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we could fall through december

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Roman wondered what it was keeping him from getting out of bed.

Was it the “loss of interest?” Maybe it was the “sleep deprivation.” It just as well could have been the “lack of concentration.” Knowing his luck, it was all of the above. It was every symptom Google had listed, the apathy and the mood swings and the fatigue. He had so many things to do. There was plenty of time to do them. It was barely even noon yet which meant he had the entire day to finish the projects he’d started…

The clock flashed mockingly at him, reading 3:27. The projects he’d started had been ages ago. He couldn’t remember the last time he had picked them up. He wasn’t even sure what the date was.

Roman rolled over, burying his face into his pillow. It made breathing unnecessarily difficult. Kind of like how everything else was unnecessarily difficult. Like, why couldn’t he just kick the blankets off and get his feet on the ground? He was a prince! He was a knight! He was tough, self-assured, resilient! He had faced monsters larger than this. He faced blows to his ego like this daily.

Why did the lack of sunshine make so much of a difference?

Besides, it wasn’t like he didn’t have plenty of sunshine in his life already! Patton himself might as well have counted as one’s regular dose of vitamin D. Sometimes, Roman was lucky enough to be on the receiving end of Virgil’s smile or to hear a rare but treasured laugh from Logan. Those alone ought to have been enough to combat any gloomy day.

Finally lifting his head, Roman narrowed his eyes, squinting out the window. Not to mention, Thomas lived in Florida! The Mindscape should have imitated that. They barely had winter! It was more like extended fall. It didn’t even snow or rain (save for their consistent 3pm storm that lasted no more than an hour every day). Sure, the sun was obscured often by cloud cover but… well, it was still there! He had no excuse to be all mopey and sluggish just because the temperature had dropped.

Maybe he ought to just take a nap. Roman blinked, hard, and released a frustrated groan. With more effort than he’d care to admit, he lifted his arm and scrubbed the heel of his palm against his eyes, which had, quite rudely, begun to burn suddenly with tears. This was so stupid! Forcing himself to sit up felt like a herculean task, but he shoved the covers away and reached blindly for his bedside table. Instead of grabbing a tissue, though, his uncoordinated movements instead just knocked the box of Kleenex to the floor.

“Oh, come on!” He snapped, choking back a sob.

A knock sounded at the door.

“I’m busy,” he called back, without hesitation.

“You’re lying,” responded the visitor.

Roman muttered a curse under his breath. Any other day, he’d be delighted to see his beloved. As it were, he’d been avoiding Deceit just as much as he’d been avoiding everyone else. Was it a good idea to isolate himself when there was a figurative (might as well have been literal) storm cloud hovering over his head? Of course not. Not like he ever had any good ideas to begin with, anyway.

“Roman,” Deceit purred from the other side of the door.

“Fine, fine,” Roman sighed, unlocking the door with a halfhearted snap of his fingers. “Come in, then.”

At least Deceit’s arrival had distracted him from crying any more. Running a hand through his hair to try and tame his bedhead, Roman watched as Deceit let himself in. He closed the door gently behind him. He looked as exquisite as always, not a hair or thread out of place. He was carrying two containers.

“Move over,” Deceit said, seating himself on the mattress without waiting.

He set the tupperware down and turned to Roman. His eyes scanned over Roman’s face. A lot of good his poker face did him when Roman was intimately aware of every one of Deceit’s expressions and facial tics by now.

“Hi,” Deceit said softly.

“Hey,” Roman replied, muted.

Roman shifted, pulling the sheets more tightly around his waist. God, he hated winter. It was so cold. He didn’t even have the energy to conjure a space heater or electric blankets.

“Brought you lunch,” Deceit offered, picking one of the meals up and prying the lid off.

The container was full of grilled cheese sandwiches, cut into hearts. Roman looked at Deceit, unable to resist grinning a little bit.

“Patton insisted on helping,” Deceit grumbled.

Roman reached for the other and found it filled with tomato bisque. It was warm in his hands. Without a care in the world, he lifted the bowl to his mouth and drank the soup straight from it. His arms ached doing so but damn if it didn’t taste good.

“There are spoons, you know!” Deceit said, scowling.

Roman licked his lips. “Sorry.”

They ate in relative silence after that. Sometimes they took turns dipping the grilled cheeses into the soup. At one point, Roman shyly held up one of his half-eaten heart shaped sandwiches and Deceit rolled his eyes as he held his own half up against Roman’s. Deceit would talk occasionally; about Virgil and Patton taking up the living room for a blanket fort that no one else was allowed in; about Thomas and Joan’s latest additions to Reasons to Smile; about the debate he and Logan had recently regarding whether or not Pluto was a planet.

“Did he end it with viva la Pluto, fuck you?” Roman asked, reaching forward to… His fingers twitched and he pulled back, looking away.

“Of course he did,” Deceit answered. He waved a hand and the containers disappeared. A heated blanket appeared in their place. “Come here, then.”

Roman hesitated. Deceit twirled a finger in the air, changing into comfy loungewear. The next movement was directed at Roman, whose pajamas were replaced with clean ones that smelled just slightly of lavender. Deceit shoved the blanket into Roman’s lap.

God, again with the stupid tears—

“Shh,” Deceit hushed him, hands coming up to cradle Roman’s face gently. “I know. It’s okay.”

“It isn’t,” Roman croaked, allowing himself to curl his fingers around one of Deceit’s wrists. “I’m supposed to be str… stronger than this.”

“Is Patton weak when he has his Days?”

“Of course not,” Roman defended, vehemently.

“Surely, Virgil is when he panics over the tiniest of things.”

“He isn't!”

“Then why, Roman, would you think yourself weak for this?”

“It’s just a lack of sunlight,” Roman scoffed, dropping his hand to his lap, where he proceeded to pick at his chipped nail polish. He tried to turn away, tried to break their locked gaze. He was pathetic enough without having to see Deceit’s pitying expression.

“Ro,” Deceit interrupted those thoughts, tone scolding. He let Roman go, knowing better than to keep his hold when it wasn’t wanted. “Logan’s with Thomas right now but don’t think for a second that I won’t call him here if that’s what it takes.”

“We’re not going to bother him with this—”

Bother?

“You know what I mean!”

“Actually, I don’t,” Deceit disagreed, sneering. He hated when it came to that. “Why don’t you explain it to me?”

“The first result for "things people also ask" when you search for seasonal affective disorder is whether or not it’s real,” Roman snapped. “And I’m not real, not technically, so how can something like seasonal fucking depression affect me!”

Roman gestured towards the floor to ceiling windows that comprised one wall of his room. The sky was bright blue. “Even if it did, I have complete control over the Fantasy Realm. I could just pop in for a few hours of basking in the sunshine and I’d be all better! I can’t even do that, though!”

“Dearheart, you know vitamin D in the Fantasy Realm would work just as well as hugs and food do.” Deceit tried not to think about the last time Roman had forgotten this. It’d been… frightening, to say the least.

“They literally have lamps that do the same thing but go off I guess.”

“Alright.” Deceit said abruptly.

He grabbed the heated blanket and draped it over Roman’s shoulders. Then, with perhaps more force than necessary, he pushed Roman back down onto the pillows.

“Hey!” Roman shouted, not appreciating being manhandled, thank you very much.

Deceit didn’t answer and instead just sprawled himself on top of Roman’s chest. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed but whenever you start to talk bad about yourself, one of the reasons is because you’re touch-starved.”

“I am not—!” Roman would have finished his sentence if Deceit hadn’t buried a hand into his hair and scraped his nails along his scalp. Goosebumps erupted on his arms and at the back of his neck. “That…” Roman’s eyes slid shut. “That is cheating.

“We’re not done talking about this,” Deceit promised, carding his fingers through Roman’s locks. “Right now, though, I think you could just use some physical affection and a nap.”

“I’m…” Roman sighed, melting under Deceit’s gentle touches.

“Hmm?” Deceit hummed, shifting so that he was a bit more comfortable and so that Roman could still breathe easily. “What is it, my articulate amor?”

“M’sorry.”

“Nothing to apologize for,” Deceit insisted, leaning up just close enough to press a kiss to Roman’s jaw. He tucked his face into the crook of Roman’s neck.

“... Okay,” Roman agreed haltingly. “I love you, darling.”

“I love you, your highness. Rest now.”

Whatever Roman had wanted to say was overtaken by a huge yawn. He shuffled as best he could further under the blankets, warmth wrapped around his shoulders and laid reassuringly on top of him. The idea of returning to this discussion scared him more than he thought it ought to but… He supposed he could work through it if he had someone so secure and patient like Deceit to help him out.