You may have been my best friend, but we both know I was your first friend.
High school was, on the surface (which was all that counted), a great time for Troy Barnes. He had friends. He had girlfriends. Most of the girlfriends cheated on him with most of the friends, but that was okay. That was expected. That was normal. He played football and got girls and punched a guy on the jaw one week and did a keg stand with him the next.
Because they were friends.
So it didn't really matter if Troy got his feelings hurt – feelings weren't even a factor. Friends weren't people you had feelings about. Friends were people you talked to and played football with and laughed at and fought. Friends were people who were allowed to talk about you behind your back as long as they got you tomorrow's test answers.
Troy would know. He had tons of friends.
Troy will hold on until he is broken emotionally.
Abed is exhausted. He's lost most of the feeling in his arm and has to stare at what he's doing to make sure the pillow is actually making contact with Troy on each hit.
He can't stop. If he stops, he loses. If he loses, Troy wins. If he loses and Troy wins, they won't be Troy and Abed any longer. They'll be the victor and the vanquished.
It doesn't quite make sense, but his mind won't process why. It won't process anything beyond this moment, right here, right now, where he and Troy are no longer best friends but are still Troy and Abed .
This is the last thing they are ever going to do together. He can't stop.
you're never going to have another friend
Troy feels sick. He stares at his phone and wishes he could unsend the text he's just sent. And then he wishes that he could use whatever time traveling powers he has in that hypothetical wish scenario to go back and undo the events of the past couple of days.
It's just a stupid blanket fort. He doesn't even care anymore.
He doesn't even care that it's not just the blanket fort. He doesn't care that he's always the Reggie to Abed's Inspector.
Wait – no, he does care about that.
But there has to be some sort of middle ground. This can't possibly be the only way out. They can talk. Troy can explain. He can get Annie involved – she always knows how to help.
He shakes his head. It's too late for that. They're at war. It's become a matter of pride.
He thinks about trying, once this is over, to find a new best friend.
His mind is blank. He never had a best friend before Abed – he's not even sure what qualities to look for in someone, except exactly like Abed.
The stronghold is empty and silent, save for him and his breathing and the stupid, stupid noises he makes whenever he's trying not to cry.
He sets his cell phone down calmly, because he's afraid he'll throw it otherwise, and that might just spell disaster.
He doesn't need a best friend. He got through all of life up until college without one, after all.
His greatest vulnerability of all is his emotional frailty. It's incredibly easy to make him cry
They don't speak on the way back to the apartment. Abed is making an effort not to become catatonic with stress and fatigue, and Troy is concentrating on driving.
Abed's mind is reeling. The crisis is over, and he's suddenly aware of exactly what precipice he nearly hurled himself off of. The bottom of that cliff is murky and lonely and full of sharp rocks.
He used to live down there.
He's not sure how he survived it. He's pretty sure he couldn't do it again.
I'm tired, he thinks dully, head buzzing unpleasantly as he and Troy leave the car and head up to the apartment. I just need to sleep.
They're already in pajamas, but they both change anyway. These aren't really pajamas anymore. They're armor. Relics of a war recently fought but already a painful memory.
They're also two days old and starting to smell like it.
He might burn his tomorrow. He can't tell in his current state of mind whether or not that would be too extreme.
Annie got a ride home with Britta. She's already asleep in her room.
They enter their blanket fort and Abed tries not to laugh. He catches Troy's eye and they both grin. It really isn't funny.
The bunk beds.
Abed stares at them. Somehow, they mean something. Something important that he can't quite grasp. Something he almost lost.
Or maybe that's just the mood he's in. He should script something right now. It would probably be great.
Instead, he stands in the middle of the blanket fort and stares around himself at everything.
This is his and Troy's room. Their place. They built it for Annie, but they've made it their own. More than any other room or object in the apartment, more than the Indiana Jones boulder scene that migrates between flat surfaces as needed, more than the DVD collection organized in a way no one else could possibly understand, more than the novelty mugs or the closet full of costumes and props or the stain on the ceiling from that one time Abed tried to fix the garbage disposal and Troy came home in the middle of it and they spent two hours just trying to turn it off, more than even the Dreamatorium, this place is theirs.
That's what he almost lost. This place. Theirs. Ours. We. Us.
Abed is pretty adept at nipping his own emotional crises in the bud. He feels things deeply, but in a way that allows the feelings to be compartmentalized. This hurt and should be calmly addressed. That hurt but can be ignored and/or used in a story.
One notable Christmas incident and everything related to Cougartown aside, the only way his emotions have ever had a chance at getting the best of him is by presenting him with something new to face.
Abed has never been afraid of losing a best friend. He didn't have friends before college. He's never seriously considered the possibility of Troy leaving.
A switch flips that has never been flipped.
All Abed can think as he sinks to the floor and covers his face with his hands is I wish someone were filming this.
Troy panics, of course, because today has already been terrifying on levels nobody ever wants to admit to, and now Abed is sobbing on the floor and choking out something about how he's sorry for acting out of character but he really feels like maybe this has been a development arc for him.
He panics, but he handles it.
They both lie down on the bottom bunk, and they talk about next Halloween's costume possibilities and the Jurassic Park rerelease and how negotiable the copyright is on the Kickpuncher films. They don't talk about Inspector Spacetime. They don't discuss any serious issues. This isn't the time. Abed is crying and Troy is tired and they're both afraid of restarting the fight and Annie is in the next room.
“We gotta talk tomorrow,” Troy mumbles at last, nearly asleep. “I mean... Talk talk. This... can't happen again.”
Abed nods, sleepy but solemn, and moves slightly closer to him.
Troy yawns. “I think the secret air conditioner repair school is trying to sabotage us.”
Abed's eyes snap open.
An enemy. A catalyst. This wasn't an entirely natural rift. They aren't broken. They can fix this.
He falls asleep scheming.