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Far From Armageddon

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It's not the end of the world. It's not even Snowmageddon or Tornadocalypse or anything like that.

It's just a gloomy February Friday, full of slush and glowering clouds and wind to crack your knuckles that has turned, inexorably and achingly, into a dark and even colder night.

"Come over," Ann said when she called Leslie's cell and learned Leslie was still in the office updating her campaign finance spreadsheets while writing thank-you notes for the Winter Fun Fest at Ramsett Park and tweeting safety tips for snowshoeing and winter kayaking in city parks. "We can get pizza and watch movies and hang out."

"Annnnnnn," Leslie whined. "I caaaaaaaan't."

Ann knew she was halfway to crumbling. "Come on, Leslie."


"I Tivo'd that movie on Lifetime you wanted to see."

Leslie's breath caught. "Lone Star Standout: The Towering Legacy and Intimate Loves of Barbara Charline Jordan?" She gulped. "Really?"

"Really," Ann replied, but Leslie had already hung up.

She rapped on Ann's door ten minutes later, so hard that the screen door rattled.


Ann is fairly sure that Leslie sleeps, at most, forty minutes a night. "Sleep's for the dead," Leslie insists. "It's what happens when you run out of things to accomplish and problems to solve and projects to tackle."

But she snuggles like a world champion. Ann has her theories about why; they center on Marlene Knope's aloofness, which left Leslie eager not only for female validation but also starved for touch. Right now, she's curled up under the afghan in a sloppy S, head resting against Ann's shoulder.

They've nearly polished off a large pizza, two bags of microwave popcorn, and Leslie's back-up supply of Twizzlers, and the movie is heading into its dénouement, when the first snore sounds. Ann's stretched out with her head back against the pillows and legs akimbo; the dead weight of Leslie against her is warm and steady. The snore startles her awake, snaps her to attention, but Leslie doesn't do much more than shift closer. She buries her face into Ann's arm, snuffling a little, and sort of *oozes* forward, until her arm is draped across Ann's waist.

The afghan's slipped off Leslie's back, so Ann retucks it around them and wiggles back into the embrace. Not for the first time, she wishes she'd let Andy order The Clapper so she could turn off the lights and TV without moving. Rather than getting up, she tugs the blanket over her chin and burrows downward, snaking her arm behind Leslie, until the granny square is over her eyes, her cheek is smushed against Leslie's skull, and Leslie's white-blonde hair, smelling like Pixie Sticks and winter air, is tickling her lips.

When she breathes out, Leslie murmurs something about an ordinance and squirms closer; when she inhales, Leslie sighs happily and mutters, "Madam President..."

It's not the end of the world; it's nothing big. It's just another Friday night in Pawnee.