Thomas was having… complicated feelings.
Well, his feelings were always complicated but this was really hitting a peak.
Alison had called it ‘aromantic’ like it was actually something other people felt… or didn’t feel rather.
Thomas groaned and buried his head in his knees. He had left his usual sighing place and was currently hiding in the attic next to what Fanny had once called a gramophone.
Alison has told him to come find her when he had thought some more on being aromantic, that had been weeks ago and he still hadn’t gone to back to her.
As he was still deep in thought and had his knees in front of his face he didn’t see somebody come in. He didn’t notice somebody sitting down next to him until that person spoke.
It was Robin.
Thomas raised his head to look at his intruder. “How did you know where I was?”
Robin shrugged. “Only place left to look.”
“I didn’t ask you to come looking.”
“Always ask. Didn’t ask, something big wrong. Everyone else is looking, me find you first.”
Thomas grunted and faced away from Robin.
“You going to say what’s wrong?” Robin asked. Thomas heard him shuffling and looked back to see him now sat cross legged beside him.
“No.” Thomas hissed.
“Why not?” Robin whined.
“Because me don’t want to-” Thomas snapped before correcting himself. “I- I don’t want to, alright?”
“Okay.” Robin muttered. He shuffled again and hunched over himself, staring at Thomas.
“Are you just going to sit there?” Thomas asked.
Robin nodded. “Don’t wanna leave you alone.”
Thomas huffed and crossed his arms.
They stayed like that for what seemed like an eternity before Thomas sighed, if there was anyone who he could talk about this… it would be Alison, but Robin would also do. He probably wouldn’t understand him anyway.
“It’s an issue I’ve been having and had when I was alive too.” Thomas said slowly. “I don’t- can’t feel romantic love, no matter how hard I try. Alison told me it’s called ‘aromantic’ and told me to try and accept that aspect of myself. I’ve… I’ve been trying for that last few weeks but I’ve been thinking I’ve been broken for so long, it’s difficult is all.”
Robin nodded along as he said this and once he’d finished, raised a hand.
“Aromantic?” He repeated, putting a hand on Thomas’ chest. “Doesn’t feel romantic love?”
Robin’s eyes seemed to sparkle and he brought his hand to his own chest. “Aromantic.”
Thomas grimaced. “No, I’m aromantic.” He said through gritted teeth.
Robin shrugged. “Never felt romantic love too.” And then. “Never felt sexual love either.”
Thomas frowned. “Really?”
Robin nodded enthusiastically.
“I… do feel sexual love.” Thomas said slowly.
Robin shrugged again. “Great, we’re both aromantic!”
“I guess we are.” Thomas muttered. Great, if he didn’t think he was broken before, then the half-human ape being the same as him really did push it.
“That’s good.” Robin beamed.
“Good?” Thomas cried. “I don’t get how it can be good. Without romance how can I ever express my passion? My desire… How can I… I can never go on a date, I can never be wholly intimate with somebody, putting my whole soul into that other person, I can never waltz with someone, I can never do anything and enjoy it. I’m too broken to be able to do them.”
Robin was quiet for a few moments, his face scrunched up in thought.
“You can…” He said eventually. “You can do those stuff. Nothing needs romance to do things.”
“I don’t believe that.” Thomas mumbled, going back to pulling his knees to his chest.
“I’ll prove it.” Robin stood up and motioned for Thomas to wait there. Like he was going anywhere else.
Robin left the attic and Thomas unfurled a little bit. Robin returned about 15 minutes later but with Mike.
“What are you doing? Why did you bring him?” Thomas asked, scowling at Mike.
“Couldn’t find Alison.” Robin said way of an explanation. He then turned his focus onto the light bulb hanging down from the attic roof. It started to flicker in a systematic way.
Mike turned to watch it, bringing out a notebook and pen from his back pocket.
Robin continued to flicker the light and Mike continued to write things down.
Eventually Robin stopped and Mike read over what he wrote.
“Music. For. Thomas. To. Dance.” Mike muttered out loud. Thomas frowned and Robin grinned at him.
“I- you said you couldn’t read.” Thomas hissed at Robin. “How did you spell that all out for him?”
Robin just grinned again.
“Ah.” Mike went over to the gramophone and fiddled around with some of the knobs and buttons. “Actually, you know what, I think I’ll just stick something on YouTube.” He quickly said. “Let’s see, let’s see.” He took out his phone and started to search. “Thomas is… Regency? I think that’s what Alison told me anyway.” He stared at his phone for a little bit longer before clicking on something. “I hope this is okay, mate.” Mike set his phone against the gramophone and a song started to play. Thomas didn’t recognise it.
Thomas got up and looked at the title of the video before it disappeared. He didn’t quite catch the title but he did get the year. A little but after he died. Thomas supposed Mike tried at least.
“Dance?” Robin said. Oh, Thomas had nearly forgotten he was there.
Thomas nodded and Robin held his hand out. Thomas’ hand fidgeted. He hadn’t actually expect to dance with Robin.
“Er, I’ll come back later.” Mike said, looking around the room but once again, never quite on them and disappeared from the attic.
“Dance.” Robin said again. “Dance, it’s not just for romance allowed. Friends can too.”
Thomas grimaced again slightly. “Do you even know how to dance? To waltz?”
Robin froze, before beaming and shaking his head.
Thomas gritted his teeth. “Fine, I’ll show you how to waltz.”
He took Robin’s hand and guided Robin’s other hand to his shoulder. Finally Thomas hooked his arm around Robin’s back.
“Follow me and try not to step on me.” Thomas said, to which Robin nodded brightly.
They danced for a bit. Thomas didn’t enjoy it so much but that was mainly because he was concentrating so hard on making sure he didn’t get injured by Robin.
As the song on Mike’s phone ended and the next song started on the playlist, Thomas looked up at Robin and noticed he had a massive grin on his face. Thomas also realised that either Robin must have picked this up very very quickly or…
“You liar, you already knew how to waltz.” Thomas accused.
Robin simply laughed in response and let go of Thomas, before quickly maneuvering Thomas and stealing the lead for himself.
Thomas squawked in displeasure but Robin grinned again and span him around.
“See, dance.” Robin said as he set them off on a waltz again. “And no romance needed.”
“Yes, but I did say ‘enjoy’, didn’t I.”
“Then relax. Dance and enjoy.”
Thomas’ shoulders slumped and he stopped resisting. He also stopped concentrating so hard. He even started to enjoy it a little.
Really, Thomas very rarely tried to get close to Robin, but this was… okay,he guessed. It also give him the closeness to notice something about Robin. Scarring running up his arm, like somebody had tried to draw a very crooked line. Almost like lightning. There also seemed to be some scarring peaking over the top of Robin’s collar. Thomas shook his head slightly, he could ask Robin about that later.
The song ended and the next one started and they continued to dance.
“Enjoying?” Robin asked quietly.
“Yes.” Thomas breathed.
“See, don’t need romance to enjoy things. Me enjoying too. We’re the same. We’re not broken.”
“Hey,” Robin then said, amusement in his voice. “Do you wanna know, me also told Julian I didn’t know how to play chess.”
Thomas chuckled with laughter. “You’ve known how to play since before I arrived.”
Robin hummed. “Wanted to spend time with him. It worked.”
Thomas shook slightly with silent laughter and closed his eyes. Then he did something he usually would never consider in a million years, Thomas dropped his head against the side of Robin’s. Robin nuzzled closer into Thomas, purring slightly. Perhaps Robin was right that romance things didn’t need romance to do. Perhaps Alison was right and there was nothing wrong with him. Perhaps he wasn’t completely broken after all.
Pat had found Thomas. Or rather, he heard the music which had led them to Thomas. Or rather, Robin had found Thomas.
The ghosts were all stood in the entrance to the attic, watching Thomas and Robin dance.
None of them said anything. They stood for a minute but both Robin and Thomas were too wrapped up in each other to notice them. They retreated downstairs and formed into a circle.
“They were dancing.” Julian said simply.
“They were.” Fanny agreed.
“They looked so cute.” Kitty squeed.
“Okay everyone,” Pat said. “We have to be supportive. I know it’s a little weird-” He felt the Captain’s eyes burn into him and quickly carried on. “And it’s weird because one of the party members here is Robin.”
“I didn’t think Robin was interested in anything.” Julian muttered.
“Robin isn’t.” Mary said. “Robin isn’t interested in anyone.”
“Well, desires can change.” Pat said. “It might have happened to Robin, so we have to be supportive. Agreed?”
“Agreed.” The Captain said sharpish, almost desperate.
The ghosts murmured their agreement and split up, waiting for the pair to come down.
They did eventually, an hour or so later.
They came in following Mike, who was muttering about how low of a battery he had on his phone now. Mike quickly passed through the room the ghosts looked up from what they were doing, trying to hide the rather eager looks on their faces as Robin patted Thomas on the back.
“I have something to tell you all.” Thomas announced. He glanced once at Robin, who nodded, then back at the rest of them.
“Go on, Thomas, we’re all listening.” Pat encouraged. The other ghosts nodded.
Thomas took a deep breath. “I’m… aromantic.”
“Okay,” Julian said slowly. “And what does that mean?”
“It’s, err,” Thomas tried to get out. “It’s- it’s where I- you- err-”
“No romantic feelings.” Robin filled in. “Don’t feel romance. Thomas just find out.”
This was not what the ghosts expected, none of them really knew what to say about that.
“I as well,” Robin said, pointing at himself. “Aromantic.”
“Right, okay.” Pat walked over to them and clapped his hands, plastering a smile on his face. “Well I’m very glad you told us that, thank you.”
“Don’t feel sex either.” Robin added.
“That’s asexual, Robin.” Came Alison’s voice suddenly. They all jumped as she entered the room.
“I’m really glad you thought some more about it, Thomas. Well done.” Alison smiled.
Thomas smiled weakly.
“Anyway,” Alison said, coming over to them. “I hope you two like green because that’s the colour of your flag.”
“They have a flag?” The Captain all but shouted.
“Yeah,” Alison said, slightly alarmed. “There’s a lot of flags-”
“I want a flag!” Julian demanded.
“Oh can we all get a flag?” Kitty said, clapping.
“Alison, show me these flags.” The Captain said. “They could be vital in a military campaign-”
“No they won’t.” Julian scoffed. “Alison, if they get a flag, then they should have created one for me.”
“Listen guys.” Alison took a step back. “I’ll show you all the different flags there are, just chill will you.”
The ghosts did not, in fact, chill.
As Alison led the shouting bunch over to the closest thing connected to the internet, Pat saw Robin nudge Thomas.
“Do another aro dance?” Robin asked.
“Yes,” Thomas said quietly, a hint of a smile on his face. “I think I’d like that.”