Virgil actually surprises himself by managing to make something that looks vaguely pancake-like. It admittedly hadn’t started very promising- Virgil had brought out eggs and flour, and said out loud, “Well, I know I’m supposed to do something, I just don’t know what,” before being rescued by an online recipe.
Now, though, comes the tricky part. He pours some of the mixture into the pan, and does his best to ignore the part of his mind screaming You’ll burn the place down!
He hears the door opening, but is far too focused to turn around. It’s only when he hears Roman’s still sleepy voice say, “Hold on. Here,” that he snaps out of it, and realises Roman is guiding his other hand towards the pan. “Use both hands, and tilt it away from you if you’re scared of getting burnt. You won’t be though, looks great.”
And, wonder of wonders, Virgil is relieved to find he can flip pancakes without accidentally killing anyone. He finally turns at Roman saying, “Yeah, you got it,” marveling at how he can still sound so encouraging when he’s stifling a yawn.
Roman is rubbing at his eyes and then, abruptly, his hand falls as he frowns in thought.
“Virgil. Did I... Did you...?”
“Hmm?” Virgil says, a little distracted as he concentrates on serving up the pancakes.
Roman smiles suddenly as Virgil hands him a plate, so bright and sincere that Virgil has trouble keeping his hands steady. “Thanks for the pancakes,” he says in such a careful tone Virgil knows he’s not talking about the pancakes at all.
The door opens again to reveal Patton, bounding inside with his typical grin. “Aw, you made pancakes! Cute.” He fills up the kettle, whistling, and Virgil feels his cheeks grow warm.
“Pancakes aren’t cute,” he mumbles.
Roman snorts. “Are they edgy, then?”
Virgil smirks and is about to retort back, but is cut short by Roman’s sudden outburst of laughter. “What?”
And Roman is leaning forward, and Virgil’s cheeks flush again as his thumb gently brushes across his nose.
“You had flour on- I mean it suited you, but I thought you would want to uh not-um-”
Roman quickly leans back again, and there’s a slight awkward pause, thankfully broken by Patton: “Oh, did you get Logan’s message, Virgil? He said your essay’s fine for submitting.”
Without thinking, Virgil nods towards the sheets of paper. “Yeah, I-” His brain momentarily goes offline as he watches Roman follow his gaze.
“See, I knew it’d be great,” he’s saying, hands getting dangerously close to the pile, all while Virgil’s mind is screaming No, No, ABORT!
“No!” he says, snatching the papers away.
Roman blinks. “Easy, I’m not your professor.”
“It’s-” Virgil flounders. “It’s not-”
“I’ll take it,” Patton says diplomatically, swooping in and grabbing the papers. Virgil sees him discreetly pocket his note, and he thanks God (Logan) that Patton has learnt to at least sometimes be subtle. “In fact, I can submit it! It’s in that little box thing at library reception, right?”
“Oh- yeah, actually. Thanks, Patton.”
“Patton,” Roman calls teasingly. “Do you actually know where you’re going?”
“I have GPS!” Patton calls back before leaving.
Roman laughs. “Yeah, that’s code for ‘I’m going to call Logan and get step by step directions’.” He stands up suddenly, as if struck by an idea, then points a finger at Virgil. “No work for you today, then!”
Virgil breathes out, not used to the fact that the knot of background stress in his stomach is slowly loosening. “No?”
“Nope! In fact...” And there’s a glint in Roman’s eyes that Virgil can only describe as wicked, and oh, there’s that swoop in his stomach again. “Can I bring my keyboard in here?”
Roman sets it all up quickly, then plays all the keys with a dramatic flourish. “Requests?”
Virgil hums, pretending to mull it over. Then, he grins. “Black Parade.”
Roman groans. “Oh, hey, no fair, you know I can’t remember the lyrics.”
“Exactly. It’s funny.”
“No, wait, shh...” And, after a few moments of concentration, Roman starts playing the song, every note perfect. It still stuns Virgil that Roman can just play things by ear like that.
His awe soon turns to laughter as Roman starts to sing. Except, instead of the actual lyrics, he... improvises: “This is... that song...that I don’t know the words to... but Virgil likes it so...”
Roman glances up and winks, still playing, and Virgil rolls his eyes through his giggles. “Oh, stop.”
They jump at the kitchen door opening. Logan is halfway through saying, “Can you believe Patton actually needed directions to the-” when he stops, noticing Roman’s keyboard.
“No,” Logan says flatly and immediately about turns to walk back out.
“Logan, come back! I have to teach you something.”
Virgil tilts his head in confusion and Roman winks at him again. He plays a chord, shifting to a different key.
Logan turns around, wary. “What could you possibly have to teach-”
And Roman launches into song: “Think of celebrated heads of state or especially great communicators. Did they have brains or knowledge?”
Logan clears his throat. “Well, quite obviously they-”
“Don’t make me laugh! They were popular! Please, it’s all about popular...”
Virgil could have seen the punch line coming a mile off, but it doesn’t stop him from laughing as Roman continues to sing, and Logan tuts.
“Honestly, focus on your own songs,” he says pointedly.
Roman stops playing and unmistakably blushes. “I already have,” he replies, as Logan leaves the room.
And that... that isn’t true, Virgil thinks. He casts his mind back to the Wicked script, and remembers Fiyero has Dancing Through Life, and there is one more, but what...
Turns out he doesn’t need to think anymore, because Roman’s started playing it. Slowly and tentatively at first, then the melody builds as he starts his line, “Maybe I’m brainless, maybe I’m wise...”
And Virgil wonders how he ever could have forgotten. It’s As Long as You’re Mine. The duet.
“But you’ve got me- shit, wrong chord, wait- seeing through different eyes. Somehow I’ve fallen- Virgil, don’t listen, this is absolute C R A- under your spell.”
“Breathe,” Virgil says quietly, and Roman does, and Virgil resists the urge to cheer when Roman absolutely nails the riff: “And somehow I’m feeling, it’s up that I fell...”
“I want to watch,” Virgil blurts out, then inwardly curses, realising that he’s interrupted the song. “The- the show.”
Roman is still looking down at the keys, as if frozen. “You do?” he says.
“God, Roman, did you hear yourself on that last note? That was amazing.”
Roman’s ears turn pink. He clears his throat. “Well, I- I was thinking, actually. I could get you tickets- like, all of you-um-”
“...Okay?” Virgil says, raising his voice at the end. He doesn’t understand why Roman seems so... wrong-footed.
Roman switches the keyboard off, and looks up. “Come to closing night?” he suggests. “It’s the best performance, every time, we’re all sort of like- every show’s adrenaline rolled into one and- well-” He inhales. Then, in one breath: “And Rachel might be having a party for the cast but not just for the cast, for everyone so yeah.”
Virgil blinks. It takes him a moment to decipher what Roman’s actually said, he spoke so quickly. “Um that’s... nice?”
Roman sighs. “Virgil, I’m... I meant... I’m asking you to the party.”
“So. Would you. Um. Like to? Go to the party with me?”
Virgil has to replay it twice in his head to make sure he’s heard correctly, by which point Roman is sighing again. “Look, it’s just an invitation, you don’t have to-”
Roman’s ears, if possible, turn even redder. “Yes?”
“Yes, I’d like to go. With-yes. Of course.”
Roman looks away, but he’s smiling. “Okay. Good! Great!”
Virgil leaves at the third time Roman says “Great,” because he’s pretty sure one of them might die from embarrassment if they kept on talking in circles. He closes the kitchen door, and trips.
“What the-” Virgil rights himself to see Logan and Patton sitting in the corridor, trying very hard to look ‘natural’. “What the hell are you doing?”
Logan clears his throat and says, “Nothing,” at the same time as Patton whispers conspiratorially, “Soooo, a party, huh?”
Logan hits him.