"I need your help."
Britta Perry was very surprised to hear these words on a phone call from Abed.
One minute everything had been normal. Abed was making movie references like usual, saying something about Star Wars. The next minute, Abed had gone silent, and then suddenly said, "I need your help."
Britta narrowed her eyes. "My help? Like, psychological help?"
Abed paused again before replying "Yes."
Britta's face fell. "Abed?" she asked. "Is everything...okay?"
Abed didn't answer.
A flash of lightning lit up the room Britta was in, followed by very loud thunder. It made her jump, and she almost dropped the phone. The thunderstorm had been forecast to come during the middle of the night, but the wind had picked up and the storm was here already. The whole area was under a severe weather warning, but Britta didn't really care. The weather was one of the things she cared the least about. Abed, on the other hand…
"Abed?" Britta asked again worriedly.
"I'm fine," he said suddenly. "I just trust you more than anyone else with this, now that…" He trailed off again. Something was wrong. This wasn't like Abed at all. He always finished sentences without stopping or hesitating. "I think you should come over."
"I -" Britta sighed. "Okay, Abed. I'll be at your apartment soon."
Britta hung up and put the phone down. What could be the problem? Abed had always been strange, but he had a way of acting that was normal for him. He had even handled Troy's departure well so far. This, however, was not normal. And Britta knew him well enough to realize that.
She grabbed her jacket and keys and headed out the door as quickly as possible, bracing herself for the pouring rain she would have to face to get to her car.
Abed sat inside the small Dreamatorium he and Troy had made out of a cardboard box, holding a mug of Special Drink. He simulated clear skies and Troy right beside him. They were playing Inspector Spacetime together.
Then another crash of thunder came, and Abed was alone again. He pulled his knees up to his chest as more thunder shook the room. It was no use. He exited the Dreamatorium and went to the couch, where he sat, shivering.
Annie was visiting family that night, so she wasn't there, either. Besides, she wouldn't have been able to understand him. Abed had called Britta because she'd helped him before. He had been to therapy sessions with her, of course. And even though she wasn't a great psychologist, he trusted her with himself.
He pulled a blanket around himself. Then he was with Troy again, this time making a blanket fort. The excitement in giving the school halls new life by lining it with pillows and blankets, the ideas that the two best friends would build and recruit others to build as soon as they came up with them.
They had so many working parts to their fort. It was one of the best things they had ever created together. It was even better than the games of "the floor is lava" Troy and Abed always played together in their apartment…
Another rumble of thunder reached his ears, and he hid himself under the blanket. Abed took another sip of Special Drink, and it made him feel a little better. He closed his eyes and imagined again that there was no thunderstorm, just him and his friend.
Troy and Abed were hosting their imaginary morning talk show, Troy and Abed in the Morning. Each of them carried mugs with the name of the show printed on them. They interviewed some people who didn't even want to be interviewed. Abed remembered when he and Troy had tried to do their morning talk show at three in the morning. That hadn't gone over very well with Jeff or Annie, both of whom they had called to interview.
Abed looked down at the mug he was holding. Troy and Abed in the Morning. He had recently tried a halfhearted Troy and Abed in the Morning without Troy, but it wasn't the same. Thunder crashed outside, and Abed covered his head with the blanket again.
That's when someone knocked at the door.