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The Aspects of Being Human

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     “Logan?”

     “Hm?” Logan turned his head away from the novel he was deep in to find a unique sight at his doorway. “Do you need something, Patton?”

     Now that he thinks about it, seeing any of the others at his doorway was a strange experience; he was left to his own devices most of the time. If anyone did need him, he’d simply be summoned in.

     “Actually, yeah,” Logan studied the aspect as he spoke. His demeanor seemed a bit more uncomfortable than usual, his shoulders down with one hand rubbing the opposite arm. His voice, compared to the usual loud and perky sound, had a tense calmness to it. Clearly, he was here with some sort of dilemma.

     “Pat,” Logan thought through his next actions carefully, planning two steps ahead like always. He doesn’t want to upset the emotional one any more than he already is. “I’m not sure how much help I can provide you. Perhaps Roman would be more suitable for this?”

     Roman was usually who Patton would go to, after all. Though, even if Logan isn’t very understanding when it comes to feelings, he would much rather Patton come to him more often ( Roman is good temporary help, but his messages are often too… fantastical . Pat will surely end up let down eventually ).

     “As much as I love Roman’s help - and I really do appreciate it!” Patton interrupted himself. “I think I need a logical approach. I’m trying to understand something.”

     “That is my job,” Logan smiled, closing the historical book he was reading beforehand and motioning Patton inside. The aspect looked around awkwardly, never being in Logan’s room until now, before choosing to sit on the edge of the gray colored bed.

     “Lo, your room is so boring! Where’s the color?” To Logan, this appeared to be Patton trying to lighten the mood, something the father figure did often in times of self-stress. Personally, he just wanted to get to the point.

     “The simplicity is so I won’t get distracted. Now, what’s your dilemma?” While Logan appreciated the history of a lot of artistic interior decorating, he found it unnecessary if all he would be using his room for is sleeping and reading. There was no one to impress, really.

     Patton began to tug at the cat hoodie tied around his neck, something Logan had never noticed him do before in such a context ( that may just be because seeing Pat like this was quite rare ). “Could you explain what I am?”

     “Pardon?” Even Logan knows that Patton is a lot smarter than he seems. Surely he doesn’t need an explanation of ‘what he is.’

     “Just-” the side paused, piecing his words together while folding his hands in his lap. “Go through it with me, please? What I am and what I do for Thomas.”

     Logan raised a brow in confusion at the request, but he assumed it was leading somewhere and didn’t protest. “Well Patton, you are labeled as Thomas’s morality, meaning you decide what is and/or feels right and wrong.”

     “Yeah, but-”

     “However,” Logan continued, sticking his index finger up in the air. “What really makes these moral decisions is Thomas’s emotions, therefore you encompass that much more than just being his moral compass. You are most of his feelings of joy, sadness, love, etcetera. Even anger and fear, at times. Many of those feelings could also be caused by the other sides - especially fear with Virgil around - but you are the general sense of emotion."

     Patton let out a deep sigh. Logan couldn’t quite describe it, but it sounded as if the side was longing for something. “Does love include being in love?”

     “I would assume so. Why?” Logan watched as Patton stood up from the bedside, seemingly uncomfortable.

     “Y’know a while ago, when we all went to my room?” When Logan nodded at the question, Patton put a hand to his face, his other hand once again tugging at his cat hoodie ( Just a hypothesis, but perhaps he was picking up nervous habits by hanging around Virgil too much? ).

     “Well,” Morality continued, “a bit after I started thinking about Thomas’s past relationships, and-” he sucked in a sharp breath. Logan once again nodded, urging Patton to continue. “I have loved all the people that Thomas has dated, really! And I still do! But I don’t know if it’s the same way he did.”

     Logan thought for a moment, deciding to stand up from his chair as well. He didn’t really enjoy sitting for too long. “So you’re suggesting that you’ve never had romantic feelings for anyone?”

     Patton’s shoulders raised for a moment, before lowering down in what looked like defeat. “I’ve never been in love with anyone Thomas has. Is that bad? Does that mean he was never in love?”

     Logan actually laughed a bit at that. “Patton, I am sure that’s not the case.” He stepped towards the confused side, putting a reassuring hand on his shoulder. “Think of it this way: while your emotions fill in a lot of what is needed in ‘being in love,’ it is likely that the rest of it - the romantic parts you are missing - are covered by Roman.”

     “But how much can Roman actually cover?” Patton’s brows furrowed as he stared directly at Logan with worried eyes. “Roman is creativity, passion, imagination, inspiration, but is he really Romance?”

     Even Logan didn’t quite know the answer to that question. “Well you have to consider the fact that we aren’t the only parts of Thomas, and I’m not even talking about the sides he doesn’t know about. Humans are complicated beings, and we can’t possibly fill in all of the gaps.”

     “You think it’s just instinct?”

     “More or less. While some of Thomas’s natural instincts are covered by us, like Virgil’s fight or flight response, it can be safe to assume that the atoms and chemical reactions in his brain are doing much more than we could ever know.”

     Patton stood still for a moment with an unrecognizable expression, before suddenly giggling. “I guess I was just overreacting, huh Logan?” He had his usual perky voice back, but something was bothering Logan about it. ( It was too easy, too quick. Pat wouldn’t have switched back to his usual persona so quickly, unless… )

     “Are you not satisfied with the answer I gave you, Or is something else bothering you?”

     “No no, your answer was perfectly logical! ” Logan simply raised a brow at Patton’s comment. “It’s just- well-”

     “Yes?” Logan encouraged. It’s not that he didn’t enjoy helping Patton ( teaching and explaining things is rather satisfying in any case ), but he really wanted to get back to reading that book.

     Patton glanced at the hand still resting on his shoulder ( was it making Pat uncomfortable? He usually like physical reassurance) and sighed for probably the hundredth time. “Is it okay if I say I’m not ready to talk about it?”

     While this certainly tugged at Logan’s ever-growing curiosity, he supposed some things are better left up to patience. “Of course, Patton. Metaphorically speaking, my door is always open.”

     “Thanks, Logan. The same goes for mine, obviously!” The emotional side smiled as he added, “Both figuratively and literally!”

     Logan couldn’t help but smile as Patton left the room. All in a day’s work.

 

     It wasn’t until later that night, after finishing the book he was reading, that he realized Patton never truly answered if he ever had romantic feelings for someone.

     ( I worry that he still thinks he can ).

Chapter Text

    Today was a “lazy day” for Thomas, and therefore for all the sides as well. Typically, Logan would disapprove of such days, but Roman and himself have been working together industriously to crank out well-made videos for Thomas. He wasn’t keeping track of them much, but it didn’t go unnoticed that, in their own separate ways, Virgil and Patton were both paying extra time to look after and check up on them.

    This is one of the times they genuinely deserved a break. ( We were quite ahead of schedule, too. Nothing to worry about. )

    There was a silent agreement that on these days, for whatever reason, no one was allowed to lock themselves up in their room. This was traditional even before Virgil joined the picture, but ever since he did, there has been a brightness coming from everyone in the imagined house that Logan couldn’t really explain well.

    Everything was just better . Patton’s laughter seemed more real more often ( Thomas’s emotional well-being is quite important for productivity ), Roman was more passionate about his work than ever before, and Virgil - ironically enough - eased everyone’s spirits. It all added up to create an aura of understanding between the four of them.

    Logan was just happy productivity was at an all-time high.

    They were all sitting in the living room with The Little Mermaid playing on the television, though the only one actually watching it was Patton, cuddled in a throw blanket and his cat onesie. On the other end of the couch, Roman had his feet up reading a book. Virgil, on one of the recliners, had one headphone in his right ear as he scrolled through something on his phone ( since when did he have a phone? ). Sitting in the other recliner opposite from Virgil, Logan was busy completing a sudoku puzzle, a change up from his usual crosswords.

    There used to be only one recliner. No one said anything when they noticed the second chair Roman must have conjured up the morning after they all visited Anxiety’s room.

    A peaceful silence spread throughout the house, the only sound being The Little Mermaid and the occasional hum from either Patton or Roman when one of the songs was playing in the movie. Unfortunately, all silences were broken once the heart got bored.

    “Hey Looogaannn,” Patton suddenly spoke up, changing his position to having his legs hang off the side of the sofa while lying on his back.

    Logan sighed, expecting the tranquility to be broken by Patton eventually. “Yes, Patton?”

    “If you opened up a store, you know what you would need?”

    “What, Patton?” Logan said quite unenthusiastically. He knew a bad pun was coming.

    “A s logan !” All three other side groaned consecutively while Patton’s smile widened, showing he was all too happy with himself.

    “Pat, I’m trying to finish this puzzle, please.” It wasn’t even near Patton’s best work.

    There was quite a long moment of silence for a bored Morality, but he spoke up once again after a good two minutes. “I have a question.” ( Different voice, less exaggerated ).

    Virgil and Roman turned their heads towards Patton, but Logan kept his eyes on his puzzle. “What now?”

    “Logan, you used to always say you don’t have emotions. But is that true?” This time, there were no dad jokes or awful puns in sight; it was just a confused and genuinely curious Patton.

    Before Logan had the chance to answer, Virgil scoffed. “Saying Logan doesn’t have any feelings is like assuming you’re only ever happy, Pat. He’s literally obsessed with a type of jelly.

    “As I was about to say,” Logan glared at the side opposite from him. “In practice, I do feel some ‘emotions’, but they all connect to my purpose as ‘Logic.’ For example, you could say I feel a sense of joy when learning or teaching.”

    “Yes, because being addicted to Crofter’s is totally logical.” Virgil rolled his eyes, still scrolling through his phone in disinterest. “Cut the crap, Logan. We all know you feel just as much as the rest of us.”

    “Falseh-”

    “Language, young man!” Patton chimed in, completely cutting off Logan with his particularly loud voice just to correct Virgil.

    “Sorry, dad.”

    “ As I was saying, ” This was his second time being interrupted in this conversation, and he was getting quite impatient. “Perhaps there are some feelings that bleed out from Thomas into us just because of the fact that we are perceived and represented with human bodies. Whether they’re real or not, we all have taste buds.” Logan exemplified this by taking a sip of the tea he had sitting on the table. “But me feeling everything Patton does, or even you Virgil, is just impossible and completely unnecessary.”

    “Whatever helps you sleep at night,” Virgil mumbled to himself. While that comment may have annoyed Logan, he was happy enough to go back to his Sudoku.

    “Would you all pipe down? I am trying to read here.” Roman, who had been silent during the conversation, finally joined in to complain. He kept his eyes on whatever book he was reading, however.

    “Ooo, is it a romance novel?” Patton asked, now lying on his stomach and facing towards Roman.

    “I don’t read romance novels, Pat. I read fantasy.”

    “Really Princey? Because I’m pretty sure the other day I saw a book sitting on the table, something about vampires-”

    “Shut your mouth, Demolition Lover,” Roman spat at Virgil, a light blush appearing on his cheeks ( Rare, for Roman ). “It was about werewolves, and it was a very emotional and fantastical book!”

    “Was that a reference to a My Chemical Romance song? How do you even know that?” While Virgil’s brow furrowed at the prince, Logan started to focus less and less on the conversation.

    “Roman Princey Sanders,” Patton gasped, “are you secretly more emo than Virgil ?!”

    “ Absolutely not!

    As Roman sputtered out in disagreement and the other two laughed, Logan couldn’t help but let out his own little chuckle at this ridiculousness.

 

    That night, everyone retired to their rooms one by one. Roman was first, saying something about his ‘knightly duties’ - Logan wasn’t really paying much attention. Virgil left to his room not much long after, muttering something about going to bed ( he probably wasn’t ). In both instances, Patton wished them a heartfelt goodnight. Logan said goodnight to them both, too, but he was still more focused on other things.

    As another Disney movie ended - Logan honestly wasn’t even paying attention enough to know which movie it was - Patton got up to shut off the T.V. and go to bed himself, but paused as he walked away. “You know it’s okay to feel, right Lo?”

    Logan looked up from his book of puzzles. “Of course, but it’s also okay not to.”

    “It just makes me sad that you think you can’t feel everything we can.”

    “I can’t, Pat, and that’s okay,” Logan reassured; he didn’t understand what Patton was so worried about. “I simply don’t need to. Everything I don’t have is all covered by you, Roman, and Virgil, and I’m okay with that.” ( But can Pat be okay with that? )

    “Alright, alright. Goodnight, Logan. Pleasant dreams!” Patton dismissed. Once again, something was off by the way he said it.

    “Patton, are you upset with me?” Logan couldn’t help but ask.

    “Upset?” Patton, strangely enough, smiled. “No, but I have to ask you, Logan: Do you care?”

    Morality left the room before Logan could respond. It didn’t take long for Logan to retire to his room as well.

 

    Logan couldn’t sleep, naturally. Everything about his conversation with Patton beforehand was bothering him ( too many questions needing answers ).

    The other side was not upset with him, that much was true. His last few words, no matter how admittedly strange and abrupt they were, didn’t hold any bite. The tone seemed to reflect genuine interest and wonder.

    ( No, more than that. Pat knows something that I don’t know. )

    Before he can even find that out, however, he needs to answer the question given to him; does he care if Patton is upset with him?

    At first, the answer seemed obvious. If Morality was distressed because of Logic, it would cause negative effects on Thomas’s mood and create an inner turmoil that would make it quite difficult to get anything done. For Thomas’s well-being, it is extremely important for them to get along. Conflict is bound to happen every once in awhile between the mind and the heart, however.

    Here’s the problem, though: That wasn’t really the question.

    Quite a bit back, right after the nostalgia incident, Logan began to notice that Patton put a lot of thought into what he said sometimes, despite his impulsive behaviors. It wasn’t all the time, of course, but he found that the side would especially do it when he was talking to Logan one-on-one. ( Words with double meanings, emphasis on specific phrases. Pat became a code to solve, and it was quite fun. )

    So Logan searched for more in everything from the conversation, not just the last question. In the end, though, the only true worthy note is what he found in that question. Any other note found by the logical side led to absolutely no where.

    Everyone was fully aware that the names assigned to them - Logic, Morality, Creativity, Anxiety - were all too specific to really cover everything that they were, Patton especially. Therefore, when Patton specifically stated he had to ask Logan a question, adding his name for seemingly no apparent reason, it suggests he wants an answer from Logan.

    And not just Logic.

    The wording of the question also didn’t say ‘do you care if I’m upset with you,’ but instead just ‘do you care.’ Patton was asking Logan if he cares about him and the other sides on a level separate from their benefits for Thomas.

    The answer, in reality, should be no. But what bothered Logan so much, what was keeping him up for the first time in quite awhile, was the fact that he didn’t know the answer.

    It was at 2 Am when Logan conjured up a journal and began writing.

Chapter Text

    “Logan, buddy,” Virgil said in a courteous tone as he walked into the kitchen that morning. “Did you get any sleep last night?”

    “What compels you to ask?” Logan didn’t think it was too obvious, though he didn’t examine himself in the mirror very thoroughly. He had much better things to do with his time than worry about his appearance just because of a lack of sleep.

    “Well for one, you’re pouring yourself black coffee instead of tea.” Both of them gazed down at the cup in Logan’s hands. He really hadn’t put much thought into what he was drinking, he just wanted to feel awake for a while. “Also, the bags under your eyes are almost as dark as my eyeshadow.”

    Before Logan could explain, the sound of distant warm laughter made the two sides glance towards the hallway.

    Roman and Patton usually get up around the same time, or at least Patton would get Roman out of his room when he woke up. The two would certainly notice the bags under his eyes if Virgil saw them so quickly. With Logan often chastising them for their horrible sleeping schedules, they would probably see it hypocritical for the logical aspect to be in such a state.

    ( And Pat was smarter than he acted. He might know it was his fault. )

    “Want some concealer?” Virgil asked, either sensing the increase of nervousness in the room or simply seeing Logan tense up.

    “That would be very assistive, Virgil.”

    As the voices and footsteps of Roman and Patton grew closer, Virgil put a hand on Logan’s shoulder and snapped, taking them both to the darker side’s room. Concealer was immediately pulled out from a desk opposite to the door, and Logan took off his glasses.

    “Hold still,” Virgil mumbled, dipping the small makeup wand into the concealer. The feeling of makeup on Logan’s face was, admittedly, a tad discomforting. “Anything you need to talk about?”

    Logan hummed. “No, not really. I’m simply trying to figure something out.” He wasn’t lying, he had nothing to lie about. He just felt that sharing his findings - and confusion - would be unnecessary. It could also be dangerous to do so in a room that can heighten his anxiety.

    Virgil sighed as he moved on to the next eye. “You’re always ‘figuring things out’ Lo, but none of those things has ever made you stay up past midnight.” He grabbed a beauty blender sitting on the desk. “You don’t have to tell me, but a second opinion might be nice.”

    Logan stayed silent, letting Virgil finish his makeup. If he were to ask for someone’s advice on the matter, it would be Virgil’s; his anxiety may get in the way of rationality when it came to certain situations, but he was the only one ( besides myself ) with any common sense.

    But he could figure this out on his own. Putting it into words and visuals in his journal was certainly helping that.

    “Done. You can look in that mirror, if you want.”

    Looking into his reflection, Logan certainly didn’t see any darker coloring that could give away his secret. Yet his mind ( the room was to blame, clearly ) was still nervous that something about his face would still give it away.

    “I can try to remove the shaping if you want,” Virgil somehow read his mind again. “You’re gonna have to tell me what’s bothering you, though.”

    Even with anxiety potentially leaking into the edges of his brain, Logan knew he did not have to accept this deal. The concealer alone would be enough as long as no one examined him too closely, and it seemed unlikely anyone would. He could leave to eat breakfast with the others and no one would suspect a thing.

    But it was starting to sound nice to hear another side’s opinion, and it isn’t like he had to go into detail…

    “Let’s move to my room, then. I would rather not have your room make me 'overenthusiastic,' if that’s alright.”

    Virgil huffed, grabbing his bag of makeup and allowing Logan to warp them to his own room. Unlike when Patton saw the various shades of gray that made up the walls and furniture, Virgil stayed silent as he applied more makeup to Logan’s face.

    “I’m adding some subtle highlighting,” the anxious side mumbled. “Should hide the shape of it without it being obvious you’re hiding anything.”

    “Right,” Logan sighed uncomfortably, suddenly dreading his decisions. ( I’m in control of this situation. I do not have to share anything I don’t want to. ) “Virgil, how independent do you believe we are allowed to be from our purpose for Thomas?”

    Virgil stopped moving his brush, and his other hand went to grab at his hoodie as he bit his lip slightly ( he would have started picking his nails if he wasn’t holding that brush, surely ). “Is this about yesterday? Because uh, if I said something that-”

    “No, no, you have done nothing to trouble me, Virgil.” Logan didn’t want to unnerve Anxiety any more than he already was. “It’s just- I’m simply bewildered by something Patton discussed with me, that’s all.”

    Virgil raised one eyebrow but dropped it in replace of a small half-smile ( the same damn knowing look pat had ). It was only then that the logical side realized how ridiculous this entire situation was. Here he was, getting his makeup done to hide the fact that he stayed up all night over a silly question, from the person who asked it.

    ( I guess you could say I care if Pat is upset by it. Heh. )

    (Oh shi- )

    “Ah, well,” Virgil snapped Logan out of his thoughts, working on his face once again. “I don’t really know what you mean by ‘allowed,’ but I’m pretty sure we all feel more than we probably should.”

    “Maybe so, but it always…” It’s always in the realm of possibility. It always connects right. “...Makes reasonable sense. I mean, if you only ever felt anxiety, Virgil, then things would surely be much more difficult for Thomas. It makes sense for you to feel other emotions so you can ease up.”

    Virgil crossed his arms defensively. “Hate to break it to you, but not everything I feel has or needs sense.” His voice had raised slightly in volume, suggesting a bit of anger.

    “Like what?” Logan couldn’t help but ask. He was genuinely curious as to what emotions Virgil had that he deemed nonsensical.

    “Like-” He wasn’t completely sure, but there might have been a tone of red dusting Virgil’s cheeks under his own foundation. “Look, if you can be vague, then I can be too. Just stop trying to make sense of everything you feel, okay? You’re gonna put yourself in a lot of pain doing that.” He zipped up the makeup bag and snapped to send it back to his own room. “Done.”

    Logan wanted to question him more on what he meant by getting himself hurt, but it appeared Virgil wanted to be over with this particular conversation. Instead, he put his glasses back on and conjured a small mirror to look at the work that was done on his face.

    The makeup job was quite well done, for someone who just blobbed eyeshadow under his eyes every day. While Logan’s eyes may have still drooped just slightly behind his glasses, it seemed impossible to tell he was sleep deprived. In fact, he might have looked more awake than usual.

    But something was wrong, and it wasn’t the makeup. The longer he looked in the mirror, the more he grew to not quite enjoy what he was seeing. ( Have my lips always been that big? And my nose too? )

    “Um,” Virgil once again snapped Logan out of the strange thoughts he was having. “Sorry if it’s not- I can take it off if you don’t-”

    “There’s no need, you did an exceptional job. Thanks, Virgil.” He ignored the voice telling him to ask Virgil for more makeup as he set the mirror down. He never realized how much a sleepless night can do to your mind.

    “Uh, yeah. No Problem.” Now Virgil was picking at his nails. It was a habit he wanted Thomas to break out of, but he didn’t say anything to Virgil about it for now.

    Suddenly, the door opened behind them, making Anxiety just about hop into the ceiling. Of course, a cheerful someone with specs similar to Logan’s was on the other side of that door.

    “Sorry! Didn’t mean to scare you, Virgil!” Morality somehow kept the same chipper tone in his voice while still showing his worry. “It’s just that breakfast is ready, and you weren’t in your room so I got worried and- Whatcha two doing anyway?”

    Logan felt himself tense up as he tried to come up with an excuse that wouldn’t lead to a worse situation, but it seemed Virgil had it covered already. “I was just asking Logan if I could borrow one of his books. Looked cool.”

    Thankfully, Patton beamed at the answer. “Glad to see you taking some interest in stuff, kiddo! Now come eat before Roman takes all the bacon.”

    Virgil smiled and gave a small nod to Logan before he walked out into the hallway, Patton holding the door open for him. While Logan went to follow suit, he was paused by the moral side’s voice next to him as he passed.

    “Hey, you look good today! Did you do something different?” It felt strange to be complimented on his looks, especially when what made him look decent was the skills of Virgil. He never thought he would particularly care about comments about his physical appearance, but he found the misplaced compliment to leave a sour taste in his mouth.

    “Not particularly, no. I must just be well-rested, is all.” Speaking of sour tastes in his mouth, lying didn’t leave a great one either. ( When was the last time I even had to lie about something? )

    “Hah, alright. One more thing, Lo.” Logan really just wanted to eat some food and retreat back to his room for the rest of the day, but he’d give Patton this one moment. “Don’t worry too much about what I said last night, okay? I was just being silly.”

    “You have nothing to worry about, Patton. It hasn’t even crossed my mind since then.” Logan just needed to make sure he didn’t get too much in the habit of lying if he didn't want to attract the attention of a certain “Dark Side,” As Roman chooses to call them.

    “Alright, just…” Patton paused. He seemed to scan Logan’s face for something, something that the side couldn’t give him. “Just don’t punish yourself, okay?”

    When Patton left the doorway, Logan conjured up his newest journal and wrote down the quote Just don’t punish yourself as a reminder to analyze the interaction later. For now, he would allow himself to eat breakfast.

 

     Chains attached to shackles around your arms and legs, pulling you down into the hard concrete. You don’t bother struggling this time. Cobblestone walls surrounding you with nothing else in sight except for the eery blackness above. Notes beginning to fall down to the sound of rain. Orange, green, pink, blue, all unreadable except the white one that falls in front of you.

     Logan!

    Logan feels his eyelids slowly open as his pupils shrink from the brightness of the real world ( Roman’s room ). He barely registers the face of the princely figure standing in front of him when he oh-so-intelligently mutters, “Wha?”

    “This is the second time you have dozed off!” Roman huffed and crossed his arms to his chest. “Did you get any sleep last night? I’m sure my video ideas can’t be that boring to you.”

    Logan sighed in defeat. When your body’s quite used to a specific sleeping schedule, it can be quite difficult to hide when it’s broken. ( You were never quite good at maintaining it anyway. Always too many thoughts. )

    “Just don’t tell Patton.”

    “Why Patton, specifically?” The fantastical side glared at Logan in confusion, before suddenly letting out a groan. “Oh god, you two are going to be the death of me.”

    “I have no idea what you’re referring to. I only mentioned Pat specifically because Virgil already knows.”

    “He did your makeup, didn’t he?” Roman scanned Logan’s eyes closer to examine what Virgil applied. “Ah, I should’ve noticed. He did it for me once when I stayed up for 40 hours writing a story.”

    Logan felt irritation grow under his skin. “Roman, you cannot be staying up for that long. Even one of us lacking proper rest could throw off Thomas’s-”

    “See, this is exactly why we have Virgil do our makeup.” Roman began to organize the papers on his white wooden desk in neat stacks. “If you don’t want me calling you a hypocrite, why don’t you stop lecturing and tell me what made you, Thomas’s logic , lose track of sleep?”

    “I’m here to help you with video ideas to propose to Thomas, not talk about personal issues.” What does Roman think he’ll get out of this? What makes him think he has the right to ask him so many questions?

    ( Calm down. It’s been a long day and you’re getting irritated over nothing. )

    “What’s the point of doing such things when you can’t even keep your head above your own shoulders?” Roman sat on his king size bed and rested his own cheek in his hand. “Lo, let me present you with a question: Are you my friend?”

    The logical side blinked, confused. “Well, I would say it’s hard to define relations between us. Being that we are simply facets of one person, or at least control different parts of said person, the idea that we can form real bonds such as ‘friendships’ can be debated-”

    “Nope, no, none of that,” Roman interrupted. “We are not thinking here, we are feeling . The answer to that question was yes; you are my friend, whether you believe I’m your friend or not. Therefore, I am allowed to worry about your wellbeing as I would with Patton or Virgil.”

    “Leave the worrying to Anxiety, Roman. If you get too caught up in worry you risk negatively impacting Thomas’s-”

    The creative side interrupted Logan, once again, with a loud groan, flopping back on his bed dramatically. “That’s it! I’ve officially decided that you’re a hopeless case!”

    “Case?” Logan was not something that needed to be opened or solved. That was his job, after all.

    “Until you start thinking and feeling for yourself instead of just Thomas, I give up on you.” Roman had both of his hands smacked on his face in mental exhaustion. “Now go to sleep before you drive me to insanity, Einstein.”

    Logan’s brows furrowed. “Roman, our only purpose is to keep Thomas functioni-”

    “Lo, if you don’t get out of my room right now and go to sleep, I will conjure up your most terrifying nightmare right where you stand.”

    Perhaps Roman was being quite overdramatic, but Logan decided he didn’t want to test Creativity any longer and finally snapped to his own room to go to sleep.

 

    He wasn’t sure when he fell asleep, but when he saw his bedside clock glow with the numbers ‘3:00’ through his slowly opening eyes in the otherwise pitch black room, Logan immediately conjured up a book light and his journal and started writing.

Chapter Text

     May 16, 2018, 3:14 Am

     I had a sort of nightmare, as some would call it.

    I have never cared much to pay attention to my dreams before. The images my mind creates during unconsciousness are always quite nonsensical and completely unimportant to analyze, if I even dream at all. Random interactions between characters from books and other media, explorations of rooms undiscovered, the past stresses of school life; those are the kind of dreams I have. Nothing consistent, no recurrences.

    I do not have nightmares. In fact, the closest thing I’ve ever had to what someone would describe as a nightmare was the short dream I had when I dozed off in Roman’s room.

    But tonight’s dream was different. It appeared to be a continuation of the dream from Roman’s room, which raises the perplexity of the situation on its own. Like I mentioned, there aren’t usually consistencies, but I cannot ignore the fact that I was in the same setting.

    It’s a closed in circular space with tall cobblestone surrounding it, paired with a hard stone ground uncomfortable to the knees. I can speculate that the area could be the bottom of a well, though there is no water surrounding my legs. I cannot see anything looking up except colorful sticky notes falling down.

    All of my limbs are chained, but I could stand up if I felt the need to. There was a sense of defeat in the air though, as I didn’t struggle to escape the shackles. While the last dream left off with a white note falling in front of me, this one continued as I picked up the note.

    The strangest part was that the note was unreadable. It was completely corrigible and in English, yet the sentence written down wouldn’t process in my head. It’s like the words on the card separately would make sense, yet when put together in that specific structure, it all blended together in a way I can’t comprehend.

    It made frustration swell up, and only then did I start struggling. I thought it didn’t appear to be very difficult to escape, but it seemed the shackles only tightened as I twisted around. It was simply painful. I didn’t wake from the dream until my character tried to stand up and fell to the ground.

    While I most certainly don’t believe in the idea that your dreams really mean something other than the fact that they’re the jumbled up thoughts of your day-to-day lives, I was curious enough to look into it using the website Joan used for the game they made up. It was a fascinating topic, after all.

 

     Chains - “To see chains in your dream signify your need to break free from a routine, old idea, or a relationship. If you are being chained, then some part of you is being forcefully put in check.”

     Shackles - “To dream that you are in shackles suggests that you are in a rut. Your daily life is becoming too much of a routine.”

     Well - “To see a well in your dream represents your hidden abilities and talents that have not yet come to the surface or not yet recognized. The well is also symbolic of the depth of your emotions. It may serve as a depository for your emotions and how you are trying to suppress them…To dream that you fall into the well indicates losing emotional control. To dream that the well is dry suggests that there is an emotional void in your life. You feel empty inside and need to be fulfilled.”

     Post-It Note - “To see or write on a post-it note in your dream indicates that there is something that you need to make a mental note of.”

 

    I believe the meanings and symbols written above were made to be just vague enough to be able to relate to anyone dreaming of these things. That being said, the analyzations could be considered somewhat helpful.

    The testament that there is a part of me “being forcefully put in check” is certainly true just from most recent events. Patton - and the others two, really - have put me in a strange position where I am questioning parts of me I have never felt the need to before. They all seem to want me to focus on my ‘feelings’ instead of my objective as Logic.

    Why is that?

    It makes sense for Roman and Patton. They’re both primarily ran by emotions, especially Pat. I would see why they might not understand my line of thinking, but why would Roman suggest that I need to focus on myself instead of Thomas when we are Thomas? Why would Patton not just come to me directly about his worries instead of being so damn cryptic?

    Seeing that a good portion of Virgil is based on his own form of thinking and reasoning, you would think he wouldn’t be prodding about this like the others are. Nevertheless, he seems to have the same agenda as them.

    And that damn look they keep giving me. I take pride in the fact that, when I care to pay attention, I can read people’s faces usually very well. The way their lips keep tilting in this strange half-smile, the way the rest of their faces relaxed and their eyes almost narrowed; it could only be described as if they’re aware of something that I myself am completely oblivious towards. Or at least, they think I am.

    Why can’t I just let all of this go? Why do I care so much?

    I have to remember where this all started. I have to take note of the original question(s).

    Do I care if Patton is upset with me? Do I care about Patton, Roman, and Virgil? Do I care?

    I’ve said it before, the real answer to the real meaning behind the question should be no. However, the others want me to focus on what I feel, not what I think. The others do not want what should be, but what is.

    I can’t say no. I can’t ignore how they’ve all changed me.

    I remember feeling something in my chest when I gave Virgil his gift for Christmas, and he almost forgot to put up his facade of apathy. I remember feeling the same thing even more so when giving Patton the cat hoodie I worked hard on for his return from his room.

    I remember feeling something completely different in my throat, something close to pain, when Patton and Virgil doubted the idea that things could get better again. That feeling never went away throughout the whole endeavor: seeing Virgil growing so anxious, seeing Roman so desperate to help Thomas feel what he used to have, and seeing Patton so intent on hiding the less pleasant sides to himself.

    I remember feeling incredible anger to the point where I almost couldn’t hide it when I realized Deceit was pretending to be Patton. How dare Deceit use his face and his mannerisms for his own ignorant agenda? How could Roman let himself fall right into that snake’s trap? How could I have let myself get so distracted with the flattery and the acting, to not have even realized that my Patton wouldn’t have said and done all those things?

    I did not mean to go on such a tangent. (Note to self: Use pencil instead of pen in future entries.)

    There were all the small moments that made me feel joyful for reasons I cannot explain correctly. All the times Roman teases the others, and every time he gets flustered when it’s turned back on him. The warm comments and facial expressions Virgil gives every day now, showing he finally felt like he belonged. The way Patton will look at me and smile brightly and laugh and just try his best to make everyone feel better, despite how broken we all could be. He would put us all above him, yet would immediately brighten when I ask how he’s feeling.

    We hold each other together and I cannot comprehend why they bring parts out of me I shouldn’t have.

    How defected could I be to let myself feel any of this? How incredibly stupid could I get, putting Thomas’s logic on the line to allow incessant and unnecessary feelings flow through me just because the others are allowed to?

    That’s all this is. Unhealthy ideas from an instinctual herd mentality. The other sides don’t understand that they can feel all of this because there’s no risk to it, but emotions can and will make someone lose sight of logic. I cannot lose myself for feelings that aren’t even real.

    Right now, sleep is the best option. I don’t want to ruin Thomas’s sleeping schedule with unimportant thoughts.

     I’m such an idiot.

Chapter Text

    Logan developed a new routine. As annoying and pitiful as it was, it had to be done to fix this.

    He would get up at 6; that part wasn’t necessarily new, but it was imperative that he woke before any of the other sides. He would summon himself a freshly-brewed black coffee and drink it quickly. Once finished, he would immediately wash his mug and hide the coffee smell in the kitchen with a natural smelling perfume.

    There was a fine line between logical strategy and paranoia. Logan knew he was walking on it.

    The next step was getting his makeup done by Virgil. Unfortunately, Virgil’s sleeping schedule was quite inconsistent. Sometimes the anxious side wouldn’t emerge until almost noon, and other times he would be up just after Logan, catching him making coffee. So until Virgil woke up, Logan would do anything to keep his mind occupied.

    Working, books, puzzles, television, anything to ward off any unwanted thoughts. Sometimes, he would do a puzzle while watching something just to make sure.

    Because of this, Virgil became a huge flaw in his plans. Logan needed the makeup, he needed to make sure no one saw how tired he was. But that just meant Virgil would have to know.

    And, living up to his name, Anxiety worried. Logan was running out of excuses to tell him when he asked what was wrong.

    Of course, there was another huge flaw in his plan: Roman could tell Logan was wearing makeup. He knew what it looked like by now. While the creative side never asked about it like Virgil, they both gave the same worrying looks and wavering sighs. ( It hurts. )

    He hates to admit it, but he’s really only hiding from Patton.

    After makeup, Logan does only what he needs to do, and that is it. He works on videos, sometimes with Roman and sometimes without. He makes sure Thomas does adequate research on any topic necessary. He spends time analyzing things for Thomas, whether that be his schedule for the week or daily interactions. He was doing his job.

    He would much rather have this routine allow him to be away from every side as much as possible. While there is certainly more distance, the mornings with Virgil and working with Roman were both extremely mandatory things.

    And of course, Patton wouldn’t let him hide away, and it was infuriating.

    There is absolutely no reason for Morality to be fit within Logan’s schedule, but Patton pushes himself in anyway. He makes sure Logan is eating, delivering meals to him if he must. He checks up on Logan as much as physically possible, asking him how he is and sometimes even trying to start up a conversation. It is horribly, annoyingly distracting ( And painful ) .

    ( As long as you work, you can ignore it. )

    The final flaw in his routine was when the sun went down. Logan didn’t have any true way to combat everything once he was supposed to sleep. He found that once he tried to shut his eyes, the darkness surrounding his room would make him feel incredibly cold, and his thoughts did not go to places he wanted them to go.

    He had to fight it off. He couldn’t let himself be so distracted . So at night, he would read or write or do something until he was so tired to the point where he’d immediately crash, whether that means staying up all night to fight it all off or fall asleep with a book in his lap only to wake up to the painful buzzing of his alarm.

    There were so many flaws in the routine, but it worked. It kept Logan from thinking about feeling.

     Until it didn’t.

    It was only a week into the schedule when everything went wrong on the same day.

     Step 1. Wake up at 8 Am - Success, considering Logan did not sleep that night.

     Step 2. Drink coffee before anyone notices - Semi-failure, as today Virgil decided to get up early.

     Step 3. Have Virgil do your makeup.

    When Virgil entered the kitchen, Logan immediately sensed that something was different. ( Was Virgil’s demeanor different? His expression? ) At this point, Logan didn’t even need to ask Virgil to do his makeup; he simply finished washing his coffee mug and walked towards Virgil to transport both of them to Logan’s room.

    This time, however, the logical side was stopped by a flat hand. “Actually, Lo, I have a request.”

    Logan paused and arched his brow. “Do you want an exchange for the makeup? You can have some books if you want, or that Alice in Wonderland puzzle you seemed to like.” Virgil could have anything of his, really. He wasn’t one to grow attached to material items.

    “Wha- no,” Virgil seemed confused by Logan’s response. “I’ll still do your makeup for free, but I’m gonna have to ask we do it in my room today.”

    Oh no, that would absolutely not do. Logan immediately felt his heart rate pick up, just slightly. “Wouldn’t that be counterproductive? The dark eyeshadow effect your room creates would just ruin your work, am I wrong?”

    Virgil sighed. “Lo, it’s not real. Once you’re out of the room it’ll just disappear.” As he spoke, the protective side grabbed a granola bar from the pantry. While any of the sides can simply conjure up food, Patton keeps Roman’s imaginary kitchen filled just in case. “Just tells me when I need to get someone out of there, is all.”

    Logan was about to protest more as he tried to think up another excuse, but his thoughts were interrupted by three sounds: Doors closing, footsteps, and conversation. Apparently, everyone felt the need to get up earlier today.

    Logan felt himself tense up and made a noise similar to a mix of a whine and a groan. “Fine, but only this once.”

    Once Logan muttered those words, they were immediately taken to Virgil’s room before the other two sides caught them. Logan feels himself let out a sigh of relief, but he does not let himself forget where he is.

    “Only do the eyes today, Virgil,” Logan said as he took off his glasses. “We do not need this visit being longer than need be, correct?”

    Virgil only hummed in response, grabbing concealer and other makeup Logan didn’t recognize from his bag and getting to work.

    It was silent for a good minute, anxiety coursing through Logan’s bloodstream. He wanted to blame it on the room, he really did, but he knew it couldn’t affect him this quickly. Ironically enough, his anxiousness came from the fear that the room would increase that exact same anxiety.

    “Y’know,” Virgil suddenly spoke up quietly, currently blending. “Everything I feel doesn’t go to Thomas.”

    “...Pardon?”

    “I am Thomas’s main source of anxiety, but-” Virgil swallowed, “-saying I am just Thomas’s anxiety wouldn’t be true, really.”

    Logan couldn’t help but feel exhausted from that sentence alone, feeling as if he’s had conversations like this a thousand times now with the others. Nevertheless, he pressed on out of curiosity. “Go on?”

    “Well, um,” Virgil gazed down for a moment and bit his lip, trying to put his words together. “I’m like a- a holder, or something. While I get all possible anxious thoughts, Thomas only gets what I think he needs to.”

    “The Protector,” Logan thought out loud. “You get all potential bad outcomes to a situation, and you warn Thomas when necessary.” Logan never realized that before. This is not where he thought this conversation was going.

    The other side laughed. “For a while, I thought that was pretty unfair. I would give everything to Thomas because I needed someone to understand everything I had to fear.” Virgil moved on to the highlighting. “That’s why I was able to leave before. If I want to, I can just stop giving Thomas anything.”

    “I see,” Logan mumbled. “And what changed?”

    Virgil stopped putting on Logan’s makeup, now grabbing his left sleeve with his right hand. “I think you guys helped me learn how to filter it. It- It’s still a lot, but I can go through it and decide what Thomas really needs to be aware of. I am in control of what parts of me affect him.”

    Logan suddenly felt like something was constricting his lungs. “What are you trying to suggest?”

    Virgil looked directly at him. “We’re in control, Logan. Whatever we feel, Thomas doesn’t have to feel it too. whatever we do, it doesn’t have to be Thomas doing it with us.”

    ( No no no no no no n o )

    “I want out.” Logan felt his lungs getting tighter.

    “Logan?”

    “Virgil, let me out. ” He could hear himself hyperventilating.

    In a panic, Virgil snapped them out of his room back to the place they stood in the kitchen beforehand. The only difference in the room was that both Patton and Roman sat on the barstools in front of them.

    “Oh, hey Kidd-” Patton started to greet Virgil. Then his eyes landed on the other side. “Logan? What’s wrong?”

    Spots covered Logan’s eyes and made it hard to focus on any sense around him. He needed to ground himself, do anything to calm down his breathing and slow his pulse. He chose to rest a shaky hand on the countertop, trying to put all of his focus on feeling the texture of it.

    “Virge, how long was he in your room?” He heard Roman’s voice speak up. It was hard to comprehend what anyone was saying as he stood there blankly.

    “Not long,” Virgil’s voice was much quicker and more panicked than everyone else’s, almost at a yelling volume in Logan’s ear. “I thought that- with everything going on I could- I didn’t think that-”

    “It’s okay Virgil, it’s not your fault,” Roman reassured him while Patton tended to the other panicking side.

    “Lo, hey, can you hear me?” Hearing Patton’s calming voice through all the chaos, he can’t help but put all of his focus on it and nods. “Good, good. You’re safe. Breathe with me, can you do that?”

    Logan once again nods, and then Patton is counting seconds in each step. In ( 1, 2, 3, 4 ), hold ( 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 ), out ( 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 ). It doesn’t take very long for Logan to stop shivering.

    Once his vision is back and he can mostly process everything, he takes in the scene of the room. Virgil stood with wobbly dear legs behind Patton, his eyes wide in shock. Roman stood next to him with a hand on his shoulder, his eyes on Logan with an expression difficult to read. Patton stood in front of both of them, facing Logan with a soft smile and worried eyes staring into his soul.

    ( Look what you’ve done. )

    Logic cleared his throat and straightened his tie. “There’s no need to worry, I’m fine.” Noticing that his glasses were not on his face, he summoned them into his hands and pushed them up his nose. He was trying hard to replicate his calm and sophisticated self. “I’ll be heading to my room to read, if you’ll allow me.”

    As he walked out of the kitchen with careful steps, trying hard not to slouch no matter how much he wanted to, Roman stepped in his way. “Logan, we are not letting you go hide off in your room after that!”

    Surprisingly enough, it was Patton who had stopped Roman with a hand on his shoulder. “I’m sure Logan just needs a bit of alone time to cool off, right?”

    Logan nodded, feeling a pain in his chest. “Right. If you’ll excuse me.” Instead of bothering to walk around Roman, he ducked down into his room, leaving the three other sides to themselves.

    Step 4. Get to work.

    He immediately started working, shutting out every other thought trying to come to him. He ignored the arguments his own mind was having with itself, he ignored the pains in his chest thinking back to Patton’s calm voice and calm smile. He ignored what Virgil had said to him.

    Unfortunately, it was not enough. He couldn’t focus on anything he did. He tried to review and edit scripts Roman gave him, but the words blended together and nothing sounded right. He tried to write down some ideas and elaborate on Roman’s prompts he collected, but it was all completely unusable.

    In all aspects of the word, Logan felt like a failure.

    But he couldn’t dwell. He couldn’t let himself think. Smoothing out his hair and straightening his clothes, he exited his room to go over some parts of the newest script with Roman.

    He walked up to the white door speckled with gold stars two doors down from his own plain brown door. Before he could knock, however, he heard voices come from within the room.

    “It’s just- are we going about this the right way at all? ” Patton’s voice.

    “I’m not quite sure. But Pat, you can’t blame yourself. Logan was bound to break like this eventually. He’s been holding this all in for years without even realizing it!”

    ( They’re talking about you. ) Logan felt his throat clench up as he leaned closer to the door.

    “I-I know, it’s just-” Patton breathed in, his voice so much quieter than usual. “-Seeing him like that, so hurt and scared, I-I just-”

    Then came the soft, quiet, pained sob from inside, and Logan felt a knife go through his heart. He felt everything shatter around him.

    It’s been a long time, but Logan has seen Patton cry. It was in Thomas’s teen years, naturally. At the time, only Patton and Roman could be considered friends, as the rest of them barely ever talked with each other unless it was an argument. It was when Virgil first became stronger within Thomas, and he was constantly arguing with Princey over everything they did. Patton, being left without his friend and going through the many hormones teen years bring, had a lot of loud tears fall. Logan was too focused stressing over school to care about any of the other sides’ shenanigans.

    Not only was that years ago, but it also never sounded like that. Back then, it was loud and exaggerated, almost comical in nature, when Logan saw him cry. He had never in his life thought he would hear such a broken sound come from Patton or any of the sides.

    And Patton made that sound because of him.

    Logan, as quietly as possible, sprinted back to his own room, collapsing into his bed. He wrapped his body in the blankets, held a pillow into his face and arms,

    -and, for the first time in his entire existence, cried.

    ( Look what you’ve done. )

Chapter Text

    When Logan woke up that morning, the best word he could come up with to summarize everything he was feeling was “gross.”

    Physically, he felt gross. He cried himself right into sleep last night, the salty wet tears never being wiped away from his face or the pillow it was attached to. He also never changed into nightwear or brushed his teeth.

    Emotionally, he felt gross. All of his pains crashed upon him in a disgusting ball of sobs he couldn't hold, all because he made his friend cry. Now shame seems to be the only thing lingering.

    Mentally, he felt gross. He doesn't know how to put the words into his insecurities, but he now has somewhat of an understanding of how bad his mental state had gotten and, once again, he feels ashamed.

    ( Good news: You got the best sleep you have had in two weeks. )

    ( Bad news: You can't hide behind everything anymore. )

    What Logan had been doing - the routine and the working and the ignoring - was not something a logical person would do. Does a scientist throw away new data they collect if it conflicts with their original hypothesis?

    “Ignore” is only one syllable away from “Ignorance.” What Logan did was hide behind false logic in attempts to keep the comfort that he once had. That’s not logic, but it is most certainly human.

    Logan shuddered. He hated just about everything about this entire situation, but he had to face it if he ever wanted to be himself again, if he ever was in the first place. How long has he been hiding under unhealthy lies?

    ( Unhealthy lies. Now didn’t that sound familiar? )

     Ugh. Out of everyone he had to talk to, that was someone he absolutely didn’t want to see. Unfortunately, that was also the first person he needed to see.

    Even more unfortunately, Logan had no idea how to even contact him. While Logan was sure he probably had a room somewhere in the mindscape, there wasn’t a door to it in the imaginary house Roman made. It was only just last year when Roman added the door to Virgil’s, after all. The “dark sides” could teleport themselves into the house if they wanted to, but they mostly kept to their own spaces, wherever that might be.

    Should he just… try calling out to him? It was a good of a place as any to start.

    “Deceit, I need to have a word with you.”

    …

    No response. Of course that wouldn’t work! He can’t say any of the other side’s names and have them suddenly appear!

    He would have to find Deceit himself. Or More so, he’d have to get someone’s help finding the snake, and there was only one side in this house who might know how to get to him.

 

    “No. Absolutely not.”

    “Virgil-”

    The anxious side crossed his arms defensively. “There is absolutely no way I’m taking you to him, Logan.”

    “Please understand, Virgil. I need to talk to him, you know this!” At this point, it was clear Virgil really did. The whole house knew how much Logan has been hiding.

    “I also know that Deceit is the worst. I had to deal with him lurking around me for years, he is so much more slippery than you could possibly know.”

    “Oh, his scales aren’t dry?”

    “Wha- that’s not what I-” Virgil groaned, planting his palm on his face. “Look, I get why you need to do this, but if something stupid happens Roman and Patton will kill me. I mean, what if-”

    “Virgil, I’ll be fine. All of his tricks are cheap, I won’t fall for them.” Deceit really was ridiculous in the end, no matter how maniacal he thinks he is. “Besides, I will be the one running the conversation, not him.”

    “Yeah, that’s what I said too,” Virgil mumbled, then sighed. “I’ll take you to him. Five minutes, that’s all you get.”

    Logan felt himself relax. “Five minutes is all I’ll need. Thank you, Virgil.”

    The anxious side muttered a “Whatever” before putting a hand on Logan’s shoulders and dipping down. When they reappeared, it was in a place that surrounded them with pitch blackness, yet he could still clearly see Virgil standing next to him.

    “Deceit!” Virgil yelled, echoing into the dark. “Stop trying to be edgy and turn on the damn lights!” The way Virgil said this, as if he had experienced it a hundred times before, as if Deceit was just his annoying sibling - that’s what made Logan shiver.

    The sound of a snap echoed, and suddenly a multitude of chandeliers and wall lights attached to pillars turned on to reveal… a ballroom? In fact, the golden color scheme was quite similar to the one in Beauty And The Beast. There were differences, though, as this ballroom was devoid of any windows, had many large intricately designed entrances, and a large stairwell leading up to unmatching white doors painted with blue vine-like silhouettes. Roman would love this place, even with the ominous vibe it gave.

    “What a fine morning for visitors! Please make yourself at home!” Both Logan looked towards the stairwell at the opposite side of the room from where they were standing, where Deceit stood tall and proud up top. “Anxiety, is that you? Oh, it’s so nice to see you again!”

    Logan noticed Virgil tense up next to him in a similar fashion to when Deceit was first introduced to Thomas, gritting his teeth and clenching his fists. “Five minutes,” he said, then snapped away without another word.

    “Y’know, this ballroom never gets used anymore.” Deceit began quickly walking down the stairwell towards Logan, his cloak blowing behind him. “None of the - what does Creativity call us? Dark sides? None of the ‘dark sides’ care to use it. How about you, Logic? I bet you’d love to dance.”

    Logan scowled and crossed his arms, Deceit now standing arm's length from him. “I’m sure you know what I’m here for. There’s no time for your stalling.”

    Deceit, like the Disney villain he oh-so tries to be, lets out a short deep laugh and grows a wicked grin. “Oh, I get it. You wouldn’t want to dance with mwah. Would you rather have your dance partner be-” a snap, and Deceit changes form. “-Morality?”

    ( He’s trying to make you angry. Don’t let him know it’s working. ) “No, thank you. I don’t have time for your games, Deceit.”

    The side grimaced, snapping again and changing back to his real form instead of the perky form of Morality. “You’re just like Anxiety: no fun! What do you even want?”

    Logan cleared his throat. “So you hide things from Thomas, separate him from the things he doesn’t want to know about himself. Correct?”

    ”Ye- I mean, noooo. God, Deceit was so annoying.

    “Right. So tell me, have you been hiding parts of me as well, if that’s even possible?”

    Deceit paused with a blank expression, before letting out a real laugh. “Oh honestly, Logic, do you really think I have anything to do with your ridiculous issues with yourself? I could care less!”

    “It’s ‘couldn’t care less.’”

    “Or is it?”

    Logan groaned, completely infuriated and growing increasingly impatient. “How do I know you aren’t lying?”

    “For one, it’s not even 8 Am and you woke me up, so I’m not even on the job right now.” Deceit scratched his head. “Also? I can’t pick at a facet’s mind like I can with Thomas’s. If I wanted to mess with you, I’d do it directly. Because I totally care about hiding things for you.

    Logan huffed, crossing his arms and staying silent. He just had to wait for Virgil to come back for him.

    “Now that you seem to have some time on your hands, are you sure you wouldn’t want to dance with ‘Patton’ before you go?” Deceit still held a mischievous smile.

    “I’ll pass, thanks.” Logan still held an apathetic tone, trying hard to show that he was unaffected by the ‘slippery snake’ in front of him. Though, the most Deceit has gotten Logan to feel during this interaction was copious amounts of annoyance.

    “Ooo~, but what about if the real Morality asked you?” Deceit, once again, changed his form and outfit to match Patton’s perfectly. “How could you say no to this face?” Of course, he even nailed his voice. Logan chose to ignore his anger again, for now.

    It was at that moment that Virgil warped himself up into the room to see the scene; Logan, crossing his arms and standing up straight, trying not to scowl, in front of a smug-looking Deceit disguised as Patton.

    “Oh hell no,” The anxious side immediately fumed, making the two others turn towards him. “Why the fuck are you disguised as Patton again and what the fuck did you say to him?”

    “No need to use such foul language, Anxiety. I was simply asking for a dance!”

    “My name is Virgil,” Virgil walked over to Logan and placed a hand on his shoulder. Both his voice and tall demeanor not only showed anger, but it flowed with confidence that Logan had never seen from the other. “And I will never let you use my friends like you used me.”

    Logan could not resist the smile that tugged on his lips. Virgil is The Protector, after all. He honestly wished he got to hear Deceit’s response, but Virgil teleported them away before he could, back to Logan’s room.

    Once back, Virgil groaned and collapsed to the ground by Logan’s bed. “Do not ever make me do something like that again.”

    Logan adjusted his glasses and ran a hand down his necktie. “You know, he really was just asking me to dance. I don’t believe he was much in the spirit to do anything necessarily bad.”

    The darker side scoffed, arms crossed while looking up at Logan sternly. “That’s how it always starts. He makes you let your guard down. He manipulates you into feeling exactly what you want to feel. So tell me, what did you feel during that little conversation?”

    “Well, annoyance mostly, but also…” Logan blinked, realization popping in his mind. “I felt in control.”

    “Yeah, thought so.” Virgil stood up from his spot on the ground, brushing off imaginary dust from his black jeans. “If you no longer need me, I’ll be in my room.”

    “Actually, Virgil,” The side turned to Logan as he suddenly spoke up. There was something that needed to be done. “Thank you, and I’m sorry.”

    Virgil’s brows furrowed. “What?”

    “You have done quite… a lot for me, and I believe I have failed to return the favor, or even show my gratitude at all. All I can say is that none of it went unnoticed, alright?” Virgil was doing so much more than just doing Logan’s makeup and keeping quiet; he was trying hard to provide a space for him to open up. He was asking questions and trying to get through without breaking down the walls for Logan, knowing he had to do it himself.

    “To be fair, I have to apologize, too.” Virgil sighed, running a hand through his hair. “It was stupid of me to have taken you to my room yesterday. I thought it would help you open up, and I could get you out before things got too bad, but-”

    “You underestimated how atrocious my mental state was, and said things I was not prepared to understand.” Logan stepped closer to Virgil, extending out a hand. “How about we call it even?”

    Virgil smiled, taking Logan’s hand and shaking it. “Deal.” It wasn’t quite a hug of forgiveness, but it was good enough for both of them. “But uh, about that ‘atrocious mental state’-”

    “I am working on getting better, Virgil. No more hiding from it, I promise.”

    “Good, good, just-” his hand not in Logan’s anymore, he began picking at his nails. “Don’t force yourself to take it all in at once, okay? Take it one step at a time.”

    Logan nodded. “No need to worry, Virgil. I’m already in the process of doing so.”

 

      May 24, 2018, 9:36 Pm

    In my recent discoveries on how tremendously unhealthy I have been in these last two weeks, and theoretically my entire life, I have started a step-by-step progress. It is set to help me learn and understand every aspect of me I wouldn’t let myself be aware of before while also finding why they exist. Unfortunately, many of these steps involve me acquiring help from another.

    The first and potentially most important step has already been completed. I had to find out if I really was the only one responsible for the walls I built around and through myself. According to Deceit, I am.

    While Deceit is possibly much more tricky than I give him credit for, according to Virgil, I don’t believe he had any particular reason to lie about his inability to hide parts of a facet. While he can literally hide a side to Thomas, he would have to manipulate us in some way to get us to be in denial about certain aspects of ourselves. And the amount of past interactions I’ve had with Deceit is - well, infinitesimal.

    Whether that’s truthful or not, the fact remains that I have to take responsibility for what I have done. With a push in the right direction from the others, I have to figuratively break down these walls myself.

    While it may be extremely difficult, it is necessary for Thomas’s wellbeing.

Chapter Text

    Logan wasn’t completely clear what the next step was, but he knew it had to involve Roman.

     “Until you start thinking and feeling for yourself instead of just Thomas, I give up on you.” That’s what Roman had said to him the last time they had an actual conversation, and Logan was still confused about it.

    He’s not denying that he can feel, he isn’t even denying that he is allowed to feel, but isn’t it still all for Thomas? Yes, perhaps Virgil was right when he said that not all that we do goes directly to Thomas, but objectively, their mental states should be healthy so Thomas’s can be. Their whole entire purpose was to control Thomas through life.

    Either way, he believes that Roman can help him move forward with this predicament. The creative side could definitely be considered the second most 'feelsy' one in the mindscape, but he has the capability to wield incredibly strong focus. His natural instinct to strike at problems head-on, while it might be a bit much, will knock some reality into him. The most feelsy side is a bit too emotional; Logan has more he needs to understand before heading to Morality.

    ( Plus, I don’t want to upset Pat any further. I don’t think I could handle hearing him cry again. )

    He just didn’t particularly know how to approach Roman about it. It would have been easier if they were working together today, but they currently had nothing planned, and waiting any longer to talk to Roman would be a mistake. He just knows that Princey does not like when you interrupt his own work time, but perhaps today’s topic of conversation would be slightly more important to Roman.

    Luckily, Roman answered that question for him.

    That morning, Logan woke up at 8 instead of the usual 6 Am time, allowing himself to catch up on sleep for a change. He was greeted by Virgil, leaning on a counter in the kitchen and carrying two mugs in his hands.

    When Logan approached to say good morning, one of the mugs was pushed into his hands. “It’s chamomile. I know you typically drink green tea, but chamomile helps calm me down.”

    Logan looked curiously down at the cup before taking a sip and smiling. “I appreciate you preventing me from developing a caffeine addiction, but why do you pay such close attention to details like that?”

    A slight tint of pink grew on Virgil’s face as he shrugged, and that’s when Logan finally noticed he wasn’t wearing any makeup that morning. “I don’t know, just kinda have to. Roman drinks practically pure sugar disguised as coffee with how much sweeteners he puts in it. Patton? He never drinks anything at all.”

    That was something that Logan was now curious about. The sides did not ever necessarily need to eat or drink, he supposed, but there was still many benefits to it. Patton would always make and eat meals with them, so why didn’t he ever drink anything?

    By the time Patton and Roman emerged from their respective rooms, the other two sides were already done with their drinks and were simply chatting in the kitchen ( Virgil ended up sitting on the counter, of course. )

    After giving everyone a cheery good morning, Patton got right to making breakfast. The funny thing is that any of them could easily conjure food with a wave of a hand or snap of the fingers, but Patton enjoyed cooking so much that it would almost be a crime to take that away from him.

    Logan was sitting on one of their stools reading the newspaper when he heard a clear of the throat behind him. He turned to see Roman, standing tall with his hands behind his back. “Logan, I would like to have a word with you in my room, if you wouldn’t mind.”

    Logan raised a brow, but nodded and hopped off the stool anyway. He assumed the other just wanted to discuss an idea with him, but perhaps it could be a good time to talk to Roman?

    “Oh, you two be back out here soon! Breakfast will be ready in a bit!” Patton called to them as the two approached Roman’s door; the first one in the hallway.

     The order of the doors told a story.

    While Roman created the ‘house’ when Thomas was around 10, the idea was completely Patton’s; he wanted a family room, a commons, where any side could visit. It didn’t take long for Roman to create just that. In fact, when it did open up, many sides, even 'dark' ones, would come and go from it. It made interaction quite a lot easier, as you had to know how to get to a facet’s room to really talk to them, and most didn’t.

    It was once again Patton’s idea to add the doors, and Roman once again eagerly supplied. The first two doors were put in the hallway when Thomas was 11: a white wooden door covered in golden stars linking to Creativity’s room that Disney music often leaked from, and a dark blue door with white rimming that led to Morality’s room and was often left open, even though Roman was typically his only visitor.

    Logan’s plain dark brown door was added next to Patton’s without him asking just after the first Sander Side’s video, and it took “Accepting Anxiety” for Roman to finally add a black door to the end of the hallway. To this day, Disney music can still be heard from the star-speckled white door every once in a while, and the blue door is always welcoming you in even when it isn’t open. And Logan gets to be a part of it all.

    Logan couldn’t help but think of the beauty of that every time he entered Roman’s room. His thoughts were interrupted, however, when Roman closed the door behind them and spoke up.

    “Alright, it’s time for you to get your shit together.” Roman leaned against the door, crossing his arms with an almost smugness. “You, my friend, have been making Thomas not very eager to create, making my job quite useless.”

    Logan crossed his arms back, raising a brow. “You're Thomas’s creativity. Why would I be making you not want to create?”

    “I meant you’re making him unmotivated.” The prince huffed, moving his hands to his hips. “Y’know what? You are making me uneager to create because you’re worrying me! You and Patton.” Roman’s voice got quieter by the end of the thought. His head sunk down slightly in thought.

    Logan blinked in confusion. “I’m not quite sure what Patton has to do with this, but I assure you that I am working on it. Speaking of which-”

    “Working on it how? By making Virgil do your makeup every day to hide the fact that you’re losing sleep? By isolating yourself as much as possible and working yourself to the bone?! Because that’s not working on it, Logan!”

    “If you would listen and not yell at me, that would certainly help.” Logan, admittedly, heard his own voice raise too. There was a small pang of regret when Roman’s face softened.

    The facet in front of Logan sighed deeply, putting a hand to his face. “I had no right to raise my voice at you, I apologize. It’s just that everyone is under quite a lot of stress right now, and I feel a lot of it is landing onto me.”

    “You haven’t lashed out at the other two, have you?”

    Roman actually laughed at that. “No offense, but the other two aren’t dealing with their problems through infuriatingly unhealthy methods like you. Honestly, Logan, we’re all worried for you! My worry turned into frustration, and I’m sorry for that, but none of us want to sit around watching you do this to yourself anymore.”

    Logan wanted to be mad, and probably should have, but he couldn’t muster any anger. “I understand Roman, but when I said I’m working on it, I meant it. Virgil helped me out yesterday.” It was really hearing Patton’s crying that knocked some sense into him, but he decided it was best not to mention that part.

    Roman let his posture relax slightly. “That’s… good. I did notice you weren’t wearing makeup today. But what do you plan on doing next?”

    “Well, I was planning to talk to you, actually,” Logan smirked just slightly. “But it seems you beat me to it in a much unkinder way.”

    Roman groaned. “I apologized, didn’t I? I promise I shall not be so unchivalrous again. Knight’s honor.” He suddenly moved away from the door he had his back against and sat on the edge of his bed. “Now what was it that you needed to talk to me about?”

    Logan decided to take Roman’s sitting down as an invitation to sit as well, choosing to place himself in the wooden chair tucked in his desk. “Well, it’s about something you mentioned the last time we spoke. Do you remember?”

    The creative side sucked in a breath through his teeth. “Right, the, uh, other time I lashed out at you. Once again, apologies.”

    “Apology accepted.” Logan couldn’t help but roll his eyes, but it was quite interesting hearing the prince apologize so much. Roman is, debatably, one of the most stubborn of sides when it comes to admitting he’s in the wrong. “Anyway, you mentioned something strange to me, and I still don’t quite understand it.”

    There was a good two-second pause before a lightbulb seemed to perk over Roman’s head. “Ah, separating yourself from Thomas.”

    “That’s not how I’d word it, but yes something along the lines of that.” Logan’s gaze fell to the floor, his fingers tapping on the desk slightly. “Roman, I am learning to accept the fact that I, we , are all able to feel almost to the point of humanity. In fact, I have even developed some theories on the matter as to-”

    “Only you would have to make something so overly-complicated,” Roman interrupted.

    “It really isn’t.” Logan cleared his throat and pushed up his glasses. “You see, people often attempt to divide the human brain up. While I could go into much detail on each separate function, the best and most well-known division is the left and right brain.”

    “Thank Bo Burnham for that.”

    Logic rolled his eyes. “Roger W. Sperry first created the theory that the left and right sides of our brains controlled different functions after studying epilepsy patients. More studies showed that the right side of the brain controlled aspects of emotional intelligence and creativity-”

    “Me and Patton,”

    “-and the left side held language, numbers, and analyzation.”

    “You and Virgil.” Roman placed a had under his chin. “Actually, I’m not sure where Virgil would fit under.”

    “Right. Well, while they were right that each side of the brain has different functions, the two work together so much. If you only had a left brain, your language skills would worsen dramatically even though the left is supposed to be the control for language. If you only have a right brain, your expression of emotion and imagination would still be damaged.”

    “And the point to all of this, Freud?” Roman seemed to be getting restless, probably eager to eat breakfast and not be stuck in one of Logan’s knowledge tangents.

    “The point, Roman, is that because of how much each part of the human brain communicates and works together, it may be that we all hold parts of Thomas’s brain as a whole rather than just controlling a single part. However, we are still Thomas.” Logan scrunched up his nose. “Also, don’t ever compare me to Sigmund Freud. That man has ruined the face of psychology to this day.”

    Roman huffed, “Alright, so you’re Thomas. You share the same experiences with him and control parts of him. But you’re also Logan.

    The logical side simply blinked, turning the chair he was in more towards Roman. “I’m afraid I don’t follow.”

    “Tell me. When you were reading that book in the Commons the other day, was that your experience, or did you share it with Thomas?”

    “I suppose mine, but-”

    “When you do crossword puzzles or sudoku or whatever else, does Thomas do them with you? Does Thomas even know you’re doing them?”

    “Well, no-”

    “When you speak, is it all just for Thomas? Are they Thomas’s words and thoughts, or your own?”

    “Okay, okay! I get it!” Logan raised his voice slightly to get Roman to stop babbling. “So we all have different experiences separate from Thomas, they all still affect him. Exercising my mind with puzzles helps exercise his own mind.”

    “But we’re affected more directly by them. They’re our own experiences.” The fanciful facet suddenly sighed, then looked up at the ceiling with a small smile. “I see and feel all of Thomas’s dreams and aspirations. I tell him which ones he should focus on and help work towards them. But, and I’ve never told anyone this, I have my own dreams too.”

    Logan’s eyes slightly widened at Roman, confused and intrigued. “Care to give any examples?”

    Logan immediately noticed the redness grow on the face of the other side as he chuckled. “Well, everyone knows I’m a romantic. As much as I love Thomas’s past partners, the Roman part of me can’t help but want my own knight in shining armor.”

    Now that was interesting. This conversation suddenly felt somewhat similar to one he had with Patton quite a bit ago. Back then, Patton had possibly suggested that he has had romantic feelings before, despite never being in love with Thomas’s partners. ( I thought it was impossible before, but with all this new data, maybe… )

    “I am inclined to believe Patton shares a similar sentiment. This is simply a suggestion, but perhaps you two could find some fulfillment with each other in that aspect?” It’s not that Logan wanted to “set up” his friends, he just thinks Roman should know of this information.

    Roman stared at Logan with a wide-eyed look of disbelief, mouth completely hung open. Suddenly, the side bursted, hearty laughter filling the large bedroom.

    “...Is this funny?”

    “O-oh my god , you are so dense.” Roman wiped at the small prickles of tears in his eyes, calming himself down from the outburst. “While I admit I may have my eyes on someone, Patton and I have been friends since Thomas was a kid, Lo. If I wanted him, I could have had him a long time ago.”

    “What does that mean?” Wait, Roman has romantic feelings for someone?

    The creative side’s smile suddenly grew almost mischievous. “Oh, Patton might kill me if he knew I told you, but he used to have a little crush on me.” At Logan’s shocked expression, Roman hummed and continued. “Teen years were a wild time, compadre. I became a master at recognizing the signs of someone being attracted to you so I could tell if any girls liked Thomas,” Roman chuckled a bit at that, “Then I noticed all those signs in Patton towards me. So we talked about it, and eventually it went away.”

    “...Wow.” Logan really didn’t know how to respond to that story. ( I guess it proves they can have romantic feelings? ) “Wait, who do you have your eyes on?”

    “What?”

    “You said you ‘have your eyes on someone.’ So who got you to like them?” When Roman didn’t respond, Logan began piecing things together. “It’s not Patton. I doubt it’s me, as I don’t think you would be comfortable sharing all of that if it was. That really only leaves-”

    “No, nope, stop right there.” Roman stood up from his place on the bed, his face now bright red as he put his hands out in protest. “This conversation was supposed to be about you thinking for yourself, we are not talking about my love life.”

    Logan couldn’t help but have a smug smirk on his face. He suddenly felt like a dad with his hormonal teenage child. ( Patton’s job is to be the dad, not me. )

    “Seriously though,” Roman red face began to fade, his eyes growing more serious. “You aren’t going to get any better if you do everything only for Thomas. You understand that now, right?”

    Logan sighed. “I suppose so.” He stood up, tucking the wooden chair back into the desk. “This conversation was very insightful, Roman. Thank you.”

    Roman scoffed and rolled his eyes. “No need to get all formal with me, Lo. Just go eat breakfast, I’ll be out in a second.”

 

    Around 8 Pm that night, Logan exited his room to perhaps watch a documentary or simply the news before going to bed. He didn’t hear any noises coming from the living room, so he assumed that no one was out there at the moment.

    As he rounded the corner, he was surprised to see a figure on the couch.

    Patton, instead of wearing his usual onesie as pajamas, had a simple light blue T-shirt on with red sweatpants. Patton, instead of wrapping himself up in a blanket and watching cartoons, simply sat back on the edge of the couch with his feet up, reading a book. Patton, instead of smiling bright and happy, held a soft closed-lip smile showing a peaceful contentment.

    It was nice to see the other side so relaxed, but seeing Patton’s face and the entire room brighten when he saw Logan standing there was, admittedly, also nice. “Hey Logan!”

    “You read books, Pat?” Perhaps it was silly to assume he didn’t, but Logan had never even seen a novel in Patton’s hands before tonight.

    “Of course! I used to be quite the bookworm as a kid.” Patton’s face lit up. “Oh! Why does an elephant use his trunk as a bookmark?”

    Logan sighed, resisting the urge to smile. “Why, Patton?”

    “So he nose where he stopped reading!” Logan groaned as the dad chuckled at his own joke. “So did you need anything, Lo?”

    “Oh, no. I was going to watch something, but I don’t want to distract you from your reading.” Logan went to turn back to his room.

    “Oh, nonsense! I like the background noise, so go ahead!” Patton leaned forward and patted the seat next to him, inviting Logan over. “You should put on one of those Planet Earth documentaries!”

    Logan smiled and did as Patton instructed him to, sitting on the other end of the couch and pressing some buttons on the remote. They didn’t have any real channels, so they could pretty much play whatever they could think of.

    Patton perked up at the African setting showing on the screen. “Oh, I think I’ve seen this one! It’s very en- deer- ing.”

    “Pat, those are gazelles.”

    “Oh deer , you’re right! I guess that makes me a cheetah!

    “Patton, I swear-”

    “I guess I don’t have the koala- fications to give a r- elephant pun!”

    “Oh, you’ve got to be kitten me.”

    Logan only smirked and watched the screen as he saw a look of absolute glee grow on Patton’s face in the corner of his eye.

Chapter Text

A couple months earlier...

    Being the romantic side of the group had its perks.

    Okay, so Roman wasn’t actually Thomas’s romance. Roman was Creativity, Imagination, Aspiration, and Ambition. But when one of Thomas’s dreams - and one of Roman’s own dreams as well - is to find a knight to sweep him off of his feet, can you really blame him for thinking of himself as the Romantic?

    I mean, really, Roman worked for that title. He spent hours as a teen researching how to flirt so he could sweep a fair maiden (ha) off her feet. When they realized Thomas was gay, that only increased Roman’s motivation as they finally had more direction in Thomas’s dream to find love. While they searched for a man suitable for Thomas (good thing theater existed), Roman would practice his wooing on any young damsels who showed interest.

    Now that’s where things got interesting. Roman knew just about every sign someone gave when attracted to someone. There were the obvious ones that most knew of: dilated pupils, increase in heart rate, and a flushed face. Even with those signs, it took practice actually noticing them in others. Then, there are the lesser known and potentially less obvious signals: higher pitched voice, copying body language and vocal cues, touching their face and hair, fidgeting, displaying and showing off certain aspects… There are many things to look out for, but the real challenge is determining if the signs you see are actually linked to attraction, or derive from an anxiousness not related. Sometimes, it’s simply part of someone’s flirty personality, too.

    Roman’s good at it, though. He’s good at noticing certain ticks a person might have that they only show when interacting with a specific person. He’s good at catching when someone’s staring. He’s good at locating where someone’s eyes are directed at, whether that be at someone else’s eyes or at their lips. He can even often tell if someone’s just infatuated by a person’s looks and first impression, or if they’re completely head over heels.

    He can tell right away when he develops feelings for someone, too. He can also tell when this said someone doesn’t share those feelings. He doesn’t need to ask, because he knows.

     Anyways.

    He noticed, for an easy example, when Patton had that crush on him as teenagers. That, however, was merely an infatuation that faded with time, strengthening their friendship over anything. No, the signs Roman started noticing in Pat now were different than back then.

    Patton was absolutely, positively, undeniably in love. It didn’t even take a romance expert to notice the soft side Pat showed for Logan and nobody else. When Roman first noticed it, he felt absolutely horrible empathy for his best friend. There was just no way the stubborn apathetic husk that is Logan would ever have the same feelings! Roman tried to be an optimist most of the time, but it just seemed impossible.

    Then Logan gave Patton the cat hoodie, and Roman’s whole viewpoint on the logical side was turned upside down.

    It wasn’t even the gift that convinced him. No, friends are allowed to give each other impromptu gifts, it doesn’t have to mean anything more than a platonic love. It was the way Logan was acting during the whole endeavor: body language, vocal cues, a strange nervousness unlike Logan - from then on, it became incredibly obvious.

    He almost told Patton to ask him out. He was so excited for them! Finally, the amazing person that was Patton could finally have the man of his dreams! Then he realized one more thing, one more annoyingly crucial detail:

    Logan Sanders was not only completely oblivious to Patton’s feelings, but to his own as well.

    Now Roman was not one to intervene when it came to someone’s love life - unless it was Thomas’s, of course - but this was an emergency! Looking back at past interactions Logan has had with Patton, Logan might have liked him for a while. Normal people would have connected the dots in their own heads by now, but Logan was nowhere near a normal person.

    He didn’t really know what to do. Was Logan ready to know about his own feelings? Was it pushing boundaries to tell Patton himself? Perhaps a second opinion was in order, but there was only one side left to go to, dark sides not included.

    “Virgil, I need your advice.”

    Well, he supposes Virgil was a dark side, but he certainly isn’t anymore. Not in Roman’s book, anyway.

    “You want my advice?” Virgil looked at Roman suspiciously, setting his morning tea down on the countertop. “You’ve either gone insane or you’re desperate.”

    Roman huffed in offense and crossed his arms. “I am not insane, I can recognize that you give good advice sometimes!” When Virgil’s unconvinced gaze didn’t leave him, he gave in. “And I can’t go to Patton or Logan for this one.”

    “Right, so you’re desperate,” Virgil snickered adorably, taking a short sip of his chamomile tea. “Can it wait until I’m awake?”

    Roman gasped in mock offense. “No! This is about love! Love waits for no one!” At that, Virgil set down his cup and turned towards the romantic side in his chair, brows narrowed quizzically.

    “You’re asking for love advice? From me ? And you’re trying to tell me you haven’t gone absolutely mad?”

    “It’s not about my love life!” He wouldn’t admit to needing that, especially not to Virgil of all sides. “Or Thomas’s. Well, technically not. It’s about Logan.”

    Virgil’s interest seemed to fail for a moment as his shoulders drooped, but confusion soon struck his face. “In what world do you live in where Logan has a love life? This isn’t a fanfiction, Princey.”

    “We can all experience love, Virgil.” Roman looked at Virgil seriously. He has to remember that the other sides aren’t experienced with these things, especially Virgil. “Did you not know that?”

    The darker side stared at Roman blankly for a moment. He seemed… shocked? Conflicted? Suddenly, he turned back to his tea with a slight frown and sipped at it. “I get that you’re a hopeless romantic or whatever, but even you gotta know that is not possible.”

    “I prefer ‘hopeful romantic,’ but that is where you are wrong, my Paranoid Paramore! Allow me to explain.”

 

    Virgil took the last sip of his tea and set it down on the counter, hands still attached to the mug. “So, Patton is in love with Logan.”

    “Yes,” Roman replied.

    “And Logan likes Patton back, but doesn’t realize it.”

    “Exactly.”

    “And Pat doesn’t know Logan likes him back after, what? Pining for him for a year?

    “Ten months, really. And it’s likely Logan has liked him for around the same amount of time.”

    Virgil began tapping against the countertop similar to the galloping of a horse. He pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed heavily. “You should talk to Patton.”

    “You don’t think that would be crossing a boundary?” He certainly didn’t want to go around spreading another side’s secrets, but if it was in the name of love… perhaps it was worth it?

    “Roman, if you’re right about all of this - and I’m not saying you are - then we got bigger issues on our hands than some stupid crushes.” Seeing that Roman was about to protest, Virgil continued with a serious tone. “You may have accepted a long time ago that you aren’t just Creativity, but I don’t think Logan has.”

    “What do you mean-”

    “It was easy for you, Roman, but put yourself in Logan’s shoes. Imagine being told your entire life that you are Logic , that your whole purpose is to learn, analyze, and reason. It probably wouldn’t take long for you to pick up the idea that emotions are the opposite of logic.”

    Suddenly, the pieces were coming together in Roman’s head. “Oh, oh dear. That is not good, is it?”

    Virgil simply nodded. “Logan is forcing down a lot more than just liking Patton.” His gaze fell to the white mug in his hands, his painted black fingernails now tapping against it. “It’s something I’ve kinda been worried about for a while, but I think Patton will know what to do. I just don’t think Logan is ready to hear about it yet.”

    Roman placed his own arms to the table and let his head fall. A thick silence solidified in the room between the two sides. It was Virgil who sliced through it. “You know, I’m still not sure if I believe you.”

    The creative side looked up at Virgil. He had a strange half-smile on his face as he stared at nothing in the kitchen. “Believe what?”

    “That we can fall in love.” His tone of voice was… strangely blank. Roman couldn’t quite read it likes he’s usually able to. “I mean, I get that we feel things that Thomas doesn’t, but romantic feelings? It just seems a bit out there.”

    “You don’t think you’ve ever liked someone, Virgil?” Roman would have known if Virgil did now, but he knew nothing of Anxiety’s past with other sides. Could even dark sides feel more?

    Virgil made a sound between a laugh and a scoff. “I’ve been surrounded by people who were assholes to me for most of my existence." While Anxiety's head was still mostly turned towards the kitchen, Roman could just barely see his pupils shift towards him. "If someone wants me to like them, they’re gonna have to try harder.”

     Was that a challenge? “Well, I’ll be sure to let any future suitors know.”

    Suddenly, a cheerful voice beamed from the hallway. “Roman, kiddo, why didn’t you wake me up like usual?”

    “Sorry Padre, I just had to talk to good ol’ Sunshine over there.” Roman pointed towards Virgil with his thumb, who was now washing his mug in the sink. “Actually Pat, I need to talk to you.”

 

Present day

    “Viiirrrggiiiiiiiilll,”

    “What is it now, Princey?” The darker side didn’t even bother to look in Roman’s direction, choosing to continue scrolling through the atrocity that is Tumblr.

    “I am seriously getting tired of Patton and Logan’s pining.” God, why couldn’t Logan just get it through his thick skull already? “There has got to be a way to speed this up, right? Padre is gonna break any minute now and I cannot handle another one of his ‘Gushing About Logan’ sessions.”

    “Give it time.”

    “Love waits for no one!”

    “ Roman, ” Virgil suddenly turned off his phone and set it down on the coffee table. He turned to the creative side with a look of… seriousness? Concern? “Love is patience, Ro. Can you be patient?”

    Roman simply blinked in confusion on his side of the couch. This… they aren’t talking about the same subject anymore, are they? He felt a smile tug on his lips that couldn’t be resisted this time.

    “Yes, Virgil. I can be patient.”

Chapter Text

    Logan found himself feeling… off, the next morning.

    He’s felt it before, a strange twist in his gut when he wakes up that stays for the rest of the day. He would usually take to ignoring it, distracting himself with work or reading like any other day. He knows, however, that he has to break those habits; whether positive or negative, no more ignoring emotions.

    But this is one feeling he doesn’t understand. There’s no basis to a general idea of something being wrong. It wasn’t even that he felt like something bad was going to or has happened, he just felt unpleasant.

    ( Stop it with the vague words. You just need to analyze it. What do you feel? )

    ( Dread. )

    Except, no, that wasn’t quite it. Yes, he was dreading getting out of bed, getting to work, but that was more of an effect. The dread came from something else; feelings don’t happen for no reason, after all.

    The warmth of his bed was pulling him in, and it was hard to ignore. God, why does he have to leave this? What even needs to be done today? He could just-

    (No, you need to be there for Thomas. It would be quite unbeneficial for you to sulk in bed all day.)

    He remembers the conversation he had with Roman. He doesn’t just need to get out of bed for Thomas, but for himself as well.

    He wishes he could ignore how that didn’t sit well with him. He understood what Roman told him, he believed it, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s been doing everything for Thomas since he was born, that was his purpose! What does it even mean to do things for yourself?

     Why do we get out of bed in the morning? He and Roman answered that for Thomas, so why couldn’t he apply the same answer to himself? He hated having to constantly go for the others’ help, but trying to solve his dilemma by himself would only keep him in bed thinking all morning.

    He already knew what Roman would say, and the logical side really did not need his fantastical outlook at the moment. It’s unlikely that Virgil would even understand what Logan means; his whole life has been filled with vague feelings of dread, he’d think it was anxiety affecting Logan and stress out.

    Patton was the obvious best choice. Morality didn’t just feel emotions, he was emotional intelligence itself. His job is to understand and communicate Thomas’s feelings, right?

    ( Why am I so scared to talk to him about all this? )

    That was one feeling, he decided, that he could ignore. This was too important to be crushed by irrational fears. He could analyze why he was fearful at a later time.

 

    Alright, so perhaps he did end up letting his fears take over slightly, as he managed to procrastinate for most of the day ( It wasn't completely my fault, Thomas needed me for many decisions today) .

    But he could not stall forever. Once night fell upon them, Logan had no more excuses left in his head, and all he could do was head to the white-rimmed blue door of Patton’s room. While the moral side was usually fine with people simply walking in, Logan always knocked every time.

    Though it took a few seconds longer than usual, Patton opened the door just as wide as always and greeted Logan with a bright smile. “Logan! Me and Virgil were just watching some movies, wanna join us?”

    While Logan would usually have corrected Patton’s use of ‘Me and Virgil’ to ‘Virgil and I,’ he got distracted by Virgil’s head peeking out of the large pillow fort made on Patton’s bedside. “Did you build that?”

    Patton turned towards Virgil and the impressively sized fort, the two of them giving each other thumbs up. “We didn’t have time to build it ourselves, so I just conjured it. We’ll make our own next time!”

    Logan blinked out of thought for a moment before shaking his head. “Patton, I need to talk to you about something for a minute, if that’s okay.”

    The perkier side put a hand on his chin and ducked his head down slightly, clearly thinking, before his eyes lit up slightly and turned back to Virgil. “Hey Kiddo, will you be okay for a bit if I go talk to Logan in the mind palace?”

    It finally dawned on Logan just then that the reason Virgil was even there, and why they had no time to actually build a pillow fort themselves, was most likely because the anxious side was experiencing heightened anxiety. He felt bad for pulling Patton away from him, but Virgil nodded in agreement and sank back into the fort without a single word.

    Patton closed the door behind him and immediately transported both himself and Logan to the mind palace. The place was rarely used by anyone ( no matter how many times Roman and I encourage Thomas to use it ), so it was a perfect place to have a private conversation without any interruptions or influences from rooms.

    Much to Logan’s surprise, the moral side suddenly grabbed his hand and brought him to sit on the couch against the far wall. “Alright, what do you need Logan?”

    Patton never let go of Logan’s hand. He felt his face heat up; he wasn’t used to physical contact still, and he certainly never had anyone hold his hand before then. He had to admit that it was quite warm and comforting, but it made the rest of his body… cold.

    He didn’t want to be rude, so he kept his hand intertwined with Patton’s. “I have something I need to ask you.” There was suddenly a twist of anxiety in Logan’s stomach, but he ignored it. “I’m not sure how much Roman and Virgil talk to you, but I have been doing some… self-discovering, I suppose.”

    Patton hummed and nodded in acknowledgment. “I’ve heard a few things from Roman. Are you doing okay?”

    ( Am I? ) “Well, I- I’m doing better, I suppose. But I seem to be having a particularly off day. I was hoping you could help me understand why this all feels so… incorrect, to me currently. Does that make sense, Patton?”

    The comforting side held a soft smile on his face, an expression Logan now knew he saved for serious moments like this. “Wasn’t it you who told me that the heart gets confused when change happens?”

    For a moment, Logan’s mind went blank. It was strange, the idea that Logic had a metaphorical ‘heart.’ Preposterous, even. Maybe he was right all along, maybe he really couldn’t feel and he was just-

    “Oh geez,” Patton suddenly grabbed Logan’s other hand as well. “Lo, Look at me. I can see the gears turning in your head.” He gave a small squeeze to Logan’s hands when he complied. “You’re learning a ton about yourself, and I’m proud of you! But there’s going to be bumps like this, cause some of this is contradicting with what you thought you knew about your world for a long time.”

    Logan swallowed down a lump in his throat. Morality was looking at him with such… compassion. Understanding. Love, maybe. His eyes seemed to almost shine and sparkle, and while that may sound ridiculous in itself, it made Logan believe every word he said.

    “I really am proud of you, Lo,” Patton continued in a soft voice, and Logan believed it. “You’re doing something that not many people can do, and you’re holding yourself together so well. I just hope you know that we’re all here for you, okay?”

    “Okay.” Logan’s voice came out as practically a whisper. He felt like his throat was being constricted, almost, but he kept going anyways. “Pat, have you always been this intelligent?”

    The facet giggled. “Not sure, but I know I’ve learned a lot from you.”

    That…

    That did things to Logan.

    ( How does he do that? How is he being so understanding? What is even happening? )

    There was a few seconds of silence - which felt like an eternity in Logan’s overactive brain - before Patton suddenly let go of his hands, his face red. Logan immediately felt colder.

    “I should probably go back to Virgil. It was nice talking with you, Logan!” Patton stood up from the couch and began sinking down to teleport back to his room, but the logical side suddenly grabbed his wrist to stop him.

    “Wait, one more thing!” Logan looked at the hand he used to grab Patton and let go, realizing the gesture was a bit, well, extra. “I realized I haven’t thought to ask in some time, so- Patton, how are you doing?”

    The room went silent once again, Patton’s eyes widened and lips parted slightly, before he gave a nervous smile. “A lot has been happening recently, but I- I’m okay right now. I’m just happy to help everyone out when I can, y’know?”

    “Right, yeah. Uh-” Logan decided to try giving him the same soft smile Patton kept giving him. “Thank you, Patton. You have been very helpful.”

    Morality simply gave him one more bright grin before sinking out.

 

     May 26, 2018, 9:36 Pm

    Patton is an interesting character.

    I’ve admired him for quite some time now. His overly positive demeanor, his particularly unclever and unnecessary wordplay, and his seeming lack of intelligence - it all used to infuriate me.

    But back then, I was naive. I didn’t realize that a portion of this annoyance derived from a fear I had. Morality, The Heart, The Emotions, was believed to be my opposite, and I feared what he could do to hinder my work as Logic.

    It did not take me long to realize how important Patton was, though I should have at least known since the first Sanders Sides video. He has knowledge and wisdom in places I never could, and his ability to quickly come up with puns is, admittedly, somewhat impressive. Without him, Thomas would never be happy, Roman would never be motivated, Virgil would never be our friend, and I would never be able to accept every part of myself.

    I feel I have not done enough in return for everything that he has done for us. And yet, in our most recent conversation, he made me feel that I’ve somehow already given him so much, which is simply not true. He looked and spoke to me in such a kind and loving manner that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. It was almost overwhelming to see someone direct that towards me.

    My problem is that I still don’t know how to respond to such affection, but I would like to learn how to. I want to be able to show not just Patton, but Roman and Virgil too, that their friendship is something I highly appreciate. I have no problem writing it on paper, usually, but I would like to be able to express such ideas verbally as well.

    Holding people in my life higher than simply “acquaintances” is something I’m still quite new to, but it is something I would never take for granted. They have guided me, specifically in this last month, much more than I could have ever guided myself. They all deserve to know that, especially Morality.

    And I tried to tell him, multiple times, but the smiles he gave kept making me lose all my words. The messy, confused side I used to know Patton as was so much more put together in our discussion, and all I could manage was a thank you.

    I look back to the time I was not fond of Patton and realize that yes, we are indeed opposites in many aspects, but that doesn’t mean we ever have to be against each other. When paired together as friends, our strengths and weaknesses balance each other out, and the less obvious sides of us that we have in common keep us in agreement.

    Patton balances me out, and I can only hope that I can do the same for him.

Chapter Text

6:00 AM - Wake up.

    It’s still difficult for Logan to get out of bed. Despite Thomas living in the horrid heat of Florida, Logan gets cold fairly easily, especially in his arms. It’s hard to ignore the warmth of the covers pulling him in, but after a few minutes stretching he manages to force himself up and change into his proper clothing.

    Heading to the commons, he immediately spots the figure of Virgil sitting on the counter in the kitchen, a black throw blanket resting on his shoulders and two mugs set next to him. If he’s up this early, it means he didn’t sleep at all.

    “Good morning, Virgil.”

    “Yo.”

    Logan grabbed one of the cups of tea and leaned against the counter opposite to Virgil. In a last minute decision, however, he decides to sit on the countertop as well to be at level with him. “I apologize for taking Patton away from you last night, even if it was momentarily. I could see that you needed him.”

    “It’s chill. ‘Was with him for a while before that, so.” Virgil’s voice was quiet and low, as it usually was in the mornings. He cut off there, taking a sip of his own chamomile tea.

    There was a semi-peaceful and semi-awkward silence for a moment, but unfortunately, it could not stay unbroken. “You don’t have to discuss this, of course, but may I ask what happened?”

    The anxious side gave a weak shrug. “Not much, really. Just overwhelmed, or somethin.” A sip of tea. “And Pat cleaned his room so I wouldn’t get anxious, I guess.”

    More silence. Logan just wishes he could learn how to comfort Virgil as well in times like these. He sees the dark bags under Anxiety’s eyes, as he hasn’t done his makeup yet, and sighs. “Virge, if I wake you up and bring you food in a few hours, will you please get some rest?”

    “What time?”

    “Ten o’clock.” Logan wishes Virgil could get a full eight hours, but four was better than nothing.

    Virgil jumped off the counter he was sitting on, blanket still wrapped around him. “How about noon?”

    “Eleven, at the latest.” Suddenly, Logan got an idea. He jumped off his counter as well, extending his hand towards Virgil’s. “Do we have a deal?”

    The darker side rolled his eyes and took Logan’s hand to shake on it. “Deal.”

    That’s when Logan took this opportunity to pull Virgil closer and wrap his other arm around his back, giving him a hug. It wasn't the same warm, encompassing embraces Patton gave, but it was the next step for Logan to become more comfortable giving physical affection. It took a moment, and perhaps it would have been better to ask first, but Virgil still returned the gesture.

    Virgil had his signature half-smile when they parted. “Don't tell Patton about that, he'll get too excited.”

    Not another word was spoken between them as Anxiety went to his room to sleep. As Logan moved to the living room to watch the local news and do a crossword, only one thought crossed his mind:

    ( Today might just be a good day. )

 

9:00 AM - Eat Breakfast.

    As usual, the early morning goes by quickly and soon enough the sound of footsteps can be heard from the hallway, signaling the awakening of Patton and Roman.

    Morality immediately perked up at the sight of Logan on the couch. “Morning, Logan! Any breakfast requests?” He had no idea how the moral side was so energized in the morning, but he supposes it’s good to see his spirits up.

    “Anything's fine, Pat. Though may I suggest something a bit healthier than your usual meals?” He didn’t want to sound unappreciative of Patton’s cooking, but he was growing quite tired of the constant sweetness of his breakfast.

    “Oooh!” Patton’s excitement somehow increased as he conjured a red apron with the words ‘Hi Hungry, I’m Dad’ printed on it, as usual. “I’ll make frittatas!”

    “Yes yes, sounds good Padre.” The dismissive tone Roman had sounded strange to Logan, but it was clear the fanciful facet had other things to focus on as he rushed to sit next to Logan on the couch, with an almost devilish grin on his face.

    Logic raised a brow, turning his head away from his puzzle book and towards Roman. “Is there something you need?”

    Roman’s smile simply grew wider. “So you’ve finally admitted it, huh? Finally come to terms with your feelings?” When Logan’s confused look didn’t fade, Roman crossed his arms. “I may have accidentally saw you with Pat last night in the mind palace.”

    Logan suddenly felt his heart rate increase. “What did you hear?”

    “Oh, I didn’t hear anything, but I certainly saw plenty.”

    What? What was there to see, they were just-

    Oh. Oh. “Roman, you are jumping to ridiculous conclusions.” A sigh escaped his mouth as Logan placed his face in his palm. “Patton was simply comforting me through some issues, that is all.”

    “I didn’t know discussing your issues involved hand holding and intense blushing.”

    The logical side groaned in frustration. “You are infuriating. Firstly, holding hands does not have to be a romantic gesture. In fact, in many cultures, it is a common platonic method of physical affection. Secondly, my face was most likely flushed because these types of situations are new to me, not to mention that Thomas is almost constantly blushing.”

    It was apparently Roman’s turn to groan. “I cannot idly stand by anymore while you deny your feelings! Hell, saying you aren’t pining for Patton is like saying I’m not pining for you-know-who!”

    “...You can just say V-”

    “Do NOT say his name!” Logan was immediately interrupted by Roman’s whisper-yelling.

    “Kiddos, breakfast is ready!” Patton yelled from the kitchen. It was safe to assume that the moral side didn’t use real-world oven rules due to the quick finishing of the frittatas, but no one was going to complain about getting their food sooner.

    The two sat in the stools in front of the counter where two plates were already laid out for them. Patton stood on the opposite side of the counter, holding his own plate and beaming with pride.

    Logan thanked the side for breakfast as always while Roman immediately dug in. He would have enjoyed pretending this was exactly the same as it always was, but the air felt incredibly… awkward. This was completely Roman’s fault, of course. Is it not fair to feel uncomfortable when someone ( wrongly ) suggests you have romantic feelings for another?

    “Oh, Patton?” Roman suddenly broke the silence that was held in the room. “Do you believe we can have crushes?”

    Morality’s eyes immediately widened when asked that question, and Logan was pretty sure he saw his cheeks turn slightly red. “Um, sure kiddo! Why do you ask?” The high pitch tone in his voice suggested he was nervous about the topic at hand.

    “I never said we couldn’t have ‘crushes,’ Roman.” Perhaps Logan might have in the past, but certainly not in their most recent conversation. “You see, Pat, Roman was just informing me about his supposed romantic interest,” he lied.

    The logical side kept note of how Patton’s shoulders slumped down in relief, and Roman’s did the exact opposite. “Oh! You mean his crush on--”

    “ Do NOT say his name!!!”

     As Patton laughed almost sinisterly at the prince’s protests, Logan let out his own chuckle, the aura of awkwardness forgotten about for the moment.

    

11:00 AM - Get to Work.

     “Based on the synopsis and rough drafts we have so far, this project could end up taking us a few months to finish. Are you willing to commit to that, Thomas?” Logan let his eyes skim over the papers Roman had handed out.

    The sides were originally planning on working with Thomas right after breakfast, but it did not take much for everyone to agree with Patton that they should wait on Virgil. The anxious side could very well worry that he was being left out of the conversation on purpose and go back into hiding, which was certainly not what anyone wanted to see.

    “Well, we have videos ready to release these next few weeks, so we should be able to focus on creating the next Cartoon Therapy, right?” Thomas said. They all knew the project was somewhat ambitious, but there was an unspoken determination spreading throughout.

    “But the videos we have will only last us until the end of June,” Virgil pointed out. “And there’s no way we’ll have this finished by then, even if we do manage to not procrastinate for once.”

    “That’s true…” Thomas put his hand on his chin in thought for a moment, weighing his options carefully. “Maybe it would be a good idea to take a hiatus in July?”

    It was quite easy to notice Virgil growing nervous at the idea, so Patton stepped into Dad Reassurance Mode™. “I think that’s a great idea, kiddo. We could really use a break, and I don’t think the fans would mind it too much as long as we keep them updated!”

    “Oh, and I’m just so excited to make this video!” Roman chimed in, practically jumping with joy. “There’s no way I’m focusing on anything else but this until it’s done!” Considering the prince had an attention span almost worse than Patton’s with how many ideas flew through his head, they all knew that was somewhat unrealistic.

    “I think it would be highly beneficial if we took a break on uploading. We can focus on this project without much other stress on our hands.” Logan pushed up his glasses. “With the past few weeks we have had. I think it can be agreed upon that a break is in order.”

    “Yeah, hey, was something happening? I was having such a hard time focusing this month, is everything okay with you guys?” Poor Thomas was out of the loop, which happened quite too often. They really needed to let him in on things more.

    There was a moment where everyone looked expectantly at Logan, but it was Morality who obviously realized the mistake in that notion. “Oh, don’t worry about it! We were all just overworking ourselves a tad, that’s all.” ( Thank goodness for Pat, right? )

    Virgil suddenly groaned, going back to the subject at hand. “We’ve taken so many sudden breaks in the past, Thomas. Imagine how annoying that would be!” Anxiety may have been on the opposing side to the others, but his points were still valid.

    “While I understand your concerns, Virgil, Thomas has built a large and dedicated fanbase. A month’s hiatus will not create any noticeable dent in that, especially since there is a community of content creators that can supply subscribers with free additional content.”

    “Fine, okay. I admit, we definitely need a break,” Virgil finally agreed, crossing his arms. “But we better actually work during this, no procrastination.”

    “That should be relatively easy.” Logan let a half-smile tug at his lips. “As long as I make schedules and stay focused, Roman is kept motivated, Patton is happy, and you are stayed assured, we will be in a more than adequate position to stay on task.”

    “To translate, stay healthy and I won’t procrastinate!” Thomas was beaming, the excitement Roman still had obviously affecting his mood positively. Everyone, even Virgil, reluctantly, was now smiling.

    After a few hours of planning, editing videos, taking breaks, and planning more (feat. Joan and Talyn), both Patton and Virgil eventually left back into Thomas’s mind to spend some time in their rooms.

         Roman was the third to leave. “Well, I’ll be heading back to my kingdom now! When you’re done here Logan, I’d appreciate if you come look over some ideas for shorts.” Roman left without any confirmation from the other side.

    Logan was about to do the same, but Thomas’s voice stopped him.

    “Logan, before you head out, is everything okay?” Thomas rubbed the back of his neck. “I noticed everyone looked at you when I asked earlier. Am I giving you too much work to do?”

    “No no, nothing like that, Thomas. Um-”

    Thomas now looked expectantly at Logan for answers. He wasn’t sure why, but telling the man made him feel quite nervous. “You are correct in the assumption that I am to blame for your difficulties this month, but it had nothing to do with overworking. I can assure that much.”

    “Heh, well that’s good, I guess? So what happened?”

    Logan took in a deep breath and let it out in a sigh. “I suppose you could say I was struggling with my independence, if that makes sense.”

    “Independence…” Thomas went into thought for a moment, as if he were trying to decode a cipher, before lighting up. “Oh, you mean independence from me?”

    “That is accurate enough.” The original fear had faded, but Logan now felt simply awkward.

    “To be honest, I have no idea how separate you guys are.” Thomas seemed to sense the awkward energy as well, his eyes darting around the room. “It seems you all do a lot without me knowing. You’ve probably had at least a bit of independence before, but I think you’ve all really developed your own sort of personalities since we started filming. You don’t think I have some sort of multiple personality disorder, do I?”

    “Oh, no, I assure you that is not what’s happening.” Logic straightened and put up his glasses, falling into his role. “I am not an expert on the subject, but for one, multiple personality disorders are typically a coping mechanism to deal with trauma, which you do not have. Furthermore, you still have only one personality, and we still control and manifest facets of that. However, being connected to functions of a human brain and having our own experiences has allowed us to develop, well, independence from you.”

    “I guess that makes sense enough? Thanks, Logan. Hopefully Virgil heard that, since it was probably him making me worry about it.” Thomas gave a small nervous laugh. “So, are you okay now? I’m still not clear on what exactly you were struggling with.”

    Logan let out a hum. “It shouldn’t surprise you much to hear that it was the… emotional aspect of being my own that had me conflicted. I assure you though, all is well now.” ( As long as Roman stops being an idiot with his silly ideas. )

    Thomas helf a true smile on his face now. “Well I’m glad to hear that, buddy. I think the fans noticed a long time ago that you weren’t just, y’know, Logic. I’m proud of you for realizing it, too.”

    The logical side rolled his eyes, but he couldn’t fight back the smile tugging his lips. “You sound like Patton. I believe I’m supposed to go speak to Roman now, so I shall bid you adieu. Do not be worrying too much about any of this, deal?”

    “Deal. Nice talking with you, Logan.”

 

5:00 PM - Get to Work Pt. 2: With Roman

“You wanted to go through short video ideas?” Logan entered the prince’s room, closing the door behind him.

    Roman was sitting on the floor to the side of his bed, examining a bulletin board on the opposite wall covered in sticky notes. “Yeah yeah, sure, come in. Sit down.”

    When Logan chose to sit on the edge of the bed instead of on the floor next to Roman, the romantic side cleared his throat. “Okay, so I lied. That’s not what you’re here for.”

    Logan furrowed his brows in confusion before realization struck. “Roman, if this is about this morning-”

    “Ah buh buh buh bup! Just listen!” Roman interrupted, taking in a deep breath. “I’m sorry.”

    “What?”

    “I shouldn’t have forced that information on you, whether you like Patton that way or not. That was wrong of me. However!” Roman stood up suddenly, facing towards Logan. “I do want to know; why do you believe you don’t like Pat?”

    “I-” Logan’s mind went blank. Really, the answer was he never thought about it, but that’s because he never needed to! “Roman, this is ridiculous.”

    Princey huffed impatiently. “You like debates, don’t you? I know we’re all known for being quite... stubborn, but I am willing to listen to your evidence if you listen to mine. Do we have a deal, nerd?”

    Logan rolled his eyes and sighed. “Fine, deal. But you go first.”

    A smile - no, a smirk - was on Roman’s lips as he crossed the room to grab the bulletin board and prop it on top of his desk. Logan first thought the scatter of various colored sticky notes were video ideas, but on closer inspection, he saw a title for them all on a piece of paper pinned to the top left corner.

     Proof that Logan is deeply pining for Patton. Really, Roman?

   “Alright, my bespectacled friend, let’s look at Exhibit A!”

    It goes on like this for quite awhile, Roman pointing out every mannerism and action Logan has done to prove the idea that he has romantic feelings. It was all ridiculous and overly analyzed in Logan’s opinion, and he was getting quite annoyed.

    “Alright, that’s enough,” Logic finally interrupted. He sat up straight, pushed up his glasses, and cleared his throat. “First of all, everything you have pointed out can be looked at as platonic with the right lense. You just seem to lack that, but I don’t think I even need to go through all of your ‘evidence.’ Here are the facts, Roman: I’m not interested in romantic relationships, I don’t see Patton as anything other than a friend and work partner, and I especially don’t want to be romantically involved with someone who has the exact same face as me.”

    A huff came from the prince. “You don’t have to be looking for romance to have a crush. Also, you’re wrong.”

    “True, but- excuse me?”

    Roman raised his left hand up, and suddenly a confused and annoyed Virgil was standing in the middle of the room. “Roman, what the fu-”

    “Virgil, do we all look the same?” Roman interrupted the fuming side. “I’m trying to prove a point to Einstein over here.”

    “No. Can I go now?”

    “Woah woah, wait,” the logical side chimed in, standing up in prep to stop Virgil from leaving. “I apologize for bothering you Virgil, but do you just mean in the sense of our aesthetics? Could you elaborate?”

    Virgil crossed his arms and sighed, giving in. “It’s in the details. We all have different shades of eyes? Patton and I both have a sort of honey brown, Roman has this deep reddish brown, and you have chocolate brown eyes. I think Pat and Roman both have thicker eyebrows, and Pat and I have smaller noses. Roman has slightly tanned skin, I have a thinner face, Patton has freckles-”

    “How do you know all of this and I don’t?” Logan was both amazed and confused about this new information. How has he never noticed any physical differences between the four of them besides their dress and hair styles? “Wait, Patton has freckles?

    The anxious side shrugged. “They’re pretty faded, but yes. It’s kinda like my job to pay attention to every detail, Lo. May I please go now?”

    “Yes Virge, you may go. Thank you for helping me prove my point.” Roman dismissed Virgil, his proud smile showing he was all too happy for himself. However, there was an admiration in his eyes as well, making Logan think the grin was directed at a different thought.

    “Wait a second,” Anxiety suddenly held a skeptical look on his face. “What was this about, anyway?” At Roman’s guilty look, Virgil scowled. “Princey, what did you do?”

    “I didn’t do any-” Virgil made a sort of annoyed growling sound in the back of his throat as the fanciful side tried to protest. At this point, he probably saw the bulletin board. “Okay, so I may have told Logan he has a crush on Patton, and now he won’t believe me.”

    “Ro, what happened to letting him figure it out himself?!”

    “I thought he did, I swear! And I already apologized!”

    Logan’s head was now spinning. “Virgil, you agree with him? I thought you would have enough sense to know how ridiculous his claims are!”

    Virgil now also held a guilty look on his face, running a hand through his hair. “L-look, dude, it’s not cool for Roman to try and convince you that you like Pat. You know you better than we do.”

    “But?” Logan said, because he knew there was more to this.

    “But don’t shut out the idea, okay? If you want to prove that you don’t like him, whether that be to yourself or Roman, then you have to let yourself think of the possibility.”

    Roman’s face lit up. “Yeah! See, Logan? Virgil agrees with me!” The moment the words left his mouth, Virgil gave him a very pointed look, showing he did not, in fact, agree with him.

    Suddenly, the door opened. “Hey Ro, I was wondering if-” Everyone turned towards the father figure in the doorway. “Woah, we having a party in here, kiddos? Sorry for barging in.”

    Virgil, having the strongest fight or flight instincts and the quickest reflexes of the group, knocked down the bulletin board to be face down on the desk it was perked up on.

    “Uh… Heh, okay! I won’t ask any questions.” Patton still had a bright smile on his face, despite the weird situation. “I was coming to ask if you guys wanted to do dinner tonight!”

    That broke Logan out of his shocked trance. It wasn’t very often that they ate dinner together, or at all, really. Breakfast was a ritual for them, developing from both Patton’s love for cooking and the need to get Virgil included in group activities, but that was the only real meal they ever had. They didn’t really need food, after all.

    Placebo effects were strong, however, and Logan felt his stomach rumble slightly at the idea. Everyone agreed, and Patton scurried off excitedly to get cooking.

    Roman stretched up. “Whelp, I’m going to see if I can help Patton out with anything, so-”

    “Not so fast.” Virgil held a hand in front of Roman, preventing him from leaving the room. “You go ahead, Lo. Princey and I need to have a word.

    Logan couldn’t help but smirk as he exited Roman’s room. Before so, he made sure he got a good look of the fear and absolute dread in the prince’s face, eyes wide and shoulders hunched. It was strange seeing Virgil go into such a parental mode.

    Let himself think of the possibility…

    To be completely honest, Logan did not want to let himself think about it.

 

7:00 PM - Read a Book Have Dinner With The Others

     He let himself think about it, if only for a moment.

   Aka, he let himself ‘examine’ Patton - and he did not like wording it that way, but what else word was he supposed to use? Observe? Stare?

    And he is not doing it because he actually thinks he does have a romantic attraction to the side. No, he’s doing it to prove a point to Roman so this never has to be mentioned or thought about again.

    That’s why, instead of reading the book he has in his hands on psychology, he’s sitting on one of the kitchen stools and attempting to discreetly look at Morality.

    The first thing he notices is that Virgil was right; Patton has freckles.

     They’re more visible on his arms, light brown dots in different shades and sizes. While they are faded, he can't believe he's never noticed such a detail.

    ( How unobservant have I been? )

    As Patton turns to chop up some vegetables, his face is now semi-visible to Logan. He can now see, just barely, a few freckles dotting his cheeks. He also notices the honey brown eyes Virgil was talking about, the smaller nose, and - is his chin a bit more defined?

    Perhaps Logan wasn’t being as discreet as he thought he was, because suddenly those honey eyes were looking right into his. “Ya need something, Logan?”

    “Ah- no, Patton. It appears I just zoned out for a moment.” Smooth, Logan.

    Here’s the dilemma; this was not helping whatsoever, because Logan already knows Patton is, objectively, ‘cute’ and conventionally attractive. Everybody knows that. What Logan doesn’t know, however, is how to differentiate knowing someone is attractive from being attracted to someone. Shouldn’t it be obvious?

    That, however, would not be enough for Roman. Logic has to analyze all of the data, whether it’s actually necessary or not.

     ( This is fucking stupid. )

 

    “I don’t care if we haven’t seen it in awhile. We are not watching Moana for the thousandth time.”

    “But Virgil, it’s so good! And you should really-”

    “Princey, don’t you dare-”

    “coNSI DER THE COCONUTS! ” Roman and Patton sang simultaneously.

    As they ate the dinner Patton had made for them, Roman suggested they all watch a movie together as it had been awhile since the last movie night. It surprised none of them, however, when they couldn’t agree on which movie to watch.

    “May I make a suggestion?” Logan would have usually argued for one of his favourites, but he needed one that everyone would agree on. “Princess and The Frog is a film I believe we have not watched all together in the past, and I assume none of us have watched it recently.”

    Roman let out a gasp, hands clasped on his heart. “Oh my goodness, yes! I haven’t seen that almost since it came out!”

    Patton followed with a squeal. “Eeeee!! That’s such a good movie! Well, I don’t actually remember but I’m sure it was good!”

    “Princess and The Frog it is.” Virgil, the one with the remote, pressed a single button - remember, fake magic television and such - and the movie immediately started playing.

    If you thought for a moment that things would quiet down between the sides once the movie started, you’d be incredibly mistaken: Patton enjoyed giving small praiseful comments and making puns based on the movie whenever he got the chance. Logan would always point out inconsistencies and unrealistic parts of the film whenever he noticed them. Virgil, unsurprisingly, would explain the darker parts of the movie, while also complaining with Logan when a character did something stupid. And Roman, even more unsurprisingly, would try to sing along with any song that came up, and would argue over any negative point made with gusto.

    And while it got annoying at times, Logan liked it this way. He was not the type to watch movies alone in his spare time, as it only made him restless and bored. But with the others? He couldn’t imagine the dynamic any other way.

    He loved them. And that- that’s a weird word for Logan to even think. He’s never understood the purpose of it in the past, but now? Now he realizes there is no other word that perfectly encapsulates everything he feels for the other sides. Well, except for maybe one other word.

    Family. They really were his family.

    ( But do you love them all in the same way? )

    He couldn’t answer that. With everything Roman had told him of, with everything that has happened, he does not know the answer.

    So when the movie was over and everyone was leaving to their rooms, Logan stopped Virgil with a hand on his arm.

    “What?”

    “You told me to think about it. I just- I’m confused.” Logan grimaced at his own words. “I do not enjoy the feeling of being confused.”

    “Pfft, who does?” Virgil ran a hand through his hair and sighed. “Alright bud, let me teach you what I did. You gotta- you have to imagine being in a relationship with him, note how things would be different.”

    Logan scrunched up his nose. “Even if I did have a ‘crush,’ I don’t know If I’d even want to pursue a romantic relationship.”

    “Doesn’t matter, it’s just to see if you’d actually want to do the things couples do, with him. If you find that you could enjoy those romantic things, and if you can’t really imagine enjoying them with someone else, then you can figure out what you wanna do next.”

    “What do you mean by things couples do? Like romantic outings?”

    The anxious side began picking his nails. “Uh, sure. Or like, kissing and shit. Whatever.” He suddenly looked up at Logan with wide eyes. “Don’t tell Dad I cussed.”

    Logan felt himself slightly smiling. “Only if you don’t tell Roman about this conversation.”

    “Deal.”

 

10:00 PM - Go to Sleep

Chapter Text

     Do you care?

     That was the question that started all of this. Those three words made Logan spiral into a hole of unhealthy wall building, only to have to tear down the bricks one by one directly after.

    Patton was the cause of both of those events. He brought forward the question, unintentionally made Logan think about ingrained issues he had never been brought forward before. It was all too quick, too unprecedented, and he retreated back into comfort.

    Patton, once again unintentionally, pushed him out of that. He threw a rope down into the well when his cries were heard, but it was still Logan’s job to break the shackles and climb out. The others, Roman and Virgil, gave him the tools to do so.

    He’d like to think he’s made it out, but maybe not. Maybe he’s still experiencing some of the effects of the well’s walls; he has been less enthusiastic, recently. Perhaps he’s still fighting some things down and has a bit more rope to climb.

    ( Whatever, metaphors are complicated. )

    One thing is for certain, though: He knows the answer to the question now. He accepts the answer to the question.

    Logan cares a lot.

    But the new question is, is it all in the same way?

    No, it absolutely isn’t.

    Virgil has become a dear friend. He’s a sense of calm away from the other two’s extremities and has sense that the other two can lack at times. Logan admires him as a protector, a fighter. He had to work to get in the position he’s in now, and he had to go through hell for it. Logan worries, too; he wants nothing more than for the darker side to be happy, and he hopes that Virgil is there.

    Virgil is Learning, Patience, and Comfort. Logan cares for him deeply.

    Roman is like the annoying sibling. He’s loud, dramatic, and sometimes unbearable, yet Logan has nothing but respect for him. He would do anything to help Thomas achieve ultimate happiness, even if some of his ideas are a bit… destructive. As a fellow poet, Logan cannot help but admire everything he sees the prince come up with, and he hopes Roman truly knows how wonderful he is through all his forced confidence.

    Roman is Respect, Honesty, and Fortitude. Logan loves him like a brother.

    And Patton- well, he holds them all together. Without Patton’s warmth, Virgil would still be stuck with the ‘dark sides.’ Without Patton’s enthusiasm, Roman wouldn’t have the encouragement he needed throughout the years of their friendship. Patton really was a guardian to them, doing so much in the background, but he also held a childlike wonder that reminded everyone that it was okay to not always be serious. It was okay for Logan to not always be serious. He hopes Patton knows how much he’s done for everyone, and how much he is loved back.

    Patton is Fun, Affection, and Guidance. Logan cannot describe how much love he deserves.

    He didn’t love any of them more or less than the other. He just loved them all differently. But if he loved Virgil as a close friend, if he loved Roman as a sibling, then how did he love Patton?

    Certainly not like a father figure. Patton didn’t even call him ‘kiddo’ like he did with the other two unless he was addressing them as a group. Logan and Patton, Logic and Morality, are equals when it comes to authority. They both know neither of them needs to protect the other.

    Roman and Virgil weren’t like that. They are both guardians in their own way, and maybe that’s one of the reasons they used to clash so much. If they were, say, a couple, the two would do anything to keep the other out of harm’s way, even if that meant putting themselves in danger. Patton and Logan wouldn’t have to.

    ( Roman already would do that now. We should really spend some time investigating Virgil.)

    ( No, you should be doing what Virgil told you to do. Stop avoiding the subject. )

    Right.

    Kissing was quite strange. He’s never looked into the science of it himself, but he vaguely remembers Thomas watching a Vsauce video on the topic. Logan typically has an exceptional memory, however he didn’t think the information was very important at the time. Something about how kissing is a way of testing your significant other?

    No matter. The point is, if Logic is allowed to feel everything else, then kissing would objectively feel pleasant. He has no idea what kissing is like; the only reference point he has is Thomas’s memories, and he has always preferred to be more or less absent during those moments. All he knows is that the press of lips against another pair is supposed to feel good.

    Virgil told him to imagine kissing Patton, didn’t he? Logan doesn’t think that would work, at least not on its own. He needs something to compare the thoughts to.

    ( Easy: Imagine kissing every side. )

    That works.

    He immediately regrets that decision when thinking of kissing Roman because, ew. No offense to the prince, it’s just that he imagines him to be a particularly passionate kisser and Logan does not like the idea of having Roman’s tongue in his throat. In fact, if he thinks about it any further, he would probably not be able to resist gagging.

    The thought of Virgil was not as unpleasant, but that was half because he couldn’t imagine the anxious side doing anything except soft pecks. It’s still not exactly a comforting thought, though; he would rather stick with the occasional hug from the emo boy.

    Patton… How would Patton kiss? Would his considerate, guiding nature make him kiss with a soft carefulness? Or would his enthusiasm and love take over for something filled with much more passion? Logan wouldn’t hate either of those options.

    Logan notes that his face is suddenly warmer.

    Logan feels his pulse in his wrist. It’s beating against his skin at a rapid pace.

    Oh, fuck this. He refused to let Roman be right.

    But the images were in his head now, and they weren’t leaving. Warm hands reaching up to cup his face. Soft lips smiling before gently pressing against his own. The texture of ruffled hair in his hands. The smell of sweet lemon and the taste of cinnamon.

    He imagined going to bed in a tangle of limbs, feeling warm in his sleep for once. He imagined waking up next to a blurred face of freckles, putting on his glasses just to be able to see that face clearer. He imagined smiles and laughter and tears. Fond eyerolls and playful teasing and comfort and a future. Logan Sanders, for the first time in his entire life, was thinking about the future.

    There were other thoughts, too, but let’s try to keep this PG.

    It was 3 Am when these thoughts shot Logan out of bed. It was 3 Am, on a clear Sunday night/Monday morning, when a panicked Logic knocked on the black door next to his.

    “It’s three am, who the hell is-” Virgil looked up to see Logan. He was in his sleep clothes - the unicorn onesie - with wide eyes uncovered by glasses and completely messed up hair. Virgil, however, was still in his usual stitched hoodie and black skinny jeans.

    The anxious side actually smirked. “Patton huh?”

    If Logan just found out that he had a crush, then he wouldn’t have needed to get up. If Logan just had to deal with some uncomfortable feelings, he could have gone to sleep that night.

    Because those kinds of things aren’t what keep Logan up at night anymore.

    No, Virgil recognized this all too well. That is why he sat with the logical side, talking about what they needed to and what they wanted to. Talking about distractions, then getting everything off their chests. Because Virgil knew.

    Because when you visualize future for the first time, it is impossible to let it go.

Chapter Text

    “Lo, wake up.”

    Logan felt his eyes slowly blink open. All he could see was his typical white ceilings - no, did the color have a warmer tint to it? Was there something floating in the air, or were his tired eyes just creating white dots?

    Oh, he was in Patton’s room.

    Why was he in Patton’s room?!

    “Dude, chill. I can feel you panicking.” Logan’s eyes locked on to Virgil, who was standing beside the bed and looking down on him. “There is a much more normal explanation for this than whatever you’re thinking in your head.”

    Logan slowly sat up, making the mistake of instinctually grabbing his glasses before remembering where he was. “Right, please explain.”

    “Well, you fell asleep in my bed like an asshole and I fell asleep on the floor.” There wasn't any actual malice in Virgil's words, as Logan has grown to learn. “Eventually Pat carried you to his bed so I could sleep in mine.”

    “Ah, I apologize for falling asleep on you, Virgil.” Actually, he should be thanking the side. He did just stay up with Logan to let him complain about his feeli-

    Wait.

    “Why didn't Patton just take me to my own room?”

    Virgil simply rose a brow. “You tell me, man. Respect for privacy, or something?”

    “And you're in here because…?”

    A huff. “Because it's 10:30 and breakfast is waiting on you. You do remember what day it is, right?”

    “...Monday?”

    “Your birthday.” Oh.

    ( Oh sh*t. )

 

    A side's “birthday,” as Logan has explained many times before, is not an actual date of birth. None of them were ever born.

    It may be slightly different for each side, but for Logan, it was like gaining sentience. He remembers it so well, somehow; Thomas, just a couple months old, held a toy in his hand, then suddenly, Curiosity. What would happen if we threw the toy down?  Unknowingly, it's the first time every person uses the scientific method. Logan, Logic, Curiosity, did not even have a form yet, but he was there. And he stayed there, and he watched as other influences from other sides joined him.

    It was Creativity, when they were past a year old, who first gave himself a form. They hadn't seen Thomas from an outside perspective yet, so some of their first forms were a tad… “extra.”

    (P retty sure Roman was just a lamp at one point, but he'd never admit to it. )

    It wouldn't surprise anyone to know that Logan was not the one to come up with the idea of celebrating these “birthdays.” It was a tag team effort by Roman and Patton, naturally, and the first time was nothing less than a mess of streamers and balloons.  While they keep birthdays more lowkey nowadays, that does not mean Logan is looking forward to it. It’s not that he didn’t appreciate their efforts, it’s just that he didn’t particularly enjoy being celebrated in such a way.

    The first thing he notices when entering the kitchen was Patton.

    He’s sure it’s not just him, either. There’s no way anyone who entered the room wouldn’t immediately have their eyes land on the father figure, as he was radiating brightness. His hair was a bit fluffier than usual - or maybe it was just another feature of Patton he hadn’t noticed until now - and he was wearing the cat hoodie Logan gifted him, with the sleeves rolled up for his bracelets.

    Logan was already getting tired of this “crush” thing.

    (He absolutely loved it when Patton actually wore the hoodie. When Deceit was playing as Patton, Logan genuinely thought his gift had gone unappreciated by the other side, so it’s nice to have some reassurance against that.)

    “Logan!!!” Patton immediately brightened, even more, when he saw Logan, dropping whatever conversation he was having with Roman and rushing towards hi-

    He was wearing a skirt.

     Logan.exe has stopped responding.

    Honestly, he should have expected this. He knows Patton wears skirts and dresses sometimes, he just never bothered to think about it much. He never let himself genuinely look.

    Not that he’d have much time now, as Patton immediately barreled him into a hug. “Happy birthday, Lo!” Before he even had time to process the embrace, much less return it, Patton was already pulling away. “Can you believe you’re 29 now?”

    “Pat, we are Thomas’s personality. We are all already 29 no matter if we celebrate different birthdays.”

    Yo, can we not talk about age right now?” Virgil suddenly spoke up from his spot standing next to Logan, slouching against the wall. “I’m trying to hold off on giving Thomas a mid-life crisis.”

    Roman gasped, now closer to the rest of the group. “How dare you insinuate we’re in our mid-life? Thomas still has a rich life to live! We’re still young!” Seeing the pointed look Patton was given him, the prince suddenly looked toward Logan. “Oh, feliz cumpleaños, mi hermano! Que este día te traiga buena fortuna y amor.”

    “Good enough!” Patton beamed. Despite Logan not wanting the attention, he couldn’t deny that the air was more positive than it had been for a while. Maybe they all needed this, maybe this wasn’t just for him anymore.

    Logan was more than okay with sharing this day.

 

    After breakfast, not much was planned until later that day. Logan decided it was as better as any time to pull Roman aside.

    “What D'ya need, comprade?” Roman asked once they were in Logan's room. He had the same joyous energy radiating off of him as the others did, except… something was off. Something about the way he was composing himself ( perhaps his posture? ) was different than usual.

    No matter, there were other things that needed to be attended to. “Roman, I believe I should properly inform you that you were correct in your theory. I… do indeed have romantic inclinations towards Patton.”

    Roman opened his mouth to say something, then closed it, then opened it again. “Well, I am happy for you for finding out.”

    “...That’s it? No ‘I told you so?’ No squeal of excitement? No witty banter?”

    Logan took note of the air. It had a thickness to it, a mark of distance. Now, this certainly wasn’t the first instance of such a feeling with Roman; the prince was known for distancing himself somewhat, holding up a half-charade of complete self-confidence unbridled by any potential foe. However this time, there was something more awkward about it, for lack of a better word.

    The creative side huffed and crossed his arms. “I can’t just be happy for my friend?” Suddenly, his face fell, and his entire defensive demeanor changed into something more forced. “I am aware that lately, I’ve been, eh, forceful, so I just want to congratulate you. That’s all.”

    ( Something is wrong. )

    “Roman, is there something disturbing you?” He had never seen Roman act like this - or perhaps he’s simply never noticed?

    Virgil suddenly stepped into the hallway, seemingly surprised to see Roman and Logan standing there. “Oh, uh- Logan, I think Pat wanted you to open presents soon.”

    The logical side blinked in confusion for a moment, almost once again forgetting the fact that it was his ‘birthday’ today. “Right. Thank you, Virgil. We’ll be out in a moment.”

    Anxiety simply did his signature two-finger salute before heading back into the commons, leaving the two poets on their own. “Well, I believe you have some gifts to open!”

    “Yeah, no.” He wasn’t going to let the prince off that easily, of course. “What is the matter, Roman? Does it have something to do with him ?”

    “No, no!” Roman immediately argued, hands swinging in protest and face turning red. “Seriously, Logan, don’t worry your pretty little face about it. Just enjoy your birthday!” Before Logan could even mutter a single syllable of ‘falsehood,’ or mention that the phrase is pretty little head and not pretty little face, Roman was already walking out of the hallway, forcing Logan to follow and ask no more questions.

    “Gift time!” Patton practically shouted with excitement. Logan wishes he could match such enthusiasm, especially since he was the one receiving the gifts, but his conversation with Roman left a sour taste in his mouth ( and I don’t enjoy birthdays, anyway. ) “Roman, you first!”

    “Ah!” Princey immediately brightened up and, at this point, Logan couldn’t tell how fake it was. They were all actors, after all. “Be ready to be amazed, teach!” With a twist and a point, A large and elongated box with a red bow on top was in the teacher’s hands.

    Examining the gift closer, Logan could not fight back the gasp that came from his lungs. “Roman, is- is this an Orion Astroview 90mm refracting telescope?”

    The proud smile that now spread wide across Roman’s face, he knew, was not fake. “Even better! I could have conjured one of those $2,000 Orion’s, but they fail to capture the aesthetic of a traditional telescope! So I combined them; the sleek design of the Astroview paired with the advanced technology of the SkyQuest!”

    There was no part of Logan that could pretend not to be enthralled by such a telescope, but he tried his best to keep his composure. “W-while that certainly isn’t quite possible in the real world, I am still indubitably impressed. Thank you, Roman.”

    There was a puff of breath behind them. “Guess that’s me next, then. Uh, it’s not as cool as Roman’s present, but just- here.” Virgil, with less of the gusto Roman maintained, pointed towards Logan’s arms - after putting down the telescope box - and made something appear there.

    It was a simple box, presumably containing a puzzle similar to his Alice in Wonderland one, except this one had the purple and black whimsy of a Nightmare Before Christmas theme. “Interesting. How many pieces?”

    “A thousand. I couldn’t find one that had anymore.” Virgil, as he always was when giving gifts, had an obvious tone of worry that he was trying to play off.

    “It’s been a while since I’ve done an actual puzzle, I’m sure I’ll enjoy this one immensely. Thank you, Virgil.” He wasn’t lying, either. The present may not have been as extravagant as Roman’s, but Logan never expected or requested such large gifts. Any present was appreciated as long as the gifter had his interests in mind.

    “And the last one is me!” Already getting tired of being the center of attention, - he likes it in the context of videos or conflicts, but this was just not his thing - he was glad Patton was the last one. Certainly no dark side was going to randomly pop in to join the gift-giving ceremony.

    “Logan, I actually got you some books!” Quite suddenly, a stack of about eight books was on the floor. “I tried to find some nice ones you might have not read before. The Motion of Light in Water by Samuel R. Delany, The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead, Men of Maize by Miguel Ángel Asturias- oh! Light by Torgny Lindgren is one of my favourites! It’s super unpopular b-but it’s an interesting story about a small village in medieval Sweden who get the plague and--” Patton stopped when he noticed everyone staring at him.

    “...You aren’t, Deceit, right?” Roman had a hand on his sword in an instant. “Say a dad joke, now.”

    “Uh- oh! Did you know Ireland has one of the fastest growing cities?”

    “Really?” Logan responded with genuine curiosity. “I would have assumed a city in China, or even-”

    “Yeah, it’s Dublin’ every year!”

    Slight chuckles and eye rolls came from Roman and Virgil, while Logan just sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Yep, that’s Patton.” It was hard to pretend that there wasn’t any part of him willing him to smile.

 

    “Kiddo, I don't want to force you, but we'd all really love to know!”

    “For the last time, I'm not telling you when my birthday is.”

    The sides were all currently eating cake on the floor in the living room ( it had Crofter's in it, of course ) when The Topic™ was brought up. The same topic brought up every single holiday or celebration:

    When is Virgil's birthday?

    They didn't want to make Virgil tell them. They were hoping that, at this point, the darker side would trust them enough with that information, and yet they got the same answer every year: no answer at all.

    Except, Logan noticed something, light pauses between words, less bite in tone, that suggested maybe this would be the year that…

    “Virgil, would it provide you any comfort if we promised not to do anything extravagant on your supposed day of birth?”

    A pause, much longer than anyone before then. “I don't want it to be celebrated at all.”

    “But you deserve to be-” “Kiddo, we want you to feel-” “don't you want-” Roman and Patton talked over each other, each wanting to reassure Virgil that he was wanted.

    “Stop! You don't understand.” Another pause as the two other sides went silent, and a sigh. “April 24th. Thomas was born with me.”

    Wait, does that mean…

    “Virgil is the oldest side?!” Roman proclaimed dramatically.

    “Like I have said a myriad of times now, we're all the same age.” Logan sighed. “I suppose it makes sense; a large sum of you is based on human instinct, and it's safe to say being born would certainly elicit a fear response in an infant.”

    Anxiety groaned in annoyance, running a hand into his hair. “This is why I didn't want to tell you. I didn't want a big fuss and the date already has to be shared by Thomas and Patton.”

    A worthy note is that Patton's birthday is most likely not on Thomas's, but the keywords here are “most likely.” Because of the moral side's worse-for-wear memory compared to the others’ particularly strong memories, he doesn't remember his first date of appearance.

    “Oh, Virgil! We would love to share that date with you, I'm sure Thomas would agree.”

    “I know that!” Virgil practically yelled. “I just don't need-”

    As always, Anxiety immediately shut up when Morality gave The Look™.

    Now, The Look™ actually referred to many different faces Patton gave. There was the infamous “I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed” look, the greatly famous “puppy dog eyes,” and the one Virgil was currently getting right now, the “What did we talk about” look.

    “Virgil,” Patton said in a very dad-like tone, and the look of defeat in the darker side's eyes suggested that there was no more to be said. Virgil lost this battle, but the consequences for his defeat?

    “I just… didn't want to intrude any more than I already have.”

    Immediately, a course of action was taken; Roman laid an arm around Virgil's shoulders, Logan placed a hand on his back, and Patton came in for the hug.

    The consequences were worth the defeat.

 

    After giving Virgil the comfort he needed ( and deserves ), the “party” went on, albeit in a slightly more calm fashion. Dinner, then cake, was eaten, and the rest of the night was spent watching movies with all of them smushed onto the couch instead of their usual positions.

    There was some point in the night when everyone seemed to agree that it was time to get ready for bed, but even as Roman and Virgil left to their rooms, Patton stayed for a moment before doing the same.

    Logan, after cleaning up a tad in the kitchen ( I wasn't going to just leave it like that, birthday or not ), headed down the hall of doors only to see a blue and white door semi-open. His curiosity got the best of him as he peeked into the moral side's room, seeing said side sitting on his floor with his onesie on and a blank expression.

    He opened the door more, hoping it would alert Patton of his presence. Patton didn't even give him a glance. “Is something the matter, Patton?”

    Patton's expression didn't shift. “No, just tired.” At Logan's worried look, the moral side had recollection pass through his eyes, and a small, almost sad smile now laid on his face. “Sit with me?”

    Logan simply nodded in a silent agreement, moving to sit criss-cross on the floor next to his onesie-wearing counterpart. Patton did not show any intent of moving for a while before a sigh came from his lips.

    “Do you remember the first few videos?” He suddenly asked. His voice had a quiet fondness to it, but -as Logan got better at understanding emotions- there was also a tinge of confusion. He remembers hearing it long ago, when Patton came into his room asking about love.

    “Of course. Why do you ask?”

    “Sometimes I watch them to jog my memory, and… it's funny how different we are.”

    “Ah, you must mean the fact that we hadn't completely taken up our individual aspects yet? It can be inferred that back then, we were particularly baseline. Our labels defined us heavily before we were exposed to the outside world.”

    A soft chuckle came from Patton's lips. “No, that's the strange part.” He shifted a bit, seemingly uncomfortable suddenly, and conjured a laptop. “Watch the first video with me, I'll show you.”

    It didn't take long for Logan to notice a difference, and he doesn't just mean the lack of quality.

    Logic was the first to appear, and while he was certainly introduced that way, he didn't encompass much of 'Logic’ at all. There was a sprinkle of wonder in both his eyes and his tone. There was no facade of emotionless intelligence, no hiding behind his label.

    ( Why don't you remember this? Where did this go? )

    Creativity was next. To be honest, Logan couldn't find much of a difference there. Perhaps the side was less boisterous than nowadays, but Roman was always Roman. Perhaps his walls weren't so highly built yet then.

    And Morality was completely different.

    Well, maybe that's an overstatement; his love for dad jokes was still prominent, but he was much more Morality than Emotion. He was the right and wrong, the parent. He was Patton.

    “I knew I had to play a role with these videos pretty early on,” Patton spoke up when the first video was over. “Pretending not to know where babies come from, saying 'adultery’ instead of 'adulthood.’ Some fans picked up on the fact that all this was for laughs.”

    Logan felt fear strike through his veins. “Pat, what is this really about?” How much is fake? How much of Patton is just a role?

    “I love who I am, I love the role I play!” Logan felt some of his original fears leave him. “I get to be silly and make jokes and- and it's a lot of fun! But y-you know, uh, sometimes-” ( Ah. )

    “You don't always want to be that.”

    “I just want people to stop forgetting about these parts of me, too. I want people to stop being so surprised when I say something smart, or when I show any level of maturity.”

    “Patton, I…” ( What do I say what do I say what do I) “I’m not quite sure if you can do anything about people’s reactions, but you are allowed to show all aspects of yourself.” Logan would like to think he recognizes all parts of Patton, but it seemed he forgot earlier, too. “And… If it provides any reassurance to you, I will not be so uh, shocked, when you break away from your usual character anymore. I recognize you are more than just that role, and I assure you that the others can see such a fact as well.”

    A soft smile. “Thanks, Logan. Oh, b-but I don’t want you to think I’ve been faking anything! The pieces I show are still me. I'm still goofy and empathetic and, well, kinda dense at times. Just...”

    “They just aren’t always the whole picture,” Logan finished for him.

    “Yeah.”

    Logic had never felt he could relate to Morality. How could he? They both had good qualities and bad, but they were everything the other wasn't.

    But Logan and Patton weren't Logic and Morality. Sometimes Patton was extremely observant and analytical. Sometimes Logan was emotional and sporadic. And they fit perfectly together.

    Logan pretended he didn't think that last part, not because he was forcing it down anymore, but because now wasn't the time. Tomorrow, he could analyze everything that he and Virgil talked about. Tomorrow, he could plan his next course of action.

    But today was a break from it all. Today was a day of healing.

Chapter Text

    Waking up in Patton's room a second time was nowhere near as pleasant.

    Last time, he woke up in a soft bed, floating white dots calming him down. This time, he woke up on the much less soft floor, his bones and muscles aching from the uncomfortable--

    His annoyed thoughts immediately disappeared. Half-curled up on his lap was Patton, still wearing his cat onesie, with messy fluffed up hair and the most content look on his face Logan has ever seen him with.

    The ache that was originally in his back and neck now moved to his chest as he realized how much he wanted this, and before he could stop himself with rational thinking, he was running a hand through Patton's hair.

    His thoughts about how unfairly soft it is, what the heck were interrupted when the moral side shifted in his lap. His hand froze.

    Patton's eyes opened slowly, blinking away the grogginess morning brings, before he suddenly seemed to be wide awake with a blush painting his face. “Logan?”

    ( Run, just get up and runohmygod why is he looking at me like that whatdoIdo )

    Suddenly, the side lying on him giggled and got up. “Sorry Lo, didn't mean to fall asleep on you there, literally. I should go wake up Roman.”

    ( A change of subject. You can work with this. ) “To be completely honest, Patton, I assumed it was Roman who woke you up in the morning.”

    “What? I've been waking up Roman for years now!” Patton had a bright smile now, and the redness on his cheeks seemed to fade. “He's not much of a morning person, but he likes to be up early so he can properly get ready. I usually talk with him while he's going through his morning routine so he puts a bit more energy into it. I think he's the only real extraverted side of Thomas.”

    ( Note: Patton rambles when he's nervous. )

    “Right, then. You should probably go do that.” He wanted to make more conversation, but it seemed all words had left his mouth. Fortunately, his legs apparently still worked, so he got up from his spot on the floor and dusted off imaginary dirt from his pants. “I think I’m going to, uh, check on Virgil.”

    Patton smiled adorably widely in response. “Okay! Just make sure to let him sleep for a bit longer if he didn’t get any last night.” With that, the two sides sunk out of the room to their respective places.

    Logan finds himself in Anxiety’s room two seconds later. He did not lie when saying he would check on Virgil, but perhaps his reasons for doing so are a lot more selfish than Patton would know. He’s sure Virgil wouldn’t mind helping him, right?

    “Yes, I’m awake. No, I didn’t stay up all night.” Logan locked eyes with the hoodie-dawned side on his phone. As Virgil looked back up at him, his eyes widened slightly in surprise. “Oh, I thought you were Patton. What’s up?”

    Logan huffed and crossed his arms. “Morning to you too Virgil. But, well, speaking of Patton-”

    “I thought you got all that crush-talk out of your system the other night.”

    “How could I when we never even spoke of what I- what either of us should actually do.”

    “Uh, suffer?” Virgil sat up, closing his phone and dangling his feet off of his bed. He held his head low and to the side, and shoulders high in obvious discomfort. “Look dude, I just assumed you were in the same boat I’m in.”

    “Neither of us are in a bo- that’s another saying, isn’t it?”

    Virgil let out a small chuckle. “Yeah, uh… Okay, how much did I tell you about my situation?”

    Logan rolled his eyes. “By situation, I assume you mean your romantic attraction for Roman that you refuse to inform him of, despite the fact that you are well aware the feelings are mutual?”

    The darker side immediately flopped back down on his bed with a groan. “This is absolutely not fair. You make it sound so simple.

    “Is that not exactly what is happening, Virgil? I understand that you’re scared, however-”

    “No, no you don’t.”

    A thick silence filled the room, and Logan realized there was something to be done before his original conversation plan: He sat on the bedside next to Virgil. “Then inform me.” Logan has been given the opportunity many times, but now, it was time for Anxiety to talk through his own issues.

    A few seconds passed before Virgil spoke up. “Personality Q&A.”

    “Pardon?”

    Virgil once again sat up. “I realized after the Q&A video. I was sitting there and I just- I found some of my thoughts about him were becoming less straight.”

    “But that’s…” Logan suddenly felt a strike of empathy hit his heart for the darker side. Not only was that video a long time ago, a year and two months to be more precise, but “That was four months before Accepting Anxiety.”

    Virgil let out a bitter laugh. “It wasn’t even a big thing back then, but it certainly didn’t make things easier for me. And me being, y’know, Anxiety, I worried that he would find out. So-” He suddenly paused in the middle of his thought, then sighed in frustration. “Okay, so we’re not real.”

    Logan raised a brow. “Yes, I’m all too well acquainted with the existential crises that bring.”

    The two shivered at that, a reminder that they are on the same wavelength. “Right. So that means we don’t have to follow the normal rules of a human. You know what I did? I trained, for hours in the mirror, to will myself not to give any signs. I don’t blush, my pupils don’t dilate, and at one point I got so frustrated and upset that I willed my heart to stop beating. I didn’t have a damn heartbeat for like, three months!”

    Logan felt all words leave his throat. What to say to such a story? Should he be providing comfort, or just listening on? “Well, what about now?” His body decided for him.

    Virgil made a tsk sound in response: something between a scoff and a laugh. “It got to a point where I was feeling a bit too less for my liking, and I had to relearn some typical human body functions. But ‘Accepting Anxiety’ just made my feelings a hell of a lot stronger, so I started researching the signs of having a crush so I could hide them.”

    Realization struck Logan. “That’s how you found out he liked you?”

    “It was somewhere between ‘Fitting in’ and ‘Moving On.’ I think I ended up catching on before he did, but… yeah. At first, I kept up the hiding because I didn’t want a relationship, and then soon enough that ended up a lie and it became, what if he doesn’t want a relationship? Or what if it goes wrong?”

    “I mean no offense, Virgil, but that sounds more of an excuse than a genuine reason. I get it now, that this has been a long-time issue, but don’t you think this is slightly unfair to Roman?”

    This time, the sound Virgil made was clearly a scoff. “I don’t need a lecture, Specs. I’m working on it, and he’s learning to be patient.”

    “...But what if you end up being too late?”

    The comment went ignored. “The point is, I’ve been dealing with this for a while. I know what it’s like.”

    He pondered the situation Virgil was in for a moment. He couldn't imagine liking someone for that long, being forced to hide it as you're constantly ridiculed and reminded how much you're hated. “So what do you plan on doing next?”

    Virgil paused to rub his arm anxiously. “I'm gonna ask him out eventually, but he can't know until then. If he gets any hint that I like him back he'll do something way too extravagant for my liking.”

    The logical side could barely fight back a laugh at that. “Honestly Virgil, if you don't enjoy dramatic endeavors, then why do you even like Roman?”

    “I'm not gonna launch into some fluffy analogue about everything I like about him, but… What do you keep calling me? ‘The Protector?’ I have a natural want to protect the reckless, I guess.” The honey-brown eyes darted anywhere besides Logan’s direction. ”And maybe sometimes I want to be the protected, too.”

    Logan once again nearly lost all of his words, but one thought became clear enough to be spoken out loud. “It appears I have been spending too much time around the others, as I have the intense compulsion to inform you how adorable that was.”

    Virgil immediately put back up his wall, sliding his hands into his pockets. “Well, what about you, nerd? I wouldn’t peg you to end up liking someone as impulsive and emotional as Patton, so what’s your reasons?”

    His mind immediately went to the conversation he had with Patton the night before. “I would also highly prefer not to burst into a poetic description about my romantic interest, but I will say this much; Patton has a high level of intelligence in areas I fail to grasp. We are complete opposites, yet I relate and connect to him in ways I cannot find myself doing with anyone else.” ( He’s also really, really attractive, but Virgil doesn’t need to hear that part. )

    “And do you want to date him?”

    Logan sighed deeply, taking off his glasses for the moment. “While it surely is an enchanting thought, I honestly don’t see him returning my feelings.” Why would Morality ever like Logic? Why would such a caring, thoughtful, energetic man like an analytical, boring mess?

    “Well, there’s your first step. Do what I did and find out if he likes you.” Oh. That’s a lot more obvious than Logan realized.

    “I’m not a one-step guy. I need everything planned out.”

    “Alright, easy.” Virgil suddenly stood up, conjuring up a notebook and a pencil, only to sit in his desk chair and begin writing. “You like visualization, right? First step, find out if he likes you. Now tell me, what should you do if you can’t see any of the signs?”

    Rejection was the last thing Logan wanted to think about, but he supposed it was important despite the pain in his chest growing. “Move on from my feelings, I suppose. I believe that’s the only necessary step if it falls to that. It most likely will go down that pathway, won’t it? Should I be planning for if I can’t move on? What if Patton finds out and-”

    Logan feels some of his nerves calm down as he is suddenly in his own room. Virgil, now in Logan’s own desk chair, clears his throat. “You were getting too anxious. Now let me ask you again: What do you do if you find Patton doesn’t like you back?”

    “My answer has not changed. I still think it would be best to move on for the sake of Patton, wouldn’t it be?”

    Virgil started tapping his pencil against the top of his notebook. “Close, but no. You’re still thinking like me. How about you try thinking like Roman?”

    “...I would try to seduce him?”

    “ No! ” Virgil groaned in frustration. “Alright, let’s meet somewhere in the middle. You would talk to Patton about it. That way, you aren’t trying to hide your feelings like an idiot and you can actually properly move on. Got that?”

    He felt himself shiver at the idea of such an awkward confrontation, but he understood well enough why it would be needed in such a situation. “Yes, let’s move on.”

    The anxious side began scribbling in the notebook in front of him again. “Right, let’s just cut to the chase.” This time, Logan actually remembered that phrase’s meaning. “What do you do if he likes you back? Once again, talk to him. If he doesn’t want to pursue a relationship, you’re back to moving on. If he does, congratulations! You’re boyfriends now.” Virgil ripped out the page he was writing on and handed it to him.

    He examined the piece of paper quickly. It had pretty much everything that they had talked about, except in a neat, easy to read flowchart. “I’ll, uh, most likely be writing my own, more detailed steps, but thank you, Virgil. This certainly helped me visualize it.”

    “Yeah, whatever.” Virgil’s eyes momentarily meet with Logan’s before looking far off to the side. “Talking about my shit was, nice, and all that. Just don’t bother me about Roman again. I’ll work on it, deal?”

    “One more thing,” Logan took note of the missing makeup on Virgil’s face, and the purple bags the sat as a replacement. “You lied when you said you got sleep, didn’t you?”

    The darker side groaned. “Why ya gotta call me out like that?”

    “Virgil--”

    “Yeah yeah, I get it, mom. I’ll get some sleep.” With that, Virgil left the room without another word.

 

    Logan knew it would not be easy to find out if Patton likes him, but what he did not predict is how difficult it would be to even research the signs of attraction. Why? Well…

    The results for looking up “signs of attraction” on Google were very cis and heteronormative, not to mention borderline misogynistic. Logan found himself genuinely uncomfortable by the way multiple “scientific” articles described how men would show off their dominant, masculine traits and woman would show their submissive, feminine traits.

    The moment he came across a website referring to a woman’s lips as “vagina mouth,” he decided he might have better results searching signs of same-gender attraction specifically. That, of course, only led to the horrible discovery of many homophobic ideas - and a few videos on the topic, but they still weren’t very helpful.

    Disappointed, confused, and simply upset with the reality he had to bare witness to, Logan decided it would be much more beneficial to go to someone who already knew some things on the subject. Besides, he needed to have another talk with Roman eventually.

Chapter Text

    It wasn’t that Logan was scared to speak to Roman, it’s just…

    He’s dealt with Patton and Virgil’s issues before, both in videos and out. He certainly wasn’t good at the comforting thing still, but at least he had experience with them. Roman, however? Never once has the princely side come to him with his difficulties. There were mentions in the Crofter’s video, but it was dismissed the moment the video was over.

    ( Does Roman ever go to anyone? Surely, Patton has broken through those walls… Right?)

     Something was wrong with Roman, and it was bad enough that he wasn’t doing an amazing job hiding it. In fact, lately, the facet has been not only been avoiding the others ( or at least me ) but also putting on a new, calmer act.

    It’s important to remember that Roman is the control of Thomas’s ego, and yes, Thomas has been practicing self-care and love, but he’s never been very much of a master at it. He most likely feels responsible for this, hence the egotistical princely persona; it’s not all fake, everyone has at least a bit of an ego at times, but Logan genuinely fears how often it might be a facade.

    ( They’re all actors, but Roman is The Actor. That’s why it’s incredibly important to keep him away from Deceit. )

    That’s the thing, though; Logan often makes the mistake of not taking the time to think about Roman’s internal battles. He’s sure that, eventually, it will have to come up in a video, but if Roman was getting this bad, then it could not wait for a video they wouldn’t have time to film until September, at the earliest.

    A horrible, apathetic part of Logic tells him he should not waste such usable video content for Thomas, but he makes sure to let his empathy take control over this issue. He wasn’t going to ignore his friend’s problems just for the sake of making money off of it later. That’s more sociopathic than logical.

    That being said, his own issues can wait until after he breaches those walls.

 

    It took multiple knocks on his door for Roman to finally answer. If it was any other side, they would have simply warped in, meaning the prince must have known who was visiting him; and if it was any other time, he would have answered right away, or at least yelled out why-

    Logan almost jumped five feet in the air when the door swung open. “Look, I get that you’re- Logan!” Not only did Roman sound surprised to see the logical side at his doorway, but he also jumped at the sight of him. His eyes were suddenly wide with a nervousness Logan did not understand yet.

    “Yes, were you expecting someone else?” his brow raised. He tried to take a look inside Roman’s room, but the opening was too small to see anything out of the ordinary. The only thing that was unordinary so far were the casual clothes Roman was wearing; besides pajamas, Roman hasn’t strayed away from his prince outfit in at least a year.

    The creative aspect rubbed at the back of his neck and made a small chuckling sound. “Well, you actually happen to be the last to come to my door on this day. I’m assuming it is for the same reason as the others?”

    Logan decides to assume Roman meant “the last” as in Patton and Virgil had been bothering him, and not that every other side has come to his room. “I wouldn’t assume so, unless you have predicted the fact that I come here seeking advice.” Yes, the original plan was to discuss Roman’s issues first and foremost, but if the others weren’t able to break through, then a new plan had to be put into action;

    First, get him talking, get into his room. “O-oh, yes! Come on in, then. I hope it isn’t rude of me to assume this is romance advice?” The prince now stepped away and opened the door wider. Logan half-expected some sort of mess of papers and ink, but instead…

    The room was completely spotless, and that was even more terrifying.

    Logic and creativity took their respective places: Roman, in his desk chair, and Logan, on the edge of the bed. The softness of the red silk momentarily soothed him, but the intensity in the air reminded him why he needed to be soothed in the first place.

    “You were correct in your assumptions. I would like to know the signs that someone is attracted to you.” Honestly, that was the least of his worries. The wellbeing of his friends seemed much more imperative than any potential romance, at least right now.

    Roman suddenly gained a wistful smile. “Ah, the language of love~! So you want to know if Patton likes you?”

    The logical side hummed in confirmation. He was trying to keep a calm demeanor, but he felt his face slowly heating up from the topic; these conversations were still new to him, after all.

    “Oh, does that mean you want to ask him out?” Roman had a chipper and excited tone, his eyes bright with the wonder of love. To the less observant, nothing seemed to have been wrong, and if Logan hadn't been paying attention to him like usual, he wouldn't have either.

    But he could still see it. He could still see the forced posture and the off smile. He didn't doubt Roman was genuinely happy for him, but the prince wasn't in the right state to truly show it.

    He tried his best to focus on the topic at hand. “...Yes, I do wish to pursue a romantic relationship with Patton, if he so desires. First, however, I would like to find if he does, in fact, like me back.”

    The romantic side crossed his arms and raised an eyebrow. “You got advice from Virgil, didn’t you? If you do what you plan to do, your emotions might get in the way. Can’t I just tell you if he likes you or not?”

    Logan pondered that for a moment. It would certainly be easier, but according to Virgil, Roman isn’t always correct anyway. Plus… “Isn’t that a bit morally wrong? Also, it doesn’t seem to me you use your own advice.”

    “Well, I’m not Morality, am I?” Roman ignored the second comment.

    He couldn’t argue with that. “Go on.”

    The prince breathed in deeply. “Do you know how often Patton used to come to me just to rant about you? Every. Single. Day. He’d find a way to talk about anything: Your hair, your eyes, your smile, your gifts, your outbursts, your singing, your love of Crofters- god, Logan, I’ve never seen someone so infatuated! It was the most frustrating thing because I knew you liked him too, and you had no idea, so I couldn’t say anything!”

    The logical side felt his entire face heat up, and his heart was beating against his skin, echoing in his ears. There was a pang in his chest, too. One of guilt, he assumed, for making his emotional counterpart wait so long. There was still a part of him before that hated him for wanting this, that believed he shouldn’t want this, but he felt that little part of him now die.

    This is not where he expected this conversation to go, and now he’s not so sure how to bring it back to Roman.

    “I-I appreciate you sharing this with me, Roman. Um-” This may lead to some anger, but he couldn’t think of any other way to break in. “So, how’s Virgil?”

    Surprisingly, Roman simply rolled his eyes. “Well, he’s been bothering me all day, along with Patton, and I do not particularly appreciate having my work.” The prince glanced over at his desk. “Speaking of which, I have enjoyed helping you out, but there is work to be done. I have to ask you to leave.”

    He knew that, logically, he couldn’t help Roman. He knew that if Virgil and Patton, couldn’t do anything, he shouldn’t be able to either. Despite that, he made an impulsive decision. “No.”

    “...No?”

    “Yes.”

    “Wait, yes as in no or yes as in you’ll leave?”

    “Wha- yes as in I’m not leaving!” Logan sighs desperately. “Roman, what exactly are you doing? I get that whatever is bothering you might make you more distant towards me, or Virgil, but Patton? Your best friend since childhood? I thought of all the sides, you wouldn’t let your issues make you ignore him.

    “Wh- I- I’m not-” Roman groans in frustration, and his whole body seems to deflate. “I’m not ignoring Patton or Virgil! I didn’t ignore you, did I? If they want to discuss anything else, then we can! Honestly, Logan, I’m fine! I’m simply, eh, not quite feeling my princely self.”

    That sentence suddenly struck an idea in Logan’s head. It’s something that has been bothering him for quite some time, and it’s certainly something he’s been wanting to explore with the ‘prince.’ Perhaps, if Logan’s new theory was correct, it might lead to where he needs this conversation to go. “Roman, I need you to tell me this; are you a prince, or are you a knight?”

    “I… What?” The creative side now had a blank face, a hand carrying his elbow and his other hand lying lazily near his face. His confused and conflicted thoughts could almost be seen buzzing behind his eyes.

    “You seem to mix the two together, which is entirely inaccurate. A prince is a born leader, someone who guides and protects with your own social power. A knight is sworn to their land and their king, someone who protects with a raised fist and is dedicated to chivalry. You seem to confuse the two, so tell me; are you a prince or a knight?”

    “I…” The blank expression remains for only a moment before he’s lighting up once again. “That’s because I’m a Disney prince! The chivalrous, charismatic leader, who jumps into action to protect my people and my legacy.” As he spoke, Roman dramatically moved his hands and summoned his sword.

    Logan raised a brow, unimpressed. “Disney princes aren’t real.”

    “Neither are we!”

    “Then who are you, Roman?!”

    “I- I’m the hero! ” Roman’s sword was now gone, and Logan could swear he saw the room darken slightly. “I’m Creativity and Confidence, the Protagonist, the- the one who’s supposed to make Thomas’s dreams come true! And I can’t, I can’t even do…” A hand ruffled in his hair, he looks towards Logan. “This was to make me open up?”

    The rational side hums in response, trying his best to put on an empathetic look. “Roman, if you do not want me to help, then at least just let me listen. Even a prince, or a knight, or a hero, needs to talk about things.”

    Creativity’s eyes are wide, almost in fear, before he hides his face in one hand. “I’m… not a hero. Or at least, I haven’t been one in a long time. I fall into arguments and yelling, I distance myself from people- I mean, you call Patton and I best friends, but are we really? Not only have I never completely opened up to him, but I never let him open up to me. It’s been like that for as long as I can remember.”

    “Roman-”

    “And you!” he doesn’t let Logan continue. “I’ve constantly upset and conflicted with you. I’ve constantly forced things upon, making everything so much worse. Thomas even said we’d work well together, and I refuse to let that even work!”

    “Now, that’s not-”

    “And Virgil,” Roman’s face scrunched up in an unexplained sorrow, and a hatred Logan could only assume was directed at himself. “I never even apologized to him, for any of it. There’s always these moments, where he’ll flinch away from a side, or he’ll make some comment about his past that he doesn’t even seem to realize is bad, and it tears me apart every single time because I know I contributed to that, I can’t just put all the blame on the dark sides.”

    Logan can just barely see tears pricking at the facet’s eyes. “Thomas once called me his hero, but what have I actually done for him this past year besides fueling the worst sides of him? Was there ever a time when I was a hero?”

    “No.” Logan doesn’t even allow himself to think before saying it. “You’re not a hero, Roman. That’s not your job. That’s none of our jobs.”

    Roman simply scoffed. “What happened to listening and not helping?”

    “Perhaps I lied, perhaps I just changed my mind.” The logical side cleared his throat. “Roman, you are Thomas’s Creativity, and that also encompasses his hopes, dreams, and self-image. Yes, your job is to use your creative mind to further Thomas along, but you alone cannot and should not lead him to conquer his dreams. It is every side’s job, in whatever way they know how, to make Thomas happy and successful.”

    “Even so, I haven’t even managed to do that much.”

    “Falsehood. Yes, you have made many mistakes, but you seem to look over every helpful thing you’ve done. You are an incredible writer; without you, our scripts and videos would be without any flare.”

    “That hardly-”

    It was Logan’s turn to speak now, not Roman’s. “You help Thomas, and us, break out of his shell when he most needs it. You're the one who got him to join theater those many years ago and you're the one who continues to fuel his love for acting. You got him into a Disney show, of all things!”

    “That doesn't excuse-”

    “You are no more important than me, Patton, or Virgil, but that doesn't take away from your importance. I'll be the first to say you've made many mistakes, along with all of us, but what I don't understand is, you know what you've done. Why are you sitting here in self-pity when you can do something about it?”

    Silence. For a moment, Logan couldn’t read Roman’s face at all, but then the prince was wiping away tears that went unnoticed. “Dammit, why am I crying? It’s not like you told me anything I didn’t already know.”

    The logical side now felt incredibly awkward just standing there. “Um, do you want a hug?”

    Roman laughed through his tears, with a shaking head and a hand still on his face, before outstretching his arms “C’mere, specs.” Logan smiled and stepped into the embrace, letting the prep bury his face in his shoulder. “I can’t believe, out of everyone, you made me break.”

    “Well, I wouldn’t phrase it like that, but I’m sure it was just luck; you were bound to let go eventually.” Logan gently rubbed his hand along the side’s upper back, before gently pushing him away. “So, Roman, what are you going to do?”

    Roman sighed. “Talk to Patton, first and foremost. I think I’ve owed him that for a very long time.” He moved to sit on the side of the bed, slouching. “And then, I guess I need to have another overdue talk with Hot Topic - yes, I know I’ve used that one before, I’m too tired to come up with witty nicknames. What do you suppose you’re going to do?”

    “Pardon?”

    “About Patton?”

    “Oh.” Logan’s mind finally catches up with him, and he’s remembering where this conversation originally started. “Oh! Oh goodness, Roman, do you really expect me to just ask Patton to be my boyfriend? I can’t do that!”

    Creativity huffed and crossed his arms. “Well you can’t keep it a secret from him that you like him, that’s just unfair! You owe him the truth, even if he didn’t like you back.” Oof. If Virgil had been hearing this right now, it would surely be a punch to the gut.

    “Fine, I’ll… think about it. Is that adequate enough for now?” Logan had a good feeling sleep would not come easily to him tonight.

    “I suppose-” Roman cut himself off with a hearty yawn, almost enough to trigger Logan’s own placebo effect of a responsive yawn. “Wow, yeah, I wasn’t joking when I said I was tired. I’m pretty sure I haven’t gotten any real sleep in the last three days.”

    If you were Roman, you could probably see the moment Logic’s uncharacteristically soft eyes switched into Lecture Mode™. “Roman! Here I’ve been bothering Virgil about getting a proper amount of rest, and you haven’t slept for three days? Did the second-to-last video we did together not teach you anything about a healthy sleep schedule because I will go over it-”

    “Hey, Mom, if you stop lecturing me I can get right to fixing that.” Much to his word, Roman was already lying in bed in his pajamas.

    “...Mom?” This was the second time in the last two days someone has called him that.

    “I know it’s a bit heteronormative, but I can’t call you and Patton both dad and ‘father-in-law’ just doesn’t have a great ring to it. And you just seem like a mom to me-”

    “Roman, go the fuck to sleep.”

    “How dare you speak such-” another yawn, “-slander!” Even as Roman spoke, he nestled himself into his red blankets, making Logan realize how tired he was as well.

    He began to sink out of the royal's room, prepared to head to his own bed. “I will speak to you la-”

    “Wait!” Roman's voice sounded urgent and serious, making the logical side rise back up with a jump and an almost heart attack. Surprisingly ( but not really ), the facet simply pointed a finger-gun and winked. “Love ya, nerd.”

    Logan rolled his eyes and fought back a smile as he began to sink out once again, but surprised even himself as his response came out quite easier than the past has shown it to be. “Love you too, prep.”

    It’s certainly progress.

 

     May 30th, 2018, 9:08 Pm

    I have already established with Virgil that being in a romantic relationship with Patton is of my interest. While I would not say I need to be, as his friendship is plenty, I don’t believe I could move on without at least attempting. Why, then, am I so petrified of the idea of even informing him of my feelings?

    Roman has, very dramatically, informed me that Patton does return my feelings, so even if I wasn’t interested in a relationship, he deserves to know the truth of my own emotions towards him. If he wishes to pursue a relationship, then I will get what I want; why does this scare me?

    So much has happened in just these few days, hasn’t it? Perhaps that has something to do with it. I have been imagining a future with my counterpart, yet this future, I assumed, would be slightly farther ahead. Am I prepared for this future to either start or be crushed tomorrow? Maybe it is in my best interest to take a while to think things over, though I do hate to leave Patton (and the eager romantic that is Roman) waiting any longer.

    “Sometimes the most urgent and vital thing you can possibly do is take a complete rest.”

-Ashleigh Brilliant

Chapter Text

    It took five days for Logan's impatience to catch up with him.

    Actually, scratch that; his impatience was with him the moment he decided on taking his ‘break,’ but he reminded himself everytime it whispered to him that this is what he needs.

    Unfortunately for him, the other sides made it very, very difficult.

    Roman had even less patience than himself. Though he never directly asked Logan when he was going to confess or pester him about it, he was always alluding to it in every conversation, along with excited looks whenever Logan and Patton were simply sitting near each other. Logan just wanted him to shut up about it and he hadn’t even said anything.

    Virgil, of course, was nowhere near as difficult as Roman, but he kept giving Logan these looks. If Patton was even mentioned by him, the darker side would give a tiny, knowing smile. He felt that no matter what he was talking about and who he was talking to, a side would always somehow obscure Logan’s words to be about Patton, and it was infuriating.

    Then, there was Patton himself. He couldn’t tell if the moral side was acting any different, but since Roman had pointed out that their feelings may be mutual, he… notices things, now. He’ll catch Patton staring at him. Logan first assumed he was simply ‘zoning out,’ but - and he may be mistaken - he swears a blush appears on the other’s cheeks as he turns away. He also notices that, when he’s speaking, sometimes Patton will appear to lean into him, listening much more intently than need be. Unfortunately, it makes Logan immediately stumble over his words.

    He was planning on waiting at least a week, so what broke him on the fifth day? Did Roman finally speak up? Did Patton do something particularly cute that made it impossible to wait any longer?

    No, Logan is not that lucky. In fact, it wasn’t even really Virgil’s doing, either. Not directly, at least.

    It all started when he woke up to angry yelling in the commons, making him immediately scramble out of bed and quickly conjure himself into his normal clothes. He almost forgot his glasses, until practically throwing himself against the wall with how horrible his vision was.

    He wasn’t sure what he expected to see at such an early hour, but Deceit’s presence was not high on his list.

    “Get the fuck out of here.” Virgil was absolutely fuming.

    “I’m not afraid to use this, your flattery won’t work on me this time!” Roman had his katana in one hand, his other arm stretched in front of Virgil. ( Was it to protect him, or to hold him back?)

    “I’m so scared of you, Roma- Eep!” Deceit jumped away - and practically squeaked - when Roman’s sword stabbed closer to him. Apparently, his statement was unintentionally true.

    “Now kiddos, how about we just hear him out?” Patton stood in the center of this mess, looking just as lost as Logan probably did.

    Speaking of which: “What the hell is going on here?” All eyes in the room immediately turned to him- all except Virgil’s, whose angered stare remained on the snake. If Anxiety wanted to look scary, he could quite easily.

    “Ah, Logan! Just the side I didn’t want to see!” Logan immediately noted that Deceit was using their real names. He would do this in videos, but he tended to stick with their monikers when not filming. The dark side also looked completely terrified.

    With Roman distracted, Virgil pushed his arm out of the way to step forward. “You’re not talking with him again, I don’t give a damn what you have to say. Get. Out.” His voice had just a slight echo to it, and both Patton and Roman immediately grew worried eyes.

    “I’m gonna have to agree with Virgil here, snake charmer.” The creative side now had a hand on Virgil’s shoulder, his blade still pointed towards Deceit. “You gotta go.”

    Deceit’s eyes moved between the two in front of him, before falling desperately towards Morality. “Patton, surely you know I mean no harm. I simply want to talk with Logan. Am I not allowed to speak?”

    Patton looked conflicted, but once he made eye contact with Virgil, his mind was clearly made. “You’ve… hurt Virgil. I don’t why or how, but you did.” Logan could only see half of Deceit’s face from his angle, but there was an immediate shift he couldn’t quite figure out. “And why should we let you talk, when you don’t let us?”

    With a clearing of the throat, Logan decided it was time to step in. “Do I not get a say in this?”

    “No,” Virgil and Roman said in unison.

    Patton, however, had different ideas, and no one could argue with true morals. “Kiddos, Logan is right. It should be his decision if he talks with Deceit, right?”

    Once again, all eyes were on the logical side. He personally thought all of this drama was slightly unnecessary, but he decided not to comment on that in the hopes not to have his arm chopped off. “I’ll speak to Deceit, on two conditions; it be in my room, and someone else accompanies me.” The second condition was more for Virgil than him. He was not intimidated by anything Deceit could do.

    He noticed Patton step up, clearly about to offer his company, but Deceit interrupted him. “I believe it would make the most sense if Anx- Virgil, came with us. Is that okay with you, Virgil?”

    Instead of anger or fear, Virgil had his brows furrowed in confusion. “Uh, yeah. That works.” Thankfully, the echo to his voice was gone. At that, an awkward shuffle towards the hall was done by the three as Roman and Patton stood there, watching them leave the room.

    When they entered Logan’s room, Virgil immediately challenged Deceit with a poke to his chest. “Alright, what the fuck are you doing?”

    The dark side simply crossed his arms and rolled his eyes, unimpressed. “I totally came here to talk to you, Virgil.”

    “You obviously want something from me if you keep calling me by my real name after five years of calling me Anxiety off-camera. I hope you don’t expect me to start using your name again.”

    “Wait, you have a name?” He doesn’t know why he’s surprised by that; if Virgil, a former dark side, has a name, why wouldn’t Deceit? He supposes he just never thought about any of the dark sides having actual names.

    “Yeah-” Quite suddenly, Virgil’s own hand was covering his mouth, and Deceit had a panicked expression.

    That expression immediately grew even more panicked, and Virgil’s hand was moved away quicker than it was put there. “Virgil, I didn’t mean-”

    “ Don’t. I don’t want to hear it. Just talk to Logan and leave.” The former dark side crossed his arms and moved to sulk in the corner of the room, and Logan was reminded how much he didn’t know about Virgil’s past.

    “Ah, right! Logan,” The dark side turned to him, hiding behind a malevolent smile. However, panic in his small-pupiled eyes and the barely visible layer of sweat gave his stresses away. “I wanted to talk to you about Patton.”

    Logan raised a brow at that. “You too? What could you possibly gain from discussing such issues with me?”

    “Do you really think everything I do is for some gain?” When Virgil laughed at that, Deceit scoffed. “Fine. You do realize it is my job to constantly watch every side? I see and hear everything, and it's totally not annoying watching you two walking around each other.”

    “Are you going soft or something? The old Deceit I knew would have found a way to entertain himself with other sides’ personal affairs.” Virgil moved away from his designated corner to stand beside Deceit. “But I have to agree, Lo. Don't you think it's about time to confess?”

    Once again, the snake scoffed. “You and Roman are even worse, but you won't listen to me, will you?”

    “You gave me the idea to hide off in the first place!”

    “That was when you were still one of us!”

    “I stopped being 'one of you’ the moment Thomas recognized he has me! That's literally how you made it work!”

    “Were you too… friends, or something?” Logan chimed in.

    “ No! ” Both sides yelled.

    “...Okayyyy, well I don't believe it's your business when I discuss my romantic inclinations with Patton, but you'll be happy to know I plan to do so in just a few days.”

    Deceit put a hand on his hip and another in the air pointed at Logan, reminding him of a pose Roman would make. “A 'few days,’ huh? From what I remember, wasn't your original plan to wait two days?”

    “Well, yes, but-”

    “Then it moved to three, then four, so what is your deadline now? A week? Sounds to me like you're procrastinating.”

    Logan grimaced. “I don't appreciate the new knowledge that you have been spectating our every move.”

    The dark side gave a grin that Logic could only describe as evil. “Maybe now you agree with me that what you don't know can't hurt you.”

    “Hah, no.” The logical side crossed his arms. “Now I just know to be more careful. The people who use the phrase ‘ignorance is bliss’ are the same people who don't think racism or sexism exists in America anymore. Ignorant.”

    Deceit rolled his eyes. Virgil was surprisingly quiet during this endeavor. “Now now, you're avoiding the topic at hand, Logan.”

    “Falsehood, I'm simply explaining mysel-” Logan sighed. Pointless. “Look, I'm simply taking the time to think about things. If you've been really paying attention, you'd know this month has been quite chaotic for me.”

    “Well if it makes you feel more secure, I spend more time watching my own sides. However, I have seen enough to know you're making excuses.”

    “Look, Lo,” Virgil broke his silence. “I know I'm being a hypocrite here, but learn from my mistakes. The longer you wait, the more anxious you'll get, the more excuses you'll find to wait longer.” The anxious side looked down at his own hands, his voice growing more serious. “It- it's a fear of things falling apart when you were promised a happy ending. You want it so badly - and yeah, you don't need it, but the heartbreak that comes after gaining hope is so much more painful than when there was no chance in the first place. But… it'll only get worse if you wait any longer, won't it?”

    Logan's eyes went wide, shocked. He felt bad for it, but it was always somewhat surprising to him when Virgil gave such introspective advice. Looking at Deceit's wide-eyed face, it appeared he was, too.

    It was seeing what a “dark side” could become with just a little acceptance. And, just maybe, love.

    Though that would typically be a bit too cheesy for Logan, he's found that lately many of his thoughts have turned towards such ideas.

    “You are… correct, Virgil, but it really is just to think things over. Once the week is done, I'll talk to Patton.” He wasn’t lying. His newest plan stated that, in a week’s time, he’d force himself to confess, even if he was terrified. He was no procrastinator.

    “Is that what you would have said five days ago?” The glare Deceit was giving looked right through him, and Logan decided then that he absolutely despised the feeling of being known Perhaps everyone had a bit of hypocrisy in them somewhere.

    Everyone in the room already knew the answer to the question, but Logan answered with a sigh anyway. “No, I would have said it would be done in two days.”

    A moment of silence passed into the room, and though it was heavy, Logan had to appreciate not having them yelling at each other anymore. Deceit thought for a moment, one hand tapping against the scales near his chin, before perking up. “What if I helped you practice your confession?”

    Before the logical side could even process what was being asked, Virgil was stepping up again. “Uh, no. Last time I let you two talk I came back to you disguised as Patton trying to dance with him. Why the hell would I let you do that again?”

    “It’s simply for the sake of practice, A- Virgil. Besides, with you here I can’t really pull anything, can I?” Deceit twisted around, and suddenly his scales and yellow eye were replaced with the face of Patton. Now that Logan was more observant, however, he noticed tiny details like the light freckles were missing. “Of course, it’s Logic’s decision. What do you say, Logan?” He still spoke like Deceit.

    “...Well, it may be awkward, but running over plans is certainly a way to ease nerves. Virgil, you can be the moderator. If I say something in a fashion that you think could be better, of if Deceit isn’t playing Patton’s character correctly, then you can step in.”

    Virgil stepped back into the corner again. “Fine, whatever. Just make this quick.”

    Here we go.

 

    “Well, that was interesting.”

    “Riiight, are we done here?” Deceit had now transformed back into his own form, and it seemed his patience for the two light sides had run thin. Virgil, at this point, simply looked tired, but not unhappy.

    “I believe so. I must say, this practice was very helpful. Thank you, Deceit.” Logan really did feel less unnerved; they went through multiple possibilities, good and bad, how Logan should speak, etc. Though there may have been a couple moments of ‘goofing off’ at the beginning from Deceit, he did his part well.

    “Yes, I- what?” The scale-covered side’s eyes were wide and staring at Logan, and his lips were slightly parted. He looked like he was just told his mother died, or he just won a million dollars - the two faces tended to look similar, surprisingly.

    Logan was quite confused, but it seemed Virgil knew exactly what was happening as a small chuckle came from him. “Pretty weird to be appreciated for once, huh?”

    Deceit growled, but sunk out without another word.

    Logan looked towards Virgil. ( What was the nature of your relationship with him? What happened five years ago for him to stop calling you Virgil? Why is he suddenly acting kind? Why did he immediately panic when he silenced you? What-)

    “Okay, stop that. I know exactly what you’re thinking.”

    “Virgil, you always make him out to be a manipulative, evil being, but today told a whole new story. You can’t expect me not to ask questions.”

    “Look, you don’t get it. I know what it looks like, I know this looks like a repeat of my story, but Deceit isn’t like me. He isn’t like any of the dark sides. He doesn’t deserve redemption, and I doubt that’s even what he wants.”

    “I don’t doubt that he hurt you, and I won’t comment on a past I have no information on, but do you really think any part of Thomas has the capability of being that malicious?”

    “You didn’t live next to him for half of your life.” It was clear that the darker side was getting more and more uncomfortable, shrinking into himself and looking around the room without meeting Logan’s eyes. However, he wasn’t saying to drop the topic.

    “I’m not suggesting that he is good, or even that you should be nice to him. I just doubt the idea that he, or really any dark side, is genuinely evil.”

    Virgil groaned, defeated. “Look, I’m not gonna tell you the whole damn backstory, but… you need to understand that Deceit didn’t use to consider himself a dark side, or one of you guys. You know how you call me The Protector or something like that? That’s what he thought he was.”

    “I don't see how that explains- oh.” Logan stopped himself, his thoughts catching up to him. “If one of Deceit's primary jobs is to hide off sides, then he believed he was protecting Thomas… from you.”

    Virgil made a hum of confirmation. “It's been a long time since I've even been a ‘dark side.’ Thomas acknowledged he had some form of Anxiety at least ten years ago, but Deceit still thought of me as dangerous, so he kept me close. That's when he developed the villainy aesthetic.”

    Logan opened his mouth to ask another question, but the former dark side lifted a hand up in protest. “I get that you probably have a hundred questions, but I'd rather you drop it. The main point is, don't trust him; if he really wants to make amends, he has a hell of a lot of work to do.”

    The curiosity was nipping angrily at him, but for now, his respect for Virgil's privacy won over his functionalities as Logic. “I'll keep that in mind, Virgil. Though I do have to admit, that exercise was extremely effective.”

    “Does that mean you'll finally just talk to Patton and stop waiting for no reason?” Virgil sounded almost as annoyed as Deceit was, though he probably wouldn't enjoy being compared to him (But when they stood beside each other…).

     “I will. Tomorrow.” Despite his recent failures to keep plans, he felt determination flow through his blood. Besides, reminding himself of the future it could bring, he really couldn’t view the conversation as a nuisance anymore. “If I haven’t talked to him by six o’clock tomorrow, force me to. What about you?”

    “What about me?” Virgil tried to put a high-toned mark of confusion in his voice, but it was clear he knew what Logan spoke of. He groaned, giving up. “I know, I know. Just- a little more time, okay? I’m not gonna do that to him much longer, I promise.”

    Logan walked the couple steps towards the anxious side, placing a hand on his shoulder. “I’m obviously not gonna force you to do anything, and you shouldn’t be rushed, but I would consider taking your own advice sometime.” In a last minute decision, Logan outstretched his arms. “To new beginnings?”

    The edgy facet rolled his eyes and snorted, accepting the embrace. “To brighter futures, and other cheesy garbage.”

Chapter Text

    When 6 Pm hit, both Virgil and Roman were practically forcing him to Patton’s door.

    “Lo, I’m only doing what you told me to do. You promised you’d do it today.”

    “Be brave, noble scholar! Sweep our puffball prince off his feet!”

    “Okay, you need to chill-”

    “Hey guys!”

    Everyone immediately screamed when Patton popped up.

    The moral side put his hands in front of him and tried to hide the wince he made from yelling. He couldn’t quite remember when, but Logan could swear he remembers it being mentioned Patton was not a fan of loud noises. “Oh! I'm sorry, didn't mean to spook you. What’s going on?”

    Both Roman and Virgil gave nervous chuckles. “Sorry, Padre. We were just having a…” The prince's eyes meant Logan's for a moment, searching for the right words. “...just a conversation. Did you need something?”

    The emotional side cocked his head like a puppy, an adorable and confused smile still on his face. “I was just wondering why you all are surrounding my door.”

    They were all, indeed, standing around Patton's doorway. Roman and Virgil immediately turned their eyes towards Logan once again, unsure of what to say to protect his privacy. Logan didn't, either.

    The silence to his question lasted far too long, and soon Patton was able to read the energy well enough to leave it be. “Well, whatever's going on, talk to me when you’re ready! But I need to get through.” They awkwardly shuffled away from the blue door, letting Patton inside. The silence that once again fell upon them was deafening to Logan.

    Roman’s annoyed huff broke through it. “I don’t get it, Logan. I thought you were ready!” The prince spoke in whispers to avoid Patton overhearing - even though that was quite impossible, as the connections to their rooms and the commons are completely imaginary - though you could still hear his patience wearing thin.

    “Look,” Virgil began, “I get that you’re scared of what will happen, but-”

    “But that’s not what I’m scared of!” the logical side interrupted. “I’ve gone through all the possibilities, in my head, on paper, and even roleplayed! I know everything that could happen in that room and I’ve accepted every outcome. I am not fearful of what will happen, I’m scared of simply doing it in the first place!”

    “...Logan, that sounds like a fear of confrontation.” Much to both Logan’s and Virgil’s surprise, it was Roman who spoke.

    “No, that- that can’t be right.” Right? Logan was always a very abrupt man. He found ‘beating around the bush’ a pointless endeavor, and didn’t understand avoiding topics for the sake of feelings or attempting to get a point across without just saying it. He cannot think of a single time he’s been afraid of something so simple and mandatory as confrontation.

    ...Except, he can. Multiple times, in fact. Though, there’s a common factor in each of these moments. There were many, many times he wanted to talk to Virgil about his issues, to help him, but he didn’t because feelings weren’t his department. There were times when he wanted to tell Roman that he said something upsetting, but he didn’t because it wasn’t necessary.

    It was clear what was wrong now. “It appears that, despite everything, I still have some fears resolving around discussing emotions.”

    Virgil gave him a small, empathetic smile. “It’s hard to break old habits. Hell, it’s especially hard when those habits were formed to protect you.” In the corner of his eyes, Logan noticed Roman’s face fall slightly. “But you just gotta remind yourself it isn’t like that anymore, everytime you even begin to think like that.”

    Roman stepped in, seemingly beaming. “There’s always going to be that annoying little voice telling you to turn back, but as long as you track forward and tune it out, it’ll become more and more easy to fight it!”

    He wasn’t sure why, but a wave of emotions suddenly crashed into him. Perhaps it was the fact that he knows if these two weren’t in front of him, he wouldn’t be in this hallway today. Without the prince and the knight, he would never even have had the chance at his happy ending.

    “Thank you, you two.” So far, Logan has only truly cried once in Thomas’s entire life. And yet now, he finds his eyes watering just slightly. Now is not the time for tears, though. “I believe I have something to get to, don’t I?”

    “You got this, future father-in-law!” Roman was sinking out before Logan could even comment.

    Virgil let out a tiny laugh. “Seriously dude, you got this. Just don’t screw it up. Now unlike Princey, I’m gonna walk out of the hall like a normal person.” The anxious side spoke the last line just loud enough for Roman to be able to hear it from the living room, and he walked out as he said so.

    Right.

    Logan turned towards the dark blue door with white rimming, took a deep breath, knocked lightly, and turned the doorknob to enter. There was no turning back now. “Patton?”

    Patton Sanders was currently lying in his own cozy bed in his typical cat onesie, his computer in his lap and his headphones in, most likely watching something. Once his eyes met Logan’s, he immediately brightened up and took out his headphones. “Logan! What’s up?”

    He took this as an opportunity to step in and close the door. Patton now had his laptop closed and was sitting on the edge of the bed. “You know, Pat, your laptop should only be used at your desk. It will improve posture, plus your bed should only be associated with sleep and- nevermind. That’s not what I came here for.”

    The moral facet made a giggling sound, one that made Logan’s heart ‘skip a beat,’ as the phrase goes. It was just the little reminder he needed for why he was doing this. “Alright Lo, I’ll keep that mind. Did ya need something?”

    Logan moved to sit next to him on the edge of the bed. “No- well, I have something to discuss with you.” His eyes fell to the onesie Patton was wearing. “This is somewhat serious, so I’d appreciate if you changed clothes.”

    With a smile and a snap, Patton was changed into his usual light blue shirt and khakis. Logan wasn’t sure if he should be relieved or disappointed that his usual video clothes were chosen, though it is always comforting to see the cat hoodie he got him resting on his shoulders. “Alright, let’s talk.”

    Logan gulped. “R-right, well. I have a sort of confession to make, one I’ve only just realized not long ago. Though, I have been informed this has been going on for much longer. Um-”

    Logan stopped.

    It must be understood: he did not stop out of any remaining fear or nervousness. He did not stop because he lost his train of thought or lost his words. He stopped because he recognized the type of smile Patton was giving him. It was one he had seen on the others multiple time this month, whenever he was caught staring at his counterpart or even mentioned him in conversation. It was one that had grown to annoy him, grimacing at Roman or Virgil when it appeared and holding back his blush.

    “You know , don’t you?”

    Patton’s knowing smile and hopeful eyes fell. “Oh, uh-”

    “You’ve known.” Suddenly, dots began to connect in the logical side’s head, and a small spike of anger hit him. The strange conversations that started all of this, the way he spoke to Roman when he began crying those couple weeks ago - “You’ve known this entire time. Roman told you, didn’t he?”

    “Logan--”

    “This entire time, you knew I had feelings for you.” he interrupted, now standing up. “Is that why you did all of this? You and Roman planned all of this, didn’t you? You played games with me, got me thinking, just so I could finally admit to myself that I liked you? Was Virgil in on this too? Am I supposed to not feel manipulated in this situation?!”

    “Woah, Woah, no!” Patton stood up to be at level with Logan, his face in panic and his hands out in front of him. “Logan, that is not what happened.”

//

    “Actually Pat, I need to talk to you.”

    The two moved to Patton’s room, closing the door behind them. Patton didn’t really think much of it at the time, being that they were friends and tended to ‘gossip’ with each other pretty often. However, he could tell something was different about the air. “Whatd’ya need, Ro?”

    “Ah, it’s…” the moral side noted that Roman had just an ounce of nervousness in his voice and slunched posture, which was very odd for him. “It’s about Logan.”

    “Oh.” Patton immediately felt his face heat up and his heart beat against his chest. Roman definitely knew he liked the logical side, but it wasn’t something he wanted to talk about at this moment. “Is this about my… you know?”

    “No, no. I’m afraid it’s more important than that.” Roman moved to sit at the edge of Patton’s bed, patting the space next to him. “Come sit, Pat. This is kinda serious.”

    When he obliged, the romantic side continued. “Virgil and I were talking, and we came to a conclusion. Not a good one. It’s-” Roman sighed in the middle of his sentence, trying to put his words together. “Perhaps you’ve noticed it, but to what extent, I’m not sure. The point is, Logan is doing something very unhealthy, and we thought you might know what to do about it.”

    Roman explained everything: Logan’s role of Logic, how he sees himself, the feelings he must be suppressing. And it hit Patton, hard. The idea that Logan would force down feelings of happiness, of empathy, of love, just to remain in his role for the sake of Thomas - it absolutely crushed his heart. However, there was one thing that bothered him.

    “How do you know it’s him suppressing these feelings and not just- what if he simply can’t, Roman?”

    The prince actually gave a small laugh at that. “Trust me, I know. I’ve seen it. If you really don’t believe me, ask him about it yourself. Pay attention to his body language.”

    Patton suddenly started connecting dots - he was smarter than the others realized sometimes, after all. What would lead Roman to come to this conclusion? It would have to be something specific that he noticed Logan feeling but not expressing, and why would he go to Virgil first? It would have to be something he couldn’t quite talk to Logan or himself about, meaning…

    He could be wrong, it could have been Virgil who found out first, but he had to ask. “Logan has a crush on me, doesn’t he?”

    “...What?” Roman’s nervousness immediately increased.

    “Ro, you don’t have to worry about privacy. I’ve kinda had suspicions for a while, but I need the confirmation. Does he?” Patton wasn’t lying. He wasn’t sure at that point, but he started to notice things in Logan’s behavior that suggested his feelings were returned, especially after he gave him the cat hoodie - which he loved.

    “Look, I’m sure you already know the answer.”

    Patton thought for a moment, a plan formulating in his head, one to help Logan break free of the confines he put himself in. It was not for any crush, it wasn’t for himself at all.

    “I know what I need to do.”

//

    “Roman never told me, I mostly figured it out myself. And we never planned anything together.” Patton crossed his arms nervously. “Honestly Logan, you really think I would have done everything I did just so I could be with you? I never even thought this would happen, I just wanted you to be happy! I wanted you to know you were allowed to feel joy and sadness and love and- everything!”

    Logan rubbed at his right arm. It’s not that he didn’t believe Patton, or appreciate his concern, it’s just… “I apologize for jumping to conclusions like that, but I can’t help but feel somewhat manipulated still.”

    “Oh, Logan…” Patton went to reach his arms out but immediately flinched back. “Can I hug you?” Once Logan gave a small nod, the moral facet’s arms were wrapped around him in his infamous warm hugs. “I’m sorry, really. I should have just came to you directly, but I was scared it wouldn’t work out right, that you would dismiss it and become more reserved, I just-” he took a shaky intake of breath. “I’m not trying to make excuses, I just didn’t know what to do.”

    It amazed Logan, and just about scared him, how easily his feelings of anger left him. All he felt now was love, admiration, and the need to protect the man who was in his arms. “It’s okay, Patton. I understand why you did it. However, I think we may have other matters to discuss…?”

    “Oh. Oh! Right, right.” Patton removed himself from the embrace, and Logan noted how his face was bright red. “Um, you were about to confess, but I-I don’t actually know what you were gonna say.”

    “Feelings,” Logan wrinkled his nose, trying to pretend he wasn’t smiling. “The bane of my existence.”

    The giggle that came out of Patton’s mouth only made the logical side’s smile widen, no matter if he wanted to hide it. “Seriously though, Lo, we have a lot to consider! I mean, I know that I want to, uh, be with you. B-but if you don’t, then that’s fine! And there are so many factors-”

    “Patton-”

    “With Thomas, and all.”

    “Pat, I want to- wait, what?” Thomas? “What does Thomas have to do with this? I don’t believe our relationship would negatively affect him in any way. If anything, it would greatly improve his mental health and self-image.”

    “Oh, that’s not what I meant.” Patton shuffled his feet, looking anywhere but Logan’s eyes. “It’s just if we ended up, um, breaking up, that would be really bad for Thomas. To him, it would be like he was sad for no reason for a long time, and doesn’t that kinda sound like depression to you?”

    Oh. Oh no. “I didn’t even think about that.” How, after all this time, had he not thought of what this could do to Thomas? He supposes that he hadn’t thought of them breaking up at all, but even a simple fight or fall out could hurt him. Thomas was a side’s number one priority, always. Even dark sides like Deceit knew that.

    Seeing the conflicted look on his face, Patton gave a small nervous laugh. “I think maybe you should take a day or two to think about this. Or as long as you need, really. I’m not going anywhere.”

    “I… yeah.” Logan took a moment to think. He would never do anything that could hurt Thomas, and he’s sure the others wouldn’t either. Would simply dating Patton be too much of a risk? What would he even think of it? “Patton, do I have your permission to discuss this matter with Thomas?”

    Patton smiled patiently. “Of course. You do whatever you need to.” He stepped forward, putting a hand on Logan’s shoulder. “One more thing, Lo. No matter what you choose, I’ll be okay with it as long as I still get to be your friend.”

    Despite the war going on in Logan’s head, he smiled genuinely. The fact is being with Patton, whether it’s platonic or romantic, made him immensely happy.

    “I will talk to you later, Patton.” And with that, he sunk out to his room for the night. He had a lot to consider, after all.

Chapter Text

    “Thomas.”

    “AH- Oh.” Thomas just about jumped through his roof, now having his attention on Logan in his usual spot. “Hey, something up?”

    It was only the morning after Logan had confessed to Patton. He decided to get a full night’s rest before speaking to the others about the issue presented during their conversation, but that proved to be difficult; he was sure that bags were currently visible under his tired eyes. He was almost tempted to ask Virgil to do his makeup again, but his absolute hatred for the feeling of goop and powders on his face won over his care for appearance.

    Logan adjusted his tie and glasses, more out of habit than actually needing to. “No- well, sort of. I have a lot to catch you up on, so I need the others.” Logan moved his hand to summon Roman in his place by the corner, then Virgil in his spot on the stairs. Both clearly didn’t appreciate being brought up so suddenly, but neither commented yet.

    Thomas looked between everyone in the room, clearly confused. “No Patton? Is this for a video?”

    “No, this is-” Logan began to speak, but a boisterous side had other plans.

    “Ooh~ Logan, how did it go with Patton?” Roman asked, shuffling in excitement. Virgil wasn’t as dramatic, but a small smile formed on his face with questioning eyes.

    “Wait- how did what go? How much have I missed?” Everyone shared sympathetic looks with Thomas. Usually, the boy knew every piece of their antics, being that they are him, so it must be awfully confusing to have your sides discussing affairs you have no knowledge of.

    “I’m getting to that, Roman.” Logan had a slight bit of anger, or more so impatience, in his tone, but he washed it away with a sigh. “That is why I called you two here. I would appreciate some help recapping the events of this last month, specifically revolving me and Patton.”

    “Ah, of course! Let us inform our lovely host of this story.” The romantic side breathed in deeply, obviously preparing for a Glee-style recap.

    “Woah woah woah, pump the breaks, Princey.” Logan had to resist a smirk at Virgil’s reference to something Thomas said, well, what felt like years ago at this point. “You can’t just jump right into the ‘story.’ Isn’t there, you know, something Thomas needs to be told that he doesn’t know about his sides? Cause it’s kinda an important detail.”

    “Wha- oh!” Roman realized what Virgil was suggesting only a moment later, and suddenly his posture slumped just slightly in nervousness. “Thomas, this may come as a bit of a surprise to you, but, eh, sides can experience romantic attraction...?”

    Their host simply stared blankly for a moment before his eyes suddenly widened “What?! Like, for each other?” It didn’t take any time at all for him to start connecting the dots, his hands on his head. “Wait, are you and Patton…? Are you two dating?!” He began to lightly pace in his spot. “Oh my god, the fans, they- does this make me a narcissist?”

    Logan expected this would happen, but he still already felt exhausted by the situation. “Thomas, you are not a narcissist. Narcissism involves an exaggeration of someone’s importance and often experience a disregard for others’ feelings. Does that sound like you at all? If anything, us experiencing romantic attraction for each other simply promotes self-love.” The logical facet sighed, growing uncomfortable. “On another note, Patton and I aren’t dating-”

    “ What?!” It was, apparently, Roman’s turn to panic. “What happened?! Patton wouldn’t have rejected you!”

    “Would everyone please just chill out?” Virgil spoke up, annoyed and perhaps overwhelmed, judging by the fact he was playing with his sleeves. Thankfully, everyone immediately quieted. “Logan, finish what you were saying.”

    “ Yet. Patton and I are not in a romantic relationship yet. Thomas, are you calm now? I need you to be calm before I continue.”

    The man in question let out a breath. “Yeah. Yeah, I’m good now. Sorry, it was just a surprise. Gosh, if the fans knew…” Thomas laughed at his own thought. “Anyway, why aren’t you two together, then?”

    How did he put this lightly without upsetting Thomas? “We spoke of our mutual feelings for each other, but Patton made me realize some… risks when it comes to us pursuing romance, mainly involving you.”

    If you were paying enough attention, you would notice both Thomas and Virgil perk up at that. Anxiety was in. “What kind of risks?”

    “Well, if anything were to… happen. Say, we got into an argument, or even ‘broke up,’ that could severely affect you unfairly.” Logic cleared his throat. “Everyone knows from past experience that romantic trouble can be damaging. A break up can have many symptoms, the baseline being sadness, loneliness, anger, etcetera. Even a fight can cause the same things.”

    Roman scoffed. “Yes yes, breakups suck. We’ve been over this.”

    “But this would be no ordinary relationship, and therefore not an ordinary break up.” Logan turned towards Thomas, a stern look on his face. “Thomas, Morality and I wouldn’t be able to function properly. Your general happiness would most likely decrease severely for an extended period of time, your focus would be completely lost, and many motivating factors would be gone. Worst of all, because the feelings aren’t coming directly from you and your own experiences, it would seem like all of these symptoms are happening for no reason at all.”

    Virgil furrowed his brows, his eyes near the floor. “That sounds like…”

    “Depression?” Logan supplied. “I am not suggesting this is what causes such an illness: Depression is most often caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, and your chances of falling ill with it tend to stem from genetics, along with many outside factors. However, the description I provided is much too close for comfort, wouldn’t you agree?”

    “Logan…” Thomas rubbed one of his arms with the other hand. “I wouldn’t want you guys not to be happy together just for the sake of me not getting hurt later! And you say all this like you guys will break up.”

    “Exactly what I was gonna say!” Roman sounded almost exasperated, his arms waving around dramatically. “The simple solution to this: Don’t break up with him!”

    “I’m not saying I would break up with him, I just-” Logan sighed deeply, running a hand through his hair. “I’m not going to be good at this. Romantic relationships require constant communication and commitment, and I’ve just barely grasped how to even express my emotions. It could so very easily go wrong. I could be too blunt, or too distant, or- or when we get close he finds he doesn’t like who I actually am and- and…”

    “Okay, stop. You sound like me.” Virgil finally truly spoke up, showing his distaste for Logan’s comments. “You wanna know how literally all relationships work? You grow with them. Are you, Logic, gonna completely ignore the fact that you’ve grown so much in this past month alone? You’ve been talking about your feelings practically every day, asking for help - hell, you even hugged me, twice!”

    “Do you remember the Valentines Day video?” Roman chimed in, and Logan nodded. “Thomas told us to say ‘I love you’ to each other, and while we all said it in our own… unique ways, you could barely say it at all. Maybe that’s simply not how you show love, and yet just the other day you spoke it to me with absolute ease. I’m sure you could do the same with any of us now! Is that not incredible progress?”

    Logan was about to comment, unsure of what he was even going to say, but Thomas spoke up instead. “Look, clearly I missed a lot, but… even I can tell you’ve grown so much! Opening up like this- gosh, I don’t think you would have even done anything like this a month ago.” The YouTuber looks between Virgil and Roman, then back at Logan. “Honestly, I think all of you have grown in these few weeks. The way you guys are talking to each other is so different, I just- I’m proud of you guys.”

    Everyone, though some small, had smiles on their faces. “Hey, you be proud of yourself too, Thomas! You’re growing along with us just as much, we still fight together, after all!” Roman and Thomas smiled at each other, genuine. The air was one of complete positivity and glee, but there was still one thing that needed to be addressed that might break it. “So what will it be, Logan?”

    “I…” He knew what they were saying was true. He knew that, so why was this so difficult? “I know that, logically, these fears are being exaggerated, but even I can’t seem to focus on logic in these emotionally charged situations.”

    “I have a suggestion,” Virgil said. “Why don’t you just start out with a date? Test out the waters. You don’t have to jump right into being, y'know, boyfriends.”

    That’s… “That's actually an adequate approach.”

    Roman, ever the romantic, suddenly squealed. “That gives me the most wondrous idea! Logan, we need to talk. You too, Virgil! We’ll need the second opinion.” The creative side began to sink out, bringing the others with him, until his eyes landed on a confused Thomas. “Oh, you-”

    “Oh, don’t worry about it.” Thomas waved his hands dismissively. “I get that this doesn’t really involve me, but just keep me updated, okay?”

    “Doesn’t involve you?” Logan raised a brow. “Thomas, we still are you. Everything we do, whether it’s in the mindscape or out, will affect you in some way. I promise we will take better care in informing you of our, eh, predicaments, in the future.”

    “Yes yes, we will tell you all the details later.” Roman clasped his hands together in excitement. “But now! We have some plans to discuss.” Finally, the three left the living room, and the last thing Logan saw was Thomas smiling at them.

    He was surprised to find that, instead of coming back up in the commons or Roman’s room, they appeared in the mind palace. Though it is rarely visited by most nowadays, Logan fondly remembers his last time being here was with Patton. It’s funny: without that occurrence, Logan most likely wouldn’t be here right now. Roman wouldn’t have seen their talk and confronted Logan, and he never would have had to question his feelings for the moral side.

    “A date!” Roman snapped him out of his thoughts. The romantic side extravagantly jumped over the back of the couch to sit down, and Virgil followed. “Logan, describe your dream date to me, right now.”

    The logical side felt his face heat up slightly at the sudden question. His ‘dream date,’ or dates in general, was not something he ever thought of until now, yet he knew the answer almost instantly. “For a first date? Walking around someplace. It can be anywhere, really. It provides time for you to speak with and get to know your partner, and if you run out of conversation topics, it’s easy to get into talking about the sights.”

    Roman suddenly had a notepad out. “Perfect, I can work with that.”

    “Patton would like that, but he’d also want to sit down at some point,” Virgil pointed out. “So maybe add in a cafe? Or something like that?”

    “Yes! But not a cafe, Patton doesn’t like drinks.”

    “Why is that, anyway?” Logan remembers Virgil mentioning that detail to him a while ago, but he never figured out why.

    The creative side had a guilty look on his face. “When we were kids I put a fake spider in his cup on April Fools Day. He never found out it was me or that it was fake, but he’s never drunken anything ever again.”

    ...Wow.

    Surprising both of them, Virgil practically doubled over in laughter. “O-oh my god, you were an asshole back then too!”

    Roman’s face turned bright red. “ Hey! Come on, I’ve gotten better! Haven’t I?”

    The darker side calmed from his burst of laughter, wiping away a fake tear from his eye. “Yeah yeah, you’re good Princey.”

    A huff came from the princely side, and soon he was focusing back on his notebook. A bit of red in his cheeks still remained, however. “ Anyway, I have the perfect date idea! How does a zoo sound?” He seemed to panic a bit at Logan and Virgil’s confused expressions. “Nothing too extravagant! It would give you a chance to give various facts about the animals and Patton can make all of his animal-based puns. Then, for lunch or dinner, you can have a picnic in a park-like area- oh! And when it gets dark, stargazing! Patton would love to hear you ramble about constellations.”

    Logan was absolutely amazed, and judging by Virgil’s open mouth stare, he was too. “Roman, that would be perfect. You think you’ll be capable of setting this up?”

    Roman scoffed, insulted. “My room is practically imagination itself, of course I can!”

    He took a moment to imagine it: walking the paths in the bright sun, hand in hand, talking about everything and nothing. Patton would be wearing some kind of dress or skirt, because that’s just Patton for you, making animal puns that are both frustrating and endearing. Logan would eventually make one as well, just to see Patton smile at him genuinely. They’d learn more about each other during a shaded picnic, asking both thoughtful and unimportant questions until the sun falls around them. Logan would conjure up one of his own jackets just for the aesthetic of being able to place it on the other’s shoulders, and they would lie in the grass and see a night sky unaffected by the light pollution of the real world. Patton would point out possible constellations and Logan would happily tell him every detail about its backstory. He would get to see what Patton’s faded freckles would look like in moonlight, and-

    Perhaps he was getting carried away. He wasn’t typically one for such cheesy romance, but it seemed Patton brought out a new side of him he has yet to explore.

    “I guess the only thing left to do is actually ask him to go on the date with me.” It was ridiculous, sure, but he felt a wave of nervousness hit him with that information.

    “Hey, don’t worry man,” Virgil said. “You already know he wants to be with you, there’s already a 99.99% chance he’ll say yes.”

    The 0.01% is from if he somehow changed his mind in the last day, but he supposes he shouldn’t dwell on such low numbers. “I guess I should get to it then before I convince myself to wait any longer.” Logan’s eyes moved between Virgil and Roman. If he was going to do this, then so should… “Virgil-”

    “I know.” The anxious side smiled up at him, though there was a hint of nervousness in his eyes. “I’m gonna do it.”

    “Right now?”

    “Right now.”

    “What are you two talking about? What is Virgil about to do?” With Roman’s confusion, Virgil’s face turned pink. Logan simply chuckled.

    “I’ll take my leave now. Good luck to you, Virgil.”

    “You too,” he muttered back, and Logan ducked out to head towards Patton door for the second time this week. The last thing he heard from the mind palace was Virgil, in a falsely confident tone, whispering: “Ro, we need to talk.”

    However, he couldn’t focus on that. He had his own business to take care of.

Chapter Text

    He hates that it feels like a repeat of his confession.

    Here he is, standing in front of Patton’s door again, but he knows it isn’t the same. Last time, he didn’t know how Patton would respond, he didn’t know what would come out of it no matter how many times Roman assured him that the other liked him back. This time? He knows Morality likes him back, so why would he say anything else but yes? Why is he still scared of getting a no?

     Because, what if he changed his mind? What if he decided it wasn’t worth the risk of Thomas’s wellbeing? What if, when they do go on the date, everything falls apart?

     Whether his fears are valid or not doesn’t really matter, as either way, there’s no turning back. Roman and Virgil already assume the date is on, and if he didn’t ask Patton, the two would force him to in any way possible. He would much rather do this of his own volition.

    Logan raised his fist to knock on the blue door, but before he had the chance, his fellow glasses-wearing side came barreling out, running right into him. “Shit- Logan!”

    He felt all of his fears immediately wash away because 1.) Patton immediately brightened up at the sight of him, a real smile on his face with bright eyes, and 2.) “Pat, did you just cuss?” Oh, Logan was highly amused.

    Patton’s face immediately crumpled in panic. “No! I-uh, oh shoot. Just don’t tell Virgil.”

    Logan resisted the urge to laugh. “Your secret is safe with me, but I believe we have to talk.”

    “Oh. Oh!” The moral side’s face momentarily fell, but soon a smile was plastered back on. “Right, yeah! Come on in. Sorry, I’m a bit all over the place. Roman slept in and forgot to wake me up, which is why breakfast was late, and-”

    “Wait,” Roman forgot to wake him up? “I specifically remember you telling me you were the one who woke him up.” Also, what made Roman sleep in?

    “Wha? I don’t remember that, sorry. You must be mistaken.” Patton giggled nervously. “It’s kinda embarrassing, but I just can’t get myself up. But I love making breakfast for everyone, so- Sorry, anyway, we were talking.”

   Logan was still stunned by the fact that his memories were incorrect - he never remembers things wrong! - that he almost forgot why he was here in the first place. “Right, yes. I-”

    “B-before you say anything!” Patton suddenly cut in. He seemed to be shrinking into himself slightly, playing with the sleeves of the cat hoodie around his shoulders; it reminded him of Virgil. “I know that this decision is probably tough, s-so I just wanted to make sure you know that I’m okay with whatever you decide!”

    The way his counterpart was acting started to worry him. “Patton, are you-”

    “And- and no matter what, I’ll be happy! I mean yeah I want to be with you and I’ll be a little sad at first if you choose not to but as long as we’re friends it’s okay-”

    “Pat-”

    “Andifyouwantostayawayfrommeforawhilethatsfinetooaslongaswedontstoptalkingforwever-”

    “Patton!” Logan placed his hands on his counterpart’s shoulders to calm him. He couldn’t help but have a small, giddy laugh to his words, because Patton’s (barely comprehensible) words confirmed his original fears were invalid; he still wanted to be with him. “I’m not rejecting you.”

    “Sorry, I-” the emotional side’s face reddened adorably, and a smile was starting to grow again. “You’re not?”

    Being this close to him, Logan suddenly had the urge to kiss Patton senseless. For now, though, he ignored it; now was not the time. “I talked to Thomas and the others, and we came to the conclusion that the risk of ‘breaking up’ can be minimized if we choose a slow pace.” The logical side cleared his throat, then moved his hands from Patton’s shoulders to his own hands. “So, Patton Morality Sanders, would you like to go on a date with me?”

    Patton’s smile grew wide. “Don’t you mean a romantic outing?”

    Logan immediately dropped the other’s hands, his face heating up. “You know what, I take it back. You’re the worst. We’re breaking up.”

    The moral side giggled. “Wouldn’t we have to be in a relationship to break up? You haven’t even taken me out on a date yet.”

    He wasn’t actually mad, of course he wasn’t. This was one of the best moments of his life, but his embarrassment and exhaustion made him groan. “Can we please just hug and be over with this conversation for good?”

    His counterpart laughed once again, absolutely ecstatic, and practically leaped into Logan’s arms for an embrace. The sound plus the gesture made it so Logan couldn’t resist laughing as well. Soon enough, it escalated to both of them almost to the point of tears in each other’s arms.

    “So when is it?” Patton asked after a moment of calming down.

    “When is what?” Logan was too busy realizing the fact that he has never laughed like that in his entire life. He’s sure if he told Patton that, it would only work to upset him.

    “The date, silly.”

    Oh, right. “Roman and I didn’t discuss the actual date of the date, but does Saturday sound appropriate to you?” Today was Wednesday, June 6th; that gave them a full two days in between to prepare, and Logan wasn’t sure if that would be nowhere near enough or incredibly too much time.

    Patton pulled away only a few inches to be able to make eye contact with Logan. The faded freckles dusting his cheeks were highlighted by a blush, and his hair was fluffed up from having his head against Logan’s chest. “Sounds perfect.”

    ...He really, really wanted to kiss him. Despite that, he didn’t feel the need to. There was a feeling of content flowing through him, something he used to only feel with peaceful nights reading novels. He didn’t need to kiss Patton because just being with him was enough. Eventually, whether it’s after the first or second(?) date, he will. Right now, though, is simply not the time.

    But standing here simply staring at Patton was not something he’d like to do either. “Well, I-I should go, uh let Roman know when he has to have it set up by, and all that.” God, he was not good at this.

    “Right, yeah. Um-” Morality shuffled in place, standing awkwardly and blushing like mad. It was nice to know that Logan wasn’t the only one feeling uncomfortable. This was all new to both of them, after all. “I’ll see ya later, Logan!”

 

    The two days before Logan’s and Patton’s date were… strange.

    And frustrating. Why?

    He and Patton were somehow in a standpoint between a platonic and romantic relationship. They conversated as they normally do, puns and all, but there was this edge to it that Logan could barely understand. Nothing was visibly different, yet just the knowledge of their mutual feelings and upcoming date changed the air completely.

    There’d be these moments where they were simply talking, like always, and Logan would suddenly think of something “flirty” to say. Then he would question whether he was allowed to say things like that yet, whether that would make Patton uncomfortable or not, and- suddenly, it would be too late to say anything.

    Patton, however, was different. He found quite early on that the moral side didn’t really flirt with words - at least not yet - but instead with tone. He was good at it, too. He wasn’t saying anything different than what he’d normally say, but the tiniest shift could be made in how he said it that would leave Logan a blushing, stuttering mess.

    He’s also extremely skilled in body language. He communicates with his hands, legs, eyes, lips, shoulders, hips- practically any part of the body he can manipulate, even his nose. The less observant may not notice it at first, but once you get to really know him, it’s impossible to ignore.

    It’s incredibly, horribly frustrating, and it makes the two days go by much slower than they should. When he expresses a brief summary of these frustrations, all he gets is:

    “Mood.”

    (He already had a vocabulary card for that one, he’s just never used it because, well, he didn’t use to tend to relate to anything.)

    “Virgil, how did it go with Roman?” he would ask, hoping to get some more words out of the anxious side. Of course, he wasn’t that fortunate. The only answer he got there was a blush, a small smile, and a shrug. He could certainly assume what that meant, but he didn’t understand why it had to remain undiscussed in the first place.

    He’s barely seen Roman. The side acts as if he’s so busy, locking himself in his room for most of the day, but what could he really be doing? He doubts setting up their date would be that time consuming, though he supposes he doesn’t actually know what goes into creating such a large event. He certainly hopes Roman wouldn’t work that hard just for their date.

    If he sees Virgil sneaking to the prince’s room at night, two mugs in his hands and a smile on his face, he doesn’t mention it.

    All of this, though, feels so very trivial, even the date. Why? Because he’s realized now that no matter what he’s doing with Patton, whether it’s romantically lying under the stars or simply watching a movie, he’ll find happiness in it. Though his anxieties may return to him later, he knows that the date will be successful, and eventually he’ll ask the side to be his boyfriend.

    Despite what he knows, he’s also learning that maybe enjoying these trivial things isn’t a sin. How could it be? Yes, in a sense of timelines, they are completely pointless. They’re these sorts of fillers that travel you to the inevitable endings, but what’s wrong with embracing that and taking the time to honor these steps?

    When Patton keeps smiling at him like that, when everyone is happier than ever, why would Logan think about what it would bring instead of what it’s bringing now?

Chapter Text

    “Holy smokes, Padre!”

    The father figure in question blushed and laughed nervously. “Is it a good idea?”

    “Good? Patton, this is the best outfit I’ve ever seen you plan!”

    Roman already finished setting up the date a day ago. He had spent most of his time planning out the details - what animals should go where? What kind of vendors should be placed? How will he lead them to their picnic spot without being too obvious? Once everything was finally worked out, he made it his mission to set Patton up for the date as well.

    Honestly? Pat was absolutely horrible at matching outfits. Have you seen his usual clothing for videos? Roman was one hundred percent expecting to design and create the man’s date outfit himself, yet he was surprised to come across screenshots Patton collected for him that, when put together, created something perfect.

    Well, perfect isn’t quite the right word. It was still kind of a mess, some pieces of it being very outdated for 2018 fashion, but the point is that it matched. Mostly.

    “You ready?” Roman asked. When Patton gave a nod, the romantic side dramatically waved a hand in his direction, letting the new clothes take their place.

    A dress framed the moral side’s body, though it could easily be mistaken for a two piece. The bottom part was in the style of a flowy circle skirt, brown and reaching just above the knee. On the bottom right corner, the shape of a paw was placed on it in dark brown. His legs were covered by those infamous black cat leggings you would use to see emo teen girls wear, yet Patton somehow made them much more adorable than edgy. The shirt portion was a plain cream color with a single pocket on the left breast (where his insignia would usually be), and a dark brown strap separated the top and bottom of the dress.

    It was ridiculous, really, but it was so very Patton. It was perfect for him, and that’s what really mattered.

    “Logan’s going to love this.”

    “Will he?” Roman snapped up at the sudden change in his friend’s voice. Patton’s eyes were slightly downcast, and the way he rubbed at his arm and shrunk into himself showed insecurity that Roman has never seen from him. “You don’t think it’s too... silly?”

    Roman gasped. “Patton! I am surprised at you!” Patton never worried about such things before! He moved to put both his hands on the emotional side’s shoulders. “You should never change yourself for a man. If Logan doesn’t like all of you - and I’m sure he does - then he does not deserve you.”

    “I know, I know,” Patton mumbled, looking ashamed. “I should trust Logan to like me, I just don’t want to be too much right off the bat.”

    “No, no, none of that.” The creative facet moved a hand to Patton’s chin, forcing him to look at him. “Do you hear yourself? ‘Too much?’ Patton, you’re not being too much, you’re being you! You’re silly, and kind, and caring, and smart- Logan sees all of that. The problem is that you aren’t seeing that.”

    The man shook his head in disagreement. “But I do see that! I’ve never had a problem with that part of me, but Logan has in the past.”

    “And you think he still does?”

    A beat of silence passed, but Patton eventually sighed. “No, I know he doesn’t. It’s just…”

    “Scary?” Roman supplied for him. He decided to move to Patton’s couch, patting next to him for the other to follow. “Love can be terrifying sometimes, especially when it didn’t use to be there. You and your partner have to work to remove the fears that were created from the past.”

    Another silence. Patton seemed to be contemplating something before a small, sad smile fell on his face. “That really applies to all of us, doesn’t it?”

    Roman felt a slight pain in his chest. “Some more than others.”

    “Hey,” the moral side practically whispered, putting a hand on Roman’s shoulder. That sad smile now held something more hopeful, more understanding. “You’ll be good for him, I know it. You two are gonna teach each other a lot.”

    “No idea what you’re talking about,” he said, as he promised he would for now, but he knew his own smile was giving him away.

    “Oh! And one more thing.” The sudden change in tone made him turn to Patton. He couldn’t quite place it correctly, but something about the air had shifted, something about that smile that put him at unease. “If you hurt Virgil in any way, then I may just have to take matters into my own hands.”

     Oh.

    “Jesus, Patton!” Holy hell, who knew the father figure could be so intimidating? “I would never dream of it, but isn’t this conversation supposed to be about you?” It’s not that he didn’t want to talk about amor de su vida at this very moment, but now wasn’t their time yet.

    “Sorry, sorry,” Patton giggled, a complete contrast from the intimidation of his last spoken sentence. “You're right, Kiddo. I just need to trust Logan for now, and we can talk about all of that… later.”

     Roman made a hum of agreement. “Yes, later. But right now?” He stood up and quickly pulled Patton with him, twirling him around in excitement. “You have a date to catch, Padre! Aren’t you excited?”

    The moral side made a small, squealing sound. “Oh, so excited! But also my excitement and nervousness are kinda blending together into this weird emotion sundae- will there be a place to get ice cream there? Will the temperature be nice enough for ice cream? Should I be wearing a cardigan? I should get rid of my old cardigan, I don’t really like it as much after what happened with-”

    “Patton!” Roman laughed, putting his hands on Patton’s shoulders. “Calm down. There will be plenty of vendors, and the temperature is set at 80 degrees. It’ll get colder later, but you can easily just conjure a sweater. Is that all you need to know?”

    “One more thing. Is there a petting zoo?”

    “Who do you think I am? Of course there is!”

    “Oh, and another thing!” The emotional facet turned towards the mirror, pressing a hand to his (slightly fluffy) hair. “Should I put a flower in my hair? That’d be cute, right?”

    A knowing smile crossed Roman’s face. Oh, we’re way ahead of you. “There’s no time, Pat. You have a handsome nerd to meet up with. Actually, you go ahead and wait in the living room.”

/

    Originally, Virgil was going to stay far away from planning this date. But when Roman entrusted him with the job of making sure Logan has his shit together? Well, he couldn’t say no to that.

    “LOGAN!”

    Virgil was very disappointed that Logan did not, in fact, scream when he popped into the room. He was very pleased when, instead, he tripped and knocked about a thousand papers off his desk.

    “Virgil, what a… pleasant surprise,” the rational side mumbled, crouching down to pick up the papers. When the other raised a brow at him, he stopped what he was doing and snapped instead, making all of the papers move back to his desk automatically. “Did you need something?”

    “No, just making sure you’re ready.” He looked over Logan. His hair seemed to be slicked back slightly, but that was apparently the only effort he has made so far appearance-wise. “Logan, buddy, please tell me that’s not what you’re wearing for your date, right?”

    Logan’s brow furrowed, his hands moving to play with his tie in defense as he examined himself in the mirror. “This is my normal outfit. It’s professional, while not being too formal for a first date. What could be wrong with it?”

    Virgil scoffed. The man really didn't know anything about these things, does he? “There’s no effort in it, L. If you just wear what you always wear, then it’s gonna look like you don’t care.” He stepped in front of the mirror next to Logan, placing a hand on his shoulder. “Patton likes symbolism. He’s gonna be looking at these things and he’s going to worry.”

    “I don’t own any other clothes.” A silence fell in the room, the logical side staring at himself in the judging mirror. Eventually, he sighed, eyes locking on Virgil’s reflection. “You’d be better at this. Pick out an outfit for me?”

    Oh. He wasn’t expecting that, but… “I mean, I have one idea, but you probably wouldn’t like it.”

    “I am open to trying anything, as long as it’s nothing too flashy.”

    Well, here goes nothing.

    Virgil snapped and pointed at Logan. A burgundy button-up shirt replaced his typical black one, the long sleeves folded midway up his arms and the bottom left untucked. The tan in his pants turned black, giving a semi-formal look, but his black shoes remained the same. The finishing touch, tying everything together, was a basic black vest - or waistcoat, as Logan would probably insist it be called.

    Logan simply stared at himself in the mirror.

    “Look, you don’t have to keep it. It’s just an idea but- Consider some of the symbolism, okay? You usually prefer cool colors and short sleeves, so this shows you’re willing to get out of your comfort zone, but the darker tones and formalness says that you’re still, y’know, you. It’s- it’s just some ideas.”

    “Virgil.”

    “Yeah?”

    “I like it, but there’s no necktie.”

    The anxious side breathed out in relief, almost laughing at the concern in Logan’s voice. “I don’t know anything about neckties, man. I’m sure you have, like, a thousand to choose from, right? Make this outfit your own.”

    Logan once again fell silent, then shook his head and turned to Virgil. “Patton likes symbolism, correct? Then I won’t be wearing a necktie, for this occasion only.”

     Holy shit.

    It was silly, really, to think a simple accessory like a stupid necktie could mean so much, but Virgil knows what it’s like. The ties were a symbol of complete Logic, and Logan doesn’t always have to be that anymore. Logan can make jokes, can enjoy the little things, can fall in love, can be Logan, and still be Logic.

    Yeah, hey, he could be cheesy sometimes, too. Blame Roman.

    Unfortunately, that's not the real reason Virgil came here. “Hey, uh, Logan? I need to ask you something.”

    Logan hummed in response. “Just make it quick, I believe we only have a few minutes.”

    “When you-” Virgil's voice cracked in nervousness, so he cleared his throat. “When we talked about you and Patton that first time, I asked why you liked him, and it made me worry that- ugh, lemme just get to the point. Patton's my best friend, and it's my job to protect him. I can't let this happen if you only like some pieces of him.”

    The logical side eyes went wide. "Goodness, no! While I may have a small bias towards Patton's intelligent, ‘softer’ sides, I assure you that I would not be going out with him if I didn't love every aspect of him."

    Oh. Oh. Virgil's worries were definitely in the wrong place. "Did you just say love?"

    "Wha- no!” Logan immediately panicked. “I- uh, I didn't mean- well I suppose I might have, but-" seeing the soft smirk on Virgil's face, he sighed. "I'm a mess, aren't I?”

    “Nah, just smitten.” The darker side patted Logan on the back. “I feel ya, man.”

    “You 'feel’ me?”

    “It means I know how you feel.”

    Logan scoffed. “Your situation is quite different. You've known of your feelings for more than a year.” The side finally turned away from the mirror, facing Virgil with a raised brow. “You still refuse to tell me of the discussion you had with Roman.”

    “No idea what you're talking about.” A dangerous smile is forming, and he feels a heat rising to his cheeks. He still doesn't really… like it, blushing that is. But it's freeing, not having to fight it back anymore. “I'll tell you about it later. You have a date to catch.”

    “Oh, shoot.” Logan immediately began fussing over his clothes and hair. “Do I look okay? Should I be giving Patton a token of affection? Flowers?”

    “Calm down,” Virgil laughed. He walked up to the logical side, fixing the hair that was recently ruined by his own pestering. “You look great, Patton will love it. And on the topic of flowers, Roman should have you covered.”

    “I'm here!”

    “SHIT!” With the prince's sudden appearance, Virgil not only yelped and jumped five feet in the air, but held a death grip on Logan's shoulder, making him also yelp.

    Whoops. “You, uh, got the flowers, Princey?”

    Roman's smile brightened at the two. “Indeed I do, but there was a slight change of plan.” With a dramatic twirl of his hand, a single flower appeared between his thumb and forefinger. Its five petals were a light, bright purple that grew darker with a bluish tint as it got closer to the green center. It was pretty, while also being quite simple.

    “Why only one?” Logan asked, reading Virgil's mind. The original plan he and Roman discussed was a small bouquet, and he certainly didn't imagine the flower type to be purple.

    “It's more simple and meaningful for a first date. And you can put it in his hair!” The romantic side handed Logan the single flower, also pinching it between his fingers. “You ready, nerd?”

    The logical facet took a moment to take a deep breath. He seemed nervous, in a sort of quiet way Virgil has never seen from him before. But soon enough, a small, shaky smile is forming on his lips, with pink on his cheeks. “As ready as I’ll ever be.”

    There was a peaceful excitement there, something he also hasn’t seen from Logan. Some may find it strange to describe emotions that cause your heart to race, like excitement and fear, as peaceful - but, hey, Virgil’s the expert here. He knows what all forms of anxiety are like, and he’s definitely been through this one before.

    When they exited Logic’s room, Logan in the front of the line through the hallway, reaching the living room felt straight out of a movie scene. Sure, there was no pink glow surrounding Patton or birds chirping around him, but he was certainly glowing with something. Then again, Patton always had that effect. His joy and pain and love was contagious for everyone in the mindscape.

    Logan, however, was totally mesmerized by the scene before him. Patton was gently sitting on the edge of the couch in his dress, tapping his fingers against the cushion with an anxious impatience. When he spotted Logan, he immediately jumped up with a bright smile and a just as bright blush. Standing behind him, he couldn’t see Logan’s reaction to this, but the logical side walked up to his counterpart with determination in his step.

    After a moment, he heard a meek “Hi” come out of Logan’s mouth.

    “Hi,” Patton giggled back.

    “Your outfit is…”

    “It’s okay if you don’t like it!” the moral side immediately panicked. “I know it’s a bit, uh, unconventional-”

    “No no, Patton- I like it. It’s very, well, you.” Virgil knew the sentiment was genuine, and he hoped to every possible deity that Patton believed it.

    Because honestly? Virgil wanted nothing more for Patton to be happy, and seeing this right now was making him happy in return. The man has done so much for him in these past two years, more than anyone else, and he knows there’s no way he’ll be able to repay that kindness. He can be a friend to him, be there as a support system, sure, but maybe Logan can finally bring him the happiness he fully deserves. And he deserves a hell of a lot.

    Not that Logan hasn’t also done things for him. He was the one who finally gave him the confidence to, uh, confess, and he’s unknowingly aided him in finding new techniques in fighting anxiety. He wants to see him happy too - that’s why he’s been worried about him for so goddamn long - and he loves cares for them both, but Logan is not Virgil’s best friend.

    Virgil doesn’t quite zone back in until Roman claps his hands. Looking up, he finds that the purple flower was already placed in Patton’s hair. “Enough of that, lovebirds: Off to my realm!” The romantic side moved out of the way of the hall to let them through, Virgil following him. “Have fun!”

    Surprisingly, though he doesn’t actually know what he’s expecting, Logan grows the courage to link his fingers through Patton’s own hand and guide him to Roman’s room. It’s a small, simple gesture, but it really does show how much the man has grown.

    “Your curfew is 10:30!” Virgil yells to them, only half joking. (He wouldn’t want to put a cap on their fun, but if they’re out too late, he’ll start worrying. He doesn’t quite trust Roman’s room in imagination mode, no matter how many times Roman assures him that it’s safe.)

    When he hears a door close, he makes a fake sigh. “They grow up so fast.”

    “I thought we were the sons in this family?”

    “Sure, but-” Virgil scrunches up his nose with a thought. “You know what? Let’s drop the family metaphors. It raises a lot of questions now that we’re together.”

    Roman laughs, but it isn’t his typical hardy one. It’s peaceful, just like everything else strangely is today. “I suppose you’re right.”

    He’s suddenly reminded of a question he’s been wondering about for the last few minutes. “What’s the reasoning behind the single purple flower?” It wasn’t the color specifically that shocked Virgil, just more of the fact that it did not match Patton’s outfit at all to be placed in his hair like that.

    “It’s a blue violet,” the creative side muttered. “I wanted something that signified love in a more subtle, non-obvious way. It’s a symbol of trustworthiness and devotion, amongst other things.”

    “You okay? You seem a bit solemn.”

    “Yeah, just happy.” Roman smiled, truly. “Things are looking up.”

    Virgil smiled back. “Yup.”

    Later, Patton and Logan would come home. Their hands would still be holding onto each other, their hair messy from lying in the grass, and a jacket would be resting around Patton’s shoulders that Logan most certainly conjured up for him. Patton would go to Roman to gush about how fun it was while Logan would go to Virgil to stress about the mistakes he may have made, though if Virgil said the right thing, he would leave back to his own room with a smile instead of worries.

    Later, more dates would be set up, fewer and fewer as the months go by when the couple slowly find staying at home together to be just as fulfilling. Virgil would be the first to catch Logan sneaking into Patton’s bedroom at night instead of sleeping in his own bed, though to be fair, Virgil would be caught doing the same thing on the same night.

    Later, there would be double dates almost more fun than their separate ones. There’d be weekly movie nights with cuddle piles, everyone helping Patton out in the kitchen, because though they were broken off into couples, their bonds as friends would be stronger than ever.

    Later, there would be surprises and anniversaries, soft kisses and warm giggles, small fights and stupid regrets. There’d be ridiculous team games on game night and kissing under the mistletoe and horrible karaoke and debates bordering on flirtatious banter. It would be eventful and stressful and peaceful and warm and so, so many other adjectives that Virgil couldn’t think of.

    But that’s all for later. Right now is, for once, pretty great to think about too.

Chapter Text

    With Logan’s success in confessing to Patton and the date he was about to ask him to go on, Virgil had a very rare boost of confidence. Surely, this would be the right time.

    “Ro, we need to talk.”

    The moment those words left his mouth, that confidence left too. That didn’t matter, though, because he had to. And not because of Logan, but because of something he realized just a few days ago:

    He loved Roman.

    Quite honestly? He’s probably loved Roman for a long time. A twenty-second google search told him that, on average, people fall in love after 4-5 months of a crush. Not only has Virgil had feelings for the drama queen for longer than a year, but he also tends to get… attached to people pretty easily, admittedly.

    How did he realize he loved him instead of just crushing on him? Well for one, the words simply felt right in his mind, and that never happens with words like love. Moreso, though, he noticed (a little too late) a change in how he thought of him. Before, his thoughts were more selfish, as crushes often are. He would… think about what he would gain from a relationship, and what he wanted from Roman. Now, he can’t help but think about what he wants to do for Roman.

    (Embarrassingly, he would probably give the world to him without expecting anything in return. But maybe, in retrospect, that’s just unhealthy.)

    This is what really made him realize how horribly selfish he’s been. I mean, he’s known that it was wrong to continue hiding his feelings for no reason, but Roman, the side that battles his insecurities alone, has to live with the idea that the person he likes doesn’t like him back. Roman, who probably believes in soulmates and fate. Roman, who dreams big only to be faced with disappointment. Roman, who probably doesn’t think he deserves any love from him after everything he’s done.

     Fuck that. Roman may be an asshole sometimes, but he did not deserve what Virgil’s been doing to him. Especially since Virgil actually wants to date him now.

    God, who has he become?

    So, yeah, he has to confess. That doesn’t mean it’s easy.

     Roman seems uncomfortable, too. He’s shifting in his seat suddenly, and it looks like he wants to say something. “Virgil, if I’m correct in what this is about, may I say something first?”

    “Uh, yeah?” What does he think we’re talking about? Does he know? What if he doesn’t want a relationship? What if he doesn’t like you that way anymore? What if-

    “I don’t want you to force yourself to like me.”

    Oh.

    Wait- “What?”

    The creative side gives a deep sigh, and there’s a redness in his cheeks now. “A couple weeks ago, you asked me to be patient. I realized later that what you were asking me was to wait for you to like me back, which is-”

    Oh hell no.

    It was at this point that Virgil tuned out of what Roman was saying as he tried to think how he’s supposed to tell him. Love, or any words like it, have never left his lips, and-

    Wait. That gives him an idea.

    It was the kind of thing that probably only happened in movies, but Roman does like dramatic gestures, right? This isn’t something Virgil would usually even consider doing, but it provided a solution to two dilemmas. One, it told Roman how he feels, and Two, it shut him up.

     Kiss him.

    “It’s unfair to you, to-” Virgil leaned in quickly, ready to dramatically crash his lips into Roman’s without another thought, and-

    He crashes his nose right into Roman’s, instead. “Ow! Wha…?”

     Oh no. No no no no no, this could not be happening to him. He instinctually moved to cover his hurt nose, then decided instead to just cover his entire face because oh god he could not look at Roman right now. Why would he do that? Why did he think that was a good idea when he doesn’t even know how to kiss?! Roman probably thinks he’s an idiot, he deserves better than you.

    “Did you just… try to kiss me?”

    “Uuuugghhhh,” Virgil groaned in his hands, moving to curl in on himself on his side of the couch. “Just laugh and get it over with, Princey.”

    “I don’t understand.” Surprisingly, Roman didn’t have any hints of ridicule or laughter in his voice, just confusion. “You don’t like me. I would have known if you did.”

    Virgil moved his hands away from his face, but kept his forehead resting on his knees to avoid looking at Roman. He hates that he has to explain this all again, especially after what just happened, but Roman deserves to know the truth. “Ro, we aren’t real. I hid all the signs that I had a crush on you, it wasn’t that hard.”

    “Why would you do that if you knew I liked you back? What’s the point?”

    “Because I’ve liked you for a year, Roman! Since last fucking March!”

/

    Roman felt his heart fall to his stomach.

    A year ago. Longer than a year ago. Four whole months before Virgil was accepted. Nine months before Roman accepted his own feelings.

    He screwed up. Badly.

    For all the months he’s had to deal with the fact that his love doesn’t like him back, Virgil has had to deal with much more. Virgil had to face constant ridicule and hatred from the man he had feelings for. He had no choice but to hide anything that could allude to the truth, knowing it would only lead to heartbreak.

    Oh god, and another thing: Wasn’t Roman the one who told him all sides could experience love? Virgil seemed so unsure about the concept, surely it was something he struggled with. What if he thought he was broken all that time?

    Whatever the case is, Roman felt horrible. He wanted nothing more than to wrap his arms around Virgil as tight as possible, to kiss him and tell him how amazing he is, how brave he is, how much I love him-

    Well, perhaps that lost thought should be saved for another time, but it’s true. Virgil may not always be easy to handle, but god, he loves him so much.

    “Look, Roman,” Virgil spoke up after a somewhat long stretch of silence. “It’s not a big deal. It was just a small crush back then. I’ve been through worse.”

    “Big deal or not, that couldn’t have been easy.” Roman honestly didn’t know what to say. As the anxious side uncurls himself, still not facing Roman but showing bright blush on his face, he reminds himself that Virgil is willingly showing this new vulnerability. It was crucial that he didn’t screw this moment up. “Virgil, may I hug you?”

    There was only a slight hesitation before Virgil whispered, “Yeah.”

    Roman has not been blessed with many opportunities to hug his counterpart, though he’s learned from both experience and observation that Virgil doesn’t tend to return hugs as most do. He doesn’t wrap his arms around the person hugging him (unless they need it) but instead curls up against the other person’s chest. To be on the other end of such a gesture is something that will never fail to make Roman’s heart completely melt.

    “So you like me,” Roman whispers after a while of this. A giddy, joyful feeling passes through his chest and fingertips at that thought: Virgil likes him back. It didn’t really hit him until just then, but he’d never thought he’d be able to even think that, much less have it genuinely be true.

    Virgil scoffs in response. “Surprisingly, yes.”

    “And I like you.”

    “I think we got it, Princey.”

    “And you tried to kiss me.”

    “Do you really have to remind me?” The darker side moved from his spot in Roman’s arms, only to find himself very close to his face. “If you ever mention what happened to anyone, I’ll kill you.”

    Roman chuckles at that, absolutely beaming with joy. With his right hand on Virgil’s hip, he ever-so-carefully moves his left hand to cup Virgil’s cheek. He watches the bright blush on his cheeks form, pupils dilated, and he’s so glad he’s allowed to see that now. “Do you want to try again?”

    There was another moment of pause, as if Virgil had to legitimately think about it, before he groans in both annoyance and embarrassment.

    He takes a moment to giggle before slowly, carefully leaning in until he brushes against Virgil. He can feel the rough texture of his lips from anxious biting, and he’s vaguely aware of Virgil’s arms wrapping around his waist, but his mind isn’t quite focusing on those details. All he can think is Finally.

    The kiss really isn’t anything special in itself. It’s chaste and patient, and only ends up lasting a few seconds. But the fact that Roman is able to kiss Virgil now at all is more than amazing. Finally, he can be with the person he loves and show it. Eventually, he’ll be able to say it, too-

    “I love you.” Uh oh.

     Oh no oh no, why would he say that? Virgil’s not ready for that! He didn’t even register that it came out of his own mouth and not-

    “ Shit. I- I didn’t mean- That wasn’t what I-”

    Oh.

    Roman wasn’t the one who said it.

    “Virgil, hey,” Roman immediately soothed. If he didn’t say something soon, Virgil might start hyperventilating, and he does not want his counterpart having a panic attack over something like this. “Can you look at me?”

    Virgil simply ignored him. “Look, I know you haven’t liked me as long, and we aren’t even- I shouldn’t have even-”

    “I love you too.” Out of shock, Virgil finally looked up at Roman. “Yes, I haven’t known of my feelings for as long as you have, but I do know what love feels like, and this is it. I love you, so much.”

    There’s a deafening silence for a moment. Virgil’s simply staring at him, and it’s starting to make Roman nervous, until...

    He feels his entire heart shatter when he sees tears building up in Virgil’s eyes.

    “Virgil?”

    It was easy to make Roman cry; just play any well made animated movie, or a sad song, or, if he’s being honest, ridicule his work enough. But Virgil? Virgil never cried, not even in his worst moments. He just wasn’t a crier, from what he’s heard from Patton’s experiences with his anxiety attacks. It makes sense, too, with what has happened to him in his lifetime, so what would make Virgil cry?

    “Shit, sorry, I’m being stupid, it’s just- I never thought I’d hear you say that, I guess.”

    Virgil would never cry from pain, not with everything he’s been through. No, the only thing that would make Virgil cry is pure happiness, and that made Roman almost cry, too. (Now that he thinks about it, though, crying could be another thing Virgil stopped himself from doing, and he was finally letting that go.)

    The darker side laughed through his tears, wiping his face with his sleeve. “After that ‘Apology Talk’ we had, I specifically didn’t want this confession to be emotional, yet here I am, fucking crying.”

    Roman giggled as well, more out of fondness than anything else, and leaned forward to place a soft kiss on Virgil’s forehead while wiping away the wetness on his face with a gentle thumb. “Does this mean we’re dating now, angel?”

    He didn’t miss the blush that rose over Virgil’s cheeks and ears at the nickname. He sniffed one more time and sighed. “You know I’m not going to be good at this, right? There’s gonna be days where I’m distant, or where my anxiety will convince me you’ll leave. It’s going to be frustrating- God, I don’t understand why you even like me in the first place.”

    How could he possibly express how much he loves Virgil? How could he show him every reason why, from his beautiful hair to his strong-willed interior? What would convince Anxiety?

     Perhaps he should simply start from the beginning.

    “Let me tell you a story, dear.” When Virgil quirked an eyebrow at that, Roman cleared his throat and continued.

    “When we first accepted you, I was very… confused. Conflicted. But also, fascinated. In one day, you completely flipped my views. You changed my world before I even knew what was changed. It was a wake-up call I definitely needed. I realized I didn't know you. I never bothered to. So after that, I paid extra attention to you, and I saw something…”

    “Someone who needed to be saved?” Virgil asked in a gruff, quiet voice.

    “Not quite. Someone who needed help, maybe, but that’s not even half of it.” He thought through his next words very carefully. He knew what he wanted to say, but he didn’t quite know how to say it. But he’s the romantic side, for heaven’s sake! He’s got to say something!

    “I saw someone who… who loved so much that it almost broke him. Who protects the people they care about in any way he can, even if it’s self-destructive. There was someone who was creative in ways that I, Creativity, could never be.” Suddenly, it was becoming much easier to compliment Virgil. There was just so much about him that Roman adored. “I saw a man who used to be lost but stayed so strong, and once he was found he let himself be vulnerable and becomes even stronger, every day. I saw a snarky, sarcastic attitude that was sometimes from hiding away and other times it was just you, just who you are, and isn’t that wonderful? I saw-”

    “ Roman, ” Virgil finally stopped him, both amused and exasperated. “I get it. You’re a sap.”

    “One more thing!” The creative side cleared his throat one more time, attempting to put on just a slightly deeper voice. “I also saw someone who was very, very attractive.”

    “That's it, I'm breaking up with you.”

    “Ah, see, but the problem with that is, you never confirmed we were together in the first place.”

    Virgil made a sound between a scoff and a laugh, then ducked his head on Roman’s shoulder in what appeared to be defeat. “Guess I should probably say some stuff now,” he mumbled into his shirt.

    “You don’t have to say anything you aren’t ready to say,” Roman reassured automatically. Then again, didn’t he deserve at least a bit of an explanation? “But considering I’m only just now discovering your feelings, it would be nice to know what all started all of this.”

    The emo facet sighed. “No, you’re right, you deserve something. ” Moving only slightly away from Roman’s shoulder to still avoid eye contact, he rubbed at his face as he thought. “Ugh, okay- Honestly, when I first started liking you, I don’t think it was even- I just wanted attention, positive or negative, and you gave me a lot of the ladder, and you were also hot, or something.”

    “Aww, you think I’m hot,” Roman mocked, both amused and intrigued. Virgil put up a hand as if to slap him, but as the creative side flinched away and giggled, he flopped back down with a roll of his eyes instead.

    “ Anyway,” he began again but paused as he put his thoughts in place. “Uh, yeah. But eventually, I started seeing through your walls. I saw your insecurities, and you just became more, human, I guess.” Without warning, the blush that has remained on Virgil’s face disappeared in an instant, but the bashful way he picked at his nails proved to Roman that the redness did not go away naturally.

    “Virgil, you don’t have to-”

    “I know,” he interrupted. “I’m not trying to hide, it’s just, uh, a lot.” Virgil took a cautious, small glance through his bangs towards Roman, so his counterpart simply gave him a patient, hopefully encouraging smile. Maybe it was selfish, but he really did want Virgil to continue.

    “I wanted to be protected, and who better to do that than an egotistical prince with a sword?” Well, that is certainly not how Roman would describe himself, but it was clear Virgil wasn’t accepting any complaints at this time. “I never had that, obviously. But then… when I started seeing the real you, I also wanted to protect you- which yeah, that’s kinda my job, but it was different.” The darker side placed his palm against his forehead. “I don’t know what I’m saying, I just- I fell in love with your flaws, if that makes sense. I fell in love with you when I stopped seeing you as some Disney prince and started seeing you as an actual person. You-”

    He couldn’t listen to this anymore. Without another thought, he crushed Virgil into a hug.

    “Virgil, you-you're- How are you so amazing?” He wrapped his arms even closer around his counterpart, burying his face into his shoulder. “How do you always know exactly what to say? How did I get so lucky to have you?” Wait a second… He pulled away from Virgil, just enough to see his face. “I do have you, right? Because I’ve asked you three times now and I still haven’t really gotten an answer.”

    The darker side gave a small, nervous chuckle and ran a hand through his own hair. “Uh, yeah. But can we skip the awkward dating phase and just call each other boyfriends?”

     Boyfriends. Oh, didn’t that sound lovely? He would have to try to convince Virgil to let him take him out on dates some time, but for now, just being boyfriends sounded like more than enough. “Are we gonna tell Logan and Patton?”

    “Ehh, let’s wait a bit to mention anything, let them have their own fun. Besides, they practically already know.”

    “Okay,” Roman whispered. He wasn’t sure why he whispered it, at first, but then he realized how close he was to Virgil’s face. Of course, he couldn’t risk the temptation to look down at his lips. “May I have the honor of kissing you again, darling?”

    Virgil huffed in response, closing the distance between them before Roman could again.

/

    Roman’s eyelids creaked open when the sun was barely all the way in the sky, soft beams of light shooting through the curtains covering his windows. Right, he was supposed to wake up Patton today. He just barely moved to wake up, when-

    The rolled up ball next to him that was, in fact, not just blankets made a tiny sound of protest and curled closer to him. Ah, right.

    He really didn’t expect Virgil to come knocking at his door at 11 Pm, nervously asking if he could sleep in Roman’s room tonight, but he’s certainly glad he did. Apparently, the anxious side only really sleeps well if he’s absolutely exhausted, or if he’s with someone else.

    What he especially didn’t expect, though, was waking up to Virgil almost desperately clinging to him for warmth, the only thing visible in his form a mess of purple hair and closed, relaxed eyes. It would be an absolute crime to disturb this rare peace.

    Patton would have to deal with waking up late this one day.