Anxiety sat alone in his bed, nearly suffocating from the thick, hot air under his cover of pillows and blankets. However, he was too distracted by his own thoughts to notice the way his lungs were compressed under the pressure as they resisted re-inflation.
You’re no good
“I know,” he choked out, responding to nobody.
They all hate you
“I… I know…” As the tormented boy squeaked out the words, tears overflowed, spilling down his cheeks and staining his sheets below. Not that he could see the stains; his room was pitch black as always.
Nobody wants you
You’re better off dead
Thomas doesn’t need you
Anxiety hiccuped, his abdomen contracting in a violent spurt of pain before finally relaxing just enough for him to take in a quick, shaky gulp of air. Just then, his thoughts were interrupted by a soft, seemingly hesitant knock on his door.
Although he desperately wanted to scream out at whoever may be on the other side of the door, Anxiety knew that his current state would never allow him to utter more than a quiet, raspy statement of rejection. Therefore, the intruder was able to enter into the quiet room without much difficulty.
“Anx? Are you in here?” he heard the strong, yet gentle, royal voice beckoning to him from the door.
The only thing the broken down trait could do in response was to let out a stifled, strangled squeal from underneath the pillows. Roman quickly rushed to the bed, shutting the door behind him as he knew the room’s owner would’ve wanted him to do. Shoveling pillows off of the bed, he finally revealed Anxiety, who was a mess; red, swollen eyes stared back at Prince, and the shaken figure reached out a trembling arm to his savior.
Tears welled up in the prince’s eyes, sympathy and understanding pushing him forward into his companion’s embrace. Roman hugged Anxiety firmly, and looped an arm underneath the smaller’s legs, picking him up as he turned slowly, sitting down on the bed and holding the other close in his lap.
Anx shook violently, coughing and sputtering through the tears, pressing his face into the royal’s chest. He suddenly felt a nagging thought tug at him, begging him to push Roman away.
He doesn’t actually care about you
He’s tricking you
He’s only trying to embarrass you
Anxiety hiccuped again, and whined, clenching his fists and balling up Roman’s jacket in his grip, never wanting to let go.
Suddenly, the prince spoke: “Oh, Angel… my Angel… I’m so sorry I didn’t think to come sooner.”
In his arms, the tearful boy shook his head, wanting least of all for Princey to blame himself for anything.
“I’m here now, though, and I promise I will stay by your side for as long as you need.” After receiving a slight nod against his chest, Roman smiled tenderly and began to rock back and forth, humming a tune that was equally familiar to them both.
“Cheer up, Angel… give me a smile,” he sang out, gently stroking Anxiety’s hair. “What happened to the smile I used to know?”
Out from Angel escaped a hesitant, raspy chortle, immediately recognizing the reference to one of their favorite movies. Willy Wonka: Pure nostalgia, a fantasy world placed in the center of a chaotic town, even with touches of nightmare fuel, which Anx found to be rather jarring and entertaining.
“Don’t you know your grin has always been my sunshine? Let that sunshine show,” he continued. The prince noticed that his companion was still shaking, and elected to relay the instructions he had by now committed to memory:
“Breathe with me, now… listen to my heartbeat. You’re safe now, I’m here. You’re cared for and protected.”
Anxiety shut his eyes tight, and pressed his ear against Roman’s chest, listening closely for the relaxing sounds of the one he cared most for; he was not disappointed, being met almost immediately with the peaceful pounding of his prince’s heart. He forced himself to take a few deep breaths in, syncing up to the rhythm of Princey’s own breathing.
Once the younger’s trembling in the older’s arms ceased, he leaned down close to his companion’s face, and spoke gently: “C’mon beautiful, you wanna tell me what started all of this?”
Angel flinched, taken aback slightly by the compliment, but spoke anyway, his throat gritty and his voice weak, “It’s n-nothing… you wouldn’t care anyway…”
Princey’s face turned sour, and he looked horrified. “What?! Of course I care, Angel! Why else would I be here with you right now if I didn’t care?”
“I don’t know…” After taking a pause, and realizing that he couldn’t actually think of an alternate reason why Roman would’ve helped him, Anxiety shrugged. “You’re the one who came in h-” his retort was interrupted by a violent fit of coughing, which threatened to cause even more waterworks. Princey held on tight to his friend, barely letting his eyelids flutter and releasing shushing noises while the coughs and strangled squeaks that emerged from the man in his arms echoed through the room.
The prince gently gripped Angel’s shoulders once his coughing had died down, and looked deep into his eyes. “Please, love. Tell me what’s wrong. You’re clearly in so very much pain, I only want to help.”
Anx turned his head away, staring at the floor, and pushed out a few quick, somewhat garbled sentences: “Don’t blame yourself… I’ve’n’t seen you in days… I thought you’d forgotten about me… maybe didn’t even care anymore…” He swiftly swiveled his head back to search Roman for any sign of guilt, and sputtered out, “I’msosorry I didn’t mean to, please, please don’t blame yourself, it’s all my fault,” as more tears threatened to form.
Princey felt his nose sting, signalling oncoming tears, and pulled Angel into a tight hug, planting a couple sloppy kisses on his neck before pulling away and cupping his crush’s face in his hand. He carefully swiped his thumb across Anxiety’s cheek, wiping away a thin stream of tears.
“Anx…” the royal boy began. “I could never forget about you, or ever stop caring. Never, ever. I promise. Okay?”
Anxiety turned his head slightly, leaning into Princey’s hand and placing his own hand over it, like a shadow.
“Angel. Please talk to me. I’m sorry I haven’t been paying enough attention to you. I…” Roman paused. “I love you, you know that. Do you forgive me?”
A sigh passed by Anx’s lips, and he nodded, closing his eyes and pulling his lover’s hand closer, gently kissing it’s palm before mumbling into the hand: “I love you too, babe.”
The prince relaxed, smiling with relief that he was forgiven. “Okay… thank you for forgiving me. Do you want to rest now? I can leave if-”
Angel cut him off, almost shouting a desperate, “No!” before correcting himself: “I mean… c-can I stay with you for a little while? Just in your room? I won’t be a bother, okay? P-please?”
His expression softening even further, Roman wrapped his arm around Anx’s waist and pulled him in for a calm, loving kiss. The latter’s hands roamed for a few seconds before finding their way to the former’s shoulders, holding onto them tight in a reversed grip. At the same time, Princey’s hands were gently caressing the small of his boyfriend’s back, causing shivers to emanate from his slight form.
Pulling away an inch, the prince smiled at the emo and fluttered his eyes, gently tickling Angel’s face with his naturally long eyelashes, forcing him to giggle.
“Hehe. Alright, come on now, lovely,” Princey said before gently nudging his companion off of his lap and standing up, holding a hand out to him. “Let’s go. I know exactly which movie we can watch together,” he said with a smile.
Stepping into Roman’s room, Anxiety immediately knew what he’d done. And, to confirm even further the reason for the sudden change in scenery, two strong arms wrapped around his waist as a silky, royal voice sounded in his ear:
“Come with me… and you’ll be… in a world of pure imagination.”
Anx chuckled, and sniffled, still recovering slightly from the previous event. Suddenly, Princey was in front of him, pulling him into the colorful candy-filled room, spinning him slowly as he sung.
“We’ll begin with a spin, travelling in a world of my creation. What you’ll see will defy explanation~”
Anxiety now found himself in a dip, his prince looming over him, ever smiling, gazing deep into his eyes. Around them, the room shrunk slightly, fading into a smaller, lightly colored, royal bedroom. Everything looked soft, and elegant, from the pastel-colored wallpaper to the fluffy bedspread to the prince himself.
Roman was truly a sight to behold, as Angel thought. He was one of the most beautiful people he’d ever met, and knew he didn’t deserve him; however, Anxiety had been taught a few things from his time with the others, and knew a bit better now how to dismiss such self-deprecating thoughts.
Princey stood up slowly, pulling his partner along with him to the bed, where they both crawled until the sheets, one reveling in the material of the covers while the other reveled in the sight of his boyfriend, happy at last. On a screen across the room suddenly appeared a familiar sight - the menu for one of the movies they’d bonded over so very long ago: “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”.
As they both settled in, ready to relax, Roman spoke up: “Hey, Angel?”
“Hm? What is it?”
“I just wanted to remind you that I love you, my beautiful dark Angel.”
Blush crept onto Anxiety’s cheeks as he scooted closer to the other, wrapped his arms around him, and without looking at him, whispered, “I love you, too…”