The first time Annie ties up Abed in the Dreamatorium, it's almost shockingly good. Annie's not sure how Abed knows to suggest it—maybe he's just that observant, maybe it's the how-to videos on rope bondage Annie's been watching lately in their thin-walled apartment, or maybe it's just that they're playing Poison Ivy and Batman, and tying up Batman is what Abed's meta-brain knows Poison Ivy would do next. But tying someone up turns out to be basically the best thing ever, and once she's done it, Annie kind of can't believe everyone isn't tying everyone else up all the time.
It's different for Abed, she knows. He likes the security of ropes around him, the barrier between himself and the outside world. He finds the rope calming. And he's interested in the ways Annie changes when she's got him under her control.
“You stand up straighter,” he tells her after a couple of scenes. “And you smell different.”
Maybe Annie should think it's weird that Abed notices her smell. Heck, maybe she should think it's weird that any of this is happening at all. But if tying up your roommate while he's wearing a bat cowl is weird, Annie doesn't want to be normal.
Except, for Annie, the bat cowl is kind of optional. For Abed, it turns out, it's not.
“Sure,” Abed says, when Annie suggests playing with the rope again. Troy's at some kind of air conditioning information session, and they've got the evening to themselves. “Poison Ivy and Batman again?”
Annie shakes her head. “I thought we could try something different.”
“Inara and Kaylee?”
“No.” Annie smiles at that—she and Abed have agreed ever since they first watched Firefly that those two are meant for each other—but it's not what she's looking for tonight.
“Hector the Well-Endowed and the Elf Maiden?”
Annie shakes her head again. “No, Abed.”
“Yeah, Hector always seemed a little one-dimensional. So what were you thinking?”
“I was thinking,” Annie smiles shyly, “maybe we don't have to be characters this time. Maybe it could just be you and me.”
“Oh,” says Abed. “Why?”
Annie frowns. “What do you mean?”
“Why would Annie tie up Abed? Wacky misunderstanding? Staged kidnapping?” He purses his lips. “You're actually Annie's evil twin?”
“No, Abed,” says Annie. “Just for fun.” She flashes him a winning smile. “Because it would be hot.”
“Hmm.” Abed frowns slightly. “I don't think so.”
“Abed?” Annie tries another tack. “You like being tied up, right?”
He tilts his head in response. “Batman likes being tied up.”
“And Batman is you,” Annie prompts. “In this case.”
“True,” says Abed. “But he's also Batman.”
Annie sighs. She remembers Batman's low, moody growl when Poison Ivy pulled the vines tighter the second time. She'd touched herself then, tentative at first, but growing bolder, freer, when she'd realized she was in charge here, could do what she liked. And the way that Batman's eyes had followed her, the way his head stayed still, until the whole of Poison Ivy's lair was filled with the sound of fingers-on-wet, low rasps of breath, and high, soft whines. Would it really be that different without characters and costumes? For Annie, it wouldn't.
Abed catches her eye; he can tell, Annie thinks, what she's remembering. “Hmm,” he says in a softer voice, “What about ponies? Applejack lassoes Fluttershy?”
Annie likes the idea of Abed as Fluttershy, all timid demeanor and floppy hair. She likes herself as Applejack too; she's always enjoyed putting on a can-do attitude and a Southern twang. But that's not what she's looking for tonight, and, besides, getting the costumes right would probably take forever.
“That sounds like fun, Abed,” Annie says slowly, “but I don't want to be Applejack. I just want to be me.”
Abed gives a definitive nod. “Okay.”
“Okay, you'll do it?”
“Okay, we can't play tonight. We want different things.”
Later that night, Annie hears Troy and Abed go into the Dreamatorium together. They've been doing stuff in there since before Annie moved in—sometimes sexy stuff, sometimes just re-enacting movie scenes. Tonight, it's something sexy, though. Annie can tell by the noises Troy is making.
From what they've both told her, Troy and Abed's scenes are different. There still isn't a lot of physical contact, but Abed's got more of the power; being watched makes Troy feel a little bit embarrassed, a little bit exposed. Annie wonders if she ought to feel jealous—Abed's fixation on roleplay doesn't seem to bother Troy at all—but mostly she just likes what she hears. She wonders, suddenly, if Troy would like being tied up. Or pushed around. Or any of various other intriguing possibilities Annie's discovered in her increasingly thorough web research. Maybe she should find out.
“So, how was last night?” Annie asks Troy the next day. They're sitting in the living room together, each in a comfy chair.
Annie makes her voice singsong. “With Abed? In the Dreamatorium?”
“Ohhhh.” A giant grin spreads across Troy's face. “That was good. You know that story we found with the Inspector and Reggie?”
“The one with the knife?” Annie feels her eyes grow wide. She can totally picture Troy liking being menaced with a knife. She can't quite picture Abed doing the menacing—it's too active a role for him—but Annie definitely would.
Troy looks away shyly. “The other one.”
“Oh.” The one with... do people really say 'dildo'? The word sounds so weird and technical.
“Yeah.” Troy looks away dreamily. “Turns out you need a lot more lube than they say.”
Annie can picture it now, the Inspector holding the toy, probably not too close to himself—no matter what character Abed's being, he doesn't really like touching or being touched—Reggie on hands and knees. It's a tantalizing image, particularly when she remembers the noises she heard Troy making. Annie wonders what it would be like to hold the toy herself. Or to wear it.
“Troy?” Annie ventures, when she realizes she's been staring into space. “Do you ever wish Abed would just be Abed?”
Troy looks up at her, genuinely confused. “Annie,” he says, “Abed is Abed.”
“Yeah, I know. But then why does he always have to be someone else too?”
“Oh. You mean, like, how come when we do sexy stuff, he likes to be in character?”
“Yeah. Why can't he just be himself?”
“Huh.” Troy looks thoughtful. “I think he is being himself. Abed wouldn't be Abed if he wasn't also Batman. Or the Inspector. Or whoever.”
“But I'm the opposite,” Annie says. “I'm not me when I'm Poison Ivy. Or Applejack. Or whoever.”
Troy's eyes widen for a second when she mentions Applejack. There's another pause between them, and Annie thinks she can feel Troy looking at her. Maybe he's wondered things about her too.
“What about you?” Annie asks. “Do you have to be a character, or would you ever do stuff just as Troy?” She leans in closer to Troy's chair without entirely meaning to.
Troy leans back closer to Annie. “I don't know,” he says, and Annie can hear him swallow. “Wouldn't that be weird? Inspector Spacetime and Troy?”
“I didn't mean—” Annie starts, but then she stops midsentence.
Troy looks at her expectantly. “What?”
“Troy,” says Annie. “You're the best! That could totally work.”
“It doesn't make sense,” Abed protests. “Why would Batman hook up with Annie?”
Annie's practically vibrating with what a good idea this is. “Maybe because he thinks she's cute.”
“Maybe he goes to Greendale,” Troy suggests, “and they're in the same pottery class.”
“Why would Batman take pottery?” asks Annie.
“Why would Batman go to Greendale?” asks Abed. “He's already got more degrees than he needs.”
“Okay,” says Annie, “maybe he doesn't go to Greendale. It could take place in Gotham City.”
“Why's Annie in Gotham City?” asks Abed.
“I don't know, Abed.” Annie gives a small sigh. “Maybe she's visiting her cousin who lives there.”
“Interesting,” says Abed. “I'd like to meet her cousin. I've always wondered what it's like living in Gotham City as a civilian.”
“But you meet Annie,” Annie prompts.
“Batman meets Annie,” Troy corrects her.
“Right,” says Abed. “How do they meet? And why is there rope?”
“Maybe Annie knows Batman likes rope.”
Abed shakes his head. “No one knows that. It's not in any of the comics. Or the movies. Or the tv shows.”
“What about the comic where Batman and Superman meet Tarantula?” says Annie. “Or the episode where Catwoman ties him up and pins him to the ground?”
Troy and Abed look at each other, then look at Annie.
Annie stares at them incredulously. “Seriously, am I the only one here who's ever googled 'Batman tied up'?”
Troy's eyes get huge. “Not for long!”
Abed tilts his head to one side. “There's a lot of crime in Gotham City. Maybe even the tourists come armed.”
“With rope?” Annie protests.
“Why not? The villains aren't known for their efficient weaponry.”
Annie makes a face. “I don't think I'd carry rope around Gotham City as a weapon.”
“Maybe,” Troy offers, “you're carrying it because you like rope.”
“Maybe,” Annie concedes. “But how does Batman get involved?”
“What if you're in danger and Batman saves you?”
Annie shakes her head. “And then I tie him up?” she asks skeptically.
“Or...” a grin spreads across Troy's face. “I've got it. What if you're doing stuff with someone else, but Batman thinks, uh, that person might be in danger...”
“...and leaps in to intervene.” Abed is nodding.
Annie glances between the two of them. Troy is grinning at her, a little shy. “Okay,” she says, meeting Troy's eyes and blushing a little. “But why does Batman think, uh, that person's in danger? Do I tie him up too?”
“Maybe,” says Troy. “Or maybe he just yells kinda loud.”
“Oh,” says Annie. “That could work. Only, where are we that Batman can hear us?”
Abed is clearly getting into it now. “You're in an alley. Batman's been out fighting crime when he hears someone crying out. He stops to investigate, and he finds Annie and the other person—”
“Troy,” Annie interjects. She's kind of shocked Abed hasn't picked up on it yet.
“I know,” says Abed. “But Abed pointing out subtext is kind of overdone at this point. I figured one of you two could handle it.”
Troy reaches a hand over to Annie, and Annie takes it, smiling as they make contact.
“So Batman stops to investigate,” Troy prompts. “Then what?”
“That's as far as we've gotten,” says Abed. “But I think it's a good start. What do you two think?”
Troy nods his head enthusiastically. Annie's less sure. “I don't know,” she says. “Do you think Annie would do stuff in an alley?”
Abed tilts his head. “I think she would,” he says finally. “Enclosed spaces make Annie feel powerful. And she's not as squeaky clean as people think.”
Annie nods. It's true, and it's kind of sweet to hear Abed say so. “What about you?” she asks Troy.
“Well,” says Troy, “If Annie did do stuff in alleys, it might make taking out the trash a lot more interesting.”
Later that night, Troy hefts a bag of garbage over the side of the Dumpster behind their building. Annie empties a bag of soup cans and soda bottles into the blue recycling bin. There is something weirdly nice about an enclosed space, Annie thinks, surveying their surroundings. It's dark, and the only sound besides the clatter of recyclables is the brief, distant roar of a passing car.
Annie kisses Troy against a strip of brick wall between the Dumpsters and a rusty pick-up truck that's been parked there since before she moved in. First it's just their mouths, and then Annie grows bold, her hand on Troy's shoulder shoving him back against the bricks.
It's a rush of sensation and power, icy wind whipping around them, the brick wall rough and smelling of old rain. Troy's lips are warm, and Annie lets her tongue explore, lets her teeth give little, sharp nips.
She moves her free hand to cup Troy's chin. He's taller than she is, but it feels like he's looking up at her anyway. There's a pointy feeling against her thigh, and it alarms her at first—that's Troy's penis—but then she surprises herself but liking it, by wanting more. She gets a sudden image of the dildo in the Dreamatorium. She's seen it now, silver and shimmery, and the harness that came with it that Abed's never used but Annie would, and she's suddenly overwhelmed by how much she wants this. All of this. She breaks away from their kiss, breathless.
For a moment, they're both quiet. Then Troy looks at her intently. “Annie,” he breathes. His voice is ragged.
Troy's eyes are wide and reverent. “If Batman saw this,” he says, “I don't think he'd stop you.”
They need a scenario where Batman would actually intervene, so they end up making a set of lists.
Things Annie Would Do to Troy in an Alley in Gotham City
push him up against a wall
menace him with knife (maybe the fruit knife from the kitchen because no one ever uses it and it's got cute ladybugs on the handle)
penetrate him with dildo (is it weird to say 'penetrate'? or 'dildo'?)
actually, anything involving the dildo would probably work
Things Troy Would Be Cool with Annie Doing to Him in an Alley in Gotham City
anything with kissing
anything with nipples
anything with butts
Things That, If Annie Were Doing Them to Troy in an Alley in Gotham City, Batman Would Try to Stop
Abed's list is the hardest to work with, but, technically, stockpiling weapons isn't something Annie can do to Troy, so Abed changes the last item to “anything that makes Troy scream.” Which, apparently, encompasses most things involving nipples and butts and definitely encompasses Annie using a dildo. (The knife thing would probably work too, but Troy vetoes the idea, because then he'd also scream any time he needed to cut a fruit.)
Before Annie knows it, they've negotiated an entire scene. Annie's still a little nervous, and she's not completely sure how Batman fits in, but for the first time since Abed told her he didn't want to play as Abed, she's pretty sure they can work out something.
“So, here we are,” Annie announces, when the scene has been set up. “In an alley in Gotham City.” They're actually against one of the Dreamatorium's walls, but the lights are low, and there's a pair of upside down laundry baskets behind them to mark the edge of the area.
“Cool.” Troy meets Annie's eye and then quickly looks away. It's sweet to think he might be nervous about this too.
“Wait,” Abed interjects. Batman hasn't arrived yet, so Abed's sitting in a folding chair on the other side of the room, watching. “Why would Annie say where they are? They both already know.”
Annie sighs. Abed's right, but she hopes they can get to the fun part before too long. “Okay,” she corrects herself. “Here we are. Right here.” She takes a step forward into Troy's space, and he backs up against the wall.
Abed interrupts. “Why would Annie say 'here we are' at all? Are they trying to go to the alley?”
Annie glances at Troy. Abed is Abed, she reminds herself, though she wonders if Batman would be as big a stickler for details.
“Hey, Abed,” Troy suggests, with a quick smile in Annie's direction. “How about you narrate this part?”
Abed nods once, and his voice drops into a deep almost-growl. “It's just past midnight in Gotham City. Annie's visiting her cousin, and Troy... maybe he's got a cousin there too. The Bat Signal went up two hours ago, but the city is quiet now, and the two of them wonder if the Dark Knight is on the prowl.”
“Do you think Batman's out there somewhere?” Troy asks, as if on cue.
Annie traces a finger along the collar of Troy's t-shirt, then hears his sudden breath as she draws two fingers up along his throat. “Maybe,” she says. She runs her fingers along his jaw. The skin there is just barely rough, and Troy lifts his chin to get more. “Would that bother you?”
Troy shakes his head slightly. “When I was a kid,” he says, pausing to gasp as Annie slips her other hand up under his shirt. “I used to imagine Batman watching me do stuff.”
This takes Annie by surprise. “Like, sexy stuff?” Troy's belly is unexpectedly soft under his shirt, and Annie teases her fingers slowly but firmly upwards.
“Yeah—oh.” Annie's fingers brush one of Troy's nipples. “Him or LeVar Burton.”
For a brief second, Annie tries to picture Abed as LeVar Burton (children's book in hand? Geordi La Forge VISOR?), and the thought makes her giggle. Then she finds Troy's nipple again and circles it more intentionally. Troy starts moaning, and when his eyes meet Annie's, the jolt of power is electric.
Without breaking eye contact, Annie brings her other hand up under Troy's shirt and pins him hard against the wall. That feeling is starting in her chest again, the one from being Poison Ivy: she feels ten feet tall and out for blood. She takes a nipple and presses it experimentally between her fingers. Troy gasps hard, his jaw going slack.
Annie lets go quickly. “Is that... bad?” she asks. She knows some people like pain, but she's not sure Troy is one of them.
But Troy is shaking his head vigorously. “It's awesome,” he breathes, and when Annie reaches back up to pinch both nipples at once, the noises he makes are practically bloodcurdling.
“Coming home from fighting crime,” Abed narrates, and his voice startles Annie at first, she's so focused on Troy. “Batman hears the cries of someone in distress. Or are they cries of ecstasy?” His tone is so serious that Annie giggles a little in spite of herself.
“They're coming from an alley,” Abed continues. “Batman parks the Batmobile and gets out to investigate.” He brings the chair over—to stand in for the Batmobile, Annie guesses—and mimes getting out with a flourish of his cape. He's wearing the cowl now too.
“Batman,” Troy breathes, gazing at him.
Abed—Batman—steps between Annie and Troy. “Is this woman hurting you?” he asks, his voice gravelly.
“No,” Troy answers. “Well, actually, yeah, but in a good way.”
Batman growls, his gaze sweeping over the two of them suspiciously. “Why should I believe you?”
Annie looks at Troy. This is the part she's not sure about. “Maybe you can stay,” Troy suggests, “and make sure nothing bad happens.”
Batman lifts a finger to his lips like he's considering it.
“I'd have to tie you up,” Annie puts in. “I don't want you getting in the way.”
Batman swivels to look at her. “This sounds like a trap.”
“Have her tie you up over there,” Troy stage-whispers, pointing to the wall by the Batmobile chair. “There's a loose piece of chicken wire that can cut you free if anything goes wrong.” (What there is actually is a pair of safety scissors on top of one of the laundry baskets.)
Batman looks directly at Annie. “What makes you think I'd do this?”
Annie racks her brains. “It might be fun?” she tries, but Batman's head shakes slightly.
“Batman's not out for fun,” Troy reminds Annie. “He's out for justice.”
Annie tries to remember everything she knows about Batman: his sense of right and wrong, his hatred of crime. “I might hurt this innocent man,” she says slowly. “Could you live with yourself if you let that happen?”
Annie sees Batman's—Abed's?—shoulders relax under the cape. “You've got a point,” he rasps. “How will you tie me up?”
Troy grins. “Annie's got some rope. She really likes rope.”
Batman winks at the two of them. “So do I.”
Tying Abed up again—tying Batman up again—feels so good. Troy watches as Annie wraps Batman's chest, ankles, and wrists in the soft hemp strands and seals them with sturdy, perfect knots. Troy's gaze is hungry, and Annie is overwhelmed by how intensely she is the center of attention here.
When she's got Batman secure, she presses Troy back against the wall, lifting his shirt over his head. Annie can feel Batman's eyes on the two of them as she kisses, pinches, and shoves, and it's like this magnified version of that time with Poison Ivy: Batman is watching her, and Troy is panting underneath her, and she's the hot, pulsating center of everything. It's not completely smooth, of course. The whole thing really does need more lube than Annie expects; the chair isn't quite sturdy enough to support them both, so they have to break mid-scene to get a table; and when they get to the part where Annie's wearing the harness, she keeps having to adjust it. Still, it's everything she wanted: Troy falling apart under Annie's touch, Batman at his safe distance, focused and intent.
When it's over—when Abed's Abed again and untied, when Troy's sprawled bonelessly over the table that was the Batmobile—Annie feels a wave of emotion wash over her. She almost can't believe this is her life, that these are her two, weird, perfect roommates, that anything—particularly anything involving Batman—could feel this overwhelmingly good. She sits, catching her breath, high on endorphins and wonder and whatever it is that brings magic to the Dreamatorium. For the first time since her first taste of being in control, Annie feels satisfied.
Troy breaks the silence first. “What do you think next?” he mumbles against the table. “Maybe something with the Inspector?”
“Or Fluttershy.” Abed purses his lips like he's concentrating. “Would she become human, or would Annie and Troy become ponies?”
“What about Kickpuncher?” Troy asks.
“That's good,” says Abed. “We could break the fourth wall: Annie and Troy are disappointed viewers—”
“—who decide they'd rather tie up Kickpuncher than watch the rest of the movie.” Troy pushes himself most of the way up from the table, swaying slightly as he stands.
Abed nods. “Kickpuncher could watch them instead.”
Troy looks at Annie. “What do you think?” he asks.
Annie looks back at him dreamily. “First,” she says, “I need a shower. Then I need a nap. Then... I don't know. Maybe tomorrow?”
The other two nod agreement. Then Abed looks at Troy. “Want to help me make the costume?”
Troy reaches for Abed, and they do their secret handshake. Annie leaves them to it, smiling as she goes.