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Speech Impediment

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Dexter had always been seen as strange to those around him at school, in public, and even at home. Maybe it was due to his unnaturally golden eyes or his, as some might say, creepy fascination with snakes, he never knew the reason. Well whatever it was, it was the reason why Dexter was always left behind by the other kids. It wasn’t too troublesome for him though, Dexter liked the solitude and quite. Often times he’d spend hours upon hours alone in the library reading about murder and supernatural mysteries. During class he’d stick to his seat either reading a novel, or playing with his magic trick cards. Magic was one of the few things Dexter was ever good at, even though it wasn’t really a skill.

When he was about nine years old, Dexter grew a habit that still sticks with him even ten years later. He became a compulsive liar. It wasn’t as if he purposefully bent the truth to take advantage of others, it was more like a speech impediment. He would say the opposite of what he meant without meaning to, in fact it would take much more energy to speak ‘normally’ then it was to say it backwards. His parents took him to speech therapy and mental health therapy, but nothing worked, so his parents and teachers just learned to accommodate for him. The other students, not understanding his situation, took to calling him Deceit, a name Dexter did not mind. They poked fun and teased, but it was never anything serious, and Dexter never let it get to him.

This was how Dexter went through the entirety of elementary, middle, and even high school. Now he was standing in front his new University, nineteen years old, his mind set on becoming a novelist, and expecting nothing different. There were maybe hundreds, if not thousands, of other students around him lazing about in the grass and courtyard, almost all in their own little circles of close friends, none of them noticing Dexter. 

Not minding the lack of acknowledgement, Dexter continued though the campus and walked to one of the several boys’ dorms. Getting his key and room number he then headed to the stairs, never being a fan of elevators, and made his way for the third floor. Once there Dexter searched for his room number. 200. 201. 202. Ah, there it was, dorm room number 203. Dexter took out the small key he was given by the old man at the attendance desk and slipped it into the lock and opened the door. 

The room was empty, but on the left side there were partially unpacked suitcases and colorful pictures tacked to the wall. Dexter walked over to look at them and saw different photos of the same four guys. Two of them had glasses, one looking strict and stoic like a robot, and the other looking goofy and wild, another looked extremely emo, and the last looked like a prep. Under one of the pictures were words written in red sharpie saying: We’re famILY. Dexter smiled slightly at the picture and moved to what he assumed was his side of the room to unpack.

About an hour and a half of calm passed in near silence, save for the rowdy boys across the hall, and Dexter was nearly done. Half of the closet was filled with his coats and jackets; his dresser was organized by garment in both alphabetical and spectral order; and his bookshelf that he had shipped in ahead of time had been organized with all of his favorite books based on genre and height of the book. As of now he was setting up his snake’s, little Dee Dee, terrarium on top of his dresser.

Eventually a loud group of voices appeared in the hallway, but Dexter ignored them, thinking it was just more rowdy neighbors. But soon the sound of the door being unlock startled him into realizing that it was in fact his roomate who had at last arrived, and most likely his friends as well. Not ready or prepared to speak with anyone yet Dexter did the only thing he could think off. Run into the closet and hide in a dark and enclosed area like a snake. A mere second later, in walked there very same four people from the photos, talking loudly. Well, so much for his peace.

“Hey Patton, looks like you’re new roomate is here!” One enthusiastic and regal voice said.

“I wonder where he is.” Another, robotic, voice pondered.

“Bro, you can’t just assume it’s a guy.” A very sarcastic voice spoke.

“I can’t assume anything else either, we don’t know who Patton’s roomate is yet.” The robotic voice responded. “When they’re here they can notify us of their identification.”

Dexter thought this was the perfect time to pop out from his hiding place. Well no he didn't, but he was getting cramped and it would be even more embarrassing if they discovered him on their own.

“I’m not a guy.” He stated as he stepped out of the closet, earning him a chorus of screams. All four of them instantly turned to face him in surprise. The emo one sitting on ‘Patton’s’ bed, the prep sitting next to him, the robot standing near his bookshelf, and the goofy one standing in the center.

“What the fuck was that?” The emo one said, holding a hand over his chest, obviously more shaken up then the rest.

“Sorry.” Dexter apologized. “I wasn’t nervous when you all arrived.”

“Um, okay...” Said the emo.

“What’s you’re name kiddo?” The goofy glasses guy asked.

“It isn’t Dexter, but I don’t prefer Deceit.” He responded, cringing inwardly when he realized that he did it again, watching as the confusion grew on their faces. Really not wanting to come off as rude or weird, Dexter hastily followed up with an explanation. “Sorry, I don’t have a speech impediment where I don’t say the opposite of what I mean.”

For a good three heartbeats no one said anything, but instead just stared at him awkwardly. Dexter would love nothing more than for a meteor to fall to the earth and hit him right now, or maybe the floor would give out beneath him, anything to end this mess. However, as he was contemplating the quickest away to escape the dorm by means of a quick death, the one in the middle smiled brightly like a radiant sun, not at all put off by him.

“So it’s like opposite day on repeat? Wow! I’ve never heard of that before.” He said brightly.

“Yes, I’ve never heard of that speech disorder before either.” Said the robotic one skeptically.

“Uh, well it is very common.” Dexter told him.

“So Dexter-”

“Deceit.”

“-let me introduce myself and my friends. I’m Patton Sanders, the dad of the group. That’s my boyfriend Logan, the mom-”

“I am not the mom.”

“The one in the hoodie is our love child, Virgil-”

“Sup.”

“Don’t call him that.”

“-and that’s our dramatic son Roman.”Patton finished, practically jumping up and down in his spot, filled with excitement.

Dexter didn’t know exactly how to respond to their introduction. What do you say back to a group of friends who label each other as different rolls of an immediate family. He didn’t know if it was endearing or creepy. Maybe a sniper would have been a faster option.

Logan, noticing his discomfort, let out a heavy sigh and rested a heavy hand on his boyfriend’s shoulder. “Pat, I think you came off a bit too strong again.” He said in a soft, but lecturing tone. Patton was able to calm down slightly, but stilled rocked back and forth on his feet. “I apologize, I’m Logan Winchester, a physics major, Patton here is an art major.

“Virgil Black, majoring in music theory.” The emo joined in next, still sitting in a ball on the bed, curled like a cat.

“And I am Roman Sanchez, actor, singer, and future Disney prince.” The preppy looking one then finished the introductions.

Once again, Dexter didn’t how to respond to them. He already told them his name so what else could he say? His major was probably a normal human response, but they’d probably ask if they could read any of his work, and he’d just as soon drive a bus into the ocean then show them his horror stories. So, maybe he could ask a question and... Wait, how long has he been standing there not saying anything? Oh shit they probably think he’s a socially inept introvert, well he was but oh no their staring- say something! Anything!

“Are you all gay?” What the fuck was that?

“Bi actually.” Both Logan and Patton answered at the same time.

“I’m pan, Roman is the only gay one.” Virgil shared.

“Gayer than a unicorn eating skittles on a rainbow~” Roman then sang, resting his head on Virgil’s side giving the small, cat-like emo a seductive wink, to which he was promptly shoved off.

“How about you kiddo?” Patton asked, taking a seat on the floor and resting his back against his bed frame. Logan followed close behind and sat next to him, crossing his legs.

“I’m not asexual.”

The smile Patton had been wearing the entire time began to grow impossibly large until Dexter was sure that his cheeks would rip wide open. With absolutely no warning, the dad friend bounced up off the ground and bounded over and enveloped him in a bear hug, scaring no one except Dexter.

“That settles it, you’re now my son!” He cheered and spun them around in a small circle. The others looked on like this was nothing new, perhaps this was how all of them met Patton, but Dexter could have sworn he’d turn into a puddle of blushing, stuttering gibberish. To say that he was caught off guard and confused would be the single most largest understatement of Dexter’s whole lonely life.

“I-i’m y-y-you-your so- wha- huh???”

Little did he know that this big bunch of weirdos would be the best thing to ever happen to him.