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Judgemental

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"So I was thinking about maybe reading or performing Waiting for Godot next time we're here." Roman hummed softly as he leaned against an oak tree. Sitting next to him, Deceit hummed in agreement, petting a squirrel that found its way into his lap.

"As long as you don't recreate the setting. I would rather not be stuck infinitely waiting for someone who won't show." he teased and scratched under the squirrel’s chin

"That's fair. Knowing the Dragon Witch, he would keep me locked up in that loop if given the chance, the wretch!" Roman sighed and threw his hands into his lap.

"Maxie is a gem! If you gave her a chance you might find her to be quite agreeable."

"Now I know you're lying." Roman snorted, "I dreamt him to be my foe, so he wouldn't like me. I have a fair amount of control but I can't go against his basic design."

"I'm more under your control than she is." Deceit laughed, "It's no surprise, really. She's been about for long enough to think and feel on her own. Just like Remy, or Dr. Picani. By the way, do try to use the right pronouns."

"Pronouns, oh! Of course! I hadn't realized she decided. Are you saying I'm going to have to fight even harder now?"

"Invite her to tea. Goodness knows she is a master brewer in several ways. And yes, I promise you I am being honest."

"You befriended the Dragon Witch?"

"Naturally. I enjoy reptilian company. And you should consider it–she is just as dramatic and fanciful as you."

"After Godot . That will take up so much time that I can't spare—and I'm afraid I have to get back to work." Roman sighed and got up. Deceit shooed the squirrel and joined him as he headed for the exit.

"Do let me know if you have any ideas for the next video. Your courtroom idea was brilliant! I wish I had thought of it." Roman mused.

"I'm so glad I did—it only led to the worst possible outcome.” Deceit rolled his eyes, “All I wanted was for Thomas to accept his wants are valid and that wanting isn't a bad thing."

"You're still mad I made him go to the wedding."

"As punishment. Yes. If he chose to go because he wanted to be there for his friends more than he wanted that callback I would have been annoyed, but as a punishment? It's beyond upsetting. It's like slapping me in the face with my own perfectly pressed glove! Full of nails. Rusty nails. And they're poking through the fabric."

"I'm not thrilled either, E. But there was a lot of pressure." Roman sighed.

"I can't blame you too much. It was my fault for picking that scenario. I should have expected you were all so extra. You took the setting more seriously than the argument. And you were the only one who took me seriously!"

"I don't think that's true. But I understand your frustration. Let me know if there's anything I can do to make it up to you."

"You could fix the fresh hole in my wall thanks to that disaster. And if you have the time and energy, perhaps a movie marathon. I have a collection of Don Bluth films I've been meaning to watch."

"Well that's nothing! A week from tonight, your place, 7pm, and I'll bring candy and tissues!"

" American Tale still makes you cry?" Deceit chuckled, “You and Sam.”

"Always!" Roman laughed as he led Deceit through the barrier and into the main part of the mindscape. But the second they stepped out of the imagination their smiles fell.

"Roman," Patton greeted with a tight smile, "we were just looking for you!" He stood next to Virgil, both of their arms crossed menacingly.

"Padre! Virgil! What seems to be the problem?"

"Besides him?" Virgil mumbled. Deceit sneered at him.

"Virge here just wanted to give you a few script ideas." Patton answered, "And I was just headed to the imagination to play with all the dogs."

"Oh, by all means!" Roman replied averting his gaze. Why did he feel so ashamed when those two were around?

"I'm afraid all the dogs are tuckered out." Deceit hummed, "Best let them rest."

"Aww." Patton pouted.

"He's lying." Virge scoffed.

"I'm afraid he isn't." Roman sighed, "Come on, I'll see you in my room." Roman sank out without any flourish, and Virgil followed, leaving Deceit and Patton alone.

"What do you think you're doing?" Patton snarled, squaring his shoulders as if his disappointment never existed. Deceit eyed him carefully and shook his head.

"Whatever do you mean? Roman reached out to me. I'm not in any way trying to trick him into—anything." he held up his hands to prove he had no tricks up his sleeves.

"A likely story!"

"And Virgil claimed you were the slowest to judge." Deceit chuckled bitterly and lowered his hands, "He was mistaken."

"What are you talking about?"

"You know I'm here to act as self-preservation as well as deception, and yet you claim I'm just going to lie and trick Thomas into lying for the sake of lies and being selfish."

"Well that's what you do when you show up!"

"When I show up!” Deceit held a hand to his chest, “And when I'm not physically present do you know what I do? I make sure he's taking care of himself." he hissed, tearing his hand away.

"Yeah instead of—"

"No, for his friends, not instead of. And for himself. I am a part of Thomas too and I should be listened to at least–my ideas considered, not tossed aside as evil, even if I'm ultimately ignored." he wagged his finger at the father figure.

"When have you ever considered any of us?" Patton crossed his arms sternly.

"More than you know. I was the voice telling you to get out of bed in the morning when you were so depressed you couldn't even bring yourself to brush your teeth! I was the one filling your head with simple lies of encouragement so you would feel better! I was the one who eased Virgil's panic attacks before you became friends–I taught him that breathing exercise. Roman and I are friends and I help boost his confidence. I continuously call out every harmful lie and strive to make the truth your truth. I'm far more considerate than you give me credit for."

"That was you?" Patton squeaked just before his jaw hit the floor and his arms fell to his sides. He couldn't believe it.

"Yes. But you have me cast as the bad guy. You've cast Logan as the epitome of knowledge despite his oversights, mistakes, and limited understanding in certain areas. Roman is not the noble knight of your dreams, far from it in fact, and Virgil isn't a reflection of your past and won't ever be just like you in the future. Keeping that information from you was the most selfish thing anyone has ever done."

"I—I—" he was stunned yet again. No one else knew how much he saw himself in Virgil. He never mentioned anything about it to anyone.

"No one wants to hurt you, and the truth hurts. But you can't grow without some pain. It's quite selfish to stunt your growth, so I'll play the bad guy, the vigilante in the shadows, the villain to you but a hero to Thomas. It's my role, and I am as dedicated an actor as Roman. Feel free to play with the imaginary cats instead of the dogs." Deceit said coldly and vanished.

Chapter Text

Deceit woke up the next morning at six, as always. Logan wasn't the only one who held fast to a regular sleep schedule. It was just the most basic self-care! The not so basic routine he had was a different story. It started with a cool shower to wake up, only the richest lotion he could summon, excessive preening in the mirror, all before Roman's pep talk filled his head–and he loathed how much he could still hear.

Instead of dwelling on the inevitable, Deceit decided to go to the cognitive kitchen for a cup of tea and a fresh lemon, thinking only Logan or maybe Virgil would be there. But he did not expect to be greeted with the scent of bacon and pancakes or the sound of someone humming a deceptively cheerful song.

"Mornin'!" Patton greeted from the stove, not bothering to look back and see who it was.

"Good morning Morality." Deceit responded stiffly, expecting Patton to chase him off. He could get his caffeine fix in the instinctual realm, he never did like waiting for the water to boil with an audience, but he would much rather be wanted than shunned.

"Oh, Deceit," Patton gasped and peeked over his shoulder, grinning sheepishly, "I didn't think you were up this early!"

"No, no, I've been awake for two hours."

"Oh!" Patton gasped, turning his head back to the stove, "I guess you already had breakfast in the dark side of the mind, huh?"

"Why does it matter? Last time I appeared during breakfast you chased me out of the room. I couldn't even grab a lemon wedge." E said flatly and crossed his arms, ignoring the misnomer. Patton visibly flinched. Good, he was coming to terms with his actions. Every action has a reaction, and it paid to weigh the pros and cons of each.

"Deceit," Patton sighed as he flipped a pancake, "I'm sorry. I treated you like a monster and became a monster myself. I never put enough thought into what you do in the shadows, and I want to try and make it up to you." He sounded sincere enough, but something in his voice was off. It wasn't a lie, but Deceit didn't need any special ability to see right through him.

"I acknowledge your attempt, but you and I both know that a shortstack and a few words won't be enough." Deceit answered, still able to taste the lie looming around Patton, waiting to rear its head.

"What do I have to do?"

"Treat me with respect." Deceit hummed, "And dear God, be honest more often."

"More honest?" Patton frowned and tended to his cooking, "I'm Morality, I think lying is wrong, I'm as honest as they come."

"Then we're in trouble." Deceit answered wryly and inspected his gloves, "It's funny, I know every lie the rest of you say and you still think you can lie to me."

"Okay so I lie from time to time." Patton begrudgingly admitted.

"Minute to minute."

"I'm trying to be nice and you're making it difficult." Patton snarled.

"Oh naturally darling. You see I already know exactly why you want to apologize, and I'm not going to give in that easily."

"And why is that?" Patton asked, gripping his spatula tighter.

"You have an image you want to keep, the image of the welcoming happy father figure. You can't do that with a snake poking holes in your façade. Your apology is only meant to make you feel better, not at all the apology I deserve. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a lemon I need to get." he brushed past a stunned Patton and snatched the bitter fruit from the fridge. He still needed that.

"Will you at least have some breakfast?" he wilted and looked over the mountain of food he cooked.

"No. But it won't go to waste. Your little family will be here soon enough. No need to show charity to the villain." Deceit retorted before sinking out.

It took all of ten seconds for Patton to snap, slamming his fist against the counter with a snarl.

 

"Pops?" a concerned voice called to him. Patton sighed and peeked over his shoulder at Virgil. The poor thing had just rolled out of bed and got shocked awake.

"Mornin' kiddo!" he chuckled awkwardly and turned off the stove, "Sorry you had to see that."

"What was that about?"

"Oh you know, sometimes I get angry, but it's not a big deal."

"If you don't want to talk about it just tell me and I'll drop it. I want to make sure you're okay."

"I just had a conversation with Deceit. He is driving me nuts! I tried to apologize and he said some things that stung." Patton groaned.

"What did he say?” Virgil’s voice was low and had a dangerous edge.

“I tried to apologize for being mean, and he didn’t accept it. He said I was only apologizing so I didn’t look like a jerk.” Patton threw his arms up in exasperation.

“Well, what was the purpose of extending a figurative olive branch?" Logan asked when he entered, unconcerned with the stigma of eavesdropping.

"I mean, he was right, but it was just rude to reject it." Patton admitted.

"I assume this is a social convention?" Logan stated more than asked as he made his way to the coffee pot, his favorite mug in hand.

"Well yeah, but social conventions are the foundations of society. You have to follow them or else you're an outcast." Virgil answered with more salt than the Dead Sea.

"You expect Deceit to follow social convention?" Logan questioned as he poured a cup of black gold.

"No but–" Virgil started to say but Logan cut him off.

"Then logically speaking, his response was predictable." the nerd shrugged.

"So I have to want to apologize because I want him to feel better?" Patton cut in. It was too early for these two to debate.

"And how the hell would you do that? Why would you want to do that?" Virgil huffed and crossed his arms.

"Because hurting people is wrong and their feelings matter. It's the right thing to do." Patton answered, then froze, staring off into the distance.

"Patton?" Logan peeped as he sat down at the table.

"I'm the bad guy." Patton breathed.

"No you aren't." Virgil retorted.

"But I am! I just said considering others' feelings is the right thing to do and I haven't considered his at all!" Patton argued, "I kept saying lying is wrong to the personification of lying! If that's not bad enough, I've been shutting him down every time he tries to make a point."

"But you should, his points suck." Virgil scoffed.

"For a clearer picture, it's in Thomas' best interest to consider all options and outcomes before making a decision." Logan cut in. Virgil glared daggers at him, daggers that didn't faze Logan as he sipped his drink.

"Exactly! And I was so convinced he was just trying to trick us and lead Thomas astray! And I keep antagonizing him!" Patton cried.

"That's because he's a manipulative liar." Virgil snapped.

"He is quite persuasive, but I have yet to see his manipulative tactics–"

"He was constantly buttering up Roman during the trial. He disguised himself as you and Patton!"

"–I have yet to see them being used to their full capacity in a harmful manner. Basic logic is all you need to tear down his arguments usually. Often his conclusions are sound, though tainted with an objective. I doubt his tactics are only meant to trick Thomas, as there is more to each of us than the function we are named for. He is the personification of lies but also something else. Perhaps his disguising method is part of that. Selfishness is clearly starved for attention."

"He has no idea how else he can get us to listen to him." Roman said as he entered the room, bringing the conversation to a halt. He glanced between the three and scowled,

"I can attest to this fact. He is not Selfishness, you should know that has a negative connotation and diminishes his actual role. Self-preservation is doing his job to the best of his abilities. When he shows up, shouldn't we consider that he has a valid reason for being in the middle of the lion's den?"

"Lion's den?"

"It's a figure of speech, Logan. He arrives only to be told to leave, to hear how horrible he is, to be dismissed by the one person he strives to protect. He's called every one of us out in hopes we'll understand what we are doing to harm rather than help, and so far I am the only one who listened and grew because of him, of my own volition. Patton, you are in the wrong this time. But I expect now that you realize it, you'll do what's right–and you know that better than me."

"I–I know what the right thing to do is, but I might need some help." Patton stammered, "Roman, after breakfast could we talk one on one?"

"Of course, Padre." Roman agreed, "Now let's eat—that enticing aroma called me from my slumber!"

Chapter Text

Deceit sat in the instinctual commons with a cup of tea and a copy of Waiting for Godot for his next performance. He ignored the flashing on the television as two sides battled each other to the death in some video game he couldn't care less about. He knew exactly one thing, Insecurity and Rage would end up in an argument and he would have to settle it.

"You cheated!" Rage snapped. Deceit glanced at the pair and sighed.

"Did not! You just suck at this game! Like you suck at everything, Try-hard!" Insecurity responded.

"Yeah everything including your boyfriend's dick!" Rage snapped, jumping to his feet. Deceit set his tea and book aside. The side staring down at the other adjusted his black trenchcoat and pushed his orange sunglasses to the top of his head. His hands balled into fists around his fingerless gloves and he was tense.

"Baka you are my boyfriend! Are you saying you can suck your own dick!?" Insecurity retorted irately. He might have been intimidating if he weren't sitting on the floor dressed as Yugi Muto, But green.

"Boys, I think it's time to put away the PlayStation and go back to our rooms." Deceit said sternly as he stood up. If they started fighting he would never finish reading. They both glared at him, but the second his arms crossed and his fingers drummed against his bicep, Rage and Insecurity shrank into themselves.

"Fine." Insecurity groaned and faded out, headed for his room. Rage growled and kicked his controller.

"Jacob." Deceit hummed menacingly, "What did I just tell you?"

"Go back to my room. But that place makes me so angry when I'm mad!"

"And you're already worked up." Deceit hummed softly, "In that case, why don't you go to the kitchen and make some pizza or bread. It's what you usually do when you knead to relieve tension. It'll keep you from getting hurt." Deceit suggested with a coy grin.

"I am kinda hungry." Rage admitted sheepishly, "You want anything?"

"I'm fine, but if there's extra, I might be willing to help." Deceit answered and smirked at him. Rage chuckled and shook his head, knowing damn well what Deceit meant. He headed towards the kitchen and called over his shoulder,

"Thanks Mom!"

Deceit blushed proudly and picked up his tea. His boys were rambunctious but they were good kids, and he was proud to be considered a parental figure in all the madness, at least in the instinctual realm. And knowing them, he would have to comfort Insecurity and convince him to come to dinner—Rage was cooking which meant there would be a lot to go around. He could already picture the insanity.

The sound of trumpets caused him to down the rest of his tea and set the cup aside. So much for reading! He examined his gloves as Roman rose up with a bright smile on his face and an elegant envelope in his hand.

"E, it's so good to see you exactly when I arrive!"

"What do I owe the honor of your presence?" Deceit chuckled and mockingly bowed.

"Sassy today, aren't we!" Roman laughed and held out the envelope, "I thought I might stop by and deliver this invitation."

"Invitation?" Deceit asked, taking the envelope and carefully opening it. The card inside was plain white paper with a doodle of a snake in green crayon. "You need to stop" was written above it in black crayon. Deceit scowled and opened it.

"He sent you with this?" Deceit held up the card so he could see. Roman paled as Deceit read the inside and scoffed. Inside it said: "by for dinner so we can talk!"

"Misleading compliments are not how you invite someone to dinner." Deceit huffed and shoved the card into Roman's chest, "Feel free to deliver that shove to that hypocrite as well."

"Oof! So you don't want to join us for dinner tonight?" Roman asked weakly.

"I already have plans with my family." Deceit hummed loudly.

"Who're you talking to?" Rage called from the kitchen.

"No one of interest." Deceit replied and shook his head. Roman pouted at Deceit, who was counting down on his fingers.

"Holy shit! Pride?! What are you doing back here you sonofabitch!?" Rage gasped, surprisingly elated as he appeared next to Deceit. Roman smiled awkwardly and waved at the side bouncing on his heels.

"Hold that thought!" he squealed and ran off.

"They know I'm Creativity, right?" Roman frowned.

"Of course, but in this area, you're known as Pride first and foremost. Defense is very vocal about it. I don't doubt he'll be back with Humility any second."

"Rage is bringing Insecurity?"

"Jacob is bringing Samuel. They haven't missed you at all ."

"I see. I can't stay for long. I have to get back to work on the next script." Roman explained as Rage and Insecurity reappeared.

"Next script for the Sanders Sides series? The one we're not good enough for?" Insecurity pouted.

"Sammy, c'mon." Rage groaned.

"Hello to you too. And no, it's for a shorts video, not to worry. You'll have your introduction in time, I promise." Roman answered with a soft smile.

"Like you guys actually want any of us there." Insecurity scoffed.

"Some days are worse than others, and your input on certain issues can grate some nerves, but when the time comes for you to make your grand entrance, we will welcome you, both of you."

"Just like you welcomed E?" Rage huffed.

"No, you see, I learned from my dealings with Alec. I'm working to make sure you three are seen as equal parts of Thomas, it's just taking forever."

"He's not lying. The puffball invited me to dine with them." Deceit cut in and held up the invite.

"But I'm making pizza! With six cheeses and onions!" Rage snarled, masking the whine in his voice. Deceit rolled his eyes and lowered the flimsy card.

"I already declined, Jacob. Why would I ever give up my time with my family just to be in a tense situation?"

"I'm afraid I do need to get going." Roman said after clearing his throat, "However, if it would be possible, I would like to have you join us for lunch after you help me with the scenery."

"That I can do. But there is one thing before you leave." Deceit hummed and smirked. Roman knew that look and stood his ground.

"Have at him." Deceit cheered. In an instant, Rage pounced, pulling Roman into a tight hug. Insecurity transported like some kind of Dragonball character and latched onto the prince from the back. Roman laughed and eyed Deceit challengingly.

"Come on then! Finish me you cowardly constrictor!" Roman ordered. Deceit scoffed and wrapped his arms around the trio. He would never admit that he loved every second of these hugs. Too bad they had to end.

"I'll see you tomorrow at nine." Deceit said as he guided his boys away from the prince. Roman beamed and sunk out with fanfare. Happy to have finished his quest.

Chapter Text

"Roman!" Patton cheered when the prince rose up in the common area. He looked a little roughed up, but Patton expected that from the dark sides.

"Greetings! I have returned with a response!" Roman cheered ignoring how Virgil glared at him from the couch.

"What did he say?" Patton pressed.

"He already has plans this evening."

"Really? He couldn't just say he doesn't want to." Patton pouted.

"He's busy with his family. I'm not going to force him away from them." Roman argued, ignoring the set of lined eyes burning him.

"I wouldn't want you to, but c'mon a family?" Patton chuckled, not believing a word of it. The other dark sides were there but he couldn't fathom them being a family.

"Don't be so surprised," Virgil cut in, "The others are a family, a sick and twisted family but still."

"I guess you would know that better than anyone else. You were stuck with them for a while." Patton thought aloud. Roman tried to keep from bristling. Virgil was insulting the trio who had communication figured out.

"Well I'm sure you understand his reason for rejecting the invitation." the prince butted in before Virgil could go off on an exaggerated rant.

"Yeah, family is important. I guess he's not ready to hear me out." Patton pouted. Virge looked ready to run his mouth again. Not if Roman could help it!

"About that. He is available for lunch tomorrow."

"Really? That works for me!" Patton beamed.

"It shouldn't." Virgil sneered, "It's the only time I won't be available to keep you on your toes."

"What is it with you and hating him? There has to be more than the yellow and the lies." Roman snarled.

"You really wanna know? He can hypnotize people and control them." Virgil responded darkly, "He's hypnotized me before. I never agreed to it."

"He did what!?" Patton gasped.

"Yeah. And he has Rage and Insecurity at his beckon call because of it."

"Now that is a bold claim, and more importantly a false one!" Roman huffed. I was just there and they both were acting of their own volition. And another thing, they get along in a healthy manner, they're not twisted. Creating fantasy is my job."

"Oh yeah, because you totally got out unscathed from the healthy family!" Virgil spat.

"It was a group hug!"

"They were looking for a place to stab you, obviously in the back."

"Kiddos." Patton warned.

"Why do you antagonize them so much? It's as if you secretly miss them and you're afraid to go back and face them."

"Princey." Patton warned.

"No one here is going to hate you for visiting them. And if that's not it, what is your problem?" Roman pressed.

"Shut up! You never had to live with them!" Virgil barked and sank out.

"Roman!" Patton scolded.

"No, Patton, I've learned my lesson about judging others. I did not say he was wrong and if he didn't want to say what's actually bothering him I would have left it. He's closed off and he needs to know that I am trying to understand him and work with him."

"There are nicer ways to do that, kiddo."

"Forgive me for defending those without a voice in this situation. Virgil's not the most reliable judge of character, and I would challenge you to see for yourself before you cling to his word."

"Only if you apologize for getting snappy with him."

"We'll sink out at the same time. And do be mindful that they're eating." Roman ceded. Patton nodded firmly and then they both sank out.


 

"Hey, E," Sam peeped, setting down his pizza, "Did you read the latest chapter I sent you? I know it's not my best but, yeah." Jake rolled his eyes fondly at him and smiled softly. Sam needed a good confidence boost. Jake had to tell himself that, rationalize while his hands balled into fists.

"I'm afraid not," Deceit answered and set his fork and knife on his empty plate, "I haven't gotten the chance. But rest assured I will devour it this evening. Who am I to turn away a free book? Especially one that's so intriguing."

"You don't have to butter me up."

"Please! You aren't some piece of toast!" he chuckled, "I am too much of a literature snob to lie about decent writing."

"Mom's right, Sammy." Jake grinned, "You're awesome, and if you try and fight me on this, it won't be pretty." Jake's smile tightened, warning the others that he was getting irate.

"Now, now, it's okay to be unsure. Samuel is making progress simply by sharing. Rome wasn't built in a day, not even digitally." Deceit said, "Breathe, Jacob."

"How do I know you aren't lying?" Sam asked, wringing his hands under the table.

"I have nothing to gain from it, in fact I am judging each paragraph. I'm not going to lie to make you feel better or worse. The lies I tell are little and white."

"Like?" Jake asked.

"Like telling you I forgot to make coffee. Samuel drank it all."

"You what!?" Jake snapped and stood abruptly. The boy was as addicted to the stuff as Logan. Sam shrank into himself.

"Jacob." Deceit warned. Jake paid him no mind. The tension in the air was so thick that it cast a fog over the new arrival.

"Jake." Deceit warned again.

"Shut up!" he snarled. Deceit got up and grabbed Jake's chin, turning his head so they could see eye to eye. Deceit's snake eye glowed, trapping Jake in his stare.

"You are starting to feel relaxed, let the tension in your muscles go." Deceit said calmly, "The coffee issue is resolved. Seven. Four. Eight. Seven four eight." Rage's breathing slowed. Deceit smiled at him, letting go of his chin.

"When I count to five, you will wake. One. Two. Three. Four. Five."

Jake blinked and collapsed in his chair. He smiled sheepishly at Deceit and rubbed the back of his neck.

"Sorry. I need to lay off the caffeine." he winced, "Sorry Sammy. And thanks Mom."

 

"Mom!?" Patton blurted out without thinking. All eyes landed on him and narrowed. Deceit scowled and swept away from his seat to confront the intruder.

"Come to attack me on my own turf? How very brazen of you, Moodiness."

"Moodiness? No, wait, I don't wanna ask. I didn't come to attack you—any of you."

"Spying is not welcome either. What are you doing here? And do be honest."

"I was just checking to see if what the others said was true. And I got my answers."

"Oh, and what did they say?" Deceit bristled, somewhat glad he relaxed Jake already. Sam was a different story. He was already up and ready to fight.

"Roman said you were with family. Vir—"

"Don't say that name! I am not going to hyper-relax  Sam as well." Deceit hissed softly, "What did Alec say?"

"Alec said you were a twisted family. And that you hypnotized them to brainwash them."

"Brainwash?!" Sam yelped, "E, please don't brainwash me! I know I'm not smart or strong or—"

"Silence!" Deceit snapped at him, "One more word diminishing your worth and Jacob will snap out of his tranquil daze. Now is not the time for that."

"Now I don't mean to be rude, but you shouldn't tell anyone to shut up like that, you should be gentle."

"How noble." Deceit scoffed, "I'm so glad you're more in tune with my boys than I am. Now that you have your answers, why don't you run along and let me clean up the mess you made."

"Mess?"

"I'm a mess?!" Sam yelped, "Oka-san?"

"Yes, Samuel, you are a mess, a collage of organized chaos and a uniquely beautiful piece of art. You are beautiful and valid and I will not tolerate any back talk." Deceit answered a little harshly. Jake took that as his cue and pulled Sam to his chest, pressing a clumsy kiss on his forehead.

"Now then, you were leaving? I certainly hope if you try to visit again you at least have the decency to be mindful that you are a guest, and that you are not the voice of stability. We’ll discuss whatever you need to tomorrow over lunch.”

“But—"

“Out!” Deceit roared like a mother bear. Patton sank out faster than the speed of light, leaving Deceit fuming.

"E, seven, four, eight." Jake called airily. Deceit followed the breathing instructions and turned back to the cuddling pair.

"Don't worry, no matter how hard Sammy doubts, he doesn't think you're controlling us. And I know you're not. That puffball has no right to suggest that."

"Jacob you are a gem. Let's finish up here." Deceit said with a weak smile.

Chapter Text

I don't know if I will finish this story with Remus in the mix now. If I'm being honest with myself, I don't think I can without kicking myself.