secret admirer fic for [livejournal.com profile] jheaton

Feb. 15th, 2012 01:30 pm
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Title: Advanced Plumbnometrics

Author: [livejournal.com profile] applepips16

Rating: PG

Word Count: 2143

Disclaimer: Of course I dont own Community. Or Spiderman from which I have quoted.

Summary: When Jeff's kitchen sink fails, he dosent expect Annie to fix it.  Nor does he expect himself to evaluate his own feelings. Or mostly run away from them.

Author's Note: Happy Valentine's Day [livejournal.com profile] jheaton! I am so sorry this is late. My internet just failed on without a warning. ;_; Anyway, here it is and I hope you like it. The prompt I chose was " Annie or Jeff calls the other for help with something unrelated to school" . I hope this is something along the lines of what you wanted to read. :)

--

Jeff swallows.

His pride figuratively that is.

There was no way around it. He would have to call someone for help. Trying to be all macho had only caused his leaky kitchen sink pipe to further spew its contents and flood the kitchen.

The question is who to call though. The plumber though the right and the requisite man for the job is definitely out of the question. Jeff has just thoughtlessly splurged on some really expensive French hair gel, in a moment of utter stupidity because he was feeling insecure and what to better to cheer you up than overly priced wickedly expensive, completely organic hair care products. As a result, the finances are in a bit of a pinch. Not bad that he is starving and pinching pennies but enough that living mostly on cheap take-out, brown bread and bran is going to have to do for this month.

Curse his vanity. And though he did curse it thoroughly, it still didn’t tell him who to call. Britta was no good as a plumber and definitely not good to an ego that had just seen its self fail spectacularly. She’d probably just make disparaging remarks about how materialistic he was for investing in bed-sheets with a high thread count made from Egyptian cotton. And that California King Bed’s were for aging sugar daddies. (They are not. They are just remnants of his ex-life that he doesn’t feel like letting go of. A man’s got to have something to hold on to from the wreckage of a lifetime.) Worse still, she would judge him till he went crazy over the French hair gel.

Shirley. Really? Is that even an option? She’d probably whack him with her bag and make him call a plumber. Or worse still force him to attend her church meeting so he can share his troubles (can’t afford to call a plumber, etc, etc) while she can glow with the conviction of having brought a new lamb into the flock.

Pierce? No. Just no.

Abed. Jeff doesn’t have the patience for Abed right now. Not when his kitchen is being flooded slowly but surely.

Annie. Maybe some time ago, Annie would be Jeff’s first call because she’d make all the right responses and be generally helpful and kind but now, things are somewhere in the great beyond of awkwardness between them.

Troy? Of course Troy. Troy’s supposed to be the genius plumbing whiz isn’t he?

Troy it is. Jeff nods definitively and quickly types out a text and sends it off. When no reply is forthcoming in the next minute, he makes a frantic call. Water is encroaching swiftly upon his floor. The call goes straight to voice mail and Jeff tries to calm his voice enough to sound smooth and detached and just about bored to ask for help. He would like to think he does.

He doesn’t.

He chews his way through his nails and just when he decides that maybe he’ll have to suck it up and call a plumber and use department store shampoo for the next one month and foot it to Greendale for the next two, the doorbell rings and Jeff answers it with all the anticipation and relief one might have well expecting one’s first born home safe and sound after their first party gone bad.

He opens to door only to be greeted by the sight of Annie all decked out in a plumber’s outfit, complete with the gear and all and Abed holding a camera while Troy looks smugly on. He may or may not have suffered a heart attack but he plows through with what he calls aplomb.

“Annie’s my plumber? But what about Troy?” Jeff questions smoothly. Annie beams and nods her head perkily before marching in to survey the damage.

Troy steps up to Jeff and motions to Abed in squiggly fingers which of course, Abed seems to understand.

“I’m gonna be your host! Jeffrey Winger. Jeff. My man. How do you feel today?” Troy claps Jeff on his back cheerily.

“Play along. It’s for our documentary.” Abed whispers.

“Devastated.” Jeff says blankly.

“I am sure you are Jeff. I am sure you are. A flooded kitchen is a nightmare as you all must know. If you didn’t, you know now.” Troy smiles at the camera winningly. Abed holds up a thumbs up and Troy continues. “As you all know, kitchen sinks are…” Troy searches for a word, brows crossed and eyes glazed. “Unwieldy?” Jeff provides unhelpfully because he’s so annoyed that instead of just Troy, there’s Annie here and doesn’t Troy know Jeff is not going through a good time now.

“Unhygienic?” Jeff adds, a tad too sarcastic, wanting to provoke Troy.

 Abed makes a cutting motion and stills the camera. Troy looks like he is close to having an apoplexy.

“Kitchen sinks? What can you do with kitchen sinks? Why did I even think of them?” He bursts into a fit of tears and has to be soothed by Abed. “I rehearsed for so long. So long.” He wails before lapsing into hiccupping sobs. Abed raises an eyebrow at Jeff as if to say, ‘its Troy, what can you do?’ and leads him outside.  Jeff doesn’t even bat and eyelash. This is not even close to the level of weird that he’s been privy to at Greendale and with these two. Besides, it serves Troy right, he thinks childishly.

He shows them out of the door and then goes to the kitchen to check on Annie. He has no doubt Annie Edison is capable many things, sometimes just through the force of sheer determination. It’s how she’s somehow lodged herself in his heart and refuses to budge from there, despite his many remonstrances. But somehow, Annie doesn’t strike him as you know, the plumbing type. She’s too neat and precise for a job that often includes surprises of the messy, wet kinds. But all the same when he reaches the kitchen, he finds Annie industriously wrenching away on the busted pipe, with sponges spread out all around to stem the water flow.

“Hand me wrench no.18 Jeff.” Her voice is sharp and focused. Jeff blinks and looks at the tools spread out on the kitchen counter. How do you know which wrench is the no.18 one? Scratch that, what is a wrench?

Annie lifts her head and looks at him from an awkward angle, with plenty of patience, he must add. “It’s the one that’s bright red and looks a bit like a hook.”

“Oh.” Jeff finds the offending tool and hands it to Annie who uses it to twist away with a dexterity he never knew she had.

Annie Edison, Plumber. There’s a pervy joke and irony all rolled into one, tucked away in there somewhere.

“Not to be…uh well, how did you come by this skill?”

“I took a class! Advanced Plumbnometrics. Troy was the TA. I took it as an extra credit boost and discovered that I actually liked it. It’s empowering to fix your own leaky faucets and such like.”

Of course. A class. Where else?

“That’s nice,” he responds noncommittally, his eyes wandering all over the kitchen and finally fixing themselves on Annie’s…butt. Right, he should not be ogling his plumber’s butt, not matter how very nice it looks even when camouflaged by dark blue overalls. Though he’ll admit, it makes a very nice change from admiring someone’s hairy behind. Although, it’s probably very sexist of him, the Britta part of his brain pipes up.

“Ah…so I’ll be…um, somewhere not here.” Jeff does not know what is scrambling his brain.

“No need. I’m all done!” Annie gives the pipe one final wrench, seals the end which disappears into the floor plumbing with some clay and stands up.

“That’s impressive.” Jeff frowns at the sink, expecting it to still somehow spew forth its contents.

“Thanks. It was nothing too hard. Just a simple thing.” Jeff straightens and stares at Annie, who stares back at him, perky and ever so Annie. This is the time when he’d usually offer his plumber a can of beer which they’d both quickly drain before things get more awkward. And then the plumber would leave and Jeff would be left to his solitude which is exactly how he likes things.

“I don’t suppose you’d like a beer would you?” Annie wrinkles her nose doubtfully and Jeff takes that as a no.

Annie picks up all those sponges she’s laid out and squeezes them into the sink to drain them. Then, as Jeff hunts for something for her to drink, she somehow finds his mop and mops up the kitchen. Jeff it turns out as nothing to offer girls who are far too young for him but have stubbornly lodged themselves in his heart anyways. There’s some skim free milk, an energy drink and some wine. None of which Annie will even touch with a barge pole.

“How ‘bout I buy you some coffee? Maybe a muffin?” Jeff turns to find Annie leaning against a counter, just absorbing every detail about his house. His house is where people rarely drop by except for Chang ( Chang is never invited, Chang invites himself) Britta ( earlier, they would hook up, now they watch bad television and get drunk with the easy familiarity of prickly friends). Annie has been here only once before.

“You know you don’t owe me anything right? We’re friends.” Annie says with a grin that’s too perky by half.

Therein is the rub. Annie is back to clinging on to their friendship and Jeff is as always, clinging to his sanity because there are certain things you shouldn’t think about friends and if he were being perfectly honest, Jeff likes her way more than a friend but who is he to start something that he can’t finish? Friendly feelings he might not feel but friends is what they are for now. Awkward friends who don’t hang out much.

“But I do! You fixed my pipes.” That sounds dirty, very dirty in his head. “Its – my kitchen sink is not spewing anymore. You have no idea how grateful I am.” Jeff is pretty much short of wringing his fingers because he has no clue in hell as to what’s going on. After the Christmas Time Incident (maybe he should call it Accident, Disaster, you know, things in that vein) things have been a little awkward. That’s a lie though. They have been plenty awkward. Annie being Annie glosses over it completely like it never happened and talks firmly and constantly about friendship. Jeff being Jeff chooses to completely ignore it all. And it would be just like the ‘Annie Of It All’ Incident, except this time, actually well last time too, there are images permanently burnt into his retina which he can never unsee (doesn’t want to unsee rather). So you see, it’s kind of hard for Jeff to function like his old smooth self in front of Annie, in wake of the recent events that have taken place.

Annie’s face softens and Jeff tenses like he knows what that looks means. Well he doesn’t have a proper idea but when that look comes, Jeff can always feel himself crumble on the inside like a stale cookie and from then on, it all goes downhill because feelings become involved and when feelings become involved, Jeff crawls back into his shell like a frightened tortoise.

If anything at all though, this week’s expenses have taught him that with great power comes great responsibility.

Or something like that.

Jeff decides that maybe if he isn’t manly enough to fix his plumbing, he should at least man-up and face his fears and plug this leaky faucet of awkwardness.

Except, because he’s feeling manly, he decides to run the other way, far away from feelings and settle for something a lot less. It’s what he usually does.

He forces a smile on his face and schools himself to act and behave like a friend. “How about we hang out in front of the television and consume a whole pizza, like friends?”

“I would like that very much.” The look on Annie’s face is a little wistful and like many times before, Jeff feels like a crumbling cookie.

But he’s not going to make a promise he can’t keep.

They hang out, eat pizza and Annie narrates stories about jobs that didn’t go that well and Jeff commiserates over his foolhardiness and vanity and they talk and laugh, and as times passes, Jeff feels warm and comfortable. He would like to chalk it up to the fact that he’s well-stuffed with pizza but it’s just that he’s well-stuffed with good company.

Annie is a friend. A good friend.

Jeff thinks that for now, he can be friends.

Later is another day.


Date: 2012-02-15 04:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jheaton.livejournal.com
Oh, thank you very much! I'm certainly not going to complain about it being posted a little behind schedule; this is the first time in three fic exchanges I've gotten anything at all.

Anyway, I enjoyed this very much! Seeing Jeff be angsty and confused about Annie is always fun, and I like the scenario you came up with. Having Annie show despite *not* having bee called was a nice twist on the prompt.

Thanks again!

Date: 2012-02-15 11:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nyclove3.livejournal.com
This was great. The idea that Jeff can't afford a plumber because he spent too much money on expensive hair gel is very funny and so Jeff. And I liked that such a random event as Annie turning up to do the plumbing could make Jeff question his feelings for her. Nice job! :)

Date: 2012-02-23 06:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wallows.livejournal.com
This is adorable and you capture them right where they are now, that kind of awkward friendly but loaded interaction they always seem to have. I love the idea that Annie takes a plumbing class under the auspices of Troy, it's something she would do and with total commitment.

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