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I Don't Know My Name

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... I don't know my name, I don't play by the rules of the game ...

Virgil paused at the top of the stairs, hearing the morning time sounds of laughter and life flowing from the kitchen and living room. The morning time sounds that would soon be extinguished the moment he entered their peripheral vision.

"Anxiety? Is that you? You wanna come down and eat with us, kiddo? I made pancakes!" Virgil could hear the friendly, warm smile in Patton's voice, even if he couldn't see it.

"Padre, don't invite that thundercloud to come and rain on our parade!" Virgil winced at the dismissive tone in Roman's voice, beginning to retreat from where he'd begun to walk downstairs.

"Roman, Anxiety isn't a thundercloud. He is Thomas' anxiety. I thought that we'd gone over this on multiple occasions." Virgil sighed, re-entering his room.

Right. Anxiety. That's who he was. Not Virgil. Then again, does it really matter what he's called? He'll still be the same entity in their eyes. Anxiety. Virgil. What's the difference? Why does it matter? The youngest side couldn't even remember what he preferred to be called at this point. He wished he knew his name. But he didn't. He didn't know who he was besides what he was told he was. Anxiety. A villain. The outcast. A dark side who just.... stuck around. He wasn't anything other than Anxiety the Dark Side to the others. All because he didn't play by the rules of their games. All because he wasn't gentle or smiley or happy.

... So, I heard you are my sister's friend, you get along quite nicely ...

Isn't it funny? Hilarious, really. How the others seemed so quickly taken by the lying side. The lying side. But not him. He wasn't like Deceit. He wasn't able to keep up with Roman's dramatics. He couldn't act or play the part. He couldn't be smart and philosophical. He couldn't make analogies or make puns clever and quick enough to engage in an all-out pun war. He was just Anxiety. He was just Virgil.

But he could do a few things.

... You ask me why I cut my hair and changed myself completely ...

"Good morning, Anxie- Anxiety? Kiddo did you do something different with your hair?" The younger tugged off his hood to reveal his undercut and plum colored hair. "You did! Oh my gosh you look-!" The excited moral side was cut off by Logan.

"That's not the only thing that's different, Patton. He appears to have better posture. He also got rid of the eyeshadow under his eyes and painted his fingernails. Might I inquire why you've gone to such lengths to appear more approachable? You didn't seem to care before." Logan asked, studying the skinny jeans on the anxious side's legs that were void of their usual rips that Logan could never understand. (Why would someone buy clothes that were already torn? What is the purpose of buying a new pair of pants if you look like a homeless person? What do you mean it's 'in style'? It should be in the trash!)

"Well... uh... I... I wanted to-" He began hopefully, only to be cut off by the fanciful side.

"It doesn't matter what you look like, Anxiety! You're still Anxiety! The dark side! The villain! You can't fool us by trying to change your looks!"

I don't know my name. I don't play by the rules of the game.

On that note, the shortest of them wilted the slightest bit and scurried off. Right. It's not as if changing his looks would make them like him more. He's still just Anxiety. The dark side. The burden. He's just a function. He shouldn't even be personified. He shouldn't even have a "real name".

... I went from bland and popular to joining the marching band ...

'Yeah, Anxiety is my favorite! He's just a misunderstood, sweet little bean!'

'Maybe, but he hasn't had much character development, y'know? He's still kinda the same as ever in canon.'

Anxiety had joined a chatroom for fanders. He wanted to know what Thomas' fans thought of him. Well, I mean, that was the goal at first. To just observe. Now, though, he could spend hours talking to these fans. Pretending to be someone else other than Anxiety. He published his own conspiracies and even a little bit of fanart, making contributions to his own fandom.

'I can't help but wonder what Anxiety's real name is, though...'

My real name? What do you mean? I'm not like the others. I only have one name. Anxiety. I'm just a function.

... I am lost... trying to get found... in an ocean of people ...

"I removed myself from the equation. I quit. Decided it wasn't worth it anymore."

"Okay, it's real sweet that you all decided to come for a visit, but if I wanted to stand around being insulted, I would've shown up in person, like I usually do."

"Putting on a dark persona is the best way to get anyone's guard up. But all this reflecting and working on your issues with us has gotten me to think that... I overdo it."

"You're like- like a really important alarm clock. Sure, the noise can be sudden and a little unpleasant sometimes, but it's important for me to recognize the concern, register it, and carry on, changing my actions, if necessary."

"In small doses, you're what pressures me to get out of bed. To get moving, and doing stuff. I'm lucky to have you the way that I do."

"Anxiety, you're... what pushes Thomas to rehearse and rehearse before performances. You are that nervousness that he feels right before going on stage, but just as he does so you ease up, and you let his excitement and passion for performance take over. I think that's as good a sign as any that... You're willing to work as a team. And that you make us... Better."

... Please don't ask me any questions, there won't be a valid answer, I'll just say that I don't know my name ...

"If your only goal is to protect, then why do you act like the embodiment of a dark and stormy night all the time?"

"What's the matter, Anxiety? Are you worried that your silver tongue will land you in the second place?"

"But COME ON, can you really look down so harshly on these movies?"

... I don't play by the rules of the game ...

"My name...."

Anxiety paused. Hesitating. So long ago he had formed in the Mind Palace. Hoping to be accepted. Only for those hopes to be crushed faster than ice in a blender.

Now though, he'd been found.

What... what was his name?

That one little word that belonged all to him.

He used to think it was Anxiety, because that's all he was.

Except it's not. He's not just Thomas' anxiety. He's his own person too. He loves painting and music. He's different, but not bad. He's...

I now know my name! I don't play by the rules of the game!

"My name is Virgil!"

So you say, I'm not trying! But, I'm trying-!

Virgil paused at the top of the stairs, hearing the morning time sounds of laughter and life flowing from the kitchen and living room. The morning time sounds that would soon expand to him the moment he entered their peripheral vision.

To find my way.

"Virgil? Is that you? You wanna come down and eat with us, kiddo? I made pancakes!"

"Definitely."