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Waste Away

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anxietea, September 16th, 6:33 AM

i lost 2lbs in one day.  if only every day were that good.

 

comments:

thin-at-heart, 6:42 AM: congrats!  make sure you’re staying safe tho, i’d hate to lose one of my best friends :(

 


 

PM between anxietea + thin-at-heart, 6:47 AM

anxietea: hey, what’s up?

thin-at-heart: not much, i’m just getting ready for school!  you?

anxietea: same.

thin-at-heart: so what’s your breakfast this morning?

anxietea: i got this new mint/licorice tea last night and it’s honestly the best

thin-at-heart: wow, lucky!  I’ll need to see if i can find some anywhere.

anxietea: you really should.  aren’t you sick of diet coke by now?  I’ve always hated it.

thin-at-heart: it kind of sucks in the winter, if we’re being honest, but i haven’t managed to find any good tea yet.  your recommendations haven’t gone unappreciated tho, don’t worry :)

anxietea: thanks, but i should probably go.  i’ve got a bus to catch, after all.

thin-at-heart: i do too.  talk to you later, kiddo!

 


 

 

“Woah, you look like you’re about to pass out.”

Virgil glared at the girl in the seat next to him, and she shrank back, chin-length brown curls swinging around her ears and green eyes widening.

“Sorry, sorry!  I just - here.” She dug around in her bag for a moment before pulling out an orange and holding it out to him.

“I-I couldn’t take that,” Virgil stammered.  “That’s yours.”

The girl shook her head, pulling a water bottle out of her bag and taking a sip before tucking the orange firmly into Virgil’s hand.  “I have more, and you look like you need it more than I do.”

Virgil glanced down at the orange in his hands as he chipped at the black polish on his left fingernails.  “...Thanks.”

The girl smiled at him, zipping up her bag.  “No problem. I’m Catherine.”

“I’m Virgil,” he replied with a tense nod.

He didn’t have the heart to tell Catherine that he’d be throwing the orange away as soon as he was out of sight.

 


 

 

thin-at-heart, September 16th, 3:02 PM

i’ve been fasting for 21hrs and i honestly feel great!  i could do this for weeks i swear

 


 

PM between anxietea + thin-at-heart, 6:04 PM

thin-at-heart: hi v!  how was your day?

anxietea: it was okay.  I had to eat dinner, but it was just a salad, so i can’t really complain.  how about you?

thin-at-heart: well, maybe that’s for the best.  you looked kind of sick in the body check you posted yesterday.

thin-at-heart: and my day was kind of great!  my dysphoria’s been bad, but i haven’t had to eat yet, so that’s okay.

anxietea: you’re staying safe, right?

thin-at-heart: of course, kiddo.  don’t worry about me.

thin-at-heart: what about you?  you’re safe, and healthy and all that?

anxietea: as healthy as i can be at this point.

anxietea: sorry pat, i’ve got to go

thin-at-heart: oh...okay.  have a nice night, v <3

 


 

 

Patton.  My name is Patton.

He was lying on his bed, staring up at the ceiling, a pillow balanced carefully over his stomach and chest, trying to hide it, trying to forget it was there.

But try as he might, he just couldn’t forget.

He was always going to be like this, wasn’t he?  Always seen as nothing but the stupid, overly emotional fat girl.  He didn’t look like a boy, even with a shorter haircut, and he didn’t look thin, even if he wore all black.

He was just...pathetic.

She was just pathetic.

“Catherine, dear?”  There was a knock at his door, and he cringed at the name.

“Yeah, come in.”

“Are you sure you don’t want anything to eat?” His mother asked, pushing open his bedroom door and frowning down at him.  “You look awfully pale, and some food might help.”

Patton shook his head.  “No, I - I really don’t feel up to eating right now.  I’ll have some fruit for breakfast, or...something.”

Or lunch.  Or dinner. Or breakfast the day after that.

He felt guilty for lying.  He always did. But at this point, what else was he supposed to do?  It was just second nature these days.

And he still had nineteen pounds to lose.  The numbers were all sickening. Too many calories eaten, not enough calories burned.  Too many digits on the scale.

Everything was either too much or not enough for him.  He’d lost sight of the gray area a long, long time ago.

He was starting to doubt that it even existed.

 


 

skinni-bitch, September 16th, 7:24 PM

i was at my lowest weight six months ago but my family forced me to recover.  now i’m living alone and i get to starve whenever i want!

 


 

Logan could barely understand what he was reading.

He didn’t particularly enjoy not understanding anything, but he supposed that in a situation like this, he should be grateful.  His health class was finally focusing on mental health rather than physical, and each person (or pair of people, though Logan hated working in pairs and elected to work alone) had been assigned a research project on a different mental illness or disorder.

Logan had been assigned the subject of eating disorders, and just to get a head start on things, he figured he could start doing research immediately.

He almost wished he hadn’t chosen to do so.

Somewhere along the line, he’d stumbled across websites and blogs that almost seemed to be promoting anorexia and bulimia, idolizing the horrifyingly thin, mostly-naked models in photos that circulated and spread like hundreds of individual wildfires.

He’d realized the disorders could be deadly, but he hadn’t realized just how willing its victims seemed to be.

So that was how Logan had ended up here, sitting at his desk and scrolling through a seemingly endless line of posts that gave every disgusting, dangerous detail on how people managed to restrict their caloric intake to certainly fatal levels and how they managed to exercise until they passed out and how they managed to avoid eating for days on end.

One post caught his eye, made by a user called thin-at-heart about a week prior.

 

looking for friends in the community!

hey kiddos, i know this whole ed thing can be rough sometimes, but if you ever want to chat, i’m always just a dm or an ask away.  feel free to message me!

 

A quick scan of thin-at-heart’s bio revealed him to be a healthy weight, an anorexia sufferer, and around Logan’s age - and, apparently, a similar age to many of the other anorexia bloggers Logan had stumbled across during his research.

Ah.  The research.

This should be optimal.

 


 

September 16th, 8:57 PM

Anonymous asked:

Hey Roman, I’ve been questioning my sexuality for a few months now and I started dating a girl.  She’s really sweet, and I like her a lot, but when my parents found out they were furious and they demanded to know if I’m a lesbian.  But I don’t know what I am, and I don’t know what to tell them. They want an answer but I can’t give them one. What should I do? -Star

 


 

Roman sighed, closing his computer, leaning back against the headboard of his bed, and rubbing his eyes.  He’d been answering asks and pleas for his help for nearly two hours.

He loved his followers, he really did, and he wanted to help them, but it just got so exhausting sometimes.

He opened his computer again and typed out a reply to Star - something frank, honest, with links to possible sources and hotlines she could call for help, but nothing personal.  That was the one thing he’d stopped doing a long, long time ago. Anything personal was out of the question, because it would just ruin the image he’d accidentally built for himself.

He scrolled through his inbox for a little while longer, looking for anything urgent that needed to be answered within a certain time frame, and his gaze caught on something.

 

September 16th, 9:02 PM

Anonymous asked:

got any advice for someone who wants to run away from home?  -anxiety

 

Well, that certainly got his attention.

 

prince-charming replied:

My dearest Anxiety,

Given that this is mainly a teen-based LGBTQ+ blog, I’m guessing you’re faced with an unsupportive family.  And don’t get me wrong, that absolutely sucks, but depending on your age, running away probably isn’t your best option.  Find an adult that you trust and talk to them about whatever’s going on at home. If you’re older, there are ways to take matters into your own hands without completely running away.  You can get a job, or spend more time with accepting friends and their families, or any number of other ways that you can find to spend as little time around your family as possible.

Given that this is also occasionally a general advice blog, you could have any other combination of problems that make you want to run away.  Whatever those might be, I still strongly advise you to reconsider. Running away won’t help you. It could even get you killed.

Feel free to message me again if you need more help, or something more specific.  I wish you the best of luck, Anxiety, and please remember that life really can get better.

All my love,

Roman

 

With another heavy sigh as he glanced at the clock and realized he’d been writing, revising, and re-writing that message for half an hour, Roman posted the message and continued scrolling.

He had enough time to answer a few more.

Chapter Text

anxietea, September 17th, 6:48 AM

i’m literally exhausted but i don’t have time to make coffee or tea or anything.  wish me luck so i don’t pass out in gym.

 


 

PM between anxietea + thin-at-heart, 6:49 AM

thin-at-heart: v you know i’d never suggest this unless it was absolutely necessary but maybe you should skip school

anxietea: no way, i’m already barely passing any of my classes!

thin-at-heart: you need to rest

anxietea: i’ll be fine, patton.  just leave me alone.

 


 

 

Catherine slipped into the seat next to Virgil on the bus again that morning, but he barely spared her a glance, instead staring sullenly out the window.

“Are you okay?” She asked quietly, leaning forward to try and catch his eye.

“I’m fine,” Virgil muttered, shifting away from her.  “You sat with me once, why are you acting like we’re friends?”

Catherine’s shoulders tensed, and she let her gaze drop to the floor.  “I’m sorry, you just...you were sitting alone, and you looked sad, and I thought you might want someone to talk to.  I’m sorry, it was stupid of me to just assume.”

Virgil sighed exasperatedly, rubbing his eyes and forcing himself to relax.  “No, just - I’m not very social. Especially not in the mornings. And I had a disagreement with a friend of mine earlier, so I guess I’m not in a great mood today.  It’s not your fault.”

Catherine offered Virgil a sympathetic grimace.  “That sounds rough.”

Virgil just shrugged.

“Anyway, you’re Virgil, right?”

He nodded.  “And you’re Catherine?”

“Yeah.”

“It’s...nice to meet you.”

 


 

thin-at-heart, September 17th, 4:21 PM

i think i made a friend today :’)

 


 

PM between anxietea + thin-at-heart, 4:30 PM

anxietea: hey, pat...can we just forget what happened this morning?  i was tired and hungry and generally not in a great mood, and i really didn’t mean to be so rude.  i hope i didn’t hurt you.

thin-at-heart: it’s fine!  i was just worried about you.  but i think we’ve all had days where we just snap, you know?  i’m not mad.

anxietea: thank you so much.

thin-at-heart: so how was your day, aside from this morning?

anxietea: it was alright, i guess.  i ended up passing out in gym.

thin-at-heart: oh no v :(

anxietea: i was fine.  i went to the nurse and i’m fine now.

thin-at-heart: if you’re sure, i guess

anxietea: of course i’m sure.

 


 

Patton emerged from his room slowly, pulling his cardigan tighter around himself and hoping he didn’t faint.

“Oh, you’ve decided to join us,” his mother said, looking up as he entered the kitchen.

“Yeah,” he said with a weak smile.  “...What’s for dinner?”

“Well, I knew you haven’t been feeling well lately, so I just made some soup.  It’s lentil - your favorite, isn’t it?”

As long as I only have a cup of it, it shouldn’t be more than 150 calories.

“Yeah,” he confirmed out loud.  “That’s great. Thank you.”

“Cat!  You’re feeling better?”

Patton’s smile grew a bit more genuine as he turned to see his brother, Roman, enter the kitchen as well, slipping slightly in his socks on the hardwood floor.  

“Meow,” Patton said in response to the nickname, earning a laugh from Roman.  “And yeah, I’m okay now.”

“Hungry?  I was just setting the table.”

Patton nodded.

“Dinnertime, then,” their mother said, wrapping an arm around Patton’s shoulders and guiding him into the dining room.

“So...Dad’s not home yet, huh?” Roman asked, lips tightening into a thin line as he slipped into his seat.

Their mother sighed and shook her head.  “He’s got to work late again.”

“Of course he does.”

“Ro, you know your father is just trying to do his best to provide for the family,” she chided, fixing him with a stern look.

“He’s never around anymore!”

“He makes it to what’s important.”

“Oh, really?” Roman challenged.  “He’s missed every single one of my plays for the past two years.”

“He’s trying, Roman.  We all are.”

“Some of us more than others.”

“Ro,” Patton interrupted, glancing over at their mother.  “Maybe...just drop it for now?”

“Fine,” Roman muttered reluctantly, pushing his food away and standing.  “I’m not hungry.”

Patton’s hands tightened into fists, his nails digging into his palms, almost sharp enough to draw blood.

“No.  Sit down and eat your dinner.”

“You let Catherine skip it yesterday!”

“Drop it,” Patton said, tone accidentally coming out sharper than he intended.

Roman did drop it, in a way, by leaving.

“Well, Catherine,” Patton’s mother began after a long, tense silence, “I guess it’s just you and me tonight.”

Patton did his best to offer her a smile, but even he could tell that the effort was wasted.

 


 

PM between living_logically + thin-at-heart, 5:49 PM

thin-at-heart: sorry for taking so long to reply, but hi, logic!  i’m patton

living_logically: No need to apologize, Patton.  I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions about your eating disorder.

thin-at-heart: why?

living_logically: I was assigned a presentation on eating disorders for one of my classes in school.  I would usually use a regular, reliable source, but given that eating disorders affect real people such as yourself, I decided it might be useful to get the perspective of someone who has dealt with them.

thin-at-heart: oh, okay.  what do you want to know?

living_logically: I think we should start with a few basic questions.  What eating disorder do you have, and how long have you had it?

thin-at-heart: i’m anorexic, and i have been for about two years now

living_logically: Can you give me some details on your anorexia?

thin-at-heart: like what?

living_logically: Ideally, I’d like some idea of how it has affected your life over the past two years.  What has changed, specifically regarding your eating and exercising habits?

living_logically: You only need to share as much as you are comfortable with, of course, and you can tell me if I’ve crossed some figurative line.

thin-at-heart: no, no, it’s fine!  at this point i doubt answering your questions will really make anything much worse haha

thin-at-heart: really, i just went from eating a healthy amount to eating 500 calories or less per day, and usually exercising way too much.

living_logically: That is...highly concerning.

thin-at-heart: yeah, it could easily kill me someday if i keep going like this.

living_logically: If you know it could kill you, why do you continue trying to lose weight through such unhealthy methods?

thin-at-heart: because i’m scared, i guess.  it feels like eating more means i’ll gain more weight and i’m terrified of that.  i know that none of this is helping me, at least not in the long run, but after a while it becomes all you know.  food and calories and weight and bmi become all you can think about, and it’s a mental disorder. it’s more effort to try to beat it than it is to just let it control you.

living_logically: I think I have enough information for the moment.  Shall we continue this later?

thin-at-heart: that sounds fine.  sorry for ranting.

 


 

After saying goodbye to Patton, Logan closed his computer and took a deep, somewhat shaky breath.

He’d had some idea of what to expect when he’d sent his first message, but he hadn’t expected it to hit him so hard.  It was one thing to read about the distorted perception of eating disorder sufferers, but it was an entirely different thing to hear about it directly from the source.

Logan knew all of this.  He’d read about it before he had even found Patton’s blog.

So what in the world was so painful in hearing it again?

He shook his head briskly in a futile attempt to clear it and reopened the messages, scrolling through them and pulling up a document to take notes for his presentation.

This was a research method.  Nothing more.

Stay detached.  You don’t even know him.

So why do I care so much?

 


 

September 17th, 11:37 PM

Anonymous asked:

How do I handle rejection if I have to see the guy every day?  He’s not even straight - he just doesn’t like me.

 

prince-charming replied:

Dear Anonymous,

Oh, I’ve been there.

Honestly, my best advice?  Just try to stay friends. If it works out later on, you’ll still be around him enough that he won’t be too nervous to tell you, and if not, you’ll probably get over it sooner or later.

But if it’s really, unbearably awkward, just find yourself some new friends.

All my love,

Roman

 


 

Roman couldn’t sleep.

It wasn’t as though he hadn’t tried to go to sleep.  He wanted to, really, but after two hours of lying in his bed, staring up at the ceiling, he eventually decided to open his blog and face the multitude of asks he’d received since yesterday night.

You’re falling behind.  They’re all going to hate you for going so slowly.

He shook the thoughts away and started writing out his next reply, pausing when he heard a hesitant knock at his door.

“Yeah?” He called, keeping his voice as quiet as he could and closing his computer.

The door swung open just enough for Catherine to slip inside, and Roman smiled slightly.

“Hey,” she said softly, sitting down, legs folded under her, on the edge of Roman’s bed.

“Hey,” Roman echoed.  “Look, Cat, I’m sorry about how I acted at dinner...you didn’t deserve that.  I was just mad.”

“I know,” she replied reassuringly, and Roman relaxed.  “You’re fine.”

“Why are you still up?  You should really be getting some rest.”

Catherine shrugged.  “I couldn’t sleep. What about you?”

“Me neither.”

“So what are you up to?”

“Writing,” Roman replied, nodding toward his computer.  “How about you?”

“Texting a friend.”

“Ooh, which friend?  Anyone you’re... interested in?”

Catherine shook her head, grinning.  “Just a friend from school, Ro. Mind if we skip the interrogation?”

“Okay, okay, fine.  But you’d tell me if it was a boyfriend, right?”

“Roman!”

“Or a girlfriend!” Roman added, holding up his hands in surrender.  “Or...a partner of any sort. You’d say something, wouldn’t you?”

Catherine blushed, looking down at the ground.  “I mean, probably. But it’s not.”

“Okay, that was all I wanted to know,” Roman said placatingly.  “Seriously, though, we should both get some sleep.”

“Yeah,” Catherine agreed, unfolding her legs and standing.  “Good night, Ro. I love you.”

“Love you too, Cat.”

Despite his insistence that they both go to sleep, Roman didn’t manage it for another three hours.

He knew he’d be exhausted in the morning, but it would be fine.

He would be fine, because he had to be.

Chapter Text

anxietea, September 21st, 6:19 AM

my parents freaked out last night and made me eat.  the fact that i’m mad at them about that really tells you everything you need to know about my mental health.

 


 

PM between anxietea + thin-at-heart, 6:42 AM

thin-at-heart: hey v, how are you?

anxietea: not great.  i feel disgusting. i shouldn’t have eaten last night.

thin-at-heart: what did you have?

anxietea: pasta

thin-at-heart: isn’t pasta your favorite?

anxietea: yeah…

thin-at-heart: then don’t think about how you feel disgusting.  think about how you probably needed the nutrients from it and you got to eat something that you enjoy eating.  okay?

anxietea: i guess you’re right.  thanks, patton.

thin-at-heart: i’ll talk to you later?

anxietea: sounds good.

thin-at-heart: stay safe, kiddo <3

 


 

 

Virgil stared at the blank document open on his computer screen, fingers drumming nervously on the edge of his desk.

Health class certainly wasn’t his least favorite class in school, but with his luck he should have expected to be assigned a project about anxiety, and he really should have expected that the project about anxiety would trigger his own anxiety, because he always managed to find something to be worried about regardless of the situation.

It didn’t help that the person sitting at the desk in front of his had been assigned a project on anorexia, and every time Virgil looked up, he caught a glimpse of the logos of a variety of different pro-ana forums, many of which he was active on.

It wasn’t really the greatest situation to be in.

“Virgil!”

A whisper behind him caused the rhythm of his fingers to falter, and he turned around.  “Catherine?”

“Why aren’t you writing anything?”

Virgil waved his hand in a vague, dismissive way, trying to avoid the question.  “Got distracted.”

“You’ve been distracted since the start of class?” Catherine asked, raising a skeptical eyebrow.

“I can’t focus,” Virgil admitted reluctantly.

“Well, what’s your project on?”

“...Anxiety.”

Catherine stood, grabbing a chair from an empty desk nearby and pulling it up to sit next to Virgil.  “What questions do you have about anxiety, then?”

Virgil hesitated for a long moment, wracking his brain for a reply.  “Uh...what are the symptoms?”

Catherine smiled encouragingly, gesturing to the computer.  “Good! So write that down, think of a few more, and then write an answer for each of them.  Then you can work on putting it into a project.”

Virgil blinked a few times before offering Catherine a slightly puzzled smile, his brow furrowing even as his lips quirked upwards.  “It’s...really easy when you put it that way.”

Catherine shrugged.  “School stuff is really overwhelming.  If you put it in steps and simpler words, it can be easier to understand.”

“Thanks.”

“Anytime,” Catherine promised, and something in the way she said it told Virgil that she really meant it.

 


 

 

thin-at-heart, September 21st, 4:36 PM

i’ve literally had the worst day.  i ate way too much and i’m lonely and dysphoric and i’m just...a mess.  i hate myself.

 


 

 

PM between anxietea + thin-at-heart, 4:39 PM

anxietea: you doing ok?

thin-at-heart: not really...but i’ll be fine, i guess

anxietea: come on, pat.  talk to me.

thin-at-heart: no, it’s nothing you haven’t heard before.  i ate a decent amount of food and it feels like i binged. i have no friends irl and my body feels all wrong and i kind of really want to rip my skin off, go to sleep, and never wake up.

anxietea: i get that, alright?  but just take a deep breath. it’s good that you ate enough.  even if you think you have no friends, there’s probably at least one person who likes you.  as for the dysphoria, i don’t really know how to help, but i know you’ll be okay.

thin-at-heart: i know, it’s just so overwhelming

anxietea: yeah, it sounds horrible.

anxietea: but that doesn’t mean you should just give up, okay?

thin-at-heart: yeah.  okay. thanks, v.

anxietea: no problem, pat.

 


 

 

Patton forced himself to leave his room, finding Roman on the couch downstairs, typing something on his phone.

“Hey,” he said, barely looking up.

“Hi,” Patton replied, offering him a weak smile and curling up on the opposite side of the couch, grabbing the blanket draped over the arm and pulling it over himself.

Roman glanced over then, setting his phone to the side.  “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” Patton said quickly - too quickly - tucking the blanket tighter around himself.  “I just...I’m not feeling great.”

“Why?  Did something happen?”

Patton shook his head, not really trusting himself to speak.

Roman frowned, his brow furrowing ever so slightly.  “Then what’s wrong?”

Patton just shook his head again, doing his best to ignore the way that Roman’s gaze felt like it was burning into the side of his head and the uncomfortable silence that settled around them.

“Want to watch a Disney movie?” Roman suggested eventually.

Patton’s shoulders relaxed, the tension seeping out of him.  “Yeah. That’d be nice.”

 


 

 

PM between living_logically + thin-at-heart, 6:43 PM

living_logically: Hello, Patton.  Would you be willing to answer a few more questions?

thin-at-heart: yeah, of course!  i’m sorry about the other day, i was just in a bad mood.  you’re probably smart enough to figure out why.

living_logically: Yes, I have an idea of the cause.  

living_logically: Does your anorexia tend to have that sort of an effect on your mood?

thin-at-heart: yeah.  i used to be so happy all the time, you know?  but now i’m sort of a bad person, or at least a useless one.

living_logically: Have you considered or attempted recovery?

thin-at-heart: of course i have.  but the thought of eating more terrifies me, honestly.  i already feel fat, and if i gain any weight that feeling only gets worse.

living_logically: According to the height and weight recorded in your bio, you have a BMI of 19.6.  That is on the lower end of the healthy BMI category.

thin-at-heart: really living up to your name there, logic

living_logically: I apologize, I’ve come to the realization that reciting numbers like that may be triggering to you.  I hope I haven’t inadvertently caused any harm.

thin-at-heart: no, it’s fine.  i’m very aware of my bmi. that also means i know that i don’t technically have to lose any weight, but you need to understand how with anorexia, perception is distorted.  i know that perception is distorted, so i know that the way i see myself probably isn’t accurate, but i can’t just change it.

living_logically: I understand.

living_logically: Again, I’m sorry.

thin-at-heart: why are you sorry?  it’s not your fault.

living_logically: I...am sorry that you have to go through this.  You seem like a very kind person, and all of my research indicates that anorexia is difficult, painful, life-ruining, and often even fatal.  You should not have to deal with this.

 


 

 

Before Logan could overthink the situation or even proofread his message, he hit send.

It was only upon re-reading after the message had been delivered that he realized he had let his growing concern for Patton show.

You’re going to scare him off he’s going to hate you he never even wanted to talk to you in the first place why did you say that.

Logan took a deep breath, trying to calm himself down, slow his thoughts, stop his mind from racing.  Showing concern and emotion wasn’t a bad thing, was it?  

He shook his head, closing their message history and the entire website before pulling up his research notes and his barely-started presentation.

Logan didn’t have time to care about some faceless boy on Tumblr.  He had work to do.

 


 

 

September 21st, 7:28 PM

Anonymous asked:

i want to run away in part because my family is homophobic, and also so i can suffer in peace.  i sort of just want to let myself be destroyed, but there are obstacles. i want to be isolated.  isn’t that a good enough reason? -anxiety

 

prince-charming replied:

Hello again, dearest Anxiety.

About your homophobic family - I hope the advice I gave you last time works, because it’s really the best advice I’ve got.

And listen.  No matter what’s happening, please don’t isolate yourself.  Seek out people who accept you, help you, and make you feel safe.  They’re out there. It might also help to get to a therapist, since I’m really no expert on any of this - I’m just a teenager with an Internet connection.

Good luck, Anxiety.

(And really, please feel free to message me privately if you wish to have a conversation or share any more information that you’d rather not make public.)

All my love,

Roman

 


 

 

PM between anxietea + prince-charming, 7:43 PM

anxietea: i’m anxiety.  you can just call me v tho.  i hope i’m not bothering you.

prince-charming: Not at all!  I said you could message me, and I said that for a reason.

anxietea: why?  i’m just a stranger on the internet.

prince-charming: Well, everyone that sends me a message of any sort has a life, a problem...they’re more than just strangers.  I worry. Every time someone says they’ve lost everything or they don’t see the point to life, I worry. I tell them to message me again.  Usually, they don’t. But you did.

anxietea: so you care.

prince-charming: Yes.  I care.

prince-charming: So please talk to me.  I want to help, in any way that I can.

anxietea: i just...don’t really have anyone to talk to, and it feels like everything in life is meaningless and i’m already suffering so i should just let it happen, because it can’t really get much worse.  idk.

prince-charming: I hope you don’t mind that I took a look at your blog.  Anorexia?

anxietea: yeah.

prince-charming: I understand that it might seem scary, but you really should try to recover.  Eating a normal amount doesn’t mean you’ll automatically gain weight, and you don’t have to go through this.  You don’t have to suffer.

anxietea: i know.  it’s just hard. i hate everything about myself and i just want to fix it.

prince-charming: I can imagine it would be hard, and I’m no stranger to self-loathing.  But instead of trying to “fix” yourself, why not try to learn how to love yourself?

anxietea: that’s a lot easier said than done, princey.

prince-charming: I know, trust me.  But it’s a start, isn’t it?

anxietea: i guess…

anxietea: thank you, roman.  i really appreciate that you’re trying to help me.

prince-charming: Of course, V.  Anytime.

 


 

 

After waiting about ten minutes for V’s possible reply, Roman stood from his desk with a yawn.  He’d already finished all of his homework, but he still had other work to do. Chores. Rehearsing for his upcoming audition.  Maybe checking in on Catherine to see if she was alright - she rarely left her room anymore, and honestly, it was starting to concern him.  

Roman had barely opened his door when his phone buzzed, and he was quick to check it.  It could be V’s response, after all.

But no.  It was another ask, and quite an odd one at that.

 

September 21st, 7:58 PM

Anonymous asked:

hey, roman.  i think i know you in real life.  i can’t be sure, but i really think i know you and i just have to ask your opinion on trans people, because i am one and if you’re who i think you are, then your opinion really, really matters to me and i don’t know what i would do if you hated me because of this.  -patton

 

prince-charming replied privately:

Hello!

I have no idea who you might be, but rest assured, you have my full support.

All my love,

Roman

 

What were the chances that someone he knew in real life would have found his blog?  He didn’t have many close friends, and as far as he knew, none of them even had Tumblr accounts.

After a few moments’ hesitation, he took a step forward and opened the door, only to find Catherine standing on the other side, hand poised to knock.

“Roman?” She said quietly, her voice shaking.  “I-I have something to tell you.”

Chapter Text

anxietea, September 22nd, 6:03 AM

i need a break from this blog.  i might still reply to messages, but don’t expect much else.

 

PM between anxietea + thin-at-heart, 6:23 AM

thin-at-heart: v!!  i came out to my brother last night!!!

anxietea: that’s great!  how’d he take it?

thin-at-heart: really well, actually!!  it turns out he’s prince-charming, you know, with the advice blog?

anxietea: oh, yeah.  does he know about your blog, though?

thin-at-heart: oh gosh no, i hope not.

anxietea: can you tell him i said thanks?  he helped me recently, and i want him to know that i really appreciate it.

thin-at-heart: will do, v.  have a good day, alright?

anxietea: you too.

 

Catherine slid into the seat next to Virgil on the bus, flashing him a ridiculously bright smile.  “Good morning!” She said, keeping her voice low (which Virgil was certainly grateful for).

“What’s got you so happy today?”

“My brother made me this!” Catherine chirped, reaching into the smallest pocket of her bag and pulling out a pin, just a bit bigger than Virgil’s thumb.  He leaned closer to read the words written in black on the blue background.

He/Him

Virgil’s eyes widened.  “Have I been misgendering you this whole time?  Oh, god, I’m so sorry.”

Catherine shook her - his - head, still smiling brightly, and Virgil noticed how his hair was tucked into a yellow beanie.  “Don’t worry about it! I just came out last night. My parents still don’t know, but…” He shrugged. “I mean, it’s only a few more years until I leave for college, right?”

“So, wait, do you go by a different name now?” Virgil asked.  “I just - I’d really hate to call you by the wrong one.”

“Aw, you’re so sweet,” Catherine said, wrapping an arm around Virgil’s shoulders and giving him a somewhat awkward side-hug.  “I, uh, I was kind of thinking about the name Patton.”

Virgil laughed slightly.  “Really? I have another friend named Patton.”

Patton smiled, biting his lip.  “So...what do you think?”

“I think it’s great.”

 

thin-at-heart, September 22nd, 3:58 PM

i finally came out to my brother and one of my friends and honestly i’m so happy!!

 

“Patton?”

Patton grinned, closing his computer and turning to the door.  “Come in!”

“Hey,” Roman said, apparently unable to resist smiling a little bit himself when he saw how happy Patton was.  “You good?”

“I’m great!” Patton replied.  “Oh, and by the way - I, um, I wanted to let you know this morning, but I didn’t have the time and I had to catch my bus, so I didn’t get to say anything, and - “

“Cat,” Roman interrupted gently, placing a hand on Patton’s shoulder to stop him from rambling.  “It’s fine. Just breathe.” He paused. “Can I still call you Cat, or…?”

Patton nodded.  “Yeah, of course.  Anyway, uh, I have this friend who apparently sent you a message on your blog, and he said he really appreciated how you helped him.”

“Really?  What’s his name?”

“He usually goes by V.”

Roman’s expression brightened.  “Oh, V? I talked to him yesterday.  He seemed...really sweet.”

Patton’s gaze turned slightly quizzical, his brow furrowing.  “Really? He’s usually pretty closed-off.”

With a shrug, Roman grabbing the unsolved Rubik’s cube that had been sitting on Patton’s bookshelf for years, turning a few of the sides in no real attempt to solve it.  “I don’t know him so well, but he almost seems like he wants someone to open up to.  Like he wants help.”

“He probably does,” Patton admitted.  “He says he doesn’t really have anyone to talk to in real life.”

“Hence why I recommended finding a good therapist,” Roman finished for him.  “You seem to really care about him. Have you two been talking for a while?”

Patton nodded.  “A few months, at least.  I don’t know exactly.”

“How’d you meet?”

“One of his posts was on my dash, I thought it was funny, I messaged him,” Patton explained, keeping his answer vague.  In reality, he’d been following a variety of different anorexia-related tags, and that was how he found the post, but Roman really didn’t need to know that.  “It took him a while to talk about his issues, but I’ve been trying to help him as best as I can.”

Roman nodded slowly, and Patton was practically holding his breath.  “Makes sense,” Roman conceded after a moment that felt more like an eternity.  Then he grinned mischievously, flopping down on Patton’s bed and raising an eyebrow.  “Do you like him?”

Patton laughed.  “Shut up!”

“So, is that a yes?”

Patton shook his head, still giggling.  “No, Roman, I swear. He’s just a friend.  I do like guys, though.”

“We’ve got that in common,” Roman replied, joining in with his own laughter.

“Really?”

Roman rolled his eyes.  “Come on, Patton, I run a queer advice blog and you think I’m not part of the community?”

“Good point,” Patton said, his face reddening slightly.  “But I didn’t want to make any assumptions.”

“I appreciate it,” Roman said, tilting his head to the side to look at Patton from where he was laying on the bed.  “Really.”

 

PM between living_logically + thin-at-heart, 6:02 PM

thin-at-heart: i’m so sorry for the late reply, but that...that means a lot to me, logic.  thank you.

living_logically: It’s no trouble, Patton, but does it not bother you that I’m acting so familiar after less than a week?

thin-at-heart: not at all!  i know that the internet isn’t exactly the best way to judge someone’s personality, but you seem really kind, and the last time i met someone who really seemed to care about me was...well, it’s been a while.  so this is nice.

living_logically: Implying that you feel I care about you?

thin-at-heart: sorry, i didn’t mean to just assume, and i know this is for your project, but i feel like maybe you might like me, at least a little bit.

living_logically: If I were to say that perhaps this is more than just business to me, and I’ve become genuinely concerned for your wellbeing, what would you think of that?

thin-at-heart: i would think maybe we’re friends.

living_logically: Maybe we are.

 

Maybe we are.

What was he thinking?   This was so stupid!  He wasn’t even asking the questions he was supposed to be asking!  He’d earned almost nothing from this entire endeavor, and now Patton was going to expect more than “just business.”  He was going to expect friendship.   Logan didn’t know how that was supposed to work, especially when they’d never met in real life.

 

living_logically: I apologize, Patton.  This is highly unprofessional and highly unusual for me, and I really do have a deadline to meet for this presentation.  Do you mind if we figuratively get back on track and continue with the questions?

thin-at-heart: oh, yeah, that’s fine.

 

Logan could practically hear the disappointment in that simple little sentence, and it pained him somehow.  He swallowed harshly against the entirely unwelcome and unreasonable lump in his throat, pulling up his research document and checking his list of questions.

He and Patton sent messages back and forth until they’d exhausted every possible train of thought that Logan or his classmates could have, and by that point it was later than he usually fell asleep and he knew he’d have to sleep later than he would like in order to get his usual nine hours of sleep.  He said goodbye to Patton, climbed into bed, and tried to ignore the tears still stinging his eyes from the sudden transition from possible tentative friendship to mere acquaintances.

Patton means nothing to me.  This is just a project.

So why the hell am I so upset?

 

PM between anxietea + prince-charming, 10:43 PM

anxietea: roman?

anxietea: i really hope im not bothering you

prince-charming: Not at all, my dearest Anxiety!  What’s troubling you tonight?

anxietea: i think im going to die

prince-charming: That’s...not great.

anxietea: no shit princey

prince-charming: Are you serious?

anxietea: yeah i cut open my wrists and i swallowed an entire bottle of sleeping pills and im really dizzy and i dont know what to do

prince-charming: Oh my god, V.  Wake your parents. Call an ambulance.

anxietea: theyre going to hate me.  more than they already do.

prince-charming: I don’t care!  Just call an ambulance! You could literally die!

prince-charming: I would ask you why you did it but now really isn’t the time.

prince-charming: Okay, you’d better be on your way to the hospital right now.  Please. You can’t fucking die on me.

prince-charming: Damn it.  I’m getting Patton.

 

“Patton!”

Roman didn’t even bother to knock, just flinging open the door to Patton’s room, and he flinched where he was laying in his bed, piled under blankets.  “What?”

“Remember your friend V?” Roman asked, his voice unusually tense and demanding.

Patton sat up in his bed, sensing the urgency in Roman’s tone and responding as quickly as he could manage.  “Uh, yeah. What about him?”

“He might be dying.”

Patton’s eyes widened and he clasped one hand over his mouth, muffling his words.  “Oh, my god.”

“Come on!  Message him!  We need to make sure he’s okay!”

“Yeah.  Alright, okay, I’ve got it,” Patton said quickly, grabbing his phone from where it was charging on his nightstand.  “God. How do you even know?”

“He messaged me on my blog,” Roman explained quickly.  “Have you sent it yet?”

“Working on it,” Patton replied, fingers flying across the keyboard on his phone screen.  “What happened?”

“Apparently he cut his wrists and swallowed a bunch of sleeping pills,” Roman reported, pushing away his own emotions to focus solely on figuring out if V was okay.

“Oh, my god,” Patton repeated.  “Okay, I sent the message. I can’t believe this is happening.  What do we do?”

Roman sighed, raking a hand through his hair.  “I don’t think there’s anything we can do.”

“So we just...wait?”

“We just wait,” Roman confirmed grimly, sitting down on the scratchy, carpeted floor.

“Come sit up here,” Patton offered, throwing his blue blanket to the side and sliding over to make enough room for Roman to sit with him.

He obliged, and they sat in silence for a long, long time until Patton broke it.

“V tells me...basically everything.  He didn’t tell me he was feeling like this.  Do you think he meant to do it?”

“I think cutting your wrists open and downing enough sleeping pills to kill yourself is pretty hard to do accidentally,” Roman pointed out.

“Maybe he didn’t realize what he was doing,” Patton argued.

“So you think he’s in the habit of cutting himself and taking that many pills just to get to sleep?”

“Wouldn’t be surprised,” Patton murmured.

“...I’m assuming you know he’s anorexic?”

Patton nodded.  “And I also know that anorexia tends to go hand in hand with other mental illnesses - he fits the criteria for depression and anxiety, and he’s usually too anxious or too hungry to get much sleep.  He hasn’t mentioned...cutting himself, but I can’t say I’d be completely surprised.”

They lapsed back into an uncomfortable silence after that, both of them dropping in and out of sleep until Patton’s phone buzzed next to them, somewhere near four thirty in the morning.

Patton rushed to reply as fast as he could, reading the conversation aloud to his barely-awake brother as he did so.

 

anxietea: i’m in the hospital.

thin-at-heart: oh god kiddo, we were so worried

anxietea: i don’t want to talk about it, okay?  i’m fine.

thin-at-heart: i’ll leave you alone, but just let me ask you one question first, okay?

thin-at-heart: were you trying to kill yourself?

anxietea: no.  i swear i wasn’t.  i just cut a little deeper than i usually do and i took more pills than i should’ve, but i didn’t want to die.  why do you think i messaged roman? i knew you’d worry. i just wanted to know what to do to keep myself alive.

thin-at-heart: okay.  please stay safe. please.

anxietea: already working on it, pat.  trust me.

 

“So he’s...okay?” Roman asked, words slightly slurred as he fought against sleep.

“He’s okay,” Patton repeated.  “You should go to bed.”

Roman nodded, slowly standing.  “Goodnight, Catherine.”

“Patton,” he corrected with a slight wince, and Roman grimaced.

“Right.  Sorry. Patton.  Love you, bro.”

But instead of sleeping when he got back to his room, Roman opened his blog.

 

prince-charming, September 23rd, 4:48 AM

Hello, my dear friends!

Last night, I had a bit of a scare from a friend of mine, someone I haven’t known for long but have come to care about very, very much.

He’s okay.  And I couldn’t be more grateful.

But I think I need to take a break for a day or two.  It was a lot to deal with, particularly emotionally, and in just five or so hours.

I’ll get to all of your asks as soon as I’m feeling well enough.  If you could do me a favor and mark your time-sensitive asks as urgent or important, that would be very much appreciated, and I’ll try to get to those first.

Much love to all of you!

Roman

 

With that out of the way (and no real plans to postpone the answering of his pile of asks), Roman glanced at the clock and realized with a sigh that it was about time for him to wake up anyway.

He dragged himself from his desk and began to prepare for what was certain to be an agonizingly long day.

Chapter Text

September 23, 5:47 AM

Anonymous asked:

Did something happen???

 

anxietea replied:

sort of.  long story short, i almost died and i’m in the hospital.

 

Virgil was ridiculously bored.

He’d spent so long on Tumblr that its familiar shade of blue was making him feel sick, and he was sure that by now he had a perfect picture of his hospital room firmly tattooed on the inside of his eyelids.

The doctors seemed to think it really was a suicide attempt, despite Virgil’s insistence that it wasn’t.  His parents seemed to think that he was just looking for attention and he didn’t need therapy or treatment, despite the doctors’ insistence that he did.

So, all in all, everything that was happening was relatively predictable, and he just wanted to get out of there.

But, of course, he was “sick” and he wasn’t allowed to leave.

Predictable.

“Did you sleep at all?”

Virgil turned his head to look at the door, though he recognized his mother’s voice without really needing to see her.  “No.”

She shook her head with a sigh.  “The doctors said you need to go to sleep.  Can’t they give you medicine?”

Virgil shrugged.  “Maybe they figured that if you don’t want to give me medicine for the chemical imbalance in my brain, you don’t want to give me medicine for insomnia.”

“You’re just on your phone too much,” his mother said, waving a dismissive hand.  “And you don’t eat healthily. And you never sleep.”

Virgil closed his eyes.  “Fine, you think you can cure me without medicine or therapy?  Go right ahead. Don’t be surprised if I actually die next time, and don’t be surprised if it’s your fault.”

“I’m your mother.”

“Go to hell,” Virgil shot back, not opening his eyes.

He heard a door slam, and could only assume she’d left to do just that.

 

thin-at-heart, September 23, 6:32 AM

i am EXHAUSTED 

 

Virgil wasn’t on the bus.

It wasn’t at all unusual for students to be sick, or miss the bus, or even skip a day on purpose, Patton told himself as he stared out the window.

But it struck him as particularly odd that V’s suicide attempt (or whatever it was) so closely preceded Virgil’s absence.  And, now that he was really thinking about it, names starting with the letter V weren’t all that common.

It couldn’t be possible.  It would be too much of a coincidence.

...Wouldn’t it?

Making friends with the same person both online and in real life would be...ridiculous.  Impossible. For them to be in the same town, the same school, would be crazy enough, much less on the same bus or in the same class.

He could ask V about it.  There was obviously no guarantee that he would answer the questions, but there were too many similarities between V and Virgil for Patton to just ignore it.

But after typing and re-typing variations of a possible message, Patton eventually closed the conversation altogether.  Anything he could say would only serve to scare V off, especially if Patton was right.

Just a coincidence, he reassured himself, putting his phone back into his bag and zipping it up almost harshly.   It has to be.

Roman slid into the seat next to him.  “You good?”

Patton just shrugged.

“What’s wrong?”

Patton chewed on his lip absentmindedly, searching desperately for an excuse.

“Patton.”

“I - I have this friend,” Patton began, tugging on the sleeve of his cardigan.  “He usually sits with me on the bus. But he’s not here today.”

“Yeah, and?  I don’t understand the big deal.”

“His name is Virgil,” Patton added, his voice barely above a whisper, biting his lip again as he tried to gauge Roman’s reaction.

Roman’s brow furrowed, his eyes narrowing.  “...Virgil? V?”

“What if it’s him?” Patton blurted out.  “What if Virgil is V? What if he nearly died last night and he’s in the hospital and that’s why he’s not here?  Virgil said he had another friend named Patton when I came out to him...what if that’s me?”

“You could drive yourself crazy thinking like that,” Roman pointed out.  “Just...wait until Virgil gets back, and maybe you can bring it up then.”

“I guess,” Patton said hesitantly.  “I just...if it is him, I don’t want him to freak out.  He might not take it well.”

“Or maybe he will,” Roman countered.  “Just wait, Patton. It’ll be okay.”

“But how can you be sure?”

“Older brother’s intuition,” Roman said with a wink, and Patton laughed.

“You do know you’re only a few minutes older than me, right?”

“Shh, no one else needs to know that.”

 

PM between living_logically + thin-at-heart, September 24, 4:07 PM

living_logically: Hello, Patton.  My project on anorexia is due in less than a week, which means I should be finished with my research by now.  Given that I have no more questions for you, we have no reason to continue talking to each other. Thank you for your help.

 

Logan sent the message before he could second-guess himself, but reading it over as he waited for a response, he started feeling worse and worse.

Patton was going to hate him.

Maybe they were becoming friends, but Logan had just thrown it away.  Patton had talked to him so openly and honestly, but Logan had brushed it aside like it was nothing.

He really was a horrible person, wasn’t he?

The ping! signifying a new message made him jump in his seat, and he hurried to click on the notification.

 

thin-at-heart: oh, okay.  if you’re sure. it was really nice talking to you this past week and i hope to hear from you again sometime :)

 

Oh, god.  Did Patton really have to be so damn nice about everything?

Admittedly, it was a refreshing change of pace.  So many of his peers seemed to enjoy cruelty simply for the sake of it, whereas Patton seemed to go out of his way just to be kind, regardless of his own situation or how others treated him.  It was, in some ways, certain to be a weakness, but in others, Logan envied his ability to look beyond someone’s faults and see them as a potential friend rather than an automatic foe.

What could he even say?  Could he fix this somehow?  Should he fix it?  What if Patton wasn’t actually upset?  What if they weren’t even friends?

He really needed to stop thinking.

 

anxietea, September 27, 2:18 PM

i get to go back to school tomorrow.  yay.

(that’s sarcasm.)

 

Okay, was Roman following V’s blog, despite the anorexia-related content that continued to pop up on his dash and in his recommended blogs as a result?

Maybe.

Was he concerned for V’s well being and thinking about him far more than was necessary or strictly normal for a person he’d never met?

For sure.

Did that mean he had any level of feeling for V that was unusual, or beyond friendship?

No, of course not.

Except that it did, and he was completely and utterly fucked.

To be fair to himself, it had been nearly two weeks since V had first sent him a message of any sort, and in that time, he’d expressed a desire to run away and he’d nearly died and he’d found out that V and his brother were friends.  Wouldn’t anyone be worried in that situation?

 

Anyway, he’d almost managed to push it all to the back of his mind by the next day.  He was sitting with Patton on the bus, trying not to laugh at one of his ridiculous puns, when someone stopped right next to their seat and Patton froze.  Someone who looked ridiculously exhausted, pale, and as though he was basically ready to drop dead at any moment.

“Oh, sorry.  I’ll...I’ll go.”

“No, no, Virge, come sit!”

Virge?  This is Virgil?

“There’s not enough space,” Virgil objected, shaking his head.  “I can just - there’s seats at the back.”

Patton exchanged a distressed look with Roman, and Roman stood.  “No, you can sit here. I don’t mind. Patton will probably be glad to get rid of me for a while,” he added with a slight laugh.

Virgil’s brow furrowed.  “Come on, I can’t ask you to do that.”

“Just sit down,” Roman encouraged, already pushing past Virgil to get to the seats closer to the back of the bus.

Aside from the guy in the seat across the aisle who seemed to be attempting to sit upside down and the three girls who were all draped across each other (one of whom was holding an entire red pepper in one hand and a lock of her own hair in the other) and all singing off-key far louder than was necessary so early in the morning, the back of the bus wasn’t too bad.

He just hoped Patton would have the time to figure out what was going on.

Chapter Text

PM between anxietea + prince-charming, 7:18 PM

prince-charming: I know you’re probably busy, but I’m glad you’re okay.  Really.

anxietea: thanks.

prince-charming: Of course, V.  Anytime.

prince-charming: Stay safe, alright?

anxietea: i’ll try.  i wish i could promise, but i can’t really do that.

prince-charming: I understand.

prince-charming: I know you didn’t mean to do it.  Something is wrong, and you can’t control it. It’s not your fault.

 

Virgil could feel Patton’s gaze fixed on him, and he shifted uncomfortably in his seat, shoving his phone back into one of the pockets of his bag.

“Where’ve you been?”

“Sick.”

“For five days?”

“I was in the hospital.”

Patton’s eyes widened.  “Really? Why?”

“I told you,” Virgil replied impatiently.  “I was sick. Would you please stop asking?”

Patton held up his hands in surrender.  “Okay. Sorry.”

Virgil pulled out his phone and checked his schedule, cursing under his breath.  “Tomorrow’s the first day of our health presentations.”

“Did you finish yours?”

Virgil shook his head wearily.  “This is going to suck.”

“Well, you can always present the day after!” Patton pointed out.  “And I can help you. Maybe you can come over to my house after school tonight and we can work on our presentations together?  I’m scheduled to present tomorrow already, and mine could really use some fine-tuning.”

Virgil nodded, relief flooding through him.  “You’ll be on the bus?”

“Yeah.  I’ll be here.”

 

thin-at-heart, September 28, 12:03 PM

hey kiddos!

in the wake of everything that’s happened this week, i just wanted to remind everyone to stay safe.  please.

 

PM between anxietea + thin-at-heart, 12:07 PM

anxietea: you’re talking about me in that post aren’t you

thin-at-heart: yeah.  sorry, is that okay?

anxietea: i guess.

anxietea: thanks for not saying it, though.  i haven’t said much about it. you and roman are the only ones who really know what happened.

anxietea: i mean, i only have like...200 followers, which isn’t that many even if it’s sort of a lot, so it wouldn’t really matter if i said anything, but it’s just not something i want to talk about.

thin-at-heart: i get it, v.  don’t worry.

thin-at-heart: i love you, kiddo.

anxietea: love you too, pat.

 

“Patton!”

Patton jumped, putting his phone away as Roman sat down next to him.  “Hey, what’s up?”

“Did you talk to Virgil?”

Patton grimaced.  “Sort of...I didn’t ask if he’s V,” he added as Roman opened his mouth to speak.  “But I may have invited him over after school.”

Roman’s eyes widened.  “You invited him over?”

“Yeah,” Patton said hesitantly.  “I mean, okay, cut me some slack.  Whether he’s V or not, he just spent five days in the hospital and we have presentations due tomorrow.  I just offered to help out.”

“That’s fair,” Roman conceded.  “But oh, god, that was a bad idea.  First of all, if he is V, he knows both of our names.”

“Shoot, you’re right,” Patton said, tucking his hair behind his ear and tugging nervously at one stray curl.  “Yeah, if he’s V, he’s going to figure it out pretty fast.”

“And, if he’s V,” Roman added, “I don’t think I mentioned this, so I can’t really blame you, but I - wow, it was a mistake to do and it’s a mistake to admit, but whatever - I sort of caught some kind of feelings for him.”

Patton paused, squeezing his eyes shut and taking a deep breath before looking back up at Roman exasperatedly.  “You have a crush on V?”

“Maybe,” Roman admitted.  “So, yeah, inviting him over was possibly the worst thing you could’ve done.”

“This is a complete disaster.”

Roman snorted.  “You say that as if it wasn’t a disaster when he nearly died.”

“What do we do?”

“Honestly, what can we do?” Roman asked.  “He’s coming over. He’s probably going to figure it out.  You can talk to him about it when you’re ready, or if he asks, you might have to tell him earlier.  But it won’t be the end of the world.”

“I guess not,” Patton agreed after a moment, turning on his phone for a second to check the time.  “Lunch is almost over, and I have health next. With Virgil.”

“Good luck.”

“I’ll definitely need it.”

 

Anorexia

Presentation by Logan Veyne

 

What Is Anorexia?

What Causes Anorexia?

How Does Anorexia Affect People?

 

Logan stared at his presentation, pulled up on his computer screen, and bit his lip.

Something was missing.  It wasn’t good enough.

He was presenting the very next day!  How was he supposed to fix it in such a short amount of time?

He ran his fingers through his hair and sighed, closing his eyes tightly, only opening them when he felt a gentle tap on his shoulder.

“Hey, I’m...I’m Catherine.  Or Cat, you know, whichever you prefer, but, uh...you look stressed.  What’s wrong?” Catherine pulled up a chair next to Logan’s desk, fixing all of her attention on him.

“My presentation is - it’s all wrong,” Logan admitted, casting a glare at the words on his screen.  “I can’t figure out how to fix it.

“Can I see?” Catherine asked politely, and Logan nodded, angling his computer so she could see it.  “Anorexia...that’s a heavy topic, huh?”

Logan’s brow furrowed ever so slightly as his gaze darted to Catherine’s bony fingers poised over the keyboard.  “Yes, I suppose so.”

“Well, I think your biggest issue is your visuals.  You’ve got an infographic here, but the entire thing aside from that is just black words on white slides,” Catherine pointed out.  “Maybe try doing something with your background. Nothing elaborate or inappropriate for the seriousness of your topic, but just a little more color to make it more interesting to look at.  And if you can find any pictures, you might want to add those. I did some research on anorexia for a different project last year, and I saw some really interesting art depicting, like, a personification of the disorder.”

“Ah.”  Logan studied his presentation for a moment and decided that Catherine was right - it did look a little bland.  “Thank you, that...should work.”

Catherine scrolled through a few sides before stopping on one.  “You interviewed someone on Tumblr?”

“Yes.  Anorexia affects many real people, and given that I wasn’t sure of anyone I knew personally who had the disorder, I decided that an online platform was the best approach.”

Catherine didn’t say anything, though Logan caught sight of a slight tremor in her hands.  “Well, good luck on your presentation. I’m going tomorrow, too.”

“Good luck,” Logan replied with a casual nod as Catherine stood and walked away.

 

anxietea, September 28, 3:32 PM

i forgot how horrible school is.

 

“This is our stop.”

Roman stopped on the sidewalk just beside the bus to wait for Patton and Virgil, offering them both smiles.

“Virge, this is my brother, Roman.”

Something unidentifiable flashed in Virgil’s eyes, and he nodded.  “Nice to meet you, Roman.

He knows me, doesn’t he?  Oh, god. I’m so screwed.

“Come on, our house is just down the street.”  Patton took off ahead, and Roman and Virgil fell behind, both walking slowly, Roman keeping pace with Virgil.

“So...Roman, huh?”

Roman forced a smile, sinking into an overexaggerated bow.  “Roman Prince, at your service.”

“Interesting name.”

“Yeah.  My dad wanted me to be ‘unique,’ I guess.”

“I’ve never met anyone else named Roman.  At least, not in real life.”

“Oh?  So did you walk with me once upon a dream?”  Pride sparked in his chest as a smile tugged at Virgil’s lips.

“That’s from Disney.”

“Yeah.”

“Well, Prince Charming, for your information, I haven’t been dreaming about you.”

“Then who’ve you been dreaming about?  Any lucky guys, gals, or non-binary pals?”

“None,” Virgil said with a shake of his head.  “I appreciate the inclusivity, though.”

“Here’s our house,” Roman said.  “You two are going to work on your presentations for health, right?”

Virgil nodded, fiddling with one of the shoulder straps of his backpack.  “I’ll talk to you later, I guess.” He offered Roman a lazy two-fingered salute.  “See you, Princey.”

As Virgil and Patton disappeared into the house, with Patton chatting animatedly and Virgil following him inside, Roman sighed.

Yeah.

He was so screwed.

Chapter Text

anxietea, September 28, 3:41 PM

yeah okay i made a huge mistake.  i’m so screwed.

 

Patton was frowning at his phone as he sat down in a chair by his desk.

“Everything okay?” Virgil asked hesitantly, a little bit nervous.

“Yeah, all good,” Patton replied, plastering on a smile that, to Virgil, didn’t look particularly genuine.  He let it drop after just a moment. “But, um...well, I’m still not out to my mom, so - uh, Catherine and she/her around her.  And basically everyone except Roman.”

This time it was Virgil’s turn to frown.  “I’m really sorry.”

Patton shrugged.  “It’s not your fault.  I just don’t know how she’ll react, and I don’t feel like finding out.”

Virgil glanced away.  If it’s the same Patton that I already know, then this won’t come as a surprise, and if not?  Well, he seems nice enough. “My parents...aren’t great,” he admitted with an unamused half-smile.  “They hate me already, and they don’t even know I’m gay.”

Patton’s gaze flickered with pain and sympathy.  “Well, I - I mean, you can always come over here when it’s too much.”

Virgil tried for a smile.  “Thank you, Patton.”

“Of course.”

“So...presentations, right?”

“Right,” Patton said quickly.  “Let’s get started.”

 

When Patton and Virgil emerged from Patton’s room an hour and a half later, Roman was sitting at the kitchen table, scrolling through his phone.  He looked up when they arrived and his gaze brightened slightly. “Hey. Patton, Mom’s at the store, do you need anything?”

Patton shook his head, opening a cupboard and pulling out two glasses, filling them with water from the sink and handing one to Virgil.  “I’m fine. Anything from Dad?”

Roman’s lips tightened into a thin line, and Virgil knew Patton had brought up a sensitive subject.

“No.”

“Ro, he’s - “

“Working, I know,” Roman interrupted.  “He always is.”

Patton offered Virgil an apologetic glance before turning back to Roman with an almost practiced casual demeanor.  “Okay. Get it out before Mom gets home.” He looked at Virgil again. “You’re okay?”

Virgil nodded.

Roman started talking.

“I mean, come on, Pat.  It’s nothing you haven’t heard before.  I’m just - I’m just frustrated. He’s never not working.  When he gets home, he doesn’t say hello, and when he wakes up, he’s out before we can tell him good morning.  He used to go to all of your dance recitals and he used to actually spend time with us, but the last time I really talked to him was the talent show in seventh grade.”  His voice started rising, and Virgil’s hands tightened slightly around his glass of water.  “He doesn’t talk to us, and I want to be closer to him, like I was when I was little, but he’s never fucking here!”

He closed his eyes, drawing in a shaky breath, and Patton walked over and placed a hand on his shoulder.

“Better?”

“Yeah.  A little.”  Roman opened his eyes again, looking up at Virgil and offering him a smile.  “I’m terribly sorry, you shouldn’t have had to hear that.”

“It’s fine,” Virgil said softly, pulling out a chair and sitting down next to Roman.  “Do you...do you want to talk about it?”

Roman glanced just over Virgil’s shoulder, and Virgil turned to see Patton walking out of the kitchen.  He almost protested, but Roman spoke up.

“I just miss him.”

“Have you, I don’t know, talked to him about it?”

Roman shook his head minutely.

“Maybe that would help.”

“I could try,” Roman agreed hesitantly.  “Thank you, Virgil.”

 

thin-at-heart, September 29, 6:18 AM

i have a presentation today!  wish me luck!

 

Patton grinned, picking his laptop up from the teacher’s desk and disconnecting it from the projector as his classmates clapped.

He thought his presentation had gone well, but at this point he was more concerned about the next one.

Because the next one?

Logan Veyne’s presentation on anorexia.

With screenshots, of all things, of the conversations that he’d unknowingly had with the same person who sat two seats behind him in health class.

Logan began presenting, and he was certainly just as professional and self-assured as he’d usually seemed in their messages, but when he got to some of the screenshots, his voice faltered.

He did that a fair amount too, didn’t he?  Faltering when something hit too close to home?

Okay.  None of this is a big deal.  No one knows it’s me. If I can just stay quiet and keep calm and - 

“Hey, Patton.”

The whisper from in front of him pulled him from his thoughts.  Virgil.

“Are you crying?”

Patton scrubbed at his cheek with the sleeve of his cardigan, forcing a smile.  “No, of course not. I’m fine.”

Virgil’s brow furrowed.  “We need to talk about this more.  On the bus?”

“Virgil, Catherine!  Please give Logan your attention.”

Patton winced at the name, but he brushed off Virgil’s concern and tried to at least look like he was paying attention to Logan.

Really, though, he tuned out the rest of the presentation.  Hearing his own words from Logan’s mouth was more than he could bear.

 

“Okay, what was up with you earlier?”

Patton tensed, glancing over at Virgil and meeting his guarded gaze.

“I know there’s something you’re not telling me,” Virgil continued.  “I can’t force you, but I’d really like to know why you were crying.”

Patton held Virgil’s eyes for a long moment before glancing away and finally speaking.

“It...was me.”

“Who?”

“That person that Logan talked to on Tumblr for his presentation?  It was me.”

Virgil was silent for longer than Patton was comfortable with.

“This is way too much of a coincidence,” Virgil said at last.  “You’re him, aren’t you? Thin-at-heart.”

Patton simply nodded.

“I’m anxietea.  But you knew already, right?”

“How could you tell?”

“I was in the hospital for five days, right after everything that happened on the twenty-third.  My name starts with a V. The first time we met, you said I looked like I was going to pass out. And the fact that you told me it was you.  I know for a fact that you’ve never told anyone in real life.”

“I love you, V,” Patton said softly.

“Love you too, Pat.”

They sat in silence for a while until Virgil spoke again.

“So tell me about Logan.”

Patton chuckled ever so slightly.  “He was really sweet. I liked him a lot.  I just wish he would let himself make friends, you know?”

“Talk to him,” Virgil suggested.  “Tell him it’s you, and see how he reacts.”

“I-I couldn’t.”

Virgil sighed.  “If you do that, I’ll talk to Roman.”

“Deal.”

 

thin-at-heart, September 30, 1:06 AM

feelings are confusing 

 

Comments:

anxietea: preach

thin-at-heart: v!  go to sleep!

 

“Sorry to bother you, but could we talk?”

Logan glanced up, placing his computer in his backpack and zipping it closed in one fluid motion.  “That depends. Where are you supposed to be?”

“Uh, study hall.”  Catherine shifted slightly on her feet, arms folded almost protectively in front of her.

“As am I.  Would you like to walk together?”

For a moment it looked as though Catherine was blushing, but Logan was sure it was a trick of the light.

“That would be nice.”

Logan brushed past her, leading the way through the crowded halls as Catherine trailed slightly behind him, making a beeline for the corner of the room as soon as they arrived in study hall.

Technically, they weren’t supposed to talk, but it seemed to Logan that by eighth period, the teachers were just as exhausted as the students, and study hall was really the only time that the rules weren’t enforced.  It was always a bizarre mix of half-muffled voices, music playing, and the faint sounds of typing. They went unnoticed as Catherine pulled a chair up to Logan’s desk.

“So,” Logan began, “Catherine, wasn’t it?”

“Actually, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about,” Catherine confessed.  “It’s...Patton. And he/him pronouns. And…” His voice trailed off slightly. “We’ve met before.  For your presentation. On Tumblr.”

Logan’s eyes widened slightly, and he bit down hard on the inside of his cheek to put a stop to the words welling up inside of him.

It’s Patton?  

No.  I can’t believe it.  I can’t.

It isn’t him.

How could it be?

“That’s not a very nice trick to play,” he said, tone cold despite the tremor in his voice.

“What?  No!” Patton (Catherine?) said frantically, shaking his (her?) head.  “Logan, it’s - it’s me. It’s Patton. You blurred my name out of all of the screenshots.  How could I know otherwise?”

Eyes narrowed, guarded gaze.  A look Logan had perfected over the years, if he did say so himself.  “It’s you?”

Patton nodded, biting his lip.

Logan swallowed hard, glancing around.  Really, no one was paying attention to them.

He reached out and pulled Patton into a tight hug, the angle a little awkward with the corner of the desk digging into his hip, but he couldn’t bring himself to care.  He’d been so worried, and for good reason, apparently, because he was fairly certain he could count each of Patton’s ribs through his thin cardigan.

“Are we - oh, okay, this is a thing,” Patton said, sounding a little bit bewildered but returning the hug nonetheless.

“I’m sorry,” Logan murmured, his voice barely loud enough to be heard over the background noise.  “I shouldn’t have left like that.”

Patton gently pushed him away, meeting his gaze sternly.  “You made it clear from the start that it was just for your project.”

“And you made it clear that you wanted a friend,” Logan countered.

“I never wanted you to feel obligated to be my friend,” Patton protested, something in his expression shifting until his face seemed to read guilty.

Logan didn’t reply.

“If you want to be friends, I need to know that it’s not just because you feel like you have to.”

“I care about you,” Logan insisted quietly.  “I just...wasn’t sure how to handle it. I regret what happened, and I was too nervous to message you again, and I hope you can forgive me.”

“Of course I can,” Patton assured him with a smile.  “I’m glad I met you, Logan.”

And even just those simple words made Logan feel more content than he felt comfortable admitting.

 

anxietea, September 30, 2:34 PM

i really want to go home

 

“Patton’s busy, so it’s just us today.”

Virgil jumped slightly, pulling out one of his earbuds.  “Sorry, I didn’t see you. What did you say?”

Roman sat down next to Virgil.  “Patton isn’t on the bus today. Can I sit with you?”

“Yeah, of course,” Virgil said, pausing his music and pulling out the other earbud.  “That’s...that’s good, actually, because I did want to talk to you.”

“Okay,” Roman said, sitting down and meeting Virgil’s gaze expectantly.  “What’s up?”

“Uh, I don’t know how much Patton’s told you about me, but I’m...well, I’m V.  From Tumblr.”

Roman just nodded, offering Virgil a slight smile.  “Patton did say he’d talk to you about it.”

“So you knew?”

“I guessed,” Roman corrected.  “And, um, I know you probably don’t want to hear this question, but I doubt there’s anything you can tell me that’s worse than what happened the last time we talked on Tumblr, so...are you okay?”  Virgil opened his mouth to speak, but Roman continued. “And I mean really okay, Virgil.”

“I almost died last week.  Do you really need to ask?”

“I...guess not,” Roman admitted, glancing away.  “Sorry.”

Virgil sighed.  “No, it’s fine. I just wish I wasn’t me sometimes.”

“Why in the world would you want that?”

“Have you seen me?” Virgil asked, raising an eyebrow.  “I’m a mess.”

“But you’re still here.  And you’re...alive. And fighting.  And I firmly believe that anyone in such a shitty situation would be just as messy as you.”

Virgil scanned him slowly, something both cautious and soft in his gaze.  “Thanks, Roman. That’s really sweet.”

“I try,” Roman said with a grin.  “So, when do you have lunch?”

“Fifth period, why?”

“Damn, I have sixth.”

“Did you want to sit with me?” Virgil asked, somewhat teasingly.

“You’re just that irresistible,” Roman replied, the easy nature of their instinctive banter calming him.

Virgil laughed, a real, unrestrained laugh, and shook his head.  “You’re really something else, Princey.”

“So I’ve been told.”

Chapter Text

PM between anxietea + thin-at-heart, 6:07 AM

thin-at-heart: hey, v?

anxietea: what’s up?

thin-at-heart: i think i’m going to delete my blog.  just...knowing you in real life, seeing you...i can’t guarantee i’ll recover, but tumblr isn’t doing me any favors.

anxietea: oh.

anxietea: are we still friends?

thin-at-heart: of course, kiddo.  i love you so much.

anxietea: i love you, too.  i’ll see you on the bus.

 

“So...how’re you feeling?”

Patton took a deep breath, fiddling with the pronoun pin attached to his shirt.  “I feel good. I think.”

Virgil offered him an encouraging smile.  “I’m really happy for you, Patton. Did you bring something for lunch?”

Patton shook his head minutely, and Virgil reached into his bag and pulled out an apple, handing it over.

“Oh, no, I couldn’t take this.  Come on.”

“You practically tried to force-feed me an orange the first time we met,” Virgil reminded him.  “Just take the damn apple.”

Patton relented, a slight grin tugging at his lips.  “Language! You’ve been spending way too much time around my brother.”

Virgil shrugged.  “Guilty.”

“You guys are really close.  It’s kind of cute.”

Ignoring the blush he could feel rising in his cheeks, Virgil nodded.  “I think I like him. Is that crazy?”

Patton smiled, something resembling a knowing glint in his eye.  “Not at all, kiddo. But keep your voice down, he does still take this bus.”

“Shit, do you think he heard me?”

Patton twisted around in his seat, glancing back to see Roman with headphones on a few rows back.  “No, he’s listening to music. You’re fine.”

Virgil let out a relieved sigh, and Patton frowned.

“Do you not want him to know?”

“I...I’m not sure.  He’s really sweet, but what if I just like him because I’m lonely or because he helped me?”

Patton wrapped an arm around Virgil’s shoulders.  “Listen. If you like him, you like him. Any friendship or relationship is circumstantial by nature.  There are so many things in both of our lives that led to us becoming friends - anorexia, your parents, that post of yours, us being the same age, and so on.  You asked Roman for help that he was offering and you guys became friends from there. That doesn’t change how you feel about him. Whether or not you act on those feelings, they’re still there.”

Virgil’s lips quirked up in a tiny half-smile.  “You’re really good at giving advice.”

“I try, kiddo.”

 

Roman: hey pat

Roman: i might be missing lunch

 

Patton: what?  why?

 

Roman: well

Roman: um

Roman: funny story

 

Patton: oh no.  what did you do?

 

Roman: okay, in my defense, the guy was talking shit about gay people

 

Patton: oh no

 

Roman: so i decked him

 

Patton: oh no

 

Roman: and it turns out

Roman: he packs one hell of a punch

Roman: so, nurse and then principal’s office for me

 

Patton: you are ridiculous.  don’t get suspended.

 

Roman: i’m well aware, and i’ll try my best.  love you

 

Patton: love you too

 

Patton looked up from his phone and very nearly fell out of his seat upon finding Logan sitting across from him.

“Gosh, Logan, you frightened me!” He said with a slightly relieved laugh, placing a hand on his chest.

“I apologize, Patton,” Logan replied.  “I simply noticed you were sitting alone and thought I would...drop by.”

“Aw, that’s so sweet!”

“Is everything alright?” Logan asked, nodding toward Patton’s phone.  “You seemed concerned.”

“Oh, yeah, it’s just my brother,” Patton assured him with a little smile-and-shrug combination that just said what can you do? .  “Roman.  He can be a little...confrontational, and people at this school can be a little homophobic, and that’s generally not a good mix.”

“I can imagine,” Logan said dryly.  “...Are you going to eat that?”

Patton glanced down at the apple beside him, biting his lip and fiddling with his phone case, avoiding Logan’s gaze.  “I wasn’t really planning on it.”

Logan’s gray eyes narrowed, though there was still something softer beneath the strict glare.  “Did you eat breakfast?”

Patton shook his head.

“Dinner last night?”

“No.”

“Anything yesterday?”

“Some carrots,” Patton tried weakly.  “For lunch.”

“So it’s been twenty-four hours?” Logan asked.

Patton nodded.

“Eat the apple.  Please,” he added, almost as an afterthought.

Resignedly, Patton took a bite.

Logan almost looked as if he was starting to smile, though there was still concern in his gaze.  “Why do you do it?”

Patton swallowed the bite of his apple, tilting his head to the side.  “What do you mean?”

“You’re hungry, aren’t you?”

“Well...yeah,” Patton admitted.

“So why don’t you eat?”

“We’ve had this conversation before, Logan,” Patton reminded him with a sad smile.

“But I still don’t understand.”

Patton set down the rest of his apple, leaning his forearms on the table, glancing around, and lowering his voice.  “Do you really want to know? Because I can assure you, it’s not the cheeriest story you’ve ever heard.”

“I don’t care about cheeriness,” Logan said firmly.

Patton took that in for a moment, looking down and fixing his gaze on his hands, picking at his lavender nail polish.  “I’ve - I’ve never particularly liked my body. Everything’s always felt...off. Wrong. I didn’t know why until a couple of years ago, but by that point, I’d already decided that maybe I’d feel better if I lost some weight.  I only wanted to lose a few pounds at first. I was...I was one hundred and thirty pounds, and I thought that if I could just get to one hundred and twenty-five, maybe then I’d be happy. In the three years since then, I’ve grown three inches and lost twelve pounds in total.  I keep telling myself I’ll stop when I hit one hundred and ten.”

“You think there’s an end in sight,” Logan realized, mouth falling open ever so slightly.  “That’s why, isn’t it? You just want to get to a certain weight, because you think you’ll be happier then.”

“Yeah.”

Logan shifted in his seat.  “I suppose there’s no use in telling you that that’s completely illogical.”

Patton shook his head.  “Unfortunately, no.”

“I doubt this is of much value to you, but...I’m here.  I promise I won’t leave this time.”

Patton’s gaze softened, and he smiled, even through the tears in his eyes.  “Thank you, Logan. That means more to me than you might think.”

 

anxietea, October 1, 6:43 AM

if anyone’s wondering where @/thin-at-heart went, just message me.

 

PM between living-logically and anxietea, 12:03 PM

living-logically: Hello, Anxiety.  I noticed your post about the disappearance of Patton’s blog?

anxietea: yeah, he talked to me this morning.  he just didn’t think tumblr was really helping him out at all, so he deleted his blog.  he’s fine tho

living-logically: Thank you for letting me know.  Send him my regards.

anxietea: will do.

anxietea: you’re logan, aren’t you?  he told me about you.

living-logically: He did?

anxietea: yeah.  after your presentation.  i told him he should talk to you about it.

living-logically: ...Oh.  Thank you.

anxietea: no problem.

anxietea: my name’s virgil, by the way

living-logically: You’re in our class.

anxietea: yeah.  i got assigned anxiety for my presentation.  funny, right?

living-logically: If that’s your idea of humor.

anxietea: i’m being sarcastic.

living-logically: Oh.  I apologize.

anxietea: it’s fine.  it can be hard to tell over text.

anxietea: anyway, i’m in class, so i really gotta go

living-logically: Again, my apologies.

anxietea: it’s no problem.  i’ll see you in health next period, right?

living-logically: Yes, of course.  Goodbye.

 

Logan set down his phone just as someone sat down in the seat beside Patton.

“Roman!”

The boy - Roman, he assumed - offered Logan a sheepish wave, holding an ice pack over his right eye.  

“Hi.  I’m, uh…” He glanced at Patton, raising an eyebrow, and Patton nodded.  “I’m Roman, Patton’s brother.”

“The one who got into a fistfight last period, yes, I’ve heard.  I’m Logan.”

“Okay, in my defense, he sort of started it,” Roman protested.  “Anyway, I hardly hurt him. His nose wasn’t even bleeding. Me, on the other hand…” He pulled the ice pack away from his eye, where a bruise was beginning to bloom.  “I’m probably going to have a black eye, and I’ve already got a split lip.” He brushed a finger over the bandage on his lip, wincing slightly.

Patton frowned.  “That’s horrible, Ro.”

“It’s fine.  His punishment is worse than mine, so I can live with it.”

Logan cleared his throat.  “I hate to interrupt, but the period is about to end.  Patton, would you like to walk with me?”

“I’d love to,” Patton replied with a smile.

Roman groaned.  “I have choir next period.  That’s going to hurt like hell, with my lip.”

The bell rang, and Logan stood abruptly.  “Well...Roman, good luck with choir. We should be on our way.”

Roman groaned again, falling back on Patton’s shoulder.  “Pat, save me.”

Patton chuckled.  “Just ask your teacher if you can take a break from singing for the day.  You’ll be fine. Logan and I really have to go to health now.”

“Okay.  I’ll see you after school.”

 

prince-charming, October 2, 6:24 AM

[Image attached - a selfie, taken by Roman, with his black eye shown and split lip bandaged]

Hello, my friends!

I may have had a slight altercation with a homophobic classmate, hence why I didn’t answer any asks last night.  However, rest assured, I will be fine!

I intend to answer some of your more urgent asks before I leave for school today.

All my love,

Roman

 

“How’s the eye?”

Roman laughed as he slid into the seat next to Virgil.  “It’s absolutely fine, as you can see. Totally not swollen or bruised.”

Virgil’s eyes narrowed.  “How many painkillers are you on?  You’re way too cheerful for a guy who got punched in the face by a homophobe.  I heard you didn’t even get any good shots in.”

“Okay, one: I only took two pills of one kind of painkiller, which was the recommended amount for adults and children twelve and older, thank you very much, and two: I still punched him first.”

“Dumbass,” Virgil muttered with a shake of his head and a fond smile.

“Oh, hush.  My sacrifice was admirable.”

“If by ‘admirable,’ you mean stupid.”

“That does sound about right.”

Virgil grinned, glancing away to look out the window.  He put in his earbuds and zoned out until Roman tapped him on the shoulder.

“Yeah?”

“What are you listening to?”

“Panic! at the Disco,” Virgil said.  “...And some Dear Evan Hansen. You want to listen?”

Roman shrugged.  “If you’re offering.”

Virgil handed him one earbud, and they listened in silence until they arrived at school.

He tried his best to ignore how oddly domestic it felt to share his music with Roman, the metaphorical and literal warmth beside him, and how for the first time in a long time, he didn’t feel a distance between himself and the world.

He was probably imagining it, anyway.

Chapter Text

anxietea, October 5, 6:07 AM

hey.

i haven’t been super active lately, and i’ve been pretty secretive about why.  people have asked, but i’m usually vague about it.

that’s stupid, though.  this is my vent blog, more than anything else, and i’m not even using it for that anymore.  you want the story? then that’s what you’ll get.

on the 23rd of september, i nearly died.  that part isn’t a secret. what i’ve been vague about is how and why.

my biggest secret is that i’ve been cutting.

a lot.

it’s been going on nearly as long as my anorexia, but i’ve never talked about it.  out of everyone i’ve ever met, only two people know: patton (@/thin-at-heart, who deleted his blog) and his brother, who does have a blog, but i’d really rather not single him out because to be honest, he’s got a reputation here and being publicly associated with a mess like me is probably the last thing he’d want.

anyway.

on the 23rd, i cut again, too much and too deep.  between the pain and my insomnia, i was having trouble getting to sleep, so i took some sleeping pills.  in case you didn’t know, lots of blood loss from cuts in your wrists + swallowing handfuls of sleeping pills = what looks like a suicide attempt to the paramedics that show up at your house in the middle of the night because the friend you texted told you to call an ambulance even though your stupid parents will be furious.

i was in the hospital for five days.  the doctors told my parents, basically, that my brain is fucked up and i need to talk to someone and probably go on meds so i don’t do something dumb like that again.  my parents insisted that i was fine.

i’m not fine.  the doctors knew it, i knew it, my friends knew it.  there’s no way to deny it, really, when you do what i did.  no one believes it’s an accident, no matter what you say.

maybe it wasn’t an accident.  maybe i wanted to die, but i freaked out at the last minute.  i don’t know, and i doubt i ever will.

but there’s my story, i guess.  if my blog has changed, that’s why.

i’m not getting better.  if anything, i’m just getting worse.  it’s scary, but it’s true.

wish me luck.  i’ll need it to live past 16.

 -anxiety.

 

“...Virgil?”

Virgil glanced up at Roman from the corner of his eye, offering him a tired smile.  “Hey.”

“Look, I - I know you’re sitting with Patton today, but can I talk to you?”

Patton looked over at Virgil, tilting his head to the side questioningly.  “I mean, I’m okay with it...Virge?”

Virgil shrugged.  “I guess. I’ll sit with you tomorrow instead, alright?”

Patton nodded, standing and letting Roman take his place.

“What’s up, Princey?”

“I, um…” Roman took a deep breath.  “I saw your post this morning.”

“Oh.  I forgot you’re following me.”

“Do you really think I wouldn’t want to be associated with you?” Roman asked, gaze almost concerned.

Virgil chuckled.  “Come on, you know you wouldn’t.  Like I said, I’m a mess.”

“We all are,” Roman protested.  “I am, too. I practically got beat up just last week, and do you realize how little I sleep?  I spend all my time doing things.  I’m always stressed.  I’m ridiculously close to failing multiple classes and I don’t know how to handle school or my blog or the fact that yesterday was the first day I’ve seen my dad in what feels like forever and he started talking about how he believes in conversion therapy.   We’re all messes, Virgil.  I’ve just learned how to hide it.”

Virgil quickly tried to wipe away the tears in his eyes without smudging his eyeliner.  “Hey, um, unrelated, but where’s your dad? I’d really like to punch him.”

“Can we just stay on topic, please?” Roman asked, though he was starting to smile.  “I really, really care about you. At this point, I’d say you’re my best friend, and there’s no way in hell I’d try to hide that for the sake of a reputation on Tumblr.”

Virgil didn’t reply.

Roman pulled out his phone, and Virgil assumed the conversation was over, but after a moment Roman spoke again.  “There. I reblogged the post. I mentioned that I’m the brother you were talking about.”

“What?  Oh, my god, why?”

“I’m not going to hide it,” Roman repeated simply.

Virgil pulled Roman into a hug, surprising himself (and probably Roman, too, if the noise he made was any indication).  “Thank you.”

When he finally drew back, he pulled out his own phone, checking Tumblr.

 

prince-charming reblogged your post: “I’m the brother.  I’m sorry you think I’d ever be ashamed of you. You’re more important than my reputation.  I love you, my friend, and you will make it past sixteen. That’s a promise.”

 

“Ro…”

“Whatever you’re going to ask about,” Roman interrupted with a gentle smile, “I can guarantee that I meant every word.”

Virgil just gaped at him, searching his expression for any trace of sarcasm.

“We’re at school, so I guess I’ll see you later,” Roman said.  “...Hello? Are you there?”

Virgil quickly closed his mouth, looking away.  “Yeah. Sorry. I just, um - I get flustered easily.”

Roman grinned.  “I’ll take that as a challenge, Stormcloud.”

Before Virgil could even respond, Roman was off the bus, leaving him confused and blushing.

But then he had an idea.

Oh, yes.  This was going to be an interesting day.

 

Virgil: Patton, this is going to be a weird request, but just stay with me, alright?

 

Patton: It’s the middle of class, but sure, kiddo.  What’s up?

 

Virgil: Okay.  Do you have any puns that could double as possible pickup lines?

 

Patton: Probably too many.  Why?

 

Virgil: No reason.

Virgil: By the way, does Roman like puns?

 

Patton: He tries to pretend he doesn’t, but he really does.

Patton: ...Are you planning something?

 

Virgil: Maybe.

Virgil: See you in health!

 

Patton: Oh my goodness

 

“Morning, Logan!”

Logan looked up from his computer, raising an eyebrow.  “...It is lunchtime, Patton.”

“And it’s only eleven thirty, which means it’s still not morning!” Patton countered, sitting down across from Logan.

Logan closed his computer, meeting Patton’s gaze evenly.  “Fair enough. You seem happy today.”

“I actually do feel alright,” Patton admitted.  “I baked some cookies yesterday after I finished my homework, and I brought some in - do you want one?”

“I would appreciate that.”

Patton beamed, pulled a small bag of chocolate chip cookies out of his bag and passing one to Logan before taking one for himself.  “So, how are you?”

“I met a friend of yours,” Logan commented, almost offhand.

“Really?  Who?”

“Virgil.”

Patton’s gaze brightened.  “Oh, yeah! Virgil’s such a sweet kid.”

“He seems nice.”

“He definitely is.  I think you two would get along really well!  He’s in health with us, too.”

Logan nodded briefly.  “I am aware.”

“Patton!”

Patton practically fell out of his seat as Roman appeared next to him, seemingly out of nowhere.  “Gosh! You scared me, Roman!”

Roman grinned.  “Hello, my dear brother!  Hello, nerd!”

Patton playfully shoved Roman away.  “Hey, be nice.”

“I am being nice!  I said hello, didn’t I?”

Patton shook his head, offering Logan an apologetic smile.  “So, what’s up with you and Virgil?”

Roman blushed.  “Check my blog.”

Patton pulled out his phone, noticing as Logan did the same, and quickly navigated to Roman’s blog, reading quickly through the post.

Shoot!  Does Virgil realize that my blog name is in here?  Roman has no idea I’m anorexic but he’s bound to figure it out from this…

Then he saw Roman’s reply.

“Oh, my gosh,” he murmured.  “You said you love him?”

Roman just shrugged.  “I do. And I don’t want him to think I’d hide our friendship.”

“That’s...actually really sweet.”

“And quite bold,” Logan added.  “Has he seen it?”

“He read it on the bus.  I told him I meant every word, and he said he gets flustered easily, and I…” If possible, his face flushed even further.  “I told him I’d take that as a challenge.”

“That explains a few things,” Patton said with a giggle.

“Oh, no.  What did he say?”

“Nothing.  Don’t worry about it.”

Logan raised an eyebrow again, and Patton laughed.

“Don’t worry, Lo.  I’ll tell you in health.”

He ignored Roman’s offended gasp in favor of smiling at Logan and handing him another cookie.

 

living-logically, October 5, 12:06 PM

This blog has essentially served its purpose, but I am oddly reluctant to abandon it.  Any ideas for how I could use it?

 

Comments:

anxietea: memes

living-logically: Thank you for your input.  Kindly leave my blog.

anxietea: oh, you learned sarcasm.  good for you.

prince-charming: use it for disney!!

anxietea: hell yeah

living-logically: You’re all very strange people.

 

“Hey, Logan.”

Logan located his binder and pulled it out of his bag, looking up and seeing a vaguely familiar face.  “...Virgil.”

Virgil smirked, sitting down on the desk behind Logan’s with his legs crossed.  “I knew you’d get it.”

“Why are you sitting on top of your desk?  You have a chair.”

“Chairs are pointless,” Virgil said with a shrug.

“Look at you two, getting along!  Didn’t I tell you, Lo?” Patton asked, moving to stand next to Virgil’s desk and pulling him into a hug.

“We’ve talked before,” Virgil interjected.  “On Tumblr. A lot of your followers came to me to find out where you went, since we reblogged a lot of each other’s stuff.”

“Oh.”  Patton frowned.  “I guess they didn’t get to see my post before I left, huh?”

“Yeah.  Don’t worry, though, I told them.”

“Everyone’s doing alright?  Staying safe, and all that?”

“I made sure to tell them that, too,” Virgil assured him.

Logan just listened in silence.  The so-called community on Tumblr had struck him as odd and even dangerous at first, and while much of it had the potential to be fatal, many of the people inside just seemed to want someone who understood what they were going through and listened to them without judgement.  It was obviously still problematic, but they really seemed to want to be safe.

But like Patton, they were scared.

“Logan?  Everything okay?”

Patton’s concern pulled him from his own thoughts.  “What? Yes, I’m fine.”

“If you say so,” Patton conceded.  “I should go, it’s time for class...and there’s something I have to help Virgil with.”

Logan nodded absently.

Patton was scared.  He’d said so himself.  And if there was one thing Logan could understand, it was fear.

He just wished he knew how to help.

 

prince-charming, October 5, 2:53 PM

For all the advice I give, I’m certainly horrible at running my own life.  Maybe I should let one of you make all my decisions for me. Like a Sims game.

 

“Virgil, you’re here!”

Virgil rolled his eyes, sitting down next to Roman.  “I take this bus every day, idiot.”

“I know, I’m just excited to see you,” Roman said, feigning innocence as Virgil blushed and buried his face in his hands, mumbling something Roman couldn’t quite hear.  “What was that, Stormcloud?”

“I said,” Virgil replied, raising his head, “are you therapy?”

Roman frowned.  “Not to my knowledge.  Why?” He asked, pulling out his water bottle and taking a sip.

“...Because I need you in my life.”

Roman practically choked on his water. 

“Shit, sorry!  Patton told me to say that!”

“No, it’s - it’s fine,” Roman stammered, cheeks burning.  “I just - wow.”

Virgil grinned.  “You’re not the only one who knows how to flirt, Princey.”

“So you’re flirting with me?”

“You started it!”

“Come on, you love me.”

“Maybe.”

Roman blushed, and Virgil just smirked, leaning closer to press one of his earbuds into Roman’s ear.  “I hope you’re a Fall Out Boy fan.”

Neither of them spoke for the rest of the ride, but it was no coincidence that Roman’s hand found Virgil’s somewhere along the way.

Chapter Text

PM between anxietea + prince-charming, 7:01 AM

prince-charming: virgil, i was looking over your post and i noticed something

prince-charming: i’m going to ask you a question, and i really hope you’ll give me an honest answer, okay?

anxietea: you’re making me nervous, princey

prince-charming: patton’s blog.  he deleted it. thin-at-heart, right?

anxietea: oh, shit

prince-charming: does he have anorexia?

anxietea: oh my god patton’s going to kill me

anxietea: you didn’t know??

prince-charming: no!  i had no idea!

prince-charming: damn it, i’m so stupid.  i should’ve seen it sooner with how he was always skipping dinner.

anxietea: you’re not stupid, ro.

anxietea: he was doing his best to hide it.

anxietea: look, just let me talk to him about it on the bus.  it’ll be fine.

prince-charming: if you’re sure.  see you, v.

 

“Morning, Virgil!”

“Hey, Pat.”  Virgil slid closer to the wall to make more space for Patton to sit.  “Can I talk to you about something?”

“Yeah, of course.”  Patton smiled reassuringly.  “What’s up, kiddo?”

Virgil took a deep breath.  “So, I made a post about the twenty-third, and I mentioned you in it, but Roman read it and found out about your blog.  He...he asked me if you’re anorexic, and I couldn’t lie to him about it. I know this is probably the last thing you want and I’m so sorry, but he knows.”

Patton hesitated for a moment before nodding slowly.  “Okay.”

“What?”

Patton shrugged.  “It’s okay. He knows; so what?  It had to happen sometime, right?  I’m not mad or anything. I can talk to him at lunch.  Logan will be there, and he’s pretty sensible, so I’m sure it’ll be okay.”

“But I - “ Virgil bit his lip, cutting himself off.  “Patton...you used to tell me that you were terrified of what would happen if your family found out.  You said you were scared. Did something change?”

“Maybe.  I think it’s more that I feel like I could sort of recover now.  I wasn’t ready before, and I knew my family would try to force me into recovery if they found out, but now maybe some support wouldn’t be so bad.”

“I don’t think I could ever do that,” Virgil commented with a humorless chuckle.

“I’m not saying anything for certain,” Patton warned.  “But I don’t want to keep hating myself. Plus, you and Logan already knew.  What’s one more person?”

Virgil shook his head slowly, almost admiringly.  “You’re braver than I could ever be.”

“Don’t underestimate yourself, kiddo.  I’m nothing special.”

 

Logan: Patton, this may be an odd request, but could I have your help with something?

 

Patton: I’m getting a lot of odd requests lately, but sure!  What’s on your mind, Lo?

 

Logan: Well, as you may know, I initially created my blog for the sole purpose of talking to you for my presentation.  Now that the presentation has been completed and your blog is gone, it has no purpose, but I find myself hesitating when it comes to deleting it completely.  Virgil and Roman are absolutely no help.

Logan: So, any thoughts?

 

Patton: Hmm…

Patton: Oh!  I know! You could use it for stars!

 

Logan: You mean...constellations, astronomy, that sort of thing?

 

Patton: Yeah!  You could post pictures and facts and stuff, so people can look at the stars as well as learn about them!

 

Logan: That’s actually a very nice idea.  I think I’ll begin redesigning my blog now.

 

Patton: Glad I could help.  See you soon :)

 

“How’s the blog redesigning going?”

“It’s going well,” Logan replied, not even looking up from where he was typing quickly on his phone, fingers flying across the screen.  “How are you, Patton?”

Patton sighed.  “I’m...okay. A little nervous.”

Logan frowned, setting his phone to the side.  “Why would you be nervous?”

“Well...Roman found out I’m anorexic,” Patton admitted with a tense shrug.  “And I haven’t talked to him about it yet. So - “

“Patton?”

Patton jumped, turning to face Roman as he sat down.  “Oh! Hey, Ro.”

“Can I talk to you?” He glanced pointedly at Logan.  “Alone?”

“Virgil told me what you want to talk about, and you can talk about it here.  Logan knows.”

Roman’s eyes widened.  “So everyone knew except me?”

“Not everyone!” Patton assured him quickly.  “No. Logan and Virgil both knew about my blog before they ever met me in real life, so they kind of just knew from the start.  We had a different situation, obviously.”

“You could’ve told me,” Roman protested weakly.

Patton shook his head.  “I know you wish I had, but until you’ve got to deal with something like this, you can’t understand how hard it is to talk about.  I just didn’t want anyone worrying about me.”

“Well, it’s a little late for that,” Logan interjected.  “You know I’ve been concerned for your wellbeing since our first conversation.”

Patton smiled ever so slightly.  “Thanks, Logan, but I’m fine. Really.”

Logan frowned.  “Do you honestly believe that?”

Patton fell silent.

“Look, Patton, you’re my brother,” Roman interrupted.  “I’m here for you because I want to be, alright?”

Patton nodded.  “Got it.”

“Do you want to go buy lunch?”

Patton bit his lip, shaking his head.  “I, um...I’ve been trying to start small.  With healthy stuff, I guess. I have some fruit in my bag.”

“So you’re trying to recover?” Roman asked hopefully, and Patton nodded.

“Sort of.  Little by little.”

“I know this is a long shot, but do you want to talk to Mom about it?”

Patton quickly shook his head again.  “I can’t. I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay.  I get it,” Roman assured him.  “I really am here for you, okay?”

“Okay.”

 

living-logically, October 7, 6:37 AM

[Image attached - a constellation in the night sky, stars connected by lines showing its shape.]

The Orion constellation is one of the most famous, easily visible from November to February.

 

Comments:

prince-charming: patton says he likes the redesign

living-logically: I’ll be sure to thank him.

 

“Morning, Logan!  Roman’s busy, so it’s just us again.”

Logan glanced up from his lunch, but the expression on Patton’s face caught his attention.  “...Is something wrong?”

Patton just shrugged, rubbing his eyes, and Logan’s gaze caught on the way they were already red and raw.

“You’ve been crying.”

“I-I guess,” Patton managed.

“Why?”

Patton shook his head slightly.  “I’m one hundred percent certain that you wouldn’t get it.”

“It could still help to talk about it,” Logan insisted.

“It’s just…” He trailed off with a sigh.  “It’s my dysphoria. I’m - I’m not a girl, but I still look like one, and I can’t stand it anymore.”

After a moment of observation, Logan stood, picking up his bag as well as Patton’s.  “Luckily, I drove here today.”

Patton’s brow furrowed as he stood and quickly followed Logan outside.  “Where are we going?”

“To get lunch and then to get you a haircut.”

“What?”

“If you want to, of course,” Logan added.  “I wouldn’t force it on you, but I believe you’ve mentioned distaste for your current hairstyle, and it could help with your dysphoria.  Given your age, I can only assume that you haven’t made any changes due to your parents, and while I’m usually not one for rebellion, there’s very little they can do unless they don’t know until after the fact.  Here’s my car.”

Logan put both of their bags in the backseat, getting in on the driver’s side as Patton settled into the passenger’s side.  “Are you serious?”

“I always am.  So, what do you think?  We might not make it back before the end of lunch, but health and study hall aren’t exactly the worst classes to miss.”

Patton broke into a grin.  “Let’s do it.”

 

As they left the hair salon, Logan could see Patton smiling from the corner of his eye.

They both remained silent as they got back in the car.  They’d missed health and part of study hall, but oddly, Logan didn’t particularly mind.

Patton meant more to him than perfect attendance, anyway.

“So,” Logan began, turning to Patton after buckling his seatbelt.  “Are you feeling any better?”

Before he could even process what was happening, Patton had leaned across the center console and pressed a kiss to his lips - short, barely even there, but a kiss nonetheless.  “Yeah. A lot. Thank you, Logan.”

Logan froze as Patton glanced in the rearview mirror, running his fingers through his shorter hair.

“Uh, everything okay over there, Lo?”

He cleared his throat.  “You do realize what you just did, don’t you?”

Patton blushed.  “Yeah. Are you thinking about it?  Is there something you want to say?”

“Not much, at the moment,” Logan admitted.  “I think I need to...process that.”

“Of course.”

After a lengthy pause, Patton spoke again.

“Do you want me to drive?  You seem kind of distracted.”

“...That might be wise.”

 

PM between living-logically + prince-charming, 3:18 PM

living-logically: This may be an awkward conversation to have, but I would like your input on a problem I have.

prince-charming: what’s up, nerd?

living-logically: I really should have expected that.

living-logically: Anyway...as you may be aware by now, Patton and I left school during lunch.

prince-charming: oh, yeah!  his hair looks amazing.

living-logically: That is beside the point.

living-logically: Before we returned, he kissed me.

prince-charming: wait like on the lips?

living-logically: Yes.

prince-charming: okay hold on a second, i’ll be right back

 

As the bus stopped, Roman stood and quickly switched to the seat behind Patton and Virgil.

Virgil looked up, smiling slightly as he realized who it was behind them.  “Hey, Princey.”

“Hi, Stormcloud,” Roman replied with a grin.  “As much as I’d love to make you blush, I’m actually here for my brother.”

Virgil blushed anyway.

Patton turned around in his seat to face Roman.  “What’s up?”

“You didn’t tell me you kissed Logan earlier!”

“...I take it he told you?” Patton asked with a quiet laugh.

“Yeah, he did!”

“Wait, you kissed Logan?” Virgil interrupted, turning to join the conversation.

Patton nodded.  “Right after my haircut.  He asked if I was feeling any better, and I just...kissed him.  I don’t know. It felt right.”

“Alright, okay, I need to reply, because he messaged me,” Roman said quickly.  “Give me a second.”

 

living-logically: Roman?

prince-charming: okay i’m back

prince-charming: why did you say it was a problem?

living-logically: Because, well...what if he didn’t mean it in the way that I thought he did?  I find it difficult to believe that he could actually be attracted to me physically or romantically, and he did it so casually that it could have just been a friendly gesture.

prince-charming: i mean this in the kindest way possible, but you are the dumbest person i’ve ever met.

prince-charming: he likes you, logan!  romantically!  

prince-charming: talk!!  to!!!! him!!!!!!!

living-logically: But how?

prince-charming: lol idk

prince-charming: virgil and i have been flirting and holding hands on the bus but have i asked him out yet?  no sir

prince-charming: what makes you think i know how to talk to guys?

living-logically: And you say I’m the dumb one.

prince-charming: oh shut up nerd

living-logically: Anyway, thank you, Roman.  I’ll certainly keep this in mind.

prince-charming: good luck!!

 

“Did he say anything?” Patton asked, watching Roman intently.

“I guess you’ll have to find out yourself,” Roman replied with a smug smile.  “But I’m going to tell you the same thing I told him: talk to him about it.”

Patton raised an eyebrow.  “You might want to take your own advice there.”

Roman let his head fall back against the seat with an exasperated sigh.  “And that was basically his reaction. You guys are going to be such a power couple.”

Patton grinned.  “I know.”

Chapter Text

anxietea, October 8, 6:12 AM

i’ve gained a lot of followers since roman reblogged my one post, so...welcome, i guess?  it’s weird that you all know my life story and to me, you’re just pixels. i’d say feel free to message me but...anxiety’s a bitch, so maybe give me a little warning first.

 

“Hey, Ro.”

Roman looked up from his phone, his gaze brightening when he saw Virgil.  “Morning, Stormcloud. How’d you sleep last night?”

“Is ‘no’ an answer to that question?”

Roman raised an eyebrow.  “You didn’t sleep?”

Virgil shook his head.

“Did you at least eat something?”

“Nope.”

“Why not?”

Virgil snorted.  “You know me, Princey.  Do you really need to ask?”

Roman frowned.  “Virge, I’m worried about you.”

“You shouldn’t be.  Everything’s okay,” Virgil insisted.

“That’s a damn lie and you know it.”

“I’m fine,” Virgil snapped.  “Just leave me alone.”

“What you’re doing…” Roman began, hesitating slightly.  “Stormcloud, you’ve got to listen to me. This is not healthy.”

“Why don’t you worry about your brother instead?” Virgil shot back.  “He’s anorexic, too.  So why are you so stressed over my mental health?”

“Because Patton’s at least trying to recover,” Roman pointed out.  “You’re just letting yourself die. This has already landed you in the hospital once before.”

“I’m sick!” Virgil said, his voice rising for a moment before he forced it back down, lowering it to an intense hiss.  “And you can’t just fix me, okay? This isn’t something you could ever know how to fix. My brain is fucked up and I’m tired and I’m lonely and I’m - damn it, Roman, I’m just sick.”

“But you don’t have to be,” Roman pointed out, his tone gentle.

Virgil shook his head minutely.  “You don’t get it.” His voice was soft, but it cracked as he spoke.  “And honestly, I’m glad you don’t, because no one should, but I’m obviously not lucky enough to avoid it.  Alright? I’m sorry, but I’m just not meant to be okay.”

“Virgil…”

“Drop it, Roman.”

Roman did.

 

Roman: Patton...I think I screwed up.

 

Patton: What happened?

 

Roman: Can we talk at lunch?

 

Patton: Logan asked me out, but I can cancel if you need me to.

 

Roman: I couldn’t ask you to do that.  We’ll just talk at home.

 

Patton: At least tell me what’s wrong.

 

Roman: The bell’s about to ring.  I’ll see you later.

 

“Patton?  Is everything alright?”

Patton glanced up from his phone, over at Logan in the driver’s seat.  “Yeah, yeah, I’m just...I’m a little worried about Roman.”

“Why?”

“He says he thinks he screwed up, but he won’t tell me anything else,” Patton explained.  “It’s weird.”

“Do you want to go talk to him?  We could always reschedule,” Logan offered.

Patton shook his head.  “I already asked Roman about that, and he said that we can just talk when we get home.”

Logan looked over at Patton for a long moment before fixing his gaze back on the road.  “What do you want to do?”

Patton smiled slightly.  “I want to enjoy our first date.”

“Then let’s enjoy it.  If Roman needs something, he’ll text you again.”

“You’re probably right,” Patton decided.  “Let’s just go.”



PM between living-logically + prince-charming, 12:23 PM

prince-charming: so how was your date?

living-logically: I believe it went well, but wouldn’t you rather ask Patton’s opinion?

prince-charming: i think you need more help in this department than he does.

living-logically: ...You know what?  That’s fair.

living-logically: We got lunch.  It was nice. I really do enjoy his company.

prince-charming: did you guys kiss?

living-logically: Oh, would you listen to that, the bell’s ringing.  I should go!

prince-charming: lol nerd

 

“Did you and Patton go out for lunch?”

Logan’s face flushed as he slid his phone into his pocket, whispering to the back of Virgil’s head.  “Yes.”

“He seems happy,” Virgil murmured.

“I hope he is.”

“You seem pretty happy, too.”

“I am.”

 

Roman: You and Logan totally kissed

 

Patton: Roman!  We’re in class!

 

Roman: Lol

Roman: I asked him about it and he got super embarrassed so of course I’d be curious

 

Patton: Well, if you really want to know, we did kiss, and more than once

Patton: Not that it’s really any of your business!!

 

Roman: Aha

Roman: My suspicions have been confirmed

Roman: You guys definitely made out

 

Patton: Maybe :)

 

Roman: You like him a lot, don’t you?

 

Patton: Honestly?  Yeah

Patton: I’m scared

 

Roman: Why?

 

Patton: I don’t want to screw this up

 

Roman: You won’t.

Roman: You’re not me.  You couldn’t screw it up even if you tried.

 

Patton: What do you mean?

Patton: What happened?

Patton: ...Roman?

 

Virgil was already on the bus when Roman arrived.

“Stormcloud?”

Virgil didn’t reply.

“Virgil, please talk to me.  I didn’t mean to hurt you, I’m just...I’m worried.”

Virgil pulled out one of his earbuds with a sigh.  “I know.”

“Are you mad?”

Virgil shook his head.  “I just wish you would stop worrying about me, or that I wasn’t like this, or just that I could be normal and not hate myself.  I don’t know.”

“I’m here for you,” Roman said softly, reaching out and gently taking Virgil’s hand.

Virgil shifted closer until their sides were pressed together, and Roman wrapped an arm around Virgil’s shoulders, noticing the tears in his eyes but staying silent.

Neither of them spoke for the rest of the bus ride.

 

“Roman, Catherine!”

Their mother greeted them with a stiff smile, and Roman frowned.

She’s acting weird…

“Your father came home early,” their mother continued.  “He’s in the living room. Why don’t you go and say hello?”

Patton and Roman exchanged a nervous look before walking together to the living room, where their father was indeed waiting on the couch.

“You got a haircut,” he said to Patton, not even offering them a greeting first.

“Uh, yeah.”

His brow furrowed, and he scanned Patton for a moment before speaking again.  “You look like a dyke.”

Patton jerked back, eyes wide.  “Wh-what?”

“Dad!” Roman snapped.

“What?  She does.”

“But you can’t just say stuff like that!” Roman protested.

“What will your teachers think?” Their father asked, directing his attention back to Patton.

“Actually, a-a lot of them have said they like it,” Patton said.  “And I’m not - I don’t like girls, Dad. Really. I just thought it would look nice.”

“And you didn’t even think to ask if you were allowed to cut it?”

“I’m sixteen.  I can make my own decisions.”

Their father turned his glare on Roman.  “Did you know she was planning this?”

“No.”

“You’d have told us if you did, wouldn’t you?  And you’d tell us if she was a dyke?”

Roman winced, but he didn’t say anything.

Wouldn’t you?”   He glared for a moment longer, but when he got no response, he continued.  “I won’t have this type of behavior in my house. My kids are not going to turn into fags, got it?”

Roman glanced over at Patton.  He looked as if he was near tears.

“I mean, take Roman, for example.  He’s the perfect kid. He’s never done anything rebellious, he’s polite, he rarely talks back...and maybe he hasn’t found a girlfriend yet, but at least he’s trying, aren’t you, son?”

“Sure, Dad,” Roman muttered.  “Can we just go?”

“We’re talking about this later,” their father said sternly.

Roman grabbed Patton’s arm and pulled him upstairs into his own room, slamming the door.

Patton just stood there for a moment, wrapping his arms around himself and staring down at the ground as Roman laid down on his bed.

“I’ve never seen him like that,” Patton said eventually.

“Yeah, well, that’s because he’s not usually around long enough to trash-talk gay people like that,” Roman pointed out with a sigh.

“He said I look like a dyke.”

“He said I’m the ‘perfect child.’”  Roman snorted. “He’s wrong about a lot of shit, Patton.”

Patton nodded slightly, though the words didn’t really seem to register.

“Come sit,” Roman said, stretching out his leg to nudge Patton with his foot.  “Do you want to call Logan?”

Patton nodded again, sitting on the edge of the bed and pulling out his phone, his gaze distant as if he was on autopilot.  When he didn’t move for a while, Roman gently took the phone from his hand and found Logan’s contact information, quickly calling him and putting him on speaker.

“Hello?”

“Hey, Logan.  It’s Roman.”

“Oh.”  A pause.  “I - I thought this was Patton’s number?

“Yeah, it is.  He’s just a little…”  Roman glanced at Patton, biting his lip.  “He’s not doing great at the moment.”

“What happened?  Is he okay? How can I help?”

“Slow down.  He’s fine, just a little shook up, I think.”

“Why?”

“Our dad,” Roman began.  “He has a problem with Patton’s haircut.  Said it makes him look like a dyke.”

“...That’s horrible.”

“I know,” Roman agreed.  “He also said that no child of his is going to ‘turn into a fag,’ which is both offensive and literally impossible.”

“Is Patton there?”

“Yeah.  Do you want to try to talk to him?”

“Of course.”

Roman nodded, tapping Patton on the shoulder.  “Pat? Logan wants to talk to you.”

Patton took the phone, looking down at it but staying silent.

“Patton?”  Logan’s voice was so soft, so gentle, in a way that Roman had never heard from him before.  “Can you hear me?”

“Y-yeah,” Patton said, his voice initially faltering.  “Lo?”

“Yes,” Logan replied.  “It’s me. Are you alright?”

Patton hummed in confirmation.  “Just...not great.”

“What can I do for you?”

Patton swallowed hard.  “I don’t know.”

“He had no right to say that,” Logan added.  “Any of it.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“Do you feel safe staying there tonight?  You’d be welcome to stay with me. Both of you.”

Roman glanced at Patton again, and he seemed unresponsive.  “That might actually be a good idea...we’d have to sneak out, though.  Our parents would never let that happen.”

“Are you sure it’s worth the risk?” Logan asked.  “If you two get hurt…”

“I’m sure,” Roman said firmly.

“Alright.  What time will you be here?”

Roman pulled out his own phone, checking the time.  “Give us an hour or so.”

“I’ll see you then.  And Patton?”

Patton practically jumped.  “What?”

“...I genuinely care about you.  I hope you know that. I’ll see you soon, dearest.”

Chapter Text

PM between anxietea + prince-charming, 4:02 PM

prince-charming: hey.  patton and i are staying at logan’s tonight.  our dad’s being a piece of shit.

anxietea: what happened?

prince-charming: he said patton’s haircut makes him look like a dyke.

prince-charming: ...virgil?

anxietea: that asshole.

anxietea: where is he?  i’ll fight him.

prince-charming: please don’t okay

prince-charming: that would be dangerous

anxietea: i know, but he can’t just say that to patton!  patton’s a literal fucking ray of sunshine, he doesn’t deserve that!

prince-charming: i know.  trust me, i know.

anxietea: so what are you guys going to do?

prince-charming: we’re waiting til we can sneak out so we can go to logan’s

anxietea: this might be a long shot, but can i come over?  i really want to make sure patton’s alright, and i could probably help you guys sneak out.  plus, i’m really good at pretending to be straight.

prince-charming: apparently i am too

anxietea: that sounds like a story

prince-charming: my dad said i’m the “perfect child,” and that i may not have a girlfriend yet, but i’m trying to find one.  little does he know lmao

anxietea: wow.

anxietea: anyway…?

prince-charming: yeah.  come on over.

anxietea: be right there.

 

“Who are you?”

Virgil offered the woman in the doorway a polite smile.  “Hi, I’m Virgil. One of Catherine’s friends.”

She smiled in return and raised an eyebrow.  “Just a friend?”

Virgil ducked his head, faking shyness.  “You’d have to ask her that.”

“Well, I’m Mrs. Prince.  I’m afraid things are a little bit tense here at the moment between Catherine and her father, but she should be upstairs if you’d like to go see her.”

“That would be wonderful.”

“Okay!  Just up there, the second door on the right.”

Virgil thanked her, walking up the stairs and stopping when he heard Roman’s voice through the door next to Patton’s.

“Seriously, it’ll be fine.  Virgil’s going to help us. He’s probably here.”

“But what if he sees us?”

“He won’t.”

Virgil knocked on the door, and Roman answered it with a tight-lipped smile.  “Hey.”

“Hey.  Can I come in?”

Roman stepped to the side, gesturing for Virgil to come in, and closing the door behind him.  Virgil sat down next to Patton on Roman’s bed, placing a hand on his shoulder.

“You okay?”

Patton shrugged.

“Your dad’s a jerk.”

“Yeah,” Patton said with a slight laugh.

“Also, just a heads-up, I think your mom thinks we’re dating.”

Patton’s eyes widened.  “What?”

“Yeah, I’m kind of pretending to be straight.”

Patton shook his head, smiling ever so slightly.  “You’re ridiculous.”

“You really are,” Roman chimed in, sitting down next to Virgil and draping an arm across his shoulders.  “I mean, you could’ve at least corrected her on which of her kids you’re into.”

Virgil blushed, shoving Roman’s arm off of his shoulders.  “Shut up, dumbass.”

“Language, kiddo,” Patton chided him.

“Okay,” Virgil interrupted, “let’s just get you two to Logan’s.  Do you know the address? I drove here.”

“I didn’t know you had a car,” Patton said.

“I don’t.”  Virgil grinned, though it was edged with discomfort.  “My dad’s on a trip and my mom is passed out on the couch, so I took the car.”

“I hate your parents.”

“You’ve never met them, Ro,” Virgil pointed out.

“Yeah, but they sound horrible.”

Patton hummed in agreement.  “Well, I’m going to be your new dad now.”

Virgil smirked.  “Only if Logan can be my new mom.”

 

Patton: Virgil’s driving us to your house

 

Logan: Okay.  Would he like to spend the night as well?

 

Patton: He said that if you’re okay with it, he’d love to.

 

Logan: Of course.

 

Patton: Great.  We’ll be there in fifteen minutes.

Patton: Thank you so much for this, Lo <3

 

Logan: It’s no trouble.

 

Patton set his phone to the side, staring out the passenger’s side window as Virgil drove, The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack playing quietly through the car’s speakers.  Roman was humming along in the backseat, and Virgil was tapping a rhythm on the steering wheel with his thumb.

After a few minutes, Virgil stopped outside of a house, pausing the music and unbuckling his seatbelt.  “We’re here.”

Patton got out of the car, grabbing his backpack and looking up to see Logan standing on the front porch, putting his phone in his pocket as he watched the three of them getting out of the car.

Virgil made his way up the driveway to the front porch, nodding at Logan from a few feet away.  Logan returned Virgil’s nod before brushing past him and stopping in front of Patton.

“Patton?”

“Hi.”

“Is it alright if I hug you?”

“Yeah.”  Patton’s breath hitched.  “Please.”

Patton didn’t even look up as Logan’s arms wrapped around him.  He tucked his head into the crook of Logan’s neck, forcing himself to even out his breathing.

“Are you okay?” Logan asked, his voice barely more than a whisper by Patton’s ear.

“Better now,” Patton replied.

Logan chuckled softly, pulling away and gently taking Patton’s hand.  “It’s chilly. Let’s get you inside.”

Virgil and Roman were talking in hushed voices, but they looked up as Logan and Patton walked past, following them inside and up to Logan’s room.

Once they got there, Logan guided Patton to sit down on his bed.  “Is there anything I can do for you?”

Patton shrugged.  “It just...scared me.  I didn’t know he was like that.”

Logan hesitated for a moment, then shifted closer and laid an arm across Patton’s shoulders.  “Is this helping?”

Patton nodded, focusing on the warm weight of Logan’s arm and letting it ground him, trying to ease the tension in his muscles.

“Roman, Virgil, could you go downstairs and get Patton some water?”  He glanced at Patton, only briefly. “And something to eat as well?”

Patton’s head shot up to meet Logan’s gaze, alarmed.

“You know you need to eat something,” Logan said, his tone so gentle that Patton felt like crying again.  “Please. At least an apple.”

Patton shuffled closer to Logan’s side and nodded.

“Would you mind getting that for him?” Logan asked Roman and Virgil.

“Not at all,” Roman said, grabbing Virgil’s hand and pulling him out into the hallway.  “Come on, Stormcloud. Let’s leave them alone for a second.”

Once Roman and Virgil were gone, Patton felt Logan shift to look at him.  “Are you sure there’s nothing else I can do?”

“...I just want to be okay,” Patton said softly, fighting back the tears in his eyes.

“You will be,” Logan insisted.  “You’re sixteen. Two more years until you can move out.”

“But they’re - they’re my parents, Lo.  I can’t just abandon them the second I turn eighteen.”

Something in Logan’s gaze turned cold, but Patton knew it wasn’t directed at him.  “You don’t owe them a thing, Patton. The way they treat you is their own fault, and you shouldn’t put yourself in harm’s way just because they raised you.”

“I know, but - “

“I apologize for interrupting, but think, really think about how you want to end that sentence.”

Patton hesitated for a few moments before he shook his head.  “You’re right. I can’t just make excuses for them.”

There was a knock on the door before Virgil came in with a glass of water, handing it to Patton and sitting down on the floor in the middle of the room.  “Hey. Roman’s talking to Logan’s mom. He’ll be up soon.”

Patton smiled slightly.  “Thanks, kiddo.”

“How are you feeling?” Virgil asked.

“I don’t know.  Tired, I guess. Still a little shaken.”

“Do you want to lay down?” Logan asked.

Patton took a sip of his water before setting down his glass.  “Yeah. Will you stay?”

“As long as you want me to, dearest.”

 

PM between living-logically and anxietea, 5:43 PM

anxietea: is he asleep?

living-logically: I think so.

anxietea: i’ll get that apple from roman and leave it here.  make sure he eats it when he wakes up. is there somewhere he and i can go where we won’t bother you guys tonight?

living-logically: The guest bedroom, across the hall.  If the two of you don’t mind sharing a bed.

anxietea: you did that on purpose

living-logically: Perhaps, but you do have a choice in the matter.

anxietea: i’m fine with it.

living-logically: Just let me know if you’re uncomfortable and we can figure out a better arrangement.

living-logically: In case Patton doesn’t wake before you and Roman fall asleep, have a nice night.

anxietea: you too.

 

Logan set his phone on his nightstand, trying to move as little as possible so he didn’t wake Patton, who had tucked himself into Logan’s side.  He had fallen asleep not long after, but Logan was still wide awake.

He just couldn’t understand.

It wasn’t often that he didn’t understand something.  He always tried to see every side of an argument, but there were some viewpoints that he just couldn’t sympathize with - such as Patton’s father’s blatant homophobia.

He refocused his attention on Patton, who seemed so peaceful at first glance, but Logan could still feel his ribs and hipbones, and every time he blinked he swore he could still see Patton’s teary gaze imprinted on his eyelids.

He cared about that boy so damn much, and the oddest part was that for once in his life, he didn’t regret it.

 

prince-charming, October 8, 5:56 PM

Hello, my friends.

Due to recent events, I really can’t get your asks answered.  My inbox is already full and I need to answer all of those messages before I can accept anymore.

So, until further notice, asks are closed.  I’m really sorry. But if you do have a problem, just make a post about it, tag me, and I may reblog it and let my followers try to help out.

Thanks for understanding.

Roman

 

“Come on, Princey.  We’re staying in the guest bedroom.”

Roman looked up, putting his phone in his pocket and standing.  “Sounds good. Does Patton seem okay?”

Virgil smiled slightly.  “It looks like Logan’s got it covered.”

Roman nodded, satisfied, and followed Virgil into the guest bedroom across the hall, laying down on one side of the bed while Virgil sat on the other side.

“I closed asks on my blog,” Roman said, biting his lip.

“Finally.”

“What?”

Virgil turned to Roman with a stern look and a raised eyebrow.  “I’m not stupid. I know that blog stresses you out. If you’re not doing homework, you’re answering asks.  If you’re not doing that, you’re answering private messages.  You’re being too hard on yourself.”

Roman frowned.  “Really?”

Virgil rolled his eyes.  “Ro, you’re nearly as sleep-deprived as I am.”

Roman opened his mouth to protest, but Virgil interrupted.

“No.  Listen.  We’re going to lay down and both go the fuck to sleep, because I’m exhausted and I know you are too.  I’ll actually eat tomorrow. I’ll try to take care of myself a little better. All I ask is that you do the same.”

Roman stared at him for a moment, shocked into silence, before he pulled off his shoes and slid between the covers on the bed.

Virgil smiled as he did the same, reaching over to turn off the lamp beside the bed and then turning back to face Roman.

“Stormcloud?” Roman whispered, trying to make out the shape of Virgil’s face in the dark.

“Yeah?”

“...I love you.”

Virgil made a noise somewhere between a laugh and a quiet, choked sob.  “I know, dumbass. I love you, too.”

“Why did Patton and Logan get together faster than us?  I’ve been flirting with you since we met.”

“I don’t know.”

“Well, do you... want to be together?”

Virgil didn’t speak for a long moment, and Roman started to think he might’ve fallen asleep, until - 

“Can we not label it?  I just - I love you, and you love me, and can we leave it at that?  I don’t want to have one of those talks about what we are, or what we’re doing, or where this is going.  I just want to know where the boundaries are and see where we go from there.”

“Okay,” Roman agreed softly.  “So...we’re just us.”

“We’re us,” Virgil confirmed.  “That’s good. I like that.”

“I like you.”

Virgil laughed, though he muffled it with the sleeve of his hoodie.  “You’re so weird.”

“Right back at you, Stormcloud.”

“Go to sleep, Princey.”

Chapter Text

anxietea, October 9, 4:27 AM

not-so-friendly reminder:

if you’re transphobic, get the fuck off my blog and reevaluate your point of view.  thanks.

 

“What happened to taking care of yourself?  It’s five in the morning.”

“Actually, it’s four forty-three,” Virgil corrected, setting his phone on the nightstand and flashing Roman an exasperated look.  “And you’re awake too, so you can’t talk.”

Roman rolled his eyes.  “I guess not. Are Patton and Logan awake?”

Virgil shook his head.  “I checked. They’re both still sleeping.”

“Good.”  Roman sighed.  “I’m still pissed at my dad.”

“You and me both,” Virgil replied.  “Part of me wants to go back to your house and just straight-up punch him in the nose.”

Roman shrugged.  “That’s probably going easy on him, for how shitty a person he is, but let’s wait until we know he’s not going to just take it out on one of us.”

“...Has he ever, you know, hit you?  Or Patton?”

Roman quickly shook his head.  “He’s homophobic and transphobic and generally horrible, but he never gets violent.  The pain’s in the words, especially hearing them from our own dad.”

“That’s how my parents are, too,” Virgil said.

“I used to admire him,” Roman admitted quietly.  “I thought he was just the best. And, I mean, I obviously realized he was homophobic at some point, but sometimes I would still wish that he could be...my dad again.  Because it feels like he isn’t, and I can’t figure out what changed between then and now.”

“I’m sorry,” Virgil said after a moment’s hesitation, because really, what else could he say?

“It’s fine.  It’s harder on Patton than it is on me.”

“But it’s clearly still bothering you,” Virgil insisted.

“Can we just drop it for now?” Roman asked.  “It sucks to talk about.”

Virgil nodded and tried to speak, but he was cut off with a yawn.  “I’m going to try to go back to sleep.”

Roman smiled slightly, opening his arms.  “Want to cuddle?”

“Only if you never call it cuddling again,” Virgil said with a snort, though he slotted himself between Roman’s arms anyway.

“You know you love me,” Roman teased.

“Unfortunately so.”

 

Hey, Pat.  Roman and I are downstairs if you need anything.  Drink more water, eat that apple, and if you’re still tired, get some more sleep.  Love you.

 -Virgil

 

Patton smiled, setting Virgil’s note back on the nightstand before pulling the blankets tighter around himself.

Logan, still half-asleep, murmured something incoherent, and Patton shuffled a bit closer.  “What was that?”

“I said good morning, but please don’t take all the blankets.”

“Don’t worry, I won’t,” Patton assured him, pressing a quick kiss to his cheek.  “Do you want to get up or stay here?”

Logan hummed in acknowledgement of the question, the arm resting on Patton’s waist tightening and pulling him a little bit closer.  “Can we stay?”

Patton laughed softly.  “You’re cute when you’re sleepy.”

“If you say so.”

For just a moment, Patton could forget.  He could forget that his body always felt off somehow, he could forget about calories and weight, and he could even forget about his father and the harsh comments from the night before.

But only for a moment, and then he caught a glimpse of his chest and he could see how wrong it was, even through the blankets and his thick sweater.  Then he saw the apple on the nightstand and started estimating again.  And then he caught his own reflection in the mirror by Logan’s bedroom door.

He squeezed his eyes shut, burying his face in Logan’s chest and trying to get back to that moment.

He couldn’t.

Logan had already fallen back asleep, so Patton very carefully slipped out of the bed, making his way downstairs.

Virgil and Roman were nowhere in sight, but there was a woman cooking in the kitchen.  She turned around when he came in, offering him a kind smile.

“You must be Patton,” she said.  “I’m glad to finally put a face to a name.”

Patton found himself smiling as well, despite the discomfort and dysphoria that lingered in his mind.  “Logan’s talked about me?”

“He’s hardly stopped talking about you, dear.”

Patton’s face flushed slightly, and he ducked his head.  “It’s nice to meet you, ma’am.”

Logan’s mother smiled, gesturing to the stools lining the counter across from the stove.  “Call me Amelia, dear. And please, sit down. We’ve got so much to talk about.”

Patton raised an eyebrow, making his way around the counter to sit.  “We do?”

Amelia offered him a mischievous grin, turning down the heat on the stove and turning to face him.  “Has Logan told you any stories from when he was younger?”

“No, but I’m guessing you have a few.”

“Oh, more than just a few,” Amelia said.  “We might be here for a while.”

Patton laughed.  “I don’t mind that at all.”

 

PM between living-logically and anxietea, 10:29 AM

anxietea: is patton awake yet?  i don’t want to text him in case it wakes him up.

living-logically: Well, I just woke up a few moments ago and he isn’t here, so I assume he’s downstairs.  Isn’t that where you are, too?

anxietea: roman and i are outside.  we...had a lot to talk about.

living-logically: I see.

living-logically: I’m going to find Patton.  Good luck talking to Roman, I suppose.

anxietea: thanks.

 

As Logan entered the kitchen, he noticed that Patton’s eyes were sparkling, one hand hovering just over his mouth as he laughed, looking about as comfortable and free as Logan had ever seen him.

Then he noticed the look on his mother’s face as he slid onto the stool next to Patton’s.

“Please tell me she hasn’t been telling you stories,” he pleaded.

“She’s been telling me stories,” Patton replied with a grin, kissing Logan briefly on the cheek.

Logan groaned, covering his face with one hand.  “Mother, I love you, but is this really necessary?”

His mother leaned over the counter to ruffle his hair.  “Yes. One hundred percent.”

Logan glared at his mother playfully - well, as playful as he was comfortable being - and smoothed down his hair before leaning his shoulder against Patton’s.  “Good morning, dearest.”

Patton turned his head just enough to catch Logan’s eye, his face still bright despite the fact that the volume of his smile had decreased.  “Morning.”

“Aren’t you two just adorable?” Logan’s mother said, sliding two plates of pancakes over the counter.  “I’m just going to take some food out to Roman and Virgil and then I have a few errands to run. Will you all be okay while I’m out?”

Logan nodded.  “We’ll be fine.  Thank you.”

His mother smiled brightly at them before leaving.

The back door closed behind her, and Patton draped one arm across Logan’s shoulders.  “Is it crazy that I absolutely love your mom?”

Logan chuckled.  “Not at all. I think she likes you, too.”

Patton beamed, taking a small bite of one of his pancakes.

“In all seriousness, though,” Logan began, turning in his seat to face Patton, “are you okay?”

Patton let his smile drop, pulling away slightly.  “I don’t know. I think I am, but there’s just no permanent fix for anything yet, you know?”

“I know.”

“But...getting away from my dad, seeing you, even talking to your mom...it’s helping.  I know I’ll have to leave at some point, but this is nice.”

Logan sighed softly.  “I wish I could do more.”

“Logan, you don’t seem to understand that you’ve already done more for me than anyone else I’ve ever met,” Patton pointed out.  “I don’t need anything else. Even if you hadn’t done so much, you’re enough.”

Logan placed one hand on Patton’s cheek, offering him a small, almost bittersweet smile before leaning in to kiss him.

“Are you sure?” He asked once he’d pulled away.

“One hundred percent,” Patton said, taking Logan’s hand from his cheek and lacing their fingers together.  “Thank you for this, Logan.”

“Of course.  I - “ Logan cut himself off, tensing slightly as he realized what he’d been about to say.

I love you.

He didn’t.  He couldn’t.  They’d known each other for a month, and they’d barely started dating.  He could not love Patton.  He couldn’t.  And even if he could, he certainly wasn’t ready to say it yet.

Then again, there were lots of things Logan had been told he couldn’t do over the years, and that never seemed to stop him.

Why should it stop him now?

 

prince-charming, October 9, 11:43 PM

As I’m cleaning out my inbox, I’m noticing a lot of asks along the lines of asking how to deal with a homophobic family.  I have a specific tag for that, so search for it on my blog and hopefully that can get some of your questions answered. If it doesn’t, let me know.

Love,

Roman

 

“Should we go back inside?  You look cold.”

“I’m not,” Roman replied, ignoring the fact that he was starting to shiver.

Virgil sighed.  “This is what I mean by taking care of yourself, Roman.  I’m not letting you freeze to death.”

“It’s not even that cold!”

“You’re wearing short sleeves, dumbass.”

“You know, some people call their partners cute nicknames.”

“Yeah, well, you knew what you were getting yourself into.  Come on, we’re going back inside.”

Roman rolled his eyes, standing and following Virgil back into the house, where Patton and Logan were sitting in the kitchen, one empty and one half-eaten plate of pancakes in front of them.

Patton turned around when he heard them enter, greeting them with a brilliant smile.  “Hey, kiddos!”

“Hey, Pat,” Virgil said with a casual nod.  “How are you feeling?”

Patton shrugged.  “Better, I think. How are you two?”

“I’m good,” Virgil said.  “Ro?”

“Cold,” Roman admitted, and Virgil chuckled.

“Do you want my hoodie?”

Roman’s face flushed as he nodded, trying to suppress his shy grin.

Virgil pulled off his hoodie, handing it to Roman, who immediately slipped it on, his smile growing until his gaze fell on the harsh scars lining Virgil’s wrists.

Virgil followed his gaze, crossing his arms as his shoulders hunched self-consciously.  “Don’t.”

Roman obediently looked away, biting his lip.

Patton cleared his throat, breaking the awkward silence.  “So, um, does anyone want to play a game?”

“What about Monopoly?” Roman suggested.

Virgil raised an eyebrow.  “...Patton, Logan? What do you guys think?”

“I think it’d be fun!” Patton said.

“I’d be willing,” Logan conceded.  “We have a board in the basement. I’ll go get it.”

“This is a recipe for disaster,” Virgil said as the door closed behind Logan.

“I know,” Roman replied, grinning.  “It’s going to be great.”

Chapter Text

anxietea, October 9, 12:57 PM

[Image attached - Roman, wearing Virgil’s hoodie, laying facedown next to a Monopoly board, seemingly unaware that the picture is being taken.]

@prince-charming is the biggest fucking idiot i’ve ever met.

 

in other news, @living-logically dominates at monopoly.

 

“Virgil!  You should be helping me!”

Virgil glanced up from his phone, raising an eyebrow at Roman.  “Oh, so when I was about to go bankrupt, you didn’t mind at all, but now that it’s your turn, I’m supposed to show you mercy?”

“...Yes?” Roman said hesitantly, more of a question than an answer.

“I don’t think so, Princey,” Virgil replied with a shake of his head.

Roman’s jaw dropped.  “This is betrayal.”

“Just playing the game, babe,” Virgil said, an echo of Roman’s words from earlier.

“You’re not even playing anymore, you’re out.”

“I mean, come on.  You should’ve known what you were in for when you suggested playing Monopoly against Logan, of all people.”

Logan watched their exchange with an expressionless gaze, save for his raised eyebrow.  “Are you going to roll?”

Roman sighed.  “Fine.” He rolled the dice, landed on Park Place - one of Logan’s many properties - and glanced down at his dwindling stack of fake money before meeting Logan’s eyes.  “I’m not getting out of this one, am I?”

“No.”

Roman pushing his money and mortgaged properties around the board toward Logan, making his way over to the wall that Virgil was sitting against, wrapping an arm around his shoulders.  “I hate this game.”

“You didn’t hate it when you suggested it,” Logan pointed out, collecting the dice and sliding them over to Patton.  “Your turn, dearest.”

Virgil’s attention turned back to his phone as it buzzed, and he winced.  “Shit. My mom wants to know where I am.”

Roman’s gaze caught on just a few words in the message, but that was enough to figure out that the tone wasn’t exactly kind.  “What are you going to say?”

“I’m just going to tell her I’m out with friends from school.  She’ll probably still be mad, but, well...it’s better than telling her any details.”  He typed something out and then set his phone on the ground next to him, leaning into Roman’s side.  “I hate her.”

“I know the feeling,” Roman replied.

Virgil offered him a tiny, bittersweet smile, and they both turned back to the game in front of them.

 

Mom: Catherine, Roman, where are you?

 

Catherine: We’re fine.  I just...couldn’t be around Dad last night.

 

Mom: I’m glad you’re safe, but please answer the question, sweetie.

 

Roman: We’re staying with one of my friends from school.

 

Mom: Is Catherine with that boy who came to the door yesterday?

 

Catherine: Oh my god, Mom

 

Mom: What?  I know what teenagers get up to!  I just don’t want you to do something you might regret!

 

Catherine: I’m not stupid.

 

Mom: I know that, Catherine.  Just be safe, please.

 

Catherine: Okay.

 

Roman: Don’t worry, Mom.  I’ll make sure nothing happens :)

 

Catherine: Roman!

 

Roman: What?

 

Mom: You two can continue this conversation in person.  Your dad had to go into work today, so please just make sure you’re home for dinner.

 

Roman: We will.

 

“Our mom wants us home for dinner,” Patton announced, turning off his phone and continuing to organize the fake money back into the Monopoly box.

Logan glanced at the clock on the wall.  “Well, it’s only one thirty. Virgil, do you know when you need to leave?”

“...Probably soon,” Virgil admitted with a sigh, standing.  “Patton, Roman, can you guys get a ride home?”

“I can take them,” Logan offered.

“Thanks,” Virgil said.  “It was nice to hang out with you guys, even if the circumstances were shitty.”

He turned to leave, but Patton jumped to his feet.  “Hey, Virgil, wait.”

“Yeah?”

“Just...thanks for helping me out yesterday.  I love you, kiddo.”

“Love you, too,” Virgil said with a tiny, warm smile.  “See you guys on Monday.”

 

living-logically reblogged from anxietea:

To be fair, he was the one that chose Monopoly.  Although I suppose that’s why you called him an idiot.

 

Comments:

prince-charming: you guys are mean :(((

anxietea: sure, babe

prince-charming: oh shit v i still have your hoodie

anxietea: my master plan worked >:)

living-logically: You two are disgusting.  Feel free to carry on with this conversation anywhere other than my blog.

prince-charming: i repeat, MEAN

prince-charming: if any of his followers are reading this, please note that his boyfriend is currently laying in his lap.  he’s worse than me and @anxietea

living-logically: Exposing me like this?  Really? And on my own blog, no less.

prince-charming: it’s your own fault.  you had it coming

 

“What’s so funny, Ro?”

Roman just grinned, passing his phone to Patton, whose head was resting against Logan’s leg as Logan ran a hand through his hair.

“Oh, my goodness.  I don’t understand you two,” Patton said, handing Roman’s phone back after a few moments.

“At least we’re getting along,” Roman replied, nudging Logan with his elbow.  “Right, nerd?”

“If you say so,” Logan said, a slight smile playing at his lips, though it was mostly aimed at Patton.

“You guys are too cute,” Roman complained, essentially letting his entire upper body fall to the ground.  “It’s killing me. Look, I’m dead. I’ve died. I couldn’t breathe, and I died from lack of oxygen to the brain.”

“And you call me the nerd here,” Logan quipped, eliciting a laugh from Patton.

Logan ducked his head to press a quick kiss to Patton’s forehead, and Patton blushed.

Next to them, Roman sighed, catching Logan’s attention.

“...You miss Virgil, don’t you?”

Roman sat up.  “Well, can you blame me?”

“What’s actually going on with you two?” Patton asked, meeting Roman’s gaze upside-down from his position, half in Logan’s lap.  “Did something happen last night?”

“Sort of,” Roman admitted.  “We...well, he didn’t want to label it, which I totally get, so I’m not entirely sure how to explain it, but something’s definitely happening.”

“I’m happy for you, Ro,” Patton said, tone genuine.  “And Virgil. He really does love you.”

Roman nodded, allowing himself a small smile.  “Yeah. I love him, too.”

 

Roman: good morning, darling <33

 

Virgil didn’t respond immediately, but Roman thought nothing of it.  It was eight in the morning and he was back at home, but fortunately his father wasn’t, so he went downstairs and poured himself a bowl of cereal, being the only one awake so far.  As he was finishing breakfast, though, his phone buzzed with a familiar text tone. He checked it and his heart did something strange - less skipping a beat, more faltering.

 

Virgil: Who is this, and why are you texting my son?

 

Roman: i’m one of his friends.  is everything alright?

 

Virgil: It will be if you tell me what’s really going on here.

 

Roman: i told you, we’re friends.

 

Virgil: With hearts?  And pet names?

 

Roman: yes.

 

Virgil: Tell me this, Roman.

Virgil: Are you two...involved, somehow?

 

Roman: why don’t you ask virgil instead?

 

Virgil: He’s lied before.  He’ll do it again to save his own ass.

 

Roman: what are you going to do to him?

 

Virgil: That’s irrelevant.

 

Roman: just tell me.

 

Virgil: You don’t need to know.

Virgil: I think I have enough information.  Goodbye, Roman.

 

Roman: wait wait wait

Roman: whatever you do, don’t hurt him

Roman: hello???

Roman: ...shit.