community | britta/troy (and the gang) | el tango de sexual tension
It is, at least, better than the teapot recital.
Jeff, Annie, Shirley, Abed, and Pierce sit in the third row, all busting out their own respective expressions of shock, awe, and slight fear. Except for Abed, who's pretty unflappable.
"Interesting," he muses.
On the stage, Britta and Troy are locked in a tango. The premise holds great potential for hilarity. But in reality, there's not a whole lot that's funny. They're both really good. And, honestly, kind of ... well, kind of ...
"Sexy," Jeff says dully. "For some reason, this is--"
"Sexy," Pierce says, with a great deal more zest. And some pervy old man chuckles.
"I feel like I'm watching Twilight," Shirley marvels. From between her fingers, like watching the display head on will result in corneal damage.
"Except," Jeff says, "those kids are outsexied by pita bread. But this -- this is--"
Troy dips Britta back in a fierce, sudden movement. Their gazes burn bright into each other. Everyone gasps. Time seems to stand still.
"I feel like they're going to start making out any second," Jeff says, transfixed.
"Would it be so wrong?" Annie ponders faintly.
"Maybe," Abed says wisely, "it'd be so wrong it's right."
"Abed, that's your man up there!" Shirley chastises. "Shouldn't you go -- go claim what's yours?"
"I trust him," Abed says simply.
"I wouldn't," Shirley grumbles with a significant stageward glance.
"Guys," Jeff says in his best Group Dad Voice. "This is ridiculous. There's no way there's anything going on between Britta and Troy. Let me say it again for you: Britta and Troy."
"Yeah! That'd be as crazy as Jeff and Annie," Shirley says.
Then everyone remembers how that went.
"Oh," Shirley says weakly. Jeff and Annie very carefully scoot as far apart from each other as possible. There may have been some slight arm rest sharing going on prior to Shirley's little remark.
"Please!" Pierce snorts. "It's not like Jeff and Annie at all. You know why? Jeff and Annie aren't lesbians. There's no way Britta'd give him the time of day. Unless -- Quick. Ay-bed. This is important: is Troy a woman?"
"No," Abed says.
"There," Pierce says, crossing his arms smugly. "Problem solved."
"Not," Jeff says, "even a little bit."
"What's this going to do to the group dynamic??" Annie frets. Onstage, Britta and Troy look like they're about two seconds from licking each other's faces off.
"Hey! SHHHHH. You're ruining the show!" declares the menace sitting in front of them in a grumpy whisper.
"Shut up, Leonard," Jeff scowls. "You're fooling no one."
"Why are you guys looking at us so weird?" Britta asks after the show.
"Yeah, what's up?" Troy says. "You can't get on my case! The professor made all the dudes wear those tights."
"No, she didn't," Britta says, grinning.
"No, she didn't," Troy admits merrily.
"See, he's gay as a basket of puppies," Pierce says, with great satisfaction. "You all have got nothing to worry about!"
"What's gay about puppies?" Troy demands, sullen.
"Worry about what?" Britta says suspiciously.
"Nothing," Annie says.
"Nothing," Jeff says.
"Nothing!" Shirley trills.
"Oookay. Come on, then," Britta says. "We're all still on for dinner, right? Let's get out of here." She loops her arm absently through Troy's.
"Eeep!" says Shirley.
Britta and Troy frown at her, confused.
"Nothing," she mumbles.
legend of the seeker | richard/kahlan | just for tonight, darling, let’s get lost
The discovery that she and Richard could be together, in a Being Together sense, ought to have made things much easier.
In reality, on the other hand ...
"Oh, look," Kahlan says one night, the four of them sitting around a slightly dwindling campfire. "We're almost out of firewood."
"I don't know," Richard says, "I think we'll be all right for another few--"
She knocks her foot against Richard's, significantly.
His eyes widen. "Oh. Right. Firewood. We should get some more! We don't want anyone freezing during the night."
"Warm nights," Kahlan says, "are a good thing."
"You just come find us if you need us, Zed, Cara!" Richard calls over his shoulder as Kahlan drags him away.
"Come find us if you need us??" she whispers, incredulous.
"I panicked a little," Richard says. The expression on his face makes her laugh, and walking through the forest hand in hand, all calm and moonlight and shadows, she almost can't believe that they've ever known anything cruel.
She doesn't actually expect them to come find them. But sure enough, no sooner have she and Richard kissed their way onto the ground than--
"Zed," Richard sighs, with the world-weary wisdom of one who's been interrupted by Zed a thousand times. Kahlan knows the feeling.
But then, it's:
They both scramble into a sitting position. Richard plucks a leaf from Kahlan's hair.
"You were right," Cara says briskly. "We need more firewood."
"We're taking care of it," Kahlan says. Her breathing is a bit too heavy to lend much credence to the statement.
Cara eyes them skeptically.
"We are," Richard says, adorably defensive.
"All right," Cara says. "I was under the impression you'd just said that so you could sneak off to roll around like dogs in heat, but clearly I was wrong." She smirks. Richard pulls another leaf from Kahlan's hair.
"Wrong," Kahlan agrees.
"So wrong," Richard expounds.
The three of them stare at each other.
"I'll leave you," Cara says at last, "in pursuit of your wood."
Richard and Kahlan blush, and Cara stalks away looking even more quietly self-satisfied than usual.
"Hey, Cara?" Richard calls.
Cara stops, and turns.
"If Zed gets any ideas about randomly wandering the forest before we get back ..." Richard starts.
Kahlan says, "... could you ..."
"Leave the wizard to me," Cara says. And off she goes.
"Have I mentioned," Richard says, "that I really like having her around?"
"Yes," Kahlan replies, smiling, "but I don't think it can be said enough."
They sink into fond silence, and she looks at him. He's a little overdue for a haircut, and there's a smudge of dirt on his face from an atypically muddy fight with a group of bandits earlier, and he looks at her like he could never ask anything more from the world. Like he'll never need another gift.
The first time they met, she held a knife to his throat and one thought coursed through her brain, her limbs, her veins: I'll never be fool enough to trust you. Even then his eyes were sweet.
"I love you," she says, putting her hand to his cheek.
"I love you," he answers easily, and takes another leaf from her hair. She laughs, and so does he, and laughing she falls into his arms, and laughing he pulls her close.
They don't return to camp 'til morning. Fortunately, Cara chooses to go in the other direction to search for firewood. She takes Zed with her.
xena | xena/gabrielle | morning song
'I sing of Xena!' Gabrielle declares, her tones too cheerfully epic for early hours of the morning. 'Fiercest of warriors, boldest of champions--'
Here's the real story: a passing thief tried to make off with the last of their bread. Xena punched him in the nose. He ran. Cried a little, too. Definitely an easy gig.
'--Men cower in fear! Injustice hides its face in shame! The very stones of the earth quiver and tremble!'
'Do you want breakfast or don't you?' Xena asks, impatient. She bites her cheek to keep from smiling. The sky is a luxurious stretch of blues and pinks and newly risen sun. Gabrielle is minuscule against the sky, the green sloping stretch of the land, and yet she is somehow so central to it. No one's eyes could help but move to her, surrounded by beauty or not. She skips and shouts and waves her hands, entirely foolish and undeniably sweet. The faint breeze teases her hair -- her hair seems to tease it back, turned even golder by the sun.
'(Shhh. Shh. Just a minute. Almost done.) FIE! cry the fiends who meet her -- LIVES RUINED! BLOOD SHED!--'
'Over half a loaf of bread?'
'Ooh! Excellent rhyme. You don't mind if I borrow that, do you?'
'Go right ahead,' Xena says dryly, and gets to work toasting the retrieved bread.
Gabrielle comes back down to earth and Xena's side, still radiant, lit by stories yet to be written down.
'You don't have to chronicle everything, do you? That was hardly an adventure. He couldn't even take more than one punch.'
'I write it all down,' Gabrielle answers promptly.
'Please! I can't rob future generations of a single one of your mighty feats. And besides,' she adds, the grandiose bard's tones falling out of her voice, 'that way I know I won't forget it. Any of it.'
She smiles. The breeze whips her gold hair around her face, into her eyes and the corners of her mouth. Xena reaches forward and tucks it gently, carefully back behind her ear. Gabrielle seems to find this answer enough, and Xena's grateful. Actions have always been more her forte than words. The idea of perfect memory as a blessing rather than a burden ... Not for the first time, Gabrielle herself seems like something of a (scarily energetic, maddening, unasked for, much-cherished) miracle. All early mornings and new eyes. Fresh starts.
Gabrielle frowns down at the toast that she's snatched out of Xena's hand, never mind that she has her own piece. 'Is this blood?'
'His nose was broken,' Xena says fairly. 'And he was keeping the bread very close.'
Gabrielle wrinkles her nose and delicately picks the darker portion off, tossing it on the ground.
'Maybe,' she says, 'I'll leave that part out,' making Xena laugh.