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sometimes you have to lie to see the truth

Chapter Text

Deceit had never been… well, liked by anyone before. (Well, not exactly, but it’s been a long time, and it's complicated.) The other Dark Sides disliked but respected him, since they knew not to get on his bad side. Thomas knew Deceit was a necessary part of him, and begrudgingly accepted him. Roman agreed with him on several levels, not to mention their shared love of being Extra, but Deceit had used Roman, and the fanciful side resented him for it. Logan understood the need to coexist with Deceit, even if he didn’t like the way Deceit talked to Patton, while Virgil still kept a close eye on him, and Patton, on the other hand, didn’t seem to know what to make of him.

 

To add insult to injury, after the silly little video they’d done with the puppets where they sang a song about feelings, and under Thomas’ radar, the four so-called “Light Sides” appeared to have entered into a four-way romantic relationship. (Frankly, Deceit couldn’t see how Roman and Logan could maintain a relationship, not after all of their constant conflicts, but perhaps now, they could… take out their anger another way. Wink. )

 

Apparently, they’d decided to keep the relationship a secret from Thomas, although it hadn’t exactly been subtle when Patton had called Roman “the first most handsome prince,” and he’d seen Virgil scowling his way whenever he flirted with Roman. Sure, at first it had all been an act to get Roman to trust him so Deceit could use him, but after a while… maybe he’d begun to mean it. It had stung when none of them had taken him seriously, and he’d begun to torture Virgil with the tease of letting slip about their little “shared history.” (Not to mention that he may have been jealous of Virgil for being the only Dark-Side-turned-Light, the one they all accepted… the one they all loved. )

 

Deceit almost couldn’t believe that none of them could see that he hadn’t even been arguing for the side of lying until Roman had brought it up. Truly all he’d wanted to accomplish was for Thomas to get to go to the opportunity of a lifetime, but since they were all too blind to see it, Thomas had attended the wedding instead.

 

After trying and failing so many times to get them to see things from his perspective, Deceit had given up. If nobody wanted him there, then he didn’t have to be there–let Thomas flounder every time he needed to tell a little white lie.

 

He retreated to his room, collapsing on his bed, the yellow canopy curtains fluttering, to wait until the others panicked and showed up in his dimension.

 

It took only four days before Deceit sensed the presence of several someones in the living room downstairs, although it felt like a much shorter length of time. He pasted on the most wicked of smiles, then took care to appear right behind Patton.

 

The moral side screamed, and everyone looked at him, only to see the source of his distress.

 

“Deceit,” growled Virgil.

 

“How… nice to see you all here. I wasn’t expecting you.” His smile grew more sinister.

 

“What did you do?” inquired Logan, his ever-familiar frown present on his face.

 

“Why, I didn’t decide to duck out, since you all clearly wanted me there.” Deceit raised an eyebrow.

 

Thomas cleared his throat. “I know it may not have seemed like it, and we may not treat you the best–” he glared at Virgil “–but you are an important part of me, as much as I might’ve loathed admitting it at first.” He stared at Virgil until the emo side noticed. “Say you’re sorry,” he muttered.

 

“I’m sorry,” Virgil parroted, completely deadpan and clearly not sorry in the slightest, but Thomas seemed content with just that.

 

“So, what? You haven’t come to get me to come back?” This had been Deceit’s plan all along, but even so, he was skeptical that he’d be able to pull it off this smoothly in its entirety.

 

“Well, yeah.” Roman seemed surprised. “Thomas needs you.”

 

Does he now.” Deceit was unimpressed. “And what could make me want to come back?”

 

The other sides froze for a moment, looking around guiltily as they avoided each other’s eyes.

 

“Well,” Patton began. “We can start by trying to see your side of the issue instead of just immediately shooting you down like we always do.” He almost sounded… bitter, which was unusual for Patton, and it looked like he was trying a little too hard to avoid looking at any one person. How odd.

 

“That isn’t a good start,” Deceit replied. “But I don’t think there’s more you could do.”

 

“I’m willing to forgive you for using me like that if you apologize and mean it,” spoke up Roman.

 

Deceit sighed, a long, heavy exhale. “I…” I’m not sorry. No, that was wrong, he did mean it. “I’m sorry.” He forced the words to come out of his mouth the way he intended, even if that meant they came out rather strangled. Gaining their trust was very important right now.

 

Everyone was surprised, and for good reason. They knew it must’ve been a big deal if he stopped speaking in lies. Patton tilted his head like a confused puppy. Virgil’s jaw practically hung open. Roman looked sort of... touched, his eyes shining and one hand over his heart.

 

“Thank you. ...I forgive you.” The way he smiled at Deceit was so genuine, so pure, and he suddenly yearned for more of the wholesome energy the creative side radiated. Against his will, he smiled a soft smile of his own, which only seemed to further shock his guests.

 

Setting his expression back to normal, Deceit addressed the room once more. “What couldn’t all of you do to make me feel more like a welcome part of the group? Hmmm?” He looked from Logan to Virgil and then back to Logan, waiting for one of the two to open his mouth.

 

Logan caved first. “Be aware that, while I am not fully inclined to trust you–yet–I am not disinclined to hear you out.” He cleared his throat, fidgeting uncomfortably with the band of his watch.

 

Not appreciated.” The grin was back, and now Deceit stared unrelentingly at Virgil.

 

“I don’t like you,” Virgil stated flatly, arms crossed.

 

Patton gasped. “Virgil Sanders, you take that back! We do not stan disclusion in this Sanders household.”

 

“We had a rather rocky past.” He glared at the ground between Deceit’s feet, not willing to look the other side in the face. His voice grew in volume and intensity as he went on. “You hated me, I hated you. You mistreated and abused me. Do you all really think he’s changed? That he’s capable of change? He’s the literal embodiment of a lie! You don’t even know his name!”

 

“Damien!” Deceit found himself shouting. Virgil halted in his tirade, and all eyes in the room were on Deceit. “My name is Damien.” It was strange to say it, even stranger to hear it out loud. He hadn’t used it in years, not since they were young, not since he and Virgil had been on good terms–not since someone had seen him as more than just Deceit .

 

“Damien, huh?” Thomas tried out the name.

 

“Rather regal, isn’t it?” Roman asked. “It suits you,” he added after a pause.

 

“It’s an interesting name,” Logan inputted.

 

“Ooh, I really like it!” exclaimed Patton. “It’s so… you!”

 

Deceit–no, Damien –looked around at the others in the room with a touch of awe at how quick they were to accept him once he’d simply given them his name.

 

He turned back to Virgil. “Now they don’t know my name and I’m not feeling vulnerable. Are you happy yet?”

 

Virgil was dumbfounded. “I didn’t expect you to actually tell them,” he pondered slowly. “The Deceit I know certainly wouldn’t have.”

 

“And I’m clearly the Deceit you knew.”

 

“Touché.” Virgil allowed the smallest of smiles to flicker across his face, gone as soon as it appeared, and Damien felt a small surge of triumph–he’d managed to convince Virgil, at least partially, that he’d changed.

 

“Are we finished?” Logan queried. He received nods and murmurs of agreement all around. Quickly, he referenced a vocab card before sinking out. “Hasta la vista.” Virgil groaned, to which Logan stuck his tongue out.

 

“Iiiii’m afraid I must be on my way as well, I’ve got content to create.” Roman couldn’t help but sing the first part of his statement, and the loving way Patton gazed at Roman as he sank down was all too apparent to Damien.

 

“I gotta go too! Although, kiddos, we’re gonna need to talk later about that ‘abuse’ thing.” Patton gave a stern nod, then left as well.

 

“Glad to have you back, buddy.” Thomas smiled at Damien on his way down.

 

That left Virgil alone with Damien.

 

“What, are you trying to convert to a Light Side?” Virgil snorted. “Listen, I don’t know how I did it.”

 

A stiff silence settled over the room. Virgil picked at a loose thread on his sleeve, and Damien suspected it was only to provide Virgil with a reason not to meet his eyes.

 

“Why aren’t you still here?” The anxious side must want something from him; why else would he stay? They certainly weren’t on a friend level with each other yet.

 

“Why?”

 

Damien blinked. “Why what?”

 

“Why are you trying to redeem yourself, and why now?” Virgil’s hands had formed fists. “Why did you change now?”

 

Ah. Damien understood–a part of Virgil wished they’d had a healthy relationship, as much as he’d deny it.

 

“I was a Dark Side then–technically I still am. I really did love you at the time, since I know you were wondering about that. It wasn’t right for me to treat you the way I did, I know that now, but then, that was all I knew. I’d never had a good relationship with any of the Dark Sides. But now, I saw how you treat each other, and at some point, I realized that how I treated you wasn’t the only way.”

 

Virgil was looking at him, violet eyes big, searching for something.

 

“I’m sorry,” Damien said for the second time that day. Lying was so deeply ingrained in his very being that he often experienced extreme discomfort and difficulty saying what he meant (instead of saying things backward) for extended periods of time. He’d found that the longer he spent around the Light Sides, the longer the duration would be, but still, he lacked the stamina to keep it up much longer. “I don’t expect you to forgive me, not fully, but I hope… eventually… we might be friends again.” Damien held out a hand to Virgil, and the other took it tentatively. They shook on it, then let go. Virgil began to sink down, and Damien stepped closer to whisper in his ear.

 

“I don’t still love you.”

 

Purple eyes widened, but Virgil made no move to rise back up, and Damien retreated back to his bedroom once more.

Chapter Text

The other sides stayed true to their word. Damien presented his opinion and they took it in stride, actually considering their options and, more than once, it had turned into a mild-mannered debate where everyone took part. With certain arguments, he’d been able to convert some of the others to his side. Sometimes it got a little difficult for the viewers to follow, in which case Patton or Thomas would call a quick time-out so everyone could catch their breath (and sometimes give a quick recap about what was discussed to make it simpler to understand) before jumping back in.

 

More often than not, they were able to find a compromise between their options that satisfied everyone or a third, completely different option they hadn’t thought of and probably wouldn’t have, had they not carried out a proper discussion.

 

Damien was pleased that they’d begun to listen to his input and build off of his suggestions, and secretly, the others all agreed that Thomas may have been slightly, microscopically better off this way.

 

After a particularly heated, yet still civil, discussion, Damien had gone back to his room. He had a desk and one of those spinny chairs that villains always have, the ones they swivel around in to make a dramatic reveal when the hero arrives. (When asked about it, he claims it’s cliche, but honestly, he loves it.) He’s sitting in said chair in front of said desk, contemplating the arguments from both sides of the discussion, pet snake Ethel curled snugly around his neck. Absently, Damien ran a hand over Ethel’s scales as he thought.

 

A soft pop  issued behind Damien, and he did the dramatic villain reveal. Patton had risen up in his room, holding a platter of cookies.

 

“Fancy not  seeing you here.” The corners of Damien’s mouth curled softly up.

 

He’d never actually had a problem with Patton himself, it was only ever the stubborn stance he’d taken during the first few videos Damien had been in. At first, he hadn’t listened to Damien, but once Patton had realized what he was doing wrong, they’d stopped arguing as much, and Damien thought they were on pretty good terms, as far as he could tell.

 

“Hey, kiddo,” Patton started a little sheepishly. “You did good today in the debate. I think we all did. Anyway, I just thought I’d bake some cookies to celebrate, you know, us all getting along, and I saved some for you.” He glanced around. “Where can I put theeeese–” He trailed off as his eyes landed on the large golden snake perched like a scarf around Damien’s neck. “Is that… a snake?”

 

“Her name isn’t  Ethel.” His grin grew mischievous. “Don’t  put the cookies on the desk.”

 

Patton proceeded to set the platter on the desk, warily eyeing Ethel, who flicked out her tongue as he neared to smell the air. Then he took the time to have a quick look around the room.

 

“This is a nice room, kiddo.” Patton examined the large, full-size version of Damien’s two-headed snake emblem that he’d painted on the wall. “It certainly stays true to your aesthetic,” he chuckled quietly. “I gotta go. Take care, okay, Dee?” He sank out, but not without a little wave.

 

Damien had never had a proper nickname before, but it made sense that Patton would be the one to give him one. He and Roman seemed to be fans of that sort of thing, judging from a few of the... colorful  things the prince had called him. Dee… he liked it.

 

Damien cracked open a novel he’d been reading par Logan’s recommendation, trying a cookie… or two… okay, so maybe he had three all at once, but they were good cookies, only made better by the care Patton put into them.

Chapter Text

He’d had very little contact with Logan thus far. From what Damien had seen, Logan tended to be reclusive, coupled with the fact that he simply had no reason to talk to Damien.

 

He closed his book with a sigh, leaning his head back against the back of his chair. Damien had only gone to see Logan once before, when he'd borrowed this book, and it had been a good recommendation. He’d reread it three times now, mostly because Logan was known to be mildly to extremely irritated when interrupted, and Damien didn’t want to bother him just to get another book.

 

Damien gently transferred Ethel from her usual spot around his neck to the top of his desk, and she looked at him disdainfully.

 

“I’m not  sorry, E, but I don’t  need to go somewhere.” She flicked out her tongue, and he gave a heavy breath. “I know, but I can’t go on avoiding him forever. Might as well not  do this now, since now’s as bad  a time as any.” He picked up the book, closing his eyes and picturing the veritable treasure trove of books that was Logan’s dimension.

 

The smell of old books hit his nose, and he inhaled deeply, taking in the scent for a moment before he opened his eyes.

 

Tall shelves spanned both sides of Damien, and he peered at the spine of one of the nearby books to tell where he’d appeared–he was in the B row. Checking the spine of the book he’d borrowed, he noted the last name of the author of the book (“Teller”), and Damien began the search for Logan and the shelf with the spot where his book belonged, whichever he came across first.

 

The quiet padding of paws came from above and to his left, and Damien looked for the source of the sound. A pair of large gray-blue eyes peered down at him. Ah, of course.  Logan was one of the few sides who had no trouble being around any kind of cat, but he’d still gone through the trouble of getting one who wouldn’t irritate Patton’s, Roman’s, and Virgil’s allergies. The lithe gray beast frequently paced the tops of the shelves, guarding the books and watching anyone she found suspicious–Damien, mostly. Maybe she could smell his scales from up there.

 

He’d noticed that the cat’s behavior tended to mimic her owner’s, so maybe the things people said about animals imitating their humans held more truth than Thomas thought.

 

Locating the T row without too much difficulty, he was able to find out where his book went, since there was a perfect space between Teagan and Tenor for his book to slot right into.

 

The cat continued to follow Damien as he walked to the far end of the library, which was likely where Logan would be, were he not once again reorganizing how the shelves were sorted.

 

Sure enough, there Logan was, glasses pushed up the bridge of his nose, a book in one hand and a steaming mug of coffee in the other. In this part of the library, sounds of rain were very clearly heard, and Damien couldn’t help but glance at the window nearest. (Of course, any weather in the mindscape would be purely imaginary, as the mindscape itself was all in Thomas’ head, and Damien found it interesting that Logan enjoyed the sound of rain.)

 

Logan made no move to clue Damien in that Logan had noticed him, although Damien was certain Logan was aware of his presence. After a minute, he cleared his throat awkwardly, and Logan raised his eyes to watch Damien over the top of his book.

 

“Yes?” The logical side took a sip of coffee.

 

“I, uh… didn’t  enjoy your book recommendation, and I wasn’t  hoping for another.”

 

Sitting up, Logan closed his book, setting it aside. He took one last sip from his mug before putting that down too, and then he stood.

 

“In that case.” He began to stride down the center aisle, but halted when he realized Damien wasn’t following. “What are you doing? Come on.” He gave a small beckoning gesture, and Damien was able to move again.

 

Damien, against his will, found himself mesmerized by Logan’s purposeful stride and concise motions. Everything he did had a reason, which was evident even in the way he carried himself.

 

“–mien? Deceit?” Logan’s expression almost bordered on concern. “Are you quite alright?”

 

“Yesss, fine.” His old habit had resurfaced–he tended to hiss when nervous or stressed. “I wasn’t  lost in thought.”

 

The look Logan sent his way was dubious, but he let it go. “If you say so. Now, I think you’ll like this one. The main character is…”

 

As time passed, Damien somehow found himself in an engaging discussion over the best and worst sci-fi/fantasy tropes, and Damien had to admit that little else (except perhaps Crofter’s) caused Logan such energy than when talking about books.

 

The black-haired man was gesturing rather animatedly as he went over the pros and cons of making the main character “normal” in a society where everyone else isn’t, and he hadn’t noticed it, but a blush had slipped onto his cheeks. Damien chuckled quietly, and Logan trailed off as he realized he’d been ranting.

 

Self-consciously, Logan straightened his tie and adjusted his glasses. He seemed flustered. “Pardon my temporary lack of control. It won’t happen again, I assure you–”

 

Damien held out a hand to stop what would probably turn out to be a word vomit consisting entirely of apologies. “Sure, maybe I didn’t  come here to get a book, but I didn’t  enjoy our conversation. ‘Twas… enlightening.” (He wouldn’t typically say “‘twas,” but he was feeling particularly Extra today, and perhaps he was trying to impress Logan by demonstrating that he knew the proper usage of “‘twas.”)

 

Logan pursed his lips, and Damien was pretty sure from the way his chest rose and fell that he stifled a sigh. “Very well.” He held out the recommended book to Damien, who took it. “Here is your book. Is that all you required of me?” Damien nodded. “Very well. I am going to resume my reading now.” Logan began to head back to his armchair, but Damien had a thought.

 

“What’s the name of your cat?”

 

Logan stopped but didn’t turn around.

 

“It’s Chess.”

 

“Chess?” blurted Damien. He hadn’t intended to speak, nor had he intended for Logan to hear his surprise.

 

Logan mumbled something, but must’ve realized that Damien wouldn’t have been able to hear him, and raised his voice. “It’s short for Cheshire.”

 

“Oh.” Damien could certainly see the resemblance in the way the cat prowled the shelf tops. “It’s a nice name.”

 

Just then, there was a quiet thud behind Damien, and when he turned to look, Chess was slowly walking toward him. Crouching, he held out a free hand, and she sniffed it once, then rubbed against it. She really was as soft as she looked. He stayed there a little while longer, petting the cat, who seemed entirely content with his presence now.

 

Meanwhile, Logan had returned to his novel and coffee, but who’s to say whether he actually read, or if he watched Damien playing with his cat, gently smiling behind his book?


“He’s interesting, E,” mused Damien later, once he’d returned to his room. “Not like the others… and I definitely don’t  want to know more about him.”

Chapter Text

Damien didn’t usually make it a practice of his to stick himself into others’ business or force himself where he didn’t belong, but Thomas hadn’t needed him for a video in several days and he was getting restless. (Well, okay, and maybe  a touch lonely too.) He found himself wondering about what Roman was doing to pass the time, and took it upon himself to find out.

 

Roman was facing an empty stage, and Damien had appeared behind the curtain. After an indeterminable amount of time (Damien couldn’t tear his eyes away from the solitary, regal figure; it might’ve been only a minute or it might’ve been a minute), Roman took a deep breath and began speaking.

 

“He jests at scars that never felt a wound.”

 

That line was familiar, and Damien wracked his brain, trying to remember what it was from.

 

“But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?” Ah– Romeo and Juliet.   “It is the east, and Juliet is the sun!” Damien was taken aback by the amount of pure feeling Roman was pouring into his lines. “Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, who is already sick and pale with grief that thou her maid art far more fair than she.” Damien wondered why Roman was reciting this scene from this play, as it didn’t seem relevant to anything, and Thomas had taken part in this play in high school.

 

“Be not her maid, since she is envious. Her vestal livery is but sick and green, and none but fools do wear it. Cast it off.” Now Roman paced the stage, and Damien had to take a step further back behind the curtain so as not to be seen by Roman, since a part of him wanted to continue observing Roman’s performance (and if he was caught, he certainly wouldn’t be allowed to). He had a better view of Roman’s face now.

 

“It is my lady, oh, it is my love–oh, that she knew she were.” Interesting–Roman was changing up the inflection of the lines, as they were coming out much softer than directed. He stopped speaking and stood, as if listening, in the middle of the stage, before continuing, “She speaks, yet she says nothing. What of that? ...her eye discourses, I will answer it.” His expression puzzled, he opened his mouth as if to speak, then closed it, as if he’d thought better of it. “‘Tis not to me she speaks.”

 

By now, his pacing had become more of an improvised waltz as he pranced across the stage, and even from where he stood, shrouded by the curtain, Damien could see the passion in Roman’s green eyes.

 

“Two of the fairest stars in all the heavens, having some business, do entreat her eyes to twinkle in their spheres ‘til they return. What if her eyes were there, they in her head?” Roman’s voice took on a dreamy, thoughtful quality. “The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars as daylight doth a lamp, her eyes in heaven would through the airy region stream so bright that birds would sing and think it were not night.” Once more, he halted in his constant movement. “See how she leans her cheek upon her hand. Oh, that I were a glove upon that hand, that I might touch that cheek.”

 

Here, Roman paused, as if waiting for another to speak, and here Damien had a split-second of deliberation–he had less than a minute before Roman would move on, and right then, he wanted nothing more than to join in, but if he did, then Roman would know he’d been spying–

 

But he’d already uttered the line.

 

“Ay, me.”

 

Both the side on the stage and side behind the curtains froze, then Damien stepped out of the shadows. It was too late now anyway, Roman had clearly heard him, as was evident by the strawberry-colored blush on his face when he turned around.

 

“Didst thou spyest on me?” spluttered Roman. “No, really, h-how long have you been there?”

 

“Long enough.” Curious. Roman seemed so confident, so self-assured around the other sides, to the point of sometimes being narcissistic, but here he was, looking somewhat self-conscious and extremely mortified–but perhaps those words simply weren’t meant for Damien’s ears. “My apologies, it was definitely  my intention to spy on you.” He recalled how…alive Roman had seemed while acting. “Leaping about the stage like that, you just looked so… uh… beautiful…” He muttered the last word, too embarrassed to say it aloud and too embarrassed to meet Roman’s eyes (although he did dare to look up long enough to see Roman’s–pleasantly?–surprised expression).

 

“Th-thank you.” The creative side had stuttered more in the past two minutes than Damien had ever heard him stutter the whole time he’d known Roman.

 

There was an awkward silence where Roman played with the edge of his sash.

 

“You know.” Roman looked up as Damien spoke. “Those times I flirted with you–it was never  genuine.” Damien bit his lip, then stopped with a soft “ow” as he remembered he had fangs.

 

Roman’s eyes were wide. “Your lip is bleeding.” He took an unsure step forward.

 

“It’s–it’s not  fine.” Damien touched his lip and winced. " Worrying is absolutely  necessary.”

 

“If you’re sure.”

 

Damien’s forked tongue totally  didn’t dart out of his mouth to lick off the blood, and Roman’s eyes definitely  didn’t follow its path as Damien retracted his tongue into his mouth.

 

“Dance with me,” said Roman suddenly. It was funny, Roman himself almost looked more surprised than Damien felt about what he’d just said.

 

“What?”

 

“I, uh… dance with me,” stammered Roman, holding out a hand to Damien while the other hand nervously rubbed the back of his neck.

 

Damien considered–he’d never really danced with anyone before, but on the other hand, Roman looked so earnest, and right now, he wanted nothing more. He placed his hand on top of the prince’s outstretched palm.

 

Roman snapped his fingers, and a song began to play out of nowhere. Damien didn’t recognize the tune, but it had a certain beat to it.

 

What happened next was kind of a blur. Damien’s main focus was on how Roman’s eyes shone with a certain something … he wasn’t sure what. The way Roman moved was powerful yet gentle, intense yet soft, full of energy even with an underlying calm. He was fire, beautiful, and dangerous, and if you got too close…

 

The next thing he knew, Roman, lost in the movement, had slipped. Roman flung out his arms in an attempt to catch himself, but Damien feared it wasn’t enough. In a near-instantaneous decision, he made a desperate dive to catch Roman.

 

Damien heaved a sigh–that had been close, he’d had to do the “stretchy arm” thing, as the others insisted on calling it, in order to catch Roman in time. Looking Roman over, he seemed to be unhurt, and was, in fact, sporting a sly grin as he gazed up at Damien.

 

“Guess I can always count on my knight in shining armor to save the day.”

 

There were many things wrong with this situation. First, the tone Roman had used was one he used exclusively for flirting, and while Damien knew of Roman’s tendency to flirt excessively, he was not one of the three the creative side was dating. Secondly, Damien was acutely aware of the hand cupping either side of his face, as well as the blush which probably covered the human half. Thirdly, when had the music changed? …he wasn’t sure how to feel about the way Roman’s eyes kept darting back to his lips.

 

He let go of Roman rather abruptly, who flushed once more as he realized what he’d just been doing, which led to an awkward coughing session as they both examined the cracks between the wooden planks in the floor of the stage.

 

Something that felt like a hand latched onto Damien’s shoulder, and he stood stock still. Sharp talons dug into his arm, and the look on his face must’ve displayed the terror he was feeling because Roman stopped himself from laughing just in time.

 

“It’s alright, Damien, that’s my pet phoenix Aodh.” Roman took a step forward, holding out one arm, and in a ruffle of feathers, the phoenix alighted on his arm.

 

Damien had to admit that the bird was beautiful, bright reds fading into orange, then to yellow, which reminded him of a sunset. Still, the bird was enormous, and that pointed beak and those curved talons weren’t something to take lightly.

 

“You have a pet phoenix?”

 

Roman chuckled. “Do you want to touch her feathers?” Damien wasn’t quite so sure that he did, but he took a step closer to appease Roman.

 

Cautiously, Damien held a hand in front of the bird. He had no clue what the proper etiquette for petting a phoenix was, so he’d resorted to the way one might hold a hand out for a cat or dog. She looked him over shrewdly, but slowly lowered her head as if to give him permission. Roman nodded reassuringly, so Damien started to gently run his hand over the feathers on her head; they were surprisingly soft.

 

After Damien left, Roman didn’t teleport straight to his room. He didn’t collapse on his bed, and he definitely didn’t scream into his pillow on and off for ten minutes.

 


(A/N: uwu)

dancing

thats gay

Chapter Text

Damien felt the familiar tug in his chest that meant that someone had summoned him. He closed his eyes and followed the feeling.

 

Odd. He’d appeared in… Virgil’s room–he’d gathered from all the cobwebs and the purple; it had been a long time since he’d been here. Not Thomas’ living room? The other sides didn’t usually summon him. But where was…?

 

A voice spoke from behind him, and he tensed.

 

“Well, well, well, Deceit,” crowed Virgil, and Damien spun around, only to come face-to-face with the scowling emo.

 

“Virgil,” greeted Damien cautiously. Virgil still hadn’t forgiven him, and for good reason, so he’d have to be careful not to say anything that might set him off, so to speak. “Was there a reason you summoned me?”

 

Virgil glared coldly. “I hear you’ve been trying to get close to my boyfriends. Gonna turn them against me like you did everyone else?”

 

Oh. So that’s  what this was about. “Virgil, I don’t have any ulterior motives this time,” tried Damien.

 

“No. No, you don’t get to call me that.” Virgil’s laugh edged on hysterical.

 

“Anxiety, I promise.” He looked Virgil in the eye, but the pure hatred was too much, and he had to look away.

 

“Oh, do you? Very funny. You’ve had your fun, now stop pretending. Stop lying.” Virgil took a step forwards toward Damien, who took a step back. He’d never known the anxious side to be so forceful, but perhaps that was because Virgil had been scared to death of him before, and now he had something to protect.

 

“I know you’ve just been using them. I mean, it takes some real  willpower to lie to Patton, and some real  guile to lie to Logan, but really, shame on you for using Roman twice.  You got him to trust you again. He’s naive when it comes to love–easily mislead and easily heartbroken.” Virgil stabbed Damien’s chest with a finger. “Ya know what’s gonna happen, Deceit, if you hurt them? Huh? Any of them?”

 

Virgil started circling Damien like a shark that’s smelled blood circles its prey. “FYI, Logan’s actually surprisingly fragile, and though he’s intelligent, he’s an idiot sometimes who pretends like he doesn’t have feelings, so you ought to be careful around him too. They’ve always been Light Sides, so they think people can really  change, but they don’t know you like I do.”

 

A wicked grin grew across his face. “Remember when you burned my sketchbook in front of me? That had at least a year’s  worth of drawings in it.” Damien’s eyes widened– Virgil was a Light Side now, he wouldn’t–

 

Damien reeled back from the forceful blow Virgil delivered to his cheek. He clutched at his face, wincing as he touched the bruised area. A part of him was stunned, but all the same, a part of him knew he probably deserved it.

 

“Remember that time you told Pride and Envy that I talked to the Light Sides?” This time, a punch to the gut, and Damien felt all the air get knocked out of him. “They took everything out on me, treated me like shit  for weeks! Not only did you  punish me, but they hurt me too!

 

“What about when you threatened to kill Deimos if I told the Light Sides about you?” Deimos was Virgil’s pet spider, and the next punch caused Damien a bloody nose.

 

Eventually, the blows weakened, before stopping entirely.

 

“Why won’t you fight back?” huffed Virgil as he tried to catch his breath.

 

“Because I deserve it,” stated Damien simply. “What I did to you was not right, and there really shouldn’t be any way I can make up for it, but I hope that I can at least atone partially.” He was in severe pain, but he pushed through the pain-filled fog in his mind. Telling Virgil how he felt was much more important.

 

Virgil was shaking, purple hair falling over his face as his head pointed towards the floor. Damien worried he’d be punched again, but instead, Virgil slumped forward against his chest. The anxious side, who’d seemed so furious and so merciless just moments before, now seemed so weak as he broke down, clutching at Damien’s clothes as the last of his resolve shattered.

 

“How could you do that?” Damien strained to hear Virgil’s whispers. “I depended on you.” He took a deep yet shaky breath. “I loved  you.”

 

Damien was helpless to do anything other than stare, speechless.

 

“I was so scared as a new Side, constantly, so when you told me I could trust you, that you’d help me, I was so relieved. I thought that I had somebody I could depend on. I thought I wouldn’t have to be alone.” Despite all of the punches Virgil had delivered just moments ago, nothing hurt more than the weight of those words. He’d been there once too. He hadn’t had anyone to turn to, anyone to help him get his bearings, and to hear that he could’ve been that person for Virgil, but instead, he’d thrown it away…

 

“I was scared of so much back then, but I never thought one of those things would be you. I don’t remember anymore when exactly I started being afraid of you.”

 

“I’m sorry, Anxiety.” And he was, Damien really was, but he had no idea how to express just how  sorry he was. “I can’t say that enough, and I don’t know if I can make you understand just how much I regret the way I treated you. If I could go back… If I could change the past, I would. You’ve been so strong.” Shocked, he realized that Virgil was crying, and almost automatically, he carded his fingers through that soft purple hair–but then it occurred to Damien what he was doing, and he pulled his hand away.

 

“Don’t.” The muttered plea was almost too quiet for Damien’s ears to pick up on. “Don’t stop, please.” Hesitantly, Damien resumed where he’d left off.

 

This was… wrong, wasn’t it? Why should Damien have any right to touch Virgil, after what he’d done? …yet here they were, Damien running his (now ungloved) fingers through Virgil’s insanely soft hair. Virgil had told him it was okay, so surely…?

 

A quiet pop  came from behind Damien, and he hurriedly shoved Virgil away and turned. The other Sides and Thomas had elected to join them, and with the state they were both in, Damien knew it meant trouble.

 

Patton’s eyes widened, and his hands leapt up to cover his mouth. Roman and Thomas both winced at Damien’s injuries, and Logan appeared mildly concerned, which was rather telling of how he felt, as he didn’t typically show emotion on his face.

 

“Kiddos, what happened?” cried Patton, dismayed at the sight before him.

 

Damien opened his mouth, ready to take full credit for whatever  had just happened, but Virgil beat him to it, and he felt a flash of gratitude.

 

“Sorry, Pat,” sniffled Virgil, wiping at his nose and eyes. “It’s my fault, I summoned him here for… revenge?”

 

Roman was appalled. “Look, what ever  he did to you in the past, was this truly necessary?” He’d gestured to the entirety of Damien’s body, and he had to admit that he probably looked a mess.

 

“Yeah, sorry, I dunno,” answered Virgil noncommittally.

 

“I think maybe it’s time we knew your past, don’t you?” asked Thomas, but it was more of a statement than a question.

 

Damien took a deep breath, ignoring the sharp pain in his side. “I don’t know how long I’ll be able to be honest for, but here goes nothing. I should preface this by saying that Virgil here’s an ex-Dark Side.” An audible gasp went up around the room. “At one point, we were in a relationship of a romantic nature, but it wasn’t a healthy one. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it wasn’t  my fault, but I was–am–a Dark Side, and as such, I’d never had a healthy relationship to use as an example. I was afraid that if I gave Virgil too much freedom, he’d leave and never come back, and in my fear, I became abusive. I messed with his head, I threatened, and sometimes, I carried out those threats.

 

“But, every time, I promised him that I was just looking out for him, that I had his best interests at heart, when in reality, I was simply selfish and wanted Virgil all to myself.” The room was deadly silent, save for Damien’s voice as he told their story.

 

“The first time he appeared in one of your videos, Thomas, I believe it served as a kind of escape. He first met the Light Sides and learned that they weren’t as bad as I’d led him to believe–and at first, he felt like an outcast, but gradually began to feel more accepted.

 

“The whole time, I never knew he was spending time with you Light Sides until after that cartoon video. I was outraged that he’d done something I told him not to, and he moved his room in the mindscape so I couldn’t find it–then he got the brilliant  idea to duck out to see if anyone  would miss him. At some point during that two-parter, Virgil crossed the bridge from Dark Side to Light.

 

“So I waited and planned and plotted for the right time to strike, so to speak, and I kidnapped Patton so I could take his place. (Sorry, by the way.) Virgil caught on almost right away, since he knows me, my habits, and how I work.

 

“While I was spying on you and when you treated me like Patton, I realized that the way I’d been with Virgil didn’t have to be the only way, and here was the perfect example of what I should’ve  done.” Damien finished his long-winded story, but the pain was finally starting to catch up with him.

 

“Whoa,” was the prince’s response. He looked stunning stunned.

 

Logan’s expression, meanwhile, was ruminative. All he said was, “Hm.”

 

“Oh,” said Thomas, clearly having not expected that. “Well, are you… good now, at least? I mean, what’s your relationship?”

 

“We’re… friends now, I think,” replied Virgil, even going so far as a little smile his way, and although he could tell the smile was forced, it still made him feel a little bit better. “…Damien.” A shiver went down his spine; it had been years  since he’d heard Virgil say that name, and he found he’d missed hearing it.

 

Thomas eyed Damien’s injuries. “If he’s hurt, what does that mean for me?”

 

“He should heal naturally and quickly over the next few days, as long as their conflict is emotionally resolved,” elucidated Logan.

 

“Still, kiddo, we should take care of that,” suggested Patton. “Why don’t you come with me, and Virgil, I’ll take care of those knuckles later, okay?”

 

Damien had teleported with Patton to his room. They’d taken care of his nose first, and the moral side was gentle as he used a warm, damp cloth to wipe away the blood.

 

“Not that I’m saying it was wrong, exactly, but why didn’t you fight back, or even resist?”

 

“I knew I didn’t  deserve it, and it was  my place to cause him any more pain.” It appeared that he’d reached his “honesty limit” for the day.

 

Patton paused, his blue eyes taken aback and a touch reproachful. “You could’ve, I dunno, at least left?” He chewed his lip.

 

“I’m not  of the opinion that Virgil has the right to get back at me for what I did. I didn’t  owe it to him to at least stand there.” Damien was more than a little distracted by the way Patton was biting his lip. It was a bad habit he shared with Patton, so he knew firsthand that it wasn’t good in the long run. “There was  a way around it–it’s simple,  Pat.”

 

The fatherly side didn’t react to the nickname, expression still a frown, and Damien had the sudden urge to take Patton in his arms, to kiss that frown right off his lips–

 

Where had that come from?

 

Luckily, if Patton saw his blush, he said nothing. “There, done.” He tried to smile, but it was half-hearted at best, and Damien’s chest ached for reasons other than physical pain. “Does it hurt anywhere else?”

 

Damien recalled the intense pain in his side. “ No,  it doesn’t hurt here.” He gestured at the offending place.

 

“I think you’re going to have to, uh, undress.” Patton was looking everywhere but at Damien as he spoke, and he was extremely grateful for that. The shorter side’s freckled face had turned a bright red.

 

Damien removed his capelet. He untucked his shirt, then fumbled with the buttons for a minute.

 

Patton gasped at the dark, purple bruise discoloring a large part of Damien’s side. “Virgil  did this?”

 

Damien nodded solemnly. “He wasn’t  fueled by rage.”

 

Patton reached out to gingerly press a fingertip to the injury, but pulled back sharply as Damien hissed air through his teeth.

 

“Tha- that looks pretty painful, kiddo, but I’m not sure there’s much we can do other than ice it and try not to put pressure on it.” Patton bustled over to the freezer to withdraw an ice pack, which he pushed into Damien’s hands. “Logan said you’d heal if the emotional conflict got resolved. Well, did it? Get resolved, I mean?” He gazed hopefully up at Damien, who was in the middle of buttoning his shirt.

 

“I don’t  believe so.” He took a minute to formulate his answer so he knew it’d be true–a lie? true? Who knew anymore? If he said something that was true, it would come out as a lie anyway. “We don’t  seem to be on regular speaking terms now.”

 

“That’s good, kiddo!” Patton beamed, happy that his friends had gotten past their differences and might finally be able to get along.

 

Later that night, when Damien returned to his room, he found a notecard that had been forcefully shoved under his door.


Note

 

Damien could’ve sworn his heart had stopped–that is, if he had  one, it would’ve stopped, but he’s a part of Thomas, so that’s silly.

Chapter Text

“Aren’t you a cyute little pupper?” Patton cooed at his dog, Peanut, who lay curled up in his lap.

 

Just then, a loud yelling could be heard from the hallway gradually coming closer until Roman Sanders kicked open the door. He made a running leap for the bed, narrowly missing both the wall and Patton as he spreadeagled face down on the mattress. A muffled groan came from the crumpled figure next to Patton.

 

“What’s wrong, hun?” asked Patton, tone mildly concerned as he petted Roman’s luscious hair.

 

The prince let out another groan, not bothering to lift his head. “It’s Damien. I danced with him last week, and I think I almost kissed him, and I can’t stop thinking about him.”

 

I’m not the only one.

 

Patton looked up again as someone else entered his room. Logan shuffled over to the bed, expression blank, eyes focused toward the middle distance.

 

Patton raised a knowing eyebrow. “Guy troubles?” Logan had difficulty processing particularly intense emotion sometimes, and he tended to fall into this semi-catatonic state when he realized he had romantic feelings. Logan nodded morosely, settling on the mattress next to Patton, leaning his head on Patton’s shoulder.

 

Patton chuckled. “Dee’s something, isn’t he?”

 

Appearing nervous as he noticed the way the door had been kicked open, Virgil entered, but stopped short as he saw his boyfriends.

 

“What’s going on?” he questioned skeptically.

 

“So, Virgil,” Patton began, trying to think of a way to breach the sensitive topic. “From what I understand, you and Damien were in a relationship, right? What, uh… I know that you said you guys were friends now, but… I hope you don’t mind me asking…”

 

Virgil narrowed his eyes. “Pat, can you get on with it?” He hadn’t meant to snap, especially not at Patton, but his past was still sensitive, and he was worried about the question Patton was trying to ask.

 

“Sorry.” He smiled sheepishly. “I wanted to know if you still have feelings for him?”

 

Virgil’s expression stayed defensive for a moment before his face softened, but it wasn’t without a hint of frustration and maybe a touch of dejection.

 

“Yeah. I don’t… know why I still like him. He hurt me, and I’ve got you guys now, so I don’t need him. There’s so reason, absolutely no reason, why I should still like him.” Virgil had begun to shake, and Patton could sense the start of a panic attack.

 

“Hey, that’s okay! Love doesn’t always make sense, Vee, and he’s changed. He’s not the guy who abused you anymore. You’ve seen it yourself,” reminded Patton, determined. “Plus, we kinda, sorta, all like him too now.”

 

Virgil met Patton’s eyes, astonished but not displeased. “Really?” Patton nodded, smiling reassuringly.

 

Roman sat up, hair falling in his face from how he fell onto the bed. He ran a hand through his hair as he attempted to fix it. “Say, I’ve got an idea.” Logan snapped out of his reverie, and all focused on Roman. “Why don’t we each try to woo him? I’m almost certain we’ve got a chance,” he added in response to Logan’s dubious expression. “Hear me out: we all flirt with him in our own ways, and see at the end of the week where it’s gotten us.”

 

“I think it’s worth a shot.” Patton did rather like the idea.

 

“I suppose it might work,” said Logan slowly. He hated to admit it, but it wasn’t actually that bad an idea in theory.

 

Virgil was the only one who hadn’t said he was on board yet, and they waited patiently. Patton bounced in place, and Roman held his breath.

 

Virgil sighed. “You know what? Why the hell not? What have I got to lose at this point?”

 

“So we’re doing it?” asked Roman excitedly. “Excellent.” He rubbed his hands together in anticipation. “So who’s going first?”

Chapter Text

“Hey.”

 

Damien jumped as Patton popped up behind him.

 

“Hello, Patton.”

 

Interesting, the fatherly side appeared nervous from the way his hands were clasped.

 

“Uh, so, I’m gonna do a little baking, and I was wondering if you wanted to come help? It would be fun,” he added in a singsong voice.

 

Damien closed his book and stood. “Sounds awful.” He grinned at Patton, and the other side looked distraught until he remembered that Damien was Deceit, and Deceit spoke almost exclusively in lies. He laughed nervously at his own forgetfulness.

 

“Shall we go, then?” Almost shyly, Patton offered a hand to Damien, who took it with no hesitation.

 

They popped up together in Patton’s kitchen, and Damien took a moment to rearrange his hair and pick up his hat from where it’d fallen off. He dusted it off and went to place it back on his head, but a soft touch on his wrist stopped him.

 

Patton gazed up at Damien with his big blue eyes, and he felt glued in place by their stare. “Do you think, uh… well, you don’t have to put that back on, right?”

 

Damien considered the hat he still held, then shrugged. “I definitely see a problem with that.” He set the hat on the counter.

 

Patton clapped once. “Okay, so I wanna make brownies today!” He opened a binder on the counter to a page bookmarked by a sticky note on the top edge that had a recipe for brownies.

 

Damien contentedly observed Patton happily flitting around the kitchen, occasionally stirring something at Patton’s request and laughing at Patton’s puns. A couple of times, Patton made a joke that, if he didn’t know better, he might have assumed was an attempt to flirt, but he doubted Patton would be trying to flirt with him, not when he had three perfectly good boyfriends to flirt with. On the other hand, he could get used to this–was he one of them now? Was he… a Light Side? Could… could that even happen to Deceit?

 

Damien was suddenly aware of Patton’s face way too close to his own. Patton was trying to reach something in a cupboard above his head, and in doing so was pressing Damien back into the counter. Come to think of it, Patton had asked Damien to get things down for him every other time he couldn’t reach, so why–?

 

Damien found that Patton’s eyes, those deep blue oceans, were staring back into his own hazel and yellow ones. “I think I’ve made my message very clear now.”

 

And Patton’s right hand was on Damien’s scaley cheek, and it was warm on his scales and wait, ohgod, was Patton going to kiss him? Damien closed his eyes and surrendered to the will of the universe (and due to the amount of panic he was experiencing, it wasn’t too terribly dramatic either).

 

And ohgod Patton’s lips were on his, and Damien’s fingers were tangled in Patton’s brown curls. The kiss was soft, albeit messy due to the angle and rather quick, but Damien couldn’t be happier.

 

Damien rested his forehead against Patton’s. “Well, that… certainly wasn’t something.” He cringed inwardly at his own awkwardness, but even still, he couldn’t be too uncomfortable right now–he’d just kissed Patton

 

“So, Dee,” offered Patton. “Do you wanna be my boyfriend?”

 

Yes! Yes, yes, yes, he wanted to yell–but what about the others?

 

“What about the others?” He hadn’t meant to verbally voice his concerns, but it had come out all wrong. Patton probably thought he was asking if the others would be jealous instead of, well, Damien’s feelings for the others, which was a huge realization, almost as big as the kiss itself had been, and it would have to wait.

 

“They won’t mind much, I already talked to them,” replied Patton cheerfully.

 

Well, in any case, Damien would need to deal with his other feelings later. For now…

 

“Yes,” he whispered, and Patton, who’d hopped up onto the counter for a better angle, laced their fingers together and then leaned in for another kiss.

Chapter Text

It was several days later when Logan decided to visit Damien. The logical side had, quite politely, appeared in the hallway outside his room, knocking concisely.

 

Damien opened the door to see Logan standing there, arms crossed behind his back. He cleared his throat and straightened his glasses when he saw Damien.

 

“May I come in?”

 

“No, you may not.” Damien stepped aside to allow him entrance.

 

“Well?” asked Damien after a minute or two had passed and nothing had happened.

 

Logan buried his face in his hands and mumbled something into his palms that sounded suspiciously like, “Are you Copper and Tellurium?”

 

Damien raised an eyebrow. Was he… flirting? Granted, he’d heard that one before, he knew how it went, but… He might’ve expected this from the others, but not from Logan.

 

“Never mind, I can’t do this,” muttered Logan, face still covered.

 

Damien took a few steps, closing the gap between them. He gently pulled on Logan’s wrists until he lowered his hands, revealing a very red face. “Logan, honey.” The pet name had slipped out without his permission, and Logan only got redder from there, which he hadn’t even thought was possible. “It’s alright if you’re uncomfortable flirting.” He was gazing directly into Logan’s pretty gray eyes. “Just tell me how you feel, your way.”

 

Logan gulped as he swallowed. “Alright.” Taking a deep breath, he began to speak.

 

“As you all know by now, I am Logic, and therefore I tend to be uncomfortable when it comes to intense feelings.” He was ignoring how close he was to Damien by avoiding looking into his eyes, or really looking at him at all. “It was Virgil, actually, who first confessed to us that he loved us, and we all followed suit.” He gave a short, sharp laugh. “I’ve never had to do this before. I should just come out and say it.” His eyelids fluttered shut in anticipation. “I… love you.” And with that, he looked up into Damien’s eyes.

 

Their faces were so close that Damien could feel Logan’s breath. He knew what he wanted, but not how to get it. It had come so naturally with Patton, and when he’d been with Virgil, whenever he wanted it he could have it, as Virgil had been submissive back then. In the end, he decided to ask.

 

“Could I kiss you?” It came out as a whisper, but still Logan froze. Damien stood awkwardly for a minute or two as he waited for Logan to process; he didn’t want to rush anything.

 

“Alright.” Damien wasn’t sure if he’d imagined it or if he’d actually heard it, but then Logan nodded stiffly.

 

Damien gently placed a hand on the back of Logan’s neck and that was it.

 

The kiss was calculated–Damien expected nothing less from Logan–but not cold. It was precise yet retained emotion that Logan could probably express better this way than through words.

 

They both pulled away, and all Damien could see was Logan’s beautiful gray eyes. They carried such depth and such intensity within them that he was rendered breathless.

 

“That wasn’t so hard,” Damien murmured, mismatched eyes sparkling mischievously.

 

Logan shook his head. “Can I go now?”

 

“Hmmm.” Damien made a show of pretending to think hard. “How about… no?” Cackling, he grabbed Logan’s wrist and tugged so that he toppled over, at the last second catching Logan in his arms. “Let’s make a deal, hon: you stay here with me for as long as I want, and I won’t tell the others about how much your attempt at flirting sucked.”

 

“If you insist.” Logan rolled his eyes.

 

“No, no, you gotta put more energy into it,” grinned Damien.

 

“Oh, so you’re like Roman? Into roleplay too?” He smirked devilishly. “Well, then. ‘Oh no, whatever shall I do? The evil villain plans to blackmail me unless I subdue him with a kiss!’” He dramatically held a hand to his forehead. “...or several.”

 

“You know you love me,” Damien teased, pretending as though he wasn’t relishing the rough sound Logan’s voice had taken on at the end.

 

“I do,” sighed Logan as though annoyed, but he was still smiling softly, despite the tone. He allowed himself to be pulled back in by the tie.

 

Chapter Text

The next one to approach Damien was Roman, and by then he’d begun to see the pattern.

 

The creative side bounced into Damien’s room excitedly, but frowned, puzzled, as he saw that the room was empty, save for a large yellow snake on the desk. He closed the door as quietly as he could so as not to disturb the snake and set off to locate Damien.

 

The entirety of the house sat empty, and Roman wondered where Damien could possibly be. As a last-ditch attempt, he opened the back door–and gasped.

 

He’d just stepped out into a gorgeous greenhouse that took up nearly the whole backyard filled with beautiful, colorful flowers the likes of which Roman had never seen. There must have been flowers of every shade and variety you could think of, and Roman’s heart soared, full of inspiration–and right in the middle of it all was Damien, using a rusty old watering can to water a rosebush.

 

To his surprise, Damien was in a different outfit than his typical, trademark one, and previously Roman hadn’t seen him go without his usual hat or gloves. Instead, he was wearing a dirt-stained apron over a loose golden-yellow sweater and a pair of ratty, patched old jeans. Rather than his black hat, he wore a black beanie. He was humming cheerfully under his breath, and Roman loathed to interrupt, although he didn’t recognize the tune. So even as he approached, he waited until Damien had finished before speaking.

 

“‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.’”

 

Damien startled, cheeks flushing a rosy pink as he noticed Roman and realized the other man had probably heard him.

 

“Romeo and Juliet? Again?”

 

“I just couldn’t help myself,” grinned Roman. “I mean, you’re tending to the roses, after all.”

 

“Hello, Roman. What, uh, what didn’t bring you here?” Self-consciously, Damien smoothed down the front of his apron.

 

“I’ve simply come to see you, that’s all.” Roman put on his most soothing tone, hoping he could get Damien to relax, and it appeared to be working. He gestured around. “Lovely place you’ve got here.”

 

Damien visibly brightened. “Ah, yes. Patton didn’t suggest I get a hobby. I didn’t try several other things before settling on this. It isn’t… calming.” He took a deep breath as he inhaled the combined fragrance of the surrounding flowers, eyes closed blissfully, and Roman loved how peaceful he seemed in that moment. He wanted to take a snapshot of this moment in time and hold onto it forever.

 

Roman examined one of the roses. They were a pastel orange, the curling tips of the petals fading into a darker, more fiery shade of orange. He was reminded of how the tips of Damien’s hair faded from a brown into a gold. Was the gold natural, or had Damien made it like that himself? After all, Virgil’s hair had been purple for as long as Roman had known him, but Roman didn’t know if he’d originally manifested like that or if Virgil had just thought it would make him look cooler–Roman wouldn’t put it past him.

 

Damien waved a hand in front of Roman, and he blinked; he’d gotten distracted, lost in thought.

 

“Sorry,” he said sheepishly. He still wasn’t sure how he’d try to woo Damien, but then his eyes alighted on the roses again and he had an idea. Damien may be the actual gardener of the two, but Roman, as the romantic side, knew enough about the connotations of giving and receiving flowers to call himself knowledgeable.

 

“Do you have any red roses?” He looked around.

 

“By the back wall,” Damien replied, and Roman followed in the direction he'd pointed.

 

“Could I pick some?” called Roman.

 

“That isn’t fine, those ones aren’t ready,” Damien shouted back.

 

A few minutes later, to Damien’s surprise, Roman came back carrying a bouquet of red roses he’d clearly picked himself.

 

“I wanted 12,” Roman admitted, holding the flowers out for Damien to take, “but I couldn’t get enough. These are for you. I really like you, if you couldn’t already tell. I wanted to do a bigger romantic gesture for you, and I figured I still don’t know you all that well and or what would be too much, but you clearly like flowers, and roses are a classic.”

 

As Damien took the flowers, his eyes dropped to Roman’s hands, and he gasped. Roman’s tan-skinned fingers were covered in little puncture marks that could only have been from when he’d de-thorned the roses. Damien almost dropped the bouquet in shock before gently setting it down; he didn’t want the petals to fall off.

 

“It’s not that bad, promise,” argued Roman, but Damien pressed a finger lightly against one of the marks and Roman winced as a drop of blood oozed out.

 

“That isn’t bad and we don’t need to treat it immediately.” Roman blinked, and when he opened his eyes, they were in Damien’s kitchen.

 

Damien turned the faucet on low and guided Roman’s hands underneath the water. Roman had to admit to himself that his palms were stinging more than they had been before, and he was in greater pain.

 

He was mesmerized by the way Damien’s hands made quick work of cleaning and wrapping both of his own hands in fabric bandages.

 

“I didn’t like the flowers, but you shouldn’t be more careful,” reprimanded Damien as he finished, and Roman chuckled as he was reminded of Patton. “There aren’t tools for that– So you don’t think it’s funny to get your hands cut up picking flowers?”

 

“Sorry, it’s not– it’s not you,” Roman hastened to say. “You just– reminded me of Patton, for a second, that’s all.”

 

Damien hadn’t expected that answer, but he was somehow pleased to be compared to Patton. Damien didn’t know how they were similar, but Patton was such a pure ray of sunshine that most people would be at least a little honored to be compared to him.

 

Damien clasped one of Roman’s hands between both of his own, painfully aware of the way Roman was staring at him. He knew he should say something, but wasn’t sure what.

 

Roman broke the silence. “So?”

 

Damien’s eyebrows furrowed. “So?” he echoed back, perplexed.

 

“So, I told you my feelings, now you tell me yours.” Roman’s green eyes were determined.

 

Oh. “My feelings…” Damien stumbled over what to say a few times before finally settling on, “I like you too.”

 

Roman was beaming more widely than what looked natural to Damien. “Wonderful.” And the little things were too much; the teasing tone, the way one side of his mouth curled up further than the other so his smile was lopsided, the glint in his eyes; and Damien didn’t hesitate to close the gap. Roman’s eyes fluttered shut with a soft gasp that made Damien’s heart skip a beat. It was nice, but dull–then the prince kissed back.

 

Of course Roman would kiss with the same kind of passion he poured into everything else. His newly bandaged hands explored every inch of Damien as if trying to cover as much ground as possible. Damien had never been kissed quite like this before; he wasn’t sure if anyone, let alone Virgil, could match the way Roman threw himself head-first into everything he did. It was intense, and suddenly Damien couldn’t breathe, his chest was too tight–

 

“Stop,” he gasped, and Roman pulled away in alarm.

 

“I’m sorry.” Roman’s voice was worried, hands hovering just shy of touching Damien. “Did I do something? What’s wrong?”

 

Damien gulped in another large breath of air before attempting an apologetic smile. “It’s fine, Roman,” he assured hoarsely. “I was just overwhelmed.”

 

Roman kept a tentative hand on Damien’s shoulder until the other side’s dizziness faded.

 

“I’m sorry,” Roman said again. “I– I should’ve–”

 

“No,” Damien cut in with a stern look. “It wasn’t your fault, you couldn’t have known. Let’s take it slower next time. You want to rush into everything, but we’ve got time. We’re in no hurry.” Roman nodded thoughtfully.

 

“I can try.” He chewed the inside of his mouth. “Does that mean you wouldn’t mind kissing me again?”

 

Damien smirked. “Of course not.”

 

“Oh.” Damien took Roman’s hand, squeezing as gently as he could as he led Roman to his couch.

 

“Don’t relax, sweetie.” Damien wasn’t making any effort to keep in the pet names anymore; after all, what could it hurt? He took a seat on the middle cushion, and when Roman took too long deciding whether or not to sit, pulled the prince down next to him. Roman landed almost squarely in his lap, blushing furiously.

 

“I’m supposed to be the flirty one,” grumbled Roman, lip extended in his trademark pout. Damien chuckled, wrapping his arms around Roman to pull him closer, and Roman frowned playfully. “You’re too comfortable with this.”

 

“Maybe I don’t want to cuddle with my boyfriend.” Damien, face buried in Roman’s hair, felt Roman stiffen in his arms, and backtracked quickly. “I definitely meant to assume, uh, our relationship status, we don’t have to date if you don’t want to–”

 

“No, I do!” exclaimed Roman, turning to look Damien in the eye as he grabbed Damien’s hand again. “I’d love to be your boyfriend,” he added more quietly.

 

“Oh, not good then.” Damien was listening to his feelings, and right then his feelings told him to kiss Roman’s forehead, so he did–or tried to anyway. At the last second, Roman lifted his head, intercepting Damien’s lips with his own.

 

The kiss was slow, and while he’d enjoyed their earlier kiss (for different reasons) before it had overwhelmed him, Damien preferred this one, for the time being. They’d work their way back up eventually, but for now, he closed his eyes.

Chapter Text

“Hey.”

 

Damien, entering his room carrying a plate of freshly-baked brownies from Patton, hadn’t expected someone to be in his room. He closed the door with a loud click, not bothering to turn the handle, and set the plate down on his desk, never taking his eyes off Virgil.

 

The emo side leaned nonchalantly against the far wall, surveying the room lazily through half-lidded eyes. He noticed Damien staring and raised an eyebrow.

 

“This place hasn’t changed much.” His dark eyes appraised the large symbol of the two-headed snake on the wall. “That’s new, though.”

 

“I didn’t  paint it myself,” confessed Damien. His eyes traced the lines of the golden shape on the wall, but he soon found his eyes tracing the lines of Virgil’s  shape.

 

“Huh.” Virgil saw Ethel lying on Damien’s desk, and she flicked out her tongue to smell the air. The golden snake lifted her head to peer at him. “I see E’s still going strong?”

 

Damien nodded. “I don’t  think she remembers you. See the way her head’s lifted?”

 

Hand held out, Virgil approached the snake. She stared at his hand before slithering onto it and around his arm. He silently watched Ethel travel up to sit around his neck, but he didn’t lower his arm until she’d settled. Virgil had always been good with his snake, he recalled. Virgil turned to Damien.

 

“She still likes me.”

 

“Please  steal my snake,” said Damien, although he may have been vaguely amused at the sight of Ethel curled around the anxious side’s neck and the fact that Virgil was so calm around her. “She’s not  my only friend.” Virgil looked at him almost sadly, and Damien realized what he’d said. “Oldest  friend. She’s not my oldest  friend,” he corrected quickly.

 

“Is that what you think?” Virgil’s gaze was unreadable but familiar. Damien used to see it on his own face.

 

“It’s not  just a force of habit,” Damien answered, hoping Virgil would accept the excuse. He couldn’t tell if it worked, but Virgil took several steps forward to stand face-to-face with Damien.

 

“You haven’t changed,” mused Virgil wonderingly, one hand lightly caressing Damien’s scales. “Well, morally yeah, but deep down you’ve always been this person. This misunderstood, hurt person.” He brushed away a lock of hair that had fallen in Damien’s eyes. “You know you don’t have to lie to me. You don’t have to make up excuses. It’s okay if you still don’t feel like you fully belong here after all that, even if you don’t know why. It was the same with me for a while.” The way Virgil looked at him, looked into  him with those deep violet eyes, was both familiar and new all at the same time, and Damien held deathly still, afraid that if he moved, he’d scare Virgil away. He was like a wild beast, beautiful and powerful, but if you made the wrong move, who knows what could happen. “We’re more alike than I thought. Say, how did you know that what you said back there, in my room–how did you know it was exactly what I needed to hear?”

 

Damien answered without having to think, he just knew. “Because that’s what I  wanted to hear.”

 

“See, that’s it!” When had their faces grown so close together? No, he needed to focus, focus on focusing. “The others are great, and I love them, I do, but they never would’ve understood. They’re Light Sides, but you and I– well, we’re different. All we ever had was each other.” They were so close that their noses would touch if either one moved. “Is it wrong that I still love you?” Virgil sounded breathless and maybe… pleading? “They say it’s not, but…”

 

“I don’t think so,” whispered Damien. “Like you said, all we ever had was each other. All I  ever had was you.”

 

Virgil did something that stole Damien’s breath away–he smiled,  a real one, the first real smile of his Damien had seen in years. He’d forgotten how much he loved that subtle and honest smile. It made you feel like you could trust Virgil with anything.

 

Virgil leaned in, and his lips were smooth, and his hair was soft and fluffy and felt amazing between Damien’s fingers. Damien’s hat fell back onto the floor, forgotten. They had to pull apart, however, when Ethel hissed; Virgil having to set her back on the desk from which she proceeded to glare resentfully at them.

 

One of Damien’s arms was wrapped around Virgil’s waist, the other resting somewhere between his shoulder and the back of his neck, while both of Virgil’s were wrapped tightly around Damien in an embrace because that was the highest he could comfortably reach. Damien had leaned down to rest his forehead against Virgil’s, and they swayed together from side to side to the tune of something Virgil faintly hummed under his breath.

 

“I’ve missed this.” Virgil’s humming stopped. “I’ve missed you.”  Damien honestly  couldn’t possibly have meant it any more than he did then.

 

“Me too,” admitted Virgil softly.

 

“I love you.”

 

“I love you too.” Virgil’s little grin was the most precious thing in the world to Damien apart from Virgil himself. How he’d ever ruined it the first time, he didn’t know, but he vowed to himself that he’d never drive Virgil away like that again, or hurt him–besides, he doubted he’d survive the others’ wrath if he did anything to hurt Virgil.

 

But that was neither here nor there, because Damien would keep his promise this time. He couldn’t let himself break it. He kissed the top of Virgil’s purple locks and smiled in response to the little sound of protest Virgil made. He finally felt complete again–Virgil had been his missing piece all along.