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a very on-brand holiday

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“Banks,” Anna whispered. “Banks, I need help. Code Dick. Code Hair Plugs. Code I just had a sex dream about Chris Pine.”

“DO NOT TOUCH THAT DICK,” Elizabeth yelled into her phone. 

“I DON’T WANT TO,” Anna yelled back. “BUT IT WAS IN A DREAM.”

“PINE OR THE DICK?”

“BOTH,” Anna cried. “We’re working together right now on this last minute Target thing and it’s—god it’s so stupid—it’s this Into the Woods and Target and Taylor Swift cross-promo thing? And we’ve spent 12 hours every day for the last four days standing around groping each other dramatically, like perfume commercial dramatic, while Taylor Swift tracks blast over the speakers and then there was a sex dream.”

“You’re under a lot of stress,” Elizabeth soothed. “The holidays, the press tours, this last minute bullshit that sounds like the biggest Into the Woods fiasco yet. It doesn’t mean anything.”

“There was Taylor Swift music playing in the dream,” Anna said. “Banks, please. Tell me. If you fuck Chris Pine in a dream, do you die in real life? Save me, please.”

“Do you have anyone in town to ground you?” Elizabeth asked. “Like, someone to remind you that there’s life outside this hellmouth sponsored by Target?”

“Everyone’s dead for Christmas. See also: love and joy. It’s going to happen. I’m probably going to sleep with him. I’ll wake up on the queen-sized mattress he keeps on the floor of his mansion’s master bedroom, covered in a hand towel from the waist down and jersey cotton sheets from the waist up, while he’s set up a DSLR to catalogue the freckles and cellulite on my thighs while I slept.” 

“That won’t happen,” Elizabeth said firmly. “I know things are dire and the hours are long. I know that when you’re deprived of human interaction for days at a time, Chris can seem almost like a person, in that underdefined-features Fisher Price toy kind of way.”

“Yeah…” Anna said. “And?”

“I don’t know,” Elizabeth said. “I thought I’d just… point out the obvious. So you don’t touch that dick.”

“I won’t,” Anna said. “Just—would you text me once a day to make sure I haven’t committed suicide by douche?”

“Yes, darling, I’ll do this for you,” Elizabeth said. “Good luck. Don’t fuck that douche.”

*

“Okay, kids, we’re doing Wildest Dreams today,” the director called out.

“Oh shit,” Anna whispered as the sound guys started blasting the song from her sex dream loud enough to shake the floor beneath her feet.

He's so tall and handsome as hell 

He's so bad but he does it so well

“Are you dry heaving?” Chris asked her after a moment. “I told you not to have the eggs.”

“Okay for this one,” Anna said. “Can we do a lot of—not touching? You can pine from over there. I’ll pine from over here.”

“I can pine from anywhere,” Chris said. “It’s kind of in the name.”

Anna felt like dry heaving again. She tried to remind herself to google incubus sex demon pregnancy possible when she was at her phone again. 

“Guys,” the director’s mic cut through the music. “This is sort of the sexy linchpin of the spots. You’re each other’s wildest dreams.”

“Are we, though?” Anna asked.

“Thanks,” Chris called back. “Didn’t hear that part. Where Tay sang wildest dreams 60 times in three minutes.”

“I hope her hot girl mafia comes after you for calling her Tay,” Anna laughed. 

“Come here, dream girl,” Chris said. “The sooner you run your fingers through my hair, the sooner we can move to the next spot.”

“Is your hairline secure in there or what?” Anna asked. “Maybe I should just stick to the nape of your neck.”

“They’re not hair plugs,” Chris said as he lifted Anna off her feet and they did their best to sell their pale white dream. 

“Chris, if you’re going to talk, make it look more seductive,” the director called.

He dipped Anna back and muttered against her neck, “It’s not hair plugs or growth hormones or anything. I found a stylist who can actually style my hair.”

Chris pulled her back up and she held his face still, staring into his eyes, attempting the perfume commercial look of lust and ecstasy. 

“That’s amazing,” she whispered. “It only took you 34 years to get a good haircut.”

They kissed and someone yelled at them to hold it, so they did until the world literally exploded.

*

“I wish they wouldn’t play the songs 600 times while we filmed these things,” Chris said. 

“I love them,” Anna said. “Each and every song is my jam. I’m living in each Taylorian Swiftique moment. I wish we could act out every single moment and—”

“Shut up, do you want them to hear you,” he hissed. 

There were actually two attorneys from Target on set with them the whole week to make sure they stayed On Brand, but more likely because it was December and they needed a time-waster to get them out of the office until it was safe to leave for the holidays. It was exactly why Anna was filming this, so why shouldn’t the same go for some low-level corporate attorneys!

They were filming a spot while How You Get the Girl reverberated through the studio and their bodies. It was up to them, in their upscale Target-inspired outfits, to use their improv skills and let the music move them to interpret the youthful beautiful white American message for the #Target brand. 

“I twirled you in the last one,” Chris said as he had his arms around her waist. “Is it too much to do it again for this one? This is more of a twirly song, too.” 

“We didn’t twirl in the last one,” Anna said. “You picked me up and held me above you by the butt, but there was no twirling.”

“Right, you were sick,” Chris said. “If I twirled you, I’d be covered in some really valuable vomit.” He looked her over and asked, “Still sick? Ready for a twirl?”

“We’re going for it,” Anna said as Chris picked her up and she cupped his face in her hands again. “I’m totally not going to puke in your face.”

“SEXIER, ANNA,” called out the director. 

She sang softly to the melody, “Vomit in your face, vomit in your face, Chris Pine I’m gonna vomit in your face,” until he cracked up and put her down again.

“This is the fucking worst,” he laughed.

“Oh no,” Anna said as she extended a hand and let him pull her close again. “You’re kind of beautiful when you laugh.”

“Miss Kendrick,” Chris gasped as they tried to make a fake breakup slap look real, despite the attorneys yelling about physical violence being #offbrand. “Are you trying to seduce me?”

“Carbon monoxide poisoning seems way more likely,” she said as they figured out how to spice up their dramatic almost-kisses. “Brain tumor definitely a runner up.”

“I think you’re charming,” Chris said.

“Here come the heaves again,” Anna sighed.

*

“Banks, send help,” Anna whispered into her phone on her 30-second lunch break. “I think I’m falling in love with him.”

“NO YOU ARE NOT,” Elizabeth yelled at her. 

“This is why we’ll never defeat the patriarchy,” she replied. “All I’ve eaten today is Greek yogurt and the fumes of Chris’s cologne and industrial-strength hairspray. I’m not strong enough to fight it anymore. He hasn’t tried to read me any white dude poets in two days. All my friends are home for the holidays and my family’s waiting for me in Maine. I’m going to let this flannel jack-o-lantern hump me until I wake up and I’m Meryl Streep’s age. I can feel it.”

“Have you tried leaving your dressing room and the soundstage for 15 minutes?” Elizabeth asked. “Just try it. It’ll help, I promise.”

“Yes,” Anna whispered. “Yes, I will see the Outer World. I will tell you of my visions.”

*

They saved Style for last, as it was actually a song for #Target and the team figured Anna and Chris would be so into the project by then that it would be their best #brand material yet.

“WE HAVE A PROP,” Chris yelled at the car on set. “LOOK AT THIS CAR. I CAN DRIVE CARS.”

“I’LL SLIDE ON IT,” Anna said. They had dressed her up in the perfect evening gown for a clandestine late night rendezvous, according to the song, and it was the perfect opportunity to practice sliding across the hood of a car. 

Chris, by miracle of being on that side of the car, caught her before she slid off the other end of the hood.

“HE CAUGHT ME,” she screamed as he spun her around. “LOVE IS REAL.” 

“Let’s get in the car and smolder at each other as I pretend to drive!” Chris yelled into her face.

The mic cut over the synth pop playing loud enough to regulate their heartbeats. “Actually, we were thinking of opening the car doors and pulling down the front seats to get some shots of you two in the back seat.”

Anna gave them a thumbs up as Chris put her down and opened the door to the back seat. “Milady,” he said with a bow.

“Oh no, you get in first,” she said. “I’m Taylor, you’re Harry, and I top.”

“I actually really like this song,” Chris said as he lay down in the back. The camera crew pulled down the front seats and crowded into the back to get the best dark and moody shots of Anna straddling his hips and slowly undoing his tie for the spot. “She’s describing an awesome date.”

“Really?” Anna asked, eyebrows arching in what she hoped was family-friendly arousal. “Who have you dated so secretly that they required driving through LA at night without headlights?” 

“No, I wasn’t driving,” Chris said. “I had the red lip classic thing that he liked.”

That startled a real laugh out of Anna, there at the end of the dumbest fucking job she had ever done with the dumbest fucking guyloaf she had ever known. 

“Happy Holidays, Pine,” she said. “I don’t hate you, for all that I hate pretty much everything about you.”

He reached up his hand to tap her on the chin adorably. Somehow, he managed to unsettle his hips, knock her over, and bang her head as she fell out of the car. 

“I lied,” she said from the ground. “I fucking hate you.”