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One Step Forward and Six Steps Back

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Virgil hummed under his breath as he flipped his grilled cheese. The smell from dinner cooking in the oven was almost overwhelming. He took a deep breath and focused on making his snack.

“Hey, VeeVee!”

Virgil turned to see that Patton had entered the kitchen and was tying an apron around his waist. He gave Patton a shy smile. “Hi, Patton.” He had finally got comfortable enough to stop calling the man Mr. Patton and his Husband, Mr. Logan.

Patton beamed at him and let his tied apron strings go. “You making yourself a little snack? Dinner’s in about two hours so don’t make more than one, okay Sweetheart?”

The nine-year-old nodded and turned back to his sandwich, standing up on his toes so he could see how cooked it looked. The cheese was melting out the sides so he assumed that it was cooking nicely. He went to grab onto the handle of the pan so he could slide the sandwich onto a plate.

Now, the thing was that when the three boys got old enough to use the stove, Logan went out and bought covers for all of the handles of their pans so the boys wouldn’t burn themselves. No one was allowed to use one of the pans without a cover. But when Virgil went to make his sandwich, he hadn’t realized that he had grabbed a pan without a handle. So when he wrapped his hand around the handle of the pan, it only took two seconds for the pain to register and for him to cry out in pain.

Patton jerked around and gasped. “Virgil!” He pulled the boy away from the oven by the uninjured wrist, pushing the pan away to the back of the stove. “What were you thinking!” He screamed, a lot more worried than angry.

Patton started to pull Virgil to the sink and Virgil bit back a whimper. “I, I,”

“You’re not supposed to use those pans, you know that! You could’ve really hurt yourself!” Patton snapped. “What were you thinking,-”

“-you’re so stupid!”

Virgil sobbed and fell to the ground, covering his face with one of his hands. The water from his dropped glass soaked through his pants. He held his other wrist to his chest protectively, cuts from the shattered glass mixing in with the water. “’m sorry! Please, Momma. I, I didn’t.”

His mother snarled and slammed her hand down onto the counter. “Why the hell were you even out of your room?! I asked you to do one simple thing, stay the hell out of my way, and you can’t even do that!”

A sob escaped him and Virgil trembled. “I was thir-thirsty and I just wanted some drink. Momma,”

“Shut up!”

Virgil whimpered when a hand wrapped around his wrist, irritating the cuts, and he was pulled harshly to his feet. “March!” His mother demanded. “Right now!”

Virgil was half dragged, half carried over to the sink. His mother picked him up and dropped him down onto the counter. Virgil was crying in earnest now but all that he earned him was one hard slap across the face. The small boy yelped and tried to shy back but his mother pulled his wrist down under the tap and turn it on.

Scalding hot water ran over Virgil’s cuts and his cries got higher in pitch.

His arm was burning and throbbing and he was so scared.

“Virgil!”

Momma was hurting him.

“Virgil, please stop!”

His hand hurt.

“Please, baby!”

A hand was reaching for him.

The hand brushed its fingers against Virgil’s knee.

Virgil screamed.

 


 

Logan jerked his head up from his work when a scream echoed through the house. Not that that was too unusual. With three boys in the house, screams were hardly unusual.

But, like most parents, Logan knew which screams happened during fun and games and what screams happened when one of his boys were in pain and hurting. And this scream definitely meant the later.

The book Logan was holding dropped to the floor as he rushed down the stairs, almost falling down on the last few steps, and scrambled into the kitchen. “Boys?”

The sight he saw was not one he was expecting.

The smell of burnt onions were hanging in the air and the tap was running cold water into the sink. There was a pan with a grilled cheese only half onto a burner that was still burning. In the corner of the kitchen, practically pressed up against the fridge, was a trembling Virgil. The small boy was gripping his hand tightly to his chest and sobbing, tears leaking out of his eyes. Patton was crouched a few feet in front of him, whispering soothingly at Virgil with his hands out, palms up non-threateningly.

“What, Patton?” Logan watched the scene in shock. “Patton, what happened?”

Patton looked up at him and Logan saw that even though he was whispering in a calm and level tone, tears were running down his face. “He, he used the wrong pan making his sandwich and burnt himself bad. I got scared and I think I might’ve snapped at him and then he was sobbing and he won’t let me help him! He’s, he’s hurt and I can’t, can’t help him!”

Logan took a step forward and his shoe made a squeaky sound as it made touchdown with the floor. He was really going to need to buy new shoes, he thought distantly before pushing that thought aside. Virgil needed him at this moment.

But the sound alerted Virgil to his presence. He looked up and Logan got a full look of Virgil’s tear stained cheeks and his red, puffy, and glassy eyes. He seemed to be in the middle of a panic attack. But the moment he saw Logan, the little boy whined and stretched out a hand to him. “Lo-Logan!”

Logan immediately got close to him. He crouched down and took Virgil’s hand, gently pulled him into his chest. Virgil buried his face into his neck and hugged him tightly.

Patton tried to reach out and rub Virgil’s back but their son wailed the moment Patton came close to him. Patton looked at Logan in heartbreak but Logan couldn’t know what else to say other than, “Love, I think you should go upstairs while I wrap up Virgil’s hand.”

Patton’s jaw trembled with the effort of holding back tears and he nodded before turning and rushing up the stairs, turning off the burner and over before he left. Logan sighed and stood up, bouncing Virgil up and down gently.

“Shhh, shhh,” he cooed. “I am right here, little one. Shh, let’s get you all fixed up, okay?”

He carried Virgil over to the bathroom and tried to place him down onto the counter, but Virgil’s arms tightened around his neck and his cries got louder. He immediately picked him back up and pulled him closer to his chest. “It’s okay, you’re okay.”

Logan somehow managed to open the cabinet under the sink and fish out the first aid kit while holding his crying son in his arms. He sat down on the rim of the bathtub and kissed his forehead. “I need you to show me your hand, Virgil. I can help it feel better.”

It took a little more coaxing, but Virgil finally took a shuddering breath and held out his hand. Logan hissed at the bright red burn on the palm of the little hand and opened up the kit, grabbing some cream and some bandages.

Little whimpers came from Virgil while Logan rubbed cream over his burn but was quieted by gentle shushing and a hand running through his hair. “‘M sorry. I grabbed the wrong pan,” Virgil whispered through his tears.

Logan shook his head and put away the cream, starting to wrap his hand up. “It’s okay, Virgil. I know it was a mistake, wasn’t it?” He waited for Virgil to nod before giving him a soft smile. “But I think we should organize the frying pans so you don’t grab the wrong pan again.”

That managed to coax a little giggle from his son which in turn made Logan’s smile widened. He quickly wrapped the hand up and pressed a kiss onto the palm. “There we are. Do you want to go see Patton, little one?”

The smile on Virgil’s face disappeared and he shook his head desperately. “No, no! I made him mad and he, he was screamed and he was gon-gonna put my hand under water and hurt me!”

“Virgil, love,” Logan said, brushing back Virgil’s bangs, “Patton was trying to get your hand under the water to sooth the burn. And he may have screamed but he was not angry. He was scared, little one. He was scared that you had injured yourself.”

His words didn’t seem to do anything for Virgil’s fears so he decided to tweak his offer. “I could come with you. Would that make it better?”

Virgil sniffed and reluctantly nodded. “Uh huh.”

Logan nodded and stood back up, balancing Virgil on his hip. He left the bathroom and made his way to his and Patton’s bedroom where he found his Husband sitting on the edge of the bed, sniffling and wiping at his eyes. “Patton?”

Patton looked up and gasped when he saw the two. “Virgil!” He stood up but shrunk back when Virgil whimpered and hid his face in Logan’s neck. Patton sent a helpless look to Logan begging for help.

Logan took a small step forward. “Patton, Love, Virgil wanted to see you. I took care of his burn and he was very brave during the entire process.”

“I bet,” Patton whispered tearfully. “Our brave, little boy.”

Logan nodded. “He and I talked about what happened and we will be organizing the pans so he does not pick up the wrong one again.” He gestured for Patton to come closer. “Patton, would you like to talk to Virgil?”

“Oh, baby,” Patton cooed, stepping closer. Virgil sniffed and peeked out at him nervously. “Kiddo, I am so sorry that I screamed at you, Hun. I was just so scared but that doesn’t excuse it. Will you forgive me, Sweetheart?”

Virgil glanced at Logan before ducking his head, staring at the floor. “I forgive you, Mr. Patton.”