She almost didn't recognise him at first. It wasn't because after almost two years she'd given up hope of ever seeing him again, or because of the smart slacks and button down shirt that had never been his look before. No, it was the confident maturity of his bearing and the self-confidence with which he looked around himself. He looks like…. he's grown up, Britta thought to herself.
He saw her and a broad smile spread across his face. That I do recognise, Britta thought as an answering smile spread across her face and she clutched her psych textbook nervously to her chest.
"Hi Britta, you look amazing." He said as he hugged her warmly.
"Hi Troy," she said as she clumsily returned the hug, textbook still in hand. "Where have you been?"
"Everywhere." He said simply. A trace of his old youthful enthusiasm came back to him. "I was kidnapped by pirates, and stayed with the King of Jordan - Levar arranged that, to you and me he's a king, to Levar he was an extra on Star Trek-" he grinned. "I've seen the sun rise over the Himalayas with a party of USAid workers and seen it set over the South China Sea. I've dived for pearls in the South Pacific and came closer to dying than I thought was possible when we were caught in a typhoon and realised in the moment that I was more alive than I would ever be again. I've been around the world and it was awesome and terrifying, but mostly awesome." His broad grin was back.
His tone changed from excited back to a normal voice. "I landed back in San Francisco a week ago and Pierce's inheritance was released to me yesterday, I no longer have any obligations to anyone else and can live the life I choose." His grin came back.
Britta fought down a sudden wave of overwhelming envy as she compared this to her life - the long hours working in a bar, every penny going to coursework and rent - and forced herself to be happy for him.
"So if you can do what you want, why are you back at Greendale?" She said.
He didn't answer immediately. "Do you remember what I said when we broke up?" He said.
When you dumped me. It still hurt Britta a little after all this time. "Something about you not being grown up enough for a real relationship?" She said.
Troy nodded, slightly apologetically. "Well, I've grown up now." He said as her eyes opened wide in shock. "And I made a promise when it looked like the ship was going to sink in that typhoon that if I made it out alive I would come back here and apologise to you for treating you like that and ask for a second chance." Britta went stiff with shock.
"I'm here because the life I choose to lead has you by my side." He said, finally answering her question. "If you'll have me, that is?" For the first time, he looked nervous.
By way of an answer, Britta dropped her textbook and threw her arms tightly around his neck. There may have been tears shed into the collar of his shirt.
"Is that a yes?" Troy said with his trademark broad smile.
"At least buy me dinner first, you doofus." Britta smiled tearfully back at him.
Note: The fact that King Abdullah of Jordan is a Trekkie who wangled an appearance on Voyager as an extra is one of my favorite bits of Star Trek trivia.