Intermediate Gay Subtext

A/N: A sequel to "Introduction to Homoeroticism," because apparently I just can't leave these boys alone…with each other. (Also, I refuse to believe that Abed sleeps in the bottom bunk, as seen in the last episode. I simply refuse.)

The day Abed corners Troy in what passes for their living room and pins him with a look, Troy's heart thuds up into his throat the way it's been doing every time Abed looks at him lately, every time he gets that calculated look that means he's got something important to say, and it's not about Inspector Spacetime.

Not that Inspector Spacetime isn't important. It really, really is.

Troy's heart is especially susceptible to throat-thudding today because of the way this afternoon Abed did a different impression whenever he read out a question to the group while they were all studying for their Biology midterm.

Troy hasn't thought about Abed and the…thing that happened for weeks, or at least not for more than a couple of seconds. (Though a good number of the other seconds have been spent very carefully not thinking about Abed and…things.) But today it's like one look, one elf maiden, and he's back to day one.

Or maybe every day is day one and Troy just forgets that every day until it's day one again. That's one thing Troy's good at, forgetting.

Except for this.

Looking down at the Raiders of the Lost Ark model, Troy reaches out a finger and touches it. He means to only touch it lightly, so it wobbles but doesn't fall, but he misjudges. Things can be a lot more sensitive than you think they are, sometimes.

Abed catches it at the bottom, turns it in his hands as he says, "Do you remember the time we almost rolled a die to see who would go get the pizza at our apartment-warming party?"

Troy nods.

"Do you ever wonder what those alternate timelines would have been like?"

Troy nods again. "Of course. At least once a week."

Abed has that look on his face, the one he gets when he's worried that there should be something he's worried about, only he's not worried about it because it's something he doesn't get. (Like that time Shirley was mad at Britta because Britta had made another joke about Andre and strippers and Abed just sat at the table in the study room and looked between them, confusion over not being confused knitting his forehead.)

Abed still holds the fake boulder in his hand. "Do you wish there was an alternate timeline where we didn't…?" Like he promised, Abed doesn't say the words.

Troy thinks about it. Friends don't lie to each other. That's always been the deal. "No," he says, and finds that it's true.

Abed breathes out in what seems to be relief (it sure looks like relief, but with Abed you never really know), and then becomes the self Troy knows again, moving way too fast for anyone else to keep up. "Good," he says, "Because I've run the scenarios. I've examined this from every conceivable angle. We," he flicks his finger between the two of them, "are the only couple that wouldn't tear the group apart."

And Troy thinks about it, thinks about how Britta is really cool but she kind of scares him sometimes, about how smiley Annie has been all week and how she giggled when she saw Jeff this morning and Jeff practically giggled back.

Abed thankfully interrupts before he can get to thinking about Pierce. "Usually I wouldn't suggest a repeat performance until months from now, after we'd moved on and maybe after you'd dated and been dumped by Britta, proving that I was right all along."

Troy gives an insulted squawk, but Abed holds up a hand and Troy knows that means he can't stop Abed when he's on a roll this good. "Ordinarily, it would happen when you had come over to my apartment crying to say she'd kicked you out and could you stay with me for a while? And I'd say I always kept your bunk made for you and you'd say something like, 'We'll only be needing one bunk tonight.' Then we'd get drunk again and…"

Troy becomes aware that his mouth is open and his eyes are zipping back and forth as he pictures the situation, laid out in such precise detail in Abed's clipped voice. He becomes aware that Abed still isn't saying the words.

He becomes aware that he kind of wants him to.

"Uh-huh" is all he can manage.

"But I should have known that it would be different, and the order would be wrong. We kind of transcend stereotypes, after all," Abed says.

"Yeah we do," Troy agrees.

"Looking down upon stereotype to comment on them, as if gods of our own little world, controllers of our destinies…"

In the end, Troy kisses him to shut him up, even though in the back of his head there's a voice wondering if maybe that ruins the whole transcending stereotypes thing. Then another voice wondering if, even if that doesn't, the fact that there's a voice does.

But by that point, Troy doesn't really care.


This time, things go much better.

Afterwards, Abed leans up on an elbow and asks, careful and quiet, "Do you want me to go up to my bunk now?"

Troy laughs a laugh he realizes probably sounds very nervous, but it's mostly just that he never thought he'd be here. Not like this, anyway.

But that doesn't mean he doesn't want to be. Troy feels something, something awake and alive and a little bit weird but maybe a little bit magical too. Because Abed does make them all more magical, Troy really believes that. I mean, you have to believe something when it's true.

"No, that's okay," he tells Abed.

Abed is still looking at him, head cocked and eyes shrewd, the way he gets when he's trying to puzzle through something. "Troy," he says. "You know my observational skills don't extend toward feelings all that much. I'm never going to know for sure what you want unless you tell me," and Troy knows that's true too. Sooner or later, he's going to have to say the words. He's going to have to talk about it.

"I want us to keep being best friends," he says. Abed nods once and Troy thinks he sees some unnamable something shutter down over Abed's eyes as he rolls toward the edge of the bed. Troy grabs his arm before he sits up. "But I want us to keep doing this, too," he says to Abed's back.

Abed rolls toward him again, hand hovering over Troy's hip, still afraid to touch, and the hesitation is so unlike Abed and so like him at the same time. Troy takes his hand and puts it over Abed's, presses it down till he can feel Abed's fingers, warm skin on warm skin.

"You're sure." Abed asks in a way that takes Troy a minute to figure out it's a question.

"Yeah I'm sure," he says, and finds suddenly that the words are coming easier. That maybe once you say one thing it's easier to say everything. He leans into Abed, nose to neck. "You're my favorite person times, like, twelve now," Troy says, and Abed smiles against Troy's forehead, sighs and lies back on the pillow. And there's nothing truer than that.