In the end, Ann wound up running Leslie’s campaign again. Because that’s what happens when you break up--over waffles, no less--with your boyfriend in the middle of the election bid your boyfriend’s running. Something about a lack of communication, or not paying attention to him, or something like that. Leslie doesn’t remember the details, only the outcome: Ben simultaneously quits his job and her life, though he promises that one day, years from now, he’ll call her again. Says she’s a wonderful person, but a crappy girlfriend.
So here’s Leslie, sitting in her kitchen, pretty sure she’s heartbroken, and not sure how on earth she’s going to manage to get that next rally organized. Of course, the only person she can call is Ann Perkins.
Sweet, beautiful, Ann, who goes along with Leslie’s contradictory statements and will do anything for her, no matter how far-fetched it may seem or how Ann herself may feel about it. Ann, who even though she is not, at the time, in charge of the campaign, will always answer her phone for Leslie in the middle of the night. Which is good, because by the time Leslie gets herself under control enough to call her, it’s nearly two in the morning. Hey, waffles are as delicious at eleven at night as they are at eleven in the morning. Don’t judge.
Within half an hour, Ann is on Leslie’s doorstep, waiting with a tub of ice cream and some bad romcoms, so she can hold Leslie while she cries it out of her system and make sure she actually gets to bed. Leslie gets pretty wired on ice cream. Ann also cancels everything Ben scheduled for Leslie to do the next day, secretly the slightest bit glad Ben’s gone. She hardly manages to admit it to herself, but it was sort of strange, she thinks, how much control Ben had over Leslie.
About two hours later, Leslie’s still asleep, and Ann realizes her logic makes no sense at all. With Ben around, Leslie actually focused all her energy, not only in one direction, but in one direction that might actually get her somewhere. While this logical inconsistency is jarring, Ann has little time to analyze it. After all, the vote takes place in a week (thank god), so they have to survive for this last stretch. For Leslie.
The frantically tumble through the next week together, barely escaping catastrophes everywhere they turn, because it’s Leslie. Catastrophes adore Leslie. To this day, Ann’s a little unsure whether the relationship is reciprocated. They run non-stop, and half the time Ann crashes at Leslie’s and the other half Leslie falls asleep mid-sentence on Ann’s sofa. Ann might prank her, if she weren’t so tired herself, but as it is she smiles every time she sees Leslie transition from overwhelmingly energetic to basically passed out in a matter of mere seconds.
Pretty soon, it’s day of the election and everything goes deceptively smoothly. They actually get to their respective houses at a reasonable hour, and Ann finds herself alone for the first time all week. She knows she should be happy about this, because she generally likes having personal space, but she can’t quite seem to. She takes a long shower, makes herself dinner, and finally sits down to on her sofa to watch TV or maybe a movie. As she does, she remembers Leslie, sprawled out asleep, with that ridiculous expression on her face. Her stomach flutters, and she wonders how she could possibly be missing Leslie when she’s seen so much of her lately. After awhile, she remembers being happy when Ben left, for some reason she hasn’t had time to process. First she feels guilty, because Leslie loved Ben, and is sad without him, but through the guilt there’s something else, something unnameable but growing. She’s not sure if she wants to laugh or cry, but eventually comes to the startling realization she’d gladly do either if only Leslie were here to do it with her.
As if cued the phone rings, and of course it’s Leslie. Ann picks it up and holds it about four inches from her face. She’s learned her lesson. Sure enough, as soon as the line’s connected, Leslie practically yells into her ear.
“Ann! Ann I need you to come over because I’m having last minutes doubts and do I even really want this job? I mean of course I do, I always have, but it’s so much work and what if I don’t get it anyway, Ann? What if I lose? I--”
Ann cuts her off at that. “Leslie, Breathe.”
“I don’t know if I can. I’m too busy thinking. Or talking. Or both.”
“Leslie,” Ann’s using her calm voice now, the one that gets little kids to stop crying when the doctor comes to reset their dislocated limbs. “Just breathe for me, okay.” If breathing could sound dubious, Leslie’s would about now, but dubious breathing is still breathing, so Ann’s happy with it. “That’s it, Les. Now, you know there’s nothing we can do anyway, right?”
“Yes.” She sounds practically morose, but at least she’s calm.
“You still want me to come over?”
“Yes.” Oh god, was that a sniffle?
“I’ll be there in five minutes.”
“Thank you Ann! You’re the best, you really are. The best-ever best friend. Ever. See you in five, Ann.”
“See you, Leslie.”
Ann finds that, for some incomprehensible reason, she doesn’t mind getting dressed again and leaving for Leslie’s in the middle of the night. Given the sniffles, she figures she better bring some chocolate, and as soon as she finds it she’s out of the house, in clothes that are but a minuscule step up from her pajamas. To her surprise, she realizes she’s humming on the drive there, and when she reaches Leslie’s doorbell she finds the ineffable feeling from earlier had returned. She honestly had no idea if she was so nervous she was nearly about to puke or the happiest she’d ever been.
Then Leslie opens the door, and she looks as much like a wreck as Ann’s ever seen her look. Her hair is mussed, her eyes are swollen and red, but when upon seeing Ann she lights up again and is almost her usual self.
“Ann! Thank you so much for coming, I know you haven’t been home in a long time, but the results won’t be in until tomorrow and I think I’ll go crazy before then.”
“It’s okay, Leslie, I don’t mind, not really....Here, I brought you chocolate.”
“Chocolate! You are a genius, Ann, a beautiful, sweet, genius.”
Ann just beams.
There is something out of place between them, that night. Some tension has settled with the whirlwind of the election, and Ann’s not sure if she’s imagining the way Leslie lingers whenever she touches Ann, or how close she lets their faces come, as though they are a mere thought away from kissing. Eventually they both fall asleep on the couch halfway through the seven-hour BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, which seemed a suitable distraction for them both. They made fun of Mr. Collins and his face at the mention of his patroness. They ohhh’d and aww’d and made other overly emotional cute noises for Elizabeth and Jane, and compared Mrs. Bennet to their own mothers. Finally, though, the sun begins to shine in through the window, and Ann blinks awake to the realization that at some point in the night she and Leslie wound up spooning, with Ann’s front pressed to Leslie’s back, and her arm wrapped around Leslie’s stomach. Ann tries to move her arm without waking Leslie, but Leslie’s got her in a death grip. But before she really has time to process this, the phone rings.
“Leslie.” No response. “Leslie, wake up. Come on, Les.” Ann finally resorts to shaking her awake.
“Ann,” Leslie is deadly serious, “The phone is ringing.” Slowly, she moves to pick it up, sitting up as she does so. She is quiet for a moment, intensely concentrating, then, her face blank, tells the phone “thank you” before setting it down. She turns to look at Ann, and breaks into a grin.
“We did it Ann! We did it. I got elected. I got the job.” Suddenly their both laughing and with even less lead time Leslie’s kissing Ann, her hands winding in Ann’s hair and Ann is kissing her back.
Just as quickly as it began, the kiss ends. They sit on opposite ends of the sofa, both intensely interested in their bare feet. Ann feels like a teenager, and thinks she should probably have grown out of this level of awkwardness at some point.
“I...I’m sorry, Ann.” Ann’s heart plummets.
“It’s okay,” Ann replies, barely whispering, “It’s just the adrenaline or something. I mean, we’ve both worked so hard on this election, we just got carried away.”
“Yeah.” Leslie’s still concentrating on her toes.
“It doesn’t change anything.”
“No, not at all.” And then Leslie makes some joke--or maybe Leslie was being serious, it’s hard to tell sometimes with Leslie--and Ann laughs and they spend the rest of the day in a flurry of activity again. There’s the team to inform and speeches to be made and a rally to be had, and Leslie and Ann aren’t alone together until a week later, when they meet at Ann’s house to finish Pride and Prejudice.
The movie, or TV series, more accurately, is fun and relaxing, and somehow (Ann’s really not sure how) they wind up having a tickle fight. Somehow, Ann winds up sitting on top of Leslie, Leslie’s hips between hers, Leslie’s hands captured in Ann’s and pinned to the sofa above Leslie’s head. They pause for a moment, both out of breath, and in that moment Ann’s heart skips a beat, and she leans down until her face is just above Leslie’s. This time, it’s not the adrenaline at all, and Leslie tastes sweet in her mouth and Ann melts into her. This time, Leslie’s hips buck up into Ann’s and Ann stands up, lifting Leslie with her, and divests her of her clothes as Ann guides them both to bed.
The next morning they wake up together, snuggled beneath the sheets and in dire need of a shower.
“Leslie,” Ann whispers, “I think this changes things.”
Leslie swallows, “Ann,” she replies, “I love you.”
“I love you too, Les.” and then they’re both smiling and spending the entire day together and realizing that maybe, having things change isn’t so bad after all.