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the place where you can still remember dreaming

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The Neverland in the Dreamatorium was huge in Troy’s eyes; the trees went on and on into the air, so far that their branches might as well have been roots hooking themselves into the sky. The sky itself was blue all the time, starting off as a weak periwinkle tinged with yellow in the early hours of the morning, fading into a robin’s egg in the afternoon and then-somehow, magic he supposed- a deep blue at night the color of navy construction paper with stars poking out of it as if made by a hole punch.

They didn’t visit the second star to the right and straight on til morning often, usually deferring to dinosaurs vs. aliens or Inspector Spacetime when they rendered imaginary Dreamscapes, and Troy was pretty sure why; the experience was breathtaking, almost too much to bear.

Abed-as-Peter at the moment was playing a game of tag with him, which wasn’t really fair because Troy’s fairy dust had worn off by the time he was It. Abed, being half-starstuff (or was it part bird? It never was really explained) was flitting about in the air, occasionally in a brash, teasing way, but more often than not in a way that was slow and carefree.  Neither of them was taking the game very seriously, so although it wasn’t really fair, Troy was enjoying it anyway for the chance to take in the scenery and to watch Abed-as-Peter fly.

Troy stopped suddenly, the twigs he had been previously skimming over now crunching noisily under his bare toes. Abed had disappeared completely; that wasn’t usually part of the game.

“Peter? Where did you go?” yelled Troy. His yell rang out clearly through the thickly wooded forest, but the only answer he received was the caw of birds being unhappily awoken.

Instinctively, he went on alert. Maybe Captain Hook had-

A gentle breeze behind him was the only warning he got before he was unceremoniously scooped up into the crook of someone’s elbow and lifted off into the air. Troy was so surprised that he didn’t even realize it was Abed for a minute; his shriek disturbed several more birds’ nests.  Abed didn’t say anything, just laughed, and it sounded a little bit like bells and also a little bit like rain dripping off of leaves, but mostly it sounded like Abed.  And maybe when they shot through the trees head first in a close embrace and the sunlight reflected shadows onto Abed’s face from the crown of twigs and leaves around his head, well-maybe Troy was a little bit in love.

His breath caught in his throat at this realization, which was strange to him because it wasn’t one, not really.  Troy-as-himself (rather than Neverland Troy) told Abed he loved him all the time in the real world; he had said it at least five times already that day, because he felt it constantly. But here and now, somehow, it felt different, more whole and animal, and the fact that he didn’t know how the drop of dew in the corner of Abed’s mouth tasted made his chest ache.

He tilted his head up and kissed Abed from what was possibly the most awkward angle he had ever kissed anyone in his entire life, but it didn’t really matter because Abed’s cool autumn breath was inside his mouth and the dew tasted the color of the sky and Abed tasted exactly like Troy had imagined except better.

As they kissed, they began to slowly sink back into the trees feet first.  The sensation was a bit confusing; as Troy felt his heart grow lighter, they continued to sink.  He broke the kiss.

“Are my emotions weighing down your toes?” he asked.

Abed frowned at the ground, and lowered them all the way back down to the forest floor. Troy detached himself from Abed’s arms.

“It’s possible. If I remember correctly, magic in Peter Pan was a symbol for innocence. And kissing is one of the first universal signs of a loss of innocence.”

He wiped at his mouth with his thumb and examined it curiously. Troy frowned.

“So does that mean that if we kiss or. . .or do other stuff, you won’t be able to do magic anymore ever?”

Abed smiled a thin smile.

“Well, anything can happen in the Dreamatorium, but in this specific simulation if we were to kiss or do other stuff, yes, I possibly wouldn’t be able to do magic anymore.”

Troy frowned.

“Well, I don’t want to take that away. Magic is pretty special.”

Abed fixed him with an intense gaze and said, “I’ll take my chances.”

He embraced Troy enthusiastically, nearly sweeping him off his feet, and his hands were everywhere, flitting so fast that Troy could barely process it all. Abed was biting Troy’s mouth and sucking on his tongue and his fingers were in his hair-or were they on his spine-and before he knew it he was on the ground, pinned beneath Abed on his own back.  The leaves and dirt were grinding into his hair, and he knew on some level this was probably disgusting, but the forest was magical, he could feel it, and so instead he just reveled in the moment, dirt and all.

Above him, Abed’s body was emanating a faint white light.  It was beautiful, and Troy didn’t want to think about what it meant. Instead, he fingered at the top button on the back of Abed’s tunic.

“Can I?” he asked. Abed nodded.

He reached around Abed and undid each of the tunic’s six buttons, mouthing at Abed’s collarbone and neck as he did so.  When Troy finished removing the tunic, the tips of Abed’s fingers began to spark.  Troy laid back down; Abed began to undress him.

Watching Abed’s electric fingers navigate his buttons was possibly the coolest thing Troy had ever seen in his entire life. The energy in his hands looked like a webbed lightning storm, and it crackled as he worked.  He grabbed one of Abed’s hands and held it in his own; strangely, it didn’t feel electric at all, but something entirely different that he couldn’t categorize.  He smiled up at Abed, who was struggling a bit with his buttons one handed, and put one of Abed’s fingers in his mouth, tasting it curiously.

The result was like swallowing warm tea and honey, he moaned and sucked on it harder. Abed was panting now and trying to get the last button to come free with trembling fingers; apparently he felt it too.

Finally the last button came free, and the both of them were naked. Abed’s fingers stopped sparking. He breathed out, and a white, ethereal mist escaped from his mouth. The forest got darker, and for the first time since they’d played in Neverland, Troy felt a bit scared. Abed looked surprised and emptied and vulnerable; the kiss he gave Troy was gentle, and Troy responded back in kind.

Now that they were naked, their exploration of each others’ bodies was slower and seemed more deliberate. There was a sense of urgency that had come with the nakedness and the darkness, and yet that made Troy just want to move slower and enjoy to the fullest what he had while he still could. Abed was naked, and yet Troy couldn’t even bear to stop exploring his face with his mouth and his hands. He wanted to draw lines in Abed’s skin with his tongue and his thumb before Abed’s skin wrinkled without his input, because the fact that it was going to wrinkle at all was entirely his fault.

Abed’s hands were running up and down Troy’s chest; he leaned Troy back down on his back again, but kept his hands on the small of it as he straddled Troy’s right leg. Troy had been a bit upset at the way this had pulled Abed’s face away from his, but then Abed curved his mouth onto the crook of Troy’s neck and sucked, and Troy stopped thinking about everything. Unconsciously, he began to thrust onto Abed’s leg. Abed quietly moaned into Troy’s shoulder and responded in kind. His slim frame and sharp edges blurred a bit as he did so, and Troy gripped on tighter, willing Abed to stay. He turned his mouth towards Abed’s ear.

“Don’t disappear on me buddy, ok?” he whispered.

Abed panted and said,

“I’m not disappearing. I’m just. . .rearranging.”

Before Troy could answer back, Abed kissed him full on the mouth and ground into Troy’s thigh again. The blurred edges of Abed’s skin became a shimmering navy blue light, which would have been the color of the sky if it wasn’t simultaneously fading into black. The pressure in the base of Troy’s stomach was rising; he wasn’t going to last much longer.

Abed began pressing harder and faster into his leg, and the maybe-starstuff on the edges of his skin began to twinkle with the last remnants of the sky. In the crook of Abed’s shoulder, he saw miniscule stars live and die alongside tiny, swirling wisps of gas; a living breathing piece of the universe. Troy cried out as he finally came in another sea of stars.

Shortly after, Abed cried out too; he came onto Troy’s leg, and then sagged in a limp way on top of him. The blue energy whooshed away into the night, and everything was still.

“Render: Dreamatorium,” mumbled Abed into Troy’s shoulder, and the simulation fell away.

After a moment’s pause, Troy said, “You ok, buddy? That one was pretty intense.”

“Yeah,” said the unmoving Abed, “I just need a minute.”

Troy rubbed circles onto his back soothingly. Abed hummed.

“That was pretty awesome what you did back there, giving up magic for me.”

Abed rolled off of Troy’s stomach and onto his own back. He laced Troy’s fingers with his own.

“Growing up is worth it if you have someone to do it alongside you,” said Abed. He squeezed Troy’s hand. Troy squeezed back happily and said,

“It sure is, buddy. It sure is.”