Summary: Rainy days are the best time for spreading tall tales.
Characters/Pairing: Ensemble, Troy and Abed (friendship), Jeff/Annie
Word Count: 1,916
Warning: Mild spoilers through 1x16 Communication Studies.
A/N: This story was created for a three-tiered prompt:
- Umbrella, Troy and Abed (ensemble) for penny_lane_42
- Ex-boyfriend, Jeff/Annie for crackers4jenn
- Anatidaephobia Troy and Abed for deathcomes4u
- Ex-boyfriend, Jeff/Annie for crackers4jenn
- Anatidaephobia Troy and Abed for deathcomes4u
Troy’s standing in front of the library huddled under a bright yellow umbrella when Abed runs up to meet him. Abed’s umbrella is blue.
They nod a silent greeting. Abed turns to stand next to him, sidling close until the blue of his umbrella overlaps the edges of Troy’s yellow to make a green Venn diagram of wetness prevention.
“So, how come we’re standing outside?” Abed asks.
Troy glances at the doors behind him. “Doors are locked. Plus watching people slip and fall running across the quad is equal parts hilarious and mesmerizing.”
“Nothing funnier than a multitude of academia scampering around like drowned rats. Well, maybe Jon Stewart’s faux!news political commentary during an election year.”
“Yeah, I don’t know what that is.”
Abed considers this and shrugs. “So, Annie and Jeff.”
“Oh yeah, what’s up with that?”
“The UST is off the charts. It’s the sort of tension that would demand an array of het fanfiction ranging in genre from fluff to PWP.”
“Pee dubbya what now?” Troy starts getting worked up. “Somebody got peed on? Was it Annie? Jeff peed on Annie? ‘Cause, dude, that is not cool. I am not down with that. It's not cool when non-cartoon people do that.”
Pierce arrives to hear the tail end of this exchange. His umbrella is red. “Jeff peed on Annie? Whoa ho! Looks like Mr. I’m-Too-Cool-And-Sauve was hiding a dark and pervy secret. You know, he always looked like the kind of guy who’d pee on a lady. It’s in the eyes—you can always tell by that look in their eyes. I bet that’s why Professor McHottie dumped him. She kicked him to the curb when he invited her to his Golden Showers extravaganza.” Pierce smirks and pulls out his phone to pull up his Twitter application.
Abed raises an eyebrow and looks at Troy. “This is how internet rumors get started.”
Troy nods, then giggles when a co-ed decked out in running shoes, sweatpants and a hooded rain jacket slips in a puddle of mud, crashes into a bench, flips over the back and lands in a bush. Still smiling, Troy leans forward to peer up at the sky from underneath the edge of his umbrella. “Rainy days are like snow days for people who don’t like snow. Or maybe it’s like the sky is crying on the world’s shoulder and the world goes ‘there, there’.”
“Statistically, rainy days are conducive to increasing levels of depression in people prone to mood disorders,” Abed notes. “Of course, without a steady rain cycle most forms of life would cease to exist. It’s a rough trade-off in the circle of life.”
“Oh, don’t get started on that depress-o talk. The last time Britta caught me ‘diagnosing her’ behind her back, she threw her Spanish textbook at me.” Pierce rubs the back of his head, wincing. “That girl needs to up her medication and hightail it to an anger management class, pronto.”
“Britta’s taking pills? Has she been sucked into the dangerous, yet sexy college drug scene?” Shirley gasps as she joins the circle. Her umbrella is purple with tiny pink polka-dots.
Pierce gives Shirley his customary check-out-the-fine-lady once-over, then says, “You fill her in, Abed,” and pulls out his phone again to update his Twitter account.
“We appear to be caught in a dangerous loop of misinformation,” Abed explains. “It’s like when Data kept trying to keep the Enterprise from exploding, only the Enterprise is truth and we’re all doomed to never bring our ship safely home.”
Shirley holds up her hand. “Look, I just wanna know if we’re having an intervention ‘cause I need time to get refreshments and tasteful anti-drug decorations. I don’t need none of that sci-fi nonsense.”
“Donuts,” Troy interjects. “There should definitely be donuts.”
“Of course. But chocolate covered or classic glazed?” Abed countered.
“Both?” Troy asks, then his expression firms with determination. “Both.”
“Don’t forget the cream-filling!” Pierce chortles as he continues typing on his phone.
Troy and Abed share a look, heads tilted to the side at a perfectly mirrored 33.3 degree angle as if to say ‘Old people—what can you do?’
Troy breaks the pose when he giggles, “Cream filling.”
“Uh uh!” Shirley says. “I’m not having raunchy snacks at Britta’s drug intervention. She deserves a classy affair when we confront her about her sinful addiction.” She sighs, clutching at her umbrella and raising it up to send her prayer skyward in supplication. “I should’ve seen this comin’—her somber clothing color schemes were a desperate cry for help. Poor Britta, turning to drugs to fill the void in her life. Baby girl needs Jesus like fried chicken needs hot sauce.”
“I what now?!” Britta demands, stepping into the circle. Her umbrella is black. “And there’s nothing wrong with my clothes, okay? I’m stylish and happenin’ and not on drugs. Seriously, you guys. Not cool.”
Troy snickers into his fist, turns to Abed and whispers, “White girls should not say ‘happenin’’.”
“Or should they say it more because their attempts at ethnic slang are notoriously hilarious in spite of the racist overtones? Hmm.” Abed raises a hand to rest against his chin a la The Thinker.
“Ha! Who’s racist now?” Pierce says, eyes still glued to his phone. He looks up at Britta and asks, “Do you spell your name with one or two T’s?”
“Pierce, put the phone away before I make you eat it,” Britta says, eyes shooting Threats Of Violence at him.
“Fine, fine.” Hanging his head in disgruntled submission, Pierce slips his phone into his jacket pocket.
“Now now, Britta.” Shirley reaches out to pat Britta on the shoulder. “Trying to cover up your addiction is the first sign of addiction. You need to get past that denial phase so you can start to heal.”
“I—I have no words,” Britta says, jaw dropped and shaking her head in consternation.
“Let it out,” Shirley urges. “Let the healing begin.”
Britta closes her eyes and slaps her forehead.
“Hey guys! Don’t you just love it when it rains!” Annie chirps happily, skipping up to join the group. Her umbrella is pink. She’s wearing matching pink galoshes.
“Rainy days are the coolest,” Troy agrees. “Except for sunny days. Those are pretty cool, too. And night time. It’s cool ‘cause it’s dark and mysterious and full of vampires and Batman.”
Abed tilts his head back as if to peer at the sky through his umbrella top. “Ah, Batman.”
As if aware of an approaching storm, the group turns as one to watch Jeff march across the quad under a navy blue umbrella. He stops in front of Pierce, pulls out his phone and shakes it accusingly in Pierce’s face. “Care to explain yourself, you old wizened gossiping crone?”
“I think my accounting speaks for itself,” Pierce proclaims, holding his head high.
“Oh, really? Really?” Jeff shakes his head up and down, neck tensed as he gives Pierce the Crazy Eyes. He shakes his phone in the air again. “Let’s all take a closer look, shall we?” He reads off the screen: “Item One: Prof McHottie bails on Jeff Winger the Notorious Golden Showers King.”
Shirley sighs in sympathy at the reminder Jeff got dumped then quietly gasps as the rest of the statement sinks in.
Jeff holds up his hand, demanding silence before continuing. “Item Two: @Vaughan<3Earth You heard Annie and Jeff r down with the dirrrty? All my sympathy, ex-boyfriend. Lulz!”
“What?!” Annie gasps.
Jeff holds his hand up again. “Item Three: Britta’s doped up on pills again. Intervention party TBA. BYOB.”
“Why do I put myself through this?” Britta laments. “I could’ve taken classes online…”
“Item Four: T ‘n A bizarrely attached at hip again. Homoerotic anatidaephobia?” Jeff shakes his phone in Pierce’s face again. “Is that even a word? Has your sense of reality gone so far off the reservation that you can’t tell what’s English anymore?”
“Anatidaephobia—it means paranoid fear that ducks are watching you,” Abed explains.
“Ducks? Where?!” Troy whimpers and clings to Abed’s shoulder. He whispers, “How did they find me?”
Everyone stares at Troy and Abed with their heads cocked to the side.
“Oka-ay,” Jeff drawls, “besides that last one which is bizarrely accurate,” he shakes his head then continues in a commanding voice, “I present these fraudulent items of criminal gossip to the most honorable study group and call for a verdict.”
“Now, I think we all know the siren’s call of the internet gossip train. Or any gossip train, really,” Shirley says. “And we need to remember to keep forgiveness in our hearts.”
“Oh, whatever,” Britta snorts. “You’re only all forgiving ‘cause he didn’t make up any crap about you.”
“Britta, those are the drugs talking,” Shirley says in a gentle voice.
Britta slaps her forehead again.
“Okay, that’s enough!” Annie grabs Pierce by his jacket lapel and jerks him down to her eye level, glaring at him with baby blues sparking indignantly. “You’re gonna knock it off. No more online storytelling. No more meddling in our personal lives. No more!” She reaches into his jacket pocket, pulls out his phone and drops it on the ground. “You abuse your power—” Annie crushes the phone underneath her pink galosh “—you lose your power.”
“Dangit, I knew I should’ve opted for the five dollar-a-month insurance policy,” Pierce grumbles.
“Awesome,” Troy breathes, looking at Annie in newfound wonder.
“Annie Edison: easy on the eyes, tough on crime,” Abed narrates bullet-fast.
“And that, my friends, is how it’s done,” Jeff announces, slipping an arm around Annie’s shoulder to give her a congratulatory squeeze that… lingers.
“Okay, drama queens, can we please just go inside and study now?” Britta exclaims, pretending not to notice Jeff’s arm still wrapped around Annie.
“Can’t,” Abed announces, shaking his head. “Doors are locked.”
“Yeah,” Troy agrees, reaching behind him to pull the door open in demonstration, “the doors are, uh, locked…?”
Britta rolls her eyes and pushes past Troy inside the library. Shirley shrugs and sort of waddle-bounce-skips after her. Annie gives Troy a compassionate smile before heading in. Pierce pats Troy on the shoulder in a mixture of condescension and conciliation as he follows the ladies’ lead. Jeff looks bewildered, disappointed and amused before shaking his head, stepping forward and heading towards their study room.
Abed glances up at the green overlap of his and Troy’s umbrellas, then leans in close to Troy and whispers, “Did you forget these are pull doors again?”
“Nah,” Troy denies, clearing his throat awkwardly. “I totally knew they were unlocked this entire time. I was just messing with y’all.”
Abed frowns. “But I thought we agreed to not mess with each other anymore?”
“Yeah, but see I signaled you with my eyes earlier. Did you miss that?”
“Ahhh. That was the ‘doors are secretly unlocked but don’t tell anyone’ look. Yeah, I totally missed that.”
Troy shakes his head. “I think we need to work on our signals.”
“Especially after the mix-up last week with the Chia-pet-tarantula fiasco.”
“Yeah,” Troy says, rubbing his ass in remembrance, “that was not pretty, fun or edutainmental.”
“It’s like edutainment only describing stuff. Educational entertainment—edutainmental. It’s our new word.”
“Oh. I like it. Hmm. Maybe we could create our own language and that could be how we signal each other in future situations.”
“That sounds an awful lot like studying...”
Troy sighs. “If only there was a way for us to communicate silently in a secret code without having to learn anything…”
Abed cocks his head to the side, then shares, “I think we should hone our telepathic powers after study group.”
Troy raises his fist for their traditional Pound It agreement. “Word. I was totally just thinking that.”