The Dreamatorium was a phone box, and Troy and Abed were playing Inspector Spacetime.
The problem was that Troy and Abed had been playing Inspector Spacetime so much lately that they were starting to recycle the same ideas. They’d fought the Blogons in a dozen different ways just in the past week, culminating in Troy-as-the-Constable having an adrenalin rush and hefting up one imaginary Blogon and beating the other over the head with it, shouting, “WHY CAN’T YOU JUST DIE?” before curling into a ball in the corner of the Dreamatorium and weeping.
“Interesting character choice,” said Abed. “Maybe if you rocked back and forth a little I would be more invested in Constable Reggie’s emotional arc.”
After that, they sat on the floor in the empty Dreamatorium for a while.
“Maybe we should just play something else,” said Troy dejectedly. “We could rewatch the mid-season finale of Supernatural again…”
“No,” said Abed. “The last time we turned the Dreamatorium into an Impala we both wanted to be Dean.”
“Well of course we did!” Troy’s outburst held the smallest note of hysteria. “Dean is amazing. But you should let me have him, you’re not even – “
“Hold it right there,” Abed said, holding up a hand. “Whatever character trait you’re about to subscribe to Dean Winchester that I don’t have, I’m pretty sure that you don’t have either.”
Troy pouted, but dropped the subject. It was true. Neither one of them would ever be as cool as Dean.
“We could watch the Inspector Spacetime Christmas Special again,” suggested Troy after a minute or so.
“I still think that the Chanukah Special is superior,” said Abed. “I like the Dreidel-Bots. Though someone on the Inspector Spacetime Confessions tumblr suggested that they’re racially insensitive.”
“It’s not as bad as the Kwanzaa Special though,” Troy said.
“No,” agreed Abed solemnly. “Nothing can be as bad as that.”
They were silent for a few minutes out of respect.
“I could try being the Anti-Inspector again,” Abed finally suggested.
“No…” Troy said slowly. “He does get a little rapey.”
“True,” said Abed.
“The beard looks good on you though,” said Troy.
“I like beards now,” said Abed. “Beards are cool.”
“Do you think there are other people playing Inspector Spacetime in their Dreamatoriums right now?” asked Troy.
Abed looked at him sharply. “I thought you said you’d filed the patent.”
“Oh, right,” said Troy.
“Though you might not need the Dreamatorium at all.” Abed suddenly looked thoughtful. “I know. We’ll ask the Internet.”
Troy clapped his hands and bounced to his feet.
Half an hour later, they were staring at something called Archive Of Our Own.
“Oh my god,” said Troy. “Oh my god.”
Abed’s eyes were wide as he scrolled down the list of hundreds of Inspector Spacetime stories. “We will never run out of storylines,” he said, sounding almost in awe.
“Click on that one!” Troy said excitedly, pointing. “Look, does that slash between their names mean that the Inspector and the Constable are like one person? Maybe it’s a two-headed Insponstable!”
Abed clicked. They skimmed the page. “No,” said Abed after a moment, “I don’t think that’s what it means.” Then, tilting his head to the side slightly, “Interesting character choice.”
Troy blinked. “I didn’t think you could do that with a scarf,” he said.
Abed looked down at his scarf, and Troy backed his chair away a little.
They looked at each other for a long moment and then Abed said, “Maybe we should play Supernatural.”
The Dreamatorium was an Impala, and Troy and Abed were fighting over who had to be Sam.
“You’re taller,” Troy insisted.
“You can cry better,” said Abed.
“You’re just jealous that my emotional range is wider than yours!”
“That’s exactly what Sam would say.”
It appeared they were at an impasse.
After a moment, Abed suggested a compromise. “Neither one of us has to be Sam,” he said. “You could be Castiel.”
“Castiel,” repeated Troy, and looked sad.
They had another moment of silence.
Troy didn’t question why Abed still got to be Dean. “I could try,” he said, and then did the voice: “I am the one who gripped you tight and raised you from perdition.”
“No,” said Abed.
Troy tried again, pitching his voice even lower. “Burgers make me very happy.”
“You sound like Cookie Monster,” said Abed.
“That’s what you said about my Batman voice,” said Troy dejectedly. “You show me.”
Abed looked solemn. “I’m Castiel,” he said.
“Wow,” said Troy. “That’s uncanny.”
Abed tilted his head to the side. “Castiel,” he said, “is Batman.” Though as soon as Troy started to look really excited, he added, “Metaphorically.” Then he nodded curtly. “Okay, I’ll be Castiel, and you can be Dean.”
A few minutes later, Abed was wearing a blue tie underneath his Inspector Spacetime bathrobe-trench coat (which was now a Castiel bathrobe-trench coat), and he had thrown Troy up against the wall of the Dreamatorium, which was now just a wall instead of an Impala. Well, more like Troy had thrown himself – he did his own stunts. Doing this scene was Troy’s idea. He kind of liked stunts.
“I rebelled for this?” shouted Abed in best Batman voice. Angel voice. Angry angel voice.
Abed reeled back and threw a punch at Troy, pulling it, but Troy provided sound effects: “POW!”
“So that you could surrender to them!” Another shout, another punch from Abed.
“BAM!” offered Troy as he ducked to the side.
“I gave everything for you,” Abed growled, and thought it might have been his best Batman ever. He shoved Troy harder against the wall of the Dreamatorium, staring daggers at him. “And this is what you give to me?”
And then Abed leaned in, closer, and closer…
“Woah!” Troy wiggled to the side, out from under Abed’s hands. “That’s not how it goes, that was a little – “
“Homoerotic?” offered Abed with a head tilt. “Maybe I shouldn’t have read some Supernatural stories on that archive while you were in the bathroom.”
“Maybe so,” Troy offered cautiously, rubbing the back of his neck. He’d thrown himself a little too hard with that last BAM. “Dean-slash-Castiel?”
They stared at each other for a second, and then Troy said, “Yeah, okay, I can see that. Look, why don’t I be Sam instead? You can take a turn as Dean. I’ll even cry if you want me to.”
“Okay,” Abed agreed, yanking off the blue tie. Then he added thoughtfully, “I feel as if we should apologize to the Sam Winchester fans. We’re not being very fair.”
“No,” said Troy, “we really aren’t.”
There was a long pause, and then they both dropped to the floor and Abed was turning a wheel and Troy was making engine noises and they were in the Impala again.
… and ten minutes later, Troy was standing and staring down at Abed. “Dude. Dude. They’re brothers.”
Abed tilted his head and regarded Troy impassively. “I may have read some stories like that, too.”
Troy just looked at him for a minute and then said, “Why don’t we play something else?”
“Cool,” said Abed. “Cool cool.”
The Dreamatorium was 221b Baker Street, and Troy and Abed were realizing that if they’d been going for less homoerotic, this was probably not the way to go.
“I didn’t even have to read stories about this,” Abed pointed out. “Not after seeing the new film the other night.”
Abed was wearing lipstick and a wig. It was the same wig he’d used for Kick Puncher, but he’d put some pin curls in it. Troy was still wondering how he’d done that.
They’d argued over whether to do Sherlock-the-movie or Sherlock-the-show, and finally they had compromised on Sherlock-the-show characters with plot from the movie. In other words, Abed was Benedict Cumberbatch in a dress.
“I thought there was something weird about that movie…” Troy said, brow furrowing.
“It was the gayest film I’ve ever seen that did not actually have men kissing in it,” said Abed. “I thought it was an interesting character choice. Well executed.”
“Right,” said Troy. “Well, it was a really good movie.”
“But right now I’m not Steampunk Sherlock,” Abed pointed out. “I’m Modern Sherlock. See? I have a cell phone.” He reached into the pocket of his dress. Troy was still wondering where he’d gotten the dress.
“I still want to be Steampunk Watson,” said Troy, pouting a little. “I like his moustache.” He held up his construction-paper-moustache-on-a-stick.
“Well,” said Abed thoughtfully, “maybe the solution is to do both. You could be Steampunk Watson and I could be Modern Holmes. I think that’s called a crossover.”
“What’s a crossover?” asked Troy.
The Dreamatorium was a phone box again, except there was a horse in it.
“I like crossovers,” said Troy. He was the King of All Britains. Wearing a chainmail hoodie made out of coke can tabs. “So how does this go again? You’re Inspector Spacetime and I’m Arthur? Where’s Merlin?”
“Studying with Gaius,” said Abed. He had his bathrobe and scarf back on.
“Maybe I could leave the horse outside before we take off for Mars or whatever,” Troy said. He was getting sore from squatting.
“Mars or whenever,” corrected Abed.
“So am I replacing Constable Reggie?” asked Troy, miming climbing off of the horse. He felt bad about leaving it behind, so he fed it a carrot.
“Not permanently,” said Abed. “This is taking place between episodes 5.4 and 5.5, when Reggie is laid up in the hospital after that Pompeii incident.”
“The hospital run by dog nuns?” asked Troy.
“That’s the one. And I’m lonely, so I sought after the most desirable man from all of history,” said Abed.
“Oh, that’s – “ Troy stopped himself. Blinked. “… what?”
“Don’t worry, the sex doesn’t come in until the second act,” said Abed. “I have to seduce you first.”
“Abed, did you read a story about this?”
Abed nodded. “This one was my favorite. Though that’s only because of the moratorium you gave on playing Cougar Town.”
“You found a story about Inspector Spacetime in Cougar Town?”
“He was on vacation,” said Abed.
“Did it involve sex?”
“Of course,” said Abed. “It was vacation.
“Does he always have sex?”
“Have you ever heard of Rule 34?” asked Abed.
Troy shook his head.
“If it exists, there is porn of it.”
Abed held up a finger. “I would propose rule 35. If it exists, then Inspector Spacetime has had sex with it.”
Troy was quiet for a minute and then said, “Can I be Inspector Spacetime then?”
“… can I be Dean?”
Abed looked at the ceiling as if going through his mental rolodex. “Yes,” he said. “I read a story about that. Did you know that Blogons can be possessed by demons?”
Troy’s eyes lit up a little. “Is there a new way to kill them?”
“Okay,” said Troy. “Dean-slash-Inspector it is, then. Do you think the Impala can fit in the phone box?”
“It’s bigger on the inside,” said Abed.
“Okay, I’ll just go get my leather jacket.”
As Troy started toward the door of the Dreamatorium, Abed started a voiceover: “And that was when Troy started to warm up to homoerotic narrative. But little did he know that someday he would be playing Troy-slash-Abed…”
“What was that?” Troy turned around.
“Nothing,” said Abed, and tightened his scarf.