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I can't. Not without you.

Chapter Text

He collapsed to his knees, the pain too much to handle. Far, far too much. He couldn’t breathe, his lungs dragged in heaping gulps of nothing as he curled around his arm, the source of the pain. Vaguely he could hear noises, voices a thousand miles away. Hands gripped his shoulders and they felt suffocating. He wanted to shrug them off, to get away from, from, well from everything. He felt certain that were he to, in this very moment, explode into a thousand pieces it would be nothing more than a relief.

The hands rolled him onto his back, the pain was receding and the voices were turning into words. Breathe. They were telling him. Please, Patton, please breathe. His breath was coming in shuddering gasps now, still not enough air. He forced his eyes open and recognized Roman. It was Roman who was talking to him. His hands shot out and gripped his white tee shirt, the pain was nearly gone, but he was still shaking, sweating, dizzy. Only now did tears fill his eyes, hot and fat, splashing down his face and his fists, still wrapped tightly in the fabric.

Finally, his lungs filled with air, and after a few lungfuls, he found the strength to pull away from his brother. He looked around, remembering where he was, he was sat on a sidewalk. He and Roman had been walking to the bus station when the pain hit, and he seemed to have drawn a small crowd. Belatedly he realized his glasses were broken, he could now feel a small scrape on his cheek and blood dripping down his elbow from hitting the sidewalk.

He brought his attention back to Roman’s face. He looked concerned. No. he looked terrified. Patton can’t remember ever seeing such an expression on his brother's face.

“Patton, what happened? Are you okay?” What had happened? What made his arm hurt so unbearably bad?

Now that his head was a little clearer he realized just what part of his arm the pain had radiated from. His gut wrenched.

He couldn’t look.

He wouldn’t.

He had too.

Slowly he extended his arm to look at the shattered heart that had always resided just below the crook of his elbow. It wasn’t there.

“It’s gone, your soul mark is gone,” Roman said in horror.

Patton felt as though he might throw up as he stared at the blank skin. He stared and stared until a middle aged women spoke from behind Roman’s shoulder.

“Oh hun,” she tisked in sympathy, “I’m so sorry.”

Patton looked up at her, anger flooding every last fiber of his being. He hated her. He had never hated anyone in the whole of his life, but he hated this woman.

He screamed at her.

Whilst thoroughly shocking his brother, who was already shocked enough, it at least seemed to make the crowd dissipate.

“Let’s get you home,” Roman said softly, and uncertainty. As though he wasn’t sure it would help, but was the only thing he could think to do. Patton let himself be lead blindly. Only one thought moved through his mind, pounding against his skull, repeating like some holy mantra.

My soulmate is dead. My soulmate is dead. My soulmate is dead.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Patton hadn’t left his room in a week, half ate sandwiches that Roman had brought him lay abandoned around the room. He had tried to leave this morning, had even made it to the door, but had instead collapsed against the door. He sat there now, back pressed to the wood hours later. He could hear them arguing. Roman and his Father. It’s all they’d done the last week.

Before Patton had always been the buffer between his angry father and passionate brother. Guilt racked him, he should go out there. Use a gentle voice and stupid jokes to distract them, to change the subject.

Although this case was a little different, seeing as the subject was him.

“How’s he supposed to pay his rent? He quit his job to have this little pity party!” He heard his father shout.

“I’ll pay his half,” Roman said back, trying to keep his voice calm.

“That’s not the point. He is acting like a spoiled brat.”

“He is grieving!” Roman screamed, making
Patton flinch.

“It’s not like he ever even met this person. He hasn’t actually lost anything!”

Patton’s chest tightened painfully. Anger and grief hardened him and he surged to his feet. He quietly slipped out of his room and down the hallway to his father's bathroom.
The moment he wrapped his fingers wrapped around the bottle of sleeping pills he felt the first hint of relief. Every step he took back towards his room solidified the determination in his gut. The guilt he felt thinking about Roman was twisted and hardened by the pain and loss and range that swirled in his chest.

He heard the front door slam, the familiar sound of Roman leaving the house, one he hadn’t heard all week. Good, he thought, closing his own door behind him. He filled an old glass with water from the bathroom before sitting cross legged on his bed. He poured a handful into his palm, smiling for the first time, a small smile for the pretty pink pills.

“What the hell!” the exclamation so loud and harsh it caused him to jump, spilling the contents of his hand. He looked up at Roman who was climbing through his window.

“I thought you left.” He whispered it was the only thing he could think to say.

“I wasn’t going to leave you alone in the house with him. And good fucking thing too! What the actual hell?”

Roman angrily swiped the pills off the bed, watching the them scatter across the room, before climbing onto the bed and wrapping Patton in his arms.

“It’s gone.” he sobbed into his brother's shoulder. “My future, my happiness, my life is gone. How do I go on, why do I go on without those things.”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Another week had gone by and Patton found himself sitting in a hard chair, in a dirty, poorly lit room. A grief support group Roman had talked him into going to.

He hated it. His own pain had scraped and hollowed him out and he was supposed to put it into words? Was he supposed to sit here and listen to other people's hurt? Feel their hurt on top of his own?

He had decided that group therapy was not meant for empathetic people.

But the worst part. The worst part was seeing people heal. Seeing people who had learned how to smile again, how to be okay. He hated them. And he hated himself more for hating them. He should be happy for them.

He’ll never be happy again.

So instead he doodled. Scrawling on a notepad the image he had spent his whole life dreaming over. He rolled his eyes when Logan started talking. It wasn’t that he didn't like the kid, but he’d heard this story multiple times.

Not that it wasn’t sad. He’d lost his best friend, the boy he’d grown up with, the boy who was practically a brother. Had come home to find him swinging in the closet, a belt serving as a makeshift noose.

Patton sat up a little straighter. When had he become so calloused that he could think about such things in a blase way like that? That had been harsh.

Well, add that to the list of things I’ve lost. He thought. My future, my happiness, my life, my kindness, my compassion. My whole self.

He tried to listen, tried to take in the guilt and regret that saturated every word Logan spoke. He watched the tears fall once again down Logan’s face. When had he cried last? That day with Roman and the pills?

“A month, it’s been a month today and I still can’t stand to be in that house.”

“Thank you for sharing.” The moderator said, followed by a chorus of half-hearted thank yous before she ended the session.

Outside Patton watched Logan as he stood outside his car hesitantly.

“Hey Logan,” he called out, unsure what possessed him to do so, maybe the way their dates aliagned.

“Um, Hi. Patton right?”

“Yeah. So my dad is working the night shift tonight, why don’t you come over and I’ll make you some dinner?” Knowing it’s what the old him would have said.

“Oh, um thank you.”

“You drive so I don’t have to take the bus and I’ll even whip up some dessert.”

The corner of Logan’s mouth lifted into what was nearly a smile as he gestured for Patton to get into the car. Patton wished he could give him one in return, but he just couldn’t.

At home they talked easily, even some what lightly as Patton threw together some spaghetti. Things felt better than they had in weeks. That is until he heard Logan say his name and turned to see him, angry and teary, and holding a notepad out to him.

“What is this?”

“It’s just a doodle.” he stuttered.

“This is Virgil’s soulmark! Why is it here?”

Patton gasped, hand going to the place his soulmark had once been. He watched realization slowly wash over Logan’s face.

Patton knew who his soulmate was. Was it better to know?

It didn’t matter, he had to know.

“Will you, could you maybe tell me about him?” tears were threatening his eyes as Logan lead him to the couch and pulled up pictures on his phone. A beautiful, dark eyed boy appeared on the screen. The dark circles under his eyes not detracting from the enchanting half smile on his face.

Patton felt his heart swell with what could only be called love. Tears dripped from his eyes as Logan started telling him about his soulmate, recounting funny stories. He laughed and sobbed all at once.

“Are you smiling or crying?” he looked up to see Roman holding his breath in the doorway as if worried saying the wrong thing would ruin the precious reprieve.

“Roman, come see my soulmate.”

Roman crossed the room hesitantly, as he leaned over the couch he brushed against Logan and both boys froze.

“Eh, sorry,” Roman said, blushing and rubbing the back of his neck.

Patton narrowed his eyes at him, knowing that’s where his soulmark was. He glanced at Logan who was rubbing a light bulb that decorated his inner wrist.

A light bulb identical to the one on his brother's neck.

No.

No no no no no no no.

He vaulted off the couch, retreating to his room.

You should be happy for them. He thought even as his sobs turned into to strangled gasps. The light, the joy on their faces, the images were burnt onto the back of his eyelids and felt like they were crushing him.

He thought maybe he could hear their voices on the other side of the door, worried inquiries. But he couldn’t be sure over the sound of his own airless gasps.

You should be happy, for them.

But he just couldn’t.

He couldn’t.

Couldn’t.

Couldn’t do it anymore.

Wouldn’t.

Chapter Text

Virgil came to with gasp. It hadn’t worked. He was still alive.

Goddamn it.

As his head cleared he became more aware of his surroundings. He was not in his closet as one might expect to be after hanging oneself in one’s closet. Instead he was laying in the grass staring up at a blue sky and listening to the concerned gasps of a small crowd.

What, the ever living fuck?

He turned his head towards the voices, through the legs of the small crowd he could see a young man curled on the sidewalk, crying out in pain. Another young man knelt next to him, his face a wash of terror and confusion.

Virgil got his feet under himself, standing slowly. His head was pounding, dizzy and confused. Yet he was distracted from wondering how the hell he had gotten there by an overwhelming concern for the young man on the sidewalk. He tried to push through the crowd, but his hand passed through them as if the weren’t there.

Or maybe he wasn’t there.

Either way he had to get to the man.

He knelt next to the boy, who was now crying and clutching his companions shirt. He tried to reach out to him, but once again his hands passed through. Frowning, Virgil simply watched, unable to help. He watched as the boy slowly extended his arm, watched as his companion gasped.

“It’s gone, your soul mark is gone.”

An awful twisting wave of suspicion snaked through Virgil, hard enough to knock him to his ass. At this point it was pretty obvious that his suicide had been successful, and there was only one reason he could think of for his incorporeal form to be kneeling next to a man who had just lost his soul mark.

A women behind him tisked in sympathy, “Oh hun, I’m so sorry,” she cooed at the boy still sitting in the sidewalk. His face contorted in pain and anger, and he actually screamed at her.

Pain, anger, guilt, crushing self loathing were all tearing at Virgil. He had done this. He had to get away.

Virgil surged to his feet and ran, not caring that he was sprinting, quite literally, through people. He made it maybe fifteen feet when he found himself standing next to the boys on the sidewalk again.

Fuck.

Again and again. In every direction he tried to run he always ended up next to the crying boy who was now walking away, his companions arm wrapped around his shoulder. Resignedly Virgil walked next to them, accepting that they were stuck together.

He took the time to really look at him. Underneath the tears and grief and shock, he really was beautiful.The other man looked strikingly similar and Virgil figured they must be brothers. The sunlight played with different shades of brown in his hair and eyes. A pair of broken glasses hung from his face and blood trickled from a small cut on his cheek.

That’s your fault.

Virgil was sure that if he’d had a body able to produce tears, he would have been crying too.

The boys opened a rattling chain link gate, walking up the front walk of a run down looking house. White paint was peeling away in chunks from walls that seemed to be almost sagging. Virgil eyed it skeptically. He watched the step bough under the boys weight as they walked up the front steps and into the house.

Inside, dirty shag carpet matched the couches that looked like they’d been sitting there since 1970. A man sat in an armchair, and Virgil wondered if he had been there since 1970 as well, and the snickered at his own joke.

“Shouldn't you boys be on your way to work?” the man asked gruffly.

“We’ve both called in, I need to take care of Patton today.”

Patton.

The name rang through his head, holding a weight he wasn’t ready to face.

“What’s wrong with the him now?” the man asked dismissively.

Virgil watched Patton’s face contort in anger.

“I just lost my goddamn soulmate, something you should understand!” Patton yelled. The shock on both his father’s and brother’s faces made Virgil think that it was a very uncommon occurrence.

The man stood slowly, jabbing a finger in Patton’s face. “Do not compare the death of someone you’ve never met to the death of your very own mother.”

“Another person I never met,” Patton grumbled under his breath. He had turned away and didn’t see the hit coming, it took him to the ground.

“Roman, get him out of my sight.” The man growled, sitting back down and turning his attention back to the television set.

Roman helped his brother stand, and pulled him down the hallway.

Virgil was quakinging with anger, he wanted to scream and punch and rage and all of the things he couldn’t do without his body.

Patton must have gotten more than fifteen feet away from him, because one minute he was ghost punching some douchebag and the next he was standing next to Roman who was pulling a blanket over his brother.

“Just, try and rest, I guess”

Poor Roman, he looked utterly lost, with no idea how to comfort his brother.

Your fault, your fault, your fault.

Turns out suicide wasn’t the cure all he thought it would be. He was still sad, still in pain, still completely and thoroughly hated himself.

Now there was just extra heaping scoops of guilt on top of that. And, as much as he hated to admit it, boredom. When you are on a fifteen foot tether connected to someone who hasn’t really left his bed in days, and you have no body with which to actually do anything, it can get boring.

He began spending his time talking to Patton. At first telling him funny stories, hoping to somehow magically comfort him. He would lay on his back next to Patton’s curled form and just talk. When he ran out of funny stories he began telling him not-so-funny stories until finally he was whispering the secrets he’d never dared to before.

He’d cast sad, appreciative smiles at Roman everytime he came into bring him sandwiches, or to try an coax him into conversation.

Virgil was sat cross legged in front of the book case, head tilted to the side so he could read the spines for the tenth time, when Roman came in with a plate of food and a glass of water. Virgil watched him set them on the bedside table, knowing they probably wouldn’t be touched.

Roman sighed, looking like he wasn’t sure if he should wake Patton or not. He must have decided to let his brother sleep because he sunk to the floor, pressing his back to the side of the bed.

“I miss you Pat,” Roman whispered to his hands. Virgil’s heart gave an awful guilty wrench, and though it had happened ten thousand times before, it was just as painful as the first.

“I’m sorry Roman, this is all my fault.”

Roman, unsurprisingly, did not hear him. Instead he pulled out his phone, a small smile appearing on his face. Virgil’s curiosity got the better of him and he flopped onto the bed so he could peer over Roman’s shoulder.

What he saw took his breath away.

At least it would have if he’d had any breath to lose. There on the screen was his soulmate. Smiling. A real, huge carefree grin. Virgil had never seen it before, but it was stunning. As Roman continued to flip through images on his phone it became more and more apparent that that was Patton’s natural state. Bright and bubbly and happy, and Virgil had stripped him of that.

He was distracted from the dark train of thought by sound. Roman had clicked on a video. In it Patton was smiling and a few years younger than he is now, he could hear Roman talking from behind the camera. They were speculating about their soulmates.

“I bet mine will be adventurous, I bet he has curly hair and a daring grin. What do you think Patton?”

“I think me and my soulmate are simply mint to be,” He grinned, holding out a dinner mint and letting out the most adorable dorky laugh he’d ever heard. Virgil didn’t know weather to roll his eyes, laugh or cry.

Crying seemed to win out once he caught sight of the soulmark on his arm. Virgil could barely hear the sounds of them bickering playfully as he looked at the heart on the inside of Patton’s arm. It was laced with cracks and fissures, as if it had been shattered.

Virgil looked back at the sleeping boy on the bed. It seemed to make perfect sense. Perhaps the universe had known. Perhaps this was what was always meant for them. Virgil’s own shattered heart breaking his very own soulmates heart. He hooked his fingers into the edge of his hoddie and pulled it away. Looking down his chest was even paler than it had been in life. The lines of his soulmark lay directly over his own heart and looked bolder than they had in life.

Logan has always gently teased him for the placement of his mark, saying he was a romantic. Vigil had usually hissed at him.

He felt another twisting stab of guilt as he thought about is best friend. He’d probably been the one to find him, something Virgil had worried about often, until the pain had out weighed the worry.

Virgil once again cried phantom tears at the thought of the man who had been like a brother to him. Whose family has taken him in after his father had gone to prison. Logan who had held him after nightmares and had been the first person to explain to him what PTSD even was.

Logan who had begged him over and over again to get help after the flashbacks and depression had worsened.

Virgil felt it again now, the hatred and the hopelessness that made him feel as though he was filled with lead. He just wanted it to be over, to be gone. He wanted the feelings gone from him, he wanted to stop existing himself. Craved the empty black nothingness.

However he had since learned that death did not bring the empty black, and because it was impossible for a ghost to off himself , he suffered instead.

 

Maybe he had made the right choice, he’d relived Logan of the burden of caring for him, perhaps he had done the same for Patton.

Yes he was heart broken now, but he would get over it right? Wasn’t this grief for someone he’d never met better than years of Patton’s sweet innocence being eaten away by the darkness that was Virgil?

Virgil was yanked from his ghostly anxiety attack when Patton shot upright in bed, his eyes wide and chest heaving. Virgil looked around for Roman to calm his brother, but he wasn't there anymore.

Virgil knelt next to Patton on the bed, cupping his face in his hands, even though he knew he could not feel it. “Patton, breath for me yeah? Just in and out like this”

Virgil knew it was useless but he did it anyways, until Patton flopped onto his back. Tears silently tracking down his face as he stared at the ceiling.

“Why did you give up on me?” It was strangled, choked and heartbroken, and it lanced through Virgil. Patton sounded so broken, so shattered.

My Fault. My Fault. My Fault.

A few days later Virgil was surprised to see Patton get out of bed. The beautiful boy struggled to his feet and even got dressed. A rebellious blossom of hope bloomed in Virgil’s chest as he watched his soulmate walk towards the door.

Patton paused with his hand on the door knob.

“Come on Pat, you’ve got this. Just open the door, go down stairs and eat. Go outside, see the sun. You can do it.”

He groaned in defeat when Patton sunk to the floor, back pressed to the wood.

“Please Patton, you’ve got to live. You’ve got to be okay, okay? You’ve just got to.”

Hours passed, Virgil occupied himself by tracing constellations in the freckles that covered Patton’s cheeks and arms. He didn’t know how long they’d been sitting there when the sounds of fighting caught their attention.

Roman was fighting with his dad, again. Virgil watched as guilt and concern broke the mask of grief on Patton’s face for a moment. Then his face resolved into something else. Something resolut and determined.

The hope Virgil felt was once again fleeting. Instead of heading downstairs to intervene like Virgil had hoped, Patton stole a bottle of sleeping pills from the bathroom cabinet before quickly retreating to his room.

“Patton. Patton please, please don’t do this. Please stop, you can still be happy. I didn’t mean to do this to you. I’m so sorry please.”

Patton sat cross legged on the bed, pouring a handful of pills into his palm.

“Roman!!!” Virgil called for backup, hoping for a miracle, “Patton please”
Virgil was sobbing and shaking. His hand passing through Patton’s as he tried to stop him.

He near collapsed in relief when Roman climbed through the window, after storming out of the house. He sobbed and shook as Roman gathered Patton into his arms, rocked him as he sobbed.

“It’s gone.” Patton sobbed, “My future, my happiness, my life is gone. How do I go on, why do I go on without those things?”

Virgil starred at the little pink pills now scattered across the floor.

 

After that Roman had convinced his brother to go to a grief group. Virgil could have sung with happiness when Patton had agreed to go.

He hovered awkwardly behind him as Patton sat down in the plastic chair and watched the other people filter in. Some people greeted each other with smiles and idle chatter while others still had deep frowns and haunted eyes.

If Virgil had had any breath, he surely would have lost it when he saw Logan walk through the door. He looked gaunt, his eyes had a certain dark, hollow look to them.

My Fault. My Fault. My Fault.

Virgil listened intently, one of them had to. Besides if he had to watch Patton doodle their soulmark one more time he was gonna scream. Everyone’s story was heartbreaking, cancer and car accidents and muggings gone wrong. Just because you had a soulmate didn’t mean happy ever after was guaranteed. Virgil took hope in the story’s of people who had been able to overcome their grief. The people who had found joy in their kids or in their work, or even in a new person.

Judging by the sour look on Patton’s face, he had not found that joy yet himself.

 

Patton and Virgil went to group on the two week anniversary of his death. And what a long ass two weeks it had been. They listened to Logan tell his story again, Virgil cried his phantom tears as he did every time.

As they walked out he was filled with longing, he missed his best friend. He missed him so much it was a physical ache.

“Hey Logan,” Patton called out, and Virgil turned to him in surprise, an expression that was mirrored on Patton’s on face.

“Um, hi. Patton right?”

“Yeah, so, my Dad is working the night shift tonight, why don’t you come over and I’ll make you some dinner?”

“Oh, um, thank you.”

“You drive so I don’t have to take the bus and I’ll even whip up some dessert”

Virgil’s heart soared when the corners of Logan’s mouth lifted into almost a smile. He was giddy as he rode in the car with his brother and soulmate. He couldn’t remember being this happy as Logan and Patton began to trade banter as Patton began cooking. Hey thought he’d just float away when they both laughed a little.

The thought gave him pause, he wa a ghost after all, why couldn’t he float. He thought about it for a moment, he giggled as his feet lifted off the ground, and he floated on his back.

Hope had firmly taken root and he was high on it. That is, until Logan’s angry voice cut through.

“What is this?” Logan asked, angry and teary and holding out a notebook with the shattered heart doodle on it. Virgil placed himself protectively between the two, though neither could see him.

“ It’s just a doodle,” Patton stuttered.

“This is Virgil’s soulmark! Why is it here?” Virgil jumped a little in surprise, it been so long since he’d heard someone say his name.

Behind him Patton gasped and touched the place his soulmark used to be.

“Will, Will you tell me about him?”

Virgil blushed as Logan lead him to the couch, calling up pictures and telling him all about how wonderful Virgil was.

Blatant lies of course.

But Patton’s face was shining, tears and laughter fighting for a place there.

“Are you smiling or crying?” Roman asked from the doorway.

“Roman, come see my soulmate,” Patton laughed. Roman moved with hesitancy, as if the slightest wrong move would break the reprieve.

As he bent over the back of the couch he brushed against Logan. Virgil watched in curiosity as Logan froze and Roman turned bright red.

“Eh, Sorry.” Roman said, quickly straightening up and rubbing at spot behind his neck. Logan began to rub at his wrist, where is own soulmark was, a Lightbulb whose wires were shaped like a heart.

Suspicious Virgil moved behind Roman to see an identical mark on the back of his neck. How had he not noticed before?

Patton had obviously come to the same conclusion because he was fleeing the room, unknowingly dragging Virgil with him.

Chapter Text

Patton sighed happily, setting the heavy box down and looking around the room. It’s been months since his brother had met his soulmate, and the two had become ridiculously adorable. Now here they were, the three moving into a new apartment together, moving away from the pain of their pasts. In theory at least.

Patton absently rubbed the place on his arm where his soulmark used to be. His new room was fairly large, with a big bay window on the east wall that would let lots of morning light in. He could hear Roman and Logan walking up the stairs, Logan was scolding him for something, but his brother just laughed. Patton smiled, even if inside he still felt a twinge of pain for the life he’d never have.

Things had gotten better though, he smiled now, and laughed. He’d gotten a new job, and Logan had gotten back to university, quickly making up the classes he’d missed.

Patton smiled as he bent down and began unloading the box. By the time the sun was setting he had his room totally set up. He sighed happily as he surveyed the room, but he frowned when he noticed a book laying open on the floor. He shrugged and picked it up, placing it back on the shelf. It must have fallen off. . . .for the second time today.

A gentle knock on his door got his attention and he turned to see Roman and Logan standing in the open doorway.

“Hey guys, what’s up?”

“We have a present for you,” Roman said with a smile. Patton turned to look at Logan, looking for confirmation that this was in fact a present and not a prank. Logan smiled and gave him a small nod.

Roman pulled a thin package wrapped in brown paper from behind his back. Excitedly Patton took the package and ripped the paper off. Inside was a framed watercolor painting of his soulmark in a beautiful light blue color. His eyes misted over, and he gently ran his fingers over it.

“Thank you guys,” He smiled pulling them both into a hug, Logan somewhat reluctantly.

They settled into life easily, Roman waking up early to go to work, and Logan and Patton walking together to the bus station before going their separate ways. There were still times when he would break down, thinking about what his future must be like, but most days were full of sun, and laughter, and friends. And with the bookshelf mystery.

Patton had been utterly perplexed, he had Logan help him make sure the bookshelf was secure. Had Roman pound on the wall to see if it would knock a book off the shelf. Nothing. Still it was a regular occurrence to find books lying open on the floor.

Roman teased him, saying this new apartment had a ghost. Logan would admonish him for letting his imagination run wild. It was something they laughed about often.

That is until Remmy came along.

Remmy was Logan’s lab partner and self-proclaimed psychic. Roman had met him a few times while Patton was at work, and had gone on and on about how cool he was. How funny and interesting. Over dinner Roman was telling him about some of Remmy’s more paranormal experiences, Logan scoffed not buying into it at all but Patton listened wide eyed.

“Plus Patton,” Roman continued, “He’s hella cute,”

Patton had smiled at his brother and tried to hide the twinge of pain. He wasn’t quite ready to think about finding someone else just yet. The dating app meant for people who had lost their soulmark, had sat untouched since Logan had installed it. No need to rush these things right?

However, the first time that Patton had walked through the door to find Remmy sitting at the kitchen bar he’d had to admit his brother was right. Sitting there in a black leather jacket, looking at him from over a pair of shades, Remmy was cute. Patton smiled brightly at him, and he began to smile back, but it quickly dropped into a frown. Remmy tilted his head curiously at him.

“Remmy, this is my roommate Patton. Patton this is Remmy.”

“He’s just as cute as Roman said, in uh, a dorky, kind of way.” Remmy said, sipping his Starbucks and still looking at him curiously. Patton blushed and rubbed at the place his mark used to be, a nervous habit he was barely aware of. “And who’s the other guy with him?”

“How do you mean?” Logan asked.

“Well considering how he just froze in surprise I must be the only one who can see him.” Remmy smirked and it was apparent that he was listening to something someone else was saying. Patton and Logan shared bewildered looks.

“Calm down bro, you’re talking too fast for me to catch everything.” Remmy said to the air beside Patton, “He is very excited,” Remmy muttered to Logan.

“Who is? What is going on?” Logan said, perhaps a little more loudly than was necessary.

“Who is what?” Roman asked, walking into the kitchen with a towel wrapped around his waist.

“Honey,” Logan said, using the pet name he used when he wanted something, “we have company, do you think you could put some clothes on?”

“I see no reason to hide all of this,” Roman said gesturing to himself and then flexing obnoxiously.

Logan dropped his face into his hand in annoyance, but no one in the room missed the way his eyes lingered on Roman.

“Good one,” Remmy snorts to the empty air beside Patton.

Roman looked between Remmy and Patton before grinning, “Do we have a ghost? I knew it! I knew we had a ghost!”

Remmy just nodded at him, “His name is Virgil, there is a lot he wants me to tell you.”

Is there a word for feeling unsurprised? Patton wondered idly, because while he was certainly shocked, he had also been sure that was the name Remmy was going to say. He’d known it in his bones.

Logan on the other hand looked as though he’d been slapped.

“Is he okay?” Patton stuttered out.

Remmy smiled at him, “Yes he is but he asks that you stop putting books away while he’s reading them.”

Patton couldn’t help a hysterical laugh at that, a laugh through the tears now streaming down his face.

“Logan he wants me to tell you that he is happy for you and Roman, and to thank you for taking care of Patton.” Remmy said turning to look at the man in question. Logan stood up from the kitchen bar, shaking his head, without a word he turned and walked to his room.

“Don’t worry, I’ll get him to come around.” Roman said scurrying after him.

“So much for chemistry,” Remmy said shutting his textbook, “I imagine you have lots of questions, and emo here certainly has a lot he wants to tell you.” Patton just nodded, and led the way to his room.

He sat cross legged on the bed picking at a loose thread with no idea where to start. Remmy was lounged across the foot of his bed, waiting patiently.

“I don’t know where to start, tell Virgil to start.”

“Tell him yourself,” Remmy scoffed, but listened for a moment, his gaze directed at the space next to Patton on the bed. He looked there too, trying to imagine where Virgil’s face must be.

“The first thing he wants to say is he’s sorry.” Remmy’s voice was quite, respectful in a way Patton had yet to hear. His eyes were burning and all he could do was nod, “and he hopes that you can forgive him.”

Patton felt there was a war raging inside him; pain, hurt, loss, anger, heartbreak. “Why?” he managed to ask with a broken voice.

“It’s hurt too much, life hurt too much.” Remmy whispered.

“I should have found you sooner, I’m sorry I didn’t find you sooner.” Patton pulled his knees to his chest and buried his face.

Remmy’s hand reached out to grab his, “ Hey, this is not your fault, and Virgil agrees with me. Nor is it Virgil’s, even with all our modern medicine, illness still claims lives. You-”

Whatever Remmy was going to say next was cut off and he turned toward Virgil with a frown.

“Alright hunny, scoop yourself a big o’ bowl of forgiveness so we can talk about more pleasant things. You’ve got your soulmate here, what do you wanna say to him?”

There was a long silence and Patton imagined that Virgil was just a stunned as he was by Remmy’s outburst.

“Sometimes these guys just need a little tough love.” Remmy mumbled at him, then snorted. “Virgil is quite offended by my last statement and is struggling to come up with a comeback.”

Patton offered Remmy a very small smile at that.

“Oooh now he’s blushing ,” Remmy teased, “we better move on before he unleashes his ghostly terrors on me.”

“It’s just weird you know,” Patton said, bring his chin up to rest on his knee so he could look at Remmy. “I mean, he’s my soulmate. And I’ve been grieving for him so hard, and for the future I lost, and yet he’s a stranger to me. I, I don’t know him.“

Remmy nodded, then cocked his head to listen. “ Virgil wants you to know that he has been here from the moment you lost your soul mark, and he’s learned a lot about you. He’s learned about how sweet your smile is, and how kind you are, and funny. Uhmmm, Virgil I’m not going to say that.” Remmy stuttered, now blushing himself.

It was a sort of enchanting sight, one he was distracted from by a book falling of the shelf.

“Is that the only trick you’ve learned?” Remmy smirked.

“Patton, clap for your soulmate, he is walking on the ceiling.” He said sarcastically. Patton laughed a clapped as enthusiastically and sincerely as he could.

“Yay Virgil!”

“Oh sure take his side,”

“But what was he trying to say?”

“Oh no, if you guys want to cross-dimensionaly sext you’ll have to buy a ouija board.”

“Oh” he said, blushing hard.

“How about this, I’ll give you two awkward amigos a helping hand, I’ll ask some first date questions and you both can answer. Lets see, what is, or for some of us was, your favorite food.”

“Oh! Ummm cookies! No! Pasta! No! Pizza! Definitely Pizza.” Patton said, patting his belly.

“You’re cute,” Remmy said fondly before sitting up straighter. “Virgil agrees, though he is also giving me very threatening looks. But what am I supposed to do Virge? Your soulmate is very adorable. Yeah okay calm down buddy. He says he likes pizza too, and that he loves dark chocolate.”

“Mmm” Patton agreed.

“Okay how about… your favorite movie?”

They continued like that for a while, laughing easily before they were interrupted by the door opening slowly, and Logan hesitantly stepping in.

Patton wasn’t sure what to make of his face. It was sad, and still a little angry, and unsure. Lost. That was the word for it. Logan looked utterly lost. He patted the bed, an indication that he should sit.

“I don’t believe in ghosts.” Logan said quietly, without moving.

“I know boo,” Remmy said gently, “But he’s here.”

“Ask him who the fuck boy of the sky is?”

Both Patton and Remmy raised a brow at that, but the latter turned his head to look at Virgil.

“Orion,” He repeated with a smile. “ Your soulmate has the most gorgeous laugh.” Remmy said as an aside to Patton and another book flew off the shelf in what Patton could only assume was protest.

Meanwhile Logan had sunk to the bed with a shocked look, “It’s really you,” he whispered to the room at large. Patton reached out to take his hand, giving it a gentle reassuring squeeze.

“I’ll give you a few minutes,” Patton said gently, getting up to leave the room.

“Don’t go to far, Virgil is on a 15 foot tether with you,” Remmy reminded him.

He closed the door quietly the sunk to the floor, leaning against it. There was a lot to process, his head was spinning with it as he tried not to listen to the quiet voice coming through the door.

That's where Roman found him, ruffling the hair on top of his head. “You okay there big bro?”

He could only offer up a small smile, “I’m not really sure.” Roman sat down next to him and wrapped an arm around him, pulling Patton into his shoulder.

He felt exhaustion roll over him as he laid his head on his brothers shoulder, he was utterly drained, and when he felt Roman’s head lean down against his he couldn’t stop his eyelids slipping closed.

 

It was a rather rude awakening, suddenly hitting the floor as the door was opened, and he sent a pouting glare up at Remmy who stood over him smiling unapologetically. Patton cut his eyes over to Logan whose own eyes were red and puffy, but far less haunted than they had been.

Roman popped up, pulling his brother along with him. He reached to pull his boyfriend into a bone crushing hug, and Patton was surprised that he went willingly. Logan never was one for public displays of affection.

“It’s late, I’d better go. I have early morning classes.” Remmy said, sending Patton an apologetic glance.

“Of course!” Patton smiled at him. “Thanks for everything Remmy, It really meant alot.”

“I could,” Remmy’s hand came up to scrub at the back of his neck and Patton thought it was the first time he’d seen the guy be anything but confident. “ I could stop by tomorrow night if you wanted.”

Patton beamed , excitedly clasping his hands in front of his chest. “I would love that. You don’t have to of course, but I’d love that.”

“Okay, I’ll see you all tomorrow then” He said with his usually cocky smile.

“And I’d better get this guy to bed,” Roman joked once the door had close behind the psychic, “I have a feeling he is going to need a good long cuddle session.” Roman winked.

“Roman,” Logan chidded in embarrassment.”

“Let’s go babe,” Roman laughed, reaching out to pinch Logan’s behind. Logan yelped and blushed but hurried to their room.

A strange quiet settled once their door was shut. Patton sighed as he locked the door and turned off all of the lights before retreating to his own room. He tried not to be jealous. He had after all, got his own share of Roman cuddles that night.

But as he curled into a ball on his bed he couldn’t help the overwhelming press of loneliness, wishing someone would hold him.

“Are you there Virgil?” He asked the darkness. There was an answering ruffle of book pages. IT made him smile as he fell asleep.

 

The alarm clock came way too early, harsh and loud and without mercy. He rolled out of bed and stumbled to the shower, standing under the hot spray longer than he should have. When He finally found the strength to turn the water off he was quite surprised.

'Good morning babe' was scrawled on the mirror where the steam had gathered.

Patton couldn’t help a happy laugh at that.

“Good Morning Virgil!”

'Sleep well?'

“Well enough. Did you?”

'Don’t sleep'

“Oh, Don’t you get bored?”

'Sometimes'

It was getting harder to read, the mirror beginning to clear of steam.

'I love you'

Patton’s heart thundered happily and painfully in his chest.

“I love you too.” He stood for another moment, staring at himself in the now clear mirror. With a sigh he finally tore his gaze away, knowing he would have to scramble to be in time.

It was a good day, Patton couldn’t wait to see Remmy that night. Not only was he an extremely pleasant character to be around, but also meant getting to talk more freely to Virgil. Not that Patton hadn’t been talking to him all day. Anytime he thought he could get away with talking to himself he would whisper to his soulmate. Chattering nonsense to him all day. It was extremely comforting, and hopefully he wasn’t annoying the ghost.

That was the pattern of their lives for the next few months. Good mornings in the steamy mirror, one sided conversations during the day, and every night Remmy was there bringing so much light and laughter into their little home.

It was the end of term and they were celebrating the end of exams. Patton had prepared a feast in honor of Logan and Remmy both doing well on their exams and Roman was dreaming up his own signature cocktails, ignoring the snarky comments Remmy passed on from Virgil. Patton laughed, thinking of the way Virgil and his brother bickered.

The meal passed wonderfully, everything was delicious and laughter resounded. ROman’s cocktails both delicious and effective. Patton was feeling very warm and floaty by time Roman had decided it was time to put both himself and his drunk boyfriend to bed. He was left sitting next to (and leaning dangerously close to) Remmy on the couch. He listened happily as Remmy talked about how masterfully he’d defeated his astronomy exam. Somehow Remmy’s hand had ended up between his own as Patton distractedly fiddled with the leather bracelets and charms the psychic wore around his wrist.

“Patton, you are very beautiful.” That caught his attention through the warm haze, he lifted his head to look at Remmy, waiting to see if this was a message from Virgil. It wasn’t. He knew it wasn’t because Remmy’s hand was holding his chin and his face was getting dangerously, wonderfully, intoxicatingly close and Patton’s was raising to meet him.

Virgil. Panic coursed through him and he leapt, somewhat unsteadily, from the couch. He threw a sorry over his shoulder and raced to the bathroom, turning the sink on all the way hot and filling the mirror with steam.

U k?

“Virgil I’m sorry, I love you.”

I love you too, you haven’t done anything wrong

“I think I have a crush on Remmy,” He blurted as if it were all one word. Panic made his chest rise and fall quickly as he waited for a reply. And waited. And waited.

He turned the shower onto hot too and watched as the previous words filled in with steam.

“Patton I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have...I didn’t mean to” Patton could barely hear Remmy’s words on the other side of the door as his own heart pounded in his ears.

“It’s okay Rem, just give me a minute.” he said still staring at the foggy mirror. “Virgil?”

Me Too

The answer was so unexpected it startled a laugh from.

“You what?”

He may be a cocky prat but he’s also charming

And hot

“So what?”

Patton, I love you. But I’m dead. You need to live and be happy.

“Virgil you are literally stuck with 15 feet of me always. Could you really be okay with this?”

Maybe it was always meant to be the three of us? Even if I had lived. I used to be afraid you’d be unhappy with me because I was Asexual.

“Virgil, I told you before it doesn’t matter to me. I love you and would have been happy with you.” Patton tried once again to convince Virgil the truth of that statement as he watched the words refill with steam.

Maybe both of us could take care of you, Pat

Patton’s head was spinning. His heart doing funny little leaps and bounds he didn’t know how to interpret.

BUT
You are both drunk and neither of you should do anything until you are sober.

“Fair enough,” Patton giggled, “I love you,”

I love you too Patton.

On impulse Patton leaned forward and pressed his lips to the mirror, leaving a kiss mark in the steam. Butterflies fluttering through his stomach when another appeared next to it.

He shut the water off and took a breath before opening the door. He founded Remmy in the kitchen, tequila bottle in hand.

“Patton I-”

Patton cut him off with a smile taking his face in his hands. “I want to continue this conversation Remmy I really do,” He pulled his hands forward giggling at the way it made Remmy’s cheeks and lips squish into a fish face, “When were both sober though,”

Remmy stilled had a guilty look to his eyes, but he nodded as best he could from between Patton’s hands.

“Good,” He smiled and went up on his tiptoes to kiss Remmy’s forehead in an attempt to reassure him, to ease the guilt. “I’ll make up the couch for you, you are far too drunk to go home.” Remmy blushed and ducked his head slightly. Patton loved seeing this side of him.”Isn’t he cute Virge?” he asked, giggling when Remmy blushed harder.

Patton half skipped to his room, pulling the pale blue duvet off his bed as well as an extra pillow. When he came back out Remmy was seated on the couch, blushing brilliantly behind his hands. Patton suspected Virgil was teasing him, maybe even flirting. The thought made his chest burn warm and happy.

Hey made sure Remmy was sleeping safely, before he went to bed. He picked up the book Virgil was reading and placed it next to him on the bed. Even though he couldn’t see or feel Virgil on the bed with him it still gave him comfort, and he fell asleep to the sound of pages turning.

Chapter Text

Remmy cracked one eye open reluctantly. He could see Patton sitting crossed legged on the floor, smiling at him. He groaned both at the skull splitting headache and the absolute unfairness of it. Morning sunlight brushed over Patton, touching his bed head with gold and making his few scattered freckles visible. In his rumpled white tee and blue flannel bottoms, he just looked like home. Everything about Patton screamed home, and warm and happy. Absolutely unfair.

It wasn’t much better when he turned his head. Virgil was perched on the armrest, smirking down at him. The amused glint in his eye always made Remmy want to rise to the challenge. Virge was sharp features under a purple fringe, ripped jeans giving just a hint of the pale skin below. Every inch of him tempting, but under it all was an irresistible layer of sweetness and protectiveness that would make anyone week in the knee’s.

Remmy groaned again and pulled Patton’s duvet, which smelled infuriatingly like him, up over his head.

“Come on wake up Remmers, I have water and aspirin?” Patton said in a sing song voice. He could only groan once more in protest. “Okay well I’ll set this right here and make you some breakfast, I expect your butt in a barstool in ten minutes.”

He dared a peek over the cover once he heard Patton moving in the kitchen. Unfortunately Virgil had not moved from his spot nor had the smirk moved from his face.

“Dude, shake it off. Go follow that sweet boy.”

“Virge I can’t,” he whispered back. “I’m sorry. Last night I...I’m sorry. You probably both hate me now.”

Virgil’s smile turned soft, and he moved to sit next to him, resting a hand against his cheek. Remmy was almost convinced he could feel it.

 

“Trust me Rem, neither of us hate you. In fact if you go in there and listen to Patton I think you’ll find it’s quite the opposite.”

Remmy felt his eyes widen and he searched Virgil’s face. All that was there was the signature smirk before he dropped a kiss to his forehead, just as Patton had the night before. Virgil walked away and Remmy bit back the words on his tongue.

The words that had been living their since he first realized he loved this beautiful, kind, tragic couple. Not loved them like they were friends, or inexorably dear (though they were). No Remmy was deeply madly, cartoon heart beating out of your chest, sweaty palms in love with each of them. All he’d done for the past month is fight it, made sure he didn’t say, didn’t reach out to touch Patton or weep for Virgil’s ghostly form.

At least not until he was home alone to drown in sorrow and guilt. Never once had he thought he could actually have Patton. Patton was Virgil’s. They belonged together. It was written on their skin. Nor could he feel completely happy with Patton knowing how desperately he loved Virgil. Virgil would be a shadow over both of them.

He also wondered if he was being untrue to his own soulmate. His soulmark had disappeared when he was only weeks old. He knew something horrible must of happened. Something soul crushingly unthinkable. Yet he had never seen his soul mates spirit.

The first time he met a ghost, and was old enough to understand it, he had begun to hope. But it didn’t take long for him to realize not every dead soulmate stuck around. In fact after years of interacting with the spirit world, Remmy was pretty sure that the only people who stuck around were those who could not forgive themselves for dying in the first place.

He looked up at the pair moving around the kitchen and wonder for the billionth time if he should share that theory with them. The kindest thing would be to help Virgil move on, but at the same time did he really want to take him away from poor sweet Patton who was only just starting to get his hopefulness back? And did he really know that moving on was better or happier?

As per usual he had no answers to his questions. He sat up slowly with a sigh, clutching at the dizziness in his head. He obediently took the medicine and chugged the water Patton had left him. He blindly searched through his backpack, looking for his sunglasses to combat the morning light.

When he finally sat at the bar Patton placed a coffee in front of him, which he accepted gratefully.

“So last night,” Patton began casually, still sputtering over the stove.

Great here it comes, Remmy thought, the lecture, the disgust, the get-out-of-my-life-forever.

“Last night a realized something.”

“Oh?” Remmy asked, unable to stop the hope that crept into his voice.

“Yes, I realized that I have a massive crush on you.”

Remmy stared hard at Patton from behind the sunglasses as the man casually set a plate of eggs and toast in front of him.

“I mean, I love Virgil. I will always love Virgil. But he’s right, I’m still alive and deserve to build a life. And, I dunno, if you wanted to try that with me. Well it’d make me really happy.”

Remmy was absolutely frozen in shock.

“You’re not eating?” Patton said in concern, “Do you want something else?”

“I’m not eating? Patton I...you just surprised me thats all. I would love to try with you.”

Patton beamed, but pushed his plate a little closer to him.

“Even knowing I’ll always be in love with Virgil?”

“Of course! I would expect no less. He is your soulmate. And” Remmy gulped wondering if he dared say the next bit. Glancing at Virgil who was giving him an encouraging smile. “And I’ve fallen in love with him.”

There was a shocked silence in the small kitchen, the only sound was Patton’s soft “Oh,” which was really more of an exhale.

 

“What? You what?” Virgil sputtered.

“Yes Virgil… I fell in love with you. I couldn’t help it.”

“So wait,” Patton interrupted, “ So I love you, and I love Virgil. And Virgil loves me, and you. And you love Virgil?”

“And you.” Remmy said trying to ignore the flip flops his stomach was doing at hearing Patton say he loved him. “Virgil, do you. Love me too?”

“Yeah dude,” Virgil smirked and Remmy hoped his glasses hid most of his blush.

“Could this work? Some sort of polyamorous-interdimensional relationship?” Patton asked.

“God I don’t know, but I want to try. Virgil says ‘me too’” He added, translating for Patton.

Patton’s grin looked painfully big and there were a few tears in his eyes. “Good. Now eat your breakfast.”

Remmy laughed at the impossibly sweet boy. “Come here first,” he said, finally letting his cocky smile back onto his face. As soon as Patton was close enough he grabbed his hand and pulled him close, pressing a kiss to his lips. Patton pulled back from him with a giggle, reaching up to pull his glasses off before cupping his cheeks. This time without the squishing thankfully.

Patton’s kiss was filled with the essence of Patton himself. Light and love and hope and effervescence.

He met Virgil’s gaze over Patton’s shoulder. He didn’t know if this was possible, he truly didn’t.

All he knew was the the two people he loved most in the world loved him too, and everything was okay.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 5 years later~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Any one who visited the newly weds home might be surprised by the sheer number of letter magnets, scrabble tiles and alphabet blocks that litter the place. No, Patton and Remmy did not have some sort of word fetish, but rather a ghostly boyfriend. It was common for Patton to find messages from Virgil carefully arranged on the bedside table.

Their life, though odd, was incredibly happy. Despite that, Remmy still had a worry that sat in his chest. The years of love and forgiveness they’d given their ghostly boyfriend had had its effect on him. It was easy to see that Virgil was beginning to forgive himself for his death. This was a very good thing of course. Remmy wanted the man he loved to be happy and no longer suffering, but he knew that Virgil forgiving himself would mean his spirit moving to the hereafter. Whatever that was. Heaven? Hell? Nothing? Remmy believed it was good, but in truth he did not know. And the not knowing bothered him. In addition to the large selfish part of him that simply did not want Virgil to leave his life.

When the day finally came it was met with bittersweet tears slipping down their faces as Virgil slowly faded from view with small smile.

There were no words to describe how empty the house felt now. It drove a silent wedge between him and Patton, and had it not been for a particular cartoon enthusiast/ therapist it might have been the end.

Slowly but surely they rebuilt their life.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~60 years later~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Patton had gone first. Heart attack. Remmy could not remember pain like that, as he walked into their now empty home. Desperately hoping to see his husbands spirit. Of course he didn’t.

Logan was the next to go. Alone together Roman and Remmy moved into a retirement community together. Now old men they puttered around together, but Roman was shell of who he used to be. The wild energy he used to carry gone with his soulmate. It did not surprise him when Roman followed Logan not long after.

He was laying in a hospital bed when he closed his eyes. Relaxing into the pillows with a small sigh of pain. Which was why he was confused when he felt light hitting his eyelids. Warm light, almost like sunlight. The light was blinding and he had to blink a few times before anything came into view.

What did come into view was Patton’s grinning face. The now young man reached down to pull him to his feet, off of the grass he had been laying on, and into a huge hug. He could see his own hands where they held Patton were also young again. Over Patton’s shoulder he could see Logan with his arm around Roman who was leaning against him, both young and smiling at him.

Virgil stepped into his field of vision and forced Patton to let go of him. Remmy wanted to sob the first time the man he’d spent his life loving touched him. Virgil cupped his face and pressed a kiss to his forehead before hugging him.

 

“Ummm, Remmy?” The group turned to see who had spoken. A young man stood there, rubbing the back of his neck and smiling sheepishly. It was a lovely smile, one that promised laughter would soon follow.

That's when he felt it, this warm, tickling, tingly feeling creeping over the back of his hand. He looked down to see the starburst that hadn’t been on his hand since he was just a newborn.
He glanced back up at the man, now able to see the same starburst on the side of his neck.

“T-Thomas?” He stuttered, not even sure how he knew the name.

Thomas laughed happily at him and Remmy grinned.

 

FIN