Thursday night, in Abed's opinion, was the best night of the week. The study group skipped their afternoon meeting (except for Annie, who insisted that having a weeknight off was for the weak and always studied late in the library anyway), date night with Britta wasn't until Friday, and the AC Repair Annex had some 'keeping the Thursday holy' ritual that stopped them from calling on Troy. So, in plainer terms, Thursdays were the best because Troy and Abed claimed them as their movie night (which, of course, always involved snuggling in the blanket fort).
This week's film was the original Freaky Friday; both of them had seen it before, and it wasn't personally Abed's favorite movie (too many emotions, not enough inspired camera work, and definitely too few explosions), but it was the day before Friday the 13th and Troy was in love with everything to do with body-swapping flicks, so Abed conceded to a rewatch.
Something was different about watching it this time though. He felt it and, judging from how tightly Troy was gripping Abed and how often he was flicking his eyes over to Abed's face, Troy felt it too. He hadn't wondered, not in a long, long time but. . .
"I was thinking," they whispered simultaneously.
"You go first," said Abed.
Troy smiled, but it also looked-sad, maybe? It hurt in a way that smiles weren't supposed to.
"I was thinking that I don't really know what it's like to be you, or what's in your head. And, you know, you have adventures and stuff without me, probably more of them lately since I've been gone a lot. I guess I'm like Jeff, I want your reality on Blu-Ray."
Which was wrong, very wrong, because Jeff was family but he wasn't Troy, and Troy wasn't supposed to want Abed engraved forever in hi-def, and the fact that he did meant that Troy had stopped feeling like he was getting any real-time footage at all.
"I suppose I don't really know what it's like to be you either. The AC repair school is still pretty cult-like and secretive, and I've never been a part of that, and you're dating Britta now, which I've never done. People treat you differently than they treat me. That would be a strange experience, being treated like a normal guy. If we did swap bodies anyway," said Abed.
Troy hummed and nestled his head a bit into Abed's neck.
"Yeah," he said quietly, "if we switched bodies, that would be pretty weird."
The next morning, Troy hit his head on the top bunk as he got up. Which- no, that wasn't right, because Troy slept in the former Dreamatorium now. And he had never slept on the bottom bunk anyway, which was somehow even more confusing than ending up in the wrong bedroom.
He shook his head hard to jumpstart his brain, but only succeeded in hitting it on the bunk bed a second time. Rubbing his head (damn that hurt), he swung his legs over the edge and ducked out from underneath. He turned around to face the bunk bed and-had the bunk beds always been that short? Last time he'd slept in here he'd had to stand on tiptoe to see the top bunk from the floor, and now he could see over the top with zero effort.
Anyway, Abed wasn't on the top bunk either. This morning was getting weirder and weirder.
Troy turned back around and peeked his head out of the fort's curtains.
"Abed? Abed? Where are you, buddy?" he called. He grabbed his throat. Somehow his own voice was weird; maybe he was getting sick.
The familiar-but-also-unfamiliar sound echoed in a hollow way across their apartment. No one answered.
As he opened the curtain to exit the fort, his own arm caused him to do a double take. His pajamas were green. And his hand- if he remembered right that was not the normal color of his hand. And his arm-it was so long, definitely longer than he was used to, and thinner too.
Instinctively (fight or flight like Britta had been talking about, although-no, he definitely hadn't grown wings overnight, so a metaphor, then) he began sprinting over to his new bedroom, ready to announce to whoever was in there (and hopefully it was Abed) that he had somehow gained superpowers overnight.
He tripped over his feet twice on the way. Maybe he was just sick then, because if he was a superhero these were lamest superpowers ever.
After picking himself up for the second time, he bolted back into gear and slammed open the door to his actual bedroom. And he definitely,definitely wasn't panicking.
"Abed, I have. . .something, there's something going on and I have no clue what and my voice is different and my legs feel like a flamingo and my arms feel like branches and I'm maybe six inches taller and at first I thought 'maybe superpowers' but also maybe I might have one of those awful diseases like those people on medical mysteries and also you're in my bed so please get up because I'm kind of freaking out and maybe dying," he could hear his voice raising and breaking as he shouted towards the lump of what was possibly Abed but also possibly just a pillow under his covers.
The lump moved-yes, Abed. Awesome.
The lump sat up and- Troy.
Definitely not awesome and also super confusing. Involuntarily he squeaked, tears definitely not welling up in his eyes because superheroes were supposed to be brave and if he was dying he wanted to be strong.
The Troy that was not Troy (but that definitely was NESTING IN TROY'S BODY) widened his eyes to the size of hubcaps. He swung his legs over the side of the bed, rifled around in the bedside drawer a bit, and pulled out a mirror. He walked over to the other Troy (the original one), who backed himself against the wall. New!Troy cocked his head in a very un-Troy like way and silently handed the other man the mirror.
Troy saw his new eyes widen in his reflection. He touched his nose and his mouth; his movements reflected back at him. Tears welled up in his eyes and- so that's what it would look like if Abed were crying; he'd never seen Abed cry before, and wondered if the other man (who definitely was Abed, thank God) felt violated now. He wiped his face and lowered the mirror, unsure of how Abed was handling the situation.
It was entirely unfair that Abed innately had the ability to just accept that reality had shifted under his feet. His face (Troy's old face-that would take some getting used to) was blank as he murmured,
Troy-as-Abed tentatively wrapped his arms around Abed-as-Troy and said, "I guess so."
"I shower every morning. You should have showered."
Abed rapped on the steering wheel of their parked car in time with the radio (David Bowie's Changes-if it were a movie, Abed would call it a cliché, but Abed supposed that the better terms here would be coincidental and appropriate).
Troy shook his head and looked pointedly out of his passenger window as he said,
"Abed, it's fine, you insisted on wetting my hair-your hair-whatever- for me and it's not sticking up in the back anymore. No one is going to know, and, I mean, you smell good to me. . .same as always and, um, it was bad enough that I had to. . .disrespect your junk by peeing with my eyes open without asking you first, and, you know, first thing, saw your morning wood and, Abed I can't do this, I feel like a squatter or one of those peeping-hanks in your body or something."
Abed frowned slightly and said, "Personally I'd feel more respected knowing my body was clean. I wish you had let me shower too. It's just a body, we have the same parts-"
"You've mentioned that about twelve times this morning already."
"Fifteen, and I'm still waiting for it to sink in. It's fine. We're just Troy and Abed. We're not arch enemies or even in a fight. Feeling comfortable in our new bodies should be the least of our concern. Have you practiced being me this morning at all?" said Abed.
Troy turned his head back towards Abed.
"Can't we just tell people we switched bodies?
Abed shook his head.
"No, that never works in films and it wouldn't work here. People will worry if we act different, they'll think we're delusional, and that wouldn't be good for either of us. You're going to have to pretend to be me and I'll have to pretend to be you until we can get our bodies back. . .somehow. Most likely it will just happen tomorrow, if we go by the film."
Troy ran his hand over his face and said,
"This is the weirdest thing that's ever happened to me and it's seriously wrinkling my brain."
Under Pressure came on the radio. Troy laughed when the song came on, and Abed smiled too; apparently records other than Space Oddity were equally fitting for science fiction.
"You can't smile or laugh that big all the time when you're me. I don't do it as often as you do."
"Ok, well, when should I smile? And when should I reference pop culture? And how do you manage to look smaller than you are? Also I don't know if I told you but these jeans are kind of tight and-"
"They probably shrunk when Annie washed them. She used the high dryer cycle and usually I wear them for several days. That is definitely not important right now. You only smile little smiles when something really awesome happens. Reference pop culture as much as possible, reference it like it's your only lens to understand the world. Curve your shoulders in and talk with your neck a lot, and be very relaxed, moreso than usual. "
Troy frowned, smoothed the emotion from his face, tilted his head a little bit too far and said,
"How's this. Um. . .this study session reminds me of. . .that one time on Saved by the Bell."
Abed couldn't help but smile a little.
"You look and sound like me when I have a hangover. Don't tilt your head so far, and be more specific with your references. That's important."
Troy put his face in his hands,
"Abed, I can't remember things like that; I don't have pop culture catalogued like you do inside my head. Can we just pretend you're sick or something?"
Abed nodded and rummaged around the car for a moment before extracting tissues and cough drops.
"It probably wouldn't fool anyone if you had to do it for very long, but pretending to be sick and hungover and out of it for a day will be fine. Let me re-muss your hair."
"Really?" said Troy, but he bent down his head obediently anyway and allowed Abed to have an excuse to run his fingers through his hair for the second time that morning.
"Thanks. So, what are you gonna do? Do you have me down?" Troy asked when Abed had finished.
Abed breathed in and flipped on his Troy character.
"You know, I used to think that the idea of small dogs having nightmares was dumb, but then I had this dream last night about a vacuum with teeth and now I totally understand."
Troy's eyes widened as he said,
"That dream sounds terrifying, and man, that was so accurate. Ok, I think we're ready."
"Let's do this," said Abed, and when they did their handshake it felt almost the same as always.
Troy was not good at being Abed, and he knew it right away because everyone was watching. He could have sworn up and down that even when he had been a quarterback in high school he hadn't gotten as many silent stares as he did walking down the halls of Greendale as Abed. People kept coming up to him (girls, mostly! although some guys seemed to be flirting too-) and asking if he was ok, did he need to talk about it, sign my body parts and-what?
He knew Abed had no problem getting girls, but this many was pretty ridiculous. How had he never noticed before? And why on earth was he so famous? And why was Troy-as-Abed making all of his followers kind of wilt-did he have the wrong energy?
He knew he should have just followed Abed into the bathroom and waited it out so they could walk to the study room together, despite the fact that that was probably a little girly.
Troy was busy talking to a fifth really hot girl (who he could tell was regretting entering the conversation-come on, he couldn't be that bad at this) when Abed came up from behind and tugged him away by the hand.
"I've been making a new film and a lot of people want in," explained Abed, "Sheila in particular, the girl you were just talking to, is a really awful actress who wants to be internet famous. You were being much friendlier than usual, which is something I forgot to try. She's more attracted to stoic, artsy types."
"Have these people always followed you around?" asked Troy.
"Ever since freshman year," said Abed. The both of them paused outside the door to the library.
"Why have I never seen them before?"
Abed cocked his head-Troy still wasn't used to seeing himself do that- and said, "Well, usually you're pretty distracted talking to me and you don't really pay attention to much else when we hang out. You even walked into a wall that day after I showed you Star Wars for the first time-"
"That wall came out of nowhere though-"
"And a pole after we saw The Dark Knight Rises-"
"Ok but it was really dark in that parking lot and it was like two AM-"
"I didn't say it was a bad thing, just that it's a thing that happens," said Abed, opening the door to the study room. Everyone else in their group was inside and arguing about. . .cupcakes for some reason. Troy breathed a sigh of relief; if he and Abed played their cards right, the other five members would go do their cupcake related business without even questioning what Troy and Abed were going to do all day (at least until Troy's date that night).
Troy was so distracted by being relieved that he sat in the wrong seat. The room went quiet as everyone turned to look at him. Damn it.
"Abed," said Britta cautiously, "why did you move to sit next to Pierce? Was it something I did?"
Don't say the wrong thing. Don't say the wrong thing.
"Um, I guess I forgot. You know how these things are. Like that scene in that. . .movie. With. . .aliens."
Everyone instantly looked incredibly concerned, except Pierce who didn't seem to care so long as this new change meant 'Abed' preferred hanging out with him over someone else. A sea of overlapping voices cascaded towards Troy; he squeaked involuntarily at the sheer overwhelming output of concern and affection.
"Did something happen last night in the apartment that I don't know about-"
"A-bed, sweetie, are you sick, you don't look very well-"
"You haven't sounded like this since the last time we got drunk together, and even then it wasn't this bad-"
"Do you have something you need to get off your chest, Abed, remember we only want to help you-"
"I have no clue why everyone is yelling, clearly Ay-bed is doing just fine-"
The real Abed (in Troy's body) crossed over to Troy, grabbed his elbow, and guided him into the chair next to Britta. He sat down in the chair next to Pierce and said,
"Last night Abed and I drank two bottles of cheap wine and watched Freaky Friday. We liked it so much that we pretended to be each other for the rest of the night. Abed woke up hungover and with a cold and he's a little out of it right now."
Simultaneously everyone else said "ohhhh," and went back to arguing about cupcakes. Underneath the table, Troy squeezed Abed's hand. Abed smiled a small smile and squeezed back. Crisis one averted.
Abed really wasn't sure what to expect when he went to his afternoon session at the AC Repair School, but in his head it had definitely involved repairing way more air conditioners. Instead, it was apparently his job to give a 'Friday sermon' in the sort-of-temple outside of the room temperature room.
The sort-of-temple was highly guarded with a fingerprint and iris scanner and a password (although it wasn't a very good one-the password ended up being "Troy is not actually the messiah"). When Abed walked inside, he discovered it was lavishly decorated in purples and blues; the room was lit by a crystal chandelier with candles in it. The pews were packed with hundreds of AC repairmen all waiting to hear the words of the Truest Repairman. When he crossed onto the stage, he was greeted immediately like a rockstar.
Abed knew that normally Troy spent most of his Friday session at the AC repair school teaching his followers how to nap with their eyes open and telling them to not call him the messiah, but Abed didn't really know how to nap with his eyes open and-why not, he had a willing audience.
Abed wanted to be a storyteller, so Abed told them a story.
"You told them what?" asked Troy, head buried in a dresser drawer in his room. "Here, try this one on."
Troy threw his purple and gray striped sweater at Abed, who caught it in a way that made Troy's body look far more casually graceful than Troy had ever looked in his own body in the moments where he wasn't paying attention. Somehow Abed made Troy's body give off an essence of dance when he wasn't even dancing, which was both unfair and completely mesmerizing.
And also, a bit unsettling. Troy was fairly certain you weren't supposed to be mesmerized by your own body, but then the usual rules didn't apply anymore, really.
"I made up their origin story. They seemed to like it. What's wrong with this other sweater?"
Troy blinked back into reality and closed the dresser drawer. He crossed over to Abed, rolled the shirt halfway up off of what was formerly his own stomach, and pointed to a huge red spot on the inside.
"It has a hidden permanent ketchup stain. I feel guilty about wearing it on dates. And I swear, those guys will listen to anything. One day I just read them a whole book of nursery rhymes, just to see if I could, and all of them cried after each rhyme ended. Weird guys, man. "
Abed laughed; Troy's hand rose and fell in step with it, which made him realize he was still touching Abed. Somehow, even in a different body, Abed managed to tangle Troy's brain into loops that made him want to do away with words forever just so he could have an excuse to only communicate with Abed by touching him everywhere all the time and in as many ways as possible.
Which was bad because the whole point of this was making sure Abed-as-Troy's date with Britta went well. Britta was really hot and she really cared with all her heart about the whole world which was awesome and special and she was kind of funny in her own way; she definitely deserved a nice time and his full attention always, and instead Troy spent way too much of his time completely mentally preoccupied with Abed.
The both of them were pretty clear with each other about not taking the dating game too seriously, but it still kind of sucked knowing that he was going to have to break it off with Britta eventually because she deserved to go out with a guy who hadn't been hoplessly in love with someone else already for three years.
Abed was saying something; Troy's hand was still on his chest. He pulled it away.
"What were you saying, buddy?"
"At first I was telling you the AC Repair School's origin story, but then you zoned out a bit so I started to wonder if maybe a different body snatcher had grabbed hold of my old body. Troy is still in there, right?"
"Yeah, Troy's still in here," he said.
"Good," said Abed, "besides saying hello I wouldn't have really known what to do with anyone else in my body."
He pulled off the stained sweater and pulled on the new one. Troy followed him as he exited the room; when they reached the entrance to their apartment, Troy rifled around in his pocket and extracted the car keys. He pushed them into Abed's hand and then patted him on the back.
"Go be an awesome date-spy now. But, like, if you're gonna do it James Bond style, leave out the part where you sleep with my girlfriend, ok? Give her a nice time, but not too much, you're in my body but you're still, you know, you."
Abed just winked, cocked his finger, and said "pew pew pew" before leaving.
Abed really didn't like Sr. Kevin's; the food wasn't that great and one of the waiters thought Die Hard was bad which was Unacceptable. However, he was here for the sake of Troy and Britta, and while he didn't necessarily like that they were paired up (took Troy away from spending time with him and changed the dynamic of the Study Group) he knew it meant a lot to Troy for the date to go smoothly. In spite of Abed's expectations, he had a decent time; Britta was easy to talk to if she was asked the right questions, and she was entertaining enough to distract him from all of the negativity surrounding their date.
The only problem, then, was what happened after the public part of the date was over. Abed walked her out to her car with his hand in hers, assuming the date was finished. However, when they reached her car, Britta pounced tongue first at his face.
"I can't wait to get you back to my apartment. I've been wanting to get my hands on you all week," she said into his ear. Her breath was hot on his neck and his mouth tasted like lipstick and it was wrong, he wasn't supposed to-
"Britta, I can't," he said.
She laughed quietly, said, "Oh, I like it when you play hard to get." and proceeded to kiss his neck even more earnestly.
Abed tilted her chin up from his neck.
"No, really, I can't."
Britta looked annoyed now.
"Troy, we do this every week. Why are you acting weird? Did something happen?"
Abed did not want to be having this discussion. This was not happening and it especially was not happening in a dark parking lot where the streetlamps directly above him were shining on his head like an interrogation lamp.
On the outskirts of the spotlight, scattered moon and lamplight reflected off of Britta's earrings, glinting like a second pair of eyes through the night.
"No. . .I. . .I just don't want to sleep with you right now. I have some. . .things I need to figure out and until I do we can't sleep with each other for a while," said Abed.
Britta's eyes widened with understanding as Abed realized ten seconds too late exactly what he had just said. She started to laugh incredulously, which Abed was pretty sure was not the right reaction to this situation; then again, it was Britta doing the reacting, which meant the usual rules didn't apply.
"Oh my God. Is this your way of coming out to me?"
What was he supposed to say in a scene like this? Body swapping, magical realism, sex: What Women Want, The Change Up, Freaky Friday (2003), 17 Again, 13 going on 30-
". . .Yes, I'm gay."
She grabbed his right hand with both of hers and held it to her chest. Then she looked directly into his eyes and said,
"Just know that I'm here for you and that I accept you as you are."
". . .Thanks."
Britta grinned wide and without further ado, unlocked her car, and opened the door for Abed. When he gave her a questioning look, she rolled her eyes and said, "Don't just stand there! This is a big moment for you and you need to deal with your feelings in a safe space. You're coming to my apartment for coffee and we're going to talk this out, ok?"
Abed nodded dumbly and got into her car, realizing far too late that breaking up with Britta was definitely the complete opposite to how Troy had wanted this date to go.
Troy wasn't going to kill him, but he was definitely going to ask what Abed was thinking using paragraphs and paragraphs of text, steady enforced eye contact, an excessive use of exclamation points, and a lot of crying.
Abed much preferred the option of capital punishment.
Troy was good at many things, but he was really, really terrible at pretending to be Abed. This would have been fine if he had been allowed to just hole up in the blanket fort all night, but no, apparently Abed and Annie did friendly roommate things together in the apartment on Friday nights while Troy was gone and now Troy was expected to do these things too which was really really frustrating because he wasn't doing any of them right.
The disaster of a night started off with Annie and Troy making dinner together. Abed and Annie usually made these complicated meals from really old looking fancy cookbooks, so when Troy suggested they make spaghetti (due to having sucked at cooking his entire life), Annie just laughed, smacked his arm lightly with a wooden spoon, and told him that his joke was funny.
She then opened up a cookbook/probable former potions textbook c. 1500 AD and listed off a bunch of ingredients that sounded almost-but-not-really like food he had actually eaten before.
Troy wasn't really sure what the difference between a tomatillo and a tomato was, but it ended up not mattering because he burned the whole meal anyway.
Now that they had finally finished cleaning up the charred remains of their food, it was eleven pm, so a resigned (and slightly singed) Annie threw a frozen pizza in the oven. When she came into the living room, she flashed an evil grin.
"Since dinner ended up not working out, you're definitely forfeiting your turn to choose the movie. Great for me, because 27 Dresses is on Pay-Per-View," she said.
"Yeah, that sounds fine," said Troy. Annie's eyebrows raised into her hair.
"Abed. . .I was just joking about 27 Dresses. We always joke about watching 27 Dresses. It's not actually on Pay-Per-View."
"Oh! Yeah, I know. I was just. . .joking back," said Troy in a tone he was pretty sure was unconvincing.
Annie walked over to where Troy was sitting, crouched down in front of his chair, and felt his forehead.
"Are you feeling ok, Abed? I know you said you were sick this morning, but I didn't think it was this bad. You've hardly talked at all and it's been hours since you've mentioned anything that happened on tv in the eighties. You're acting like you did all last summer, and it's worrying me a little," she said, frowning.
"I. . ." said Troy, but then the oven beeped and saved him from having to come up with a way to prove to Annie that he wasn't going to start hallucinating at any moment.
Ten seconds after the oven beeped, his phone (Abed's really-they had switched that morning for convenience) buzzed in his pocket-a text message from. . .Britta?
troy finaly came out to me make sure 2 tell him th hes brave hes ben thru alot 2nite 3
If 'coming out' meant what Troy thought it meant, Abed was in a lot of trouble.
It was just Abed's luck to come back to the apartment when everybody already looked like they were in a bad mood. Abed initially wasn't sure why the apartment would be tense, but then he got a whiff of smoke from the kitchen and everything made a little bit more sense.
"Did you guys burn dinner?" he asked as he shut the door behind him.
Annie smiled tightly and said, "More like Abed did. I don't know what's into him tonight, but whatever it is it made his cooking terrible!"
She then gave him a significant look which only served to make him confused; why couldn't people just say what they meant?
Troy got up out of his chair and walked over to Abed. Looking him in the eyes he said, "How did your date with Britta go? She sent me an interesting text message just now. We should go talk about it in my room."
Abed's stray thought was answered in the worst way; Troy was direct about what he wanted, but also he knew. Immediate damage control, mission: avoid fighting with Troy for as long as possible.
"Oh, what does the message say, Abed? Is it cute?" asked Annie in a cautious way. Oh! Annie was worried; Troy-as-Abed must have been acting weird and she wanted to figure out why. Abed was a little pleased that she had kept jealousy on the list of 'reasons why Abed might be out of whack'; Annie was smart.
Annie's worry was advantageous; he needed to buy time and- ha! Troy wasn't going to share everything with Annie still in the room. They'd be at a standstill, maybe even until Troy just gave up and got tired, a definite possiblity since Troy wasn't a confrontational person normally.
"Yeah, Abed, is it?" said Abed, "We had a really good time so I bet the message is super sweet. Man, Britta is so awesome. I think we should share the details with Annie."
"No, it's kind of a private message, and I haven't asked if I could share it. Her feelings could get hurt, like in that one romantic comedy," said Troy, who was continuing to stare Abed down.
Abed faked a look of alarm and put his hand on Troy-as-Abed's forehead.
"Whoa, Abed, man, are you feeling ok? Maybe we should talk about this later, when you're feeling better."
Over Troy's shoulder, he mimicked the look she had given him earlier and-yes, they were on the same page now.
Abed was a little surprised that he hadn't felt any temperature, because Troy practically had steam coming out of his ears.
"I was talking to him earlier and I agree, Troy, he's acting pretty weird," said Annie in a relieved sort of way.
Troy turned his head and shot her a look over his shoulder.
"I'll feel much better once I talk about this with Troy. Alone," said Troy.
And without further ado, Troy grabbed Abed gently, but firmly on the shoulder and steered him towards the former dreamatorium.
"Goodnight, Annie," said Troy as he opened the door and nudged Abed inside.
"Um. . .goodnight," replied a confused sounding Annie from behind the door.
They were all alone now, and still Abed had no clue what to say. Not cool, not cool, not cool.
Troy steered Abed to his bed and directed him to sit down. He then rummaged in his pocket for his phone. He pulled it out, flipped it open, and handed it over to Abed, who read the message with a sinking feeling in his stomach.
"Does that message mean what I think it means, Abed? Because it would be really awesome if it didn't," said Troy.
Abed searched around in his head for the right answer, but there was no context for this situation. He wanted to make it better, wanted to pull the answer from a movie or a tv show, but there weren't any situations quite like this that he could remember. The truth was awful, but he settled on that as the best option.
"She wanted to sleep with you. You told me not to do that," said Abed.
"So you told her I was gay? Why didn't you just tell her you were sick, or, I don't know, that the apartment was on fire? She knows I'm still not caught up on Breaking Bad, you could have told her that! Anything other than what you said would have been a better excuse," said Troy, his voice raising.
"I didn't tell her I was gay at first. I told her I had some things to figure out and that I couldn't sleep with her just then. She assumed that meant I was gay. That happened in What Women Want and 17 Again and both times the protagonist went along with the assumption. I figured I was supposed to too," said Abed defensively.
Troy looked like he was on the verge of tears now for the second time in Abed's body, which wasn't any less disconcerting than had been the first time.
"My life isn't a Mel Gibson movie, Abed! Or a Zac Efron movie, or any movie at all! You can't just tell my girlfriend that I'm gay without my permission, and you weren't supposed to break up with her! And why did it take you so long to get home if that's all that happened? You were supposed to be home two hours ago," he said.
"Britta wanted to talk about it. I didn't want to. I hate conversations like that," Abed paused and then said, "Wait, could I have told her you were gay if I did have your permission?"
Troy wiped his eyes on his sleeve and said, "Maybe? I don't know, that's not the point-"
"Are you gay?" asked Abed, curious.
"A little bit? Yes? Maybe? Again, not the point, Abed," said Troy in an exasperated voice.
"You never told me. I would have been fine with it. I'm bi too," said Abed, "Why didn't you tell me?"
"You're. . .? You know what, no, again, not the time for this conversation. I'm not having this right now. You shouldn't have done that, Abed, period." said Troy. He sat down on the bed next to Abed, but didn't look at him.
"Well, it's not like I'm the only person to have messed up today. Our whole group was suspicious about my behavior this morning. Annie looked really worried just now and she's probably going to tell the whole group that I need 'help' again. I don't want people treating me like I'm sick," said Abed, looking at the floor.
Troy 's face softened. He flopped down onto the bed, back first. He then turned on his side and nudged Abed's thigh with his foot.
"Come over here," said Troy.
Abed pulled himself up on to the bed and scooted next to Troy, who wrapped his arms around his back and put his chin on Abed's shoulder.
"Today has been kind of a mess," Troy said into his ear sleepily. The fight seemed to have left him, for which Abed was glad.
"I agree. But I expected it. The people in the movie didn't fare any better," said Abed.
There was a long pause.
"Do you want to just sleep in here tonight, Abed? Uh. . .just in case we need to be closer together for the transfer to go right," said Troy tentatively.
He lifted his hand slightly away from Abed's chest and wiggled his fingers. Abed laced his own fingers in with Troy's. He yawned.
"Sure. I want my body back," he said, snuggling in closer to Troy.
"Me too, buddy. Me too."
The next morning when Troy woke up, he was the little spoon, which was a good sign. He looked down at his clothes-his, his hands-his. He tilted his head slightly and saw Abed's face. His mouth and eyes were closed-still sleeping, then.
"Abed, Abed, wake up. Are you in there?"
Abed didn't open his eyes, but hummed in agreement. Troy broke into a big smile. He heard his phone buzz and picked it up with his foot using his awesome toe-grabbing skills, honed by laziness and now used to allow more spooning with Abed.
In his inbox, he had one text message from Annie, and one voicemail from Britta. The text message read,
Gone to catsit for Britta while she goes on her trip. I'll be gone a few days. Don't get up to too much trouble while I'm gone ;) Hope the both of you are feeling better (if you know what I mean)
Wha? What did that mean?
Troy nudged Abed with his toes.
"Britta's gone somewhere and she's left me a message. Want me to put it on speakerphone? We should both probably hear it."
Abed yawned and opened his eyes.
"Sure," he said.
Troy pressed the button and dialed his voicemail.
You have: 1 unheard message. First unheard message.
Hi Troy. It's Britta. I just wanted to say again I'm so proud for your honesty and bravery last night, and that I encourage you to stay brave when you tell Abed how you feel. I believe in you!
Troy tilted his head towards Abed's and raised his eyebrows, but didn't say anything.
I've really taken your confession to heart: I don't want to be someone I'm not either. After you left last night, I started searching for Subway online, and I think I might have found him. I want to bring him back to Colorado so we can open that shelter that we dreamed about. I've left Annie in charge of my cats while I go travel to see him.
Tell the study group I send them love, and you and Abed have fun, but not too much!
I'll see all of you soon.
Troy laughed a quiet, surprised laugh.
"Well, at least she's happy. Subway's a good guy," said Troy, "What was that about me telling you how I feel?"
He probably should have moved or gotten a little bit worked up, but it was warm in Abed's arms, and it made his heart flutter just being there, so Troy just let it slide.
"I told her about the first time you figured it out was when you were with me. Really, I just told her all the stories of how we have so much fun together. How we understand each other so well. And that one day. . .you just knew. Because that was how it was for me. . .when I knew I was falling for you. I probably wasn't supposed to hear that message, although since I was you at the time, I guess I could say that you weren't supposed to hear it."
Abed said all of this very fast, as if it was something he had been wanting to get out for a very long time. Troy felt his heart grow or melt or something-there were too many metaphors and he felt all of them, and it was pretty awesome.
Troy turned to face Abed and cupped Abed's hand in his face.
"I'm glad I heard it now. And I'm glad you told me what you said back at Britta's place. Because. . .that's how it was for me too. Abed. . .I'm kind of in love with you. I have been for a long time. Years," said Troy. He looked Abed in the eyes as he did so, trying to somehow convey the sincerity and earnestness that lay beneath his words.
"Good. It would have been disappointing to have gone through all of that only for neither of us to have learned something," he said.
Troy leaned in to kiss Abed, and it was perfect, morning breath and sweaty limbs and all.
"Yeah, it really would have sucked. This is much, much better than that," said Troy, who felt a bit breathless for no reason at all.
"I think so too," said Abed, and when he kissed Troy for the second time, somehow it was even better than the first.