A/N: someone tell me how i started watching this show this week and i'm already a season in? weird lol

anyway, had this idea partway into the first season. no real shipping, just tried to write a sweet moment or two. i'm also being kind of lazy, so this is short and not super detailed - oh well! :)

He stumbles over his own feet for just a moment, and she clumsily stifles a laugh. The semester is over, the night outside the library is dark, and their entire study group is covered in dirt and bruises. The versions of themselves enrolling for courses, learning this campus for the very first time, could never have foreseen a fight out on the lawn bringing their very first semester to a close.

"Hang on, hang on," she says. He stops reaching for his coat as Britta grabs his face and gives him a cursory once-over. The blood on his face has dried and his expression is equal parts tired and vaguely impatient. "You got punched pretty hard, sure you don't have a concussion?"

Jeff smiles. "Pierce doesn't hit that hard." He proves it by slowly pulling on his jacket and walking right into the corner of the library table.

She lightly shakes her head. "How about I drive you home?"

"No concussion, no way," he starts, fishing through his pockets, but Britta simply holds his keys up and grins.

"Willing to bet your Lexus on it?"

"Hilarious. I'm not going to crash my –"

"Feel like paying for repairs?"

A sigh: "I'm parked in the west lot."

His apartment is far cleaner than she expects it to be, far more polished, and far more bare. There are two fairly bland pieces of artwork on the wall, no photos, and not a single thing out of its ordinary place.

The messiest thing in the whole place is Jeff himself, and the visual of him simply tossing himself onto a clean, perfectly-made bed strikes her as something oddly misplaced. A man that does not quite match his surroundings.

Britta offers an incredulous chuckle. "You're not going to shower or anything? Get out of those clothes?"

His reply is mostly muffled into a pillow. "You gonna take them off me?" He turns his head to reveal half a smile. "I'm tired and my head hurts. I'll do it tomorrow." His ears ring in the silence between each of his words, but the two of them know full well he'll be fine.

"Suit yourself."

She starts to go, but he stops her before she reaches the door. "You should stay for a few minutes."

She turns. Jeff sounds half-asleep, but his eyes are wide open. There's a chair by the side of the bed that finds her, and she asks, "Oh yeah? How come?"

"I don't know. Say something? What did you do today?"

All at once, Britta feels the urge to reply – "A bedtime story, Winger? Or would you prefer a lullaby?" – and forces it down. She was never excellent at reading people, but she catches a rare, fleeting moment of vulnerability flash across Jeff's face.

For one of her closer friends, Jeff has remained intentionally elusive, keeping mentions of his life before Greendale expertly vague. Britta knows they must exist, but no parents, siblings, or old friends have ever come up in conversation with more than a passing acknowledgement. She glances up at the bare room around her and back at her friend – and it begins to dawn on her.

When is a house not a home?

"Well… I got up at like 7:15," she starts and continues. She runs through the day, her classes, her lunch, sparing few details, until she's sure he must be asleep. And then she adds one more thing, her voice barely louder than a whisper: "Just to check... this doesn't change anything, right?"

She doesn't expect any kind of real answer. Jeff's only response is a sleepy, "Hm?" that she brushes off as she reaches for her jacket.

"Don't worry about it," she says. "Good night, Jeff."

"Merry December 10th," he mumbles without opening his eyes and she grins.

"Merry December 10th."