Almost as soon as he's alone in the Dreamatorium, Abed finds himself curling up on his seat on the main deck of the HMS Spacetime Twelve. After all the stress from today—worrying over Pam and the Study Group's Biology credit, playing bad cop, not knowing when he and Troy wanted to switch off—Abed's trying to take refuge here, in a dreamscape he hates, trying to find somewhere he can actually be alone.
Unfortunately, there's no such luck to be had. It only takes a moment for another person to join him—tall and thin, looking exactly the same as Abed, just with a goatee and an obnoxiously clichéd all-black ensemble. At the sight of his alternate timeline self, Abed draws his knees into his chest and hugs himself, and stares out the windshield at the vast expanse of space before him, trying his very best to ignore the person sitting next to him. Encroaching on his alone time. Planning something nefarious, no doubt, knowing him.
Evil Abed has other ideas, though—as always. He says that they can't keep meeting like this. He disagrees with Abed's assessment of the situation, especially the part where it involves: a. Evil Abed stopping with whatever he thinks he's doing, constantly showing up in the Dreamatorium when Abed needs to be alone, when Abed needs to decompress from the real world; and b. Evil Abed getting a new villainous and a new schtick, because Abed doesn't care how dark the Darkest Timeline is, there's never an excuse for a purported evil genius looking like he walked out of an Evil Villain Stereotype Catalogue.
And, unfortunately, he doesn't even need to wait for revenge, because he's right here, right now, and he knows everything that will trigger Abed. Snickering, he slithers into Abed's personal space, bringing his seat with him, even though it's supposed to be fixed to the floor. He cards his fingers through Abed's hair with poisonous delicacy, being careful of only one thing: Abed's distaste for having his hair mussed up. He keeps Abed's hair in order, but otherwise, he won't stop touching him. He trails his fingers down Abed's cheek, his neck, his shoulder and arm—and Abed just tries to keep perfectly still. As though not moving means that Evil Abed can't see him.
And Abed knows that he should let this go—if Troy or Annie or Shirley were here, they'd probably tell him that Evil Abed's just a figment of his imagination and he'll go away if Abed just stops reacting—but they don't have to deal with their skin crawling under Evil Abed's fingers. And it's enough to get him talking for now: "You can't do that," he says. "The bolts are titanium and I've got the quantum-spanner. You have to put the chair back where it goes. You're throwing off the entire balance of the Dreamatorium's already tenuous reality."
"I don't have to do anything that I don't want to do, Abed," says Evil Abed. "This isn't your Dreamatorium anymore—it's our Dreamatorium. You're not the only one in here anymore and I don't have to listen to you just because you think I should."
In response, Abed shakes his head, rolls his eyes, and starts to explain that no, actually, even if they have to share the Dreamatorium, he's pretty sure that Evil Abed has to respect the rules that its reality's founded on. Fantasy is a perfectly acceptable outlet for people, but they can't just run around, doing away with certain basic assumptions, or they could tear holes in the fabric of reality. They could put the whole of creation at risk, all the planets and timelines that neither of them have visited, doesn't Evil Abed.
(Abed isn't begging, here and now. He isn't sure that anyone else would agree with him—and, in all due fairness, he does find his heart's current behavior worrisome, with the way it won't just decide how fast it's going to beat and stay there? But Abed refuses to admit that he's begging Evil Abed for anything. He would never beg Evil Abed for anything. Evil Abed can impose himself on Abed's alone time, but he can't have Abed's dignity. …And if he ever gets his hands on that, then at least he won't get Abed's pride. Abed only humbles himself for Mom, Dad, and his Study Group friends. Not for any would-be villains.)
Evil Abed laughs at this—a deep, throaty chuckle that makes Abed shiver. But he presses on anyway. He explains that all of the life on other planets and in other timelines might be, to some degree, hypothetical—but this doesn't invalidate it, or mean that they shouldn't take steps to protect it. That's why they need to be careful and responsible with the power over reality that they have. Especially considering where they are. Especially considering how fragile the Dreamatorium and the minds plugged into it are—but Evil Abed still refuses to listen to reason.
"I think you're wrong, Abed," he says, voice as cold and calm as ever. "You don't seem to understand how this arrangement between us works. You're not the only one who makes the rules anymore. You're not the only one in control of the Dreamatorium."
"It's designed around my ability to fabricate, render, and actualize imagined dreamscapes," Abed counters. These rules of Evil Abed's seem more than a little bit manipulative and arbitrary. Just because he invited Evil Abed in doesn't mean anything, much less about whatever Abed's supposed to have agreed to in allowing him to stay. The darkest timeline's version of him is just trying to get an upper hand that he doesn't deserve for reasons Abed doesn't want to know.
"The reason you can't control the Dreamatorium," Abed goes on, "is really very simple. It's keyed into my brainwaves and calibrated to my body's specific neuroelectrical energy—"
"Neuroelectrical energy that I can mimic without blinking," Evil Abed snaps. His chair clangs into the floor as he scoots it closer, just to prove that he's right, and his breath is cold, heavy, as it smacks into Abed's cheek. He lingers there for a long moment, hovering so close to Abed's face that his lips are almost—but not quite—touching Abed's skin—which is even worse than the other option. Abed's heart pounds faster while his stomach does some impressive, Olympic-class gymnastics, and between the two of them and their respective shenanigans, Abed's fairly certain that it's a miracle he isn't entirely forgetting himself.
"If you're going to kiss me, I wish that you'd just get it over with," he says. He tries to bite back on the note of desperation wobbling into his voice, but he doesn't manage that. If anything, trying to hold back just makes him sound more desperate. More pathetic. He hates this. He hates how upset he was after the incident with the Döpplegang. He hates that he ever listened to Evil Abed, that he ever accepted the cold comfort of, I'll understand you better than anybody, all you need to do is let me in.
Evil Abed sighs, and pulls back, and doesn't even look at Abed until his chair is back in its proper place. He doesn't say anything until he's kneeling by Abed's side. "You're not the one who needs to beg tonight, Abed," he whispers, and doesn't even try to hold back, to stop his voice from creaking under the weight of pure, unadulterated need. "You know that, too, you wily son of a bitch. I just… Abed, please. Think about my timeline. Think about my Jeff with his one arm? My Annie, locked up in an institution? My Shirley and her drinking problem? Think about Troy—he was just trying to protect us all from that evil troll and he had to have a tracheotomy for his trouble… We need to get in here, Abed. Please—"
Abed shakes his head. Stares out into the void instead of acknowledging the approximation of a Sad Puppy Face that Evil Abed's wearing. It's unseemly, and it makes Abed feel slimy. "I can't let you do that, Evil Abed," he says, even as he lets his hand drift up into Evil Abed's hair. He starts out meaning it as a comforting gesture—but Evil Abed's been triggering him for weeks now, so Abed musses up his hair and feels no remorse for it. "I've told you more times than I want to count that I can't compromise the integrity of reality by letting you and the Evil Study Group into my timeline."
"Where's your precious sanctity of human life now, Abed? How can you even think about saying that you care about preserving all of the innocent unremarkables when you won't even save a study group? A study group that's another version of your own Study Group. If you think about it, you're refusing to save yourself. I bet your Britta would have a field day with analyzing that."
"Taking cheap shots at Britta is the sign of a nonexistent argument," Abed says, and stares down at Evil Abed, unperturbed. "Because you know what I can't let you out. I let you in, and we can have all the time in the world… but only in the Dreamatorium. Because I can see the bigger picture, Evil Abed. And I know that saving the lives of an incomplete Evil Study group isn't worth the risk to all of the other innocents whose lives I'd ruin when I destroyed all of reality."
Abed huffs, and shakes his head at Evil Abed's open mouth. By way of shutting him up before he even starts. "There are plenty of Inspector Spacetime episodes about what kind of a burden this is for me to bear," Abed says. "They start with season four's, 'Curse of the Infinity Knights,' and I know I'm not supposed to be the one begging tonight, but I'm going to have insist that you go watch those episodes instead of asking me to talk about this issue. The Inspector handled them with more nuance than I'm capable of."
With a heavy sigh, he slides out of his chair. Crouches next to Evil Abed on the floor, and leans in to kiss him (deeply, but gently). "I'm sorry," he says, "but there's nothing I can do—and I really need you to leave right now. We can imagine together later. And no matter what we come up with, I'm still not going to let you out of here. You can't be allowed to cross over."