Holy crap. It's been awhile since I've ficc'd.
I think I needed a pleasant distraction for myself. And this seemed...well...not easy, but at least a fun challenge.
Part 2 will probably be posted next weekend.
Title: Hipster Anatomy and Mating Rituals
Author: Lizbeth Marcs
Summary: Annie finally lands a date with someone who is younger than Greendale’s average age of 50, doesn’t make her feel like a sad reverse Lolita loser, and actually pays. Now all she needs to do is hide Trent from everyone she knows, and things will work out fine. (Spoiler alert: She really should’ve known from the start that her plan to protect Trent from her friends wasn’t ever going to work.)
Genre: Humor; ship fic
Rating: PG-13 for references to off-screen masturbation and sex, but nothing explicit
Characters: Annie Edison (main), Abed Nadir, Britta Perry, Jeff Winger, Pierce Hawthorne, Shirley Bennett, Troy Barnes, original character
Pairings: Annie/OC; Annie/Jeff (UST for most of the story)
Warnings: Spoilers for all of S1—3. Also vague spoilers for S4 if you consider the study group being together at the start of the season a spoiler.
Author’s Note: Based on crittab's Ficcy Friday challenge: Annie goes on a date with a hipster and Jeff just can't hold his tongue. I expanded on the idea quite a lot by incorporating a cut scene from S3 where Annie rants during Starburns’s funeral about her terrible luck on the dating front. Since the rant never aired, I’ve adopted the head cannon that no one in the group knows about Annie’s ego-killing “coffee dates.”
Finally, this is a bit of an experiment for me. First ever Community fic. First ever fic in a sitcom fandom. First ever overtly shippy fic, as opposed to my usual default of gen. Yeah, when I break from my usual, I go big.
Disclaimer: Abed Nadir, Annie Edison, Britta Perry, Jeff Winger, Pierce Hawthorne, Shirley Bennett, Troy Barnes, and all associated characters and organizations are the property of Krasnoff/Foster Entertainment, Dan Harmon Productions, Russo Brothers Films, Universal Television, and Sony Pictures Television. Any mention of real life events and real people is not meant to imply that the people or incidents in question as they are used in the story have any relationship to reality. All original characters and the plot are mine. No payment was asked for or received in the writing of this story and no profit was earned. No copyright infringement is intended.
Annie doesn’t talk about her dates.
Okay. Fine. Coffee dates.
Besides, it’s not like there’s anything to report. A full 87.2% of her coffee dates (she did the math. shoot her now.) pretty much end within the first hour with the realization that she’d made a horrible mistake asking this particular guy out.
If coffee date number one doesn’t kill all hope, movie date number two most surely will.
She’s hand-to-God a black hole for dates of the abandon-all-hope-ye-who-dare-venture-
So, Annie doesn’t talk about her coffee dates or occasional graduated-to-movie dates because, well, there’s nothing to talk about.
It isn’t like she hides the fact she’s dating.
Well, okay, she kind of is. Hiding it.
When she leaves the apartment to go out on her coffee dates she just says that she’s going out. Neither Troy nor Abed (nor Britta, who’s spending more and more time at the apartment these days) ever ask where she’s going or who she’s going with. It probably doesn’t occur to them to ask.
Which is fine. It’s just fine. Really.
If they asked, she’d tell the truth.
Don’t judge her, okay? She’s got reasons.
Reason number one for Why Annie Doesn’t Talk About
Fight Club the Coffee Dates (And occasional movie dates, don’t forget! She’ll take her tiny victories where she can get them.):
It’s unfair. Everyone else in the group can not only date as many people as they want, they can also have sex with every single person they date. Including sex with Chang! That’s right, Chang! And the most negative reaction might be an epic eye roll followed by a snarky comment.
But let her so much as side-eye a hypothetical cute guy and you’d think she was committing first-degree murder in broad daylight in front of multiple witnesses.
First, Shirley would give her the whiplash special. One second she’d be cooing that Annie and hypothetical cute guy would make such an adorable couple, the next second she’d be worrying about how Annie might be walking into the lion’s den with That One and maybe she should wait for someone with a slightly less sex-starved look.
Abed would start some kind of long, convoluted discussion where the phrase “character growth” and “story arc” would come up distressingly often. More horrifying, Troy would interject with some not-so-helpful examples of whatever Abed’s trying to tell her in pop culture code.
She loves her roommates and she gets that they’re trying to be helpful, but please, dear God, sometimes she just doesn’t want to hear it.
Britta? It would depend.
If it was someone Britta hadn’t dated, there would over-enthusiastic cheerleading and “you go get ’em girl” exclamations and awkward fist-bumps that turn into snakes. All of this would result in Annie perversely re-thinking her attraction to hypothetical cute guy.
On the other hand, if it was someone Britta had dated at some point, Annie would get a mortifying rundown of hypothetical cute guy’s kinks along with a detailed description of what the sex was like. How someone can be so guarded and so over-sharing at the same time is a mystery that Annie has yet to solve.
Pierce would…he would…
Well, he’d say something horrible, at the very least. She really doesn’t want to go there.
And then there’s Jeff, who’d go off on one of his overprotective must-save-Annie-from-the-big-bad-wolves kicks.
First would come the “expert” read on hypothetical cute guy (from a distance, of course) all rendered in that condescendingly-arrogant (or is it arrogantly-condescending, she’s never clear) tone of voice that makes her wish she could grab a pair of rusty pliers and yank his teeth out of his skull one by one.
If that didn’t convince her that she was making a serious error, Jeff would snoop into hypothetical cute guy’s background to find the perfect blemish to scare her off (see: the week that Jeff pretended to be besties with Rich to the absolute consternation of, well, everyone despite the fact that Rich had already shot her down). Inevitably there would be shenanigans of some kind designed to put a permanent kibosh on any hope that said hypothetical cute guy would even think about going on a date with her.
It’s like Jeff somewhere along the way decided to appoint himself her big brother who must protect her from the entire world, or the male half of it at any rate. There are days when she’s half-tempted to claim that she’s discovered her bi-curious side just so she can watch Jeff’s head explode with the stress of keeping her away from the male and female big, bad wolves that she’s pretty sure exists only in Jeff’s imagination.
And it is just Jeff being overprotective. It’s is. It’s not jealousy on his part. It’s not. She knows this. She knows, okay? Message received along with the repeated blows to the heart. She gets it. No need to rub salt into the wound.
Well, not wound. More like a scar. Everyone has their share of scars.
Technically it’s only one reason. Maybe even the only reason.
But it’s a doozy.
Which leads her to Trent.
At first, Trent was just another one of her classmates in calculus. She thought he was cute in a dorky-wears-ugly-clothes kind of way, but honestly didn’t spare him much more thought than that.
Then, one day, Trent saunters up to her at the end of class and asks her out for coffee.
No one — absolutely no one — ever asks her out on a date. It’s always the other way around. The last person to ask her out was Vaughn, which…
Yeah. She doesn’t want to think about what that says about her.
She’s not really interested in going out with him (seriously, does he even own a mirror? because those clothes are just awful.), but she’s been put off-balance enough that she says yes.
The coffee date goes shockingly well. Trent is smart, and funny, and snarky. He makes her laugh, anyway.
He actually pays for everything.
It’s a first. A real red-letter day in the life of Annie Edison.
(Her and Vaughn didn’t date so much as “hang out,” so there really wasn’t any paying for anything. Eventually hanging out would lead to sex back at his place. What? Did anyone honestly believe there wasn’t sex involved with the liking Vaughn part when she almost moved to Delaware? Seriously?)
She actually agrees to a second date.
Then a third.
By the fourth there’s some seriously heavy making-out action that seems like it’s heading somewhere. She so, so wants to go there because suddenly she’s got this itch that she’s just realized hasn’t been properly scratched since Vaughn headed off to find his destiny as the Hacky Sack King.
Unfortunately somewhere ends up being called because of lack of condoms.
(Like, really? Who doesn’t at least come prepared? Sure, she got her IUD while dating Vaughn, but that doesn’t exactly help with STIs and STDs, does it?)
So, the fourth date ends with the unspoken “coming soon.”
Yes, she can do double-entendre. She hasn’t reached the point of being able to say it, but she has reached the point where she can think it.
That’s progress of a sort, right?
In the wake of the fourth date, Annie figures that maybe she should discretely talk to one of her friends not named Jeff, because what started out as nothing may be turning into something.
Sooner or later that something is going to get noticed.
Of course it’ll happen at the worst possible time (when the whole group is together), at the worst possible place (in the cafeteria during lunch where there are lots and lots of witnesses), by the worst possible person (her money’s on Abed) prompting the maximum humiliating response from one of her friends (it’ll be a photo finish between Jeff and Pierce).
Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, dates five through ten doesn’t progress any further away from the red-hot kissing action, mostly because Trent’s got his own set of friends and his own crazy activities and his own nosy roommates. Which Annie can totally appreciate, despite the fact that she’s getting frustrated enough that she’s falling asleep with her hand between her legs almost every night.
So, she laughs it off and tells Trent that she understands. Instead she opts to tag along with him on his activities, mostly because it’s all a bunch of stuff she hasn’t gotten chance to do between school, work, volunteer activities, school activities, and adventures with her friends. Besides, college is all about trying new things, right? It’s her last year and she feels like she needs to cram it all in before the end of May and the real world with its real-world responsibilities makes trying new things all that much harder.
She learns how to fix broken bikes that Trent, for some reason, calls “fixies.” She doesn’t own a bike, but she might someday so she might as well learn a useful skill while she’s got the chance and a willing teacher.
She learns that poetry slams are mostly awful. Well, she knew that going in, but it’s nice to have her suspicions confirmed.
She also learns that given a choice between a digital camera and a camera that uses actual film, she’ll choose technology over “art” every time. Honestly, the photos taken by Trent and his friends make Britta’s output look like it came from Ansel Adams’s own Brownie. She suspects that part of the problem is that none of them seem to take photography all that seriously.
In any case, the fact that she and Trent are pretty much stuck in fun-date mode, as opposed to relationship mode, is all the excuse she needs to put off Doomsday. Which is fine by her, because she is so not looking forward to fighting with her friends (mostly Jeff), or convincing them (again, Jeff) that she’s allowed to date whomever she pleases, and that it’s about time the people in her life (looking at you again, Jeff) let her make her make her own dating mistakes.
Decisions. Not mistakes. Decisions, damn it.
Really, delaying the inevitable until after the next date isn’t going make the coming storm worse than it already will be.
Okay, maybe she was more than a little wrong about that.
Annie slides into her seat at study group and hopes that she looks put together and not at all like she and Trent made out (which came pretty close to dry humping, if she’s honest) in the backseat of her car. God, if things keep going the way they are between her and Trent, she’s going to develop carpel tunnel because of her (ahem) vigorous methods for burning off the sexual frustration.
She has no idea where this sex-starved drive of hers is coming from. She’s beginning to suspect that it’s the whole secret nature of her-and-Trent that might be feeding into it, at least partially. She hopes not. She hopes it’s just the promise of breaking a really long dry spell with a cool guy she kind of likes that’s driving her just a little crazy.
No, wait. Likes. Actually likes. There’s nothing “kind of” about how she feels about Trent.
She’s opening her book when Britta hesitantly asks, “Annie? Jeff?”
Annie looks up and sees that Britta’s smile is just a little too bright. Annie’s eyes slide over to meet Jeff’s. He shrugs at her in response, but Annie can tell from the set of his shoulders that he’s ready to shut down whatever comes next.
“No, Britta. You are not roping me into helping you clean the cages at the animal hospital.” Jeff decidedly buries his nose into an actual book to best illustrate how so not into the idea he is.
“But that’s not—” Britta begins.
“As for Annie, I’m pretty sure she can speak for herself,” Jeff smoothly interrupts. “Be prepared for a rant on how she’s pretty sure she got infested with ticks when you talked the group into helping you last month.”
“Fleas!” Annie protests. “It was fleas!”
“Tomatoh, tomahto.” Jeff waves a hand.
“Fleas and ticks are two different things, Jeff,” Annie argues. “For a start, only one of those can give you Lyme disease.”
Jeff’s head pops up with a grin plastered on his face. “In short, Annie and I are out.”
The rest of the group uncomfortably shifts in their seats, and Annie knows, she just knows, that this has nothing to do with Britta talking them into helping her with her cause du jour. Jeff apparently realizes the same thing at the same time, because his grin fades into an expression of dread.
Britta clears her throat and starts again. “The group felt it best if I lead the discussion on this, since I’m a psych major.” This announcement is punctuated by a groan from everyone in the group. “We feel—”
Jeff’s frown deepens. “Do I smell an intervention?”
“Yes,” Annie whimpers as she scrunches in her seat.
“Actually, not all of us feel that confrontation should be our first step,” Abed interrupts. “Just some of us.”
“Confrontation?” Annie and Jeff ask in stereo.
“Abed!” Britta exclaims.
Troy, unsurprisingly, leaps to Abed’s defense. “No, he’s right.”
“Troy, we talked about this,” Britta hisses.
“Again, explain what you mean by confrontation,” Jeff insists.
“Hey, I totally agree with you,” Troy says with a nod toward Birtta. “But Abed’s right that he thought this was the wrong way to approach this, so technically that means that not everyone has agreed.”
Damn it, damn it, damn it. She’s caught herself again exchanging confused looks with Jeff.
“Wrong way to go about what?” Annie asks.
“Oh no, I think this is better,” Shirley shakes her head. “Abed’s plan was to follow them with a camera and catch them in the act before confronting them.”
“What act?” Jeff interrupts.
“I like Ay-bed’s plan better,” Pierce says. “At least we’d be entertained.”
“Pierce!” Britta and Shirley chorus together.
“Guys, what are you talking about?” Annie really hates the pleading tone in her voice.
“C’mon, like you’re not curious how they handle the height difference while having sex,” Pierce finishes.
Okay, several things Annie didn’t expect has just occurred.
One: that horrified “what” came out of her mouth, and not Jeff’s.
Two: that she somehow managed to jump to her feet without tripping over something while grabbing a pointy weapon.
And three: that her aim with a pen is really, really good. She hit Pierce right in the middle of his forehead.
The group explodes upon the pen’s impact.
“Assassins!” Pierce yells as he struggles to get out of his chair.
“Annie, that was ninja!” Troy declares. “Very Buffy.”
“Everyone! Settle down!” Britta helplessly shouts.
“An-nie, violence never resolves anything.” Shirley’s eyes mischievously track over to Pierce as he falls backward in his chair to the floor with yelp. “Although in this case I’ll make an exception,” she adds in an almost-but-not-quite undertone.
Abed blinks at her with something that looks suspiciously like surprise. “I expected at least some attempt at denial. From Jeff, mostly.”
Abed’s comment is enough to make Annie realize that at least one country has yet to be heard from. Her gaze whips around toward Jeff, who for his part has remained seated and looks…
Wait. Does Jeff look amused?
“Seriously, that’s what this is about?” Jeff finally asks.
Britta points at Annie. “She’s been sneaking out of the apartment a few nights a week for the past couple of weeks.”
Annie squeaks with anger. “It’s not sneaking if you see me leaving and I’m telling you that I’m going out. It fact, that is the opposite of sneaking. That’s leaving my apartment, where I pay one-third of the rent and household expenses, in full view of everyone who lives there. Or is visiting and using up all the hot water the next morning, Britta.”
Jeff actually cackles. “She’s got you there.”
“Hey!” Troy protests. “I’ll have you know there’s two of us in the shower! That’s why it takes so long to get clean!”
“Oh, Lord. I do not need to hear this,” Shirley mutters.
“I do all the time,” Abed says.
“Abed! Eeeewwww!” Annie and Britta chorus for a moment of solidarity.
Jeff shoots Britta an unreadable look. “Since when are you a screamer?”
“Jeffrey!” Shirley exclaims.
“When the sex is actually good,” Britta sniffs.
“Britta!” Shirley. Again.
“Boo-yah!” Troy fist-pumps.
“Troy!” Shirley and Britta in tandem.
Annie pinches her nose in a desperate attempt to ward off a headache. She has stories, starting with the incident last week when the neighbors called in a noise complaint to the police. Which she is soooo not getting into right now, especially when Jeff looks poised to get into an alpha male-off with Troy.
“Wait! Troy and Britta are banging? How long have I been on this floor?” Pierce asks from under the table. “Have Jeff and Annie already stopped banging?”
Annie throws her hands up in the air. “Jeff! Do something!”
That seems to snap Jeff out of whatever mind-loop he got stuck in. “Guys! Listen! This is Annie. I guarantee you that she’s not sneaking over to my place for booty calls.” Jeff shoots Annie a grin. “Unless you are and forgot to tell me.”
Annie forcefully shakes her head.
“You realize that you just used ‘booty call’ and ‘Annie’ in the same sentence,” Britta smugly announces. “Busted!”
“No! Not busted!” Annie protests. “I am not, repeat, not involved in a secret relationship with anyone. And definitely not Jeff. Or anyone else. At any time. At all. And even if I was, which I’m not, I wouldn’t say anything because of crap like this!” She then jabs a pointed finger threateningly at Abed. “As for you! Remember how I said that sneaking into my room at night to film me while I was asleep was not okay? Let’s expand our list of ‘not okay’ to include this: Don’t you dare follow me around with a camera without telling me.”
Jeff’s gaze snaps to Abed and his eyes narrow.
“Okay.” Abed easily agrees. “So I guess now is the time to tell you that I walked through the parking lot before study group with my handheld in hopes of catching you and Jeff in the act so we could confront you armed with evidence in case you both denied everything.”
“P-parking lot?” Annie asks. Okay, don’t panic, don’t panic, don’t panic. Chances are Abed didn’t capture anything.
“Talk about going fishing and coming up with a boot,” Jeff smugly remarks.
Abed shrugs. “I was really sure I had something, because I was sure that I saw movement in Annie’s car. By the time I came back with my camera, there was no one there.”
The distressed sound escapes Annie’s throat before she can stop it.
The room goes so quiet that she can hear the birds chirping outside.
She has just enough time to think, Oh, crap.
Right on cue, the group explodes.
All in all, it could’ve been worse.
If she keeps telling herself that, eventually she’ll even believe it.
“Trent.” Jeff’s sarcasm practically takes on anthropomorphic qualities as he falls in step next to her while she walks — surprise, surprise — to her calculus class. “His friends Miffy and Muffy must love you.”
“He’s not like that,” Annie says shortly. “And don’t you have a class you need to get to?”
“C’mon. Trent. Trent.” Jeff’s practically licking his chops. “If that doesn’t scream my-sister-got-a-pony-for-her-sixth-
“He doesn’t have a sister,” Annie sniffs.
“I think you’re missing the point.”
“Jeff, you don’t have a point. You don’t know anything about him.”
“When he talks does he sound like Charles Emerson Winchester III? Or does he sound more like an extra on Cougartown Abbey?” Jeff asks.
“Oh. My. God.” Annie puts her face in her hands. “Stop. Please, stop.”
“Annie, c’mon, with a name like Trent, you just know that Daddy’s bought him out of more than one DUI charge.”
“And you would know,” Annie snits.
Her barb clearly missed its mark because Jeff’s grin gets wider. “You’re right! I would! What’s his last name? Because if I haven’t done it, then there’s a good shot I know someone who has.”
“What? You’re going to ask Alan?” Annie crosses her arms. “Now, that I’d love to see. Better. I’ll sell tickets.”
“Don’t you worry. I have my non-Alan ways finding out things like this.” Jeff scans the crowd. “Which one is he?”
“Not telling.” Really, she should walk away from this conversation and go to class.
“It’s the guy with the tennis sweater artfully draped over his shoulders, isn’t it?” Jeff leans over and stage-whispers. “Does his hair move? Because it looks like he’s gone heavy on the mousse. Wait. Wait. Ho. Ly. Crap. Is that tan real? Bucking for skin cancer before he’s 40, is he? I think we need to talk to him about his life choices.”
Annie grabs Jeff’s arm in a desperate effort to get him to stop. “That’s not him,” she hisses.
“The one in the pink shirt, then.”
Jeff nods. “Thank God, because I’ve got to tell you, you’d be trading down if you went out with him.”
“Trading down from what?” Annie asks. “Not dating at all?”
“It wouldn’t be Latino Idris Elba, would it?” Jeff continues fishing. “Annie! I’m disappointed in you. Why settle for a copy when the real deal actually exists?”
Annie gives up. “Okay, fine. He’s over there.”
His eyes narrow.
“Nice man purse,” he remarks.
“It’s a laptop bag. It just so happens he uses it to carry other things.”
“Buddy Holly glasses. Fantastic.”
“And he wants everyone to know.” Jeff hums. “Where did he get hilariously ironic t-shirt of bad taste? I’m pretty sure the 80s wants its fashion back.”
Annie tilts her head as she reads Trent’s t-shirt. “Who’s Spuds McKenzie? And what does he have to do with the dog?”
Jeff stares at her before walking over to the closest wall to slowly beat his forehead against it.
Well, that reaction was unexpected. “Jeff? Are you okay?”
“Fine. Just fine. Really. I do this all the time when things get too awesome for me to handle.”
“Oooooh-kaaaay.” Annie glances over her shoulder. “You know what? I better get to class.”
Jeff stops beating his head against the wall long enough to toss a final parting barb onto the fire. “Tell Trent he needs to ditch the scarf. The way he ties it, he’s going to strangle himself. And puke green looks good on no one.”
On the upside, everyone knows she’s dating Trent. That means no more vague answers when she leaves the apartment. No more extremely unspecific responses when her friends ask how her day is going.
Honesty. The best policy.
She’s not going to try to make her friends like Trent or vice versa.
She’s just going to go with the flow and let things happen naturally.
And it will happen naturally.
But just in case, she’s got a plan.
However, every plan needs a few precautions before one can take action. Since Jeff’s decided that Trent falls into the category of “big, bad wolf” based on nothing more than the way Trent dresses, the precautions she needs to take are pretty obvious.
Precaution Number One for Annie Edison’s Plan to Slowly Introduce Trent into the Study Group’s Ecosystem: Never, ever, ever allow Jeff and Trent to be alone together under any circumstances or at any time.
Precaution Number Two for Annie Edison’s Plan to Slowly Introduce Trent into the Study Group’s Ecosystem: Never, ever, ever allow Jeff and Trent to be in the same general area as each other, even if other random people are milling around in the background.
Precaution Number Three for Annie Edison’s Plan to Slowly Introduce Trent into the Study Group’s Ecosystem: Never, ever, ever allow Jeff and Trent to be in the same general area as each other, even if all five of her non-Jeff friends are acting as Trent’s human shields.
Precaution Number Four for Annie Edison’s Plan to Slowly Introduce Trent into the Study Group’s Ecosystem: Never, ever, ever let Jeff give a Winger Speech to the study group about how This Complete Stranger and Non-Grouper (No Offense, Trent) is Invading the Group and Throwing Off the Finely Honed Balance We’ve Collectively Achieved Over the Past Three-Plus Years and Something Must Be Done to Address This Trent Situation Before Trent’s Invasive Presence Ruins Senior Year for All of Us.
(Is it a bad thing that she can pretty much guess the direction any random Winger Speech is going to take in any situation before Jeff even thinks about opening his mouth? Wait. She can answer that. Yes. It is a very, very bad thing.)
So, she’s got a plan.
It’s all good.
To be continued…