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“No, you are right, my feet are long and stupid! You can’t unring that bell!” Troy cries, and Britta has never felt guiltier. She just snapped at him because he was sitting on the library’s couch with his legs stretched out, and when she walked by, his feet had made her trip over, and - she's super stressed, okay? And when she stumbled she almost spilled her coffee, and Suzie B scratched her arm horribly this morning and, fuck, she just needs a cigarette so bad - Troy storms out before she has the chance to explain herself. She feels like she just kicked a puppy. Or worse, a kitten. A kitten with very big paws! Even worse, a kitten with no legs!

 

When Britta comes out of her tragic over-thinking, she decides to go and apologize to Troy. It can’t be that difficult. Maybe if she buys him a cookie he'll forgive her? Two cookies? A robot? She doesn’t have money for that, though. All she can afford is a very nice apology. Maybe a bag of gummy bears. She finds him sitting next to Abed, scowling. 

 

“Did you tell Troy that Zac Efron doesn’t actually sing in High School Musical?” Abed asks her, without looking up from his laptop.

 

“What?!” Troy shrieks. “He doesn’t?

 

“No,” Britta says. “I haven’t even seen those movies.”

 

“Of course you haven’t. You weren’t in high school when they came out.” 

 

“And you were?” Britta asks. Sometimes she forgets that they are way younger than her. 

 

“I was in my senior year.”

 

“You're older than me?” Troy says, and honestly Britta doesn’t know why he seems so shocked. Somehow, Abed has the air of a person who has already been through a couple of post-school disappointments.

 

“Only for a couple years.”

Troy’s scowl gets deeper as he crosses his arms. He looks very much like a teenager throwing a tantrum. Britta should be annoyed and condescending, but she only feels guilty and anxious. She really needs a smoke. 

 

“Then, what did you say to him?” Abed finally looks up at her, closing his laptop and giving them his full attention. “I hadn’t seen him this upset since we saw the ending of My Best Friend’s Wedding.”

 

“I... may have made a hurtful comment about the size of his feet.” She confesses, placing a hand in Troy’s shoulder. “But it's just stupid and meaningless! I didn't mean to offend you!”

 

“Oh,” Abed says, pursing his lips. “Troy, Hobbits have enormous feet.”

 

Troy looks at him sideways. “They do?”

 

“Yeah, and that makes them incredibly skilled and strong.”

 

Troy smirks, regaining his regular overly-confident posture. “Well, I am skittles and strong.” 

 

“Also, there’s nothing stupid about your feet per se. It’s just a body part, it cannot have knowledge or a mind of its own; thus, can’t be stupid.” Abed shrugs. “And I’m pretty sure that if you tried to sell pictures of them on the internet, there would be a large number of weird people who would praise them and offer you a lot of money in exchange.” 

 

“Is that really a thing?” Britta interjects. She takes the chair next to Troy, both disgusted and curious. 

 

“It’s more common that you’d think. For instance: Dan Schneider, Quentin Tarantino -” 

 

“Those are both directors, right? Is it like a film trend? Are you into that?”

 

“No. I don't get the fascination with them. There are more interesting parts of the human body.”

 

“Uhuh!” Troy chimes in, snapping his fingers. “Like butts.”

 

Or a nice smile.” Britta adds, trying to counteract what can become a conversation that treats women as sexual objects.

 

“Sure.” Abed gets up, and looks down at both Troy and Britta. He examines them for a moment, then nods. “Or nice legs.”

 

Britta feels strangely exposed in her tight jeans and high boots, and is relieved to see that next to her, Troy seems to have the same expression of shocked uncertainty.

 

“I have to go make sure Shirley doesn’t get eaten by a werewolf.” Abed deadpans before leaving. 

 

They watch him go silently for a couple of seconds. 

 

“So… are we okay now?” Britta says lamely. Troy frowns, as if just remembering she was there.

 

He gets up. “It’s fine, whatever, no worries.” She knows that he’s making fun of Vaughn, but she decides to let it slide. He deserves it, anyway. 



*

 

Britta knows romantic love is a universal myth. She knows that relationships are cemented in mommy and daddy issues, and that they are like needles: You are a human being and you are vulnerable so you sort of need them, but the longer they are, the more they hurt and the more they scare. Guys - and a couple of girls, but she would never let Pierce know that, only because he'd never shut up about it - have told her they love her in many ways; in a hormone-induced haze after sex, through a mushy poem in a crumpled paper, or a cryptic text message that they deny the next day. 

 

So when Jeff begins acting not like a horny, snappy fuckboy towards her, but more like a love-struck, pining puppy, she thinks, it’s fine, it’s gonna pass. Jeff is a cool dude, and they could become good friends. It’s not like either of them will die because of the sexual tension. Except it passes, apparently. And there’s this feeling she can’t pinpoint, this emptiness that she didn’t expect and leaves her out of balance. Literally. She short-circuits when she spots Jeff and Professor Slater holding hands, staring at her with a condescending smile like proud parents. She had seen Jeff freaking out, and being an egocentric, flirty, and annoying dick, but she had never never seen him looking like an actual adult who finally figured out his life and found some real stability. While he, of all people, was able to pull that off, she is in a Community College auditorium, ridiculously dressed as a tea-pot and watering some person-sized sunflowers. She freezes, and then almost miraculously, Troy Barnes jumps in and improvises with her, infecting her with his energy, and his elegant movements, and his intoxicating confidence.

 

Troy’s spell almost makes her forget her existential crisis, until Jeff comes backstage after the show and gives her a bouquet of flowers, and she thinks that maybe it was a huge mistake to reject him. Maybe Jeff was everything she ever needed: A witty, annoyingly hot dude that can keep up with her sarcastic remarks while also being unexpectedly sweet. And she missed it. Maybe she really is in love. Otherwise, why would she feel so… jealous? So… replaced?

 

“I don’t think you're in love with Jeff, Britta.” And she jumps into place, because at what point did the voice of her consciousness start to sound exactly like Abed? But then she turns around and he is right there, analyzing the bouquet of flowers that she is holding with her almost white knuckles.

 

“Why are you still here, Abed?” She asks because she thought everyone had let her alone with her intrusive thoughts.  

 

“I was doing the tag end of the episode,” He answers, and she has already gotten so used to Abed’s antics that she just accepts it. “You and Jeff provided a very dramatic and sad romantic ending, so I had to lighten things up a bit. This is a sit-com, after all.” 

 

“It’s not... “ Britta starts, but then gives up. She's not in the mood to try and bring Abed to reality. She smells the flowers. They are fake. Of course Jeff would give her plastic flowers. She smiles a bit. 

 

“You might be thinking that Jeff was your endgame and you lost your chance, but you two are no Jim and Pam.”

 

“I wasn’t - what’s an endgame? I don’t even like Jim and Pam’s thing that much,” She says. Abed looks almost ghostly, all marked lines and long limbs, standing in the dark in the now silent auditorium. 

 

“Naturally, you don’t. That’s not your style. Neither settling down just because you feel like it’s time to do it.”

 

“Why are you telling me this?” 

 

“I don’t particularly enjoy love triangles. They're a cheap device to force a romantic plot, and, as you once pointed out, a misogynistic way to pit women against each other.” 

 

Britta smiles and feels tears welling up in her eyes again. “God. I’m such a mess. I can’t even commit to my ideologies.” 

 

“Don’t worry. You just got caught up in the plot. It happens.” 

 

She exhales, and the shaky breath coming out of her mouth is extremely cold. “Can I hug you, Abed?”

 

He shrugs. “If you want to.”

 

She does. His flannel shirt is soft against her cheek. He's really tall. Or maybe it’s not that much, but she feels very small at that moment. Abed doesn’t actually hug her back, but he stands very still and lets her cry in his super cozy flannel shirt without commenting on it. 

 

“Thank you.” She sniffles, finally pulling away. 

 

Abed nods. “Anytime.” 



*



“I can’t believe we tried to play matchmaker with two teenagers -”

 

“More like young adults,”

 

“Oh, come on, Jeff! Just because you want to bang Annie doesn’t make it more acceptable!”

 

“I don’t wanna bang Annie, she just keeps making me those lovey dovey eyes - It’s like you and Troy!”

 

“Me and Troy? What the hell are you talking about?”

 

“Let’s be real, Britta. That dance thing with him last week was full of sexual tension. And I can tell you all the explicit things he said about your body if you don’t believe me -”

 

“Hard pass!” Britta stands up hurriedly. Why is Jeff being so weirdly intense about that concept? Could he maybe be jealous? He was clearly jealous of Vaughn, both with her and now with Annie, so it would match his character. Still. “Don’t be creepy. Troy just got out of high-school! He doesn’t even know what a discman is! It'd be super wrong.”

 

“I know. I was just pointing out.” Jeff stands up too, throwing his hands in the air. “Hey, don’t get mad. Let’s keep hanging out. We were having a great time, right? We learned from our mistakes, and we won’t get involved in teenage drama, ever. It might look like it, but they aren't actually our kids.”

 

She smiles at him. It’s annoyingly easy to have fun with Jeff. She sits down next to him, and he smiles back. 

 

“Fine. God, I want a beer so bad.”

 

“There’s this suspiciously cheap shop next to the campus that sells Chinese beer and vegan burritos. We still have time to grab something before class,” Jeff offers. 

 

“You had me at vegan,” She says. 

 

“Obviously.” He smirks, and Britta thinks, This is it, then? This is how you know someone is made for you? When they offer you vegan burritos? It feels like it should be. But it’s also extremely heteronormative of her to think like that, and she hates it. So she gets defensive, as always.

 

“Can you not look so smug for a moment,”

 

“Ah, there it is. You were being too nice to be true.”

 

She rolls her eyes, but keeps walking next to him.

 

*

 

She starts getting truly competitive on Valentine’s day. She wears her best dress, her highest heels and her darkest lipstick, and thinks that there are two probable scenarios: Jeff goes along with it and jumps into the opportunity to be her Valentine, or he accepts that he doesn’t actually remember anything that he said and she gets the chance to make fun of him. Both of them are pretty great options. Especially because she is still both scared and curious of the consequences of actually dating Jeff. So she gets all dressed up, and when he says Look, I’m sorry. I don’t remember asking you to the dance, she feels equally relieved and disappointed. 

 

Britta helps him out, showing Slater the first minute of the voicemail, and then the whole drunk call drama is over. Abed was right, then. It was a matter of balance. She just saved Jeff’s relationship. She deletes the voicemail immediately after that.

 

She’s still thinking about it, in the middle of the dance floor, when Troy appears next to her.

 

“Hey, Britta. Looking nice. Why so alone?”

 

“Same to you. Where’s your other half?” She teases. He shrugs, without the slightest reaction to the fact that she referred to Abed in that way.

 

“I think he’s still hungover, or having his own Valentine’s side adventure offscreen.”

 

Britta huffs a laugh. “He does that?”

 

“Yeah. He can pull that off. He’s pretty adorable.” The fact that Troy pointed that out just makes him equally adorable. “So, wanna dance?”

 

They dance together. It’s fun, and cute, and he’s so respectful and sweet that he doesn't even touch her even though it looks like he really wants to. He just sways next to her, and exactly like in the recital they are completely in sync. She can feel Jeff’s eyes glued to them as he leaves with Slater, but decides to ignore him and smiles at Troy instead, who smirks back, easy and confident.

 

*

 

“I love you, Jeff Winger.” Britta says, and she regrets it the moment the words come out of her mouth. She expected them to feel magical, powerful, true. Instead, she feels pathetic. 

 

Maybe if Jeff actually said something along the lines of I love you, too, or at least You’re super hot and smart but I have commitment issues so I’m running away, she wouldn’t feel like a piece of trash. But he barely apologizes, and then leaves.

 

She goes through the backdoor and finds her usual smoking spot. Although she doesn’t have a cigarette because she quit. Fuck.

 

“I’ve been told that saying I told you so makes people angry, but I told you so.” Abed materializes next to her. She scowls.

 

“I wanna be alone, Abed.” She crosses her arms. She’s freezing. God, why did she even get into this ridiculous dress? She really fell right into the patriarchy's trap. 

 

“Want a cigarette?” He asks, producing his Don Draper box. 

 

She exhales heavily. “I really do. Thanks.”

 

“You’re welcome.”

 

She watches the smoke coming out of her mouth for a moment. “I ruined it. Right? Your movie, I mean.”

 

“It’s a series, not a movie. And it’s ours, not just mine.” 

 

Britta shakes her head. “Whatever. I blew it. Everything’s gonna be so awkward with the study group now.”

 

“You created a perfect love confession scene, Britta.” Abed says. “Jeff ruined it. And even if he did, that’s okay because our show is not a typical one. What you did was brave, and shocking, maybe provided a little second-hand embarrassment to everyone involved, but I think it was definitely worth it. You carried the whole finale.”

 

“Thanks. I guess. I don’t feel that brave, though. I just feel like an idiot.” 

 

“You’re not. You said exactly what you felt, or at least what you thought you felt; doing that takes courage.” Abed inhales deeply. “You know, Troy wanted to move in with me. I said no.” 

 

She turns to look at him. He’s frowning and his eyes are glued to the floor. “Why? Aren’t you the most codependent best friends?”

 

“We are. That’s why we shouldn’t live together. I don’t want us to jump the shark.” Britta is going to say something, but he keeps talking. “I’m so careful all the time. When I get something I like, I never want it to finish. And Troy is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. So I got scared and told him no. I don’t regret it.”

 

“Aw, Abed,” She says, wrapping herself around his arm. His arm is so thin and warm. He puts his head on top of hers absentmindedly. 

 

“Abed, why did you disappear?” Troy appears behind them, still holding his giant cookie. “Oh. Britta. You okay?”

 

“Don’t worry about me,” She gives him a wobbly smile. “You two should go back inside. The dance floor is dead without you.”

“Nah. I feel kinda sick. I'd rather get some air or be outside in case I throw up.” Troy admits. “Want some cookie?”

 

She shows him the cigarette in her fingers. “I’m fine. Thanks. By the way, are these mentholated?”

 

“Yup. I like them better.” Abed states. 

 

“You smoke?”

 

“Not really. Only when I’m doing a character.” He’s examining her very closely, and she's reminded of herself watching him perform as Jesus for his meta movie and saying I love me some Abed. She shudders, either for the intensity of the moment or the cold breeze.

 

Troy's warm hand in her arm makes her jump in place. “Damn, Britta, you’re freezing! Here, hold my cookie.”

 

She does. “How’s that gonna help - “ But then she notices he’s taking off his jacket. “Oh, Troy, don’t. You don’t have to!”

 

“Hush, Britta. Let me be a gentleman.” He scolds, but his tone is sweet and playful. He draps the grey jacket over her shoulders and winks at her. She blushes absurdly. It’s so stupid. She feels like a teenager.

 

“Wanna come to the dorm and watch a movie?” Abed invites. “We can make a romcom marathon, so you identify with the characters, cry, and relieve all the tension.”

 

“I would hate that.” She says. They both visibly slump and she hurries to finish. “Let’s do it.”

Troy beams at her and offers his arm, and Abed nods slightly and leads the way. She thinks that maybe, only maybe, the next semester is not going to be that bad. 

 

*

 

After that, she spends more time with Troy and Abed than she is willing to admit. They are childish, and groan whenever she mentions something related to economy or the government, and like to pretend that her presence overall is plain annoying for them, but then they won’t let her leave the dorm until she helps them separate the legos that got stuck, and start asking questions that only her “female brain” could answer, which is super sexist, but she knows that they are truly curious and respect her a lot so she complies. 

 

When they decide to make their blanket fort, they don’t invite her. Which makes a lot of sense because it would be kind of awkward. So she just teases them. 

 

“A blanket fort. Wow.”

 

“You can come hang out with us later if you want,” Abed invites. 

 

“Uh, thanks, but I think I’ll find something more grown-up to do.”

 

“Hm. Okay, enjoy eating fiber and watching The Mentalist.” Troy says, which is triple insulting because that’s what they did when she got a cold and they came over to visit her during summer. Okay, they only did those exact activities because she was sick so they let her pick. But still. They did it, and she’s pretty sure Abed loved her granola.

 

“You three are like 5 year-olds pulling pigtails.” Shirley judges once the boys are gone. Britta resists the incredibly strong urge to scoff like Annie would.

 

“The concept of pulling pigtails is just a way to impose toxic stereotypes in little girls, supporting the idea that if a guy bullies you it’s because he’s into you -” 

 

“I don’t know. I kind of agree,” Annie jumps in. “It’s like when you were all sarcastic and bickering with Jeff, but now it happens with… Troy and Abed.” 

 

Britta blushes furiously. “What the hell are you implying, Annie? That’s ridiculous! I don’t go around flirting with every man on the table.”

 

“Lesbian,” Pierce provides. Britta rolls her eyes so hard it hurts. “I told Ay-bed from the beginning that he should give up on his dreams to bed sour-face. She’s clearly not into men.”

 

“Why would you tell Abed that?” Jeff asks suddenly, as if the idea entertains him. 

 

“What? I’ve said it before: These two are Flat butt and the one Abed wants to nail.”

 

Annie looks terribly offended. “I thought Britta was Flat butt!” 

 

“Don’t worry, sweetie. You have many other attributes.” Shirley concedes, patting Annie’s hand. Jeff and Pierce nod approvingly. 

 

“This conversation is getting extra weird and sexual. Can we focus on studying anthropology?” She pleads. 

 

“Why so flustered, Britta?” Jeff teases. “Thinking about hanging out in a blanket fort with grown men in tiny underoos?”

 

“Helloooo!” The Dean chimes in in perfect timing. 

 

Britta is infinitely grateful for the distraction.

 

*

 

Britta keeps sleeping with Jeff because she somehow expects him to eventually open up and become a decent human being. They also have become very close, and Britta has gotten used to the size of his hands, his tendency to avoid visual contact, and his rule of no smoking in his room because he uses a very expensive environmental deodorant. It’s fun, sometimes, but it’s mostly interesting. A challenge. She likes to analyze his reactions and categorize them. 

She makes the mistake of sharing one piece of information with Troy and Abed one afternoon, when they are having ice cream after Troy and Britta’s dance class.

 

“... Then Abed and I went through his stuff ‘cause we were getting bored, and we noticed that he keeps his bread in the refrigerator.

 

“Yeah, he’s weird,” Britta notes. “I mean, I would never kink-shame anyone, but he’s so into nipple play that sometimes it makes me wonder -”

 

“Oh god!” Troy yells.

 

“Are you two having secret sex?” Abed inquires. 

 

“What - No! I mean, that was the only time we had sex. Just the one time. I’d never keep sleeping with Jeff. It’d be stupid and wouldn’t make any sense at all.”

 

Abed squints at her and finally nods. Troy pats her shoulder reassuringly, and she weirdly feels as if she were their little sister. Which makes absolutely no sense since she’s older than both of them.

 

“We believe you. But there’s no need to share weird facts about Jeff’s sex life, really.” 

 

“There’s nothing wrong with sexuality, you two are just prejudiced -”

 

“Britta.”

 

“Fine. You toddlers.” She says, only to regain some dignity. It doesn’t work that much, since she’s still wearing her dance costume that consists of a tutu and fake dog ears and Troy always looks somehow extra built up and attractive in his dance clothes, and Abed is making his calculating face, but at least she tries. 

 

*

 

She’s so weirded out about the whole Page fiasco. It was a nice opportunity to show that she’s kind of into girls, too, she just hates being wrongly labeled as a lesbian just because she doesn’t fit the whole feminine mystique. She wanted it to be smooth, and cool, and like a big revelation for Pierce to stop being so damn annoying. Maybe they all would understand. But it just goes wrong. She can’t have a nice Valentine's day, not even one.

 

Britta drinks a lot of spiked punch after that. She kind of misses Jeff. He would be making witty remarks that would be annoying as hell but would ultimately lift her mood. She’s about to call him to ask where the hell he is when she spots Troy and Abed. Weren’t they making this whole dating-the-librarian episode? She waves at them and they wave back. Troy looks a little upset, and Abed is just as neutral as always. She goes over, making a silly dance as she walks because she is in fact very tipsy. 

 

“Britta. Are you done making out with other girls?” Troy says. “Man, I can’t believe we missed it.” And yeah, maybe she doesn’t need Jeff to be here to make annoying straight man remarks; Troy is fulfilling the role quite well.

 

“No,” She smiles wryly, “I left Annie waiting her turn.”

 

“Makes sense. Annie is highly susceptible to sexually charged scenarios. I believe she's physically unable to resist kiss leans.” Abed provides. 

 

“Really?” Troy asks. 

 

“Sure. Remember: My Don Draper impression, Jeff last year, Britta a few minutes ago -”

 

“Damn, it's true! How did I not notice?”

 

“You were oblivious to Annie expressing obvious romantic interest in you. I wouldn’t expect you to notice more subtle details. Plus, you never initiate kiss leans. You’re more of a hug person.”

 

“Aw, man, I kinda wanna hug you now,”

 

“You already hugged me a couple of minutes ago,”

 

Troy is about to complain, but Britta can’t hold her tipsy tongue. “What happened to the girl you were obsessing about?”

 

“Oh.” Troy scratches his neck. “We let her go. It just feels… wrong to have someone choosing one of us over the other.” 

 

“Well, it was you who made her do that!” Britta is not sure if she is defending the librarian or criticizing her. She’s a little dizzy. “Personally, I would've simply chosen both.”

 

Abed nods. “Predictable. You’re an anarchist; therefore, you’re against the concepts of forced heterosexuality and monogamy. That wouldn’t have worked with her, though. She’s a fan of Jane Austen; it would've been unfair to even suggest a polyamorous arrangement. We had to make her pick one.”

 

“Logically,” Britta smiles, taking another sip of punch. “You always have the logical solution. Don’t you? Like the guy with the pointy eyebrows in Star Trek.”

 

“It's Spock,” Troy chimes in quickly. “Hey, we should do a Star Trek cosplay someday! Can I be Kirk?”

 

“Sure.” Abed smiles softly. “You’re Kirk, I’m Spock, and Britta is McCoy.”

 

“Mc who?” She frowns. “Am I being included in your geeky thing? Oh my, what an honor.”

 

“You’re a cranky drunk, Britta.” Troy complains, and holds her arm when she tries to do a risky dance step and stumbles a little bit. 

 

“I’m sorry. But really, I wanna be the smooth smart chick, not the grumpy doctor!”

 

“No,” Abed shakes his head disapprovingly. “Annie’s Uhura. You’re definitely Bones. With every word you say you just prove it further.”

 

Britta scowls and Abed frowns at her. “You shouldn’t be upset about that. The triumvirate is the most important team in the bridge. The brain, the heart, and the soul.”

 

She looks at Troy for confirmation. “Is it really?”

 

“Yeah, it is.” 

 

“Fine, I’ll be McCoy.” She accepts. Troy smiles dazzlingly at her, and she can’t help but smile back.

 

“Cool. Cool, cool, cool. I might want some of that spiked punch.” Abed says, and he’s going to walk over to get some but Britta just extends her cup so that he doesn't have to leave. He examines her for a moment and then takes a sip. She doesn’t know why, but it feels like a weirdly intimate gesture, to share a drink.

 

“Thanks.”

 

“You’re welcome, Captain.”

 

“Spock isn’t the captain. He’s the Science Officer.”

 

“I tried.” 

 

Troy looks at them, laughs and tugs them both so they can all dance together. 

 

*

 

“I know you hate it when I come up with brilliant ideas, but I think I just thought of the best theme for Abed's surprise party.” Jeff says, putting his beetlejuice underwear back on. She was already mentally far away, thinking of her night shift at the diner and the fact that her tips are not going to be enough to pay the rent, when he says that out of the blue.

 

“Huh? When is it?” 

 

“In a month.” Jeff walks to his night stand and pours himself a glass of scotch. He offers her some but she wrinkles her nose. Scotch is the lamest alcohol. 

 

“A month? Seems like you’re more hyped about Abed's birthday than him.” Britta teases. She doesn’t even bother trying to look sexy for him anymore. She just lays on her belly, and scratches his unnecessarily expensive pillow lightly. It makes a funny sound.

 

“I don’t know. Abed has made so much for us. Sometimes I think his whole filmmaker antics are what keep us all together.”

 

Britta looks up in surprise. He’s finally loosening up. She thinks about running her fingers through his back, or kissing his cheek, but it’d just feel out of place. Out of character. Out of timeline, as Abed would say. They just had sex, but innocent affection between them is simply not natural. 

 

“So, what’s your idea?” 

 

“A Pulp Fiction themed party. I even found a guy who sells the original suitcase from the movie.” He looks at her expectantly, and at that very moment Jeff seems more vulnerable and naked than she’s ever seen him.

 

“He’s gonna love it.” Britta reassures. “I can ask for permission to do the party in the diner. I mean - I really can’t afford losing that job, and my boss already hates me, so we’ll have to plan it very carefully so nothing goes wrong. But I think it’s a great idea. Troy’s probably gonna get super jealous of you,”

 

Jeff frowns. “Why?”

 

“I don’t know.” She admits, plucking a loose thread from the pillow and rolling it in her fingers. “I just know it.”

 

“You’re spending so much time with those dorks lately,” Jeff says, but there’s no heat to it. “Anyway. We still have twenty minutes left until Anthropology. Another quickie?”

 

“Fine.” She shrugs, and Jeff grins triumphantly and climbs on top of her. It’s actually the last time they ever have sex.

 

*

 

Britta is following closely every single one of Abed’s words when he describes his Halloween Story because she has to pick up on any clues of him being a serial killer. Well, yeah, everyone is a suspect, but Abed is the first one to start telling his version, so she is full of psychoanalytic energy. Maybe that’s why it takes her a while to notice that the couple making out and talking about fertility in Abed’s story are him and Britta. 

 

That makes sense. I’m turned on by how logical you are,” Abed says in a falsetto voice. “By the way, so you can picture it better, the blonde girl is wearing a soft sweater, and the protagonist has this very casual into-the-woods-flannel look.”

 

“Nice.” Troy grins. Shirley looks at him strangely. Actually, the whole study group does. “Keep going.” 

 

“Cool. So, the guy states: I’m comforted by your shiny hair and facial symmetry. I just brushed my teeth, so this would be the optimal time to kiss.” 

 

Britta stays very still, and is suddenly super aware of her thigh brushing Abed’s. She looks at Troy, and he has almost a disbelieving smile; it's the kind of dopey face he does when he’s watching Pixar movies. 

 

“So, do they get killed?” Britta prompts. The pace of the story is getting into her nerves for some reason.

 

“No," Abed frowns. “You’re not keeping up with the narrative. They kiss; it’s short but passionate. Now the leading character says: Enjoyable. Soft lips. Just the right level of moisture.

 

“What the hell is going on here?” Pierce opens his eyes a lot. “Are we gonna start narrating porn?”

 

“Yeah. I think we jumped very quickly from scary movies to fanfiction about the study group members.” Jeff points out. 

 

Abed looks outraged. “I see. You're criticizing my story-telling techniques, as if you two knew better.”

 

Britta pats his leg reassuringly. “I liked it.”

 

“Yeah, I bet you did.” Shirley muses.

 

“That was super cool," Troy interrupts. "But you guys wanna hear a real, legit scary story?”

 

“Sure!” Finally, some progress. She was getting out of track here. “Go on, Troy.”

 

“So, I enter the room carrying Abed bride-style,”

 

“Great. Now we are not even bothering to cover the names.” Jeff huffs. Troy ignores him. 

 

“And I say: Me and my partner are top gun fighter pilots, the best of the best.

 

Pew, pew,” Abed jumps in unprompted, and Britta can’t repress her smile. These two don’t even have to look at each other to get in sync; their connection is magical. Troy keeps telling his story, which includes weird sci-fi stuff and Pierce as an old crazy doctor, and Britta almost forgets about the whole issue with the mentally disturbed member of the gang. She ends up wondering about the implications of Abed picturing them as a couple, and Troy fantasizing about him and Abed being sewn together. There has to be a link between those two stories, right? It must mean something. 

 

*

 

The whole Blade incident is terrible for Britta’s mental health. Blade was that incredibly detached, long-haired, nihilistic, hot as fuck dude that drove her crazy in bed. He had that way of smirking and then whispering filthy things in her ear without looking even a little bothered. When she learns he’s back in town she has this sudden urge to reach for him and beg him to fuck her senseless; for once, she needs to be submitted. She’s usually dominant and demanding in bed, but this strange thing happened with Blade where she felt small and pliant under his calloused hands. And she wants it back. She wants back the feeling of being young and rebellious and careless.

 

She feels bad when Annie opens the drawer and says Read the banana, Britta. She feels awful when Abed gets annoyed and says Annie, subdue your guest, and feels even worse when Troy rants about her and Annie being the actual bad friends for not letting them watch peacefully their damn cursed Blade movie. It ends, like always, with Jeff giving a very self-centred yet extremely enlightening speech, and Troy gets out of the room all snappy but ultimately accepts to keep watching the movie. 

 

Britta reads the message again. It simply reads: “You know what? I can’t wait to see you. You're incredible.” She should have known from the beginning that Blade would’ve never said something like that. He doesn’t care about her or her feelings at all. Troy does, though. And he looks so bummed out right now. Annie nods at her sympathetically and then looks at Jeff, and Britta feels like an outsider when she notices the soft moment between Annie and Jeff. Yeah, Jeff definitely wasn’t the guy for her. Him going to the carnival to meet Blade is only another proof of the fact that his pursuit of her was just a way to stroke his own ego. If it were Annie obsessed with a weird dude, Jeff would probably get hyper-fixated at first but then end up having a whole self-deprecating drama of why he is not good enough for Annie and accepting her personal space and choices. They learned that from the Vaughn incident, anyway. 

 

Then she looks at Troy, who seems more relaxed now and is sharing a small smile with Abed. They look so intimately connected and at ease. Every muscle in Troy’s body relaxes while he nods softly at his best friend, and when Abed says this movie is fantastic, she hasn’t even been paying attention to it, but she somehow agrees. 

 

When the movie ends Jeff gets up and offers her a ride. “Sure, thanks,” Britta says, although she’s not sure that it’s a great idea. They are both emotionally unstable at that moment and what if they end up hooking up again? It’s stupid, but that’s usually how it happened with them. Annie seems to notice, because when Troy and Abed have already retired to their blanket fort and she's already heading to the door, coat and phone in hand, she touches her arm softly. 

 

“We could do a girls night,” Annie suggests, and she looks so beautiful and sweet in her pink sweater that it makes Britta smile a little.

 

“It’s okay, Annie. It’s not necessary.”

 

“Come on, it’d be fun! I bought ice cream and face masks because I thought you were gonna stay, and I never get to do any of that girly stuff because all the boys want to do is to dress up as Batman and play videogames!”

 

Britta squirms uneasily. Jeff is waiting for them on the doorstep, pretending not to care while texting his imaginary friend, as usual. 

 

“I’ve never been on a sleepover.” She admits, biting her lip. 

 

Annie gasps. “Britta! How is that even possible?” 

 

“Well, I have slept in other girls houses, but not for the mere sake of having a girls ice-cream-and-masks night,” She clarifies, and both Annie and Jeff seem to get the meaning because Annie blushes and Jeff looks up at her in awe.

 

“I, for one, wouldn’t mind staying with you two,” He arches his eyebrows suggestively. Annie swats him in the arm.

 

“No! It’s a girls only night.”

 

“Fine. I’m leaving then. Britta? You coming or not?”

 

Annie gives her a hopeful smile. Britta sighs. “Okay. I’m staying. Get out of here, Winger. Have fun with the creepy sexual fantasies you're gonna get out of this.”

 

“Oh, I will.” He smiles wryly, and then leaves. 

 

“You're such a good friend, Annie.” She tells her once they are alone sitting in bed, Annie brushing her hair softly. She lent her one of her pajamas, and it fits her perfectly. “It’s like - I’ve had female friends, and I always try my best to implement sisterhood in my daily life because I’m a feminist! But it’s always been so hard for me. And you and I have fought all these times but you still help me and take care of me whenever you can. All my friendships are somehow cememented on traumatic experiences or hanging out to get high or drink, but you are just so nice and familiar,” 

 

“Aw, Britta!” Annie stops brushing her hair and squeezes her tightly in a hug. “You are kind of my girl bestfriend too!” 

 

Britta laughs despite herself because that’s not what she said, but maybe it’s what she meant. So she hugs back, breathing in Annie’s soft strawberry perfume, enjoying the feeling of being so appreciated and understood. 

 

She wakes up in the middle of the night because she has to pee, and when she passes by the blanket fort she can hear the boys whispering. She doesn’t mean to eavesdrop, but they don’t know she stayed the night, and men always have the most hilarious conversations when they think they are not being heard, so she stands quietly next to the entrance where she’s sure they can’t see her or her shadow.

 

“You’re still upset,” Abed states. There’s a rustle in the sheets.

 

“It's just,” Troy exhales heavily. “She basically called me a loser?”

 

Britta's heart skips a beat.

 

“She called Blade a loser.”

 

“Yeah, but I wrote the text, Abed.”

 

“I know that. But Britta doesn’t. I don’t think she would have called you a loser if she knew.”

 

“How would you know?” Troy asks shakily. “I feel so stupid. Like, why do I even care -”

 

“Can I join you in the bottom bunk?” Abed interrupts softly.

 

“Sure, buddy,” Troy hasn’t even finished agreeing when Abed jumps off the top bunk. Britta can hear him and follow his shadow through the blankets. Abed’s figure stands there for a couple of seconds, staring straight ahead exactly at the point where Britta is standing. Her breath quickens because she's sure he's already seen her and he's gonna come out and ask her why she’s listening to their private conversation, but he finally turns around and Britta watches his shadow melt into the bunk bed. She can hear Troy scoot over and Abed getting under the covers. 

 

“I’m annoyed at her, too,” Abed points out. And that’s it, Britta is about to walk in and tell them to say all these things to her face and maybe share their feelings like adults, because come on! She’s a psychology major. She can deal with it. But then Troy talks. 

 

“I know. She wouldn’t let you watch the movie.” Troy’s voice sounds muffled, like he’s speaking with his mouth pressed to some kind of fabric. They’re probably cuddling, she realizes. 

 

“Yep, but it’s not only that,” Abed muses. “I’m able to recognize each one of Britta’s character flaws and personality traits. What never ceases to amaze me is her ability and urge to help and therapize others but her failure to do it with herself. Sometimes she’s extremely self-aware, and sometimes the total opposite. That’s why I refer to her as a wild card.”

 

“Why don’t you just tell her that?” Troy asks quietly. “Maybe she’ll listen to you.”

 

“You think so?” Abed asks, and it feels like the question is directed to her, standing there in her maybe not that subtle hiding spot. At least not subtle enough for Abed. 

 

“Not sure,” Troy mumbles sleepily, and Britta can picture him huddling closer to Abed. She feels torn between the urge to break into their room and squeeze in between them, or simply run away from there and let them share alone that moment so authentic and vulnerable between best friends. “I’ve never understood her.”

 

“That’s fine,” Abed says. “You are great dealing with complicated people.”

 

Troy laughs softly. “You’re not complicated, man. You’re just awesome.”

 

“That’s what you wrote to Britta in the text?” Abed asks, and Britta can’t decipher without looking at his face whether he sounds jealous or just plain curious. 

 

“No,” Troy sounds slightly embarrassed. “Kinda. I said incredible.”

 

“Very similar meaning,” Abed approves. “And a very accurate choice of word.”

 

“Yeah. She’s the best.” Troy sounds even sleepier now. “But let’s never tell her that again - gotta let her figure it out by herself.” 

 

“Cool.”

 

“Night, Abed.”

 

“Good night, Troy. Britta.”

 

Fuck, she thinks. Of course he knows. 

 

“Huh?”

 

“Doesn’t matter. Go to sleep.”

 

“‘Kay.”

 

Britta stays still for a couple minutes more, and then goes back to Annie's bedroom, careful not to wake her up. Annie’s in the exact same position she left her; she sleeps so neatly, curled up in herself. Britta smiles and slips next to her. She lives with Troy and Abed, and they’re super close ‘cause she is the one that gets to spend the most time with them. Do they talk about Annie like that, too?

 

“Burgundy is not the same color as red,” Annie mumbles in her sleep. Britta smiles at her. They probably do, she decides. Everyone in the study group loves each other so much. It’s nothing particular about her. She sighs and goes to sleep, Abed’s words echoing in her brain.

 

*

 

When she was seventeen, Britta fell in love for the very first time. It was this guy with dimples and dark eyes that had a room full of Nirvana posters, and when he turned off the lights in his room there were glow in the dark dinosaurs glued to the ceiling. He was the sweetest, funniest, cutest dude Britta had ever met. He was also not over his ex. Thus, he was the first to touch her, give her customized birthday gifts, whisper things in her ear, and tease her everytime she talked about her growing interest in feminism and politics, but he was also the first one to break her heart.

 

She swore that she would never herself fall like that again, just like that Paramore song that she heard almost 20 years later that still made sense to her and made her develop an enormous crush on Hayley Williams. But the thing is - she swore she would never fall for the charming, seemingly perfect and innocent guy. Because every single man on earth had this ex-girlfriend - sometimes a crazy ex-wife hidden in the attic, Britta learned with another jackass, and no, she didn’t take that from Jane Eyre - that they would never get over with. So she would never let herself fall completely for a guy because it was impossible to have all that love reciprocated. Every man had already met their first love, the one they would never forget. And she would always come second and be discarded as soon as they got a chance. Consequently, she hooked up with terrible dudes with mommy issues and detachment, commitment, and drug issues, and she preferred that kind of fucked up dynamic every single time because then she was in control. 

 

Then Annie sets her up with Troy. He has the most beautiful eyes, a dashing smile, and his hands are so warm and strong at the same time - she always knew that, but it’s different to have his whole attention aimed at her on a proper date. She doesn’t do dates, ever, so why is she feeling all squishy and dazed? He also doesn’t appear to have any type of ex at all. He doesn’t seem inexperienced - well, maybe just a tiny bit - but they talk and talk and he never has this look on his face like he's remembering someone else when they’re having a sweet moment, and he never mentions a mysterious name or makes reference to any past relationship. He only talks sweetly about Abed, which is incredibly adorable, and nods seriously to all her comments against The Man, which is her biggest turn on. So she kind of slips. 

 

After Troy finishes telling the waiter he should be ashamed of disliking Die Hard and pays for half of the lunch - because it would be chauvinistic as hell to make him pay for her bean burrito - they get into the car and he starts the engine and takes the wheel, but then stops and looks at her. 

 

“Hey,” He says. 

 

“Hey,” She smiles back. 

 

“So, remember that time you kissed me because you thought I had repressed childhood trauma?” He asks, looking at a point straight ahead. 

 

“It wasn’t because of that...” Britta lies, because she knows herself damn well. She is aware that she's inevitably attracted to damaged people. She remembers the protective instinct and urge to kiss Troy as he cried exaggerated metaphors about his heart being angry at his kidneys. “Not only because of that.” She amends. And because she is a strong, fearless woman she adds, “I really like you, Troy.”

 

Troy lights up immediately as if he’s just seen a puppy parade. 

 

“Really?” He beams, and his smile is so goddamn beautiful that Britta has to, she has to, and she grabs him by the hoodie and pulls him in. 

 

He actually kisses back this time, and his hand finds its way under her leather jacket in a matter of seconds. He tastes like the pop soda he had for lunch, and smells exactly like Abed, which should be weird but instead makes her insides all squishy.

 

She pulls back and presses a kiss on his nose softly. It’s stupid, and she never does that, but Troy just makes her want to do sappy things like that. “Awesome!” He says, and for a moment it looks like he’s gonna extend his hand for a handshake and then remembers that she’s not Abed. Which reminds her.

 

“We should go now,” She prompts, unhooking her hands from Troy’s neck. “There was something weirdly passive-aggressive happening between Abed and Annie.”

 

“Fuck,” Troy says, instantly worried. She had never heard him swear, and it’s… something.  “Could he be mad at me? At us?”

 

“I doubt it. Annie can handle the situation, anyway. She knows him very well.” Britta says, although she’s not sure and suddenly feels kind of anxious about Abed's reaction. She feels like she just did something wrong. But she didn't, right? The whole date thing was Annie’s idea, because Britta would have never planned something like this, but it actually went pretty well and that means something. Doesn’t it? Annie’s her friend and had in mind her best interests. Abed is their friend, so he should feel the same way, too? Then why does she feel like they’re just being extremely self-centered, going out without Abed?

 

And then they get back to Greendale and sit around the study room table, and Troy makes such googly eyes at her that she feels like she’s gonna cry, and then he turns towards Abed and aims exactly the same googly eyes at his best friend who gives him a soft, private smile in return, and Britta thinks, well, fuck



*

 

She doesn’t really get why the Dreamatorium is being taken down. It’s the dorks favorite room in their apartment, and she knows for a fact that they enjoy sleeping curled into each other at night, so why would Troy need his own room?

 

“Guys, I’m a psych major and I don’t understand this coping mechanism.” She points out while helping Troy move his stuff from the blanket fort. 

 

“Maybe that’s because you haven’t taken Introduction to Cohabitation and BestFriendship 101,” Abed deadpans, and it sounds almost sarcastic and snappy. She frowns.

 

“Why are you acting like this?” She asks, and her hands hover near his arm. She’s not sure if he’s okay with being touched right now. However, Abed nods quickly, giving her permission. She rubs his arm soothingly, and then squeezes his hand. “What are you worried about, Abed?”

 

“I’m not worried about anything. I know exactly what’s happening. I’m merely providing a better setting for the scenarios.” 

 

“Which scenario?” She asks. He let’s go of her hand, and his eyes find Troy, who’s sitting on the floor installing his new bed. Abed’s eyes make that thing where he looks extremely lost and deep in thought, and she never wanted so much to cradle his face in her hands.

 

“The Troy/Britta pairing.” He answers, and then turns his head and gives her a smile so small and so resigned that she’s about to cry.

 

“Abed, there’s no need for you to -”

 

“It’s okay, Britta. I’m hungry. Want some buttered noodles? I don’t know if they count as vegan, but Annie bought a lettuce yesterday. You could eat that.”

 

“I’m not a rabbit,” She says, but then gives up. “But I'd like some lettuce.”

 

Abed nods, and his eyes are a little less sad now. 

 

“Troy, I’m taking a break to have lunch with Abed.”

 

“Nice, have fun.” Troy grins at them. “Come back when you’re finished, so we can test the bed.”

 

She looks at them both almost excitedly, because there’s only one thing that can mean, right? But then Abed clicks his tongue and says “Jumping on the bed, nice.” 

 

“Exactly!” Troy says, and gets up hurriedly to do the handshake with Abed. Britta sighs. 

 

“Fine. We’ll be back.”

 

“Cool,” Troy smiles sweetly at her, Abed makes finger guns, and she relaxes. I love you, she surprises herself thinking. It’s an intrusive thought, but not as scary as she imagined it would be when she wondered about those words popping into her head one day. She keeps it to herself, and then just sits on the floor chewing a leaf of lettuce and watching the boys jump like monkeys on Troy’s new bed.

 

*

 

Troy has a lot of things to discover about himself in bed. Britta helps him. It’s almost magical, the way his eyes light up whenever she suggests something new and he looks up at her in awe and says “I didn’t even know that was possible!” He’s wonderful at kissing, and at teasing, and at touching in general, and the best thing of all is that he’s not a cuddler after sex. Britta likes having her own space, after all. She enjoys intimacy and physical touch a lot, but she also values very highly her individuality. She likes to lay in bed exhausted and sweaty and not having to worry about being crushed by another warm, sticky body, or about someone holding her too tightly and then having to find a polite way to wake them up so that she can go pee. She treasures independence. That’s why she likes cats, and anarchism. 

 

Britta knows Troy is a cuddler, though; it’s just that he notices that about her and doesn’t insist. He respects and maybe admires it a bit; she can see it in the way he looks at her as if she were so powerful and unreachable. Which she isn’t, but it’s nice to be regarded that way. She knows that Troy misses having someone to wake up curled into, so she suggests it one morning, when they just woke up and Troy is looking at the ceiling. She is resting her head in his chest, although they woke up on their respective sides of the bed.

 

“I think we should tell Abed,” She says. Britta means I think we should tell Abed to sleep here with us, at least next to you because I know how much you miss each other. She doesn’t specify, though. She leaves it to open interpretation. 

 

“No, no! Abed’s fragile. We have to ease him into it, okay?” Troy starts rambling about Abed’s inventive coping mechanisms, and Britta knows that he thought she meant telling him they’re sleeping together. She sighs. She’s already been easing Abed into it with doughnuts for a week. She doesn’t even have the money for that; she’s spending all her tips on sugary bribes for her boyfriend’s best friend! It’s worth it, though. Abed really likes the doughnuts, and when he eats them he smiles gratefully at her and then licks the powder off his fingers in a seemingly innocent way that Britta is pretty sure is actually not, because Troy always looks as shocked and turned on as her.

 

“I meant,” Britta clarifies, and she lifts her head up his chest to look him dead in the eye while she speaks, “That we should invite him into bed, with us.”

 

“What?! Britta!” Troy squeals, and she has to hush him because he’ll wake up Abed. Or Annie. Although Annie already knows; she’s her partner in crime when she's making her runaway routine to get the doughnuts and pretend she wasn’t in Troy’s room in the first place. “How can you say shocking weird things like that so naturally?!”

 

“I’m just saying, honey, that we could totally do that. I’ve noticed how much you like each other, and sometimes I just - I mean, I have a great time with you, we are awesome together! But sometimes I feel like there’s something missing. Don’t you?”

 

Troy exhales, and she puts a hand on his side, enjoying the rise and fall of it with his breathing. “Yeah. It’s just. We’ve never talked about this out loud, and I don’t even know if he -”

 

“He does.” She states. Because it’s so obvious. Maybe not that much for an outsider, but she knows them so well. 

 

“And you’re not jealous?”

 

“I’m not.” Britta smiles reassuringly and kisses his cheek. He smiles back, but he still looks confused as fuck.

 

“You’re the best. But I just - I don’t think I’m ready for this conversation. Don’t know if I’ll ever be.” 

 

“Feelings are scary. I know.” She concedes, and lays back on his chest. “Don’t worry. We’ll find a way to work it out.”

 

“‘Mkay. Britta?”

 

“Hm?”

 

“I do feel like something is missing, and I’m so glad you’ve noticed it too because I didn’t even know how to identify it or say it without sounding like a dick. But, whatever it is, it’s not about you. You’re great. I like you a lot. Like, I super like you.”

 

“I super like you too, Troy.” She sighs happily. She lets him cuddle her for a couple minutes.

 

*



She knows from the moment she wakes up that there’s something off. But she would never get into Troy and Abed’s internal games and jokes, so she just analyzes them from a distance, not quite getting what they’re trying to do until they explain to the whole study group that the Freaky Friday thingy actually worked and they swapped bodies. In fact, realization dawns on her at the exact moment that Troy as Abed says: “So, now I have to find the DVD, while Troy goes on an anniversary date with Britta.” You sneaky bastard, she thinks, and doesn’t have time to react because Abed is extremely fast to catch up and is already on his way to Troy’s car. 

 

They sit in front of each other in the restaurant, and she can’t help but be impressed by Abed's commitment to the bit. He never breaks character, not even for a second. It’s not like she wants him to, though. This is the perfect opportunity and she’s gonna make the best of it. 

 

“So, Troy, how’s Abed coping? I mean, with his day in your body?”

 

“You’d have to ask him. I, for one, am freaked. Look at his arms and legs. He’s like the pick up sticks of people!"

 

Britta smiles. Maybe Troy and Abed’s impersonations of each other are a little exaggerated, but Abed imitates Troy’s tone inflections perfectly whenever he speaks. He even made small talk in the car and talked about puppies, robots and boobs, which are Troy’s three favorite topics. Nobody could impersonate him better. Only Abed knows him that well. 

 

“I guess I’ll have to ask him,” She concedes. “I actually have been wanting to talk to Abed for a while, but I don’t know how because it’s a very confusing topic. Do you know what I’m talking about?”

 

“I’ve told you, babe. Abed doesn’t hate Daniel, he’s just allergic to cat hair.”

 

“It’s not that,” Britta says, “Although I’m pretty sure that’s an excuse and he’s just weirded out by his one-eyedness!”

 

“We love Daniel. You’re the one who won’t let us use him to film Pirates of the Cat-ribbean!”

 

“Because it’s dangerous and he’s not a pirate! And also, don't pirates have parrots instead of cats?”

 

“You know what else doesn’t make any sense,” The waiter jumps in. “Die Hard.”

 

“Oh, get out!” Britta exclaims. “Wait, no. I’m sorry.” She grimaces. She’s been a waitress for too long and understands well enough the horrible feeling of being yelled at by a customer. 

 

“It’s fine, babe. I’ll order.” Britta observes Abed as he picks exactly her favorite food and orders himself Troy’s usual dish. She almost expected him to order some variation of buttered noodles, but of course Abed wouldn’t break character.

 

“How’s your bean burrito?” He asks once the dishes arrive. 

 

“Good. Thank you for ordering for me.” She says it a little sarcastically because she can’t avoid feeling defensive towards acts of chivalry, but she’s not particularly bothered.

 

“I know what you always get.”

 

“Yeah, you know me so well.” She points out, and she really means it. But Abed probably thinks this is sarcasm too so he perks up. 

 

“I know a lot about you. I know you grind your teeth at night, it keeps me up. I know about your tattoo.”

 

“Which one?”

 

“The Greenpeace one you haven’t gotten yet because you’re afraid of needles.”

 

“Did Troy tell you these things?”

 

“I am Troy.” He says. 

 

“Well it must upset Abed to hear all this relationship talk,” She says softly, jumping into the opportunity to introduce the topic. 

 

“He doesn’t seem to care.”

 

“Do you think so?” She asks, leaning in. “You really think he doesn’t care about you and I? Because I think he does.”

 

“Babe,” Abed frowns. “Are you worried about Abed coming between us?”

 

“Not at all!” She hurries. “I’m actually trying to get him between us, if you know what I mean.”

 

Abed stays very still, just staring at her and waiting for an explanation.

 

“I’ve just been thinking, Troy. And I know that you love Abed a lot, and it’s very obvious that the feeling is reciprocated. And I think that you and I are having a great time together, but we’re not complete when Abed is out of the picture. Don’t you feel like that sometimes?” It’s very similar to what she said to Troy a few days ago, but it’s the best way to put into words this messy, emotional situation.

 

“I… think so?” Abed as Troy says. He examines her for a moment. “But it'd be kinda weird, don’t you think? Three people together? And Abed and I have never done… gay stuff.” 

 

It’s completely strange to hear such phrases and words coming out of Abed’s mouth, but the body swap factor really works to make him express himself more freely. Britta takes a moment to appreciate Troy’s cleverness to set this up. 

 

“It wouldn’t be weird for me. I think it makes total sense. It’d be fun, and super hot.”

 

“So, let me get it right. You want a threesome with Abed?” He asks slowly. 

 

“Well, I think both you and I would love that. But I’m not only talking about a one-time or a secret-sex thing. I think we should offer him to date us.”

 

“Really?” He asks, wide-eyed, and she nods encouragingly. “That’s awesome. You’re the best,” And even though he's just mimicking Troy’s speech and mannerisms, it’s so sweet and unexpected to hear it coming from Abed that she grins as she rarely lets herself do. 

 

She finds his hand on the table, and her bean burrito almost falls but she pushes it safely back into place. He accepts her hand and caresses her knuckles almost shyly. 

 

“Can I kiss you?” He asks, still in Troy’s voice but with a seriousness in his eyes that is totally Abed’s. 

 

“Don’t be silly. You don’t have to ask, you’re my boyfriend,” She plays along, and Abed gets up and uses her hand to bring her up with him. He covers the distance between them immediately and buries both hands in her hair. He’s definitely taller than Troy, and more demanding, and careful, and Britta dissolves into the kiss, placing her hands in his forearms. 

 

She blinks at him when they break apart, breathless and incredibly excited and full of mushy feelings, and he smiles at her softly, running a finger through her cheekbone, and then tracing her lower lip reverently.

 

“Sweet Jesus,” Someone squeaks from the entrance of the restaurant. 

 

“Troy, don’t freak out. I’m sure they can explain. Maybe they’re making a Julia Roberts movie homage,” She recognizes Jeff’s voice. When did they get here? She’s absolutely dazed and can’t make sense of anything. 

 

“This is,” Troy says, and Britta turns to look at him, all gorgeous and full of energy standing on the doorstep. “The best thing that’s ever happened in my entire life.” 

 

“Troy, you’re here.” Abed’s smile gets wider. “Cool. Cool, cool, cool. Care to join us?”

 

Troy doesn’t have to be told twice. He runs towards them and crashes into Abed. “Oh my god, Abed. I’m so sorry for like, dating Britta knowing how you felt. I mean, I always knew that you and I had something going on but we never did anything about it so I thought it was my imagination! And then you always talked about Britta like that but then you also kissed Annie that time so I thought that maybe you just can’t help being all flirty with the girls around you because of your aloofness and adorableness,” Troy breathes in and squeezes Abed harder. Abed is hugging back, running his hands through Troy’s back soothingly. “But I mean, there was this weird thing happening. Right, Britta? Like we need you, but I didn’t know how to say it because maybe I was wrong and I would’ve made everything weird? Maybe you just liked Britta and not me so then what would I do? Watching you two dating and being left out? I would've died! Because I love you two so much, like, you’re the two coolest people I’ve ever met-” 

 

Abed shuts him up with a kiss, and Troy squirms for a moment but then just relaxes onto it. They’re kind of laughing into the kiss, and Britta feels so full of love. Jeff appears out of nowhere and throws rice at them as if they were a newlywed threesome. 

 

“Where did you get that?” She asks, as the rice keeps raining over them and Jeff keeps throwing it while making that facial expression that means he’s trying super hard to appear cool and detached. 

 

Jeff shrugs. “I stole it from the kitchen. I thought Abed would appreciate the rom-com prop.”

 

Abed pulls away from Troy just for a moment and makes finger guns. “Thanks. Nice touch.” 

 

“This was very emotional and all, but now that you're apparently back in your bodies, can you three stop making out for a moment so we can make doable and passable banners for our final project?”

 

“Fine. This isn't the ideal setting anyway. I would have preferred it to happen in a ferris wheel,” Abed points out. 

 

“Or in a zombie apocalypse,” Troy provides. 

 

“Or in a humans right protest!” Britta concludes. They all groan. “Whatever. Let’s get out of here and finish that stupid project so we can go home.”

 

“Agreed.” Abed winks at her, and Troy holds her hand. 

 

“So this is happening now,” Jeff notes. “Get ready for Pierce’s input.”

 

They all grimace, but go happily back to Greendale.

 

*



They are lying together in bed, watching Inspector Spacetime. Abed is sitting with his back to the wall, legs outstretched in front of him, and Troy and Britta resting their heads in each one of his thighs respectively. Britta really wants to indulge them, but she gets constantly distracted by the contrast of Troy’s skin against Abed’s white briefs, and Abed’s hand massaging her scalp distractedly. 

 

She props herself in one arm, and runs her hand slowly through Abed’s leg, making sure of scraping her nails softly through the exposed skin. 

 

“Britta,” He warns, not taking his eyes off from the T.V. She smirks and looks up at him, her hand trailing closer to the bulge in his underwear. 

 

“Babe, we had sex an hour ago.” Troy chastises, looking at her and nuzzling Abed’s leg under his cheek. 

 

“Come on, this is season four! You hate this one.”

 

“We don’t hate it. We’re able to recognize its terrible aspects, but it’s still part of the series and relevant to the continuity of the show. It also has some bright moments.”

 

“I can give you brighter moments,” She smiles suggestively. Troy sighs and caresses her hip fondly.

 

“Man, how can you be so horny all the time?”

 

“Do you mean all the space?” She retorts, and it’s definitely the right thing to say, because Troy and Abed’s expressions change in a matter of nanoseconds. 

 

“Constable, we have a mission.” Abed says in his fake british accent, pausing the T.V.

 

“What is it, Inspector?” Troy asks, sitting up quickly. 

 

“I think we have to exhaust this insatiable alien woman so that she doesn’t have energy left to distract us,” He states, and Britta shivers. She’s about to suggest that since they’re apparently about to role play then they should let her be Minerva, but she knows that Abed would be instantly annoyed and turned off and she also doesn’t really know shit about the character so she lets them do their thing.

 

“That’s a tough mission,” Troy perks up, and puts a hand on Abed’s neck, almost breathing in his lips. “Do you really think we can accomplish it?”

 

“I wouldn’t doubt you for a second, Reggie,” Abed smirks, and brings him closer with a strong hand on his back. Troy melts into the kiss and Britta just sits up and stares at them dumbfoundedly. They break apart after a moment, and nod seriously at each other.

 

“Engage." Abed says, and she would have stayed there just staring at them for a while, but the next moment Troy has taken her by the waist and laid her back in the bed, practically climbing on top of her to kiss her hungrily. 

 

“Hm, yes,” She hums into his mouth, holding his jaw with one hand almost possessively, and reaching blindly with the other one, looking for Abed. A familiar face finds her palm and presses a kiss onto it, and seconds later that same mouth is leaving a trail of light kisses in her inner thigh.

 

She keeps humming approvingly until Troy pulls away just a little bit and looks at her through heavy eyelids. Britta smiles at him and licks her lips, and one of her fingers finds his mouth. Troy sucks onto it invitingly and her breath hitches. She looks down at Abed, who’s currently situated between her legs with both hands on her knees and is staring at them almost hypnotized. 

 

“Keep going,” She prompts, and lifts herself up a little bit to reach Abed's head and run her fingers through his hair. 

 

“Ooh, easy.” Abed mocks. 

 

“Slow down.” Troy echoes, and they are definitely using their actually very hot Troy and Abed being normal voices. She curses.

 

“Why would we keep going?” Abed muses, his lips brushing lightly her skin. 

 

“Because you’re great at it, and because I’ll return the favor,” Britta provides urgently. Abed seems to ponder it.

 

“Is that enough, Constable?”

 

“I don’t know, Inspector.” Troy says, his face buried in her neck and his hand running up and down her side; it trails closer to her breast with every stroke. “It’s like there must be another big, important reason why we all enjoy so much being together. But I’m not sure what it is?”

 

“Could it be… very strong feelings of friendship?” Abed asks, and bites the inside of her leg so softly yet still managing to make her groan desperately. 

 

“Could it be… that we accidentally inhaled some weird sex pollen in this alien planet?” Troy provides, very close to her ear.

 

“Come on! What do you want me to say?” She exclaims shakily, and then realizes. “Oh god, are you trying to make me say that I love you, you big babies?”

 

Abed shrugs, unfazed, and fiddles with the edge of her black underwear. For someone who doesn’t know him well enough he might look neutral, but Britta is pretty sure that he looks smug as fuck. Troy, on the other hand, seems suddenly self-conscious. 

 

“Unless you don’t,” Troy amends, incorporating and giving Abed a questioning look. “Which would be totally fine, we were just playing around. You shouldn’t feel pressured to -”

 

“Oh, Troy, please. Of course I love you both. I’m crazy about you two, you mushy bastards.”

 

“Told you.” Abed points a finger gun at him. “She just needed some encouragement. She’s used to Jeff’s emotionally hermetic sex.”

 

Britta scoffs. “You two are the worst. So, you’re not gonna say it back or something? At least say Ditto like the guy in that movie with Demi Moore?”

 

“No ghosting allowed here.” Troy points at a Patrick Swayze poster on the wall. How come she never noticed it before?

 

“Annie and I stole it from our pottery class,” Abed explains. “It was for Annie at first because she’s a big fan, but then she felt creeped out by the big red cross and thought it was inappropriate since he’s dead.”

 

“Huh.” Britta says, but she doesn’t get sidetracked so easily. “So, where were we?”

 

“I was gonna go down on you.” Abed clicks his tongue. Britta beams. 

 

“I’ll pay back in buttstuff,” She mumbles happily, and Troy pumps his fist in the air. “Not to get all gooey, but you do ditto me too, right?” 

 

“Ditto is a pokemon,” Abed says, and finally takes off her underwear. “We love you.”

 

“Yeah, Britta, keep up,” Troy laughs charmingly, unhooking her bra. 

 

She makes a mental note to let them watch Inspector Spacetime peacefully after this. They deserve it. 

 

*



Romantic love is a myth, indeed. But Britta was lucky enough to meet two men that are sweet, caring, creative and hot, and she was lucky enough to fall in love with them and have them love her back. It’s something very complicated to pull off, but she did it, and she'll never stop being proud of it. 

 

“You guys are so cute together,” Annie coos one day when they’re wearing matching clothes - which means they all are wearing Abed’s shirts. 

 

“I’ll have to admit,” Jeff says, “That if having a relationship with one person is extremely difficult, you have to be very mature and skilled to mantain one with two people at the same time.”

 

“Well, yeah, that’s maybe because I’m a psych major and I understand people,” Britta says. 

 

“No, that’s not what I said. I didn’t say therapy skills,” Jeff complains, but Britta is already taking her boombox from under the table. 

 

“I’ll take it.” She places it between Troy and Abed and presses the play button. The music fills the room and Shirley and Annie start dancing immediately.

 

“You had that teed up?” Jeff raises an eyebrow. 

 

“When I say thera you say pist!” She sings. “Thera-”

 

“Pist!” Her men respond in unison, and they are so supportive and so into it that she wants to cry. 

 

“Thera!” 

 

“Pist!”

 

“Now when I say hot you say threesome!” 

 

“Hot!”

 

“Threesome!”

 

“Hot!”

 

“Threesome!”

 

“Now let’s say Brittrobed, Brittrobed!” 

 

They all sing with her - except Jeff of course, but she can tell that he’s fighting a smile. And this is it, she thinks, looking at Troy and Abed’s silly dance and the way they smile at each other and then at her. This is exactly how it should feel.