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It started small. Just a seed of doubt. Sure, he had been hurt a little by things the others had said in the past or when he was pushed to the side and ignored. He had dealt with his share of heart ache during the whole Guys and Dolls situation. Felt occasionally guilty for being unable to move on or making a mistake that let down Thomas and the others. But all those things he was able to work through eventually, he knew his family’s intentions were always good. They just lashed out sometimes when they were frightened, insecure, or stressed. Sometimes they acted the ways they did only because they wanted what was best for everyone and he needed to be challenged or reigned in a little. He learned not to stay stuck in his own room, or in the past. He would try to remind himself he was allowed to feel what he felt for as long as he needed to. Virgil told him his feelings weren’t stupid or bad, Logan taught him that if they had happy times in the past, then it stood to reason that having them again in the future was always possible, and Roman kept his hopes and dreams stocked and burning. Thomas had friends, and passions, and a good life. And Patton was doing his best too.

But this last failure, had more sticking power. That seed of doubt started to grow. Maybe…maybe he wasn’t needed after all. Maybe even more than being useless he was actually harmful. He was a burden. A naïve and heavy heart got people into trouble and weighed them down.

“Just because Patton can’t let go of one person” That one had really stung. Mostly because Logan wasn’t exactly wrong, was he. None of them were.

Idiot

Trouble

Childish

Impulsive

Burden

“I just don’t want to be a bad person.” Thomas had pleaded with him. And whose fault is that.

Failure

Morality had lied. He was bad.

Useless useless useless

Stop! Patton thought to himself, maybe he should tell the others what was going on with him. He remembered they had all told him he needed to be honest about his feelings but…

“You’re already such a burden do you reeeally want to put that on them too.”

Patton looked up startled “w-what are you doing here?”

The mysterious man was dressed in a dark grey t-shirt with a small emblem of a rain cloud on it, a midnight blue bomber jacket and dark blue sweatpants. His black socks had pictures of tiny umbrellas with holes in them (he wasn’t normally one for whimsy, but some level of theatricality couldn’t be helped around here).

“I’m here to help you Patton, to protect you.” Suddenly he was on the other side of Patton. He spoke slowly his voice dripping with sympathy, but there was something that felt…false about all of it.

The new side’s skin was ashen, dark circles, purple and black almost like bruises sat under his sunken down cast eyes. His hair dull and messy and his movements were slow and listless.

“Oh…I don’t know about that.” Patton looked down nervously.

“What, you don’t trust me?  Are you trying to say I don’t belong here?”

“Well no-”

“Are you saying you know better than everyone else?”

“Of course not! I-”

“Patton” the dark side purred in his ear. Patton shivered but couldn’t help how he leaned into the black gloved hand now holding his cheek. Had his room started getting darker suddenly?

“I know how you feeelll.”

“You do?” Patton looked up at the other side, a quite guilty hope in his voice.

“Yes. And I can help you. We can keep it a secret.”

“I really should tell my friends.” He played with the sleeve of his cardigan looking to the door of his room. Maybe he had spent too much time here.

“Isn’t that selfish? I mean who would that really be helping? Not them.”

“But-”

“Don’t you think they’re tired of dealing with the messes you make. They’ll hate you even more than they already do. Hiding is the best option.”

Patton bit his trembling lip hard; he was so conflicted. He wanted to be the happy pappy Patton that supported his family. He just wanted everyone to be happy, he didn’t want to be selfish. Another insidious thought that didn’t quite sound like his own chimed in:  if you’re not cheery what else do you really have to offer.

“Dealing with your own problems for a change is the least you could do to protect the others. Don’t you owe them that much?”

“Why are you saying these things to me? I-I have to go bake some cookies-”

“I’m trying to help you Patton.” Deep down you know I’m right.

“Maybe…maybe you are right.”

“Just take a nap Patton, I’ll take care of you.”

Morality curled up on his side feeling tears slide down his face. When had he started to cry?

There was a heavy blanket around him, and he was falling into a restless sleep. Maybe he could just close his eyes for a while and everything else would melt away.

The dark side watched the vulnerable figure with a predatory smile. Suddenly a slow clap sounded as a bowler hat and a sly grin rose up to join him.

“Ah, Depression. I see you’ve already started working. Ironic, you hate working.”

“Ah miserable to see you too, by the way you really should just call me Mel, 'Depression' is so…formal”

“Whatever. Super cool name by the way.” Deceit smirked tone dripping with sarcasm.

“Mm. Yes, keep up the clever insults, Dee.” He rolled his eyes, then more genuinely “I do love the taste of self-loathing in the morning.” They both began to laugh.