I meant to post this a while back, but really, why not wait until the next time I have to flood my friendslist with fic to ... crosspost fic? I'm so brilliant. And by brilliant, I mean mostly doing this before I forget for another week. Hearts to courtney_beth for reminding me vicariously through her post, or something sensible. Also, I totally wrote this before Rob and Ed waxed all omgz gay in the post-Emmy pics. I did not even realize they would actually be there. I am clairvoyant, or else really desperate for plot bunnies. Or obsessed with angst. I really need to quit writing it.
I like to pretend I'm clairvoyant because it's a much cooler word, and less syllables than "really desperate for plot bunnies".
Title: Bad Timing
Rating: Very very light R for language. Or PG-15, depends. Eh? Eh.
Warnings: Tinge of angst.
Note: There's a funny video game reference towards the end. TRY TO SPOT IT. Hint: Ed and monkey names. :O I'll write you a teeny tiny ficlet if you find it. Also, hearts to apis_cerana for looking this over.
Disclaimer: Any similarity between the fictional version of the person portrayed here and the actual person is purely coincidental. This is a work of fiction. This is not an attempt to defame the character of said person on the basis of libel, as the work is FICTIONAL (and NOT an intently false statement created with the express purpose of misleading others about the actual character of said person).
Any mention of 'The Daily Show', 'Viacom', any associated entites, or any copywrited material pertaining therein is reasonably protected by the Fair Use Rule of the United States Copyright Act of 1976, and is not intended to infringe upon any copywrited material.
The best thing about awards ceremonies is the after-parties, without a doubt. I don't do a great deal of writing on my own so, unlike Stephen, I don't get to go up on stage with the writing staff -- this is a good thing, I swear, because despite the similarities in our appearances I can't pull off a suit like him.
Sam thinks this is funny. Rob just says it's sad I can't wear a cummerbund but only because the word 'cummerbund' amuses the fuck out of him. Instead I sit and look awkward in my seat next to Sam, who is gorgeous and also my date for the evening. We both eagerly await the end of the evening, at which point we get to heap into Jon's apartment and raise hell to give Tracey reasons to bitch at him in the morning.
After an insanely long evening in which three shows I am actively interested in are honored the night is finally over -- I follow Sam out, looking vaguely forlorn. I'm trying to pretend this isn't because Rob is this close to grabbing his wife's ass in front of me; Sam isn't tricked and nudges me in the side. "Still?"
Yeah, still. Don't ask, it's weird. I like Rob, a lot. We've been friends since we met -- a while back actually, doing shit for the theatre. It was weird but awesome to find out he was going to be my coworker and we hung out more than ever, and at some point I decided he was kind of hot, and I was kind of gay for my best friend.
I never, you know, said anything, except to Sam -- she always seemed to be in the middle of everything, the link between the weirder closer "older" bunch of Jon and Stephen and the others who'd been around since Jon's start and me and Rob and sometimes Bob. We said it was a girl thing but she said it was just because she was the smartest and most mature; I maintain that's a girl thing.
Either way she was great about it, let me go whine at her place in New York whenever I was pissed at Rob or just too sexually frustrated to want to be around him. It works, or worked, or something. Saved me the trouble of totally humiliating myself somehow. Lately, though, I've been insanely stressed, with Stephen leaving and a full workload that comes of trying to figure out the new dynamic of the show.
I hate it, seriously.
It's got me freaking out, because we all had our place, Jon was our reasonable fatherly anchor sort, Stephen the arrogant but well-intentioned idiot of a big brother, Sam the sweet sensible sister, and me and Rob, different sides of the young, nerdy, full of ourselves and totally vulgar coin. It's changing and I hate it. I'm tense and ... lonely, and I feel really bad because I know Sam doesn't want to put up with me anymore. And I can't go to Rob because video games and booze just aren't cutting it anymore.
What a bitch. I'm at the Emmys, celebrating the fact that the show I have the good fortune of working for kicks the ass of probably seventy-five percent of anything else on television, and I'm sulking because I don't get to bone my married coworker for comfort. Awesome.
I am seriously tempted to go home and sulk in my own tiny apartment, because ruining everyone else's evening isn't something I'm really keen on doing. But Sam's not letting me get away -- she's hauling me along, grinning like a madwoman as she latches on to Stephen and gleefully intrudes on the last couple of frames of his photo-op. How exciting, I get to look like an ass on camera. Fantastic.
Eventually we wind up at Jon's apartment and there's so many of us it's a bit crowded, for which I am eternally grateful. I get to grab a beer and go hide in the corner, away from the noise and excitement and celebrating. Samantha gets caught up in a conversation with Ben and I sulk, trying to figure out why I am such a total jackass.
I get left alone, for the most part. I make nice when anyone passes by but I'm not captivating enough to keep them from following the next noisy swell of conversation -- it's Murphy's Law or something though and finally Rob tracks me down, grins the broad and glassy-eyed smile of the noticeably tipsy.
"Ed!" Rob is a very exuberant drunk. He tosses an arm around my shoulder to prop himself up and I duck my head, hoping that my faint blush can be passed off as being caused by the alcohol. He doesn't notice either way. "What the hell's your problem? It's a party!"
Yeah, really. One of the few times I get to go be joyous and sociable. And I'm sulking in a corner. What's that say about me? Probably not a lot. "Eh, I'm tired. Busy week."
"Busiest ever, right?" Rob grins and pats my shoulder. "Seems like you've gotten a promotion."
Ha ha, yeah, I'm taking over for a man with a cult following. Good for me.
Rob notices my discomfort and quirks an eyebrow, dragging me towards the kitchen where there isn't as much merrymaking. "You okay? You don't seem to be uh, enjoying this much."
I shrug and go to drink the last of my beer, which I suddenly realize I drank the last of quite some time ago. "I'm just not up for a party. I think I'll probably leave soon, I think it's been long enough that no one'll notice." I grin weekly and he grins back like an idiot.
"Take me? Sandra didn't want to come, I'm stuck by myself. She'll feel better if I come home with someone responsible, I'm sure."
There's not a lot I can do but say yes, because I'd probably feel better to. We say our goodbyes -- or he does, boisterously, and I kind of follow along muttering mine after him. He doesn't live far from me so it's not out of my way nor it is a very long trip, which is glad because I don't know if I could handle it. He's excitable and going on and on about something or another, and at some point he mentions how he's missed having me come by lately.
"Like I said, I've been busy," I say, hoping this is a half-decent excuse, or at least sounds like it. Crap? Yeah, but hopefully he's drunk enough to buy it. "Mostly I've been sleeping when I haven't been working, I'm all over the place lately." The exciting world of commercial voiceovers.
"I've heard! But I miss you, man." He frowns, gives me a look that is almost kind of sad. "You're my best friend, don't get all high and mighty just because you're the favorite now."
"I won't forget about the little people," I say wryly, reaching over and giving his knee a reassuring pat. "I'll put in a good word for you, maybe he'll let you come on every couple of weeks. We have this plan, all me, all the time, except for when he has to introduce me. They figure it'll be a good six months before people figure out I'm not Stephen and maybe we can make me seem kind of cool in the meantime." When in doubt, I put myself down. Stupid habit but, well, them's the breaks.
"I wish Stephen wasn't leaving, then." Rob's also kind of prone to sulking when he's drunk but usually it's one or the other, you don't get mood swings. "I'd rather play Fable. You'll be fine, man, don't get all self ... depreshing."
I snort. "Deprecating?"
"Whatever. Like Jon. You been picking up his habits?" He leers at me. "All that time you had to spend with him to get him to like you so much?"
Despite my career choice I blush easily, and I am now. How stupid. "Yeah, give a man a blowjob every day for four years and you kind of pick up a few things." That doesn't sound the way I wanted to, but when discussing my nonexistent torrid affair with our boss I guess it doesn't matter.
Rob heaves a disappointed sigh. "What'd he have to do to get you in his pants? That sucks. I've known you for like, years. More years than him I mean. What do I get? Nothing."
It's hilarious, in a way. Sort of. Not really. I just laugh awkwardly. "You never seemed interested. I didn't think Sandra would like it too much if she walked in on me giving you a handjob or something while we were playing Chrono Trigger."
Rob seems kind of serious -- out of the corner of my eye I can see him looking at me with this kind of wistful expression. I figure he's playing, but when he asks, "If I'd met you before I started dating Sandra, would you give me handjobs while we played Chrono Trigger," it's with a surprisingly serious tone of voice.
I blame it on the alcohol. "Sure, Rob," I say after a moment, forcing a joking tone of voice. "All the handjobs you wanted."
He seems to think I'm kidding and he stares out his window. Suddenly the conversation is stalled and the drive has become awkward and uncomfortable. I pull up to his building a few moments later.
"I'll uh, see you Tuesday," I offer, grinning weakly.
He offers be a vague smile. "Tuesday, yeah."
I stare at the steering wheel and tap my fingers on it as he gets out of the car -- just before I go to start the ignition again he taps on the window, and I lower it so I can hear what he says.
"I was serious, you know."
I don't really know what to say. I kind of stare at him, and he shrugs and heads into his building. I head back home to my lonely apartment and sprawl out of my couch, halfheartedly trying to figure out how to get the masamune for Frog. It's not the same without Rob to laugh at me though, and thinking about Rob kind of sucks, so I give up and flip through infomercials to waste away the wee hours of the morning.
It hurts to think he was serious.
But hey, if nothing else, at least tomorrow I can go to Sam and cry.