A/N: I don't own anything referenced in here or the characters.
This has been done to death, but I just read Kurt Vonnegut's "Who am I This Time?" and decided to try writing a one-shot.
Takes place in Season 5 somewhere.
Abed was used to women coming up to him and talking to him. In fact, it happened on a daily basis. However, it was something he preferred to keep in the background because it would simply ruin Jeff's ego and Abed wasn't in the mood to voluntarily be the catalyst for an episode that dealt with that. It wasn't the right time for it; for Jeff's character development. So, whenever the Study Group members tried to set him up with women, he went along with it. It was better they thought of him as a guy who didn't date much or fall in love, that he preferred to be in the background; for the purposes of the story of the Study Group, of course.
Despite this, the constant attention from the many women, it was empty attention. Attention where the sole purpose was for these girls to act out their daddy issues or their issues of abandonment. To put it bluntly, Abed was rebound guy. He had always been rebound guy ever since his first kiss with Julia Hanover in eighth grade. Her boyfriend had dumped her, so she went up to Abed after school in the parking lot, kissed him so everyone would see, and then never talked to him again. The next day, she went on to dated Rich Waltman for four years.
See? Supporting character. A typical Dr. Frazier type from Cheers.
He always felt like the background player; he was there for a line, for a scene, but he wasn't the main character. Maybe he'd show up in the last act for, like, a minute, but never have the epiphanies the hero always had.
Since he'd gotten used to his status as a side-character, he preferred to watch the action unfold, at least when it was in real life. He loved to watch the moments, the small epiphanies that unfolded within his friends. There was a beauty to it; to see a person's life change like that. He could always tell the exact moment they had these epiphanies because their eyes would change. There was always a small flicker of difference; of realization.
Because Abed didn't know how to be, exactly, himself when it came to the social, more passionate moments of life. Most of his romantic encounters were brief and fleeting. He had no clue how to do it. How was he supposed to tell someone how he truly felt?
He, of course, knew the famous lines, the famous monologues of the declaration of love moments, but Abed couldn't just recite them and expect this person to completely understand; to know that he was genuine in his feelings.
When he watched these characters grace the screen, he would think:
"I've got a great compliment for you," Melvin would say to Carol.
"In my movie, darling, you get top billing," Clarence would say to Alabama.
"I like you very much...just as you are," Mark would say to Bridget.
"You complete me," Jerry would say to Dorothy.
"I was just...um...I'm in love with you," Jim would say to Pam.
"You were holding my hand and I felt you holding my hand. I woke up and I couldn't believe it wasn't real. I'm sick in love with you, Pamela," Louie would say to Pamela.
And finally, Abed thought about the greatest of all love confessions; The New Years scene from When Harry Met Sally...
"I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible," Harry would say to Sally.
Abed always wondered; what would he say to her?
He usually concluded that he, his character, wouldn't do that.
So he played other characters.
There was Don Draper. As Abed mimicked the cool demeanor and walk of Don, he sat down next to her and with a seductive, smooth, and deep voice, he said what Don would say. Abed watched her eyes change, her lips part slightly, and the book she held lower to her lap as she adjusted her gaze away from the printed page and to his face; focusing on his lips. She could love Don. Her eyes changed, they no longer saw him as Abed; as her friend. He became Don Draper.
He kissed her as Han Solo. At first she tried to rebuff him, fully knowing what he was doing, but that was part of the appeal. She played right into the role of Leia without even realizing it. She asked him if he would be gone when the game ended and he told her the truth. He nodded and told her that he had to go; that he couldn't be Han Solo forever. Then, before the orange paint fell from the sky, he grabbed her by the waist and kissed her as the cool paint poured onto their hot skin. He let her go, saw her astonishment, and concluded she had never been kissed like that in her life. He nodded to her again and Han was gone.
She didn't appreciate him taking on Jeff as a role when they were in the Dreamatorium. He wanted her to realize it. She needed to realize she didn't love Jeff; that she was just lonely and that Jeff was just the real-life embodiment of a character trope she thought she loved. He saw her realize it, even if it was just briefly. However, she wouldn't kiss him when he pretended to be Jeff. Then he shared his curse with her; the curse of knowing what would happen because when you knew and observed people as well as Abed had, you could calculate the possibilities of their next action. Abed thought of himself as a walking Dramatica software, even if he hated the fact that softwares like that existed. He could have told her then, in the Dreamatorium, when he opened up to her.
But he wouldn't do that either.
Just like how the Inspector would never confront Geneva, he would never confront or tell her.
When the Group were all seated at the study table, Abed watched her flip her hair as she giggled at Jeff, who texted on his phone. She twirled her purple pen with those small, soft hands and her pink lips formed a coy smile at Jeff. She looked at Jeff's lips. She extended her hand to touch Jeff's arm, but her fingers curled back, her smile faded with doubt and she pulled her arm toward herself; hiding it under the table. Jeff was still texting.
Jeff didn't notice her.
And Abed would never be able to notice her properly; he could only watch her. She was his third favorite show and each passing day she was closer and closer to surpassing Cougar Town. He read somewhere that was what love was; love was a person being your favorite show and he wanted to watch this show everyday. However, he knew it would end because a show can't become your favorite without any emotional investment. Abed knew she would never have the same emotional investment in him as he would in her.
Since Abed knew he couldn't appreciate or notice her like she deserved to be noticed and loved, for a moment, he thought about how there were worst things to be than a background side character who gets brought in for a moment to help the protagonist.
Because at least he was noticed, even if only for a brief moment.
Because no one noticed her.
She had only gone on three dates in the past two years and she had to pay every time, she said once.
When they got home, he looked at her and then at the Dreamatorium's door. She agreed to go in, now that Troy had moved out and the room was empty. Abed opened the Dreamatorium door and looked at her. She looked back at him, not giving him a smile or a frown, but instead an expression indifference as she asked with a soft whisper, "Who will you be this time?"