Title: Leslie’s Breakup/Moving On To Better Things Jam (A Secret Lil’ Sebastian ficlet)
Word Count: ~1500
Summary: This is for liebfraumi, who requested a ficlet about jealousy for the Secret Lil’ Sebastian swap. This is a companion piece to End of the World. Many thanks to ballroom_pink for the assist with the music (she did it all) and to angelica_rules for the beta! Happy Holidays!
6:00 pm: Leslie’s house
Soundtrack: Run the World (Girls), Beyoncé
Leslie carefully stowed her End of the World Again survival kit (contents: extra sweater, blanket, enough chocolate for a kindergarten classroom of trick-or-treaters) in the trunk of her car and then climbed in the driver’s seat. She rolled down the windows, cranked her special Ann-approved “Breakup/Moving On To Better Things” mix CD, and backed out of her driveway. She hit play and Beyoncé blasted through the speakers.
My persuasion can build a nation
Endless power, with our love we can devour
You'll do anything for me.
Everything is fine, she thought to herself. No, not fine. GREAT. And really busy. She preferred busy. It felt a little like last fall when she was organizing the Harvest Festival, except better because she was running a campaign! Tonight she was going to hang out with Ben… and Ann, Ron, and Chris. But Ben would be there and they could hang out just like before. It’s the end of the world as the Reasonablists know it and she feels fine!
This goes out to all the women getting it in,
You're on your grind
To other men that respect what I do
Please accept my shine
Boy I know you love it.
8:30 pm: En route to the abandoned gas station (Previously owned by a M. Jagger)
Soundtrack: Welcome to Condale, Summer Camp.
Leslie knew that of course one person could not control or own another person. Yet, Ben belonged to her because her heart still belonged to Ben. She believed that by giving her heart away she in turn got some say in how Ben treated it. Flirting with Shauna did not qualify as acceptable behavior for someone who held onto another’s heart. So she corrected the situation by following her primary instinct: separating Ben and Shauna as fast as possible.
Drive past this slow-mo lines of leafy suburban streets
The mayor drinks too much and smiles at everyone he meets
It's a great place to raise kids, but they never will grow up
Families build houses on the graves of those they've loved
If Leslie actually paused and thought about her actions she would have realized that she was acting irrationally. But there was no time for that now. The whole point of keeping constantly in motion was to avoid any deep thoughts about the current state of her relationship with Ben. She had a vague inclination that she might later feel embarrassment about the way she bodily dragged Ben from the park. But there was no time for that now. There was time only for a rapid oral review of the history and topography of Pawnee while Ben sat silently in the passenger seat. She’d really rather never think about why she was literally blinded by a red jealous rage when she saw Ben flirting with Shawna.
But you never went away
You never went away
10:00 pm: Leslie drives Ben to the End of the World party
Soundtrack: Be Mine!, Robyn
Ben’s last sentence ricocheted around her brain.
“You know, we broke up. And I kinda feel like we shouldn’t hang out together just the two of us. Because every time we do, it just makes it harder, you know?”
She knew he was right. But if she allowed herself to accept his terms, to not be able to be friends with him, she would finally have to deal with the end of their relationship. She couldn’t imagine a life without Ben, and even when he broke up with her she secretly still believed that it wasn’t forever, just for right now.
There'll be no last chance, I promise to never mess it up again.
Just a sweet pain of watching your back as you walk,
As I'm watching you walk away.
And now you're gone, there's like an echo in my head,
And I remember every word you said.
But when Ben looked at her with those pleading eyes (and with just a little bit of fear that he may be turned into a lampshade) and told her that he couldn’t be around her anymore, the high speed Leslie train ground to an abrupt halt. She had no counterpoint to those eyes, no valid opposition to the look that he gave her that said, please. Please just let me go.
So she drove him to the party and she even managed to muster a small smile when he said goodnight.
12:00 am: Leslie drives around Pawnee
Soundtrack: Skinny Love, Birdy
Desperate times called for something a little stronger than a wry, mature, introspective breakup mix. Leslie had made a separate, non-Ann approved mix that she had squirrelled away in a secret compartment in her purse. Beautiful exotic sugar glider Ann would be disappointed in her but what else was there to do? She had just driven her ex-boyfriend to a party so he could flirt with a young pretty reporter. Ann would understand. She inserted the secret CD and turned the volume up as high as it would go.
And I told you to be patient
And I told you to be fine
And I told you to be balanced
And I told you to be kind
She drove for hours. She drove without really seeing the road, relying on muscle memory and a familiarity with her hometown roads. She even drove through the raccoon section of Pawnee but was so distracted by the music and by her thoughts that she barely registered the dozens of beady eyes reflected in her headlamps and the small dark shadows that followed the vehicle until she entered a safer neighborhood.
And in the morning, I'll be with you
But it will be a different kind.
'Cause I'll be holding all the tickets
And you'll be owning all the fines.
6:00 am: Driving to April/Andy/Ben’s house after talking to Ron
Soundtrack: Release Me, The Like
“From the universe we emerge and to the universe we return. And there are infinite forms we can take in infinite universes.”
Terrific. Well, she rejects this universe and she’d like another one, please. This universe is unfair and stupid. She should have been with Ben! She wanted to be with Ben! And just because she couldn’t be with him, that means that someone else could? And the thing that just killed her, that drove her to force Ron to talk about her personal feelings, is that when she arrives at the end of the line she would want to be with Ben.
Oh you're a boy that I could love, and all I do is run.
But still I keep you hoping someday soon our day will come
And it never does.
Now that the day dawned, the new sunlight illuminated what was obscured in the frenzy of the night. Zorp didn’t show up, the earth wasn’t consumed by a giant fireball, the Reasonablists would reschedule, and her life would continue. And the same obstacles would still be firmly entrenched between her and Ben. To flail against it is an exercise in futility, she thought to herself. It also caused nothing but hurt feelings for all involved. Ben was trying to let go and now it was time for her to do the same. It’s the right thing to do, even if it totally sucks.
I wish you knew I'm not the one for you
You're not the one for me, and I can't stand you.
After all you put me through; I'm still just stuck like glue.
Why don't you run from me, 'cause I can't leave you.
Before I break your heart, before it breaks my heart
Before you break my heart
6:30 am: Leslie leaves Ben’s house
Soundtrack: Beautiful, Carole King
Walking away from Ben’s front door, Leslie felt tired but lighter. It was similar to the feeling after a good long cry. It wasn’t fair but it was alright. Sometimes you gave away your heart and you didn’t get it back.
She climbed into her car and hit the eject button on the CD player. It was time to return to her upbeat break up mix. She was moving on to big things in her life! She had a campaign and a parks department to run, she had great friends, and she had her mother. It was time to ask “What’s next?”
She thought back to the discussion she had with Ann when she first told her about the Reasonablists. Beautiful smart arctic fox Ann had said;
“I think the danger in believing in reincarnation is that you spend so much time trying to figure out what you’re going to be in the next lifetime that you forget to enjoy the one you’re in now.”
Leslie promised herself right there, in her car in Ben and Andy and April’s driveway, that she would live more in the present. She would be more grateful for what she had, and not mourn for one more minute the end of a romantic relationship. Carpe diem!
And, if pressed, she might even admit that finding out that Shauna had not spent the night had been the best news of all.
You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face
And show the world all the love in your heart
Then people gonna treat you better.
You're gonna find, yes, you will
That you're beautiful as you feel.