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Investigations in Cork-Based Discoveries

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It isn’t like they haven’t kissed before. Well, it kind of is. The Inspector and Constable Vivian from season seven have kissed, if chastely. Ferris and Cameron kissed, once, for an experiment. Kickpuncher has kissed too many unnamed skinny Brown girls in cheap wigs to count, at this point. Those were in the Dreamatorium, though. Those were Troy-and-Abed, yeah, but not Troy and Abed. This one is new.

At one point, Troy thinks somewhere in the part of his brain that isn’t boiling in a pot of soupy comfort, they’d been watching a movie. It wasn’t a romance, he doesn’t think, but actually, maybe it was? It had a good soundtrack. He hadn’t seen it before. Well, maybe he had. Someone’s reaching into his brain-stew with a wooden spoon and pushing it under the broth.

Abed’s hands are steady on Troy’s shoulders. He’s kneeling between Troy’s knees, and he’s moving his mouth against Troy’s mouth, and his teeth bump against Troy’s teeth, and then he’s pulling away.

“Let’s go lay down,” Abed says. His voice isn’t indicative of anything, but his mouth is shiny and his eyes are fluttering and his hair is—well, Troy assumes it would look sensually ruffled if his hands weren’t still in it.

“Uh,” Troy says, and it’s technically not even a word, but even he can tell it’s quite indicative. Abed lifts himself up so Troy has a face full of tummy and then offers him a hand. Troy takes it and lets himself be raised to standing. Abed leans in and kisses him once, twice, and then pulls back again.

“I’m enjoying myself. My knees are just starting to hurt.” Troy nods. He slides between their two chairs, tugging Abed behind him into their bedroom. Abed locks the door (even though Annie’s spending the night nannying for Shirley and also doesn’t recognize that their door has a lock because “it’s a blanket fort, guys, just put up a little sign when you want privacy!”) and runs in that stiff-armed way that he does onto the bottom bunk. He props himself up on his elbows and smiles, sharp and closed-mouthed and perfect. Troy laughs and wriggles on top of him.

“Hi,” he says, suddenly feeling small. Abed is right there, in front of him and under him. The lights aren’t on, but Troy still knows exactly what he’s looking at. Or, maybe not exactly, anymore, but he’s eager to learn. That’s one of his favorite things about Abed: they always have something to learn from each other.

“Hello, Troy,” Abed says. “You should kiss me, this time. Narrative symmetry.”

He feels like it shouldn’t be that easy, like they’ve missed a huge side-quest, or like they’re about to get axe-murdered. But he knows, in the same part of his brain that knows how to adjust water pressure or how to nail a combo move in Smash, that this is all there is. Maybe literally. Maybe the whole world is being sucked up by aliens in saucers with milky beams just outside their window. Maybe it doesn’t matter. He kisses Abed. Abed kisses him back.

From what little Troy can remember from the few minutes P.K.A. (Pre Kissing Abed, a new calendar system he’s going to start developing as soon as he can bear to take his tongue out of Abed’s throat), Abed had been cross-legged on the floor between Troy’s knees so that Troy could get some knots out of the base of his neck. He’d been still, which wasn’t altogether unusual, but quiet, too, which altogether was. When Troy lifted his hands to crack his knuckles, Abed had wiggled around until they were facing each other, and then he’d leaned up, and then a new age had burst into motion behind Troy’s eyelids. He hasn’t thought about it since it started. He’s been having too much fun coming up with names for the new colors that have been parading through his head.

Abed puts his hands on Troy’s lower back and sweeps his fingers up and down a single vertebrae. Troy is lifted up on his knees, hovering slightly, hugging Abed’s hips with his calves and cradling the back of Abed’s head in his palms.

Abed licks the space between his lower lip and his gums, the weird little tendon there, and Troy has a whole body shiver. He hadn’t thought that was something that gets him going, but he’s starting to investigate the idea that it’s not anything they’re doing, it’s just that it’s Abed.

He puts up a clueboard on the inside of his forehead. He toys with some red string, but opts instead for using the pink-green-orange that he feels when Abed slides his hands across Troy’s waist with just the right amount of fingernail pressure. He puts a big picture of Abed in the middle of the cork, one where he’s in that nice dark trench coat he has. It fits thematically, he affirms, but mostly he chose it because he likes how Abed looks in it. Ah. First clue. He throws it on the board. Abed leans back and turns his head to the side, as if he already knows Troy was going to harrumph and follow his lips.

“You’re zoning out,” he says.

“Oh, sorry. I didn’t mean to. This is really good.” Abed smiles.

“I think so, too. You should tell me what you’re thinking about so we can keep going.” Now it’s Troy’s turn to smile, because, oh yeah, mouths have more than one use. He pushes his face into Abed’s chest.

“I’m staging a large-scale investigation,” he says. “I have a hunch, but I need some more evidence before I make the call.” He’s struck by the realization that Abed’s neck is right there, and so he bites it lightly. Abed inhales sharply and brings his hands to the back of Troy’s head. Troy licks over the faint teeth marks and snorts.

“I’m eating you,” he says.

“Do I taste good?” Abed says, just west of breathless, and that’s something else for the clueboard. Troy moves back up and kisses him again. He licks the roof of Abed’s mouth, and he makes a weird noise in response. They laugh into each other’s mouths, filling each other’s lungs with smiling air.

“Real good,” Troy says. He kisses one of Abed’s smile lines, and the other one, and then both of his under-eyes. Abed squinches his eyes and nose until the middle of his face is just a smear of wrinkles. Troy kisses the wrinkles. Abed grabs onto either side of Troy’s jaw and moves him back.

“Too much?” Troy asks.

“No. It was incredibly compelling, actually. I’m probably going to be thinking about it nonstop for the next month. I just want you to kiss my mouth more.” Clueboard. It is so terribly, earth-shatteringly Abed to say the most bone-melting things like he’s reading the nutrition facts for a box of Kix.

Troy thinks, I would do anything for you right now. Troy thinks, I never want you to stop talking to me like this. Troy thinks, Why am I making a clueboard for this? He leans back down, kisses Abed, a bright yellow exclamation point at the tail of a very wordy sentence. Abed makes a satisfied noise, and then a very satisfied noise when Troy rolls his lip between his teeth. Troy feels kind of tingly between his fingers. He feels other things in other places, too, and he lowers his hips slightly to see if Abed is in agreement. They both “hmph” at the feeling, and Abed pushes Troy back.

“Cool. That was super cool. Cool cool cool,” Abed says. He looks a little wild. “Yeah, definitely. If it’s something you want, we should definitely have sex.”

“Oh!” Troy says, because his mind has been so busy writing different variations of Troy Nadir and Abed Barnes that he’d forgotten to be consciously horny. “Do you want to?”


“Okay, dope. Can you—actually, wait, hang on.”

Abed looks at him patiently.

“I don’t want to have sex with you because you’re hot, or whatever. I mean, that’s totally part of it. Duh-doy. But, uh, mostly it’s because I want to, like, buy you flowers and hand-feed you chicken strips at lunch and share a bed with you forever.”

“We already do all those things. What do you mean?”

“Right, um. I’m in love with you.”

Abed widens his eyes, and for a moment Troy worries that he said the wrong thing, but it’s a very short moment. Abed sits up and puts his hands on Troy’s shoulders.

“I’m in love with you, too. I don’t think we should have sex tonight. I think we should kiss until we fall asleep and then wake up tangled together, and we can go from there.”

“That’s a good plan,” Troy says. “I think I would’ve cried if we tried right now.”

“I wouldn’t mind.” Abed kisses him, and kisses him, and kisses him some more.

Troy wakes up the next day and pitches his new calendar system to Annie as she cooks them eggs. She doesn’t ask any questions, just smiles a personal little smile. Troy wonders if he was the only one who needed an investigation to figure it all out.