cracking skulls

liebfraumi


Of all my metaphorical art projects, this is by far the coziest.

(My brain is like a crazy person's garage.)


Fic: Close Second (2/?)
liebfraumi
Summary
This chapter features mostly angsty Ben in human disaster mode: Ben´s heart was racing and he was sure his armpits must have turned into the Great Lakes although it was a very breathable fabric…”Good lord, Leslie! I am so sorry. Sometimes I feel like I might need glasses."

Author’s Note
This was prompted by the kick-ass bowlsohard: Ben´s younger brother is visiting him in Pawnee and hits on Leslie. I know beta would have been betta (har har) but this chapter has been lying around for too long. The grammar may be crooked on occasion but it has a lot of heart...


The minute Ben passed the grim-looking, gel-haired bouncers and stepped into the dark entrance hall of the Snakehole Lounge his cell phone buzzed in his pocket. Relieved to get distracted from his nervousness and growing feeling of tension in his chestal region, he immediately took the call without looking at the display: “What´s uuuuuuuuuuuuuuppppppp?” a male voice shouted into his right ear. Ben needed a second to recognize the caller because shreds of overdriven Jay-Z and Kanye were blasting from the dance floor into the dimly lit hallway.

“Oh, hey Michael”, he said half-enthusiastically, “Give me a sec, okay?” while sprinting backwards towards the club´s massive metal doors. It was very dark and Ben was looking at his feet while turning - the cell now in his hand - when his chest collided hard against someone in the entrance area. The phone fell to the floor and Ben suddenly became aware that he had stepped on the other person´s toes. He looked down to realize that his left crepe-soled boot was standing on very small feet with red-painted toenails.

“Crap on a cauldron!” the woman hissed in pain. Ben felt the air leaving his lungs but somehow managed to look up from the floor. Due to Ben´s deadlock on her feet, Leslie had been forced to breathe into his chest but was now looking up to with a scrunched up, angry face shouting: “Get your foot of me, jerk!”

Ben´s heart was racing and he was sure his armpits must have turned into the Great Lakes although it was a very breathable fabric…”Good lord, Leslie! I am so sorry. Sometimes I feel like I might need glasses."

The second she recognized him, her features softened. The absurdity of the situation, in addition to his surreal explanation, made her forget the actual pain and see the humor in their close encounter: “As great as it is to see you finally socialize, would you mind releasing me from your dementor´s grip? My foot really hurts.”

Ben had missed the first few words of Leslie´s friendly mocking because the closeness of her body had allowed him to smell her hair. Her shampoo reminded him of the ocean – it was not flowery sweet but fresh and wild. He was 73 percent sure that she was wearing no perfume. Standing in the nearly dark with her, he closed his eyes for a nanosecond and felt like Al Pacino in “Scent of a Woman”, not actually seeing her but making use of all his other senses.

He had seen this movie together on a double-date with his brother just a few months before the mayor disaster. While Shannon was reluctant to even hold his hand, his brother and Maddie had really gone for it in the movie theatre.

Michael… ”Oh, shoot!” Ben finally took a step back from Leslie to manically search the floor for his cell phone. Leslie, relieved to have finally broken free, looked at him quizzically. When he found his cell, he realized that Michael had already hung up. Every atom of his body rather wanted to crawl into a hole than to face Leslie after this embarrassing display of human disaster mode.

Ben leapt to his feet and fumbled nervously with his phone. “My brother just called. I have to call him back. Youryourfootokay?” The last words came out as a mumbling, but Leslie had heard it nonetheless. After examining her feet she gave him her brightest reassuring smile: “Nothing´s broken. Don´t worry. But you should consider buying one of those fancy headsets that makes everyone look like a nerd.”

Ben was thankful that Leslie tried to lighten the mood by teasing him, but he felt like the biggest idiot in the galaxy. He desperately wanted to reply something cool or witty, massage her feet or carry her to an ambulance but the only thing he managed was: “Will do.” Then he pointed at his phone and said: “I have to call my brother back.” And, with an almost pleading voice, as if he had the weight of the world on his shoulders, he asked: “Will you let me buy you a drink as an apology later?” Leslie responded with a warm smile: “Sure.” And added, a mischievous glint in her eyes: “And by the way, now that I´ve seen it not only in close-up but from farther away: I really like your shirt.”

Only seconds later, a lightheaded state auditor managed to tumble out of the club, feeling giddy and confident at the same time without even one drop of alcohol. She did this to him every time he saw or spoke to her: She stirred up feelings of looseness, optimism and possibility that he thought he had lost a long time ago. But he was also the Ice Town Clown – insecure, negative, cynical and overly careful to let other people in. In recent weeks had Ben begun to realize, that this parts of his personality were not his destiny. They began to grow weaker and weaker and were replaced by facets of himself that he altogether liked.

Even though it was only in the wee hours of the morning when the light has not yet greeted the new day and sleep was still hanging heavy on his eyelids, Ben half-dreamed, half fantasized about this new happy version of himself, holding Leslie´s hand and getting lost in her hair, eyes and smiles.

But as soon as the alarm clock rang, this imaginative bubble of warmth and happiness burst and he always felt very cold leaving his bed and his silly hopes behind.

By the time he hit the shower, Ben always thought the same thing. It was only a split second, but in the bright neon light of the crappy bathroom in the 43th motel he stayed in during the last couple of years, he heard it in his head like a mocking mantra: Ice Town Clown never gets the girl.

***

Ben had reached the parking lot for some peace and quiet, when he received a text from Michael:
“party on, wayne! call asap when sober. i repeat no drunk dialing or sexting! m.”

Ben smiled at this message and couldn't help thinking that his little brother had always been a seriously funny guy.

Michael picked up the phone after the second ring: “What have I ever done to you to deserve such abhorrent behavior?” the most overdramatic voice Ben had ever heard coming out of his brothers mouth – and he had seen their High School´s production of Le Mis – was shouting at him. “I´m really sorry.” Ben said firmly, not going in on the joke, “I´m at this work thing and kind of bumped into a colleague and the phone fell… So how are you?”, he added in a subject-changing slightly more enthusiastic tone, “How is Jenny?”

There was pause and Ben could feel his brother´s discomfort with the question and sense Michael´s disappointment towards the crumbling of another great comedy routine reply. “Let me put it this way: Long time, no see. She moved out 6 weeks ago.”

“Why didn´t you tell me?” Ben asked with a slight feeling of guilt, because since he arrived in Pawnee and got sucked into a blonde typhoon of tirelessness he had not spoken to his family at all.

“Listen, big brother. You were busy working, I had a big project to finish last month... I am fine, she is fine. It´s just… it felt like we already knew everything about each other. I could see the bored looked in her eyes whenever I started to tell a story. You know, she actually told me, she could just not deal with my face anymore. That was nice to hear after 2 years.”

Ben was temporarily out of words. This might be the first time ever Michael had been dumped. He needed a moment to process this information and just loudly sucked in his breath.

Ben had met Jenny only twice. The first time at their grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary where she seemed nice and warm, and absolutely smitten with his brother. They made a great couple, both tall with brown eyes and dark hair and both obsessed with theatre and art stuff, things that Ben could not really understand.

It was on one of their vernissages that a) Ben met Jenny the second time, b) discovered his lifelong hatred for naked performance art and c) learned the hard way, that he was allergic to chutney.

“I was wondering, if I could come and visit you. I need to get out of this apartment. Her scented candles and stupid couch pillows are still here. I just stayed to finish the project for the urban landscapes book, you know. Now I have too much time on my hands since the new publishing thing will only start in a couple of weeks.”

Ben had always admired his brother´s freelancer capacities. He and his laptop could practically work everywhere in the world, designing and coordinating at the same time. “Sure, drop by. But I have to warn you, there are no urban landscapes here. I am in a small town called Pawnee, Indiana at the moment.” Michael chuckled: “Oh wow, that sounds like a total drag.”

Ben suddenly felt his protective instinct kicking in. He was surprised by the intensity of his own reaction as if his brother had just dismissed one of Ben´s most highly esteemed possessions in the world. No one puts Pawnee in a corner, he thought. Those chick flicks marathons with Abby surely left their mark. Ben was thankful that he managed to not say that out lout.

Instead he straightened his body in the parking lot of Pawnee´s most dangerous nightclub and said firmly into the phone: “Michael, I´m more than happy to have you visit, but you will see for yourself that this town is kind of special.”

“Who is she?” was the immediate reply. Ben was caught off guard: “She? What do you mean? A woman? Here? No!”

He was babbling and had given Michael all the confirmation he needed. “Okayyyy, big brother”, and Ben could hear the sneaky satisfaction in his voice, “I will fly down this Saturday. Make sure you have a few cold beers in the fridge and then we shall go out that evening. I am dying to meet your new friends.”

While the prospect of watching all the games this weekend and hanging out with his little brother made Ben feel overall cheerful, another slightly annoying image kept popping up in his head as he was making his way back to the club. There were only three people involved, but somehow he was standing at the margin watching the other two talk endlessly laughing and reassuringly touching once in a while.

Ben managed to shake off this senseless mind-wandering for the rest of the evening by concentrating on Ann who had been dumped by Chris; offering support and more importantly drinks for her and Leslie. An event like this called for getting wasted, they decided unanimously.

But later that night, as he was lying in bed trying to get his spinning head into sleep mode, the moving pictures came up again like haunted Gifs on Tumblr.

Ben could not hear what Michael and Leslie were saying but he could read their body language ever so clear: These were two beautiful people who were about to have sex with each other in five minutes.

But the most disturbing part for him was that he suddenly pictured a look in her eyes that he would have wished for himself more than anything in the world. A gaze of affection, admiration, longing and lust… Ben fell asleep with that vision of Leslie´s face, spinning in his imagination like a raccoon in a hamster wheel.

Fic: Close Second (1/?)
cracking skulls
liebfraumi
Pairing: Ben/Leslie
Author: liebfraumi
Word count: ~2200
Rating: PG

Disclaimer: Clearly I don’t own P-Rex or I would play B-Ball with Detlev Schrempf in my backyard every day.

Timeline/Spoilers: 3x06/AU-ish

Author’s Note: This was prompted by something I read (probably) in the kink meme. Ben´s younger brother is visiting him in Pawnee and hits on Leslie. The first chapter has a lot of Wyatt Boys backstory.

Amuse-Bouche: "Ben shook his head, tried to leave the old feelings of envy towards his brother alone for the moment and concentrating back on his new feelings of bliss toward a certain deputy director."

Two million teddy bears to the greatest beta person ever: rikyl Thank you for insightful comments and general awesomeness.


As a child, Benjamin Wyatt hated weekends. These two days were the only time his parents were forced to spend time together. And even though he was only 9 years old, he knew it was time not well spent. They fought about money and irresponsibility. His father was not good with numbers and his mother was busy with his baby sister. Three children and no plan, this was their life in a nutshell.

As the oldest, he became the responsible one, helping to shield his younger siblings from the craziness inside the little house that never seemed to be filled with laughter or affection. As an adult he often thought, having children right out of college was probably not the best idea for his parents. He was an accident and he often wondered if his parents had really married out of love. But then they had Michael, a close second, only 22 months after Ben’s birth.

In one of his better moods his father had told him they were trying to have pictures of a baby holding a baby. Ben held on to this little piece of information like a lifeline, picturing his parents young, hopeful and a bit silly. They had Abigail 8 years after his brother in a sad attempt to save their marriage, and it made everything worse.

Whenever their parents fought, the Wyatt boys would escape to the basement, where they would put on the TV with maximum volume and watch cartoons for hours. They did not talk or dare to look at each other, just sitting and waiting for the storm to pass. Feeling scared, but grateful for not being alone.

Michael took it the hardest when their parents finally decided to do the reasonable thing for once and divorce. Thirteen-year-old Ben was relieved and hoped that now the four of them could be a happy family. He wanted to become a grown-up so bad.

The oldest Wyatt was an excellent student, participating in all kinds of extra-curricular activities in the afternoon trying not to be at home. When he ran for mayor his senior year, both of his parents were extremely proud. But after Ice Town went up in flames and his valedictorian speech was cancelled, the last thing he wanted was to go to his high school graduation. He only went because his mother quietly reminded him that since he was soon leaving for college it would be the last time the family would be together. To Ben´s surprise even his father had shown up. His parents sat as far away from each other as possible.

So Ben had two photographs to commemorate this utterly disastrous day, one with his mom, Michael, and Abby, and one with his dad, one arm around his son and the other around the waist of his then-girlfriend Michelle, looking incredibly bored. That picture was never framed or looked at.

***

The other one was sitting behind his desk in Pawnee, when Tom came to ask him to join the Parks Department at the Snakehole Lounge later that evening. After declining the first invite, Ben patiently listened to Tom’s attempt of convincing him: “Dude, Dennis Feinstein’s parties are always dope. And the girls there are always high-end, VIP, classy chicks, but not too classy. If you know what I mean.”

Ben knew exactly what Tom meant, but after so many years on the road he had sworn to himself not to get attached, even if it was just an invite to be one of the dudes. He simply wasn´t a guy who randomly picked up women in bars. He could sense the state of emptiness that meaningless drunken one-night stands would leave him in.

He mostly stayed by himself in every town he was sent to, except the occasional herbal tea sessions with his overly-enthusiastic partner Chris, that sometimes could not be avoided.

Ben was more a coffee kind of guy, who also loved baseball and Miller Lite, but as far as sports buddies go, his travels had made him get used the fact, that sports bars can also be frequented alone.

“This night is gonna be dope. So, are you in or are you out?”

Tom’s question catapulted him back to the present, and he was a little surprised at Tom’s persistence. Then it hit him.

Of course, Leslie, in her never-ending enthusiasm and sometimes frightening thoughtfulness had to be behind this. The thought of her made him smile and he felt an overpowering desire to give her a hug.

Tom´s face lit up as well, and he clapped his hands: “Great! See you at 9. And please bring your best game, dude. And by game I mean a killer suit.” And with that he was gone.

Leslie Knope…Leslie…wanted him to come tonight. He tried to downplay his reaction to that revelation but suddenly he felt deliriously happy. His thoughts spiraled into a full-blown mental investigation: Tom was too self-obsessed to care if the state auditor who was leaving in a few weeks joined him and his friends. Ben knew he was not wingman material even though he owned several pairs of killer Ray Bans, on which Tom had complimented him on several occasions. Being the son of a Sunglass Hut manager had its advantages, especially when the vintage ones were the glasses du jour.

On occasion, he and his brother would fight for the coolest models to show off in high school, and Michael, having been the lucky one with girls, had always pulled it off better. Not at high school in general—his grades were abysmal—but he was always acing at looking fly.

Ben shook his head, tried to leave the old feelings of envy towards his brother alone for the moment and concentrating back on his new feelings of bliss toward a certain deputy director.

His thoughts meandered again: Leslie Knope was the only person in Pawnee who had showed him passion, in good and bad ways. She hated him at first, called him a jerk but that was only because she had the instinct of a lioness protecting her cubs, when it came to her friends and co-workers. He admired her tireless efforts to make a difference in her community, her bubbly personality, enthusiasm in overdrive, her intelligence and eyes that had the same color as the wild cornflowers on a mountain meadow…Wait. Where did that come from? Ben immediately felt ashamed for his sappiness and put his face in his hands, rubbing his forehead so intensely as if his fingertips could erase all these tormenting thoughts.

“Having a headache?” asked a familiar yet slightly annoying voice behind him. The body to which the voice belonged was wearing incredibly tight bike shorts and a T-Shirt that could be interpreted as body paint. “Do you want me to get my herbal belt and make you a feverfew smoothie against your migraine?”

“No thanks, Chris. I´m fine,” Ben said, trying to sit upright in his chair and look energetic. “Just a motivational massage, you know. We can always achieve more by challenging ourselves. Don’t stop believing, right?” The moment this gibberish left his mouth, Ben felt embarrassed : A Journey quote? What the hell, Wyatt?

But Chris, enthusiastically nodding, smiled at him and seemed to have forgotten his initial offer: “Ben, you are absolutely right. This is literally the best approach to life in general! Hey, what do you say, after my workout, we meet up to talk some more about that? Meet you for a Smoothie at Sue´s Salads in 3 hours? “

Ben was horrified at the thought of having to talk philosophy with Chris again or hear about his colon one more time. “I am sorry, would love to, but I have to go shopping. Do you know a good place to buy suits?”

***

The truth was Ben had plenty of suits. But tonight seemed like a big deal, since Leslie would be there and she wanted him to be there. Suddenly, he could not bear the thought of another Nicholas Sparks movie night at the Pawnee Super Suites.

Later that evening, Ben realized that the mirror in his motel room was not big enough to get a good look at himself. Was his ass looking right in these jeans? Ben knew he was not what you would call a jock and girls in High School had made that abundantly clear, when they asked him if his brother was seeing anyone at the moment. It was embarrassing really, since he was the oldest and therefore the one who first got a car. That should have counted for something? But his Dad’s station wagon and all the cool sunglasses in the world could not get him the kind of attention his athletic and also artsy brother got. Ben was good at numbers and at debating, but Michael could sing, dance and play all kinds of sports. He was a lot taller than Ben, with broad shoulders and sun-tanned skin. He looked just like their father, whereas Ben took after their mother’s side.

Being practical and earnest, only the shy girls fell for him. And since Ben was shy and awkward himself, their subtle signs of attraction went mostly unnoticed. The bubbly, outgoing and strong-willed female classmates saw what they liked in Michael, and they went for it. His brother was also a guy’s guy. Guys just loved to hang out with him, talking sport and girls. Ben was the one who went shopping for the family, picked up his sister from school and sometimes, when his Mom had to work late, cooked dinner.

At age 16, Ben had only kissed one girl from his debating team, while Michael was already going steady with a girl from Ben’s class. They made out in their living room while Ben was doing his homework – secretly slamming his head into the wooden desktop from time to time, when the giggling suddenly turned into the rustling of clothes and heavy breathing.

The first girlfriend Ben ever had complimented him on his ass, while they were making out after school. It was the first good thing a girl had said about his physical appearance, and it stuck. Even though after two months, she started dating the basketball star of their high school. So much for physical confidence.

Standing with his back turned to the closet mirror, rubbernecking to catch a glimpse at his own ass in his new jeans –Joey’s Jeans Joint in Pawnee was unsurprisingly still stocked with 90s-Cut Levi’s that Ben loved – he wondered why he was all of the sudden so anxious to look good. And casual, and fun and interesting… he completed his own thoughts. Did the light-blue shirt he picked out convey all these characteristics? As much as one shirt could, he thought, sighing.

He hated that since he met Leslie, all his carefully erected walls and principles came tumbling down. He tried to shut down a summer concert only to find himself, minutes later, paying a curly-haired egomaniac of a children’s singer an obscene amount of money to perform anyway.

What had gotten into him? She. With her undefeatable optimism and wicked charm, of which she oftentimes was even not aware of. That was, besides a brilliant mind, the most sexy quality a woman could have in Ben’s book. It was not naiveté; it was innocence in the best way. It was having a heart with a twinkling eye.

Picking up his cell phone and keys, this trail of thoughts stopped him dead in his tracks. Good lord, what was next? Would he recite sonnets as soon as he got to the club? This had to stop. He was leaving in a few weeks and getting involved with all the people would only make it harder when he got to his new assignment. But he could not bring himself to put down his wallet from where he picked it up as second ago. Why was it so hard to follow his routine this time? Roll into town, hack up the budget and leave. Limit personal contacts to a minimum.

The truth was that most of the time, no one bothered to invite him to anything, since he was the enemy, the threat to the people’s job’s future.

Except for her. She yelled at him, caring loudly. He was not used to this. Leslie was a threat to his carefully constructed armor. From the very first moment her words and actions had pierced the protective shield that he had put around himself, much like the one the Rebel Alliance tried to destroy on the forest moon of Endor… Ben turned on last time to look in the mirror and stuck his tongue out at himself. “Note to self,” he thought, “never ever bring Star Wars up around Leslie tonight.” But as nervous as he felt, Ben knew that a few beers would certainly challenge his pledge.

He was so happy that Leslie no longer considered him a thoughtless jerk with a heart of stone. She wanted to be friends, even though he tried to gut her department’s budget with a machete. For the first time in a very long time, he wanted to get attached. Wanted to drink beers, mingle and chat.

By the time he arrived at the bar, Ben had almost convinced himself that becoming friends with Leslie Knope was everything he hoped for. But if he was really honest with himself, this wish was only a close second.

Fic: The Scandal ( Breaking News Challenge)
cracking skulls
liebfraumi
Pairing: Pawnee Media

Word count: 1500
Rating: PG

Disclaimer: I don’t own P-Rex or I would have opened a bistro by now.

Timeline: Surprise…

Amuse-bouche: Joan Callamezzo was sitting with her husband and hairdresser on her usual table, wearing a tight golden low-cut sequin dress that was ending far too high above her knees. She was already plastered and looking around the ballroom, shooting poison arrows from her eyes towards the other tables.

Author’s Note: A million Bobby Bars to the wonderful decadentcactus for the awesome beta job.



The newly christened Jermaine Jackson Ballroom was filled with Pawnee´s most powerful media people, clinking glasses and gossiping animatedly at the open bar.

The annual Media Award for Excellence in Journalism had been given out since 1978 by The Pawnee Journal to honor outstanding achievements in investigative journalism.

The Pawnee Sun had tried to give out their own award during a short period in the early 90s, but a poorly chosen location and the open bar had almost driven the paper into bankruptcy. Who would have thought that a Glitter Factory gathering of journalists could have gotten so out of hand? The staff member, green-lighting the free lap dances, was let go two days after the festivity. This was due to the fact that the whole sports staff had to track him down first. He was found in an abandoned gas station with no recollection of the last 48 hours, and no pants.

                                                                                ***
The Pawnee Journal award however had become an institution. The years before, Joan Callamezzo had won it five times in a row with her Gotcha series, making it the most highly watched program in Pawnee since the weekly rerun of “Pistol” Pete´s famous slam-dunk triumph.

The award was not a plaque, but a strangely shaped metallic microphone that was often interpreted as a corn cob (with balls).

The definite phallic implications were mostly intentional, since the late 70s in Pawnee were a time of extreme sexual liberation. Who cares about prudence when Zorp was coming anyway to melt your face off? It was a time of excess, playfulness and sexual innuendo, making it Pawnee´s very own Baroque period, where defiance of death and extreme lust for life had built an unholy alliance.

When the Rationalists finally withdrew their influence on the city and went to live in the fields just outside city limits, Pawneeans burned their flutes and the delirious late 70s were quickly forgotten. There were only a few reminders of that time and the Cob, as the trophy was nicknamed, was one of them.

                                                                                ***
This year, Joan Callamezzo was sitting with her husband and hairdresser on her usual table, wearing a tight golden low-cut sequin dress that was ending far too high above her knees. She was already plastered and looking around the ballroom, shooting poison arrows from her eyes towards the other tables.

The reason for her foul mood was that her spies on the nominating committee reported that the Cob would be given to someone else this year. As a five-time recipient she could not avoid being at the event, but it was getting more and more difficult to produce her usual wolf-like grin whenever a photo was taken.

At 6 pm sharp, Martin Housely – Pawnee´s most bookable host – entered the stage to the Journey to the Island song of the Jurassic Park soundtrack, a movie that was still huge in Pawnee.

“Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen, to an exciting night celebrating Pawnee´s media landscape and from what I see from up here, a sea of beautiful ladies landscapes as well.” There was one snort-laughter from the Pawnee Sun table, but the rest of the ballroom was dead silent.

“Thanks, Kevin”, Housely went on, grinning, unfazed by the cold wall of antipathy he was facing from the audience. He shuffled through his cue cards and started reading with fake enthusiasm: “This evening is about the power and responsibility we as journalists”, at that Joan let out an audible low-pitched snort, “have in our community. Media is the fourth element in any democratic society.”

At that point, he began talking freely again: “Isn´t this a wild movie? This Milla Jovovich sure knows how to make that mummy look sexy.”

The Pawnee Sun table began slow-clapping at this strangely inaccurate reference while the rest of Pawnee´s media elite were silently praying for this to be over soon.

Even at the Young Journalists of Pawnee table, mostly consisting of High School students writing for the school paper, Smartphones were repeatedly checked under the table looking at the time. They were only four minutes into the ceremony.

But Housely seemed to remember his duties as a host and began reading his cards again:

“The investigative power of journalism has brought crooked politicians down and helped our democracy to survive. This year, our local government was shaken by a scandal exposed by tonight´s recipient, but handled respectfully and considerate. The level-headedness of the coverage helped prevent personal harm; shield the family involved and kept the discussion on a very professional level.”

Cards were shuffled again and after what felt like a lifetime, the host finally seemed to have found the right passage:

“Thanks to investigative journalism, the Parks Departments Director Michael Tansley and his marijuana drug ring were finally exposed. He was immediately dismissed from his position. It is rumored that he moved to Amsterdam to open up a coffee-shop, other sources have reported that they have seen him with the Park Rangers and Animal Control interns, eating brownies and Klondike Bars in the bushes at Lafayette Park.”

Suddenly background music started to swell: It was The Raptor Attack theme and Martin Housely seemed to grasp its meaning. “So without further ado, I present tonight´s presenter of the Award for excellent Media and Press…um,” the music had gotten so loud, that Housely´s ears started ringing. He only managed to shout “Mr. Ron Swanson!” against the blasting sound before he fled the stage, as a very heavy golden charm bracelet hit the back of his head.

The audience clapped and roared with relief, as a dark-haired epitome of a manly man entered the podium. He looked impressive with his enormous moustache and furrowed brows and an expression on his face, like he was going to be clubbed to death any second. The ballroom fell completely silent.

“Well, I am not usually one for speeches.” With this he began to stare intensely into the ballroom. No one dared to eat, drink or move. Even the liveried waiters stopped circling the room with silver trays of bacon-wrapped shrimp.

The uncomfortable silence stretched out for more than a minute. Then, as if he had made a decision right at the spot, Ron Swanson began to talk again:

“I met tonight´s recipient when I started my first job here in Pawnee. We worked together closely. Due to my libertarian beliefs he worked with the public and handled the relations. When he left City Government, I congratulated him. One person more to get of the taxpayers teat.“

The High School table was already loving this.

“I worked with this guy for three years. He says the things like they are. I respect that in a man.”

At this the department director of Parks and Recreation pulled out the Cob from under the podium. Inspecting the trophy closely he added, muttering to himself: “Look at me, getting all sappy.”

This produced a wave of sensual sighs in the audience, mostly from the female press corps and Joan´s hairdresser.

“So I present this misshaped maize dildo to… Perd Hapley.”

The crowd went crazy, as one half hated Joan´s guts for exposing their darkest secrets to the public and the other half felt strangely attracted to the speaker´s demeanor.

They got up on their feet to clap frantically and whistle with ear-splitting intensity as Pawnee´s well-known softie newsman and raccoon riots veteran entered the stage in a shimmering tux and a bowtie. What seemed to be bad mix tape version of Kid´N´Play´s Gittin´ Funky was accompanying his entrance.

Perd shook hands with the presenter and then turned to the audience to start an unsurprisingly undramatic acceptance speech:

“This award has a long history that I am going to talk about in a minute. But first I want to thank Ron Swanson for joining us today…In this ballroom, giving me this award, right now...”

At this point, his speech was interrupted by last year´s recipient storming the stage, tripping over her high heels and even higher blood alcohol level. Joan Callamezzo´s tug of war for the statuette was well documented by the attenting photographers, relentlessly snapping pictures of the spectacle on stage. The accompanying cascade of filthy curse words was recorded as well; eternalized on a dozen Pawnee High Schoolers´ camera phones.

The Pawnee Sun addressed the events at the Media Awards Gala the night before by choosing a picture of a barefoot and disheveled looking Joan Callamezzo being carried off the stage, clinging onto the award. The accompanying article was titled: “Cob Rob after Snub Hubbub”. Blaming the shrimps, Joan´s press agent immediately released a statement claiming that her seafood allergies must have been acting up again.

The Pawnee Journal´s front page featured a large photo of legendary Channel 4 newsman Perderick L. Hapley and the Parks Department Director Ronald Ulysses Swanson at the award´s bar, toasting each other with massive whiskey tumblers.
The headline read: "Wanna Marijuana? – No More!"


FIC: Dream Team
cracking skulls
liebfraumi
Pairing: Ann/Leslie (Ben/Leslie)

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: Clearly I don’t own P-Rex or I would get lost at sea with yachter otter.

Timeline: Season 5

Summary:  Leslie leaned her head on Ann´s shoulder before she recapped a frightening and  confusing monologue that Ben had to endure earlier on the phone, involving stammering, bad impersonations and the most disturbing English accent Ann had ever heard in her life.

Author’s Note: So, Mr. Wyatt went to Washington… 


After an exhausting shift at the hospital Ann had snuggled up in front of the TV to watch the newest episode of The Bachelor when suddenly the doorbell rang. First time short, then once again a bit longer…then five times more. 

Only one person, besides Chris Traeger – who most certainly would not call on her that late or ever again – could be this persistent and annoying, bell-wise.

“Leslie, I´m coming”, Ann shouted towards the door. She managed to put down the large popcorn bowl and heavy juice glass and shrug off her Snuggie on the way to the door. As soon as she saw her best friends face, she knew the world was ending.

Leslie must have been crying as she was in a T-shirt and sweatpants, her hair in ponytail that had already lost most of the blond curls, looking like she had already been to bed. 

Ann immediately pulled her in for a hug. There were just standing there, a minute of absolute silence, until Leslie quietly started crying again. Ann had not seen her like this since the day her campaign advisers had told her that the race was over for her and they would look for other possible candidates.

She could no longer bear the uncertainty and pulled away from the embrace trying to look her best friend in the eyes. But Leslie just stared down at the floor.

“Leslie”, Ann said softly, “What is going on? You have to tell me! Did something happen in City Council? Did you have to cut something important to you? Is Pawnee in financial trouble again?” Leslie closed her eyes and shook her head, still saying nothing.

“Is the state fusing Eagleton and Pawnee into one town to save money? You know we will fight the good fight together, right?” Ann attempted to joke lamely. But she managed to get a smile out of her sobbing friend. “Ew, no Ann. “ And after a little pause, Leslie added: “We would destroy those jerks though.”

“Then what is it, Leslie?”

“It´s Ben.”

Never in a million years would Anne have considered boyfriend trouble the reason for Leslie´s unhappiness. After all they had been through, with secret-dating, sort of secret-breaking up heartbreak, a gloriously romantic reunion and a not so glamorous ethics trial, a suspension and a resignation in disgrace, Ann had never seen two people more perfect for each other.

Except on TV, where she had shipped almost anything from Luke and Lorelai to Ross and Rachel. Now that she thought about it, there had been a lot of same capital letter pairings on her TV screen. But in real life, she shipped Ben and Leslie. Hard.

They were both passionate about the same things: Government, their friends and making a difference. Both were loyal, hard-working and stupidly romantic. Ann had never seen Leslie more head over heels with a guy, and vice versa. Ben had sacrificed twelve years of working with the state, just to be with her best friend.

Ann could not believe that he would have done something stupid in Washington. It had been nearly five months and from what Leslie had told her the long-distance relationship, as hard and painful as it had been on both of them, seemed to have worked out. 

Ben had not been able to come to Pawnee once the whole time, but Leslie had visited him in D.C. four times, always coming back with tons of souvenirs for all her friends and also perfectly happy with having the most amazing boyfriend in America, possibly the world. 

Leslie´s silence was killing her. Ann took Leslie´s hands in hers, looked her in the eye and asked solemnly: “What happened? I am sure whatever it is it is only a stupid misunderstanding due to the fact that you guys are only able to talk on the phone or via Skype.”

Leslie let out a sigh and with the most saddening look on her face she pulled back her hands and put them on her thighs. “He was asked to extend his stay. They want him for another campaign with Jen.”

“And he said Yes?” Ann was dumbstruck, trying not to breathe.

“You know what he told me tonight over the phone? `Do you know what they call me and Jen here? They call us the dream team`.”

For a split second, Ann had the vision of her slapping Ben´s face with his own stupid padfolio. But she reminded herself to stay calm, not knowing the whole story yet.

“So he told you most definitively, that he wants to stay?”

“Ann, he sounded so proud and giddy telling me how they already up in the polls and the win is a sure thing. He was so excited that they offered him a raise and more responsibility. He wants this.” Leslie´s voice had gotten smaller and smaller, the last three words almost a whisper.

“Did he use these exact words?”
Ann asked more intense and almost impatient. “Did he say I want this!?”

“He said that the extension would only be for a few more months. What am I supposed to think? That our relationship is not strong enough to survive a few more months? That I selfishly want him back in Pawnee to chain him to my bed and never let him go?”

Ann grabbed Leslie´s shoulders and pulled her in for another hug.

“Leslie, I would maybe rephrase the first part of your statement, but the second argument has its strong points. Tell him how you feel! Um, what did you actually say to him?”

Leslie´s leaned her head on Ann´s shoulder before she recapped a frightening and  confusing monologue that Ben had to endure earlier on the phone, involving stammering, bad impersonations and the most disturbing English accent Ann had ever heard in her life.

“So you haven´t talked at all about this, am I right?” Ann said, gripping Leslie tighter.

“You have to tell him how you feel. To lie to him is not fair. Even if you think it is for his own good. You have to let him know when he is hurting you.”

“Ann, you angelic mastermind. I love you so much.”

This was all the confirmation Ann needed that Leslie would follow her advice and explain her feelings of uncertainty and fear to Ben. “Will you do it tonight? I´ m sure your boyfriend is going crazy with self-reproach right now.”

“What if he hates me for keeping him from fulfilling his dreams?”  Leslie asked, anxiously biting her lip and looking scared again.

“Whatever happens, Ben could never hate you! For so long you two were dying to be together. And now an extension or whatever the hell of another obstacle is coming your way, you two will figure it out!”

With these words Ann had gotten up the couch and lifting Leslie up as well and shoving her into her bedroom.

“You go call him now. Here you have all the privacy you need.  I will drive to the store and buy all the ice cream they have. Not because we need it for a ladies pity party, but for an awsome TV marathon that will follow when I come back.”

She gave Leslie a peck on the cheek and nudged her shoulder encouraging with her fist. “I´m kind of bummed though we don´t get to fight the evil Eagletonians.”

Leslie´s face brightened and her red eyes became shiny again: “Ann, you cruel chinchilla. Together, we´d kick some serious ass.”


                                                                          ***
When Anne arrived at her house an hour later Leslie practically flew in her arms.

“Oh Ann, I am not a selfish jerk. If I had not started to freak out over the phone and let him finish… He already turned the D.C. job down before we spoke. He said he just wants to come home and start our life together. Because, and I quote `There´s no I in dream team.` “

Even though they were grinning at each other like idiots and were already performing kind of a happy dance in her living room Ann couldn´t help it: “God, he´s such a nerd.”



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liebfraumi

I joined leslie_ben today. YAY (48 exclamation marks)

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