So I am grossly and probably not allowed to be writing fic for this show, seeing as how I've only seen a grand total of about five episodes, but it's two in the morning and caring was never an option.
"I'm Luke Skywalker; I'm here to rescue you!" (Star Wars: A New Hope; 1977)
Annie has this banana-flavored chapstick that she carries around in her pocket and turns over in her fingers when she's thinking very hard. Abed watches the movement and the spin of the tube between her digits and it draws patterns in the air.
She had tasted like bananas when he kissed her beneath the torrential downpour of orange paint, which he had never imagined Princess Leia would taste like. Did they even have bananas on Alderaan?
When she wears yellow, it's like she matches her taste, bouncing through the halls and beaming. Her hair bounces. It's not in braided buns at either side of her head (Troy calls them cinnabuns), but it's still nice. It still holds stars, sometimes.
Wonderful girl, he thinks automatically. Either I'm going to kill her, or I'm beginning to like her!
Minus the killing part. Han Solo isn't exactly the wisest speaker in the galaxy, but he's something to go by.
"It is so nice when you can sit with someone and not have to talk." (When Harry Met Sally…; 1989)
Abed finds Annie crying in the girl's bathroom entirely by accident. Sometimes he walks in there without paying attention. (One time someone almost threw a tampon at him, but then she stopped because she realized how adorable he was. He was very proud.)
"Annie?" he calls out automatically, recognizing her red Mary Janes. The rest of the bathroom is empty. He hopes Annie won't throw a tampon at him.
"Abed!" she squeaks, and there's a shuffle and a thud and she lets out a whine of "owww."
"Are you crying?" he asks, with genuine curiosity, even though he definitely knows the answer. Sometimes it's nice to play along.
"N-No," she stammers back with a loud snuffle. "Listen, just – just go to the boys' bathroom, okay? I don't think you're supposed to be in here."
"I know I'm not supposed to be in here," he assures her evenly. "But you're not supposed to be crying."
There's silence, for a while, and he hears Annie sniffling a bit, but then the door to the off-green stall opens and she steps out, one hand grasping the strap of her backpack. Her cheeks are splotchy, but she's smiling a little.
"So what's wrong? What is it?" he inquires. He's Emilio Estevez this time. His voice is a little lower, a little tighter.
Annie blinks at him, wide-eyed like a deer or a parakeet, maybe.
"Is it bad?" he continues, just the right amount of pauses, and it's just like the movie, except that Abed's father is not the mindless machine that Abed can't relate to; it's the other way around. "Real bad? Parents?"
Annie swallows something down, and her smile broadens, but it starts to wrinkle up, too, and her eyes get wetter and her eyebrows start to push together. She nods.
"Yeah," she whispers.
"What do they do to you?" Abed murmurs. Jeff can be Judd Nelson, and Britta can be Molly Ringworm.
Annie gulps again, understanding, always so good at playing along, such a perfect co-star; he could stand against a sunset with her and the credits could roll and it would be spectacular. But there are tears running down her face again, and her voice is loud with pent-up sadness and frustration and emotion, and he tries to convince himself that he knows what to do.
"They ignore me," she sobs.
They sit against the bathroom wall next to the sinks after Abed shoves the trash can against the door so nobody can get in, and he's never heard anybody cry so loudly, so sorely.
It's weird. He puts his palm on top of Annie's small clenched fist and it only makes her cry harder, but when he draws away apologetically, she holds it there.
"Tyrell had told me Rachael was special. No termination date. I didn't know how long we had together… Who does?" (Blade Runner; 1982)
She's the Rachael to his Deckard. The Leia to his Han. The Allison to his Andrew. The Ilsa to his Rick, the Sloane to his Ferris, the Marion to his Indiana, the Maria to his Tony (say it loud and there's music playing).
But he's the Duckie to her Andie. And Andie goes for Blaine at the end of the movie. It's not a name; it's a kitchen appliance. But Andie makes her choice.
Andie is only one letter away from Annie.
"Me? I'm scared of everything. I'm scared of what I saw, I'm scared of what I did, of who I am, and most of all I'm scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I'm with you." (Dirty Dancing; 1987)
Maybe Abed's more than a little scared. Annie's hair swings from shoulder to shoulder when she walks next to him in the halls, and her cheeks are pink in the spring and he wants to put his hands on either side of them before kissing her in the rain the way Ryan Gosling did in The Notebook – except he wouldn't have a beard, and she wouldn't have waited for him for seven years, and it wouldn't be too late.
Abed can think of a hundred different inspiring quotes from his favorite movies to describe the giddy dread that sits in his chest whenever Annie sits a little closer to him than she did the day before, but he wants to make it count. He wants it to be his. He wants to mean it.
Maybe that's the problem.
"A relationship, I think, is like a shark. You know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies." (Annie Hall; 1977)
Annie tells him first.
It's at a party, one that Troy's hosting, and she's a little tipsy from whatever they're drinking (Abed is drinking pomegranate juice; it's tasty). Her hair is up in a bun and her shoulders are small beneath her bright yellow sundress, and she twists her fingers into his and he stands ramrod straight, wondering what's going on, and wondering why he has to wonder what's going on when he very clearly knows.
"I'm glad I met you," she murmurs, leaning over a little and putting her face in the crook between his shoulder and neck. Her eyelashes brush against his skin and he stands up even straighter.
"Yes," he replies. Good response. A single syllable is enough.
"I want to continue meeting you," she continues, a little more slurred, but she's laughing into his sweater, "for the – rest of my life."
"Yes," he repeats, quieter this time. Annie lifts her head up from his shoulder and her eyelids are drooping; her eyelashes are curling, her lips are parted just a tiny bit and her teeth are very white, and she props herself up on the tiptoes of her red Mary Janes and pecks him on the lips. Bananas. Softness. A smile, resting against his mouth for a moment. Annie.
"Love is too weak a word for what I feel," he blurts out before he can stop himself, automatic as ever, his voice adopting that Woody Allen stammer. "I lurve you, you know; I - I - I loave you. I luff you, two F's, yes I have to invent—of course I do, I do; don't you think I do?"
But Annie has leaned back before he finishes. He keeps going anyway, because he doesn't like to leave a line unsaid. She looks shocked, though. Too shocked. Frighteningly so. And frighteningly disappointed, and her smile is wrinkling down into the frown he'd seen against the bathroom tile, and his mind scrambles around.
"Annie Hall," she chokes out, throwing her plastic cup on the floor. "Annie Hall! Annie Hall!"
"It fits because that's your name and I luff you!" he exclaims, but she's already turned around and run, scattering the small crowd as she throws open the front door and sprints away. He's never seen Annie move so fast.
Jeff is at his shoulder, chewing on peanuts.
"You know Alvy Singer only said that because he was afraid to admit he loved her, right?" Jeff snarks out in something like disappointment.
"No," Abed admits, his eyes wide. "I did not know that."
"I've never forgotten any of those people or any of the voices we would hear on the radio. Though the truth is, with the passing of each New Year's Eve, those voices do seem to grow dimmer and dimmer." (Radio Days; 1987)
Abed sits alone at lunch for three days because maybe he's embarrassed about how blank Annie's face looks the first time he tries to sit down next to her after the party. Is that what he looks like most of the time?
Britta, blonde curls spilling over her leather jacket, sits across from him on Wednesday, a single apple on her tray.
"Is this the part where you, being a significant Tertiary Character relevant to my story arc, tell me to go after the girl before I lose her, even though I won't actually lose her because it's a happy ending and I'm going to get the girl anyway?" he inquires mechanically, blinking protuberantly at the apple to focus.
"No, Abed," she replies as gently as possible. "This is the part where you earn your happy ending."
Abed folds his lips in, furrowing his eyebrows.
"You are not actually the worst," he admits monotonously.
"I know," she replies cheerfully, and Abed stands to leave.
"With the whole world crumbling, we pick this time to fall in love." (Casablanca; 1942)
It's dusk, and the quad is empty, but Abed is sitting on the stone bench thumping his leg and Annie is next to him. They had heard Shirley giggling conspiratorially from a bush earlier, and Annie had shrieked at her to vacate the premises, and Shirley had cried out, "Don't hurt me; I have a famiy!"
Abed tilts his head. He can hear crickets. He can hear thunder, too, drumming imminently in the distance. It'll rain soon. He hopes it will fit the mood.
"I think I'm really sorry," he says frankly.
Annie bites her lip.
"You think?" she repeats emptily. Annie shouldn't be empty. She should be filled with sunshine, and knowledge, and a peckish need for a little immaturity in her life, a little bit of him.
"I've thought about our current situation," he continues as though he hadn't heard her. "And I've realized that dishonesty is not a wise avenue for me to take."
"Dishonesty?" Annie chokes out, standing. "So the – the luffing and the lurving – that was a lie?"
"No!" Abed exclaims, and his hand shoots out and grasps her wrist as she starts to step away. She halts, but doesn't look at him. Her hair is so still. "I don't – I don't suppose it was. I'd been evaluating the best way to convey it for a while. And I decided Woody Allen was a good way to go."
"Annie Hall doesn't have a happy ending," Annie murmurs. He wishes she didn't know. "It's about how – love is impermanent. And it's also about dead sharks."
"That was a metaphor," Abed corrects her. "But we have an alive shark, I think. A very alive shark."
Annie turns, softly, and her wrist stops tugging against his hand. She stands in front of him in her tweed skirt and her blue turtleneck with the short sleeves. There's a smear of mustard in the corner of her lips.
"I want our shark to swim," he tells her earnestly, and it's a little bit better than before – he's still working from other material, certainly, but that line was not in the movie; he knows this. "Very far. Actually."
"Stand up," she whispers. He obeys, shuffling.
She lifts one cautious hand and touches it to his cheek. He blinks down at her, showing no visible reaction, but inside he is buzzing, and maybe this is what Andrew felt like when he gave Allison his sweatshirt.
She smiles. It's dazzling. It would look so nice in monochrome, brighter than the sun. Brighter than the lights in Señor Chang's class when he turns them to their full intensity, but better. Warmer. Softer.
"I wish I didn't love you so much," she breathes out through a little bit of laughing and a little bit of crying, and Abed's face lifts into a grin.
He kisses her. There's no paint pouring onto them, but it's something. She tastes like the popcorn at the first movie he'd seen, and she tastes like the clouds in the blue sky on a summer's day, and he has no idea what to do with his hands so he cups her face like Ryan Gosling did and hopes for the best.
It starts raining. He could laugh, but laughing isn't really his style. That's Annie's, when she wraps her arms around his neck and pulls him closer and Shirley starts whooping from Bush #2 and Britta starts clapping and Jeff groans about how bored he is and Pierce nods with an approving smile and Troy starts crying and shouting "PROUD MOMMY! PROUD, PROUD MOMMY!"
Abed is proud, too. He throws his fist in the air when he walks across the football field the next morning, the dew pushing into his sneakers.
Annie is a star in his saga. And when she laughs against his mouth, he knows he's earned it.
"I luff you," she murmurs in the dark.
"I know," he replies. Ad lib can be pretty fun. Cool, he thinks. Coolcoolcool.