Author's notes: This is a fic that will, at some point, have a happy ending where Troy and Abed get together. Before that there will be pining, the rest of the ensemble, Annie and Abed being awesome as bros together, and a mockumentary style format, brought to you, in part, by a surplus of Modern Family.
Sadly, there will be no porn. (Not counting any possible mentions of it by Pierce.)
Many thanks to cherrycoloured, who I bounced ideas off of, and Phoeny (aka Suzakusama on ff . net), who patiently beta'd this thing. :)
Spoilers: There are, probably, references from the first three seasons of Community present in this fic. Most of them come from seasons two and three but there might be a few from season one that I'm overlooking. The point is, there are spoilers for the first three seasons of Community.
Disclaimer: I don't own Community or any of its affiliations. I'm just playing in the sandbox Dan Harmon created.
"It starts with a conversation. An awkward conversation."
"Abed!" Knock knock knock. "Abed!" Knock knock knock. "Abe—"
"If you're attempting to pay homage to The Big Bang Theory, it would help if you weren't knocking on your own door," Abed points out, poking his head out of the blanket fort.
"I know! But knocking directly on the blanket fort isn't really a possibility," Annie explains.
"True," Abed agrees with a frown. "It pains me to admit this but the fabric isn't really a good hardwood substitute. ...Do you think I should get a door?"
"What?" Annie startles. "Abed, no! You don't need an actual door just to pay homage to a show!"
"Knocking on any hard surface is fine so long as you want to achieve a passable audio facsimile, but to anyone viewing the scenario from outside..." Abed mutters drifting into what Annie recognizes as 'Director mode'. "I think it would be best to get a door. How expensive are they? Or maybe I can borrow Troy's. Do you have a hammer and a screwdriver?"
"Abed! I wasn't trying to get you to steal Troy's door; I just thought you'd appreciate the reference!" Annie exclaims. Privately though, she's positive that Troy would let Abed take his door even if it is just so that they can mimic Sheldon's knock. She's not too sure why since Troy doesn't care much for the actual show; he'll only watch it if Abed's watching it. She's also pretty sure Abed knows Troy doesn't really like The Big Bang Theory; nowadays he only watches it when Troy's not home.
"Oh, I do," Abed assures. "Thanks."
"Although in terms of sitcoms I prefer Cougar Town and Friends. Don't get me wrong, The Big Bang Theory is reputable enough—six seasons is nothing to sneeze at and BNL sings their opening theme—"
"BNL!" Annie can't help interrupting to cheer because, you know, Barenaked Ladies. Abed raises his fist in agreement because, yeah, he knows, Barenaked Ladies.
"—but a lot of its humor is physics based, which I never really took a shine to."
"No, the physics."
"I thought you still watched it when you could, though?" Annie questions because she's sure she's seen him watching it every now and again.
"Of course I do; it's a good show. But that doesn't mean I love it enough to go out and buy all five seasons on box set DVD."
"Aren't they on your birthday list?"
"Other people are always welcome to buy me things."
"I... see?" Annie ends up saying questioningly.
"Thought you would," Abed responds with a smile and a quick finger gun. That said, a sort of silence falls onto the two of them where Annie stares at Abed from just outside her room while Abed stares calmly back from just outside the blanket fort. It's not a bad sort of silence and Annie can't help smiling a little because it's fantastic that she has this; this friendship where you don't always need to talk to fill the silences. "Did you need something?" Abed asks eventually.
"Oh!" Annie exclaims as she remembers why she came to Abed in the first place. "Right. Abed," she says and then pauses to take a deep breath.
"This is gonna be good," Abed mumbles earnestly.
"We need to talk," Annie finishes determinedly. "Wait, what did you say?"
"I knew it," Abed says with a snap of his fingers. "Sorry Annie but could you hold that thought? This feels like a particularly critical moment or, at the very least, a moment rife with opportunity. I need my camera." And with that, he disappears into the blanket fort.
"Abed!" Annie gapes, staring at the fort entry with an affronted expression. "I...!" She blinks and then takes a calming breath moving her hands in a downward motion as she tries to gain back her control. "Okay," she says to herself. "This is... this is okay. I can have this discussion with Director Abed too."
"Glad you think that," Abed says with an excited smile, as he comes bursting out of the fort. "Because this talk feels like it's leading to something epic and this camera is going to follow that story every step of the way."
"Is it on right now?" Annie asks warily.
"No. The battery needs charging so in the interest of saving power, I'll need to start filming when you start talking about whatever it is we need to talk about," Abed says, frowning at the handheld device and its power limitations. "But if necessary, I guess we could always re-enact the conversation."
"This isn't really a scripted kind of thing," Annie frowns.
"You're right," Abed agrees. "The first take will be the most realistic, the most true. That's the kind of feeling I want for this film so try not to say anything too earth shattering or important until we're rolling," he advises sagely.
"If it's so important to you, why don't you start filming now?!" Annie says in frustration.
"Because you're not saying what needs to be said yet," Abed shrugs. "But when you do, I'll be sure to catch it all on film."
"Wait, you're not dumping me are you?" Abed asks suddenly.
"What?" Annie says, thrown off by the question. "No! Abed, we're not even dating."
"Just checking. I didn't think we were, but according to TV, 'we need to talk' is a break up sentence—"
"It is, but we were never together. We can't break up!"
"We could, but it wouldn't make much sense. If two characters that were never actually romantically together terminated their relationship, the audience wouldn't care since there was nothing to emotionally invest in. At most they'd feel bewildered, at the least, indifferent. Also, you're a good friend of mine," Abed frowns. "It would suck to lose that."
"This is not me breaking up with you!"
"Good," Abed says. "Because a film like that is the equivalent of me filming paint dry and if I wanted to do an art film, I'd get Britta on my film crew. No, right now, I want to do another documentary."
"Well good for you but all I want? Is to talk!" Annie shouts.
"About what?" Abed asks calmly, as he sets the camera up on the table so that both he and Annie will be visible for the conversation. "And action!" he says under his breath, pressing the button. The camera starts recording.
ABED NADIR – ASPIRING FILMMAKER
"I had a lot of ideas as to what Annie wanted to talk about," Abed says frankly, sitting on the edge of his bed in the blanket fort. "I thought she'd found out about the time Troy and I used Mr. Fluffykins, her purple stuffed animal, as a baseball for three innings. Or maybe she'd found out about the hole in the drywall we covered up with her vanity desk. Maybe she realized that I was the one who used her toothpaste that one time and squeezed from the middle instead of rolling it up from the end.
"The point is, I didn't think it mattered what, precisely, Annie wanted to talk about—I just thought I was about to get the beginning footage for my newest documentary."
The camera zooms in towards Abed after a brief pause. "Annie, if you're watching this, I'm sorry about all that stuff, by the way," he adds as an afterthought.
"About you!" Annie exclaims in irritation. "And how you keep staring. At Troy." She clears her throat, suddenly aware of what she's saying and slightly more awkward for it. "I think we need to talk about how you keep staring at Troy."
"Okay, I may be poor at reading social cues, but even I can tell that this is a set up towards an awkward conversation," Abed says after a brief pause.
"Um. Yay?" Annie cheers sheepishly.
Abed wonders if it's not too late to call Britta up and ask if she wants to do an art film with him.
ABED NADIR –ASPIRING FILMMAKER
Abed stares at the camera for a while. "I give her props for waiting until the camera was rolling," he says at last.
A moment of silence goes by.
"Also, I'd like to add that I'm significantly less sorry now."
ANNIE EDISON – MEDDLER
"I wasn't trying to meddle, okay!" Annie exclaims from the dining table. "And, alright, it's not unusual for Abed to just... take a step back and observe the group as an outsider as much as he can whilst keeping his position as a person actually in the observed group. That's why... that's why I didn't notice it at first. But we live together, you know? And when you live with someone who takes every opportunity to stare at the other person you're living with whenever he can, you start to notice it. You can't help it.
"But I wasn't going to interfere; not at first. Not if he stopped. But Abed didn't, is the thing. He started to do it more and more often with this unreadable expression on his face and I..." Annie trails.
She takes a deep breath, looks around and then says, in a careful, lower tone, "When they clashed in The Great Pillow War of 2012... it was the most terrible and sad thing I had ever witnessed happen to the two of them. It... it was worse than when Troy found Pierce's mom's corpse. Worse than when Abed thought we were all in stop motion that one Christmas. I mean, even when the war unofficially ended, they continued fighting for hours just because it meant they could spend a little more time together!
"All I wanted," she says softly. "Was for them to not have to go through that again."
Annie clears her throat. "That's why when Abed started this whole staring fiasco, I decided I'd do something; that I'd corner him, figure out what was wrong, and fix it. That's what I was prepared to do and I'm talking about a kind of preparedness that most people can't even imagine. I'm a prepared person. I even have graphs, statistics, and character references to support that statement. I'm not joking. Those bee-yotches are color coded." The camera cuts to footage of Annie putting together various kits. Annie adding pens into a spare pencil case for exams. Annie packing band-aids, gauze, and rubbing alcohol into a first-aid kit. Annie hanging a legend on her wall to indicate which highlighter color meant what in each subject. Annie taping a copy of the same legend in Troy's room. Annie attempting to sneak into the blanket fort with a third copy. Annie showing off her emergency mutant-gerbils-have-taken-over-the-city backpack.
"So when I say prepared? I mean it," Annie finishes with a fierce glare.
"Alright," Abed says determinedly, fiddling with the camera and angling it downward. Satisfied, he takes a seat on the rug and gestures to the space in front of him. "Let's do this."
"Here?" Annie asks unsure. "...On the floor?"
"Yeah," Abed shrugs while he absent mindedly fidgets with the cuff of his cardigan. "Problem?"
"No," Annie denies in a higher tone with a shake of her head. "No problem. We can do this on the floor if that's what you want."
"It's what I want," Abed confirms.
"Good. That's... good," Annie shoots back and sits on the floor, folding her legs beneath her elegantly. She shifts to get comfortable. Then shifts again. And shifts some more. "...I think I need a pillow for this," she admits exasperatedly.
"I can wait," Abed says patiently.
"Right, I'll just—" Quickly, Annie grabs a pillow from her room and throws it on the floor. "Okay," she says. "Let's—" Annie squirms again.
"You alright there, Annie?" Abed asks mildly.
"Peachy keen," Annie says through a smile. "Are you sure you don't want to do this with chairs? Or maybe in the fort—"
"You said you forgave me for that time when I rearranged it without your permission!"
"I did forgive you. That doesn't mean you're allowed back in there quite yet."
ABED NADIR – SOMEWHAT UNCOMFORTABLE BY THESE TURN OF EVENTS
"When I found out what Annie wanted to talk about, I was torn," Abed admits.
"As a director, I could see the raw potential this film had. But as the subject? I didn't like where this was going. Not one bit.
"I mean, I know that Annie probably meant well. She always does. Unless she's caught in the moment and she's going for victory—then she usually just means to win. I blame Jeff for that.
"This though, this was Annie with our best interests at heart and that could only mean that things were about to get messy. And I'm not talking about the usual Annie-left-the-door-to-her-room-open-so-if-Troy-and-I-got-into-her-highlighter-packs-it's-fair-game messy. I'm talking Pierce-with-a-birthday-cake messy. Maybe even The-Great-Paintball-Assassin-War-of-2011 messy.
"I'm talking about Annie-gave-the-blanket-fort-an-extreme-bedroom-makeover-without-my-knowledge kind of messy," Abed says solemnly looking directly into the camera. "And I wasn't sure if I was ready for anything like that at all."
ANNIE EDISON – SUPPOSEDLY FORGIVEN
"Abed, you've really got to let the blanket fort thing go," Annie says with a shake of her head. "Actually, while we're on this subject, let go of the buttered noodles incident too. I didn't know."
"Oh, this isn't getting anywhere!" Annie cries, standing up and stamping her foot in frustration. "How many more times am I going to have to say sorry before you actually forgive me for the—"
"Already forgave you."
"—fort incident? Also, why don't you ever apologize?! I know it was you guys who ruined my last pack of highlighters—"
"We bought you three new packs. Didn't you see them? We left them on your vanity desk. They're multi-colored since we know how much you love color coding things."
"And why do you keep staring at Troy? Are you guys fighting? Please, please tell me you're not mad at Troy aga—"
"It's because I'm in love with Troy and I'm trying to find a way to get over it. It's unexpectedly difficult."
"—in. Do you know how hard it is to appease the both of you when you're sulking and you've divided the apartment in half with masking tape?!" Annie finishes, chucking her pillow at Abed in her aggravation. Abed catches it before it can do any permanent damage.
"Sorry about that," Abed apologizes, sounding genuinely contrite. "Troy was right; the masking tape was a mistake purchase on my part. Won't happen again."
"Good because that was seriously no—wait, what did you say?"
"I shouldn't have bought the masking tape."
"I agree completely but that's not what I meant. You... you're in love with Troy?"
ANNIE EDISON – SPEECHLESS. SORT OF.
"So to reiterate, I'm a prepared person. " Annie points off to the side and opens her mouth. Closes it. Opens it. Closes it. Pulls her hand back towards herself.
"Was not prepared for that."
"Yeah," Abed confirms calmly, idly tapping his index finger against the pillow he's pulled into his lap, leaving Annie sits back down, she still can't find a particularly comfortable position on the tile but she figures she can contemplate that later. "I'm actually pretty disappointed in myself," he confesses, focusing on the pillow.
Annie is mildly horrified. "Abed, what? Why? There's nothing wrong with—"
"I'm not particularly interested in filming a romantic comedy. They're okay but personally I feel that they're overdone, cliché, and modern films in the genre tend to be disappointing. Romantic comedies don't have substance. They're all smoke and no fire. Get it?"
"Not even a little, but hold off on that explanation. Abed," Annie says slowly, inching towards him. "You said you were trying to find a way to get over loving Troy."
"That's because I am."
"That doesn't seem like an appropriate romantic comedy plot."
Abed tilts his head. "The falling-for-the-best-friend-and-then-trying-to-not-act-on-those-feelings scenario isn't that abnormal but you're right; that part is tied more into the 'romantic' part of 'romantic comedy.'"
"It sounds like the makings of a tragedy," Annie says softly. "You're not even going to try for this? Like, at all?"
"What do you want me to do, Annie?" Abed asks tiredly. "You and I both know that even if I went for it, that isn't a story that ends with me and Troy settling down in some place with a white picket fence, 2.5 kids, and a dog."
"But it could!"
"No, it can't. I've run the simulations. Troy and Britta—"
"Don't you remember what I said about those simulations? That's just you projecting your anxieties again, Abed!"
"He really likes her, Annie," Abed says quietly, looking directly at her.
"Please," Annie snorts. "Troy, I'm sure, really likes some parts of her but I'm telling you—"
"Annie," Abed interrupts. He waits until he's sure he has her full attention. "Maybe you're right. Maybe if Troy and Britta hooked up, it wouldn't work. Maybe you're wrong and they're on the brink of something amazing. Either way, that's something they'll work out on their own and I'm cool with that."
"He's my oldest friend," Abed tells her with a smile but it's resigned and weary and wrong. "I just want to keep that."
"And you think that the only way you'll be able to do that is to tone down what you feel for him?" Annie asks incredulously as she stands up.
"I don't agree with that at all!" Annie snaps back at him.
"I didn't ask you to." Annie glares. Abed stares back.
Finally, Annie helps Abed up with a sigh. "Oh Abed..." she says sadly, pulling him into a hug. "We only get one take. Are you sure this is the way you want your film to go?"
"When you act out a scene, you can never tell how the finished picture is going to look. You have to wait until you've done enough scenes to put them all together. But yeah," he adds, hugging back. "I'm positive this is the way this story's supposed to go."
"I'm not convinced of that at all," Annie murmurs with a small shake of her head. "But let me help you anyways."
ABED NADIR – CLICHÉ
"See? What did I tell you," Abed says with a shake of his head. "Messy."
"Well if you thought it was going to turn out that horribly, you didn't actually need to let me help you, you know!" Annie calls off screen.
"Annie, you're not supposed to be listening to this," Abed calls back, looking to the side.
"We're in an apartment and you're doing your thing in a blanket fort, which, might I add, is right next to my room. Where am I supposed to go where I won't be able to hear you?!"
"I waited in the bathroom when you did yours," Abed offers with a shrug.
"Ugh. Fine." Abed sits and waits until the faint sound of a door clicking is heard.
"She's right though," he says, turning back to the camera. "I didn't have to let her help. So why did I then?" Abed looks down briefly and then back up to the lens.
"That's a potential spoiler alert so you'll just have to wait and find out," he says with a smile while doing a finger gun motion at the camera.
ANNIE EDISON – CONFIDANT
"Whatever Abed's envisioning, it's not going to happen. I won't let it happen. Unless he's picturing a happy ending. I support that," Annie declares determinedly. "Abed is weird and he relies way too much on his 'rendered imaginary dreamscapes'," Annie says, punctuating her words with air quotes. "And I'm pretty sure we see the world very differently but he's also kind and loyal and fun to be around. I mean, he sat in a room for twenty-six hours just because we're friends.
"There's a solution for this problem where everyone involved gets to walk away happy.
"And believe me," the camera cuts to footage of Annie sharpening a pencil with a serious look and then lining it up with several pens, highlighters, and post-its. "I will find it."
The apartment door swings opens and Troy walks in with a grocery bag in hand. "I'm back!" he calls out tiredly. "Hey, can one of you two explain to me how it's possible for me to love my parents and yet simultaneously want to strangle them? At least I don't have to visit oft—uh, hey guys. What's up?" he asks with a raised eyebrow when he turns around from locking the door to find his two roommates who are standing there stiffly.
"Troy!" Annie exclaims and she's smiling but it seems a little off. "Welcome back! Did you have a good time at your mom and dad's?"
"Good enough, I guess," Troy shrugs, putting the bag on the kitchen counter. "What were you two up to?"
"Not much. Abed and I were just—"
"Doing a little bonding," Abed cuts in smoothly.
"Bonding over what, exactly?" Troy asks, pausing to give them an assessing look before shrugging out of his windbreaker. "And why are you two acting so weird?"
"We're not acting weird!" Annie denies hastily and Troy would totally call her out on that but Abed chooses the exact same moment to say, "we're doing a film study together," and that gets Troy's attention.
"A film study?" Annie asks him, whipping her head around to stare at Abed incredulously.
"You're right," Abed concedes with a tilt of his head. "It would be more correct to say we're doing a genre study."
"What genre?" Troy inquires interested. "Does it have to do with space? No wait, does it have to do with butt stuff? Space butt stuff? Man! Why do you guys always do cool things when I'm not with you? That's not cool. That should be... I don't know, forbidden or something. Ooh let's make it a new rule in the Roommate Contract!"
"Troy! Don't be ridiculous! We're not going to make a rule saying that Abed and I can't have fun when you're not around to join in!"
"When you say it like that it does sound ridiculous," Troy says.
"What I'm saying is that we should make a rule saying you and Abed can't be awesome together when I'm not around to witness it."
"That's essentially the same thing!"
"No, it isn't."
TROY BARNES – ABED'S BEST FRIEND
"Annie is... cool," Troy says seriously, leaning forward from his spot on Abed's bed in the blanket fort and splaying both hands in front of him. "Like really cool. She knows things about irons and kool-aid stains and infections... which is awesome! Because me and Abed... aren't really great with all those things.
"I mean, I still don't understand the whole purpose of the iron. Who cares if your clothes are wrinkled? Wouldn't it be cooler if the iron were an autobot or something? Oooh! Or you could use it to make Eggo waffles if the toaster ever broke! Wouldn't it be awesome if the iron could do both? Damn. Then it could save the world and help make part of a delicious breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. Eggo waffles are really an all meal kind of food, don't let Shirley tell you otherwise."
Troy waits for a moment then blinks and clears his throat.
"Anyway, the point is, that Annie's cool. It's just that when she and Abed are by themselves, weird things happen. I mean, one time, I left them alone for three hours. When I checked in, everything was fine and they were playing Inspector Spacetime; next thing I know, Abed's talking about cutting down his dreamatorium time by 18 hours and taking up yoga." Troy looks bewilderedly at the camera. "How did that even happen? It's still wrinkling my brain." Troy says with wide eyes.
"So yeah, I wanted to put in a rule where Annie and Abed couldn't do much when they were alone together because insane things happen when they are. I mean what if Annie chloroforms someone and only Abed is around to come up with a plan on what to do about it? I don't have enough money to post bail for both of them!"
Troy pauses, then admits, "Okay and maybe the idea mostly stemmed from the fact that I don't want to risk missing out on Abed breaking into the landlord's apartment as Batman again. That was pretty kickass."
ANNIE EDISON – CHLOROFORMIST IN THE MAKING
"Where's Britta to talk about my civil rights and how Troy's trying to impede on them when I need her?" Annie frowns.
"I don't know why Troy's so insistent about keeping Abed and I apart but I'm willing to bet it either has to do with breaking into the landlord's apartment or chloroform. If it's the latter, for the last time I don't have a problem. I just keep a bottle of it in my room and knapsack and in the medicine cabinet because the stuff is surprisingly useful and because Abed gave it to me as a gift. It would be rude to just dump it out, you know?"
ABED NADIR – APPARENT CHLOROFORM GIFTER
"For the record, I only gave her the one bottle."
"Yes it is!"
"Guys, guys!" Abed interrupts, moving between the two to break it up. "You're both being unreasonable. There's only one way to settle this."
"Oh come off it, Abed!" Annie snaps. "We're not resolving this with a game of rock-paper-scissors-laser-Spock."
"Yeah!" Troy agrees.
"You're right," Abed agrees calmly. "We can't settle something like this in such a childish manner. This definitely calls for a game of hunter-Barbie-bear. Agreed?"
"Meh," Troy and Annie said unenthusiastically.
"Agreed?" Abed repeats a little louder.
"Meh," they reiterate.
ABED NADIR – REFEREE
"Hunter-Barbie-bear is like an Australian version of rock-paper-scissors. A far cooler version of it that has duelling elements and requires you to do appropriate poses," Abed explains. He pauses. "...At least I think it's Australian."
The camera zooms in on Abed. "The Korean guy who taught me the game had a very convincing Australian accent," he says with a shrug.
TROY BARNES – VETERAN COMPETITOR
"In terms of difficulty, I would say that hunter-Barbie-bear is harder than rock-paper-scissors-laser-Spock but easier than advanced rock-paper-scissors. Advanced rock-paper-scissors is like hunter-Barbie-bear but at the end you have to pose as a rock, paper, or scissors and that's hard, you know?!"
Troy pauses and then nods his head up and down while saying admiringly, "...Unless you're Garrett. That guy has moves."
"...I'm just going to take that as complacent agreement. Ready?" Abed asks while slipping into a referee voice, looking at both of them. "Okay, you know the rules. Shake." Neither Annie nor Troy makes a move towards the other. "Come on guys, we all gotta live together so let's not make this any harder than it needs to be. Shake."
"You're going down," Troy glares at Annie, gripping her hand and moving it mechanically up and down.
"I suggest you walk away now Barnes, because in a few minutes I am going to crush you," Annie informs him confidentially, shaking back firmly.
"When I win, that rule is going onto The Contract in red crayon." Annie dislikes any amendments to The Roommate Contract being done in anything other than blue ink. She abhors any amendments done in red crayon because she thinks it's childish and unprofessional even though red is the coolest crayon in the box.
"Fine," Annie humphs. "But when I win, I get the right to just say 'because' as an answer whenever you ask a question about this study I'm doing with Abed." Abed feels his eyebrows shoot up while his eyes dart between Troy and Annie, but otherwise refrains from saying anything.
"Fine," Troy grits out and then drops Annie's hand.
"Then the terms are agreed," Abed jumps in. "If the duellers would kindly turn around." Annie and Troy whirled around so that they were standing back to back. "There will be only the one match unless otherwise stated. Each participant is to take three paces each. And I mean small ones Troy; small enough that you don't run into my scale model. Again."
"I said I was sorry about that!" Troy replies, shooting Abed a look. "I mean, you do realize that you're going to have to let that go eventually, don't you?"
"He's kind of really bad at that," Annie chimes in.
"Quiet in the peanut gallery," Abed commands. "If both parties are ready, then here we go. One," he counts. Both Annie and Troy take a step forward. "Two." Step. "Three." Step. A tense silence and then, "Turn!"
Troy whirls around and moves his hands to mimic holding some kind of shotgun. "Hunter!" he cries.
From the other side of the room, Annie turns, sticks her right hand on her hip, blows a kiss with her left, and winks while leaning forwards slightly. "Barbie," she purrs.
"Barbie beats hunter," Abed declares throwing his arm up and sticking his hand out towards Annie. "Annie wins!"
"Dammit!" Troy cries while Annie jumps up excitedly.
"Heck yes!" she cheers, throwing a fist into the air briefly.
"Good game you two," Abed comments.
"Why does Barbie beat hunter anyway? How does that even make sense?!" Troy cries in frustration, throwing both hands up in the air, flopping down into a chair.
"Because they're diabolical. Ever seen Small Soldiers? With a militaristic mindset those things could go for world domination," Abed tells him, pointing a finger to emphasize his point and stealing the seat next to him.
"Oh yeah..." Troy says. Abed nods. Annie looks vaguely confused at the movie reference but takes the other seat next to Troy anyway. "I really want to play with some GI Joes right now," Troy announces into the sudden silence.
"Me too," Abed says. "But we don't have any in the apartment."
"We don't because we're all over the age of twenty," Annie throws in, rolling her eyes.
"So? I don't think there's an age limit on GI Joes," Troy replies, looking confused.
"Yeah, I'm pretty sure the boxes say they're meant for people four and up," Abed says.
"Exactly. And since we," Troy motions to the three of them. "Are four and up—"
"That's... highly debateable," Annie says.
"Not really," Abed comments.
"—GI Joes are totally fair game."
"We buying some next time we go to Walmart?" Abed asks Troy.
"Definitely," Troy grins, holding his hand out for Abed to slap against twice. "Hey, while we're there, can we buy some of those plastic army dudes from Toy Story there too?"
"Wanna give them parachutes and toss them off the library roof?"
"Get out of my brain."
"Guys!" Annie interrupts. "You can't just throw toy soldiers off the roof! What if you hit someone?"
"Relax Annie," Troy says with a roll of his eyes. "We're throwing plastic soldiers, not money."
"Yeah, we've learned that people aren't too happy to be hit with coins since the penny dropping incident of '10," Abed says.
"I still don't understand why you were throwing pennies off the roof."
"Okay, first of all, we weren't throwing, we were dropping. There's a difference. Secondly we wanted to test if people could instinctively dodge a shower of coins."
"Because when you go to a strip club you're supposed to throw dollar bills at the strippers, right?"
"Ew! Why would I know that?" Annie shrieks.
"You are," Abed confirms.
"But in Canada they don't have dollar bills; they use coins because they're weird," Troy explains.
"I think it's one of their campaigns against obesity. More change means a heavier wallet to lug around," Abed says.
"Ugh. Sounds like a lot of work," Annie replies.
"No kidding," Abed agrees.
"Anyway, so me and Abed were thinking; if we went to a strip club in Canada would we have to throw coins at them and if so, how are they dodging all of those?" Troy finishes seriously. Abed nods beside him.
Annie looks at the two of them in horror. "Ew! Guys! How did you even get onto that topic?"
Abed and Troy exchange a look. "Well Troy was wondering—"
"Don't tell me! I don't actually want to know!"
"Okay," Abed says with a shrug.
"...Are you guys going to make a lot of parachutes out of different materials?" Annie asks.
Abed and Troy glance at each other. "If we did that, we could say we were doing it for science," Abed muses.
"...And if we say it's for science it just makes what we're doing seem that much cooler!" Troy says excitedly. "Woah. We are never allowed to stop being this awesome. We should buy some tonight so we can start throwing them tomorrow!"
"Guys!" Annie cuts in before Abed can say anything. "Do you really want to spend your first day back to school throwing little plastic toys off the library roof?"
"Well... yeah. Don't you?" Troy asks, puzzled.
"We could get you a stopwatch and you can record the time it takes for them to reach the ground. Or the top of someone's head," Abed offers.
Annie wavers. "Well... if it's for science..." Annie grins. "Lunch time experiment? Lunch time experiment? Alright guys, we are doing this."
"Cool," Abed says in a satisfied tone. "Cool, cool, cool." A comfortable silence falls upon the trio.
"So what genre are you guys studying anyways?" Troy asks absentmindedly, tipping his chair back so he can stare at the ceiling.
Annie and Abed share a look where Annie looks between Troy and Abed and does little motions with her head while Abed mostly just stares back at her. "Romance," Abed says before Annie can say anything. Troy slams his chair back down.
"Romance?" he asks surprised.
"Yeah," Abed continues. "Annie's trying to convince me that romantic comedies are better than romantic tragedies."
"But tragedies are so sad!" Troy exclaims.
"Aren't they?" Annie asks, looking at Abed significantly.
"Say what you want, but Titanic was way more memorable than Pretty Woman."
"Lies!" Annie accuses with an offended scoff.
"Actually I think that was mostly true," Troy points out.
"Whatever," Annie says. "You'll help me, won't you Troy?"
"Annie—" Abed says in alarm.
"Sure," Troy shrugs. "I don't really get the whole romance thing but if Abed's in, I'm in."
"Great," Annie claps. "This is gonna be so much fun!"
ABED NADIR – EVEN MORE UNCOMFORTABLE BY THESE TURN OF EVENTS
"I had no idea what Annie was doing. At that point, I was left assuming Annie had come up with a miraculous plan based on her womanly intuition."
ANNIE EDISON – MASTERMIND
"Uh..." she says, looking up at the ceiling. "It's less that I had a plan in mind and more that I had no plan."
There's a distinctive pause. "Yay...?" she says with a hesitant smile.
END OF CHAPTER ONE.
Knock knock knock.
"Troy! Annie found out about the toothpaste so I'm on ironing duty. Got anything you need wrinkle free?" Abed asks from the other side of Troy's door.
"Will it work on my brain?" Troy replies after a beat.
"I don't think irons work like that, no."
"Then no thanks. I'm good."
"'kay." There's the distinctive sound of someone walking away.
For a while Troy just lies on his bed, staring blankly at the ceiling, and absently humming "Daybreak".
"Wait! What if the iron is a decepticon," he says in alarm, sitting up straight. "That would explain why it burnt a hole through my shirt and why everyone says we're not supposed to leave them unattended! Abed. Abed! We need to get rid of the iron-!"