them all sign waivers stating that the school holds no liability if they "select someone incapable, either emotionally or physically, of catching them."

Obviously study group that day is a series of accidents waiting to happen.

Annie apparently spent her lunch figuring out a chart of who is physically capable of catching whom. They're each supposed to fall and be caught some configuration of five times. Annie's breakdown is mostly based on size and, to a lesser extent, gender.

There are some that make the waiver totally necessary. Pierce catches Shirley and everyone crowds around to make sure his hands don't land anywhere inappropriate.

(They don't, but Pierce's explanation of how this makes Shirley a level four soul warrior now is almost as creepy.)

There are some that are hugely telling. Annie falls back into Troy with literally no hesitation and a huge smile.

There are some that are just hilarious. Troy falls back into Abed with a flourishing kick that indicates that Troy is still making time to dance.

They've gotten zero Spanish done, but are almost done with the Psych assignment when it becomes clear that Britta's either going to have to be caught by Jeff or catch him, since everyone else has completed their five falls.

He gives her a look that indicates he's figured it out, too, and he moves to step behind her.

She almost makes an argument about gender equality and she could totally catch him, this isn't about brute strength, but then he stands up straight, shoulders back and everything, unfolding his full height and he towers over her. It's intimidating (and makes her stomach flip), but he's proved his point.

"All right, fine, but I swear to god, if you drop me, you're sleeping alone tonight."

"Why would I drop you? What do you weigh, like 120 pounds? I've had case files that weighed more than. Let's go."

"You've had case files that weighed more than a human? That doesn't even make any sense."

"Do you watch the news? White collar crime is elaborate."

They're going back and forth and back and forth and it takes another few minutes to realize everyone is staring.

When they finally stop, Pierce yells, "I KNEW it!"

She tries to figure out what he knew. That white collar crime is elaborate? Well, that makes sense. That -- oh my god, she told Jeff he's sleeping alone.

Her eyes go wide, "No, no, no, it's not what it sounds like, it's --"

Annie gives her a sympathetic look and somehow that's even more upsetting.

(Abed actually appears to be taking notes and she's not excited to see this episode of the Community College Chronicles.)

The part of her that's actually in the mood to fight this is still asleep on Jeff's bed with the blackout drapes and the memory foam mattress. Why is it so bad if everyone thinks they're sleeping together? They kind of are, and she's a grown woman, what she does in her own time is her business.

"I bet she likes to be on top, right, Jeff? She's got reverse cowgirl written all over her."

Oh, that's why.

"Pierce, that's totally inappropriate," she tries to make it sound like she means it, which she does, it is inappropriate, but she can't get the bite into her voice.

"Oh is it called something different? It's when the girl --"

"That's enough," Jeff finally steps in.

"Ah, chivalry, I can dig it," Pierce winks at Jeff.

"What Britta and I do or do not do in the privacy of our own apartment is not going to help you pass your classes. Which is why we're here -- to study. Let's pretend this school isn't a joke and get back to that."

There's definitely bite in his voice, but she can't place exactly where it's coming from.

Abed looks up from his notepad.

"OK, Britta," he gestures at her with the pencil, "You were just about to prove how much you trust Jeff by falling back into his open arms."

She falls and he catches her and Shirley claps and says she's going to suggest this exercise in bible study. Britta makes a note that they will not be attending.

&&.

That night they order a pizza for dinner and she kicks the shit out of Jeff in Wii Tennis.

He's in the middle of a game against the computer when she finally decides to say something. It's not that she wants to change things, it's just that, should they? Should they just fucking get it over with? They're going to get there eventually, she's not stupid.

"I'm not going to deny that I'm attracted to you," as openers go, it's not her best.

The computer character, a stout guy in glasses and a sweatband serves and it whizzes past Jeff's Mii.

"OK --" He's still looking at the TV.

"And I'm not going to deny that I haven't thought about it." Jeff swings the remote lazily toward the screen.

She's trying to be as grown up as possible about this, but it's, uh, pretty weird.

"So should we? Just get it over? Really sleep together?"

The controller slips out of his hand and clatters to the ground.

"That's why I told you to wear the strap, too."

He turns to where she's sitting on the couch.

"Listen, Britta, I'm not just going to sleep with you because a bunch of people in our study group think we're doing it already."

The way he says "study group," it's like he's trying to downplay that these are their friends, these are people that actually matter.

"Really? So all of the sudden you have rules about who'll you sleep with?" She can feel her anger rising and she's not sure why. It almost feels like a rejection, which is just super screwed up.

"I've always had rules: no dudes, no crazies, no one I could theoretically have fathered."

"And now that includes me?" She's being ridiculous, but the whole thing is ridiculous, she's not going to beg him to sleep with her.

"All right, you wanna do this? We'll do it. We'll sleep together, we'll fuck, and then everything is over. I'm no longer the guy that can have an attractive, smart female friend without screwing her and you're no longer the girl who's finally getting over whatever number some douchebag guy clearly did on you."

(He's right about that part, but there is no fucking way she's copping to it.)

She's not going to let him just yell at her and make her feel like an idiot, so she stands up and gets as much in his face she physically can. So, she kind of gets in his chest.

"I'm just trying to be mature about this!"

"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize sleeping together because other people already think we are was the mature thing to do. Forget feelings, I'll go light some goddamn candles!"

"You want to talk about feelings?! Do you even have feelings? I thought your whole thing was Jeff Winger, detached asshole extraordinaire?" Her face is going hot.

"You're right, Britta, I don't have feelings. I'm a robot programmed to fucking cuddle with humans to recharge my batteries. You just happen to be a convenient source of energy."

It's like every single drop of blood inside her hardens and she weighs a thousand pounds. Obviously, obviously the whole sleeping-in-the-same-bed thing meant something, but she just figured -- who the hell knows what she figured?

"Fine," she's got nothing else to say.

"Fine what? Fine you'll drop this or fine this is just going to come up again next time Pierce says something rude?" He softens his voice, "Because that will be tomorrow."

"Fine -- I don't know. It's not about the group. I don't know." She feels deflated. Somehow they had a crazy layered conversation and she thinks both of them said some things, but she just can't mine them out.

"It's not?" He's looking down at her, they're only inches apart.

"What? No. It's --"

He kisses her.

This is how she thought they'd end this conversation, but it's different. It's, like, oh god, it is feelings. She's got feelings.

She kisses him back and goes up on her toes to get her arms around the back of his neck. He wraps his arms around her back and his hand is opened wide and she can feel it all up her spine.

It's sort of, a little bit, like kissing him in the quad, it's not like she's grown several inches or anything, but it's mostly not like that at all.

She backs up into the couch, pulling him by his shirt and they both stumble onto it, Jeff half on her, a leg between hers.

She tries to slow things down, tries to imagine everyone watching them, tries to think about tomorrow.

Instead she opens her mouth and slides her tongue against his. Jeff shifts at that, getting his hands up to frame her face, his fingers wrapping around into her hair and she thinks briefly of forehead kisses. She's wrestling with his tongue, just a little bit, some sort of metaphorical manifestation of their entire relationship. Which is why it makes sense when he brings teeth into the whole thing, sliding his tongue back and biting lightly at her bottom lip.

Their conversations, their arguments, their banter, it's not about trading the same remark back and forth, it's about going tit-for-tat in their own styles. So she grinds her hips against his leg, hitching her leg up closer into him.

Clearly he's thinking the same thing because he pulls back, gasping, "Well played, Perry."

His hands skate down from her hair to her back and over her fucking shirt he unhooks her bra. It's impressive enough that it's definitely something he's done before. Practiced even.

She uses the space between them to make sure he sees her smirk before she latches on to his neck, pulling the collar down on his shirt just enough that it's right above his collarbone. She sucks at the skin there and then smoothes over the spot with her tongue.

He uses one hand to tip her face back up to his and the other snakes under the back of her shirt before coming around to her stomach and up to her breasts. He palms one, getting the whole thing entirely in his freakishly large hand and then squeezes. She maybe -- all right, she does -- moan a little. Point: Jeff.

When he squeezes again, bringing his leg up in between her legs at the same time, she's pretty sure that's point for both of them.

She manages to get her hand free from around his back and over the side of his jeans until she feels him hard against her palm. She does some squeezing of her own before undoing the button and zipper.

He stops, looks her right in the face, and she thinks maybe he's going to stop this, which would be awful, but instead he says, "Arms up." And pulls her shirt and bra off in one move. Way too practiced.

Getting his shirt off is a lot harder, it requires her to lean up and back and there are couch cushions everywhere. Who buys a couch with so many fucking cushions? She starts tossing them off as he fights with the buttons on his shirt.

By the time his shirt is off, there's slightly more room on the couch to maneuver and she straddles him. Then things get blurry. There's what Pierce would refer to as "necking" (oh my GOD why are you thinking about PIerce?) and biting and licking and grabbing.

She shimmies his pants down his legs without incident, rising up to slide them down and letting him kick them off. Getting her own off means she has to stand back up, so she does. And then she takes her underwear with them.

He's in just his boxers, hair messed up and there's a bright red mark on his right shoulder. They way he's basically slack-jawed staring at her probably means she looks the same, except, you know, naked.

He puts out a hand and she takes it, letting him pull her down on top of him. He flips them over in a matter of seconds, shucking his boxers down his hips.

When he finally slides into her, it's actually kind of amazing. More amazing than she's had in a while. Feelings, huh.

It's even more amazing when he uses one hand to pin her wrists to the wall behind the couch. She has no idea how he'd know that was a thing, but it is, and she comes right before he does. They're probably a little too loud, but it doesn't matter.

That night he drags his mattress and her box spring onto the floor of the master bedroom. They sleep there.

&&.

Britta's heading out for class the next week when she sees a notice taped to the front door.

"Lease is up soon, please stop by for review. - Edith"

She blows off any hope of getting to class on time and heads back inside. Jeff's gotten in the shower and although a part of her wants to join him (something he loudly encourages), she's got a pit in her stomach like it's over. Not the thing with Jeff (which has actually become a thing in so much as they sleep together and sleep together and once he stole a flower from the quad and put it on the kitchen counter in a Red Bull can), but the thing with Jeff living with her, in a giant cheap apartment.

Once he's dressed, they decide to get it over with. Edith does announce that, based on their sporadic attendance at bible study and erratic behavior during the few sessions they did make it to, as well as other contributing factors, she's going to have to ask them to leave.

They play a finger pointing game on the walk back to their apartment. Jeff points out that Britta's Facebook page says she an Atheist and Britta notes that yelling "jesusFUCKINGchrist" every time he comes is taking the Lord's name in vain. They also never got the rings back from the Vatican.

So, pretty much, there was no other way this was going to play out.

&&.

When they break the news at Greendale, Shirley takes it the hardest. Apparently she was waiting for an invitation to come over, which explains a lot. And now that they're leaving the invitation will never come. She's practically shrieking.

Troy says his mom is trying to rent out their spare bedroom and Jeff could come live there. Jeff declines.

Annie says she's been looking to move out of her parents' house and does Britta want to get a place (study hours will be strictly enforced)? Britta declines.

Pierce says he's been thinking about moving on to his "church's" compound and if he brings in others, he gets a discount and extra heart points. They both decline.

Abed says there's a two-bedroom apartment above the falafel shop, it's brand new. His dad built it for his mom before she left, but she never used it. They agree to look at it.

It's, somehow, perfect.

&&.
Tags: fic
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