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Title: Last Minute Decisions and Backup Plans
Author: x_rose_tyler_x
Rating: PG for language.
Word Count: 2850
Disclaimer: I thank with all my heart Dan Harmon for creating these characters, but if he thought I wasn't going to play with them...
Notes: This is unbeta'd, so all mistakes are my fault and my fault only. Also, WARNING: This contains a slight spoiler from a filming report on the finale posted here. The actual fic is written and inspired on something that happened between takes and not on what happens on the show. But I know some people might consider it as a spoiler. Nothing of this actually happens on the show. I hope. Because if it does, I'll freak out because it'll mean I'm psychic. Also mentions Minisode #1 and Physical Education



She has told herself a million times that she wasn’t going to cry when this moment came. That she’d have to think about the fact that she was moving forward, finally growing up, making her way to be a strong, confident and independent career woman, but the truth is, saying goodbye to these six people is probably the hardest thing she’s ever done.

Shirley hasn’t stopped crying since she told them she got the journalism scholarship, and anytime she sees Annie she starts sobbing, keeps hugging her and telling her how nice her life is going to be from now on.

“And you’ll be able to report on all the crazy stuff that happens around here once you get your degree!”
“Aaaw, Shirley, of course I will!”

She hugs her for the last time - she hopes, and finds Britta’s sad look. She’s trying to act tough, like always, but her voice still sounds broken when she says,

“See? Too much for the young ingénue! You’re getting out of here before all of us!”
“I couldn’t have made it without you guys!”
“Oh, c’mon, don’t get whiny about it, we’ll keep in touch!”

Annie nods to reassure her that they will and hugs her and notices that Britta’s not even trying to hide the fact that she’s crying now. Then Pierce adds a “Please don’t get fat and old while you’re away”, pats her in the back and laughs before hugging her in a non-lustful way for once, and unprecedentedly says something adorable “There’s enough with a fat, old man in the group already”, to what they all “Aaaaaw” and then “Oooh, noooo!!!” in unison (well, Jeff doesn’t say “nooo”, he just, “C’mon!!!!!”-s him)

The whole thing gets even worse when Troy’s hug comes with him telling her he would have liked to get to know her when they were together in high school because maybe things would have been different that way.

And still, the hardest part comes when Annie has to say goodbye to him. To Jeff Winger. Somehow, any time she thinks of the study group and the fantastic things they’ve lived during their year together the first image that comes to her head is Jeff trying to stop them from doing something crazy. Jeff joining them on doing something crazy. Jeff doing something crazy by himself. Jeff playing pool naked. Jeff totally screwing up and being a jerk and then realizing how much he really cares about something or someone. Jeff bringing them together at the beginning and bringing them together at the end. He has become such an essential part of her everyday life she cannot believe she probably won’t see him for a long time. If she ever does again. And it’s breaking her heart.

“We’ll miss you”, he says.

He is smiling, but she knows it’s his typical you-know-I-care-about-this-more-than-I-want-to-show smile, and when she hugs him she feels all warm and comfortable and it doesn’t feel weird at all because whatever the reason, being so close to him doesn’t feel awkward anymore. Just sort of…right.

She shivers when he whispers in her ear.

I’ll miss you”

Annie lets the hug go when she realizes it is lasting too long to be appropriate and she cannot help but blush, while she feels her eyelids tightening as her eyes widen in surprise. He’s still smiling at her and everyone around them is looking, so she just says the first thing that comes to her head.

It sorts of sounds like “Hmeeeiinng!”

He just chuckles. Eventually, it’s Abed who breaks the silence surrounding them.

“This is like when a beloved character by the audience leaves a TV show and instead of killing them, they decide to make their ending bittersweet by opening a door to future appearances. I like it.”
“Aw, Abed”, Annie exclaims, and she rushes to hug him too.

Her life will be so much worse without his pop culture referencing.

“Guys, I think I really should go.” she says when she finds the strength, “I need to go back to my parents’ house, there are a few things I need to tie up there and I have to wake up early to drive.”

They all look at her with puppy eyes and her heart breaks.

“I love you all!” she says, and she finally breaks to cry and invites them to a group hug by moving spastically her arms.

Everyone else cries, too.

Everyone but Jeff.

She still feels his hug is the warmest when they all say their final goodbye.

******************

She can’t leave.

The prom has finished, everyone is leaving, and she is sitting in a bench in the middle of the campus, seeing everyone say goodbye to each other, crying, wishing each other a great summer, and she feels it’s not fair that she hasn’t had preparation for this before because she never got to go to her high school prom, and even if she had, she really didn’t have any good friends to say goodbye to.

So she just stays there hoping some guard will eventually tell her to leave so she can say goodbye properly to that place and everything she has lived there.

“Annie, I think lying to your friends is not the most honest way to say goodbye to them”

She looks up and finds Jeff Winger, still on his super-hot, perfectly fitting prom outfit with a sarcastic smirk on his face and a Human Being plushie with a blue mini- sign that has “Greendale’s Sexiest Alumni” written in golden typography.

Annie’s face is terrified at the sight of it.

“Dean Pelton moved #1 to number #2 on the list after my pool game. He really crossed the line with this one. But it’s often good to be reminded that I still got it”, he says, and sits next to her.

She giggles like an infatuated fifteen-year-old and then says “Well, I am sure number one agrees with the choice, too”
“Of course she does”
“You think it was a she?”
“Well, I hope.”

She feels happy to be able to laugh again.

“Are you going to tell me why you are still here?” he finally says. “I am sure talking about how attractive I am looks like an interesting topic right now, but you’ll probably be bored in five minutes, and to be honest, I am more interested in why would you drag yourself to a bench where drunk people might have or will probably pee on”

Annie immediately jumps and looks around her, horrified. Looks like safe ground, so she sits down again.

Will probably pee on”, he reassures.
“I was just putting back a bit the time to say goodbye to all of this”, she admits. “Jeff, I cannot believe I’m saying this. But I am going to miss Greendale”
“Huh, I cannot believe I am saying this, but I believe you. And, unexpectedly, I share the feeling.”
“You’re leaving, too?” she says, terrified, “Oh my God, Jeff, the others don’t know! You cannot leave without telling them. And what are you going to do anyway? Jeff!”
“THE SUMMER, THE SUMMER!” he interrupts her before she keeps freaking out, “I meant I’m going to miss it over the summer. For God’s sake, I have nowhere else to go.”
“Oh!” she sighs in relief, “You can still call the guys over the summer. I am sure they will be happy to see you.”
“Annie, seeing your classmates during summer when you are a thirty-five years old ex-lawyer sounds slightly pathetic.”
“But we are not your classmates, we are your friends!”
“Well, you are leaving now”

The thought of it makes her heart sink.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t want to make you feel like you were abandoning me or something. I don’t know why it came out like that”
“No. It’s true. I am. I am abandoning all of you.” she says.
“What?!” he says, and now it’s him who sounds a bit horrified, “Annie, you can’t blame yourself for wanting to succeed. I mean, have you seen this place? What are you going to get here, apart from a gastroenteritis from the cafeteria’s food and an infection from the bathroom‘s lack of cleaning? Damn, I really make this place look horrible, don’t I?”
“Jeff, you have no idea how difficult it is for me to make friends. After I left the rehab clinic, no one ever talked to me. Not even the girls that were my friends in high school wanted to talk to me. And then I came here and I got to meet you… guys”, she makes sure it sounds like a general thing, “and I had something I had been wishing to have all my life. I don’t know if I want to lose that so fast. Maybe I’m making the wrong decision!”
“You are not.” he says, “You are worth of better friends than us. We’re a bunch of old, crazy creepers. You need to get out of here, you’ll be fine. ”

Annie knows he is right – of course he is. But the truth is, she has a secret backup plan on what to do in case she regrets accepting the journalism scholarship. It consists on leaving a pre-inscription form for a Psychology’s Bachelor Degree on the Dean’s office in case of emergency, paying her rent for the next four months so she’ll still have it there in September and, in case of strictly serious necessity, saving empty bottles of pills to pretend she has had a relapse and went back to rehab for the summer – although she felt terribly bad for even thinking about that one.

But there is so much still left to do in Greendale…in a way. One of the things she really hates – and Annie usually never hates anything, just strongly dislikes it – is the thousands of things she has left unsaid. Sometimes because she felt slightly embarrassed or repressed – like saying…the p word in front of the Dean, sometimes because she couldn’t find the right moment to say them. And many of those things, many of them, were unsaid to Jeff.

Specially a tiny, little one.

A tiny, little one that had been going on in her head after they first kissed at the debate. And that had remained intact after they looked at each other that incredibly awkward day where they all checked each other out and he warmly smiled at her and it looked like there was some sort of hope in his eyes and respect and…feelings.

“You are right”, she admits.
“Yeah…” he mumbles.

Awkward silence pauses were a typical thing between them. They had been slightly increasing after she broke up with Vaughn and he made fun of her and asked whether she had broken up with him because he pinched her with his tiny nipples and instead of playing along with the joke she had replied she just couldn’t reciprocate his feelings because it felt like the right person was there for her but she hadn’t noticed. And after he and Britta had given a try to…whatever they had without success and when they were left alone Annie asked what had happened and he replied he probably wasn’t meant to find love, or anything that looked like it, but that he and Britta were still going to be good friends because sometimes it was better not to cross that line.

This one pause, however, feels extremely long. Probably because he’s been staring at her like he has something to say but he doesn’t and because she feels like she needs to say something, but the only thing that she has to say might be one of those that don’t seem appropriate to say at the moment, because it might result in the worst goodbye in the history of...ever.

But for once, she thinks “to the hell with it” and says it anyway.

“You said you’ll miss me”
“We will”, he confirms.
“Yeah, I know. But… you said “we’ll miss you” and then you said you would miss me”
“I did”, he nods.
“What does that mean?”
“That I’ll miss you”
“Jeff!”, she says, frustrated, “Okay, this might be my last chance to ask this question, because, honestly, I don’t think I’ll have anything else to do in Greendale for the next four years – unless, of course, my first book gets published, then I’ll come here to offer Abed the script for the television series”, she sees Jeff frowning but she ignores it, “but I really need to ask you this” , her voice has got extremely high pitched and the words rush one after other without almost any time to breathe, “so I’m just going to come out and say it because I don’t want to leave without knowing this”
“…okay?”, he finally says.
“If I were - I don’t know, let’s say…ten years older. Would you have…? Would we have…? Do you think we could have…? Do you think you…?”
“Without a second thought”, he says, before she even finishes her question.

Her heart starts beating at a rate so fast she believes it might come out of her mouth at any moment.

“Really?”
“Please, Annie. Have you looked at yourself?” he says, as it were a given. “You are smart, funny, and adorable and innocent. And you are always telling on me but I’ve always been so extremely frustrated by the fact that you are way younger than me and still make me realize how much I actually care for these people and many other things, like how important is to make a ninety-second break after studying because your brain can get stressed. I mean, why I would even know that at all if it wasn’t for you? And, may I add, your eyes are beautiful and you have an amazing rack.”
“You think all of that of me?”
“Yeah”
“And why didn’t you tell me?”
“Because that doesn’t really change the fact that you are nineteen and I am thirty five, and as much as I care about you, it wouldn’t work. That, and because you are clearly way out of my league to even care about what I might feel.”

She can’t believe the way he is saying that. It’s that tone, that stupid, convincing tone that tries to make of what he says a Universal Truth and that she…strongly dislikes.

It is still the most beautiful thing someone has ever said to her. And extremely flattering.

“What makes you think I don’t care?”
Pssssh. Annie, please.” he says, “Don’t pity me. I am just saying this because I know you are leaving. And I am selfish, I just didn’t want to hold it all inside because that would eventually make me crazy. And I didn’t want to drunk dial you at some point in the future and screw up by saying all this while Abed makes an impersonation of Edward Cullen, or something like that. And also, you asked.”

It takes a while to her to process all the information, but once her brain decides to compute it and her heart starts beating even faster from the adrenaline rush, she’s down to two options:

The first one, to leave and hate him for ruining her plans of future by suddenly revealing something she had tried to hide from herself she wished he felt. The second, to kiss him right there and then, which seemed heroic and slightly out of character for her but oh, so appropriate at the moment.

So she just takes advantage of the fact that he’s looking at her and leans in to kiss him trying not to freak him out too much.

Stupid.

A kiss would never freak out Jeff Winger.

Many memories of their Debate kiss are coming to her head as this one is happening, but they only highlight how different this kiss is from that one.

This one feels warm and sweet. His hands are clumsy when trying to reach her waist. She is not pulling his shirt to stop him; she’s doing it to get him close to her. She can’t hear anyone calling Abed “evil wizard”. It’s just them, having their perfect goodbye kiss. No one is watching them.

She lets it go first, and she can see him still disconcerted about it. Just like in the debate. Only this time, both went off book.

(It does feel like someone should cheer at the end, though)

“You really like this thing of catching me off guard, don’t you?”
“Apparently it’s kind of my gimmick”, she laughs.

Both of them stay silent for a while.

“So… It might not be such a bad idea to call a classmate this summer. And probably all I said about this not working is total bullcrap.” he says.
“I wholeheartedly agree”, she says, still giggly.

This time no one has to catch anyone off guard to kiss.

She enrolls in a Bachelor’s Degree on Psychology after the summer.

It is the greatest decision of her life.

(Abed says he saw that one coming)

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
beatlesjill79
Mar. 7th, 2010 04:18 am (UTC)
Oh, i love a happy ending, and i haven't thought about the end of the semester and the summer break.
OMG WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ALL SUMMER????


Meanwhile, lovely story. :D
x_rose_tyler_x
Mar. 7th, 2010 11:24 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I DON'T KNOW! It kills me to think about it. Will they all see each other? Will they spend it together, separately? Will they call each other? Gaah. I hope they mention something!
0penhearts
Mar. 7th, 2010 07:42 am (UTC)
She shivers when he whispers in her ear.

“I’ll miss you”


As would we all!!

x_rose_tyler_x
Mar. 7th, 2010 11:29 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm sorry I didn't send you this one for beta-ing, I just posted it because it is my first "written in a heartbeat" fic (seriously that has never happened to me before) so I just couldn't wait to share it with the world!

Thank you for reading hon!
aint2proud2beg
Mar. 7th, 2010 05:36 pm (UTC)
I want the finale to have an Annie/Jeff moment like this!
It was so sweet, adorable, and perfect! I read this fic about 3 times already. Sooo good!!! GREAT JOB! :)
x_rose_tyler_x
Mar. 7th, 2010 06:07 pm (UTC)
Aaaw that is the sweetest comment, thank you!!! I really appreciate that you liked it. I want them to have a sweet moment on the finale, too! Although I don't know, maybe the writers go for Jeff/Britta there, but at least something subtle for us, right?

Thank you so much for reading!!
fobmarwi
Mar. 7th, 2010 09:51 pm (UTC)
awww,this just reinforce the idea that Jeff and Annie are meant to be together!! Did you read this,Community writers?!?

I went crazy,sorry,lol
x_rose_tyler_x
Mar. 7th, 2010 09:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

God, they so are!! No matter if it is in season 1 or in season 10, please get them together!!

I just got my sister addicted to the show and she's shipping them like whoa. And she's totally an outsider of fandom, so it's not just us!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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