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Game night

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It had always been a mystery what Virgil got up to on his friday nights.

They’d always noticed that he disappeared on the same day of each week- give or take a few exceptions. It wasn’t like it was impossible for him to pop into their conversations on friday, it just rarely happened. Even back when he was just Anxiety, and he was just that guy who popped up every now and then to say something depressing and disappear back into the shadows. So yeah, they’d all been pretty used to it by the time he was established as a core side of their ILY.

Thomas was the first one to bring it up, actually. He was always curious about the sides- he’d spent so long trying to find out all their names, after all. And according to Roman, he was still making a potential names list for Deceit. So it shouldn’t have been a surprise when, one thursday night when they were working out the script for a new video, Thomas ‘casually’ asked Virgil what he’d be doing tomorrow.

“I’ll be bringing ruin to the cold, unforgiving binds of capitalism while simultaneously trying to profit off its evils.” Virgil had said.

“Okay.” Logan hadn’t even bothered to look up from his paper. “Now, as for the realistic expectations for buying even a broken tv just to have Patton drop it on the driveway for a-”

Another time he’d asked and it had been ‘struggling to match colors and numbers’, and another time Virgil had just apologized to them. And that had been that for awhile. None of them had really taken Virgil that seriously. The whole capitalism thing had actually sounded like it could have been a quote from somewhere- maybe parks and rec? The office? Regardless, it had sounded like Virgil wasn’t ready to tell them what he was really doing, so none of them had pressed him for details. Or realized he had told them what he was doing.

“Patton?” Virgil said, approaching the other side in the mind palace.

And startled him, a little. Patton was actually surprised to see Virgil, given that it was friday and he’d assumed Virgil had disappeared already. Maybe today was one of those rare days Virgil stuck around on a friday? Regardless, he set aside the book he had been reading, giving Virgil his full attention and threw his arm over the back of the couch he was sitting on. “What’s up, kiddo?” Patton asked.

Virgil looked like he wanted a hole in the ground to open up and swallow him whole, which usually meant he was trying to open up to one of them. “Hey Patton, so uh, I didn't know if you were busy tonight or anything, but, um.” Virgil rubbed the back of his neck, avoiding eye contact. “Look, if I’m bothering you I can just go- I uh, it’s not too important or anything…”

“No, no it’s fine.” Patton assured him. “I didn’t have anything to do tonight, actually. Why, did you wanna do something together?”

“I uh, well if you want I was wondering if you wanted to come with me to, um, to game night?” Virgil asked, jerking his thumb back behind him to point as if to indicate going somewhere.

Patton jumped to his feet, hands clasped in front of him and grinning ear to ear. Oh, Virgil was opening up to him! Yay! “Oh I’d love to!” Patton responded, before calming down enough to ask, “Whadda’ mean by game night, though? Are Logan and Roman coming?” As far as he knew, none of them but Virgil disappeared on fridays, unless-

“Nah, it’s just me and the others.” Virgil said, shrugging. “We’re solving a murder mystery tonight, if you uh… still wanna come.”

“A murder mystery?” Patton echoed, before flashing back to everything Virgil had ever said he did on friday nights. Oh. Oh . “Oh, clue! Sure, that sounds like fun! I haven't spent much time with the other sides, it’ll be nice to see them.”

“Cool, uh… I was just about to pop over if you wanna…” Virgil trailed off, holding out his hand.

Patton took it, before feeling the familiar tingle of being summoned somewhere. Well- not quite. It was more like Virgil was summoning himself and Patton was just tagging along for the ride. He rose up into what was the coziest room he’d ever seen- with pillows everywhere and a blanket fort in one corner of the room. There was a hammock stretching out between two corners of the room and christmas lights strung across the ceiling alongside colorful bits of paper, a whiteboard on one wall covered in fun looking doodles and with little paper umbrellas tapped to it. It was warm- but in the comfortable way like he’d been wrapped in a fuzzy blanket. Even the window on one wall had a perfectly framed view of a sunset... even though it was nine or ten at night out in the real world.

Remy was sitting cross legged next to a table, a mini-fort of empty starbucks cups beside him. That explained a lot- he’d never been inside the sleep sides room before, but he loved what they’d done with the place. “Remy! Hi!” Patton said, waving excitedly.

“Patton!” Remy shot up like he’d just noticed them… or more likely had falling asleep. It was hard to tell with those shades he was wearing. “Hey, glad you could make it. And here I thought Virg’ was gonna chicken out on us.”

Hey .” Virgil muttered.

“I have also been here the whole time.” Deceit said, popping in by the side of the table opposite to Remy. Patton waved to him too. “Ah, Patton. Short time frequently seen.”

“Long time no see to you too pal.” Patton said back, plopping down on the side of the table between the other two, and Virgil went around (careful scooting between the coffee cup fort and a pile of stuffed animals) to sit across from him. “I gotta say I’m glad Virgil invited me at all, it’s nice to meet his friends!”

“Ah, Virgil, you called us your friends?” Remy teased, grinning and leaning over to ruffle Virgil's hair. “I love you too, ya old racoon.”

Virgil ducked his head, a blush appearing on the edge of his cheeks. “Yeah, yeah Rem. Cut it out.”

“Well that wasn’t sweet.” Deceit said. “And I didn’t pick anyone.” he added, already holding the little figure of Mrs. Peacock. Patton had kinda wanted the blue one, but shrugged it off and grabbed Mrs. White instead. Remy darted his hand forward and grabbed Miss Scarlet, leaving Virgil with three pieces left to choose from. But… he looked like he was trying to solve advanced mathematics in his head instead of just choosing his character, eyes darting from one piece to the next. Remy left and came back with snacks, but Virgil still hadn’t picked yet.

“Common, you can go it Virgil.” Patton cheered on.

“Oh this is invigorating.” Deceit chimed in, grabbing a bag of granola.

“I have an idea.” Remy said, grabbing two pieces at random and threw them back in the box, leaving Mr. Green on the table. Virgil sighed in relief, putting his piece at the start with the others. Patton gave him a supportive thumbs up.

“Okay, so.” Remy propped his chin on his hand, looking at Patton. “Since this is your first time joining us I’m gonna warn you know, things tend to go off the rails pretty quickly.”

“No, they don’t.” Deceit scoffed.

“Oh, yeah, sure Dee.” Virgil rolled his eyes. Patton hadn’t realized he’d been shuffling the cards until then, three decks in front of him. He spread each deck out so it made a little fan. “Hey Patton, mind picking some murder cards?”

“Sure thing, kiddo!” Patton said as he pointed out three cards randomly, which Virgil put into a little packet and put it on the center of the board. Then he went back to shuffling the remaining cards into one deck. “Oh, and I’m sure it’ll be fine.” Patton reassured Remy. “How bad could it possibly get?”

“Now that’s the attitude of someone who should go first.” Remy said, holding up the dice. “Besides, you're the new guy, so it’s only manners. Catch!” he added, tossing the dice up in the air and towards Patton. He reached out to grab them, almost got them once, they jumped back in the air, he scrambled to grab them, they slipped away from the tips of his fingers, and hit the floor. He needed to practice catching things. He reached down and picked them back up, grinning.

“Alright, but it’s been awhile since I last played. So let’s not get too crazy tonight.” Patton said with a grin, rolling the dice on the table.

Twenty minutes in and with the mystery still unsolved, everything had gone crazy.

“I suggested those same cards earlier in the game and you said you didn’t have them!” Remy yelled, jumping to his feet. “But now Virgil suggests them and suddenly you have something to show him?!”

“I’ve been keeping close track of what everyone’s said in this game, and you are clearly wrong.” Deceit said, hissing between his teeth. “Besides, I’m clearly willing to cooperate with hat thieves.”

Remy held Deceits captive hat closer to his chest, hissing right back at them. Patton was starting to see where Virgil had gotten that particular quirk from. “Well, I wouldn’t have stolen your hat if you hadn’t tried to convince Patton there was a rule about showing your cards to the people on their right.”

“I would never do that.” Deceit shot back.

“Really?” Patton asked, scratching his head in confusion. “Then who told me there was? And who asked me to swap cards with them?”

Remy gasped like someone had just said they were cutting Thomas off from Starbucks. “You cheater !” He yelled, throwing his cards at Deceit. Well, that was just going to give him more answers, Patton noted to himself. Deceit on the other hand brought his arms up in an X to protect his face. “That’s it, you aren't allowed to solve this murder anymore!”

“Oh,” Deceit jumped up to meet him eye for eye, poking Remy in the chest. “That’s fair and reasonable!”

“Yeah, it really is!” Remy snapped back, shoving Deceit’s hat back on his head in such a way that it covered his eyes.

Patton pulled his attention away from the two standing sides and onto the other sitting sides across from him. The first two turns Virgil had guessed both Professor Plum and himself, and apparently having Colonel Mustard (a fact he’d accidentally revealed to everyone) he’d grown too paranoid to pick any of the other characters, convinced if he accused any of them for fake murder they’d hate him forever.

In the end Virgil had pulled out of the game, occasionally showing a card he had if need be. And after Remy had decided that moving their pieces around the board was dumb they’d all just abandoned them and picked whatever room they wanted each turn (why didn’t that count as cheating again?) Virgil had ended up stealing them for…

“Uh, whatcha doin’ there kiddo?” Pattont asked, leaning over the board to see what was going on. All the characters were lined up on either side of of the packet that the cards had gone into, while Virgil was currently trying to balance paper umbrellas in the crooks of the characters plastic arms.

“They’re… uh, they’re holding a funeral for the dead guy.” Virgil shrugged, glancing off at the corner of the room. “Cause… you know, they’re always looking for the guy, or girl, that killed him, but they never actually pay any attention to him … ya know?”

“That’s so… sweet?” Patton reached over the board to place his arm on Virgins shoulder. “Well, for what it counts, I’ll go to Mister dead guys funeral.” Patton offered. He smiled when he saw the corners of Virgil's mouth turn upwards.

“Yeah… that’d be chill. Thanks, Pat.” Virgil muttered.

“Hold up, what’s this about a funeral?” Remy asked, plopping back down cross legged on the floor, knocking his coffee cup fort over. Virgil sighed. “Why wasn’t I invited? I’m not even dressed right for this.” he complained, lifting his hand and snapping his fingers. And just like that, his clothing was replaced by an all black wardrobe with way too many layers and a leather jacket that… well it looked on point but it really wasn’t fit for a funeral. Then again, it was a funeral for a character from a board game that hadn’t even got it’s own plastic figure with the rest of them.

“That’s a horrid white outfit.” Deceit muttered, one hand on his hat as he sat back down as if he was sure someone was gonna try and steal it again. He was already wearing enough black that it took Patton a second to realize that the yellow had switched to dark gray (grey?), in what must have been his attempt at a funeral outfit.

“Oh!” Patton looked down at his outfit, biting his lower lip. Hmm. What did people wear to funerals? It was like… the same aesthetic as weddings, but black instead of white, right? With a snap his polo shirt was replaced with a black vest suit. He still had his jacket tied around his shoulders, though.

“Wow.” Remy clapped his hands together, beaming. “Yeah, work it, Patton!”

“Work it?” Patton raised an eyebrow at Remy. “I don’t have to pay it, do I?” he asked, earning a laugh from Remy at his dad joke. Yeah, he needed to hang out with Remy more, this was great!

“Great, okay… so…” Virgil cleared his throat, adjusting the jacket on his shoulders. It was his old, all black one. “Uh... what do I say at funerals for murdered people?” he whispered to himself, rubbing the back of his neck.

“He was my best friend. His passing wounds me so.” Deceit said, sounding more genuine than he ever had in his life, pulling his hat off to hold over his heart and look into the distance. He even looked like he could have cried… but no tears fell. Good ol’ acting, all the sides were great at it.

“Oh, cruel unforgiving claws of fate!” Remy cried, throwing himself backwards onto his pile of animal pillows. His voice was raised in that way people did when they overacted. “Why did you have take him so soon! He was so young and slash or old ! We knew literally nothing about him, but I shall never forget my memories of him!”

“Yeah, it’s… a real tragedy, ya know?” Virgil said. “All his friends showed up- but, uh, literally all of them are apparently also suspects for his murder, sooooo… there's that .”

“Ya know… his name was a pun, so he must have been a great guy.” Patton said, bowing his head and holding his hands above his heart. “I wish I could have met him.”

Deceit ate a chip. Loudly. Everyone turned to look at him.

“Wasn’t me.” Deceit said. “I’m full.”

“Well, if you’re hungry, I have just the thing for that.” Patton snapped his fingers a second time, returning everyone back to normal and summoning tubberware to his hands. While everyone else was looking at their clothing in surprise, Patton moved the discontinued board game to the side, pulling the top of the plastic tub off so that the smell of cookies could fill the room. “I just made them after dinner too, so they’re still fresh.”

“Cookies!” Remy cried out as he grabbed three at once. If anyone could compete with Pattons own love of cookies, it was him. “Ah man they smell great .”

“Thanks. The secret ingredient is love.” Patton smiled. “And also the vanilla extract and sugar, those make it taste great .”

“I’m so glad we were able to wrap up that whole murder issue.” Deceit added, taking his own cookie.

Virgil looked up, was about to say something, stopped, glanced off, shrugged, and then looked back over at Deceit. “It was Mrs. White in the library with the gun.”

Remy grabbed the packet from the funeral setup, tore it open, and read the cards. “No way, seriously Virg?” he said, gasping.

Virgil shrugged, trying to sink back into his own jacket when everyone started looking at him. “Oh, yeah… I figured it out in the first few turns but uh… I didn’t want to blame you and make you hate me forever. And if I was wrong I’d look like an idiot. So I would have had to banish myself to my room forever and-”

Virgil .” Remy grabbed Virgil’s shoulders, breaking a cookie in the process and getting crumbs everywhere. “Dude. It would have been awesome to see you solve it in your second turn. Stop overthinking everything.”

“Oh. Okay.” Virgil said. “Um. Your crushing crumbs into my jacket…”

“Oops!” Remy brushed a few off before sitting back, shrugging. “Well, this has been fun. Hey Patton, same time next week?”

“Sure!” Patton shoved a cookie in his mouth. “Ca I br’ Roan a Loan xt tim?”

“Huh?” Remy, Deceit, and Virgil asked.

Patton swallowed the cookie. “My bad! I meant, can I bring Roman and Logan next time!”

“Sure.” Remy shrugged.

“No.” Deceit said.

“Yeah!” Patton clapped his hands.

“We can play… uh, Life, or something.” Virgil suggested. “Pretty sure we all have the experience for that one.”