A couple short (heh), unedited (HEH) fics I wrote for a ficathon over here. Kudos to prologuize for organizing this whole shebang :)
but with what we have
Prompt: Evil Study Group - we get by
Pierce is gone and Annie might as well have been pronounced dead as well. In the few visits that they pay her, she is nothing more than a ghost of the girl she once was, lost and without purpose.
Troy and Abed retreat into their world of felt goatees, Shirley retreats to the open bar. They spend months waiting languidly, while Britta tries out three different shades of cobalt hair.
Surprisingly, life isn’t all that different. Sure, Jeff can sense tension in Abed’s every movement, as he cuts out more goatees, murmuring more drivel about timelines and parallel universes and Yahtzee. He’s planning something, something big and certainly ridiculous. Still, the part of Jeff that feels laziness tells him to forget it, that Abed was just being Abed.
Jeff settles into the motions fairly quickly. He works his way through his classes. He learns to text with his left hand. Little steps like that.
Pierce’s absence slowly integrates itself into a fact of life. Annie may not have been there to boost their GPAs anymore, but they knew how to study. It wasn't that hard. Eventually Britta stops yelling at Shirley for her constant drunkenness. Some days, she can barely muster the energy to raise an eyebrow. If this is what Abed calls the dark side, then it’s surprisingly mundane, almost normal.
Yes, life wasn’t perfect (when had it ever been?), but it wasn’t anything they couldn’t work through. He could deal with this, Jeff told himself every morning. After a while, he starts to believe his lies, and it fades into the back of his mind, a mantra against this never-ending war of daily life.
And then it comes time for him to leave Greendale.
learn me right
Prompt: Troy/Abed/Annie - Graduation movies and someone gets sappy
When Annie starts crying in the middle of Crossroads, it’s obvious something big is up. Without any hesitation, Abed mutes the infectious melodies of Britney and turns to face his sobbing friend.
“Annie,” Troy nudges her, worry in his tone, “What’s wrong?”
She’s using a pillow to muffle her cries and slowly pulls it down to reveal puffy, red eyes. Annie gives Troy a forlorn look, but a second later, she’s returned to her pillow again.
Gingerly, Abed gets up from his recliner and sits himself down on the ground beside her. “This is about graduation,” he states simply because he’s eliminated every other possibility.
“Yeah,” Annie says, resigned, removing the cushion from her face. She rubs at her eyes, absentmindedly trying to straighten her hair. “Yeah, it’s about graduation.”
“You don’t have anything to be worried about,” Troy assures. In one fell swoop, he slides himself off the La-Z boy, until they’re all sitting like three peas in a pod. “You’re going to be valedictorian!”
“Co-valedictorian,” Annie corrects him. “But that’s not what I’m all worked up about.”
“Then?” Troy prodded her, gently.
Wiping the debris from her eye, Annie sighs and shakes her head, as if to acknowledge how ridiculous all her worries were. “It’s just that I’ve only ever been good at school. And after tomorrow, then I’ll just be another nameless graduate who doesn’t know how to get by..”
“That’s not true!” Troy exclaims, and Abed nods, wagging his index in resounding agreement. “You’re good at plenty of things. Like knowing how to make omelets or knowing how to pay off your loans—”
“Or being a good Geneva,” adds Abed.
Annie wishes she could bring them both in for a hug, but can’t find the energy to do so. Instead, she just grabs Troy’s right hand and Abed’s left, lacing her fingers through theirs. “But that’s just little things,” she laments, “What about getting a job? Or paying my taxes? Or…”
“Shh,” Abed says gently, and she hesitantly complies. “Annie, usually people learn by experience.”
“Yeah!” Troy adds brightly. “And I learn new things everyday too. Outside of school. Man, that’s freaky.”
Finally, Annie finds the means to smile again and she squeezes their hands gently. Color flushed to her cheeks and she felt momentarily embarrassed for taking away so much time out of their movie marathon. Gesturing towards the television, Annie prodded Abed to press the play button.
“This movie’s a farce,” Abed says and he uses the remote to open the DVD player much to general approval. Turning to Annie, he smiles and says, “What do you want to watch next? Say Anything or Ferris Bueller?”
“Definitely Ferris,” Annie grins and Abed goes over to replace the DVD.
When he comes back, the three of them huddle closer together for comfort. Annie balances the bowl of popcorn in her lap as the opening music starts up.
And she leans her head on Abed’s shoulder, fingers still entwined with Troy’s, and she knows that she’s going to be okay.
functioning mad and sadly
Prompt: Britta - Lonely sad fic, feeling like an outsider, thinking about her past failed relationships
It takes her two drinks at the Red Door to help herself get over the sheer ridiculousness of the events of the day. One of her best friends literally thought the world was made of clay animation and holiday jingles. It sounded almost farcical out loud.
She should've been happy though. After all, she just spent a whole day on a successful mission to find the meaning of Christmas. Usually that warranted some form of celebration, even if that took the form of watching Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer twice.
But instead, she sits here with the sole company of booze and a broken jukebox. The bar is almost cleared out. It's December 9th, but Christmas is still the opportunity for everyone to look saintly. Even drunken idiots have families.
Britta has no one. Wasn't that supposed to mean that she was a strong, independent woman? Well, it should have, but she can't fight the feeling of complete emptiness as she slowly edges her way down to another empty glass.
Her family was a dead goner, completely out of the question. It's not like she can withstand another holiday reunion of insults veiled as questions, about her education, about her career plans, about whether or not she was getting married any time soon.
And with every passing year, that last question seemed to be popping up all too often.
It's not like she ever had a gameplan for life, but with everything else being called out and scrutinized, it would've been nice to have something normal. Something that would stop all of the judging faces and disapproving looks her relatives always loved to throw her way. What was it that Abed called her? Oh right, Brittabot. How fitting, she thinks cynically, it's like I'm not even programmed for human interaction.
And the sad part is that it's true. Every relationship she had ever gotten herself into has disintegrated into a pile of ash and humiliation. There was Vaughn and she screwed that one up by making the stupid decision to trust Jeff. Of course, it didn't help to have his Taylor Swift-esque lyrics become the infectious ringtone of every student at Greendale. And then there was Jeff himself. Boy, that was a low blow. She doesn't even trust herself to hold a microphone anymore because of the fear that she's going to broadcast something absolutely stupid, only to have it bite back in her face. Oh wait, she already did.
Her two guys ever since she supposedly got back on track and the pattern still continued. She feels the need to slap Cupid in his laughing face and tell him to piss off. Guilt flushes to her face as she recalls those "concerns" (but really, judgments) that she directed at Shirley for going back to Andre. Not to mention, all those suspicious looks she gave Annie for her infatuation with Jeff. What a hypocrite she was.
Britta's phone vibrates and she picks it up, expecting another pity text wishing her a Merry Christmas. It turns out to be a smartass comment from one Jeffrey Winger, reminding her about "holiday benefits." She sighs, wondering what sort of stupid mess she's gotten herself into. Abed could probably cite a million different movies where a friends-with-benefits relationship ended disastrously.
Still, Jeff is probably as lonely as she is during this time of the year. And a little company never hurt the both of them. If not, then it was just meaningless sex and that was always good too. Britta picks up her phone and texts him back: I'll be there in five minutes.
my lover she is waiting for me
Prompt: Jeff/Britta - you're hell on wheels in a black dress
After months of bedhead and secondhand leather jackets from Good Will, seeing Britta in a trim, classy black dress surprisingly doesn't make Jeff's jaw drop.
“You clean up nicely,” he tells her, straight out of cheesy rom-com dialogue, “Sleeping with me does miracles to your fashion sense.”
She snorts. “Yeah, yeah, go ahead and take all the credit. Typical.” Her eyes gleam mischievously, playfully, in spite of the sharpness of her remarks. “Look, let’s just make it through one of your stupid lawyer parties causing as little damage as possible.”
The presence of an open bar poses a strong threat to their objective, but they inch their way through the night step by step. Britta’s thinly veiled quips could have stirred the ire of several ditzy trophy wives had they not been ditzy trophy wives.
“Is she the one that came in the other day?” One of Jeff’s colleagues at his small Riverside firm asks. Jeff nods, distinctly remembering her ratty ‘Guantanamo? GuantanaNO’ tee, coupled with Eastern European takeout and the ever-present Chucks. How a lawyer and an anarchist ended up in their twisted sort of a relationship, he would never know. His co-worker simply shakes his head, “Man, she just takes you by surprise, doesn't she?”
A smirk. “Understatement of the century.”
Later on, Jeff takes Britta to the side, throwing a suspicious eye to some of his staring friends. Not that he’s jealous. Of course not. “Cute,” she deadpans, her psych major instincts kicking in. “You’re becoming one of those possessive boyfriends. It's probably Freudian...”
“Sha,” he insists. He sizes her up, can’t help but smile. “But you are pulling off that dress. And people are staring and you told me enough times that I'm a selfish idiot.”
She holds down a smile and tries to pass it off as a smirk.
“Now,” he teases, turning on the charm, “If you could actually pull it off—”
“Jesus Christ, Winger!”
Britta rolls her eyes, but that doesn’t stop her from grabbing his hand and bolting straight for the exit.
i had the time of my life fighting dragons with you
Prompt: Troy/Annie, Bridge to Terabithia AU
warning: this one got way ahead of me
“You’re more than that you know,” Annie tells him, color flushing in her cheeks. “You’re not just some dumb jock with a shoulder injury. That’s everyone else.”
It’s the first time she’s spoken to him in years. Troy looks up at the mousy, feebly-looking girl. They’ve been neighbors since birth. In those fifteen years, he vaguely remembers her name (Annie so-and-so, something smart-sounding) and that she was in his geometry class.
She looks like she knows him though. Everyone knew everything about Troy Barnes. He’s set to become quarterback next year. He’s the reason the first row at Riverside High games were all filled with scouts from Tennessee, Ole Miss, Michigan. He should have been playing for the first game of the season tonight, where he’d later have been crowned Homecoming King and football champion, had it not been for his stupid injury.
But the way she says those words, they sound new, different. No one else has ever told him that before. Troy should’ve been pissed, he thinks, he should’ve scoffed at the girl, how she thought she had him all figured out. To him, she should’ve just been a stranger.
He doesn’t do any of that. He holds out his hand and says, “Hi. I’m Troy.”
She returns his handshake. “I’m Annie.”
Annie is the one who finds the place first. It’s the night before Halloween and they’ve toilet papered the Hawthorne Mansion down the road and right now, they need a place to hide. The rest of Troy’s football buddies are at Fulcher’s house drinking cheap beer and doing keg stands.
“Just swing across,” she encourages him, her smile glowing in the dark, “It’s okay. It won’t hurt your shoulder.”
Troy looks uncertainty at the rushing river below him. He takes a chance and leaps.
“You okay?” She asks him in a whisper rolled up in a laugh. He nods and she grabs his hand. He blindly follows her. The forest is dark and cold, but they eventually reach a small clearing. Annie excitedly re-enacts a scary story about a werewolf maiden attacking a smarmy vampire. Troy can feel goosebumps all over his body.
“This place is pretty freaky at night,” Troy whispers breathlessly. His words come out in a vapory fog. “All the wind and … dead pumpkins everywhere.”
“The famous Troy Barnes isn’t afraid, is he?” Annie jokes and her laughter magically seems to ease the atmosphere. The cold breeze simmers down to background noise. The trees stop rustling just a little. Maybe it’s just Troy’s imagination. Either way, he doesn’t mind.
“Well, aren’t you scared?” He challenges her.
Annie shakes her head defiantly. “I used to come here all the time when I was a kid. Usually, it was because I didn’t want to be in the house. Sometimes … it was because I was trying to run away from Fulcher and everyone else.”
“Oh,” Troy manages to say, a weight inside of him deadening just a little. He’d have to talk to the linebacker once they got back to school.
“Yeah,” Annie murmurs and the awkwardness settles in for just a second. She immediately switches gears and continues brightly, “I used to tell myself that I was the queen of this place. Terabithia, I think I called it. And the trees were my castle and no one could attack me.”
“Well, if you were the queen, I could be your king,” Troy adds, completely sincere, not noticing how this made Annie blush just a little. “We’d have this huge castle with a bunch of knights and huge feasts everyday.” His eyes grow wide with excitement, sparkling in the dark.
“Be serious, Troy,” Annie says in the voice that reminds him that she’s their class valedictorian. “We’re too old for this kind of stuff.”
“Hey, you always say that I should stop being so jock-y,” his voice is a mixture between gentleness and accusation. “So you should stop being so … smart-ly. I don’t know, is that even a word?”
Annie throws her head back and laughs. “Okay,” she says and Troy grins brightly. “Lead the way, Your Highness.”
At lunch he’s supposed to be doing his own personal physiotherapy routine. True, half the time he runs laps and practices going long. But he usually just stops to take a break and chat with Annie. She’s been eating her lunch on the bleachers since freshmen year and for some reason he never noticed her. There’s also another guy sitting far away. Annie talks to him sometimes, but Troy doesn’t even know his name.
Sometimes, Annie runs with him. She’s surprisingly fast, given her stature. Today, she simply rests and basks in the almost-spring air.
“I got something for you,” he says. “Look in the bag.”
Intrigued, she opens his large Varsity duffle. Instantly, her eyes grow wide with fear. “Annie?” Troy asks uncertainly.
“You got me … a dog,” she states the obvious, hardly believing it herself. “Um, wow.”
“Do you like it?” Troy’s voice floods with fear.
Annie turns to him and immediately consoles him. “Yeah, I love it!” She says, because it’s true. Biting her lip, she adds in a much lower voice, “But we have a no pets policy here. Couldn’t you just have given it to me afterschool?”
They’ve taken to meeting at least twice a week at their safe haven across the bridge. Usually, nothing happens and they just sit and talk. Sometimes, Annie spins elaborate stories about their royal adventures and defeating Mr. Hawthorne, the evil Norwegian troll (the last part was Troy’s invention).
“Oh, about that, I can’t make it today. I have my first practice. We’re gearing up for semi-finals and I’m out of shape. I’ll be there on Thursday though. Sorry!” He apologizes. Annie nods, understanding, but her expression seems the slightest bit melancholy.
“It’s all right,” she says somewhat mechanically. Petting the fluffy canine sitting on her lap, she looks down at it and smiles. “I’ll just go have some fun on my own with this little girl.” Jokingly, Annie adds, “She could be knight of our little kingdom.”
“Come on, Annie,” Troy goads her, “You of all people should know that all dogs are boys.”
She hesitates, but doesn’t bother correcting him. Oblivious, Troy continues on, “Anyways, we’re still game for pranking Hawthorne mansion on April Fools Day, right?”
“About that,” Annie bites her lip, “I don’t think we should do it.”
“Well, I accidentally threw a baseball into his yard last week. That meant that I had to actually confront him,” she shudders a little, as if remembering a bad experience. “But, you know, Mr. Hawthorne isn’t actually so bad. He’s just lonely.”
Troy nods, letting all of this soak in. It wrinkles his brain somewhat and he can’t fully comprehend what she means. But she’s Annie and whatever she says is usually correct.
“All right,” he finally concedes.
“We’ve got ten seconds left on the clock and a tie. Quarterback and Riverside captain Sloan passes to wide receiver Barnes, Barnes is running, he evades a tackle by Greendale linebacker Smith, Barnes is still running and … he makes it! TOUCHDOWN!” Magnitude’s commentary is drowned up by the thunderous applause of the Riverside High fans. Nevertheless, a signature “Pop pop!” survives over the din.
Troy pulls his helmet off his head. Riverside had just won the championship game. Immediately, the rest of the football team just about tackles him with glee. Their fight song echoes in the air, “Hip-hop, body don’t stop, Riverside’s got the broom, don’t need a mop…”
He searches the crowd looking for Annie. A sea of classmates, teachers, and parents lead a mass exodus, rushing to hug their winning team. At the far end of the bleachers, Troy spots his friend. She smiles at him wistfully, a ‘Deploy Troy!’ poster in her hands.
“Party at my house tonight!” Fulcher yells out obnoxiously. He turns to face the losing Greendale team and shouts a couple of profanities. Instantly, Troy feels embarrassed. “Yo champ! You coming?”
“Um,” is all Troy can eloquently get out. Technically he was supposed to meet Annie afterwards. Lately, he had missed several afterschool hangouts at Terabithia because of practice.
“Come on, man,” Fulcher prods, “Who are you waiting for? Your girlfriend?”
“Lay off,” Troy replies, slightly annoyed, “She’s not my girlfriend.”
Fulcher snorts. “Yeah, she better not be. On a scale of one to ten, man, is it possible to include negative numbers in this? Anyways, come on, you’ve got nothing to wait for, so let’s go.”
Annie will understand, a voice he didn’t even know he had reasoned, you did just win the championship. In the distance, someone starts chanting, “Troy! Troy! Troy!” The rest of the crowd follows and continue stampeding on.
And Troy just lets himself be carried by the current.
Annie Edison, Room 303, Riverside Memorial Hospital.
“They say she was swinging on a rope and it broke,” Mr. Edison murmurs quietly. He’s a big man and the sight of him trying to choke back his sobs is disconcerting. Next to him stands Mrs. Edison, worry etched into her brow, her trembling hand clasped in his. They’re divorced but somehow this finally manages to bring them together.
“Can I see her?” Troy asks. His worry has completely flushed out all of the drunkenness from his voice. It’s been an hour since Mr. Edison called his cell phone at Fulcher’s party. It’s one in the morning, barely five hours since Riverside took the championship title.
“Troy,” Mrs. Edison begins, her voice breaking, “She’s …”
Something inside Troy seems to physically twist itself into a dead knot. His throat is dry and hoarse. There’s nothing that he can bring himself to say.
Except maybe, that this was all his fault.
Everyone attends her funeral. Pierce Hawthorne, Fulcher, that strange kid that sits at the bleachers during lunch.
Troy doesn’t pay any attention to any of them.
It takes him three months before he can finally return to Terabithia. The sycamore tree still has a loop of rope around it. It looks completely normal until his eyes travel down to the spot where the rope broke and took his friend’s life. The end of the rope is ugly, it’s uneven.
A few meters away from it rests two thick logs. They fall straight, like perfect rulers, but there’s still a sizeable gap in between them. He has to crawl across it inch by inch in order to get to the other side. Every second is excruciating.
When he steps on the muddy, hallowed grounds of the kingdom that the two of them built together, it feels wrong. It feels like he’s violated it, that he’s soiled the land with his very presence.
He doesn’t deserve to be the king of this land. Not after how stupid he was, how he should’ve been there with her that night.
“I’m sorry,” Troy’s throat closes up. The words sound so thin, so unbelievably shallow. But that’s the best that he can offer right now. “I’m so sorry, Annie.”
The wind blows straight through his trembling fingers. And he feels something like a mixture of unerring optimism and crazy passion and an obsession with purple pens, something like catharsis.
When September rolls about and football tryouts start up again, he misses them, even though he’s due to be quarterback. Instead, he goes back to the river every day after school, each time bringing a new plank of wood or a saw or some nails.
Jerry, the janitor, catches him crying behind the gym one day and decides to teach him how use a wrench and a hammer. This is what’s supposed to make him be a man’s man, but Troy doesn’t feel like that. Not yet.
He works all throughout the month, an hour each day and two on the weekend. Pierce Hawthorne offers to help him sometimes, but Troy declines and repays him by keeping the old man company. Every piece of plywood he buys quickly fills in the gap between the two tree trunks and every afternoon, the huge gap in his heart seems to lessen little bit little.
Finally, it’s done. Standing tall and proud over the river is a bridge, every square inch of it constructed by Troy in honor of Annie.
The next day at school, he goes to run laps at lunch. The team is having an impromptu scrimmage on the field, but today, he decides not to join them. Instead, he walks over to the lanky, gawky boy sitting at the edge of the bleachers. He’s in Troy’s Spanish class, but apart from that, Troy doesn’t know much. Annie said the boy was nice, that he loved movies. She had even suggested bringing him into their little sanctuary.
“Hey,” Troy greets him, “I’m Troy.”
“Abed,” the boy replies.
They start a conversation, one that’s almost entirely about Annie. It makes both of them more than sad, but the weight feels just a little bit lighter. They both loved Annie, after all. For Troy, it was in an entirely different way, but nonetheless.
When Abed mentions something called the ‘dreamatorium,’ Troy brings up his and Annie’s afterschool escapades across the river. Finally, he does the impossible and invites Abed along. Abed agrees, saying “cool” four times.
That afternoon, they make their way to the bridge. Abed crosses it with great trepidation, taking the process every bit as serious as Troy hoped he would. He takes an oath and becomes a knight of the kingdom.
Troy extends a hand, helping Abed up from the ground upon which he was kneeling. Wishing that his queen was here, Troy still manages to brave a smile, “Welcome to Terabithia.”
people collide, things happen, it can't be controlled
- Fics for a Ficathon