Here's her request: I love this show - the midwestern, low-key, hang-out vibe of it, the humor, the sports references - and I love these two characters. I fell for PJ and Brando SO HARD when I first watched the show. I’d love anything building off these two character’s familiarity with each other - getting caught up in an escalating series of bar games, maybe, or PJ pretending to be Brendan’s girlfriend to get him out of an awkward situation (and they both end up getting waaaay too into it). PJ teasing Brando about his technique picking up girls. Anything that calls back to that time in college when the two of them totally made out, and Brando had that huge crush on her. Or, alternately, the gang hanging out together - the core of the show for me is all the guys playing poker together, and I’d love anything in that found family vein.
I enlisted the awesome Diaphenia to beta for me, and she came through. So, here's the fic.
It'd already been a really good day. Memorial Day was just around the corner, which meant finals and graduation were still about a month away, and the sky had gone that perfect cloudless blue that always made Brendan think of pool parties and Def Leppard. And PJ had finally dumped Hank the Stank and was at this party at his buddy Brewster's house with him instead, the two of them beating everybody at beer pong and clinking longnecks as they crushed another team into the dust.
And then some fratboy asshole - redundant, as Professor Stevens would say, clarity should be the aim of communication - accidentally on purpose caught PJ right across the chest with a tidal wave of some nasty shit that he and his buddies had been putting together out of all the dregs, probably with an eye to making some poor kid chug it down.
Brendan couldn't have torn his eyes away if he'd tried. PJ's shirt, that floaty white one with red stitches that looked like a baseball, went totally transparent, and she was wearing that white bra with the little red bows that he'd seen draped over the shower stall too many times to count. There was a pair of red panties that went with it that he'd seen in the hamper, and he wondered if she'd been color-coordinated enough this morning to have those on under her cutoffs.
The asshole's guffaw of "wet t-shirt contest!" snapped him back to the situation. Peej was pulling her shirt away from her skin and charging forward, clearly intent on giving the fucker a knee in the balls. "C'mon," Brendan said, getting his arm around her and steering her inside to the bathroom instead, because he wasn't exactly dying to either take on all of the assholes himself or let her stand there and keep being ogled.
"Here," he said, pulling off his t-shirt and handing it to her. He turned his back, staring at the ratty yellow towel on the rod and rolling up the sleeves of his shirt, hearing her turn the tap on.
"Good thing you layer like a million shirts at all times," PJ said from behind him. Her voice got muffled when she pulled his tee over her head, so he figured it was safe to turn around.
His tee had never looked so good, and the sight of her in the bright green shirt that said pants dried up his mouth. It was hard to believe that it was only a few hours ago that it'd been lying on his floor, sort of near the laundry basket, and he'd sniffed it to determine if it was clean. Over her cutoffs it looked spectacular, and that was when she turned at the waist and he saw that she had her shirt and bra in the sink.
She was bare under his shirt and smiling at him, and he just stood there gaping stupidly at her. "Good thing," he finally said, like, smooth, Brendan, way to be thirty minutes late with the comeback. She flicked a bit of water at him and he shook his head like he'd been soaked. "Someone really needs to nail that guy in the nuts." He was maybe thinking about doing it himself, if that would get rid of the tension making it hard for him to think straight just then.
"What an asshole, right?" PJ agreed. "What was his damage, anyway?"
"Probably got his dick in a knot at the thought of a girl beating him at anything."
"You're a real poet, Brando," PJ said, scrubbing the booze out of her shirt and squeezing the cups of her bra like -
He was going to think about anything other than that. "What do you say we go out there and do it to him again? I got more shirts."
She laughed then, golden even in the terrible bathroom lighting, and hung her stuff up to dry.
They kept bumping shoulders as they walked back outside, and he couldn't deal anymore with the reality of her, wearing his clothes and smiling at him like she couldn't think of anyone she'd rather be with, and he pressed her up against the side of Brewster's house and kissed her. She fell into the kiss easy as stepping off a ledge, and he heard "Pour Some Sugar on Me" kick up when her fingers trailed down his spine.
He held her face in his hands, and her arms squeezed his waist tight. She was everything he'd ever wanted, and suddenly there was no way to come up for air, because she was already in him, and the only way to go from here was downhill, a highlight-reel crash and burn. He had to take a step back.
His traitorous hand slid down to her waist, his thumb getting under his shirt to stroke her soft skin. "Let's -" he said, and she smiled up at him.
"Yeah," she said, rising up on her tiptoes to drop a quick kiss on his chin. "Let's go home."
"Actually," he said, feeling like a complete shit, "I've got a paper due tomorrow, so I'll be at the library." He pasted a grin on his face and prayed he didn't look like he was going to hurl all over her. "Don't forget your things." He was such a fucking coward.
She looked disappointed - fuck him for being an asshole - but nodded. "Good call, dude," she said, and pushed off from the wall and walked back inside, fixing her little ponytail as she went.
It's been forever - years of Wendy on the one hand and guys all after PJ on the other - but the day they're sitting in Crowley's and she spills the beans about their kiss back at Northwestern is the first time Brendan's felt her looking at him like a possibility again.
He can't let the opportunity pass him by this time. Not when he wants her now even more than he did when he was a half-cocky, half-insecure asshole who thought he had to save face after sticking his tongue down his scorchingly hot best friend's throat. Not when he knows that he loves her, for real, because she's been the best part of his life since they ended up sitting next to each other at a Wildcats game all those years ago.
Watching her strut past the poker table, doing her wassup routine, is probably the worst he's ever felt, outside of his most epic hangovers and that three-day bout of food poisoning he'd endured over spring break their freshman year. All the guys are looking at him, judging him for being brain-dead enough to turn Peej down, but the only thing that matters is her, shrugging her shoulders like spilling that secret is a relief.
That's not all she has to say about it, though. How she has time, between planning the mother of all surprise parties for Andy and helping Meredith with her surprise, to keep working him up to the point of confession, he has no idea. But every time she swaggers in with a "wassup?" or drops a mention of the library, Brendan replays that day that ended with him hiding out in the library, his head in his hands and a lump in his stomach.
Enough already. Maybe confession really is good for the soul, and it's not like he actually wants to move out of her apartment.
"I was really into you," he says, which can't be a surprise to her, except maybe it is, because her whole face goes wide open, and his heart feels stretched like taffy. "It felt like it had to be all or nothing, and you were my best friend, you know?" She's looking right at him, the light glinting off her little earrings, and his mouth keeps going. "Are my best friend."
He thinks he takes her by surprise, but she lets him kiss her again.
He can't think what to do with his hands until hers land on the sides of his face, pulling him closer, and then it's like a switch flicks in his brain. One hand on the small of her back gets her hips snugged up against his and the other reaches out into thin air for navigational purposes, because he sure as hell isn't about to stop kissing her long enough to steer them to her bedroom by sight.
PJ takes control, flipping them around so that he's the one walking backwards and they're heading for his room, and suddenly he can't stop smiling even if it means her lips are hitting his teeth.
"What?" she asks, hips still tilted up to his. "Too bossy?"
He shakes his head, cups her face in his hands, and kisses her again, a promise he won't be an idiot this time around. "Just right."
She grins then. "My room's a mess."
He mumbles his response between her addictive kisses. "So's mine."
She pushes him against the wall and kisses him again. The frame from some picture is digging into his back, but he's got his hands in PJ's back pockets, so he's not complaining. Right here is fine by him.
As always, I'd love to hear what you think.
This same entry also appears on Dreamwidth, at http://innie-darling.dreamwidth.org/447859.html.