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Cannonball

Chapter Text

“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” Logan admitted, uncertainty coloring his words.

“C’mon, what’s the worst that could happen?” Remy asked with a pout.

Logan raised and eyebrow that the other couldn’t even see.

“Do you really want me to answer that?” he asked.

“Probably not,” Remy admitted, “But think about it this way. Whether you like it or not, I’m going to end up driving at least once. This way at least you're watching over me versus someone less responsible, or, like me driving completely alone with no one watching over at all.”

“How would you even get a car?” Logan protested.

As he bantered with his cousin, he stared lazily up at his ceiling from where he and Remy were sprawled across his bed.

“I know where my dad leaves his keys, and it can’t be that hard to figure out. I’ll watch a video or something.”

“You live in a heavily populated neighborhood with narrow roads.”

“Exactly why you should let me drive with you versus subjecting my neighborhood to the terror that would be my driving,” Remy pointed out as he flipped over to face Logan.

And really, neither knew why they were still arguing this. Logan had already said that he would let Remy try driving a few days ago.

“Fine,” Logan grumbled, as if he had lost some great battle, “Let’s go.”

He stood up from his bed and grabbed the jacket that he had thrown over his desk chair.

“Hell yeah. Gurl, this is gonna be awesome,” Remy said, pumping his fist towards the sky.

“I think you mean that this is going to be a disaster,” Logan corrected.


“Okay, okay, okay, I just take my foot off the pedal?” Remy confirmed for the billionth time.

“Yes,” Logan repeated, patient as ever, “Just take it off slowly and we’ll start moving forward. Hit it and we stop. Hit the other pedal and that’s the gas.”

“And the other pedal is where?”

“Just to the right of your foot. If you shift your toes that way you can still feel it as you hold down the break.”

Silence fell over the car as Remy presumably did exactly that.

“Right okay, just take my foot off, yeah I can do that,” Remy insisted.

He didn’t move an inch and the panicked look on his face just grew stronger. His knuckles were stark white against the wheel and his shoulders were tensed up.

“What’s the thing in front of me?” he asked after a moment.

“Which thing?” Logan asked. He fiddled with his jacket string as he talked.

“The tall rectangular dark thing,” Remy clarified. He lifted one hand to gesture in it’s vague direction. It wasn’t really necessary considering it really was straight ahead.

“That’s a building, but it’s really far away. Hundreds of feet away. You’re nowhere near it, and definitely not going to hit it. You’re not near anything you can hit. You’re fine.”

Another tense silence fell across the car. Logan fiddled with the jacket string some more.

“So I just take my foot off?”

“Yes.”

“Right. Gurl imma do it,” Remy warned.

Nothing happened.

“Y’know, you don’t have to drive a car,” Logan said, “I mean, it’s more than fine wi-”

Logan’s breath caught as the car not only started to move forward as Remy eased his foot off the break but then speed forward as he pressed down on the gas.

The car went lurching forward much faster than either of them expected.

“Shit!” Remy yelped, and then slammed on the break.

The car stopped immediately with a jolt, sending both of the teens careening forward only to be caught harshly by their seatbelts.
A moment later and they were back in there seats, breathing heavily and with sore shoulders.

“You can be a lot, gentler, with the pedals Rem,” Logan commented. The advice was more than a bit redundant at this point.

“You’re telling me that now!” Remy yelped. His voice bordered on hysteria.

Logan sighed.

“Can I touch you?” he asked

Remy gave a shaky nod.

Logan reached over and put a hand on his cousin’s shoulder.

“Take a deep breath,” Logan instructed. He waited until Remy did so. “I promise you, this is safe,” Logan said, “I wouldn’t be letting you even sit in the driver’s seat if I didn’t think it was. You just need to slowly ease off the break. Start with that and the car will go forward slowly. Then- if or when you feel ready- softly press down on the gas. That’ll speed you up. If you want to stop or slow down, switch back to the break. Try not to slam it, but slowly press down until it won’t anymore. Break is your left, gas is your right. Got it?”

Remy nodded and stared straight forward. He adjusted his sunglasses and nodded again.

“Okay,” he said eventually, “I’m ready.”

The younger of the two gently let off the break, and for a few seconds the car slowly rolled forward. Then, Remy started to press down on the gas, letting the car steadily climb in speed. When it reached twenty five, and Remy showed no signs of stopping, Logan spoke up.

“Rem, you’re at 30 miles per hour, try to steady out here. This is the speed limit for residential streets.”

“But we’re in a parking lot?”

“Still, it’s your first time driving, you really don’t need to be going any faster. Plus, you’re also supposed to drive slower in parking lots. It just doesn’t really matter right now because it’s completely empty”

“Oh come on,” Remy complained, “you’re no fun.”

“Show me how to break and I’ll let you go faster.”

Remy did so, numerous times, and once Logan was quite sure he could break consistently and more smoothly, he let him drive faster.

“Holy shit,” Remy breathed out, as they raced down a long stretch of empty parking lot, “You could like, kill someone with one of these.”

“Slow down and break soon,” Logan told him, “You’re approaching the end of the lot.”

Remy did as told.

“Of course you can kill people with cars,” Logan said, “That’s why there’s so many laws and regulations. It’s not like you haven’t been in a car. You know they’re dangerous.”

“Did you know I was hit by a car once?”

“You were what?” Logan yelped.

“Yeah, it was like, third grade? Mom was backing out of the driveway, didn’t see me, barely bumped me. She felt horrible about it, and I mean I was absolutely fine but yeah.”

“Please don’t do that again,” Logan insisted.

“It’s not like I was trying to,” Remy complained, “I was playing in the dirt or something, I dunno.”

Logan rolled his eyes but dropped the subject before speaking up.

“Let’s turn again, and you can drive fast one more time before we go home.”

Remy made the turn as Logan instructed, but before racing back towards the other side of the parking lot, he turned to Logan.

“He Lo?”

“Hm?”

“Can I drive home?”

“Absolutely not.”

Chapter Text

The first time it happened was after a movie night at Patton and Logan’s dorm. A regular occurrence, nothing out of the ordinary, except there was one major difference. Roman had been invited to join them. Virgil was still apprehensive around the other boy. They would get along for a minute or so until one or the other go snippy about something and it was back to arguing again. But that wasn’t the point. The point was that Virgil couldn’t trust him yet. He had barely started trusting Patton and Logan themselves.

They held movie night, and like always, watched movies for way longer than they should have, even if tomorrow was still the weekend. And so, due to they way to late- or early depending on who asked- hour, Patton had suggested Roman and Virgil stay. And because he didn’t have a good reason to say no, Virgil said ‘why not.’

Now here he was, at some unknowable time of the day, sitting in the corner of the room, scrolling through his phone to pass the time as everyone else snored around him.

It’s not that Virgil didn’t want to sleep. It’s just. He couldn’t. Roman was here. And Virgil didn’t trust Roman. And if Virgil was asleep, who knows what could happen? After all how many times had he fallen asleep on a shabby cot and woken up somewhere else.

~~~

Metal bed, thin mattress, one sheet. Not that Virgil was complaining. That was the first thing he learned not to do, complain. Virgil, like every night before that, fell onto the bed, exhaustion creeping through him. In seconds he was asleep.

And seconds later, or so it seemed, he was awake. But the ceiling wasn’t the same. In fact, there was no ceiling above him at all. Wait what? Virgil sat up, heart racing as he tried to figure out where he was. He looked around, taking in the densely packed pine trees and dark sky. So it was still night. And he must be in the forest just outside the compound.

Could he- Could they have let him go? Did they dump him the forest, leaving him? Holy shit, was he free?

At that thought, Virgil scrambled to his feet quickly and looked around in all directions.

“Hello?” he called cautiously, not quite believing the possibility of freedom yet.

No response.

Holy shit. Holy shit. Holy shit. They did leave him. He was free.

At that thought, Virgil let out a laugh and ran.

He wasn’t exactly sure where he was running or if he was even running in the right direction, but it somehow seemed to be the only choice. He wasn’t sure if there even was a right direction, all he knew was that he was finally, finally-

SNAP!

Virgil fell flat on his face as his feet were pulled out from under him.

He let out a cry of pain as his nose rammed into the ground, quickly spurting out blood. He held his sleeve up to him and whipped around to see what tripped him.

A chain. A chain that was attached to is leg and then traveled across the forest floor and then attached to a tree.

The small shred of hope Virgil had been holding onto shriveled up and fell away. Goosebumps started forming across his body and he couldn’t help but feel like someone was watching him.

Frantically, he looked around, searching for someone- something. He didn’t know.

He didn’t find anybody, but he knew they were watching. They always were.

He thought about trying to get the chain off, or maybe somehow getting it off the tree. There were rocks around, he could try to smash it. And did he want to. Oh, did he want to.

But it wasn’t worth the risk.

If they tied him here it had to be some sort of test, had to be some sort of reason to it. Not worth it, he decided. So he sat there. And sat. And sat.

He didn’t know how much time had passed, but due to the lighting fading and brightening once again, he knew it had to be at least a day, not more than two. That’s when the came and got him. Unchained him, cleaned his nose up, whispered sweet words as they hugged him close.

They were so proud that he hadn’t tried to escape. That running thing at first had them a bit scared, but that was just him being silly, right? He didn’t mean it, right? He knew they loved him, right? Right?

~~~

When Virgil came back to the present, Trixie was laying on top of him and licking at his hand. He praised her softly and pet her as a few tears leaked from his eyes. They stayed like that for a while, in their solitude. Or what he thought was solitude.

“Virgil?” Patton asked.

Virgil gasped at the noise, whipping towards the boy who had made it, heart speeding up.

“Hey Virgil,” Patton just offered, posture relaxed.

Right. Patton’s dorm. All was good. He was safe.

“Hey Patton.”

“Can’t sleep?” he asked.

Virgil shook his head mutely.

Patton just, “Hmm’d” and didn’t question him further. Virgil appreciated that.

They sat there, staring at each other, now in a different sort of solitude. They could hear the wind whistling outside and the faint noise of laughter before it was cut off with a ‘shh’ from a group still awake down the hall. Otherwise, it was completely silent. It was nice, Virgil decided.

“Uh, Virgil,” Patton eventually said.

Virgil focused on his friend.

“Would- Do you mind going over to my desk drawer and grabbing my meds?” the boy asked, still in bed.

Virgil looked up at him, still sort of processing everything around him after his flashback. Noting that all of this, this room was real.

“Virgil?” Patton called again when he showed no indicator of having heard.

“Yeah, yeah I can do that,” Virgil agreed. He directed Trixie off him but had her stay right at his side. He walked over to the desk and opened the drawer Patton indicated. The bottle was easy to find. Not locked anywhere- which Virgil guessed made sense he had just never really had that option himself. Too risky. Too easy.

“Do you want me to grab you some water?” Virgil asked.

“If you wouldn’t mind,” Patton said back.

Virgil nodded and retrieved some, before bringing both things back to Patton.

He took the pills with practiced ease, a trait Virgil recognized in himself.

After, the two once again fell back into silence.

“Can’t sleep?” Patton spoke up.

“Yeah,” Virgil agreed. Patton didn’t say anything in response, so Virgil assumed he was in a similar boat.

“Do you wanna talk?”

Virgil gave him a look. Was this a ploy to get him to open up? He could never tell with Patton. Sometimes Patton was so earnest and willing to listen to what Virgil had gone through, never mind that Virgil himself wasn’t really ready to share that. Other times, Patton literally just wanted to talk. About literally anything.

“About?” Virgil asked, because that was always a safe way to test the waters with Patton.

“I dunno,” Patton said with a shrug, “Anything?”

Virgil thought about it.

“Yeah, okay. Sure.”

It was the first sleepless night of many the two shared together. It certainly wouldn’t be the last.

Chapter Text

It’s when Virgil first notices the greying around Trixie snout that he realizes he’s going to have to get another dog. And really, he should of been prepared for this. He’s gone through the process once before now. But he didn't prepare, and he didn’t expect it, and then one day, it hits him.

Trixie’s getting old.

She’s what, nine now?

Virgil knows the life expectancy of a Dutch Shepherd. Knows that she’s not supposed to live more than 14 years at the very most. If she hit 11 and died, it wouldn’t be an anomaly, just bare average.

It’s then he realizes that he might only get two more years with her.

He gulps and his eyes sting a little.

At the action, Trixie perks her ears up and raises her head to look at him. She shuffles a bit closer to him from her own spot on the couch and drops her head in his lap. He lifts his head to automatically pet her, and then pulls out his computer to start looking up service dog training programs.

Both Dolly and Trixie were trained in Utah. Now that he’s in Florida he’s going to have to find a new place.

He doesn’t quite have it in him to start looking for a new dog yet.


He brings it up at dinner a week later.

“I’ve started looking into getting a new dog,” he tells his husbands.

Roman almost drops the salad dressings he’s passing.

Logan looks towards Trixie, settled in the corner.

Patton just breathes out a, “What?”

A lump settles in Virgil’s throat.

“Trixie is nine now. The life expectancy for Dutch Shepherds are 11-14 years. Training a new dog can take up to two years. It only makes sense to start looking for a new dog now. I’ve already begun to look into training as well.”

The room fell silent after Virgil’s brief explanation.

“Verge, you okay?” Patton asked softly.

Was he? Getting a new dog meant replacing Trixie, replacing Trixie because she was getting older and was going to die. Trixie was going to die. Was that okay?

“Virgil,” Logan’s voice cut in, “Trixie probably has at least two years left. While I don’t think it’s a bad idea to start looking for your next dog, you need to remember that Trixie is still here. She’s here and you have at least two more years with her.”

Virgil glanced over to where Trixie was. She raised her head at his glance. He called her over and had her set her head in his lap. He stroked her silky ears, grounding himself. Logan was right. He had at least two years left with her. It was pointless to start grieving now.

That night he started researching breeds.

Dolly had been a Bernese St. Bernard mix. Her large size allowed Virgil to feel protected and safe.

Trixie came next, smaller, longer lifespan, much more energetic, and always ready to perform.

Labs, German Shepherds, Poodles, and Golden Retrievers are all common choices for service dogs due to their loyalty, energy, working drive, and intelligence.

Remy had a Labradoodle due to their work ethic and being hypoallergenic. When he got his second, he had gotten the same breed through the same breeder who specifically bred dogs to be Guide Dogs.

Virgil’s situation was different. While his dog had been trained to respond to his own cues perfectly, it wouldn’t need to go through nearly as much training as any of Remy’s dogs. Breeds for PTSD dogs had always been laxer. After all, any dog could hypothetically be a service dog if they could handle the training.

And that’s why at this exact moment, Virgil was stuck. He really could go with any breed, and he didn’t know which one to choose.

Roman leaned over next to him on the couch to watch what Virgil was doing.

“Every thought about just going to a shelter?” he asked casually.

Virgil looked up at him in surprise.

“What?” he asked, “I mean, there’s obviously a lot of variety there. And shelters get so full and dogs get put down all the time. Plus, don’t mixed breeds generally have a longer lifespan and less medical complications anyway?”

Virgil gave him a soft shrug, but started looking up shelters.

Four weeks later, he had a plan.


“Hey, Roman, want to come with me?” Virgil asked casually one day.

Roman looked up from the kitchen table from where he was probably scrolling through social media on his phone. He gave a blinding smile to Virgil.

“Where too?” he asked, as if he hadn’t already gotten up and grabbed his shows, ultimately deciding that he was indeed coming.

“Pet store, need to get food for Trix,” he replied. Roman nodded.

He then slipped on his shoes and grabbed the keys for the car before Virgil- who was literally about to grab the keys- could get a chance.

“Fuck you,” Virgil responded as he reached for Trixie’s harness instead. He held it out and allowed her to slide into it,

A minute later the two plus the dog clamored into the car.

“So,” Roman said after a second, “What are we really doing? Because Trixie isn’t low on food.”

Virgil sighed and nodded, expecting the question sooner or later. Admittedly, he had been expecting it a bit later consider he didn’t realize Roman apparently paid attention to how much food Trixie had.

“We are still going to the pet store,” Virgil admitted, “But there’s a rescue group there today, and we’re going to go look at some of the dogs.”

“Really!” Roman asked, almost hopping out of his seat. HE turned to grin out Virgil, eyes sparkling with the idea of looking at all the dogs.

“Yes,” Virgil admitted, “But please please do not crash the car.”

Roman refocused on the road with a pout. This was exactly why Virgil had wanted to drive.

“I looked into shelters like you recommended,” Virgil continued, “And shelters are great. But there’s a lot of dogs at a lot of different shelters. And I’m looking for a dog that’s going to be able to do a lot of things that a fair amount of dogs can’t do.

“So I looked further and found a few rescue groups. And what they do is they go to shelters and take in some of the excess dogs that they think they can find homes for. Generally very interactive and friendly seeming dogs. I thought going through the rescue groups would hopefully be faster as well as maybe cutting down the amount of dogs that wouldn’t work because they just wouldn’t be able to meet the skill level.”

“That’s kinda harsh,” Roman admitted after a moment.

“I know,” Virgil sighed, “Which is why I brought you, and not Patton. Look, dogs are great. I obviously love them. But I’m not looking for a pet, I’m looking for a partner. I need a dog that if it comes down to it, can keep me safe and alive. I need the dog to be friendly, intelligent, and have a strong work drive. The rescue groups look for some of these exact traits when they take in the dogs. So…”

“Fair enough,” Roman agreed.

What Virgil had said had been very true. He wasn’t looking for a pet that didn’t necessarily need to know how to stay put, or not bark, or heel. He was looking for a partner who would respond to the slightest change in his body language and breathing. That required a different level of dog.

“And chances are, I still may not find what I’m looking for here,” Virgil admitted, “but I liked your idea, so I decided to try this before going to a breeder.”

Roman nodded as they pulled up to the pet store. He parked quickly and ran around to open Virgil’s door before he could do it himself, giving him a goofy smile as he opened the door. Virgil just rolled his eyes and shook his head at the action, but did give him a peck at the corner of his lips.

“So,” Roman started once Virgil and Trixie had exited the car, “That all sounds good, but why am I here?”

“There’s a lot of dogs, and a lot of people,” Virgil said. And correct he was. In front of them, the pet store was swarming with people and barking, “Chances are, Trixie will get distracted, either because the sheer amount of dogs, or people trying to pet and distract her. You’re here as Trixie’s back up.”

“Great,” Roman mumbled, “My life’s goal, to be a backup service dog.”

Virgil gave a short laugh, but even so he was trembling slightly.

Roman held out a hand, which Virgil took.

“I got you,” he promised, “If things get too much, we’ll just leave and go home. You’re safe, and everything’s okay.”

Virgil gave him a grateful smile and a small squeeze of a hand before charging into the crowd.

They spent a good two hours looking at dogs and talking to people working there. Trixie did end up getting distracted, mostly by the overwhelming amount of people who blatantly disregarded her ‘Service Dog: Do Not Pet’ vest. Plus, dogs were running everywhere, and no one seemed to have any real control over any of them. Even with Trixie slightly distracted, she never physically left Virgil’s side, followed every command Virgil gave her, and never barked.

Later, once Virgil had had time to calm down from the crowd, Roman knew he would be proud of her behavior.

Even after the two hours, they did not end up finding a dog for Virgil.

They went home with the rescue groups business card, a few extra treats for Trixie, and thoughts racing through their heads.

The next week they tried again. And then the next. And then the next.


 It was week six when a dog caught Virgil’s eye.

A puppy. Small for now, but would get to a medium to large size. Mostly German Shepherd and Boxer. Male. House broken at the age of four months, a sign of intelligence and quick to learn new skills. Playful but quiet, not yapping like the rest of the dogs around him. Attentive and healthy.

“I think this could work,” Virgil admitted as they played with the puppy, “Trixie, what do you think?”

Trixie seemed completely uninterested In the dog, her focus solely on Virgil and Virgil alone.

“Yeah, this could work.”

They went up to the front to ask about the dog and possibly apply for adoption.

“Oh yeah, that’s Bowser,” the lady working, “A lot of people came by and liked him today, but I can definitely put you down.”

They filled out the many forms and were reminded to not get their hopes up before leaving for home.

A week later and they were informed that they had the chance to foster the dog for two weeks, and if they still wanted him after that, they could keep him.

The decision was immediate and they picked up Bowser the next day.

When Virgil brought him home, Patton and Logan immediately melted for the puppy in the same way that both Virgil and Roman had a week earlier.

Trixie, now off duty, inspected the pup for the first time. The tiny pup batted at her nose and she jumped back in surprise, before leaning forward slightly to sniff and nudge him gently. The room laughed and an atmosphere settled over the room. An atmosphere that just seemed natural.

Two weeks later, Virgil made his decision. He would be keeping the dog that had now been renamed Kit. Virgil had absolutely refused to keep the name Bowser, even though Roman found it hilarious. Kit was playful and sweet. Trixie doesn't seem to mind the small rascal, and the four of them had all fallen in love with puppy. Things were good.

And just like that, Kit became part of their family.

Chapter Text

Look, Remy hadn’t planned on getting his ears pierced. He also wasn’t planning on greatly upsetting his dad by getting his ears pierced.

Both things happened to be unplanned, great choices, and incredibly successful.

It started with Remy taking Cha-Cha for a walk. Meaning it really started because Remy had finished his homework- for once- and was now trying to avoid his dad at home. Taking Cha-Cha for a walk was the perfect excuse. An excuse that also included making an inevitable detour towards Starbucks- the nearest one on his current path being in the middle of the mall.

Once he had acquired said drink, he started to leave, tracing the familiar path out of the mall. As he was doing so, he suddenly heard a loud screech from just off to his side.

“CLAIRE’S!” a young child screamed, “Mom, can we please go in, please, please, please??”

After calming down from a child screaming his fucking ear off, he came upon a realization.

“Cha-Cha,” he instructed, “Find a chair.”

She did so for him, and after he checked to make sure there was indeed no person sitting in it, he took a seat.

He stuck an earbud in one of his ears and pulled out his phone to google his question. His question being “age to pierce ears without a parent.” Okay, so it wasn’t actually phrased as a question, but the intent was there.

His phone gave him an answer. 16. He had to be 16 to get his ears pierced without parental consent.

Remy had turned 16 a few months ago. He may not have a driver’s license, but hopefully his school ID would be good enough.

He walked back over to the store he thought was Claire’s- judging it based on proximity of the young child’s earlier screech- and had Cha-Cha find a door.

He ducked inside.

When he and Cha-Cha entered, he asked her to find a person. A search that did not take long as she just led them a bit towards the left.

“Hello?” he called, “Do you work here?”

“Yes, how can I help you?” a friendly voice piped up, growing a bit louder as the person walked towards him.

“Is this Claire’s?”

It seemed to be, there was a lot of sparkly things covering the walls as well as stands throughout the store.

But, best to confirm where he was first, so he did actually get his ears pierced instead of accidentally buying some weird modern art piece or something from some random store.

“Yes,” the worker confirmed.

“You do ear piercings, right?”

“Yes,” the worker said again, “We do. We have a few different kits you can choose from, and there’s no appointment necessary. You can just have whoever come in and we can do it right then.”

“Can you do it right now?” Remy asked. It was now or never, and Remy was feeling it. If he really did hate them he could just take them out and let his ears close up.

“Yes, we absolutely can. Who’s ears are we piercing today?”

“Mine.”

“Oh,” the worker said, surprise apparent in her words, “Uh, do you have a parent with you?”

“I’m sixteen,” Remy explained.

She asked for ID, which Remy provided with his school card, which indeed counted. She then went to show him his different options. She did this, of course, by grabbing his hand and tugging him forward.

Remy startled at the grasp and pulled his hand away. He then explained to her that wasn’t how you guided someone who was blind. He showed her how to correctly guide him with her elbow/upper arm, and they continued to the ear piercing selections. Which was confusing. Because he apparently couldn’t just choose any earrings. Weird but whatever.

She described each one to Remy, and let him actually hold examples, which he was grateful for. He studied all of them, bringing each up close to his eyes, hoping to find something shiny. Eventually, he did find one that seemed to not only catch the light but also wasn’t in an ugly shape like the weird flower ones.

“What does this one look like?” he asked, not able to tell much besides the fact that it was a dark dot.

She explained that it had a small black gem that was held by silver. According to her it was simple, shiny, and would go with everything. Perfect.

Remy nodded his approval and they got to work.

He learned that day that getting your ears pierced stung like a motherfucker.

After, he left with two new holes in his head, strict instructions on how to clean his ears, and a growing smile.

Leaving the shop he then headed home, of course, not without stopping by Starbucks again.

It was in this way that he entered the house.

“Remy,” his father said, the minute he entered the house, “You’re back.”

“Yep.”

“You were gone for a long time,” his father fretted.

Remy raised an eyebrow and flipped open his watch, running his fingers across it.

“I’ve been gone for less than two hours,” he defended.

“And what is that?” his father asked, stepping closer to him.

Okay so he had probably noticed the piercings that he had definitely not told his father he had been planning on getting. Well, not that he had even been planning. He just sorta did it. Without asking his father. Who definitely would not- and seemingly did not- approve.

Time to play dumb.

“Starbucks,” he answered, lifting his drink up, “New drink. It’s seasonal I think.”

He then slipped past his father and moved to make a run for his room. He was halfway up the stairs when his father had finished sputtering at his comment and found his words.

“The earrings!” he screeched afterwards, “I meant the earrings!”

“What earrings?” Remy called back, before closing his bedroom door behind him and Cha-Cha.

Chapter Text

It started with Patton.

Which was unusual, considering most illnesses in the house tended to stem from Virgil, considering he both worked in a petri dish of germs (ie. a public high school) and had a compromised immune system due to his transplant. Both of these things meant that he got sick often, got more sick than most, and needed to be watched because even a simple cold could lay him out for weeks or develop into pneumonia.

But, in this particular case, that was not what happened. Instead, it was Patton who woke up to a fever and an aching body. Or well, a body that ached more than usual.

When he woke, Patton immediately knew that he was sick. His first instinct was to push through, even though he felt quite awful. After all, he had things to do, even if he was sick.

But those things would have to wait, he had to tell himself, because he was sick. And yes, they were important, but pushing himself while he was sick was already not going to help him and would also just worsen the flare up he could already start to feel.

Why did he have to think that? Because now he was paying attention to his body and it hurt.

“Pat?” Logan mumbled at his side.

He was probably starting to get up and also noting that Patton wasn’t.

“Are you okay?”

“I’m sick,” he admitted to his husband as a wave of nausea rolled through him.

“Ah,” Logan said.

“Flu,” he added.

“Right,” Logan nodded, “You stay here and I’ll get you some things. Do you feel like you might throw up?”

“Nauseous, but no.”

“Is the nausea due to pain or the flu?” Logan asked.

Patton thought about it, debating the nasty swirling in his stomach.

“Dunno,” was all Patton replied with, keeping his eyes screwing shut.

“Okay love. Can I touch you?”

“Yeah.”

Logan then leaned down and pressed a soft kiss to Patton’s head. Patton hummed a bit at the contact before realizing what his boyfriend was doing.

“Lo,” he protested, “You’re going to get sick too.”

“Patton, you’ve probably already been carrying around the virus for a week or more now. If I’m going to get sick, the virus would already be in me at this point. Giving you a kiss won’t change that,” he pointed out.

“Think you just wanted an excuse to kiss me,” Patton remarked, smile growing on his face. His face which was still shoved into a pillow.

“Mm, maybe.”

Patton then couldn’t help feel like he was forgetting something important. Kind of like Neville with the Remembrall. He just couldn’t remember what.

Then it hit him.

“V?”

“Yeah,” Virgil answered.

“You gotta leave the room, you can’t get sick.”

“I’m fine Pat, let’s just worry about you right now.”

“Virgil, Patton’s right,” Logan insisted, “You really can’t risk getting sick.”

“Didn’t you just say that the germs have been around for about a week now,” Virgil huffed.

“Still Virgil, it’s an extra precaution. And you wanted us to focus on Patton, right? We can’t exactly do that if we’re worrying about you risking your health in the process,” Logan argued.

Virgil grumbled a bit in response, but Patton assumed he had listened. Logan wasn’t always right, but in situations like these he tended to be.

“I’ll stay home and watch over Pat today,” Logan continued. Patton assumed he was responding to Virgil’s grumbles. “I’ll disinfect everything too. But you need to stay out of the bedroom completely, okay?”

Fine,” Virgil agreed.

Patton couldn’t faintly hear him shuffle away. Knowing Virgil, he had just scooted right outside the door and therefore was technically following Logan’s rule. Logan huffed, which proved Patton’s assumption correct.

“You don’t need to stay with me,” Patton insisted once he had processed Logan’s words, “You have work.”

“My schedule is flexible,” Logan reminded him, “And you’re not feeling well and probably approaching a flare up. I don’t mind staying home. It provides me comfort, and I would assume it would provide Roman and Virgil the same. Let me stay home?”

How could Patton say no to that?

“Yeah, okay,” he agreed.

“Hey, uh, are you getting up?” a new voice asked.

“Patton’s sick,” Virgil explained, “He and Lo are staying home.”

“Oh. Okay. Pat hun, you okay?”

He was probably running a fever, everything seemed a bit muddled, his stomach was upset, the nausea was increasing, and he hurt pretty much everywhere.

“Eh,” he offered.

Roman made a sympathetic noise in response.

“I’ll make you some toast and tea?” he offered.

“No,” Logan cut in. Which rude, Patton had wanted toast and tea. “I’ll make it.” Okay good. “You and Virgil need to get ready for work, we’re already running behind a bit.”

“Okay,” Roman replied, a bit hesitant, “Feel better Pat, I love you.”

“Love you too Ro,” Patton mumbled into the pillow.

“Better not die,” Virgil added in.

“I’ll try V.”

“You’re not going to die,” Logan told him, but without the sarcasm Patton and Virgil had held.

“Sarcasm Lo,” Patton acknowledged.

“Oh. Thank you for clarifying.”

Virgil then spoke up again with a soft, “I love you Pat.”

“I love you too. And I’m going to be fine. Go to work.”

After that, the other three muttered there own goodbyes and “I love yous.”

After they had exchanged such words, neither Roman or Virgil spoke again. Patton assumed they had left, not being able to tell considering his current position of squashing his face into a pillow.

“Would you like some toast and tea?” Logan asked, now being the sole person left.

“Yeah,” he acknowledged, “That’d be nice Lo.”

“Okay,” he said, “I’ll be right back,” and he took his leave as well.

After the food, Patton’s day only got worse. He had been hungry and was glad he had attempted at getting nutrients in his stomach, but said stomach did not agree and it all came up an hour later. From then on his day turned into trying to eat and hydrate, sleeping for a bit, throwing it all up, sleeping for a bit more, eating and hydrating again, and on and on.

In summary, he was pretty miserable.

The worst part, it wasn’t just a nasty 24-hour bug. Patton woke up the next day feeling just as sick.

And come the next morning, Virgil was sick too.

According to Roman he had gotten sick in the middle of the night. They had already quarantined him to the guest room, but now Logan was also with him in said room to help him through the sickness as well as the nightmares that tended to increase in occurrence and intensity with the fever.

The only good news from all this, was that in the morning Virgil made his way back into the room to curl up with his equally sick boyfriend.

Logan had protested, insisting that it was still better for his health to keep him separated from Patton. In response, Virgil had given him an attempt at puppy dog eyes that looked a little bit too haunted to be found cute. Logan caved in response and Virgil had joined Patton in bed.

“Missed you,” the younger man whispered in his ear.

Patton blinked at him a bit- trying to compute exactly why Virgil had missed him when they shared a bed.

“Oh, right, you were kicked out by Logan,” he muttered eventually, brain finally making the connection.

Roman- who had switched out Logan for staying home with them- snorted a bit at the comment.

“Yeah, he’s mean,” Virgil agreed.

“He’s trying to keep you from dying Virgil,” Roman said. Amusement tinged his words even as the corner of his eyes wrinkled a bit in concern.

“Trying to keep me separate. I don’t like it. Locking me up in the cellar,” he muttered, burying deeper into the covers.

Patton sat up just enough to share a worried look with Roman.

Sure, Virgil claiming Logan was mean for keeping him quarantined was unfair, but still an understandable comment considering he was sick and miserable. But Virgil actively relating Logan- who he loved and knew would never intentional hurt him- to his abusers was a lot more serious and meant that Virgil’s brain was playing a lot worse tricks on him that any of them had realized.

“Hey V, you with us? You seem to be dissociating a bit. You’re getting things mixed up,” Patton offered gently.

“Hmm,” Virgil sniffled, and then seemed to drift back off to sleep, a sheen layer of sweat covering his body from the fever.

Patton just watched him carefully, fighting the urge to reach out to him. Virgil didn’t appreciate being touched without consent in the first place, and in his current state he probably wouldn’t appreciate it at all. Nonetheless, Patton’s heart still panged with worry.

“I’ll watch him Pat,” Roman insisted, presumably latching on to his worried musings, “Try and rest okay?”

“M’kay,” Patton agreed easily, and then he was falling asleep again.


He woke up to an empty bed. He blinked slowly around the room and spotted Virgil off to the side. Patton felt like there should maybe be someone else there as well, but besides the two of them and Trixie, the room was empty.

“Virgil?” he called.

His eyes darted to meet Patton’s, but they were glazed over with fever.

“Gotta, gotta get out of here,” he insisted, breath coming out in harsh gasps, “I’m gonna die.”

Trixie whined at his side, reaching up to nudge at his hands and legs with her snout. She jumped up next, tapping his chest gently with her paws, but her cues had no effects.

“Hey Virgil, you’re going to be okay,” Patton soothed, “It’s- Everything’s alright, okay?”

He was pretty sure he was supposed to say more than just that, but his body was achy with fever and the consequentially flare up. Plus the sickness was making his memory even worse than usual and his thoughts were slipping away from him.

Wasn’t, wasn’t someone else supposed to be here?

It was at that exact moment that Roman reentered the room. And that’s what was wrong it was Roman who was supposed to be here. He had stayed home to take care of him and V.

Roman’s eyes instantly fell to Virgil, then to Patton, then back to Virgil, and finally to Trixie.

Virgil was still mumbling to himself and breathing unevenly.

“Virgil, love?” Roman called.

Virgil’s eyes passed over him, seeming to not notice- much less recognize- his boyfriend.

“Virgil honey, I think you're dissociating,” Roman said softly, “Can you listen to Trixie? Your dog? She’s at your side, you see her?”

Virgil looked down at the dog who was still trying to cue him. He blinked at her a few times before turning back to Roman, eyes a little bit clearer.

Patton just looked on and try to calm the bits of panic racing through him. It was hard to see Virgil at times like this, when he was so out of touch with reality around him. In all honesty, it scared Patton to think that Virgil could get stuck inside his head like this. Could easily- if unwilling- be brought back to his worst memories in life. It hurt to see his boyfriend in such pain.

“Don’t feel so good,” Virgil said suddenly, face going pale.

Roman seemed to realize what was happening a moment before Patton did, and raced to grab and place a container in front of Virgil as he puked just seconds after. When he finished, he started to collapse, Roman catching him before he could hit the ground.

Roman helped him back to bed, seeming a bit hesitant to touch his boyfriend without asking, but not having an other option least he let Virgil fall down.

Patton fell back asleep just as he heard Virgil whisper Roman’s name.


The flu continued to keep a hold on him for a third day, though by late morning, the puking had significantly decreased. His fever still hadn’t broken, but Patton was at least able to keep a bit of food down at this point.

The downside is that feeling less sick meant that he was more awake and aware which lead to the realization that his entire body hurt. He was more prone to flare ups when he was sick, but knowing that he was having one did nothing to increase the pain. Actually, acknowledging it made it about a thousand times worse.

Virgil also seemed to be doing a bit better in terms of sickness. His fever had decreased even though he continued to be terribly sick. The worst of the dissociation also seemed to leave.

The nightmares, on the other hand, seemed to cling a bit harder, but were easier for Virgil to deal with as he had both the comfort of Trixie and his boyfriends.

Now, towards midday, Patton was starting to feel better. Which meant he was very much aware when the front door made a noise at it closed. The front door that shouldn’t be opening in the first place.

Roman and Patton shared a look before the former got up to investigate.

There was muttering in the hall for a moment before Roman reappeared in the room, this time with Logan in tow.

“Bed,” Roman said fondly, gesturing Logan gently in the direction.

Logan nodded, the same feverish sheen the covered Virgil and Patton apparent on his skin. He climbed under the covers and seemed to instantly fall asleep next to Virgil. Virgil shuffled a bit at the action, but didn’t wake up.

A good thing, since this seemed to be the first substantial period of rest without nightmares that Virgil had had in the past two days.

And Patton’s brain was drifting. What had he been thinking of? Logan. Logan?

Patton threw a puzzled gaze in Roman’s direction.

“He got sick at work,” Roman explained, “Didn’t even realize he was running a fever until then.”

Patton shot a worried look at said boyfriend just as Roman’s phone alarm went off.

He fumbled to silence it quickly before it woke the two sleeping members in the room. Virgil moved a bit, but he luckily stayed asleep. Logan didn’t even stir, which was impressive considering he had been awake just moments earlier.

After he silenced his phone, Roman shot an anxious look at his boyfriends. Patton quickly put together his dilemma.

“Go pray,” he insisted, “We’re fine.”

“Are you sure? That’s just the window opening. I have time,” Roman said.

“Yes,” Patton insisted, “We’re good right now. Who knows how long that’ll last.”

Roman hesitated for a second, but eventually nodded and left.

Patton turned back to his boyfriends. He scooted closer towards them.

That action seemed to be the final thing that disturbed Virgil from his slumber.

“Pat,” he mumbled.

“How you feeling V?” he asked.

“Mmm, bad, but not as nauseous.”

“That’s good.”

“Logan?”

“Yeah he got sick too.”

“Mmm.”

“Can I cuddle you?”

“Mmmhmm,” Virgil agreed, nodding his head against the pillow.

Patton smiled a little bit at the adorableness of it before shuffling even closer and wrapping his arms around Virgil.

At the action, Logan cracked his eyes open. He shifted closer as well, encasing Virgil’s other side, and wrapping one of his hands around Patton’s own before settling his head against Virgil’s neck. The three of them snuggled closely together in the haze off half consciousness.

Eventually, Roman rejoined them, and seeing them all cuddled up, also elected to slide into bed instead of continuing to work on his computer. He spooned Patton from behind, one arm sliding under him to make contact with Virgil, while the other settled over Patton’s soft stomach. He then threw one of his legs to the far side so he was just barely touching Logan.

It was in the embrace of his loved ones, Patton fell back asleep.

Chapter Text

Trixie liked to think she was a Good Dog. She did her best to please her Person. Plus, whenever she did well, her Person was sure to say the words or give her a treat. Trixie liked being a Good Dog. Being a Good Dog meant that she had done her job well. And her job was really really important, because she kept her Person safe. She had done a lot of training to make sure of it.

Now, years into being Partners with her Person, she was pretty confident in her abilities. Of course, sometimes she lost her focus or things got distracting or her Person told her to take a Break, but otherwise she was really good. Good at her job and good at being a Good Girl.

Trixie had signs she watched, see. When her Person started breathing different, moving different, scratching his arms, smelled different (especially when he smelled like metal), fell to the floor, and many more, Trixie knew it was her job to Task. When she wasn’t Tasking but was On Duty she had Watch Me and had her eyes on her Person.

To keep him safe. She had to keep him safe.

Currently, she was lying in the corner of the Bedroom, doing exactly that, with her head resting on her paws. She was relaxing a bit, but even so, always keeping Watch Me on her Person. Aware but relaxed. On Duty but not Tasking.

Currently, her Person was lying down on his bed, Roman-Boyfriend on top of him.

Roman-Boyfriend was doing something with her Person’s body that she had never seen before. He kept commenting encouraging words in a sweet tone as his hands moved across her Person’s body. Virgil was responding in a similar tone with wide eyes.

Trixie wasn’t sure what they were doing, but maybe they were playing? It sort of looked like when Trixie got to wrestle with other dogs. Except, softer somehow. Well, whatever it was, it looked fun.

That’s when her Person’s breathing started to change.

He started panting a bit. Unlike herself, Trixie knew that panting was one of her owner’s many signs to Task.

She perked her ears up and examined him a bit closer. After all, panting didn’t always mean Task. Panting sometimes just meant her owner was tired, so Trixie had to look for other signs too.

The next thing she noticed was that her Person smelled different. Trixie had to pay attention to her Person’s smells, because they could mean all sorts of things. Usually they were normal things, like smelling like Outside after being out all day or like Dust when he cleaned or Fresh after he was in the Shower-Bath.

But this smell was off. It wasn’t like anything Trixie had ever smelled before. It was like a mix between Sweat and something else. Almost like Fear, but sweeter. Trixie wasn’t quite sure what the smell was, but Sweat and Fear scents mixed together were another sign that she was supposed to Task.

The scents made her worry.

She started to evaluate if she needed to Task. She Tasked to keep her Person safe. Which meant that if she needed to Task now, that meant her Person didn’t feel safe. That always made her sad.

At least he had Roman-Boyfriend, she noted. Roman-Boyfriend was leaning over Virgil muttering sweet wordings as he thrust forward, Roman-Boyfriend would help.

But then, then her Person whimpered.

Whimpering was absolutely not good. Whimpering meant that her owner was not feeling safe at all. Trixie leapt in immediately.

First she went into a Block, separating Roman-Boyfriend from her Person. Roman-Boyfriend may be good most of the time, but when her Person whimpered it meant Block. She had to get the separate.

Roman-Boyfriend might mean well, but during moments like these he hurt more than he helped. Even though Trixie knew that Roman-Boyfriend was safe, sometimes her Person’s thoughts confused him and he wasn’t able to remember that safe people were safe.

But it was okay, Trixie would help her Person for Roman-Boyfriend.

After going into the Block, Trixie settled into a Cover on top of her Person. She tried to spread her body across him as best she could from the awkward half-lying down position he was in. She set her head on his chest and whined to let him know that she was here and would protect him.

From behind her, Roman-Boyfriend started to laugh.

Which was odd. Usually when Trixie Tasked her Person’s My-Boyfriends would start to smell like Fear and Worry. Roman-Boyfriend didn’t smell like that. In fact, he had the same sweet Sweat scent that Virgil did. And he seemed happy. Usually her Person’s My-Boyfriend’s were a bit sad when Trixie had to Task.

Trixie understood that. She was also sad when she had to task, because it meant her Person wasn’t feeling safe, and he deserved to feel safe.

Her Person groaned at Roman-Boyfriend’s laughter. The sweet Sweat smell was still pretty strong, but his breathing was going back to normal fast and he wasn’t whimpering anymore. Trixie took that as a good sign.

“Trix,” he said, groaning once more.

Trixie perked her ears. That was her name!

Roman-Boyfriend continued laughing.

Her Person shot him a glare and told him to shut up as his face went red. Trixie continued to lay on top of him, doing her best to hold the Cover until he told her Up.

“I can’t believe- I- wait until I tell Pat and Lo-” Roman-Boyfriend continued to chuckle.

“You are not telling Pat and Lo!” her Person protested, “Ohmygod this is so embarrassing I never thought- I mean it makes sense I guess, sex and panic attacks aren’t that different.”

“Sex and panic attacks aren’t that different,” Roman-Boyfriend parroted, shaking his head as he struggled to keep a straight face.

“Not like that!” her Person protested, “I meant to Trixie! They exhibit in a bunch of the same ways!”

That was her name again!

Trixie just kept laying on her Person.

He wasn’t wearing any clothes Trixie realized after a moment. Which was weird. Humans almost always wore clothes. Unless they were in the Shower-Bath. Had her Person been in the Shower-Bath? He wasn’t wet. A little bit greasy in some spots, but not wet.

Her Person just groaned again and dropped his hands over his eyes and onto his face.

“Okay, Trix,” he said again, not even bothering to uncover his face, “Trixie Good Girl, you did so good, Good Dog.”

Yes! That was exactly what Trixie wanted to hear!

“Up,” he told her.

Trixie’s ears perked up at the Command and she carefully climbed off her human and jumped down off the bed. She sat right next to it, not bothering to go back to her own bed in case her Person needed her again.

“I’m going to put her Outside so she doesn’t do that again,” her Person then said, this time speaking to Roman-Boyfriend.

Outside! Virgil loved Outside! Were they going to go Outside!

“You sure V?” Roman-Boyfriend said, “I don’t want her to not be able to get to you if you need her to. It’s not a problem. We can just stop for now or figure something else out.”

“Roman, it’s fine,” her Person reassured, “I want to have sex with you. I don’t want her Tasking again. I’ll just put her Outside, it’s okay.”

Were they going Outside yet?

“If that’s what you want,” Roman-Boyfriend agreed, “I just want to know that it’s your choice.”

Her Person smiled and then leaned over to give the weird Human mouth kisses to Roman-Boyfriend. Trixie still didn’t get that. Tongue kisses just made so much more sense.

“I know. Thank you, love.”

Her Person then climbed off the bed, which meant he was probably taking her Outside! Oh wow! She was so excited!

Her Person walked outside of the door and she followed. He had her Sit right outside and then said Break.

Yes! This was it! It was Break now! They were going Outside!

The door to the bedroom shut in her face.

What? No Outside?

Her ears dropped at the betrayal.

Oh well, maybe she could go find a toy or lay on the couch. Maybe she could even look at the birds! Or the bees! It wasn’t quite Outside, but the birds and the bees would have to be good enough for now.