Troy hugs Abed sometimes, and Abed doesn't really mind, so that's cool. It's weird, but it's actually kind of nice to hug someone who doesn't care whether he gets hugged or not: it takes away the hug-pressure that Troy sometimes feels around other people. Like Annie. And Britta. And sometimes Jeff. And Pierce. And Chang, that one super creepy time. Abed neither likes nor dislikes hugs, so it's not a big deal to him to have one or not have one, and he doesn't have any preferences about duration or squeeziness or whether they have to manly back-pat to make it hetero. So Troy just hugs him, sometimes, when he feels like it, and Abed presses a careful arm around him and gives him permission to squeeze or not squeeze and pat or not pat for as long as he likes.
He asked Abed about it once. He had some vague idea that people like Abed sometimes didn't like things like hugs.
"It's cool." Abed said, and it was one of his totally-cool-it's-cools, not one of his regretful-resigned-it's-cools, so it was cool.
"Awesome," Troy said, and then promptly felt awkward about whether or not he should hug Abed to celebrate the discovery that hugs were cool.
"Some days are no-hugs days. But mostly I just never know when I'm supposed to hug someone," Abed added. "And then it's this whooooole big deal when you get it wrong and you hug the bank teller but then don't ever hug your mother." He made that little sadeyed Abed-frown that always made Troy want to do things, things like making sure that no one in the world ever treated Abed badly. "Frankly it'd be nice to have someone to make those decisions for me."
"You can do that, if you want."
Troy said something in response to that, but it was muffled because his face was pressed into Abed's shirt.
"See, like this for instance, I wouldn't have known that a discussion about hugs should itself lead to a hug. You've saved me some anxiety here. Nice work."
Troy gave him a little squeeze.
Sometimes Troy makes decisions about Abed's hugs and instructs him about the people who could benefit from a hug, like Annie or Jeff, and then Abed hugs them and gives Troy a little wink and nod afterwards, like they were in on the hug together, like a travelling hug team. And sometimes, when Abed isn't feeling it, Troy takes over his hug duty. It's only right, because Abed sometimes takes over Troy's not-eating-a-whole-pizza duty, to make them even. On those days, Troy is careful not to hug Abed at all, since they're pretty clearly no-hugs sorts of days. But those don't happen too often, and mostly Troy just hugs Abed whenever he wants to, and Abed lets him, and even sometimes smiles at him after, a little bit.
One time in a blanket fort Abed crawls over Troy, just crawls over him like he's a pillow or a blanket or a pile of stuffed dinosaurs and reaches past him to get the extra flashlight batteries. Abed is really poky. Troy already knows that, because even just hugging Abed is like giving a loving squeeze to a sack of antlers, but with his weight bearing down on Troy's soft and ticklish underbelly he's even pokier.
"Ow," Troy says, as Abed scrambles back the way he came and dismounts. "You could've just asked me to hand you the batteries."
Abed shrugs. "I didn't think you'd mind."
If Abed were like a normal dude things would be different. Troy suspects that he himself is no longer within the acceptable limits of normal dudeness, which really should scare him more than it does, but if Abed were a normal dude Troy would probably be okay. He'd probably clean up his act and add more manly back-pats to his hugs and maybe for the most part confine himself to a firm handshake. But Abed's not a normal dude, and he doesn't seem to mind when his body is touching Troy's body (except on no-hugs days), and Troy likes that too much to give it up.
"Did you want to, you know," Abed tilts his head expressively, "cuddle or something?"
"You've hugged me five times in the last two days, from which I gather that you're feeling a need for physical affection this week. I'm just saying, you could sit closer on the couch and we could kill two birds with one stone."
The other bird is watching all the Jaws movies in a row, even the really bad ones. Troy isn't sure which ones are the really bad ones, even though he's now seen them all at least twice, but he believes Abed when he says that some of them are really bad and some of them aren't. Abed knows about that stuff.
"I," Troy says, "I don't – "
"Whatever." Abed shrugs and gets himself another handful of popcorn. In a flash Troy realizes that there's no one else in the room and that Abed . . . really doesn't care. Really doesn't mind, either way, just like with the hugs. That Abed is simply offering him something that he thinks Troy might enjoy, like he would offer him the top half of a crunchy sugar blueberry muffin, or a puppy, or the bottom half of a crunchy sugar blueberry muffin.
"Okay," Troy says, and then says it again, says "okay," and he doesn't even have to explain because Abed promptly wriggles over to him on the couch and sort of half-lies on top of him, like they've done this a hundred times.
"You're really poky," Troy says, feeling the warmth of Abed's back against his chest and wrapping his arms around Abed's shoulders to give him a squeeze.
"I know. I can move if you want."
"You're good," Troy says.
Abed reaches back and ruffles his hand against Troy's hair, then settles back down to watch the first movie.
After a few minutes of Jaws, which wasn't called Jaws 1 because they didn't know at the time that they'd make more of them, but is now sometimes retrospectively called Jaws 1, like Star Trek is now sometimes retrospectively called Star Trek: The Original Series, Troy says, "I love you."
Abed nods in acknowledgement. "Cool," he says. "Cool cool cool."