Virgil slowly makes it to Patton's room, anxiety bubbling in his chest.
He tries to tell himself that it's normal that he's afraid of “confronting” Patton like this.
Because he's Anxiety, after all, and he cares about Patton, and disappointing or making him mad will make him feel bad, for obvious reasons.
You wouldn't feel this way if it was Logan or Roman, his mind helpfully tells him.
What way? he asks himself.
“Hey kiddo! You need anything?”
Patton's voice is sickly sweet, it fills the air just like a fresh batch of cookies.
Guilty. Oh so guilty.
Patton is smiling at him, carefree. Cleary he hasn't been noticing Thomas’ feelings, his feelings.
Or maybe he has, and he just doesn't care.
Virgil shoves the thought down.
“Well, I do actually, need something, that is, sorta.”
A flush creeps onto his cheeks. Pattons laugh rings like bells.
He takes a breath, this should be easier, he's been practicing this for God's sake!
“You need to let Thomas take a break!” he blurts out.
Patton looks, well mildly surprised, but mostly he looks amused. Amused.
“Seems like something you should ask Logan.”
His tone is light. Virgil he can't help but feel it's the way one would talk to a small child, go talk to your other parent about it.
But of course if he explains it Patton will understand.
“Usually, yes. But this is the fourth time this week Thomas has agreed to help one of his friends. Tomorrow we have a get together and we are helping put some furniture together. It's draining him.” he adds a whisper, almost an afterthought. “Its draining me.”
“You don’t think Thomas’ friends are important?”
Virgil wants to be surprised, shocked Patton would say something like this.
It feels almost worse than he expected.
It doesn't mean he doesn't feel guilty, perhaps it's the sweetness in Patton's voice, his guiltless smile.
“Of course, but Thomas is important too.”
“You sound almost like Deceit.”
He says it in a joking way, something to brush off.
There is no way Patton doesn't know how on many levels that hits him.
“But maybe you're right, I'll try better in the future, I’m sorry.”
His tone isn't serious enough, although perhaps that is just Virgil's own imagination.
He'll take what he can anyway.
“Oh,” he remembered “I also won't be at dinner tonight. I just need some time to myself.”
It's an understatement, between Thomas not getting any alone time, the pressure to get the next video out and him not getting any rest Virgil was jittery, tired and very overstimulated.
Pattons smile shifts to a hurt expression, it's not even anger, just hurt.
The word lingers, and there is almost hope rising in Virgil.
It shatters like glass.
”I would say dining with your family would make you feel better.”
He wishes it sounded passive-aggressive, it doesn't. It sounds just as sweet as anything else Patton says, sweet and perfect.
Something in him wants to argue, it really does. He knows Patton is wrong.
But he's too tired to argue.
“Sure, I’ll help set the table.”
Patton beams at him.
“Thanks Virgil, I know you do care about your friends. ”
It stings, but it's impossible to get moral high ground when debating Morality.
So he doesn't try.
When Roman is working, he feels like he's flying. Sometimes he even is literally flying! How great it is to work in the imagination.
When I am done this will be one of the best things I have made, surely! he thinks, enjoying the feeling of new exciting projects rushing through his veins
Yes, he just needs to add some-
He is abruptly cut off by loud knocking on the door.
It yanks him out of his concentration, and then he's literally falling out of the imagination roughly onto his bedroom floor.
For a second he's too perplexed to think.
Then he's confused, he has asked the rest not to disturb him while working for exactly this reason. In fact, he had told them today at lunch.
Perhaps he has been working an unhealthy amount of time and someone is legitimately worried.
He checks the time. No, he has been working a few hours, nothing too bad.
So he goes to the door, mostly annoyed, kind of pissed.
He is then met with Patton's lovely face.
He doesn’t stop being pissed, but he does promptly swallow whatever he was going to say.
“Ah, Patton, what brings you to my castle on this fine evening?” he says instead.
“Just wanted to say dinner is almost ready!”
Hadn't he said at lunch that he would be working? Perhaps Patton had forgotten.
“Ah, well, you see, I just started working on my new project! I'm afraid if I stop, I'll just lose my flow, you know?”
Patton’s disappointment is very tangible, perhaps it is because they're in Romans room, perhaps it's that Patton is emotions, to some extent.
Whatever it is, it fills the air, and Roman isn't not sure he can breathe anymore.
“Are you mad?”
Roman does not mean for it to sound desperate.
“I mean, i'm just disappointed-”
Whatever else Patton says is left unheard, for Roman feels as he has been stabbed.
Or it could be worse, the sharp pain in his chest. It spreads, hot and thick, burning through his body.
He feels himself blush in deep, deep shame.
He feels dizzy, he might faint, shut down.
God it hurts, he feels tears threatening to fall.
He shouldn't have disappointed anyone.
He hates this feeling and he hates himself.
What had Logan called it, the one time he had dared to ever explain it? Rejection sensitive something.
It didn't matter, the only thing that mattered was that he wanted to go back into his room, hide, maybe for a bit, maybe forever.
“Ok, understand, I'll come down in a minute,” he says, because what else can he say?
Patton smiles at him, brilliant, sweet, guiltless.
It's only later that Roman will wonder. Because Patton knows, he knows how those words sting Roman.
Surely he must have forgotten.
It's no secret that Logan is an introvert, it's also no secret that Logan gets frustrated more easily than one might think.
The last week has not been particularly fun for him.
Patton had unrelentingly decided to skip on important planning for future videos and time for Thomas to rest and recharge. They had all let him.
Logan isn't sure what to do about it. Not knowing things was not helping.
Logan didn't like the state Thomas was in.
It made him slow, drowsy and, although he did not usually admit it, snappish.
But it was fine, tonight Logan was going to start his own personal planning for the new video.
Then he was going to go to sleep early.
Or maybe not, maybe he would go to Deceit's room and rant for a while, that was always surprisingly cathartic. Then sleep, not so early.
Then Patton knocked on his door. He knew it was Patton, recognizing the knocking patterns that he'd memorised by now.
Well, there goes his planning.
“Yes, come in Patton.”
Patton looks all the same as always, a nice easy smile on his face, the smile of someone who knows they're going to get exactly what they want.
“Just making sure you know dinner is almost ready!”
Logan knew this, he also expected a reminder.
“Well, as I have communicated before, tonight I would prefer to eat alone.”
He looks at Patton, and kind of wished he hadn't.
Patton is angry, although to anyone else he may seem frustrated at most.
But it's Patton, even the tiniest bit of anger on his face can be terrifying, real, unusual.
Patton, after all, was at the core of many of Thomas’ emotions.
When he had said it that time, it was meant as a careful reminder.
In Logan's mind the memory sounded vaguely like a threat.
Patton was a little too cheery sometimes, happiness crackling through him like waves. At times, sadness hit him harder than the rest, harder than any fake smile could cure.
But no one had ever seen Patton truly angry.
It was one of the only things that made Logan fearful.
He did not want to be the one to set it off.
So Patton just looks at him briefly, for a few seconds.
He doesn’t even need to say anything.
“On second thought, I am sure a familial meal would be pleasant.”
Patton’s anger is gone as soon as it appeared, leaving Logan to wonder if it was ever there.
“I'm glad, everyone is going to be there!” He smiles, satisfaction plain as day.
Logan hopes somewhere this will not be as horrific as he thought.
“Will Deceit be joining us too, then?”
Patton smiles thins.
Logic reasons, that obviously he has asked Deceit- they all agreed to make an effort to understand him better, after all- but Deceit has successfully avoided coming.
Perhaps it’s just hopeful thinking.
“Well, maybe he will agree when you ask him next time.”
“Oh, I didn't ask him.”
It's said in a nice, cheery voice. No explanation, malice or thought.
Logan and Patton walk downstairs.
In all honesty, Logan hopes Remus comes in to wreak some havoc, at least he would have an excuse to leave.
Dinner is simply the best, for Patton.
He chats excitedly about one thing after another, how fun it is that Thomas is going out tonight, how amazing it is that they can go see Joan tomorrow.
He doesn’t notice how every noise, every movement hits Virgil like knives. He doesn't notice how he flinches, how he is desperately tapping a breathing pattern into the table. It’s way too much, yet Patton doesn't see.
He doesn’t notice Logan frustratingly fidgeting with his tie. His eyes closing a little longer than usual, it's either exhaustion or understimulation. Either way, Patton doesn’t see.
Maybe he just didn’t look, because he does notice Roman spacing out, bouncing his leg.
“Did you hear me there Roman,” it sounds soft, “I asked you something.”
Romans face is pale, shame clear on his face.
Virgil is afraid that if he says anything he'll break, Logan isn't sure what he can do.
So they quickly eat in the silence of Patton’s empty chatter.
“Well that was fun, maybe we should do more things together!”
No one points out that they eat together almost every day.
That night Virgil storms into his room, breaking down immediately, his tears stinging his cheeks, making the oversensitivity so much worse.
He basically throws his clothes off, the fabric rough and agonizing against his skin.
His weighted blanket offers little comfort.
Eventually out of sheer exhaustion he collapses on his tear stained pillow, restless.
Tomorrow he'll stay in his room, the door locked, mostly sleeping.
Hopefully he'll feel better by noon.
That night Logan quietly makes it to Deceit's room, falling into the other side's arms.
He rants for a while, and Deceit listens while he ruffles Logan's hair and holds him.
Deceit knows, and Deceit understands.
They fall asleep tangled up with each other, Logan can't bring himself to care about whether the others will find them, they're well hidden after all.
That night Roman tries to get back to work, but the concentration doesn't come.
He wants to scream, but he's afraid Patton may somehow hear him.
Instead he throws his pen to the wall and goes to kill a dragon.
He doesn't sleep.
He will not come back from his quest the next morning.
That night Patton does the dishes, then he goes to bed.
He sleeps on time and easily.
When he wakes up he wonders why no one shows up for breakfast.
He'll go ask them.