What it Means...

Troy bit the end of his pencil, glancing around at his classmates' papers.

What it Means to Stick your Ring Finger up in Korea, by Leonard Rodriguez.

What it Means when a Man says he'll "Call", By Annie Edison.

Troy tentatively put his pencil to the page. He randomly looked around the room for inspiration. He saw Starburns and Leonard. They were friends.

Friends.

Idea time!

What it Means to...Be a Friend. He hastily wrote.

He stared at the sentence for a few minutes, than remembered he was being timed. He started tapping his foot in a slight panic, trying to think of how to start. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Abed, busily scribbling away on his third sheet of paper.

Abed.

Suddenly, the words were flowing from Troy's pencil like water.

Being a friend means being someone who likes all the same stuff as someone else.

He almost stopped, trying to think of how to make what he wrote less lame, but words continued to pour out without permission.

Like paintball, spaceships, pillow and blanket forts. Like zombie apocalypses and dreams and origami and handshakes and singing and Christian Bale movies.

It means accepting things about each other.

Like that one of you is never really going to understand facial expressions.

Or the other one just isn't that great at school.

One of you is always going to worship John Hudges' work, and the other one cries every time the two of you watch Pretty Women.

But it also means learning from each other. It means learning how to act calm around other people, or learning that it's OK to be geeky. Even if you do wear a letterman jacket.

It means he helps you study extra hours before Spanish quizzes and you help as he slowly picks up "jealousy" and "love struck" from watching Friends.

It means he hands you tissues when Pretty Women ends and promises not to tell anyone.

It means sacrifice.

It means that, no matter what, he drops whatever he's doing and hugs you whenever there's a thunderstorm because they still freak you out a little.

It means you hold his hand when he's stressed out because it calms him down.

It means he changes the ice on your sprained ankle every two hours, even though it means missing the beginning of Firefly reruns.

It means you pretend not to notice the Word Document with 'Troy' typed in a million different fonts all over it.

It means he quickly deletes it when you enter the room.

It means he gives you everything he has.

It means- when he wakes you up in the middle of the night and blurts out, in that strange monotone voice,

"OK, listen up. I have a very strong urge to kiss you, and if I don't do so right now I might have a physical breakdown."- you don't freak out.

It means you sit up and let him kiss you.

It means you even kiss him back.

Even if it feels weird or wrong, you let him snake his arms around your shoulders, run his hands through your hair.

Because you know he would do the same for you, if the roles were reversed.

It means wishing you could love him back, the way he loves you.

It means accepting you can't.

It means knowing the best you can do is be a friend.

It means being geeky and fun and building crazy things and singing about Doris Day and shooting paint at each other, the way you always have.

It means being the best you can, and hoping it's enough./

Troy put his pencil down, mentally drained. He picked up his paper and walked to the front of the room. He past by Abed. Their hands brushed against each other as he went. Troy stopped. He whispered down to Abed so softly his lips barely moved.

"I'm sorry I couldn't-"

Abed didn't look up.

"I know."

His carmel colored hand curled around Troy's dark one.

"It's cool. It's cool, cool, cool."

For a split second they stood there frozen.

And then Troy walked forward, and put his paper on the teacher's desk.

He got an A.