Chapter 1: The Past Stays in the Past
It was a terrible turn of events that lead to the boys ending up in the Orphanage. They didn't like to think about it, they would just huddle together at night time. The eldest was 7 and the youngest 2, almost three. And the brothers didn't like their new house. It smelt funny, and even though the men and women who looked after them now were very nice and a lot better than their parents were to them, it wasn't home, it wasn't even close to what they used to imagine home to be.
They had started a game, where they would all say things they wanted in their future house, thinking that all of them would stay together forever. Their parents hadn't heard of their game, otherwise they wouldn't get dinner. This game continued on into the Orphanage, with Roman and Patton still arguing over whether they'd have a nice quiet cottage or a modern box house. They all tended to agree on everything that happened in the game, and Remmy quickly got them to agree to a stone house with modern interior.
Of course they thought they would be together forever! Why wouldn't they? They were brothers, so whoever took one had to take the others, right?
And of course, the first to go was Patton. He was such a good kid he got took up after the first month there. He cried softly and said he refused to leave his brothers, but the women and men who looked after them took his suitcase and him out to a car. The others assumed he would be back soon, and besides, they couldn't do much to stop them from taking him. And Patton was gone. Patton, their grounding rock and closest to a father figure they'd all ever had...
Declyn was the next to go, half a year into staying at the Orphanage, being quite young was always a plus. A rocker family had come in and spotted him, falling in love with his birth marked face that looked strangely like snake scales. He didn't want to go, and made a massive fuss, hoping if they thought he was a problem child they'd leave him with his brothers. But it only endeared the couple to him more, and he left in the car with them. The others hoped he'd return, just like Patton. Declyn was the one who tried to keep their spirits up, cracking jokes and being sarcastic with the people who looked after them...
Logan and Roman were next, at least someone had the good sense to not separate the twins. It had been a year when they were taken. They were taken by a very nice couple, but that didn't stop the last remaining brothers from hating whoever these people were. They seemed smart but musical, and after a couple of visits to see if the boys were right for them, they had taken them. Into a car, away, and hopefully to return at some point. Logan and Roman were the logic and the fantasy that the boys needed. If things were bad, Roman was an escape, he would play games and laugh and put on silly performances. If things were bad, Logan would be the one to rationalise, to explain to the others that things could and would get better...
Thomas was taken a couple of days afterwards, by a single dad by the looks of it. He had tried to bargain with the man, get him to bring his brothers, it was only two more kids; but the man, having no one else to help him, sadly shook his head. He apologised, but it meant nothing to Virgil and Remmy. Thomas was taken that afternoon, the car driving away. Maybe they would return. Thomas was the one everyone went to for a good hug. He worried a lot and everyone would try to help him out, considering he didn't mind talking about his feelings or issues if it meant the others could forget about their own for a while. He was the best distraction...
It was half a year before they took Remmy, but take him they did. He had put up a fight for so long against new people, to try and stop them from taking him without his remaining brother. He didn't want to leave Virgil alone! He would kick and scream and punch and do anything he could to not go without Virgil. But this family didn't care, they didn't get put off by Remmy's actions. They took him in the car, and drove away. And just like the others, they would never return. Remmy was the talkative one of the group, he could blab his way out of any situation and his communication skills were the best of the group. His smart mouth would get him into a lot of trouble back home, at the Orphanage they just shook their head, giving a small smile at his silliness. Virgil needed a laugh right now...
They never came for Virgil. Nobody ever wanted him. His family didn't return. The days and nights turned into weeks and months, to years.
He stopped going to the open days, holding up in his room. Parents still tended to come round, but ignored the little kid curled up over some scribbled. He looked like a problem child and not what most families were looking for. The other kids were mean, especially when they found him crying over losing his brothers. All the kids here would get adopted within the year, like always. But here he was, still stuck here. He had heard them say his time was running out and he knew what they meant. At 10 years old it wasn't as likely for them to adopt him. He was smart enough to imagine how ignored he would be as a teen.
He didn't mind the in house tutoring they received, despite him being terrible at any school work, it took his mind off of things. But there lied the problem, at 13 years old, he knew when he turned 14, the Orphanage would make him go to a proper school. And he was scared, very, very scared. He hadn't minded the concept of school too much before, in fact he hand his brothers had revelled in the idea of one day being able to go to school, seen as their parents didn't bother. But now, without them? How could he go to classes and get bullied worse than he did here? How could he face the teachers who would tell him he was stupid? No, thank you. School wasn't for him anymore. But, he would have to go, so would have to suck it up as he had been told by so many of the kids before.
It was the first day of a new year at school and Logan was excited. Roman? Not so much. The theatre jock was tired and grumpy and Logan chuckled as he had warned him about the dangers of ruining his sleep pattern over the summer holidays. Roman of course never listened and was now grumbling about his lack of sleep.
"Serves you right, silly." Vallery smirked, placing a plate of waffles in front of him. "Me and Terrence have work to do today so we won't be back until later, there's some food in the fridge and freezer, so cook whatever you want.
"Can't we get pizza?" Roman asked, giving his best puppy dog look.
Vallery giggled. "No my little prince, remember what happened last time?"
"As I said before, I have no idea how pepperoni ended up on the ceiling." Logan said, holding his hands up in exasperation with a slight shake of his head. "Have fun at work, I shall cook us something for dinner."
"Thank you, Lolo." Vallery smiled fondly. She was proud of her boys, only a couple more years left of school. How time had flown... She didn't mind that they hadn't yet gotten to the point of calling her mum or Terrence dad, it was their choice and they had told her when they were ready they would say. "Gotta go, got an audition!" She grabbed her purse and yanked it over her colourful jumper. "Good luck with the play Rom-com, and have fun at science club, Lolo!" She called as she grabbed some toast and ran out of the door to where Terrence was already behind the wheel.
"I wonder which show they're auditioning for." Logan mused, finishing his cereal and placing his bookmark - a present from Roman - into his book to save his space. Roman shovelled the rest of his eggs and bacon into his mouth and rushed out the door, wanting to drive. "Roman! You know you're not allowed to drive yet."
"Just because you passed your test." Roman rolled his eyes. "Come on, I have my provisional, I'm allowed if someone else who can drive is in the car!"
"Not a chance, get in the passenger seat while I lock the door." Logan chuckled, having fun taunting his twin.
They got to school a few minutes before the bell would ring thanks to Roman wanting to stop off at the store.
"If this goes on my record I shall kill you." Logan grumbled, pulling his satchel over his shoulder.
"Your records already shit, Lo." Roman smirked. "Don't you remember when you called Miss. Trell to throw a ruler at you?"
"The correct word is 'rule' for a single ruler." Logan rolled his eyes, but a smirk was on his face. "It is a shame she got fired, however we deserve to have teachers who know what they are doing."
"Savage!" Roman laughed. "She didn't get her teaching degree for nothing."
"Fine, but she still did not teach right."
"You're a dick."
Logan snorted. "Right back at you. Now, I shall see you after form, ok?"
"What we got?" Roman asked, never knowing.
"I believe it should be maths first, though I am not sure until we get our new timetables." Logan responded, same as usual, adjusting his glasses.
"Ok, sweater-vest. See you later~" Roman smirked, giving a wave and rushing off to the rest of his football friends. Roman was the strange mix between quarterback and lead in every musical that most people thought only existed in things such as Glee and High School Musical.
Logan sighed and spotted his friends from the science club near their form room and headed over, greeting them and heading into their room. It was true that Logan and Roman never would have been friends if they weren't twins, the jock and the nerd never tended to get along very well. And Logan supposed if they had still been with their... old family, then they still wouldn't be as close. But the pain of being separated from the others had made them grow a lot closer as they've aged up. And Logan supposes he doesn't mind one bit.
From the corner of his eye as he heads into the classroom, he could have sworn he'd seen Roman in a different outfit to the Letterman jacket he'd seen him in before, but he paid it no head. Roman was in the theatre group after all.
Roman found Logan at lunch, seen as the classes had all been moved around this year for some unknown reason. He gave his brother a one arm hug which could be seen as banter, but to them they knew it was because the two didn't exactly appreciate being separated for too long. "Hey, bro!" Roman smirked.
"Hello, brother." Logan chuckled, he looked down at his slightly smaller twin and saw the others face go blank, staring ahead. "Ro?"
"Logan... Is it just me or does that boy look just like us?" Roman's voice was soft and confused, and he felt like he hadn't blinked in ages. If he blinked, the boy would probably disappear. Logan followed his eye line, his throat going dry at the idea of what Roman was suggesting. And then it popped into his head, the boy he'd seen this morning he had thought was Roman... He spotted the boy, putting things into his locker, one earphone in and bopping along to whatever song he was listening to.
"Oh... my..." Logan's voice was hardly louder than a whisper, but he felt his brothers hand clasp slightly tighter around his shoulder.
The boy looked around and noticed them, faint recognition crossed over his face, before fear, before realisation, and then he looked as if he felt as sick as they did.
It seemed like forever, until Roman made to move toward the other end of the corridor where the boy was.
"What are you doing...?" Logan asked, a hand clasping his brothers arm.
"He's... he's one of us...?" Roman mumbled, confused as to why his twin was stopping him, they spent their time between ignoring the past and wishing with all their hearts to see one of their brothers again. "Logan, we need to say hi."
"But..." He didn't have to say any more, Roman knew every logical outcome that was passing through his brothers head. But what is he didn't remember? But what if he didn't WANT to remember? What if he hated them? What if it wasn't who they thought?
"Logan... We have to." Roman spoke, stern but soft. And his twin could see how nervous he was as well.
Before he could agree or disagree the other boy had begun making his way over.
"Oh god..." Logan whispered. He felt sick, and knew the other two probably did as well.
It seemed to take forever and not long at all for the boy to make his way over to the corner where the two were. It was out of the way which was good.
"Um..." The boy spoke, softly, his voice breaking slightly. "I might be wrong but..."
"You're not." Roman interrupted, he shook his head softly. His mouth was dry, was he even breathing?
"Ok... um..." The other boy mumbled, before he was pulled into a very, very, very tight bear hug by the jock. He stared at Logan over Roman's shoulder, tears filling his eyes.
When they pulled apart, Logan held his hand out, offering a shake, but his hand was shaking already. The other boy shook his hand, a soft smile pulling his lips up. "So, um, I'm guessing so don't be mad at me if I'm wrong but uh, judging by the glasses and the... attire. Logan...?" He asked, hardly able to keep the scared smile from his face. He always thought he'd be a lot more composed if this happened, though he guessed he was only kidding himself. "And, that makes you, Roman." The boy grinned. "Oh my god... am I still dreaming? Did I come to school today?" He chuckled.
"Sorry to ask, but... which one are you?" Logan asked, softly.
"Oh, sorry, I guess it is a lot easier to recognise you guys." He chuckled. "Thomas." He smiled and gave a tiny wave.
None of them really knew what to say but it wasn't really awkward. They had found their brother again, and realisation dawned on Roman. "We go to the same school!" He almost shouted.
Thomas laughed. He had had the same worries; that even if he managed to meet his brothers or some of them again then it would be a fleeting thing. But they all went to the same school... that was amazing! "We do, how have we never seen each other before?"
They all seemed puzzled at that, perhaps it was because they were in separate years and therefor separate classes? After all Thomas' birthday was just after the age cut off, if he was any older he would have been in their year.
"Oh, we should go to lunch! I have football after school and I need the energy!" Roman chuckled. "Wanna join us?" He asked.
Before Thomas could answer, a boy who was rushing past accidentally ran into Logan. "Oh, I'm such a cluts! I'm so sorry!" He quickly apologised, but quickly shut up when he looked up, his eyes going wide behind his big circular glasses before he yanked Logan into a very tight hug. "OH MY GOD!" He almost screamed. Logan stared at the other two, not sure this was actually happening. "Logan?" The new boy asked, pulling back and holding him by his shoulders, observing his face. Of course the eldest recognised him... But, this couldn't be happening? Right? Patton turned and looked at his twin, jumping over to him and trying his best to hug him though it had been easier when he was the tallest, now he was quite a bit smaller than the others. "Roman!" His voice was muffled by the jocks Letterman jacket, but they could hear how wet his voice was.
He pulled back and stroked Romans face, who looked extremely shocked. "Patton?!" Roman shouted now, alerting the nearby teachers since most of the other kids had gone to lunch already. Mr. Zyle walked over, concerned until he saw that Patton was hugging the three boys and it wasn't a fight as he first thought.
"Is something going on here, boys?" The History teacher asked.
"THOMAS!" Patton almost screamed, hugging the third boy after he realised who he was. The teacher looked on, completely confused. He only recognised two of the students, Thomas and of course Logan.
"Boys!" He called, his air calm but confused as he realised that they all looked very alike. He knew Logan had a twin, but he didn't know he had other brothers. "What is going on?"
Logan turned to face him. "Sorry, Mr. Zyle, we got separated as children and... we had no clue we all went to the same school." He explained.
"Apart from me and Lo obviously." Roman added. Ah, Mr. Zyle recognised the quarterback.
"I see." The teacher replied, staring at them all, until something occurred to him. "I may have something to make you even more happy." He stated, beckoning them to follow him to the history block. They did, though all kept sharing looks between themselves, checking to see if this was still real. "Declyn, as I thought." He smiled as he walked into one of his colleagues classrooms, stepping to one side to show the four boys their brother.
Declyn looked bored until he spotted the other boys. His eyes grew wide and he almost fell off his seat. His pencil dropped to the desk and the reaction would have been funny, had they not seen him in so many years. There was a moments pause before the other boys filed into the room, quickly covering the distance to their brother - who looked utterly baffled - and yanked him into a group hug.
Mr. Zyle told them he'd let them have lunch in here if they wanted to catch up and left them the key to the little secondary staff room with a vending machine, some pre-prepared meals and a coffee machine. They barely had time to thank him as he left, and they all stared at each other in shock. "How is this possible...?" Declyn mumbled.
"We don't know..." Thomas smiled.
"We literally JUST found out!" Patton beamed.
"So, did you three get adopted together?" Declyn asked Logan, Roman and Thomas.
"We did, I assume Thomas was taken separately to you lot then?" Logan answered.
"I was... My dad's pretty cool though." Thomas smiled. "Single dad as well."
"We have the most amazing theatre parents!" Roman gushed over his parents. They were very nice. "What about you guys?" He asked Patton and Declyn.
"My parents are non-binary." Patton explained. "They're both really awesome!" He was almost jumping up and down with how excited he was.
"My parents are pretty chill with anything really, they're both goths." Declyn smirked. "They let me get away with a lot, not that I give them any trouble."
"Did they take anyone else with any of you guys...? Remmy? Or... Virgil...?" He asked, saddened when they all shook their heads. "Well, I'm sure they got good families as well!" He tried to reassure himself.
"We should grab some food from the staff room." Logan spoke up, changing the subject.
"Oh, our parents are out later, if you all wanted to come round?" Roman added, remembering that Vallery and Terrence were out that night at an audition.
"Oh that sounds lovely!" Patton grinned.
Declyn shrugged "My parents won't mind."
"My dad works evenings so it's ok with me." Thomas smiled. They all wanted to stay with each other for as long as possible, just in case the rest of them disappear when they leave.
As they walked into the staff room, they heard shuffling and got scared, in case another teacher was in there and would have a go at them, but it was another student by the looks of it. Pink hair fluffed up and a leather jacket over their shoulders. "Oh, sorry, did not realise anyone else would-" Logan began, but paused when he saw the other kid turn around, and recognised who it was.
"You have GOT to be kidding me." Roman almost yelled, way too casually into his ear from his side.
The other kid took off his sunglasses, staring at the others. "Ok, I swear I didn't take anything this time..." He mumbled.
"What do you mean this time?!" Patton asked, barging past the others and putting his hands on his hips disapprovingly. He looked adorable, since he was a lot smaller but a little chubbier than the others.
"Oh my god, this is real?!" Remmy asked, his mouth hanging open slightly. "It can't be, you're joking. This is some kind of trick." He then answered himself, but still stared at the others.
"This is real..." Thomas mumbled, his brain completely overwhelmed by this turn of events. "How have we all never seen each other before?!"
"Oh, I just transferred." Remmy replied. "My dad's the new principle."
"Oh, he seems nice!" Patton smiled. Same old Patton it seemed.
"He's alright." Remmy smirked.
"What about Virgil...?" Patton asked, hopefully. At the mention of his youngest brother, the smirk fell from Remmy's face and he paled.
"I... I tried my best." He stated. "I really did! I didn't want to leave him alone!" He looked down, wrapping his arms around himself. "But they wanted me anyway... they wanted to teach me how to be a normal kid... But they didn't want to handle Virgil as well..." He shook slightly. "I really tried! I didn't want to leave him all alone! Not in that place!"
Patton wasted no more time in rushing over and yanking the taller boy into a tight hug. "It's ok, Rem... It's not your fault..." He whispered softly and felt Remmy freeze.
It was the first time someone had told him that, and he didn't know how to take it. But, he slowly became less rigid, and accepted the hug, hugging his brother back.
"We are all going to our house after school, do you want to join?" Logan asked, and Remmy nodded.
"Your parents won't mind?" Thomas asked.
"They will, I won't." Remmy shrugged. Patton gave him a disapproving look but didn't say anything.
They chatted for the rest of lunch, hanging out in the secondary tiny little staff room, drinking coffee and tea and having some lunch. Mr. Zyle came through to tell them class was about to start and that the teachers were going to want their coffee soon, he handed Remmy's key back to him and Logan made a mental note to ask about it later. Patton and Logan had class together, Roman and Declyn did as well, and the other two had separate classes. They all reluctantly said their goodbyes and headed to class, scared if they left the others that they would vanish once again.
Classes went too slow for all of their liking and they agreed to meet up round the front of the music block, since it was the least busy that time a day. The music teachers were pretty lenient and would let the students leave early everyday so they would have filed out about five minutes before they all turned up. They all got there within a few minutes of each other and seemed so relieved that they all still existed.
They were planning what to cook when they head some pained gasps behind the music block, and some rowdy laughing and shouting.
They all shared worried looks and headed round the back of the building. Roman was the first to react to the group of bullies that were crowding around a smaller, skinny boy. He began pushing through and telling them to 'back off', being quarterback he had some respect at the school. Patton was next to join in, he had always been overprotective of anyone that got bullied or hurt.
Remmy was just looking for a good fight and jumped in, not caring about getting hit. Declyn was scared to join in but tried using his silver tongue to try and deter the bullies, Logan joined in with that, though was trying to pull them away from the edges. Thomas was trying to make sure none of them got hit while they tried to break up the fight.
Roman grabbed the two main bullies by the back of their Letterman jackets, throwing them to one side. "You can both expect a suspension from coach!" He growled at them. "Now fuck off." He added, standing over them. He would suspect that coach Wolly would kick them off the team if he found out about something like this ever happening again.
The bullies took no time in running off, some shouting back at them, cursing or raising their middle fingers, but the others didn't care now.
Patton had knelt down next to the boy who was still curled up on himself. His purple locks were scruffy and falling over his hand, which hid his face, which was likely bruised.
"You're ok now, kiddo." Patton cooed, stroking the boys hair out of his face and gasping softly.
He was covered in bruises, his lip was swollen and his eye was a deep purple already. His cheekbones were sunken and his eyes held bags. And despite how differently he had grown from them, Patton knew exactly who he was. And he had a feeling the other boy knew as well.
"Ki-kiddo...?" He mumbled, recognising Patton's soft, grounding voice. It was almost as if he was young again, and Patton was trying to protect them from their arguing, yelling parents just after they had decided to take their anger out on one of the kids. "Patton...?" His voice shook and was small, like him. He was very gangly, lanky, his limbs long but thin. Too thin.
The others had grown into people, Virgil had grown into a shadow. Patton wrapped his arms around him as he started shaking harder, gasping for air. "It's ok... it's ok, you're safe..." Patton whispered gently as the others seemed to realise why Patton looked so worried. "You're safe..."
Chapter 2: One Jump Ahead
thank you all for the nice words and support of this series, I love getting feedback from you all and I'm glad you're enjoying this
After a few more moments of stunned silence, Patton managed to get the skinny boy to calm down. The others didn't know what to say, how could all of this be real? "Um..." Virgil mumbled, barely audible. "Did... did they kill me...? Is this a dream, am I dead?" He asked, looking around at all of his savours, his brothers.
"Not today." Roman smiled, hauling the youngest to his feet and giving his a strong pat on the back that almost made the small boy crumple over. He was tall, taller than any of them, but that only made his limbs look thinner, knobbly knees stuck out from his ripped jeans and his collarbone was poking out from his top. "This is real..." Roman added, giving the youngest a pointed look.
"I'm so glad you're ok!" Patton spoke, wrapping his arms back around Virgil now that he was stood up - though he only came up to Virgil's ribs.
"Thank you..." Virgil replied, patting his brother on the back awkwardly, still not fully believing this was real. "All of you."
"We would not simply stand by and let someone be bullied, least of all our youngest brother." Logan replied logically as the others paused. "I would like to extend our invitation if that is ok, Roman?" He asked his twin, who nodded. "Virgil, Roman and Ii have a free house tonight and everyone is coming round to catch up, since this is the first time we have actually all seen each other since..." He knew they knew what he meant. "Would you like to join us?"
Virgil stared at him for a moment. "I um, I can't." He answered. "Curfew."
"Ah, I see..." Logan nodded, trying not to seem too disappointed.
"At least let us walk you home, squirt." Remmy picked the conversation back up, wrapping his arm round his brothers shoulders, though Virgil was taller.
"I don't think that's an apt nickname anymore, Rem." Declyn retorted, a smirk making it's way to his face.
"Nah, he'll always be my little squirt!" The others chuckled at that.
"Sure, Remmy..." Virgil agreed. "You can walk me back if you want to..." He gave them a shrug and they began walking.
They walked for about 45 minutes before Virgil spoke up to say they were getting close.
"You might want to think about investing in a bike." Declyn joked and Virgil shot him a smile.
"No money." He shrugged. He enjoyed walking, and didn't really think about the fact that other people might not.
"It is going to be a long walk back to the school to get the car." Roman reminded them. He found walking boring. Running, jogging, anything that helped with football, that was fine. But walking? He didn't see the appeal.
"I was planning on leaving it there until tomorrow and walking to school in the morning." Logan told his twin, smirking at Roman's face. They did only live ten minutes from the school after all.
"Seriously? Walking sucks!" Roman argued, though stopped when he got a nudge in the ribs from Patton, and the eldest nodded his head in Virgil's direction at Roman's confused face.
"Sorry..." Roman whispered to the eldest, not realising he might have been being offensive. "You could have warned us how far it was though, Virgil." Virgil shrugged and smiled a little.
"Sorry, I guess I just enjoy walking." Virgil shrugged slightly, looking at the ground as they walked. He hadn't thought to tell them how far it was, he still thought it could be a dream that his rescuers all happened to be his brothers.
"No need to apologise, kiddo!" Patton grinned, patting his youngest brother on the arm.
Virgil stopped walking a moment later; stopping outside a building with small windows, Ivy crawled up one side of the building, and the roof was in desperate need of repair. The bricks could do with a good power washer going over them, kids shouting could be heard from the back garden and the steps leading up to the door were a dull grey compared to their once clean white. They all turned to stare at Virgil.
"This is it." Virgil stated, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. But as he looked at everyone's expressions - shock, anger, fear, regret, sadness, guilt, pity - he realised it might not have been as obvious as he thought. "What...?"
"No..." Logan argued, not bothering to say more as a spark of anger ignited in his eyes.
"You still like... here ...?" Patton asked softly, his grip tightening on Virgil's shoulder as tears formed, staring at the place they all had thought they were rid of.
"I um... I never got... None of them wanted me, ya know?" Virgil shrugged. He had thought they would have known or guessed, but how could they? They all got adopted, they all got taken away in the cars that would never return, how would they know he was still stuck here? Nobody spoke for a couple minutes.
"No." Logan stated again, not able to say anymore.
"I should have fought harder..." Virgil heard Remmy growl at himself, barely audible but he had heard it.
"What? Guys, no... I just..." He sighed. "It's no big deal... ok?"
"Bullshit." Roman rolled his eyes. "Why didn't you tell us?" He looked from his youngest brother to the building, which looked so much smaller than it did when they were kids.
"I... I don't know I guess I thought you guy would have just assumed." Virgil replied, stuttering slightly. "I figured you'd know I'd still... I just... I'm not exactly what people want." He didn't understand why they hadn't just assumed he was still here. It felt so obvious to him by this point that no one wanted him. Not the kids, not the 'carers' not their parents, not the school, not the pupils, not anybody.
But again he was greeted with concerned looks from his brothers.
"How could you say that?!" Patton almost yelled, gripping the youngest shoulders and looking up at him, tears falling down his cheeks at he looked into his brothers lilac eyes. Dulled by years of neglect and knowing no love, nothing but pain... "We love you, Virgil... We didn't want to leave!"
"I know, Patton..." Virgil mumbled, not knowing what to do, he wasn't exactly good with people, they weren't good to him after all. "Sorry, I just thought it was obvious."
"Well, no more of that self deprecating stuff!" Patton answered, his voice wobbling from his tears. "Or I will physically fight you!" He joked, chuckling through his crying.
"Ok, paps." Virgil joked right back, smiling slightly.
"Are you sure you do not wish to join us tonight, Virgil?" Logan asked, stepping forward.
"Yeah, we'd love to have you there, I was gonna order pizza!" Thomas smiled.
"Pizza...?" Virgil asked, obviously confused. Why did they all keep looking at him like that? It was making him anxious.
"Oh my god..." Remmy mumbled. "You've never tried...?"
Virgil looked confused. "Um, I wanna join but, I can't... Like I said, curfew and everything." He shrugged again, and the older boys were beginning to suspect it was Virgil's way of showing he didn't want to have an opinion about anything. If there was an opinion, a side, a hint of him thinking for himself... it was a bad thing. That's what that shrug said. "But um, we have school tomorrow." He continued. "So... I guess if I don't get told off for looking like this-" he gestured to his swollen face. "I'll see you all tomorrow?"
Behind his words there was a scared boy, asking his brothers why mummy and daddy would hurt them. His voice was normal, nonchalant, but his eyes spoke the truth. 'will you still be there tomorrow?'
"Sure thing, Verge." Thomas agreed, smiling. "Any days you're allowed out without curfew?"
"I don't tend to ask..." Virgil smirked slightly, that same cheeky smirk he had when he was a little toddler.
The others laughed, but it was strained. They all hoped Virgil would be ok, nobody wants to see their youngest brother like that. If they're decent human beings that is.
They all said their goodbyes and headed off, watching Virgil walk up the steps when a woman - who, while older, salt and pepper hair, more wrinkles and a bit slower than before, was definitely the same woman who had taken them all in - opened the door, cupping the tall boys face with her hands and seeming riled up and fretted over the bruises she saw there. She herded Virgil inside and closed the door behind her.
The other brothers looked at each other, down the street from the orphanage that they had all called home, for no matter how long. They headed to Logan and Roman's house, able to cut through a nearby park and past the shops. It only took them about 15 minutes altogether and they went inside the spacious house ready to order pizza, so homework and catch up with each other after years of separation. It was good to see each other again, like a tether that connected them all together was less tight, like the pieces were all falling together and the pain of being dragged apart was slowly healing. But they all silently agreed that it still wasn't fully the same, fully right, without Virgil.