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auld lang syne

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It takes all of Virgil's willpower not to sink out in the middle of the trial, courtroom scenario be damned. He can feel his anxiety cresting, ready to spill into a tsunami of panic, and it doesn't help that he can also feel the confusion spreading out from Thomas after Deceit's sly, contrived lines. What? I just meant your name. As if anyone is going to believe that.

The instant he can, he disappears into his room, locking the door and huddling in the center of the fluffy purple rug tucked into a corner, burying his head in his knees as his panic flares and throbs like a living thing, swirling in his head and making him lose focus of anything but his own raspy breathing and the rapid flutter of his heartbeat.

"Shit," a familiar voice says, and moments later, yellow creeps into his vision. Virgil manages to peek up through his hair to see Deceit kneeling there, his face twisted in a frown.

"Go away," Virgil mumbles. It's hard to speak, but he does it anyway.

"No," Deceit says, sitting cross-legged in front of him. His cape pools on the floor. "Breathe, Virgil. Four- seven- eight. You know the pattern." Reluctantly, Virgil follows his advice, doing his best to breathe and not trail off into a hiccup or a wheeze. 

When he lifts his head again, breathing almost normally, Deceit smiles slightly.

"Good," Deceit says. "I wanted to apologize."

Virgil stares at him in surprise.

"What?" He blurts out. "But-"

"It was cruel of me to mention your past in the way I did," Deceit rushes on. "If it is any consolation to you, I believe Thomas is too busy focusing on what he thinks I was trying to get at than anything about you."

"It kinda does, yeah," Virgil admits. "Uh...what were you trying to get at?"

"Ironically enough, I want Thomas to tell the truth," Deceit says, his mouth crooked. One edge of a fang peeks out. "I said it best at the beginning. But Patton..." He stops, heaving a gusty sigh. Virgil tentatively puts a hand on Deceit's arm.

"I think I understand," Virgil says in a small voice. "Um... I'm sorry, too. For being so- so angry about you being there. It wasn't as bad as I feared."

"Just wait," Deceit says, and grins. "You know who will be the next side to pop up." Virgil blanches.

"I don't think the Duke going anywhere near Thomas is a good idea," Virgil begins, then sighs and gives up. The only person who can control Remus at all is Deceit, and he obviously has his own plan cooking.

"I miss this," Deceit murmurs, after a few long moments. "Sitting like this. Spending time with each other. Do you remember?"

"Yeah," Virgil says, his face reddening. "I- I'm sorry I left."

"Perhaps it's for the best," Deceit says, but the infinitesimal wobble in his voice tells Virgil it's not. He scoots closer, until he's nearly in Deceit's lap.

"Cuddles?" He asks. "Like- like before?"

Deceit looks at him in surprise and a bit of delight, then six arms pull Virgil in tight to his chest, letting him settle against Deceit's shirt. His heartbeat thumps reassuringly in his ear.

"Thank you," Virgil mumbles sleepily, basking in the familiar, the safe, what feels like home. Deceit sighs above him, but it doesn't sound unhappy.

"You're welcome, storm cloud," Deceit whispers back.