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Spilling His Guts

Chapter Text

TWO YEARS LATER

A thirteen-year-old boy sat in the centre of the living room carpet, humming quietly to himself as he polished one of his favourite daggers. He paused for a moment to admire his reflection in the shining blade, brow creasing when he spotted another dry blood stain on the handle. The light was off, but the TV was on, so he could still see well enough.

“There was another Royal Court attack last night.”

He glanced up at the screen, watching as an image of a crown with eight multicoloured gems appeared beside one of the news reporters. They’d spray-painted that image above a corpse about a year ago, having decided that one symbol for the whole family was better than eight little ones. Nowadays, they just doodled a tiny crown in blood beside the victims they wanted to take credit for, along with the aliases of the killers, but the spray-painting stunt had been fun.

“The victim was a Mr Calvin Roberts, the rich and well-beloved owner of Roberts Candy.”

Dorian snorted as he went back to carefully polishing his knife. Well-beloved? Yeah, right. Tell that to his wife – she had paid them (through Hart and Brian) to get the job done – and to the dozens of secretaries he’d had throughout the years.

“This particular murder was signed with the names Knight, Earl, and Viscount, a combination we haven’t seen in a while.”

That was Remy, Thomas and Emile, respectively.

“These serial killers tend to work in pairs.” The other news reporter added. “The Prince and the Knight are the most common, and they’re the ones who’ve been around the longest. The King and the Viscount also work together a lot, as do the Baron and the Earl, and the Duke and the Overlord.”

Roman and Remy, Patton and Emile, Dorian and Thomas, Logan and Virgil.

“The exact number of kills these monsters have executed is unknown, it’s common knowledge that they don’t take credit for all of the atrocities they commit, but it’s theorised that the number’s in the hundreds, maybe even thousands!”

Dorian snorted again. Thousands was a bit much, there were only eight of them, after all, and half of them had school, but hundreds was accurate enough.

“Some people like to call the Royal Court vigilantes, fascinated by their aliases, costumes, and various other theatrics, but the truth is that most of the victims were innocent.”

A lie.

“The police are doing everything they can to catch these killers, but none were willing to make a statement to us when we requested-”

The TV suddenly turned off, and the living room light turned on. Remy stepped inside.

“Bro, what are you doing?” He asked, hands on hips. “Get up, get ready, you and Thomas have a job.”

Dorian sighed, gathering his things and standing up. There was little relaxation in the life of a thirteen-year-old serial killer.

 

Chapter Text

It was a full moon, and the dark night twinkled with the light of a thousand stars. There were barely any streetlamps in this area, so the moon and stars were all that illuminated the dark alleyway, enveloping the two teenagers in the shadows, hiding them from any possible passersby – not that there had been any so far, this particular town was very sparsely populated.

“You can’t do it that way.” The older of the two scolded, breaking the silence.

Dorian stuck his tongue out at Thomas. “Can so.”

“No, you can’t, the poison will drip all over and get us caught,” Thomas snatched the knife from Dorian’s hands, nose wrinkling at the goopy green poison that trickled dripped down the sides. “Father taught you this a million times, you can’t just put poison on a knife and expect it to work.” He pulled a handful of wet wipes from his pocket – they were useful for cleaning up and evidence – and wiped away the poison, thankful that the full-body suit and gloves kept it from getting on him.

Dorian groaned, fiddling with his mask. “But it’s cool!” He’d recently upgraded to a yellow, black and silver suit instead of the green one he’d received two years prior.

“Then we’ll talk to Uncle Heart and get you something special,” Thomas said, handing him back the knife and stuffing the wet wipes into a plastic bag in a different pocket of the suit. “But leave this poor blade alone.”

“You’re no fun,” Dorian grumbled, pouting slightly as he poked at the serrated edge (the gloves were thick enough not to be so easily cut through). He’d wasted a lot of poison on that.

Thomas rolled his eyes, lightly elbowing his younger brother in the ribs. That started a small shoving match between the brothers (though not hard enough for either of them to fall from the wall they were perched on).

All of a sudden, they paused in unison, eyes catching on movement below. 

“She’s here.” 

Dorian felt his demeanor change. He straightened his back, sharpening and tensing, looking for all the world like a snake coiled to strike. A smirk slowly crawled onto his face. 

Their latest victim walked down the alley, completely oblivious to her predators above. Brian had been messaging her from an untraceable computer for the past week or so, pretending to be a young teenage boy – someone she would have been interested in – and they’d organized to meet up here, somewhere no one would find them.

Thomas and Dorian – now the Earl and the Baron – dropped from their hiding spot, boots hitting the ground with a loud thump. Dorian took a special delight in how the lady whirled around, eyes widening as his narrowed. 

“Missus Patricia Harwhile,” Thomas said coldly. “You’ve been very awful indeed.”

“Messing around with young men, much younger men,” Dorian mused, fiddling with his unfortunately unpoisoned knife. “Didn’t someone tell you that we don’t like that sort of thing?”

The woman swallowed, taking a step back. “I- um.”

“Save it.” 

Dorian stretched, his movements casual, ignoring her for the moment. “So! Earl-y Bird, what are you feeling tonight?”

Thomas hummed, taking his pistol from its holster and looking it over. “I’m thinking we just get this over with and shoot her.”

“Aw what?” Dorian exclaimed in a whine. “But I-”

He interrupted himself mid-sentence, catching sight of their victim trying to make a break for it. He threw two daggers. They landed in her legs, pinning her to the ground, and he turned back to Thomas, ignoring her desperate screams. 

“But I wanted to experiment tonight!” He continued, strolling over to the woman and pulling out one of the blades, looking it over. “You know, get a little crazy? Okay, well, maybe not crazy but just something else. Guns are so boring!”

“They’re also faster,” Thomas huffed, crossing his arms. “Dad’s making dumplings tonight and I don’t want my portion to get cold just cause you wanted to get nuts.”

“But EAAAAARRLLL!”

“No buts! Now do you wanna do the job or the rest of the preamble?”

Dorian huffed. “I’m quoting Arrow, though.”

Thomas shrugged, uncrossing his arms and aiming the gun at her forehead. “Whatever you like.”

Dorian beamed and turned back to Patricia. 

“Ms. Harwhile. You have failed this city.”

***

It took them about an hour to get home. Thomas had recently gotten his driver’s license, being 18 years old, and had driven the duo there and back – they’d switched out the license plates three times over the course of the journey, just in case (the family had stolen dozens of spares).

They arrived through the back door, wearing black hoodies over their suits and their masks stuffed into their pockets.

“Ah, good, you’re just in time.” Logan greeted, looking them over approvingly. “I trust you got the job done without any witnesses or evidence.”

“’Course we did.” Dorian smirked. “It was easy.”

Logan half-smiled, adjusting his glasses. “I taught you well.”

“Uh, actually, I think you’ll find that I taught them well. I was the original after all.” Roman teased, emerging from the other room and wrapping one arm around Logan’s waist. He pressed a kiss to his husband’s cheek and Dorian wrinkled his nose as he kicked off his boots.

“Ew, gross, get a room.”

Roman rolled his eyes, sighing dramatically. “Oh, how I miss when you were young, our little angel. Now you’re 13 and have joined your brothers with your sassy teenage angst.”

“When was he ever an angel?” Thomas laughed, teasing, laughing harder when Dorian whacked his shoulder.

“Yes, yes, you’re all demons, the lot of you.” Logan said dryly. “Now, dinner will be ready soon, so you’d better get showered and changed. Put your costumes and weapons in a bag to be sterilized and anything else that could be considered evidence in another bag to be destroyed. Thomas, use the main bathroom, Dorian use the one in our bedroom.”

“Yes, Father.” Thomas and Dorian chorused, and Roman reached out to ruffle both of their hairs before they left the room.

“They grow up so fast.” He said to Logan, pulling his husband close to his chest.

“Children tend to do that,” was his husband’s answer, before he pulled him into a light kiss.

Chapter Text

“We’re serial killers, Brian, not petty thieves.” Logan stated, arms crossed as he stared back at the other man. Logan and his three husbands were currently in their living room with Hart and Brian, their four teenagers walking back home from school as they spoke.

Hart gasped loudly at that. “The Bloody Necklace is one of the most valuable pieces of jewellery in the world! Stealing it would be so much more than petty thievery.”

“Well, I- wait, what did you just call it?” Logan responded, raising one eyebrow at the name.

“The Bloody Necklace.” Brian repeated. “It’s been colloquially nicknamed that because the sheer number of red gems on it makes the wearer look like their throat’s been slit.”

“Ooh,” Patton cooed. “Sounds pretty.”

“Also, hundreds of people have been killed over it.” Hart added, grinning widely. “That’s enough blood to fill multiple bathtubs.” His face suddenly turned serious. “I’d kill to wear that thing. Literally.”

Brian cleared his throat. “Yes, well, whilst I’m sure it would suit you, dear, we’re actually planning on selling it. We could make quite the profit from that thing, and it would secure us a lot of new clients. As such, I don’t trust anyone who isn’t family to get it for us.”

“Okay, and what exactly would we get out of this?” Virgil spoke up from one of the couches, legs sprawled across Roman’s lap as they scrolled through Netflix. They were the only two who weren’t standing; being the least involved with the business side of things.

“You mean aside from assisting the family business and getting to kill a bunch of criminals?” Brian responded dryly. “You’d also get to keep the rest of the jewels you find. They may not be as valuable as the Bloody Necklace, but they’d fetch you a tidy profit. With that on top of what you have already, you could easily get all four kids through whatever college they want – no debt, and still living as comfortably as you are now.”

The four husbands paused at that, thinking it over individually for a moment or two, before turning and glancing at each other. Eventually, Logan sighed.

“Okay, fine, what are the details of this… heist?”

Before anyone else could say anything, the living room door burst open, having been suddenly kicked open by Remy, making all six adults jump.

“Did someone say heist?” Remy grinned, hands on hips.

His brothers followed shortly behind him, Emile rolling his eyes at his twin’s antics, standing just behind him, as Thomas and Dorian made their way to the empty couch, dropping their schoolbags beside it and collapsing into the cushions.

Logan sighed. “Remy, please, you’re going to break the door.”

“We were standing there for about a minute.” Dorian said, though his words were slightly muffled by the cushions. “We heard pretty much everything you just said. He made us wait ‘til there was a word he could use for his dramatic entrance.”

Virgil snorted, poking Roman’s arm. “Oh, he’s your son, alright.”

“You say that like it’s an insult!” Roman gasped dramatically, before turning to Remy and grinning back at him. “I’d give that entrance an eight out of ten. It could have used more gay jokes and singing, otherwise it was perfect.”

Remy rolled his eyes, making his way over to where the rest of the adults were stood, Emile right behind him. “Sure, Pa.” He said sarcastically. “Next time I’ll do that.”

“How was school?” Patton piped up, leaning forward and ruffling both the twins’ hair. Remy grumbled a complaint, pushing his dad’s hand away and reaching up to fix his hair.

“It was okay.” Emile answered, holding back a laugh at Remy’s reaction, letting his dad continue messing with his hair. “We had a pop quiz, but I think I did okay.”

Dorian groaned, finally sitting up and crossing his arms. “School sucked; I hate my teacher.”

“Aww, he’s starting his angsty teen phase!” Hart cooed. “That’s adorable.”

The 13-year-old turned and glared (albeit weakly) at him.

“Hey,” Patton scolded gently. “Don’t glare at your uncle, that’s just rude.” Hart was Patton’s cousin, so he wasn’t technically their uncle, but it was close enough, so the kids just referred to Brian and Hart as that.

“Sorry, Uncle Hart.” Dorian mumbled reluctantly, but Hart just laughed, moving towards him and ruffling his hair.

After a few more moments of this, Logan cleared his throat. “Okay, well, as entertaining as this is, we really must get back on track. Brian, could you please give us the details of this heist.”

Brian nodded, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a folded piece of paper. He then moved over to the coffee table and knelt down, flattening the paper across it, and revealing the blueprints of a large warehouse.

“The owner of this warehouse is one Nathan Bakerson, the leader of the group of criminals currently in possession of this collection of jewellery. The building’s a six-hour drive away, so you’ll want to do this on a weekend, possibly a Friday night, to fit it in without disrupting school.” Brian started, the rest of the family gathering around the blueprints too. “As you can see, there’s a large main room, used mostly for storage, and multiple smaller rooms surrounding it. There aren’t any security cameras, according to our guy on the inside – he plans on staying home on the night of the heist, so you need not worry about accidentally killing him – and the jewels will be in the main room, heavily guarded. There’ll be a few dozen people there overall, and we suggest you kill everyone in all of the side rooms before you reach the main one, so you won’t have to worry about anyone escaping and calling for backup.”

Brian spent the next ten minutes or so going over some of the final details, before he finally looked up at the rest of the family.

“So, are you in?”

They all exchanged a few looks, before Roman turned to Brian and grinned.

“Definitely.”

***

A few hours had passed, and Hart and Brian had left and gone back home by now. Patton and Emile were baking in the kitchen, Virgil was taking a bath and Remy was chilling in his room, leaving the remaining four members of the family in the living room. Logan and Roman were on one couch – the former was currently tapping at his phone, a book laying in his lap, and the latter was scribbling enthusiastically in a notebook – and Thomas and Dorian were on the other couch, playing a card game and talking quietly.

After a few more minutes of this, Roman paused in his writing, reading over his words with a creased brow. He then began to sigh loudly and dramatically, doing so multiple times until his family finally took notice. Logan glanced up at Roman, giving him a look, before tapping at his phone a few more times and placing it down on the coffee table, beside Thomas and Dorian’s card game.

“Roman, just tell us what is wrong, your sighing is getting tedious.” Logan said, adjusting his glasses and giving his husband a pointed look.

“I’m glad you asked!” Roman exclaimed, sitting up straighter and brandishing his notebook. “I’m trying to write some dialogue for my next murder novel, but I just can’t tell if it flows well! I know I’m a genius when it comes to stuff like this, but writing’s just so hard! I’m stumped!”

Logan hummed in thought. “Well, I could look over it, too, if you so desire.”

“I appreciate the thought, my love.” Roman gave him a grateful smile. “But your talents lie in detecting grammatically errors, not in character’s emotions.” He paused for a moment, before his eyes lit up, and he turned to his two sons. “Thomas, Dorian, my amazing, beautiful, incredibly talented sons who I love very much…”

They both turned to him, Thomas with one eyebrow raised and Dorian with a dry look on his face.

“What do you want, Papa?” The 18-year-old asked, amused.

Roman grinned. “Well, you both share my love of acting, do you not?” They both nodded. “And you both clearly inherited by skill for it, of course. So, could you, I don’t know… maybe act out part of this scene for me? The characters are sitting down, so you wouldn’t have to move around much, and it’s not too long, I swear!”

Thomas blinked a few times in surprise, before reaching out and taking the notebook, placing it between himself and Dorian, so they could both read it.

“Just from the top of this page-” Roman pointed to the second open page. “-to the end of what I’ve written so far.”

Dorian snorted. “You named the girl ‘Dee’.”

“Yup!” Roman chirped. “You can be her, if you like. The backstory’s that Dee and her father are being threatened by an old family friend into helping him kill all of his enemies, and Dee accidentally dragged her best friend, Josh, into it. This scene’s them talking about it.”

Thomas and Dorian flicked through the pages of the section a few times, before the former cleared his throat and began to read.

“Dee,” He read softly. “It’s not your fault, it’s not either of our faults. We… we’re not… he’s making us do these things. If- if we don’t kill for him, he’ll torture and kill us himself!”

Dorian choked back a sob, and Roman’s grin widened with pride at his sons’ acting skills – they rivalled his own. Logan blinked a few times in surprise at that, slightly taken aback by how genuine their acting seemed.

“But… but… I don’t want to kill people.” Dorian whimpered, again alarming his fathers at how realistic it sounded. “Yesterday, he made me stab that guy… I had to watch as he bled out, begging for mercy. I know that Father said it wasn’t my fault, but…”

Thomas put one hand on Dorian’s shoulder – following the actions written in the notebook – using the other to turn the page.

“It’s not your fault.”

Dorian paused for a moment, eyes darting down to the page, before continuing. “Is it bad that I still care about him? I mean… most of the time, when we’re not actually- you know- doing the murdering, he’s just so nice! And I just… I don’t know…”

“I feel that way, too, sometimes.”

They stayed like that for a few more seconds, before both boys seemed to snap out of character in unison.

“I think it’s good!” Thomas smiled, picking up the notebook and passing it back to Roman. “Maybe you should cut down on the description a bit, though, it kinda decreases the emotional impact of the scene.”

Roman hummed in thought, looking over his pages again, as Logan picked his phone back up, tapping at it a few more times before pocketing it with a sigh.

“Well, thanks for the feedback, kids!”

Just as he finished saying that, Virgil came down the stairs, stepping into the living room, dressed in black and purple pyjamas with a golden crown in the centre of the shirt – Roman had gotten it for him. He paused as soon as he arrived, though, brow creasing when he spotted Dorian.

“Wait, have you been crying?”

Chapter Text

For the first time in a long time, the Sanders’ household was quiet. Patton and Roman were out on a date; Thomas, Remy and Dorian were all chilling in their rooms and Virgil, Logan and Emile were all in the living room. The two dads were seated on one couch, Virgil playing on his phone and Logan reading, while Emile sat on the other, chewing on his lip as he tried to concentrate on the TV.

All of a sudden, a knock sounded at the front door and Emile immediately sprung up to open it.

“I got it!” He shouted, loud enough for the whole house to hear. “No one else get it, I got it!”

Virgil exchanged an amused look with Logan, who flipped another page in his newspaper. “You know, dear? I think Toby might be coming over.”

“What would give you that impression?” Logan deadpanned. 

A few moments later, Emile came back into the living room, Toby trailing behind him. Both with cheeks a little pinker than before. Fortunately, Logan and Virgil weren’t the type to comment on that, as Patton and Roman definitely would have been.

“Toby’s here!” Emile said cheerfully.

A loud thud sounded from upstairs, followed by pounding footsteps as someone rushed down the staircase. Within moments, a beaming Remy was in front of Toby and Emile, his sunglasses a little lopsided on his face. 

“Dude!” He exclaimed, adjusting his sunglasses. “Did you get taller since I saw you?”

Toby snorted. “You just saw me two days ago, bro.”

“Which only proves that your dads are feeding you miracle grow or something,” Remy said. “You’re, like… two stories tall!”

Toby chuckled. “I’m only six five, dude.” 

“Like I said, two stories tall.” 

The three laughed for a bit before Remy dragged Toby over to the couch, shoving him onto it and then settling himself in his best friend’s lap. Emile giggled at the interaction and sat down beside them. Virgil and Logan exchanged another look and got up in unison, electing to retire to their bedroom and leave the teenagers to their own devices.

“So,” Toby said. “You guys do anything exciting without me?” 

“Nope,” Remy groaned. “It’s all been boring and gross. No one does anything fun or cool and I’ve been boooooreeeed.”

Toby snorted again, running his hand through Remy’s hair. “Sounds like it. Good thing I came to rescue you from that pit of boredom, huh?”

“If you can get him to stop saying he’s bored, too, we’ll get you a medal,” Emile said dryly.

“Hey!” 

Toby laughed at Remy’s indignant face. “Relax, Rem, I’m here now to cure you of your boredom. Wanna play some Smash Bros?”

***

Three tournaments later, and Remy remembered why he hated playing Smash with Emile. 

“How?” He demanded, almost pouting. “Tell me right now how you keep winning.”

Emile shrugged lightly. “I dunno, I’m just doing my best.”

“No! No, you’re literally not! You’re practically playing with one hand and as Rosaline! Literally the worst character you could play as. And yet… you keep beating us both!”

Emile shrugged again with a slightly sheepish smile. Toby chuckled, tossing his controller onto the couch. 

“Well, for starters, you suck at this game, Remy.” Toby said simply, and Remy squawked, which he ignored. “It’s not fair to compare anyone to you when you’re just… really bad at it.”

Emile giggled and Remy huffed. 

“Why does he keep beating you, then?” He asked. 

Toby shrugged. “I never said I was any good at Smash Bros either. Plus, Emile’s just good, man.”

Emile blushed at the compliment. “Thanks. I wouldn’t say I’m that good at it! I just… know you both really well. I can tell how you think and what you might do next so… yeah.” 

Toby and Remy blinked at him. 

“Em…” 

“Dude…”

“How the fuck are you able to keep your thoughts in one place long enough to not only figure out what’s going on in front of you but what’s gonna happen and what we’re gonna do?” Remy exclaimed.

“That’s incredible! I mean the level of focus-”

“That’s not FAIR! How come you’re so much smarter?” 

“I mean really it’s just-”

Remy gasped. “You stole all my brain cells from the womb, didn’t you?”

The blush in Emile’s cheeks dissipated and he rolled his eyes. “Yes, Remy. That’s exactly what happened, obviously. I, as a fetus, took all the brain cells while we were still being formed. Precisely.”

Remy pouted. “Well, no need to be so sarcastic, you’re starting to sound like Dorian.” 

Emile shrugged again with a smile. Remy glowered and turned to look at Toby to share in the indignancy. He paused, looking at his bestie. Toby was gazing at Emile, looking utterly besotted and in awe. His cheeks were dusted with pink and his eyes were wide, but soft, as he looked at Emile. 

He'd almost forgotten… ugh. Why couldn’t they just kiss already and make his life easier?

He groaned aloud and stretched, getting to his feet. “I’m getting snacks to make up for my bruised pride. And I’m making it with gluten so that the cheating thief of all my brain cells can’t have any!”

He stuck out his tongue and headed for the kitchen, ignoring their protests. 

Despite what he said, he made popcorn with M&Ms, a snack that everyone there could enjoy, but he drizzled chocolate over it, too, knowing the other two would complain. Victory. 

He sat down next to Toby with a smirk, the bowl in his hand proclaiming his win to Toby and Emile as he grabbed the remote. 

“Let’s watch TV or something,” He said. “I’m tired of losing.”

***

“So am I staying over tonight or…” Toby trailed off, once their second movie had finished

“Sure.” Remy said. “Let the dads know, Em, and I’ll pull out the spare mattress.”

Toby smiled and wandered off to make a phone call. The twins, meanwhile, wandered upstairs to let their dads know and start gathering blankets for an overnight blanket nest. 

“Do we still have his onesie from last time?” Emile asked. 

“More like from twenty-three times ago. But yeah, we’ve got it. Dad even washed it pretty recently so it’ll be all good and fluffy.”

“Toothbrush?”

“Yeah, we’ve always had a couple spares here.”

“What about tomorrow’s clothes?”

“Okay, mom, chill!” Remy exclaimed, rolling his eyes. “This isn’t the first time Toby’s stayed over and it’s not gonna be the last. What’s with the quizlet, babe?”

Emile sighed. “I don’t know. I’ve just got… a feeling. A feeling that everything’s gonna change really fast really soon.”

Remy reached over and poked his brother’s forehead. “Give that big brain of yours a rest. Being anxious is Pops and Thomas’ schtick, so let’s leave it to the experts. Even if something does change, we’ll handle it, ‘cos we’re the best and we’ve got each other no matter what.”

Emile rolled his eyes fondly but grabbed Remy’s hand, squeezing it. 

“Thanks, Rem.”

 

Chapter Text

“And then, Auntie April and I walked into the kitchen to find Patton – who was sixteen at the time, I was only six – and he was sitting cross-legged on the kitchen counter, having just eaten over half of the cookies from the tray, and he had the guiltiest look on his face I have ever seen.” Hart laughed as his cousin pouted, all of their husbands chuckling, too. “Auntie April, of course, is an angel, and all she does is give him a sympathetic smile and say ‘difficult day, Sweetie?’ to which Patton responds by nodding, since his mouth was way, way too full to speak.”  

Don’t be so mean!” Patton protested, though there were the hints of a smile on his face. “I’d had a rough day!”  

Roman lightly elbowed Patton, who was sat between him and Hart (Virgil, Logan and Brian were sitting opposite them).  

“Did you mess up a job?” Roman teased, deliberately vague as they were out in public.   

Patton stuck out his tongue . “Never.”  

“Speaking of jobs.” Brian spoke up, as Roman took a sip of his wine. “We’ve almost got all of your new equipment ready; you’ll definitely have everything in a couple weeks, just in time. We can go into the details another time, though.”  

The six men were out on a double date of sorts at an Italian restaurant. It was a rare treat for them all to be out together, but it was also partly a way of celebrating the fact that Brian and Hart were becoming parents. It had been in the works for a while now, but in just a week’s time they’d be able to take home their new children: a son and a daughter, both only three years old.   

Logan opened his mouth to respond to Brian , perhaps to unintentionally say something incriminating, but he was interrupted by the arrival of their waitress . They were finally receiving their food  

She placed two plates of spaghetti down in front of Virgil and Roman, and the latter immediately grinned , his eyes brightening.  

Virgil sighed, trying not to smile, as Roman grabbed both of their plates , pouring all of the spaghetti onto one of them and placing it down in front of them. Some of it fell off the plate but most of it landed on the plate in a gigantic spaghetti mountain that no human should be able to naturally eat all by themselves.  

“Let’s Lady and the Tramp this spaghetti.” Roman said, eyes shining as he pushed the empty plate to the side. “I’m gonna make sure we kiss a bunch of times.”  

How t ragic.” Virgil said dryly, but he clearly trying not to laugh. “Here I was, hoping to go through this date without getting kissed at all.”  

Roman made a pouty face at him. “Don’t even joke about such a travesty. Your face should never go unkissed .”  

Hart leant closer to his cousin. “Patton, you have impeccable taste in men.” He mumbled, only just loud enough for the two of them to hear .  

“Absolutely.” Patton sai d, dead serious .  

Logan sighed, but looked at them fondly.  

The waitress returned with two more plates, her eyebrows shooting upwards when she spotted the state of the spaghetti.  

“You can take the empty one . Er- please.” Virgil said, after she’d placed down the other two plates in front of Logan and Brian.  

She didn’t comment as she took it, but her expression spoke for her .  

“They’re going to kick us out.” Logan warned as he watched Roman very deliberately grab one of the spaghetti strands Virgil was about to eat, leaning over and pressing a kiss to his lips.  

“The manager asked for my autograph,” Roman said smugly. “They won’t be kicking us out anytime soon, trust me.” 

Hart grinned. “Bless you for using your fame for good.”   

Roman preened. “Only the best for my beloved husbands and treasured in-laws.”  

The waitress returned with the final two plates of food, and the six men settled into a c omfortable silence as they dug in. It was, of course, constantly broken by Roman pressing kisses to Virgil’s lips , and the occasional comment from the rest of the group.  

However, their peace was finally broken by the loud complaints of a wo man at the table beside them.  

Oh, come on, you’re a guy! What do you mean, you’re not gonna put out?” She exclaimed, scowling as her date shrunk in on himself. “Come on, man up!”  

The six men all exchanged a look of disgust , before Roman suddenly sat up straighter, pulling out his phone.  

“Virgil, Honey,” He simpered. “We absolutely must take a selfie together: with the spaghetti, too, of course. Gotta keep the fans updated on how aesthetic our life is!”  

His husband caught on immediately, and they both leaned partially across the table. Roman then managed to take a selfie that included him, Virgil, the spaghetti, and the woman, who had been sneering at them while they took it, showing off her entire face, and unwittingly signing her death warrant.   

Roman looked it over and smirked, winking at his husbands as he pocketed his phone.  

“You know,” He said coyly. “I just had the greatest idea for a training exercise for Dorian! Gotta get him more involved with the business side of things, am I right?”  

“Absolutely, my dear.” Patton smiled, putting his hand on Roman’s shoulder. “We’ll discuss things in more detail when we get home, okay?”  

Roman hummed in agreement, and the six of them watched as the man from the table stood up and rushed off to the bathroom – hopefully to call himself a ride home, but more likely just to compose himself before coming back.  

They then observed with blatant disgust as the woman pulled a small tablet out of her pocket and dropped it into his drink, mixing it in with his unused spoon, before sitting back in smug satisfaction.  

Virgil stood up immediately. He tilted his head in the direction of the toilets and mouthed, ‘I’m gonna go tell him.’    

He then walked off, glaring venomously at the woman as he went. She glared back but didn’t seem to realise what he was doing.  

“I’m going to go tell the manager.” Logan said simply, standing up and adjusting his tie. He then dropped all pretence of subtlety and stared straight at the woman. “That kind of behaviour will not be tolerated. You’re going to be kicked out.”  

She threw up her hands in annoyed confusion. “ What t he hell did I do?”  

He ignored her, turning away and striding across the room, heading towards where their waitress was talking with a few other staff members.  

The woman turned to the remaining four Sanders men, but they all turned away from her, focussing on their food again, so she just huffed and crossed her arms. Logan returned soon, followed by a stone-faced woman with a badge reading ‘manager’.  

Logan sat back in his chair, as the manager walked up to the woman.  

“Excuse me, Ma’am, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”  

The woman stood up, enraged. “What the fuck? I haven’t done anything wrong! It’s those disgusting queers who should be kicked out, they’re being totally inappropriate. Kissing and shit, right in front of my dinner, ruining my date ’s appetite .”  

In response, Roman pulled Patton into a deep kiss, and Hart leant across the table to pull Brian into a similar one. Logan looked on smugly, adjusting his glasses.   

“I’d say you were the one ruining your own date, Ma’am.” He corrected. “Loudly complaining about how he won’t ‘put out’ – interrupting our own double date, might I add – and then drugging your date’s drink while he’s in the bathroom. Your behaviour’s highly inappropriate.”  

The woman began to swear excessively, not even pausing for breath as she was escorted out. Her date returned shortly after, Virgil following after him.  

“What… what’s happening?” The man asked, looking around worriedly.  

Logan cleared his throat. “ I informed the manager of her drugging your drink, and she was kicked out.”  

Roman moved to put his hand on the man’s shoulder. “The name’s Roman Sanders. These are my husbands: Logan, Virgil and Patton.” He pointed to them as he said each of their names. “And this is Patton’s cousin, Hart, and his cousin, Brian.”  

The man nodded slowly, a little awkwardly. “I’m Adam, Adam Lexinus, it’s nice to meet you all.”  

“Well, Adam, would you like to finish eating with us?” Patton smiled. “You could push your table so it’s connected to ours – and get a new drink, of course.”  

Adam blinked a few times in surprise. “Oh, uh… well, okay then. Thanks!”  

They did just that, pushing the tables together and allowing Adam to join them. He was pretty friendly, a sweet , kinda nerdy guy who definitely deserved better than the woman he’d been on the date with.  

Apparently, she was a friend of a friend of a friend, or so Adam’s friend had told him. He definitely wasn’t asking her for relationship advice again.  

“So, Adam, what do you do for a living?” Brian asked, taking a sip of his drink.  

“Oh, I’m a cop.” Adam said, digging into his food, seeming a lot livelier than he had been on his date.  

The Sanders men exchanged a subtle look, one that Adam fortunately didn’t notice, as he was too busy digging into his food.  

“Really?” Logan asked. “Virgil and I used to be, too, but we had to quit some time ago due to familial issues .”  

Adam blinked a few times in surprise. “Oh, really? Wow, I never would have guessed, you don’t seem the type.”  

Roman held back a laugh, coughing loudly into his hand, ignoring the look his husbands gave him.  

“Oh, well you know ,” Virgil shrugged. “Sometimes life doesn’t go the way you expect it to.”  

***  

A couple hours later, Hart and Brian arrived home , holding onto each other, slightly tipsy as Hart pressed dozens upon dozens of kisses against his husband’s face.  

“I love you… so much, you know?” He giggled, and Brian smiled.  

“I love you, too.”  

They helped each other out of their coats and shoes, stumbling up the stairs, making their way into their bedroom, and collapsing onto their bed. They softly made out for a few minutes, before Hart finally pulled away, holding Brian’s face tenderly between his hands. 

“Brian… Brian , sweetheart …” He whispered. “We’re going to be dads!”  

Brian smiled softly. “Yes, I know. It’s been in the works for months, remember?”  

“Yeah, yeah.” Hart laughed lightly. “But, it’s just, we’re picking them up next week! Its so far yet so close and I just- I can’t wait! And they’re so cute and tiny and beautiful! And they’re gonna be ours to cuddle and kiss and raise and- Brian! 

“Missy and Peter Sanders.” Brian hummed in thought. “It has a nice ring to it.”  

His husband sighed , joy bursting out of the noise, spilling over and washing Brian in fresh joy . “I know, right?”  He then paused, before looking back at Brian. “I’d say twins run in the Sanders family, but does it really count when it’s adoption?”  

Brian thought it over. “I’d probably phrase it as… adopting twins runs in the family, instead.”  

Hart chuckled, before leaning forward and pressing a passionate kiss to his husband’s lips.   

Chapter Text

“Baron? Did you take one of my poisons again?”  

Dorian looked away nervously. “...no?”  

“You did!” Emile huffed , crossing his arms . “You know , you can just ask .”  

“If I ask , you’ll say no!”  

Yeah , but -”  

“Boys.” Logan said sternly. “Continuing to fight like this will only result in our victim getting away.”  

“Yes Father.” The two said sulkily.   

Emile sent Dorian a small glare before rising and stretching a little. “I always hate this part.” He pouted. Waiting and waiting without being able to watch cartoons or anything.” 

“It’s not so bad,” Virgil shrugged. “Yeah it can get a little boring but the quiet is nice.”  

“Quiet is boring.” Dorian said. “All you’ve got to listen to is your own thoughts and they can get really weird.  

Virgil frowned sympathetically and reached over to pat Dorian’s shoulder. “I’ll bring headphones next time we go out together, okay?”  

Dorian beamed at him. “Okay!”  

“Everyone,” Logan said, voice quiet, soft, and urgent. “She’s here.”  

The other three peered over the edge of the fire escape and the teens grinned. Wa l king down the alley, hauling a bag of trash beside her, was a tall woman with long black hair – the same woman from the double date about a week ago . She was wearing a white hoodie with the word “pink” across the back in all caps. They watched her for a few moments before Dorian gracefully flipped off the side, causing his Pops to let out an audible gasp of panic.  

“Excuse me.” Dorian said sweetly. “Do you know where my father is?”  

The woman turned, face sour and irritated . Her expression dropped as she took in his costume , her eyes widening .   

“You- you ’re -” she stammered , stumbling back .  

“Is that a no?” Dorian asked , smile widening . “Pity , bec ause I do .  

His family joined him in moments and Virgil set down the ice cooler in favor of fretting.   

“You’re going to get yourself hurt one of these days!” He said, walking over to his son and looking him over, brushing off imaginary dust as if that would brush off any potential injury. “Baron, you have to be more careful!”  

Dorian huffed. “I was careful!”  

“It didn’t look careful to me!”  

“Well , it was, so it’s okay.”   

Virgil gave him a scolding look . “That does not make it okay at all.”  

“Overl o rd!” Dorian whined , practically stomping his foot as he crossed his arms . “You’re embarrassing me!”  

“I’d rather embarrass you than have you-”  

“Pardon me, darling, but the victim is trying to escape.” Logan interrupted.   

“Oh , whoopsie!” Emile exclaimed.  

He pulled out a miniature crossbow and shot it at the back of the woman ’s neck; she let out a small shriek before falling to the ground limply. The four of them strode over to her and Emile gently removed his syringe from her shoulder.  

“Your aim is getting better, Viscount.” Logan said.  

Emile beamed at the compliment . Virgil nudged the woman with his toe.   

“Is she already dead?”  

Emile shook his head. “Nah , j ust paralyzed. She’s fully aware of what’s going on, she just can’t do anything about it.”  

“That’s pretty fast acting.” Virgil commented.  

“Yeah, but it’ll wear off soon, too. So…” Emile trailed off, looking a u Dorian pointedly.  

“Oh , r ight.”   

Dorian grabbed the woman’s shoulders and rolled her over. He squatted down , looming over her, even as small as he was. He paused for a moment, watching the fear gli mm er in her eyes like a million diamonds.  

“It’s not nice to tamper with people’s drinks, you know.” Dorian told her , as if he was scolding a small child . “We find out about those things , but fear of us shouldn’t be the only reason you have anything resembling human decency. Now , normally, we’d let you off with a warning, but I’m afraid that we’re a little in need of something in here.”  

He ran a finger across her stomach, coming to rest at her navel and tapping it once before withdrawing it again.  

“So, as you can see, it really can’t be helped. It will go to a good cause , probably, though I’m sure you don’t care about that. But as a secondary apology from me to you, I’ll make it quick.”  

Without any further ado, Dorian drew his dagger, ignoring the small whimper that elicited from the woman. He lifted the blade and gave her his most reassuring smile before stabbing downwards, into her neck.   

She was gone in moments. Two beats of the heart at most. The last two beats of her miserable life.  

Dorian wiped off his blade and Virgil set the icebox near him.  

“What does the buyer want with her organ, anyway?” Dorian asked, and Virgil shrugged.  

No clue, but it’s not our job to know. Just l et us know if you need a hand, okay?” He said. “Once you get in there, things tend to look all the same.”  

Dorian nodded. “I know , b ut Father showed me one of those anatomy models earlier so I think I kinda got it. Everything is gonna look like squishy red stuff, but I’m looking for the round squishy red thing.”  

Virgil smirked and ruffled Dorian’s hair. “Whatever works, squirt. Just take your time, we’ll make sure you’re not bothered.”  

Dorian smiled up at him. He turned, opened the icebox, and sat down, criss - cross applesauce in front of the corpse. He sheathed his knife and reached into his jacket to pull out the tools Uncle Hart gave him.   

“At least one of you needs to be able to do this properly,” He’d said. “As lucrative as you lot can be, I would like something I sell to have an air of precision.”  

Dorian was honored to have been chosen for that. He would have thought Emile the more obvious choice, but when he’d said that , Emile told him that he hated the feeling of th ose squishy internal organs, regardless of whether he was actually touching them or not. Seeing them he was fine with by this point, but touching them reminded him that something similar was inside his own body and it made him squeamish. Dorian thought that was weird, but , hey! It meant he got to poke around with a scalpel , so it worked for him.  

Dorian took a deep breath and made the incision.   

***  

A few hour s later Uncle Brian looked over his prize with a critical eye.   

“Why are there two?” He asked.  

Dorian shrugged. “Father told me to get the round squishy red thing and I found two. I didn’t know which one you wanted so I grabbed them both.”  

Brian nodded and turned over the bigger one. “They look to be in pretty good conditio n, t hough it looks like you cut off the part of the second one that would have made it useful.”  

Dorian winced. “Oh… sorry.”  

Brian smiled at him and moved to pat him before seeming to remember his gloves were covered in blood and organ goop .   

“It’s alright, Dorian.” He said. “That wasn’t the one I needed anyway, and for your first time you did a very good job!”   

“Really?”  

“Really.” Brian gestured him closer and pointed at the tube coming out of the bigger organ. “You see that incision in the esophagus? That’s very close to a perfect cut! And the cut down here-” He turned it over again, pointing to the bottom tube. “-That one’s even almost all the way around. Very, very good for your first time doing something like this! I think in the future we’ll have to make you our official harvester- um- after you get some more practice and only if your dads are okay with that, of course.”  

Dorian beamed at his uncle. “That’d be so cool! Wait til I tell Remy, he’s gonna be so jealous.”  

Brian chuckled and put the organ back in the freezer box. He took off his gloves and closed it before giving Dorian a hug.   

“Don’t rub it in his face too hard, you might scrape something off.” He joked.  

“Like his smug smirk?” Dorian said with an eyeroll. “I’ll be nice, don’t worry.  

“Alright, alright.” Brian laughed again before pulling away and patting Dorian on the head. “I have to talk with your dads for a moment, but it was good to see you. And you really did do a good job, you just need a little extra practice, okay?”  

Dorian nodded. “Okay! Love you!”  

“Love you too!”  

Brian picked up the ice cooler , tucking it under his arm and left the room. Dorian followed him until they got to the living room. He then spotted Remy and smirked.  

He let Brian go to the kitchen by himself in favor of plopping onto Remy’s lap smugly , causing his older brother to grunt in annoyance .  

“Uncle Brian said I’m better at getting organs than you are!” He said, sticking out his tongue.   

Remy looked offended. “He did not!”  

“He did! And I am, so there!”   

Dorian squawked as Remy shoved him, dumping him onto the floor.  

“Maybe so,” Remy scowled playfully. “But I’m totally the best in general. I mean, just look at my kill count, babe!”  

“That’s not fair!” Dorian whined. “You had a head start!”  

Remy hummed and flicked Dorian’s nose. “All s fair in love and murder, Dory baby.”  

Dorian pouted and sat on the floor in a sulk , pulling his knees to his chest and crossing his arms . “You suck.”  

Remy let out a cry and clutched his chest. “Ah! Such biting words from my own little brother!”  

Dorian rolled his eyes and yanked Remy off the couch, quickly clambering up and taking his seat.  

He stuck his tongue out again. “Careful , doofus. You’re gonna turn into Papa.”  

Remy somehow looked even more offended at that. “How dare you! I am nothing like that lumbering drama class of a man! He’s practically a monster, singing randomly whenever he feels like it, acting out random scenes. The worst kind of criminal. Don’t compare me to that man!”  

Dorian laughed and started to reply when Logan walked in, pocketing his phone.   

“Everything alright in here?” he asked.  

“I’m the best at organ nabbing and Remy’s mad about being like Papa.” Dorian said.  

Logan blinked a few times before continuing into the next room.   

“Carry on , then .”  

“F ather !”  

Chapter Text

“Now, here’s the part where we’d usually add the poison, but as this is for the family, we’ll just finish mixing and put it in the oven, okay? Emile, did you preheat the oven?”  

Emile hopped off the counter. “Yes, Dad, this isn’t the first time I’ve baked with you and Uncle Hart, I know what I’m doing.”  

“Ooh…” Hart dipped a finger in the bowl and licked off a blob of cupcake mix. “What if we make them murder themed? You’ve got some red food colouring, right, for the icing?”  

Patton swatted Hart’s hand away, but his eyes lit up at the suggestion. “Oh, I think we still have some candy eyeballs from Halloween! You two get the tray and put the mixture in the wrappers, and I’ll go look for them.”  

He passed the bowl to his son and went digging through the cupboards as Hart and Emile began to follow his instructions.  

Hart nudged Emile with his elbow. “So, got any gossip for me?”  

Emile laughed. “I’m not Remy, I don’t keep up with that stuff.”  

“That’s fair.” Hart nodded in agreement. “But what about the guy you two are always going on about? What was his name… Tim? Tony?”  

“Toby.” Emile corrected, a light brush dusting his cheeks as he coughed awkwardly.  

Patton pulled out a bag of candy eyeballs and some red food colouring from the cupboard. “Oh, Toby!” He smiled. “What a nice kid, how is he doing?”  

“He’s, uh… good, I think?” Emile looked down, and Hart and Patton exchanged a look over his head.  

“Ooh…” Hart cooed. “You’ve got a crush !”  

Emile squeaked. “What? Wh- no! No… uh, I…” He looked up to see both his dad and uncle giving him twin disbelieving looks. “Okay… maybe?”  

“Aww... young love, that’s adorable!”  

“I wouldn’t go that far.” Emile mumbled. “I’m pretty sure it’s unrequited, anyway.”  

Hart finished scooping cupcake mixture into the wrappers. “Pretty sure? As in you haven’t confessed, yet?”  

“What? Of course, not!”  

“He’s shy.” Patton exclaimed, reaching out and ruffling Emile’s hair.  

Emile spluttered, ducking his dad’s hand and moving to open the oven. He slid the tray inside and set a timer.  

Now , can we talk about the gossip?” Hart smiled. “Come on, what’s this Toby guy like? How long have you liked him? Are you in love ?”  

“How am I supposed to know?” Emile pulling himself onto an empty counter, crossing his legs and pouting slightly. “He’s the only proper crush I’ve ever had, I’ve got nothing to compare it to. I know I like him a lot, but I don’t have enough experience to know what love truly is. Romantic love, that is, obviously.”  

Patton put his hand on Emile’s shoulder. “Kiddo, you’re sixteen, you don’t have to know.”  

“Yeah!” Hart piped up. “Now isn’t the time to get serious about love and relationships, now’s the time to have fun! Have crushes, go on dates. Break your heart, get your heart broken. It’s all gonna happen at some point – for those who are interested in relationships, that is – so why not now, when nothing matters?”  

Emile looked down, fiddling with his hands. “I- I don’t know… I just keep getting this gut feeling, you know? Every time I think of confessing my feelings to him, and I get the feeling that something super bad’s gonna happen after the confession, so I don’t.”  

“Heartbreak’s part of the process, kiddo. If you never take risks, you’ll never find love.”  

“You think so?” Emile looked up at his dad and uncle, and they nodded in unison.  

Hart put his hand on Emile’s other shoulder. “We know so, kid. I’d never have found true love with Brian if I hadn’t taken a risk and asked him out. What you and Toby have may not be love, but you’ll never know if you don’t take a leap of faith and tell him how you feel.   

“Anything bad that may happen, you can handle it.” Patton added. “You’ll always have us to fall back on, Kiddo, even when you’re all grown up.”  

“Thanks, Dad.”  

Patton stepped back, dusting some flour off his apron. “You know, I think Roman and Logan are looking over some blueprints for the warehouse we’re breaking into, why don’t you go give them a hand? I think they’re in our room.”  

Emile hopped off the counter. “Sure. Maybe I’ll ask Papa for some advice with the Toby thing, too, he’s good at that kinda thing.”  

“He sure claims to be.” Hart laughed as Patton elbowed him lightly.  

Emile left the kitchen, passing his three brothers, who were doing homework at the table, supervised by Virgil – otherwise they wouldn’t get anything done – and heading upstairs, to his parents’ room. He pushed the door open, brow creasing when he spotted his dads standing by the chest of drawers, instead of by the desk, where the blueprints lay abandoned.  

Roman and Logan looked to have been in the middle of a heated discussion – it had sounded like an argument from outside the room, but they seemed to have calmed down immediately after Emile entered the room. Logan picked his phone up from the dresser and pocketed it.  

“Uh… is everything okay?” Emile asked, shifting awkwardly.  

His dads exchanged a look.   

“It’s nothing to worry about, Emile.” Logan reassured, moving to place his hand on his son’s shoulder. “Roman and I were simply having a disagreement about how to handle certain aspects of the heist – nothing too serious, it was resolved just before you got in here.”  

Roman nodded, giving Emile a comforting smile, and after another moment or two, Emile relaxed, turning and walking over to the blueprints.  

“The cupcakes are already in the oven, so Dad sent me upstairs to help you guys out with the heist planning.” He glanced back at his dads. “What have you got so far?”  

Logan stepped over to explain, and the gist of it was that the family would split into teams of two to take out most of the people in the warehouse, before they all would make their way to the main room, take out the rest of the people and then leave with all the jewellery to sell through Hart and Brian. They’d been getting new equipment – like full-face masks, bullet-proof vests to wear under their costumes and better weapons specifically for this heist, to make sure everything went smoothly. They had perfectly planned routes to take and a rough estimate as to how many people would be there.  

“This will be risky,” Logan admitted. “But we’re taking every precaution we can, and the money will be worth it. It’s an investment in your futures.”  

Roman threw his arms over his son and husband’s shoulders. “Plus, we’ll get to kill a bunch of bad guys, so that just makes everything better.”  

Logan adjusted his glasses. “That is another positive.”  

“It sounds fun!” Emile smiled. “Who’s gonna pair up with who?”  

“Dorian’s gonna be with me,” Roman said. “I’ll keep him safe. You two are gonna be together, Thomas is gonna be with Virgil, and Remy’s gonna be with Patton.”  

All of the sudden the door flew open, having just been kicked by Remy, who stepped inside, grinning. “Did someone say Remy?”  

Logan raised an eyebrow. “For the last time, please don’t kick the door, Remy, you’re going to break it.”  

Remy pouted. “Ugh, fine .” He put his elbow on Emile’s shoulder, leaning against him. “So, what’re you talkin’ ‘bout?”  

“We’re working out the heist plans.” Emile said, pushing his brother’s arm off of his shoulder. “It’s gotta be-”  

“Ugh, bor ing .” Remy interrupted, faking a yawn dramatically, before grabbing Emile’s wrist and beginning to drag him out of the room. “C’mon, Em, I was just on the phone with Toby, there’s, like, so much school gossip I’ve gotta catch you up on.”  

Emile glanced helplessly back at Logan and Roman as he was dragged out of the room, but they just shrugged in amusement.   

Once they were in their room, Remy flopped onto his bed, laying back and tapping at his phone. His brother sat down beside him.   

“Okay, so, like, Toby was acting super weird when he was on the phone with me, but he did manage to tell me that Sasha and Trinity broke up, which is like, terrible, right? They were the power couple of the school.” Remy sat up, pushing up his classes. “You know, you and Toby could be the power couple of the school, too...”  

Emile squeaked, covering his face. “What? But- but he’d have to like me back for that, and-”  

Remy groaned loudly, falling back onto his bed. “But he does, bro, he was literally just asking me about all your favourite things – favourite food, favourite candy, favourite flowers. I mean, he, like, definitely knew all of those things, already, but, still.”  

Emile furrowed his brow, looking in thought. “You... you really think so?”   

Remy sat up, putting his hand on Emile’s shoulder. “I know so.”  

Emile blushed a little, burrowing into his hands with a squeak. “Ahhhh! I don’t know. …I just hope it all works out, you know?”  

“Yeah I know.” Remy chuckles. “But on the bright side… You two are gonna look so cute in the prom pics.”  

Emile threw a pillow at him.  

 

Chapter Text

Remy collapsed onto the couch, sprawling across Emile’s lap. The twins were the only two in the living room, the rest of their family having left after Logan’s lecture on the exact plan for the heist tomorrow.   

“Ugh, that was so long .” He threw his arm over his face dramatically. “Why’d Father have to go into so much detail, we’ll be fine, he didn’t have to lecture us for, like, an hour.”  

Emile rolled his eyes. “It’s gonna be dangerous, Rem, we can’t risk anything. Everything has to be perfect for the heist tomorrow.”  

“But did it have to be so boring?”  

All of a sudden, the doorbell rang merrily, and Remy sprang from his seat. They weren’t expecting anyone, and the only ones who ever came over unexpectedly were Toby, Hart and Brian. Their uncles were busy today – they’d just taken their new son and daughter home – so it had to be Toby. His bestie was always welcome, they had an open door and open window policy with one another, though Toby admittedly was never the one who took advantage of the second.   

Remy threw open the door , grinning, before he paused to take in Toby’s outfit. “...Dude. What are you wearing? Did you get all dressed up just for me?”  

Toby hesitated for a moment , letting Remy take in his flushed cheeks, his button-down shirt, the way his mouth moved without sound leaving it , h is wide eyes and t he bouquet of flowers in his hand.   

Remy’s jaw dropped. “No way. Are you-? No way.”  

Toby’s cheeks grew even redder as he shifted awkwardly from side to side . “I- uh… I kinda didn’t come here for you this time, Rem.” He hesitated. “Can I see Emile?”  

Remy let out a small, disbelieving laugh as he s tepped aside. Toby walked in, hands clutching the bouquet with white knuckles . He nervously chewed his lip, and Remy reache d out a hand and grasped his shoulder.   

“Dude,” He said gently. “It’s gonna be okay. Emile is the same guy he was last time we hung out. Worst case scenario, he nicely tells you he’s not interested. Which won’t happen cause you’re meant to be and stuff. You’ve got this bro.”  

Toby took a shaky breath and gave Remy a grateful smile. “ T hanks.”  

Remy grinned. “I call best - man.”  

“Please. ” Toby snorted. “ If anything, Emile and I would have to fight over you.”  

Remy’s grin widened and he playfully socked Toby in the shoulder. “Go get Em , Tiger.”  

Toby took another deep breath and nodded before stepping further into the house , into the living room and over to Emile . Remy peeked in and watched as Toby exchanged a few words with him . Emile’s face turned pink, going completely red as Toby asked if they could go somewhere private for a minute. Emile nodded and the two of them headed up the stairs , to talk. Remy immediately found the rest of the family and dragged them to the sitting room to spread the news.  

***  

Emile double checked that everyone was in the living room before stopping Toby in the hallway.  

“Here’s good.” He said. “Not ideal , but it’s better than a bathroom or something…”  

Toby laughed a little nervously , running his fingers through his hair . The two stood in silence for a moment, Emile watching as Toby rubbed the flowers stems with his thumb.  

“I , uh-” Toby faltered. “I don’t really know what to say here.”  

“Just say what you’re thinking.” Emile said gently.  Their eyes met for a moment, before they glanced away, blushing.   

Toby nodded slowly . “Right. Right…” He took a deep breath. “Emile. We- uh- we’ve been friends for a long time. I would say it started out as kind of by proxy, since you and Remy were joined at the hip and he sort of abducted me into friendship.”  

Emile giggled , which made Toby smile fondly and seemed to bolster his courage a little.   

“I… I’d be lying if I said I liked you right away.” He admitted , slightly sheepishly . “Honestly , at first I thought you were kind of a buzzkill. But , then , one day , when we were… I think we were , like , ten or something , I saw you kneeling on the grass in front of a daisy , ignoring the rest of us . I asked you what you were doing , because to me it looked so weird , and you told me you were reuniting a ladybug family. And , sure enough , once I looked closer , I realized there was one ladybug on your finger and five on the daisy. Now , granted, those ladybugs probably didn’t care and may not even have been family, but , to ten-year-old Toby , it was just mind blowing that you were nice enough and sweet enough to go out of your way to find the ladybug’s family and reunite them. And I realized that you weren’t some super boring know-it-all, you were the only one doing anything important.  It may not have been that deep in reality, but it felt like a lot to a ten-year-old.  

“At the time , I just wanted to be your friend, and I wanted to be your friend so bad I thought it might hurt. But when I told you that… you laughed at me , a nd you told me we were already friends. That was when I noticed that I loved the sound of your laugh , t hat I’d do pretty much anything to hear it and that I never wanted to be a reason you cry. And then that slowly turned into wanting to be there when you did cry, and I realized that… Emile I ’ve had a gigantic crush on you for years. This may seem a bit sudden but I- if I don’t act on it now and ask you out then I may never do it. So , uh … Emile Sanders, would you do me the honor of joining me on a date next Friday?”  

Emile was certain his face had only gotten redder and redder as Toby spoke , his eyes widened, his mouth open in surprise . H e was pretty confident that he was going to burst into flames soon. So , of course, that was the moment that Toby just had to hold out the bouquet. Emile accepted it carefully, and he felt like he was going to cry as he suddenly recognized all his favorite flowers.    

“Toby…” He said slowly.  

“You don’t have to say yes!” Toby said quickly. “And uh- I’ll get it if you need time. It’s a lot and I get that it might be kinda overwhelming. And , if you say no , I totally get that , too, and I hope we can still be friends and-”  

“Toby.” Emile said firmly.  

He reached o ut with his free hand and laced their fingers together. He smiled, first shy, then slowly growing as Toby shyly peeked out at him through his hair, those beautiful eyes looking at him as if Emile had flowers growing in his footsteps. Emile was a little startled to realize that Toby didn’t actually look any different from normal – other than the more formal outfit – y et , he was still oh -so- beautiful.  

“I don’t think I need any more time at all,” Emile said softly. “Of course, I’ll go out with you, Toby.”  

***  

Remy grinned a s he paced across the living room, back and forth, still beaming. He plopped onto the couch between Roman and Dorian, feeling like his heart was gonna bust open from sheer happiness.   

“It’s finally happening!” He crowed , sprawling across his papa and little brother’s laps . “Toby and Emile are gonna go out and be a sappy couple! At long, long last!”  

Roman snorted. “It must be nice to h a ve a twin. It’s like having a built-in support system that also teases you.”  

“That’s Just brothers in general.” Dorian said, shoving Remy’s feet off his lap.   

“Maybe so,” Roman chuckled. “Still, I’m glad you boys get to have each other , m akes me wish I’d had a sibling of my own.”  

“It would be cool to have another uncle, but Uncle Brian and Uncle Hart are enough.” Dorian said.   

“Hello! Guys! Everyone!” Remy said. “Not the focus here! My brother is finally getting asked out by his soulmate , for crying out loud! This is a once in a lifetime event!”  

Roman raise d an eyebrow , exchanging an amused look with his husbands . “I don’t know about soulmates. You boys are just teenagers, after all.”  

Remy groaned. “P apa, that’s so n ot the point!”  

Patton giggle d as he walked in from the kitchen , setting out a plate of cupcakes on the coffee table.   

“Well , it’ll certainly be cute regardless of where it goes. Toby seems like a nice boy.”   

“Toby is literally one of the best two people on the planet,” Remy said seriously . “The other one being Emile , w hich is why they’re destined to be together.”  

Virgil reached out and took a cupcake. “I wouldn’t jinx stuff like that,” He warned. “High school relationships lasting for a long time is pretty rare. Something could always go wrong, you never know  

“Oh , hush,” Roman said, t ossing the nearest pillow at Virgil , nearly knocking the cupcake out of his hand . “Even if it doesn’t last, they’ll be glad they tried it. True love takes work, sure, but we raised that boy right. He’ll put in the work it takes , and Tob y-”  

“Toby is, like, legit the best, he’ll treat Emile right.” Remy said, confidently.  

Dorian sat up straight, grinning mischievously. " And , if he doesn’t, we run a sword through him.”  

“We’re not doing that,” Thomas said. “Just- no. That’s not something we’re gonna do.”  

“Yeah ! T hat’s my BFF you’re talking about Dor,” Remy said, giving Dorian a light shove. “He’s not dying on us anytime soon.”  

“Everyone quiet,” Logan said, “They’re coming.”  

True enough, moments later Toby and Emile came down the stairs. Their faces were bright red, but they were grinning ear to ear.  Emile very deliberately ignored his grinning family members as he led Toby to the door. The rest of the family peeked into the hall way . It wasn’t spying , though! Just watching , t otally.   

Remy’s grin grew as he watched the two of them pause at the door. Emile took a deep breath and tugged Toby down a little, rising on his toes to peck Toby’s cheek.  Roman covered Remy’s mouth to stop him from screeching victoriously.  

“See you Friday?” Emile asked with a nervous smile.   

“Friday.” Toby agreed. “See you then.”  

Toby left and Emile closed the door behind him . He sighed softly, eyes closing, and he leaned against the wall. A soft smile played against his lips.   

He then cracked open his eyes, expression changing to shock when he saw his family piled around the corner.   

“G- guys !” He exclaimed , blushing furiously . “Ever heard of privacy?”  

“We gave you privacy.” Remy pointed out. “Now , what’s going down on Friday? Give us all the details.  

Emile blushed again. “Nothing! It’s just a date is all…”  

Just a date ?” Remy exclaimed.  

He ran up and grabbed Emile by the shoulders, shaking him a little.   

“Just a date! ?” He repeated. “Emile , I have been waiting for this date to happen for years! If you weren’t head over heels for the guy, I’d say that I’m even more excited than you!”  

Emile rolled his eyes and gently shoved Remy off. “It- it’s not that big a deal…”  

“On the contrary,” Logan said, adjusting his glasses. “A first date is a large milestone in a relationship. And a large milestone in the life of an alloromantic young man.”  

“Yeah , but-”   

“Guys.” Patton said, firm but with a playful spark in his eyes. “Leave Emile alone. If he doesn’t want to make a big deal out of it, then we won’t.”  

Emile breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank you, Dad.”   

“No problem!” Patton paused. “I will say, I’m glad you finally snatched that young man up.”  

“D ad !”  

 

Chapter Text

It was the night of the heist.   

The family had split up into pairs just before they’d reached the warehouse, so they could all enter in different locations and slowly work their way from the outside in. They were all wearing bullet-proof vests under their costumes, with better weapons and full-face masks to better hide their identities.   

Patton and Remy were a pair, entering round the back through a second-storey window.   

“Stay close.” Patton mumbled to his son as they ducked down behind a few stacks of crates.   

Remy rolled his eyes. “I’ll be fine, Dad, you don’t need to take care of me, I’m good at this.”   

Patton gave him a slightly exasperated look. “Knight, we’ve never done anything as dangerous as this before.” He whispered. “Stay close. I don’t want you getting hurt.”   

“But-” Remy cut himself off as a man turned the corner, heading in their direction.   

His dad opened his mouth to hush him, reaching out to hold Remy in place, but the teenager pulled away, jumping up and slitting the man’s throat before either he or Patton could protest. It was over and done with within seconds, and Patton stood up as the man fell to the ground, a gun slipping from his grasp and clattering against the floor.   

“Knight!” Patton hissed. “You should have waited for my signal and attacked him from behind. What were you thinking?”   

“You don’t need to worry.” Remy protested. “I’m fine, I can handle this!” He paused when he spotted his dad’s slightly hurt expression, before sighing. “Okay, I’m sorry. You’re just- you're just looking out for me. You don’t need to do the puppy-dog eyes, I’m sorry.”   

Patton reached out and squeezed his son’s shoulder. “It’s okay, let’s just finish this heist, and then we can all go home and eat ice cream. How does that sound?”   

Remy grinned. “Perfect.”   

He leaned down and clean his knife on the dead man’s clothes, before re-sheathing it.   

“Now,” Patton continued. “We have to kill everyone in this area, before heading to the middle to meet with the others.” He held up his crossbow, armed with another poison arrows to kill everyone in this building and then some. The father-son duo grinned at each other.   

“Let’s go.”   

***   

Logan and Emile entered on the ground floor, the opposite side to Patton and Remy. They snuck through a window, Emile first and then Logan, immediately shooting six men in the head, who’d entered the room through the door just after the duo had. Emile got the three on the left, and Logan got the three on the right.   

They spent a few moments waiting in silence to make sure no one else was coming, before Logan stepped forward to examine the bodies.   

“You hit one of them in the eye.” He said, sheathing his gun and crouching down to look them over, turning their heads in his gloved hands. “But you got the other two exactly in the centre of the forehead. Well done, Viscount.”   

Emile straightened, eyes brightening at the praise, though that was almost difficult to see under the mask. “Thanks.”   

Logan stood up, dusting himself off. “You’ve been improving a lot, lately, all of you have.”   

“Yeah,” Emile agreed. “Baron’s getting really good. He’s just gotta stop trying to go off on his own.”   

“Ah, well. He’s just like Knight in that sense.”   

Emile smiled slightly, though it wasn’t visible under the mask. “He’s entering his angsty teenager phase. I don’t think Knight’s ever gonna leave his.”   

Logan snorted. “Well, hopefully one day he will. At least they’re both relatively well-behaved, though Knight seems to think we don’t notice that he’s constantly sneaking out to see that Picani boy.”   

“I’ll talk to him later.”   

There were a few seconds of silence, before Logan straightened up, hand on his gun. “I am proud of you, however. I do not wish your progress to be overlooked. You have come a long way and… as your father I am indescribably proud. I do not think I say that to you enough.”   

Emile softened and squeezed his father’s free hand. “Thank you.”   

He watched Logan’s eyes crinkle into a smile behind his mask. “Now. Let’s finish this job.”   

***   

Virgil and Thomas entered on the ground floor, too, taking out over a dozen men and women as they moved through each room. Blood stained their costumes and masks, though none got on their skin, and they left no fingerprints behind. It was all pretty easy, though there was one moment where Thomas was almost shot in the chest – causing Virgil’s anxiety to spike dramatically.   

Once they were to safety, in an empty room full of plenty of crates to crouch behind, Virgil grabbed his son’s wrist, pulling him closer to look him over, checking him for injuries.   

“You could have gotten yourself killed.” Virgil scolded, though he seemed relieved that Thomas was relatively uninjured – save for a few scrapes and bruises. “This was a bad idea. There’s too many risks. It’s one thing to let you guys kill a few unarmed bastards, but it’s another thing entirely to bring you guys here. It’s too dangerous, I have half a mind to just send you home right now.”   

Thomas put his hand on Virgil’s shoulder. “I’m okay, Pop.” He said softly. “We’re already here, we might as well finish the job. Neither of us are injured, and the others are all relying on us. We can’t go home now. Besides, we’re gonna make a ton of money from this. It’s for my college fund, remember? And Knight’s and Viscount’s and Baron’s.”   

Virgil paused at that, thoughtful. “Okay, I guess...” He sighed. “But a college fund isn’t worth you getting yourselves killed. You can’t go to college if you’re dead.”   

“We’re not going to die. It’s not like any of us are going off on our own, Viscount’s with Duke, they’ll keep each other safe; Knight’s with King, who’ll keep him from going off on his own, and Baron’s with Prince, he’ll protect him.” He squeezed Virgil’s shoulder. “And I’ve got you, everyone’s gonna be fine.”   

They stared at each other for another few moments, before Virgil sighed again, running his fingers through his hair.   

“I guess you’re right.” He admitted. “And we can’t exactly back out now.” Virgil glanced back at his son. “We were thinking of using some of the money to visit your dad’s family in Canada, anyway.”   

“Canada sounds nice, I can’t wait!” Thomas grinned, releasing Virgil’s shoulder and straightening up. “Now, let’s get back to killing some bad guys.”   

***   

Roman yanked Dorian out of sight, pulling him around the corner before they could be spotted by the group of people at the end of the hallway.   

“Be careful.” He hissed. “We can’t let ourselves get caught. Stay behind me.”   

Dorian crossed his arms, and Roman could tell he was pouting, even under the mask.   

“Don’t give me that look.” Roman half-scolded, keeping his voice low. “I just want to protect you; I’ll always be here to protect you.”   

“But you don’t need to. I’m fine.”   

Roman sighed, running his gloved fingers through his hair. “Look, just- wait, Baron. Baron, what are you- wait. What are you doing?”   

Dorian ducked under Roman’s arms, pulling out his gun and beginning to shoot at the nearby group of people. He managed to get four of the seven – hitting them either in the head or the heart – while a slightly reluctant Roman got another two before they could reach for their own guns. The seventh sprinted off, accidentally dropping his gun, and Dorian immediately started to give chase, sheathing his gun and pulling out a dagger (it had been borrowed without permission from Remy).   

They rounded a corner, as Roman rushed after them. There were a few nerve-wracking moments where he couldn’t see either his son or the victim, but when he finally spotted them again, he breathed a sigh of relief. Dorian was leaning against the wall, opposite a staircase, fiddling with the knife, and the victim lay dead on the floor, having been stabbed in the neck, his phone having fallen a few feet away, face-down on the floor.   

“You have got to stop trying to run off.” Roman huffed, and Dorian sighed loudly, exaggeratedly, crossing his arms.   

“I did what you wanted, though, right? I killed that guy.”   

Roman sighed, too, though it sounded slightly growl-like. “Be careful. Wouldn’t want you to get hurt, now, would we?”   

Dorian rolled his eyes, walking over to the staircase and beginning to make his way down the staircase. He only made it two steps before tripping over his own feet and slipping down the rest of the stairs, making a loud bang as he hit the bottom. Fortunately, they’d killed everyone nearby – and they’d assumed Logan, Virgil, Thomas and Emile had killed everyone on the ground floor by now – so there was no one to hear as Dorian crashed to the floor.   

“Now, what did I just say?” Roman exclaimed, rushing to the bottom of the stairs to check on his son.   

“Okay,” Dorian said, wincing as Roman helped him up. “I think you won that argument.” He leant against his father to keep his weight off of his left foot.   

Roman let out a short laugh. “Of course, I did. I’m always right.”   

“No, I’m pretty sure that’s Father.”   

“What’s me?” Logan appeared around a corner, followed by a bouncing blood-stained Emile. They took one look at Dorian and rushed over.   

Emile looked his brother over worriedly. “Are you okay? What happened? You look hurt!”   

Dorian made a face. “I fell down the stairs and twisted my ankle, it’s no big deal.”   

“I told him to be careful!” Roman exclaimed. “Next time maybe you’ll listen to me.”   

Logan knelt down in front of them, pulling off Dorian’s boot and looking over his foot. “It doesn’t appear broken, so you’re probably right. It’s just a sprain.” He put his son’s boot back on and stood back up.   

“It’s a good thing we already got everybody.” Emile said. “The others have found the jewellery; they’re grabbing as much as they can to take to the car.”   

“Ooh!” Roman’s eyes lit up. “Do you think we’ll be able to keep any of the jewellery? Maybe a bracelet or too? I like bracelets.”   

Logan sighed. “If we do that, we’ll get caught. They’ll see us with the stolen jewellery, put two and two together, and we’ll be caught. We can’t risk that.”   

“What would even happen if we got caught?”   

Logan and Roman exchanged a look, one that seemed to hold a million conversations in a single stare, and Dorian and Emile then exchanged a look about how weird that look had been.   

“Nothing good.” Logan said, putting his hand on Emile’s shoulder. “But, don’t worry, we aren’t going to get caught. We’ve made plenty of precautions. Now, come on, we need to get back to the others to help them finish the job. Perhaps we can watch a Disney movie when we get home, wouldn’t you guys like that?”   

“Yay, Disney!” Roman cheered. He passed Dorian to Emile, who wrapped his arm around his little brother’s waist and helped him walk in the direction of the rest of their family. Roman and Logan followed shortly behind.   

They reached the rest of their family in minutes – they were at the back of the warehouse, with a bunch of crates of jewellery, just beside a set of large double doors – and Patton and Virgil rushed over when they spotted the limping Dorian.   

“I knew this was a bad idea, are you hurt? What happened? Can you walk?” Virgil fussed, taking Dorian from Emile and looking him over.   

Logan put his hand on Virgil’s shoulder. “There’s no need to worry, it’s just a sprain, I already looked at it.”   

Remy glanced up. “How’d you manage that?” He had just been looking the Bloody Necklace, admiring its blood red gems.   

“I tripped down a flight of stairs.” Dorian said dryly, and Remy snorted as Patton and Virgil looked him over sympathetically.   

Emile, Roman and Logan joined Remy in stuffing the jewellery into sacks – one each – to take to the car. Hart and Brian would be collecting them to sell tomorrow; they’d already found a bunch of people willing to buy them for a lot of money.   

“We should hurry.” Logan said. “We don’t want to stick around for too long, it could be dangerous.”   

Roman waved him off, taking off his mask to swipe his hair out of his eyes. “It’ll be fine, Specs, we’ve killed everyone here, and these guys wouldn’t be keeping these here if there were cops coming over.”   

A few minutes of admiring the jewellery later, he held up an especially sparkly necklace. “Ooh, this looks pretty!” He turned to his husbands. “What do you think, would this suit me?”   

“Yep!” Patton chirped, as Virgil spoke in unison:   

“It’s not extra enough for you.”   

Roman stuck out his tongue, before stuffing the necklace into the sack. “Are you sure we can’t keep any of these? They’re exquisite.” He fished a pretty blue and silver bracelet out of a nearby crate, admiring it. “See, this one would look amazing on you, Pat.”   

He strode over to his husband, sliding it onto his wrist and grinning as Patton giggled.   

“See, even more beautiful than normal!” Roman grinned, leaning forward and lifting Patton’s mask to press a chaste kiss to his lips.   

Most of the family just rolled their eyes or smiled fondly at their antics, but Remy sighed in exaggerated irritation.   

“Keep it in your pants, Pa.”   

“Language, Remy.” Virgil scolded, as Emile swatted at his brother’s shoulder. “Let them have their fun.”   

All of a sudden, the large double doors swung open, hitting the walls with a bang. Over a dozen cops burst in, guns pointed at the whole family. They had them surrounded within moments. One of them was Adam Lexinus from the double date not long ago, which was like an additional punch to the gut.   

“All of you, drop your weapons!” A dark-skinned female cop with red hair ordered. “Keep your hands where we can see them and take off your masks!”   

The family did as they were told – the kids only taking off their masks after their parents had. Almost all the cops froze for a moment in shock when they realised that half of the Royal Court were teenagers.   

“Steve...” The female cop muttered to her nearby partner. “They’re children.”  

 

Chapter Text

They weren’t expecting kids. A group of middle-aged white guys is usually what one expects their serial killers to look like.   

Not kids.   

Molly swallowed, unsure if she should fire her gun or lower it. Even though it was pointed right at the chest of the youngest of them…   

“Molls,” Steve said slowly. “The guy on the left …”   

Molly shifted her eyes and nearly cursed aloud. Roman Sanders, of all people. What, was Ted Cruz also the zodiac killer?   

She took a deep breath. “Okay, here’s how this is gonna work. You people are gonna step into our vehicles here without a fight, because, if there is a fight, someone’s gonna get shot and I’d honestly hate for it to be one of your little ones here.”  

It wasn’t a threat. Molly was genuinely scared of a bullet whizzing into the chest of the child she was pointing a gun at, though not enough to move it. They were a kid, sure, but the evidence seemed to suggest they were at least partially responsible for the dead bodies in the building and likely many more besides. They knew what the Royal Court was capable of, everyone knew. She didn’t want them to get hurt, but if that’s what it took then that’s what would be required of her.   

Her badge felt heavy on her belt.  

She watched as the man in blue and silver traded a glance with Roman Sanders. Roman’s head moved just a little, but Molly couldn’t tell if it was a nod or shake. Regardless, the man in blue seemed to ignore it.   

He took a deep breath and looked up at the cops , revealing an intelligent looking man with desperation in his piercing eyes.   

Adam choked somewhere to her left. “Logan? You too?”   

“Please,” The man – or, uh – Logan said. “Leave my children out of this, we- they were only doing what they were told.”   

“Father?” The smaller kid in pink questioned, his voice shook.  

Logan ignored him. “We all were, please, please just don’t hurt them!” His pleas seemed to shock even the rest of the Royal Court.  

“Logan, what are you talking about?” The man in a lighter blue, white and gold asked.   

“I’m telling the truth!” He exclaimed, tossing his mask to the side. “The bloody, bloody truth of what Roman did to us, because if I say it then our children may not be tried!”  

The entire room stared at him and Molly watched carefully as Logan watched the men in light blue and purple. She watched as the one in purple’s eyes slid from Logan, to the taller child in pink, to Roman, and back again. He, too, looked desperate.  

“He’s right, Pat,” The man in purple said, dropping his own mask. “We- we have to come clean.”   

‘Pat’ swallowed. “What?”   

The man in purple clenched his hands into fists and nodded at Logan, ignoring the other’s question.   

Logan let out a shaky breath and turned back to Molly, Adam, and Steve.   

“This man,” He pointed at Roman, whose face was slowly twisting into a snarl. “My husband, Roman Sanders, is the serial killer known as the Prince. And I have evidence as well as testimony that he has manipulated myself and my family to become killers at his side, with numerous threats of pain or our own demise. He is not above holding a gun to a child’s head to get what he wants, and he’s proved that time and time again. He is a manipulator, an abuser, and a killer. I do not know if this counts as a confession, but the blame for every death we have caused lays squarely on his shoulders. My family and I have had no choice but to obey him.”   

Time itself seemed to hold its breath as Molly and her partners processed this. She glanced over at Adam, who looked as if someone had just told them they’d taken a match to the library of Alexandria. Steve didn’t look much better, and she doubted she did either. She liked to think she was an intelligent woman. But, with kids involved, and with the story that just tumbled out of Logan Sander’s mouth, everything just got a whole lot messier.   

“Okay,” She said slowly. “Why don’t you all get into our cars and we’ll sort this out down at the station?”   

“Absolutely not.” Roman Sanders growled; such a disgusted, disgusting look didn’t suit his pretty face.  

He grabbed the nearest child before Molly could blink and held them close, a sword pointed at their throat. The boy in question trembled and Molly was pretty sure she saw tears in his eyes. He was dressed in black and silver, and she therefore recognised him as the Knight.  

“No one come any closer,” Roman warned, snarling animalistically. “Or my blade goes through his throat.”   

Molly hesitated. They weren’t supposed to negotiate with people like this, but a child’s life was at stake!   

“Okay, okay,” She said cautiously, putting her gun down slowly. Her heart pounded in her chest. “We won’t, we’ll stay where we are, just let the kid go.”   

Roman laughed cruelly, practically cackling like a Disney villain. “And lose my protection? I think not, ma’am. Now, all of you’d better drop your guns and let me walk out before I count to ten or I swear to you, I will make good on my threat.”   

The kid he was holding choked out a sob. “P-Papa?”   

Roman shook him heartlessly, like a little ragdoll. “Shut up. Daddy’s negotiating with pigs right now.”   

Molly’s heart lurched and she felt her partners’ eyes on her. She glanced at them both and gave a small nod. Then, when Roman’s eyes darted away from hers, she mouthed ‘plan Harry’ at Steve. Recognition and resignation flickered in equal measure behind his eyes and he nodded.   

“I’m waiting!” Roman s a ng, pressing his sword closer to the child’s neck and drawing a small line of blood. The boy whimpered. “Guns down. Now!”   

Adam and the other cops around them all lowered their weapons, moving to put them on the ground. Steve did so, as well, though a touch slower. And, as soon as Roman’s eyes were off of him, he whipped it forwards, shooting Sanders in the leg.   

Roman let out a cry and went down, releasing the child in his grasp as he did so. They both hit the ground with a thump.  

The boy didn’t move, not even as the cops surged back to their guns around him. Not even as the rest of his group was arrested, with little protest. Not even as three other officers pinned and cuffed Roman Sanders. Only when Molly slapped a pair of cuffs on him, did he even seem to breathe.   

“Papa?” He said, voice breaking. “I thought…”   

Roman glared down at him, though there was something behind it that Molly hadn’t a hope of deciphering. “Keep quiet, Remy. Men like us don’t cry; you know that.”   

Remy’s shoulders dropped in what must have been shock as he and Molly watched the rest of the royal court get shoved into cars. Molly sighed a little and rubbed his shoulders in sympathy.   

“Which one are you?” She asked in a futile attempt to ground him. She knew the answer, but it wouldn’t hurt to check.   

He shuddered. “I’m… I’m the Knight. Remy Sanders.”   

Molly winced. The Knight had been around longer than any other member of the Court. No wonder the poor kid seemed shaken; he didn’t look any older than a teenager! He must have been under Roman’s control for at least four years, maybe even more.  

“Don’t worry,” She said softly. “This whole thing will be over soon. He won’t be able to hurt you anymore.”   

Remy flinched, before glaring up at her venomously.  

“You don’t know a thing about him,” He snarled at her. “You don’t know a thing about us. About anything! He’s... he’s not like that! Papa would never hurt any of us! You have no idea what’s going on!”   

“And I’m sure you’ll enlighten me,” She said calmly, trying to soothe him. “But, right now, I need you to get into the squad car and come with me so you can.”   

“Fuck you.” Remy said, struggling against the handcuffs. “Fuck you and the entire police force. I hope you drop dead and I hope I get to watch. I’m- I’m gonna slit your throat and watch the life drain out of you. Just you wait!”   

Molly couldn’t help but ache. Whatever Sanders had done to this kid had clearly messed him up good. He fought against her the whole way to the car and she was barely able to shove him in. Even when she shut the door, he beat against it, tears streaming down his face as he sobbed in what must have been a horrible mix of emotions.  

She sighed and ran a hand through her hair.   

“This is gonna take a lot of paperwork.”   

She turned, seeing her partners behind her. Adam looked stricken and Steve was staring into space, hands tucked into his jacket stiffly. They looked about as bad as she felt  

Gonna take a while to sort this out,” Steve continued.   

Adam looked at her. “I know them, well… sort of. I had dinner with them once. They saved me from a date who was going to… they just seemed so nice, nothing like murderers. They were right under my nose, Moll. Why didn’t I see it?”   

She shrugged. “From the sound of it, Roman had everyone fooled. You couldn’t have known from just a single interaction.”   

“I should have…”   

He trailed off and Steve glanced at him. He slung an arm over Adam’s shoulder.   

“You made a mistake,” He said with bravado Molly knew he didn’t feel. “It happens. Look on the bright side, man!   

“We’re the cops who bagged the Prince.”  

 

Chapter Text

“So, Dorian. You’re thirteen, right?”  

Officer Molly Kingsley sat across from Dorian in the interrogation room, her hands clasped on the table as she watched him. He remained silent, chewing on his lip, his wrists handcuffed just a little too tightly in front of him. 

“You know, you don’t have to talk.” She said, switching tactics. “You have the right to remain silent, and all that, but it would be useful to get your side of the story.” 

He shifted in his chair, staring down at his hands. Dorian was visibly shaking and appeared to be only a few moments away from a breakdown. He was still dressed in his Royal Court costume – she could tell he was the Baron from the bee-like colour scheme – and looked a lot more like a kid playing dress-up than a nationally infamous serial killer. Which was unnerving, to say the least. He and his family had all been searched, and had had all their various weapons confiscated, but – if she’d based her assumptions on appearance alone – Dorian looked like he wouldn’t hurt a fly, let alone dozens of ‘innocent’ people.  

She looked him over sympathetically. “How’s that ankle holding up? We can get someone to look at it, if you like.” 

Dorian’s hands tightened into fists; Molly noticed. 

“Was that what happened during the 911 call?” She asked. “The man who called us was named Alexander Poole-Smith. He mentioned that the Royal Court was breaking into a warehouse, gave the address, and then he died. The phone never hung up, and we managed to catch a conversation between you and Roman. From what we could hear, you tried to run off, Roman scolded you, and then you got hurt.” 

Dorian flinched. He was shaking, and there were tears forming in the corners of his eyes. 

Molly’s voice softened. “Did Roman hurt you?” 

Dorian flinched again at the accusation. She took that as a yes, brow softening in sympathy, and continued. 

*** 

“Has he hurt you or your brothers before?” 

He swallowed the urge to defend his Papa. He was allowed to remain silent, so he would. Dorian didn’t want to ruin any defence his fathers made by contradicting anything. Besides, if he tried to speak, he’d likely just burst into tears, crying for his dads like a scared little boy, which he supposed he was right now. 

“Your father – Logan, I mean – he said that Roman’s been threatening you all, forcing you to kill for him, or he’d kill you, too.” She said. “Is this true?” 

Dorian tensed up. Molly jotted something down on her notepad.  

“Dorian, he can’t hurt you anymore.” She said softly. “He practically confessed before he was even arrested, he attacked your brother right in front of us, he’s not going to get away with this.” 

A tear dripped down his cheek. He made no move to wipe it away as he pulled his arms closer to his body – which was difficult with the handcuffs – trying to hug himself because none of his dads could. 

Molly leant over the table, putting her hand on his shoulder. He tensed up, so she moved back, placing her hands back on the table. She gave him a sympathetic look; he wished he could rip it off her face. He didn’t need her pity, he needed his family back. 

“The Royal Court began about two years ago, correct?” 

He gave the tiniest of nods, the first real response given throughout this whole interrogation. She jotted something down on her notepad. His vision was too blurred to read it. 

“And Roman began killing as the Prince roughly twelve years prior to that? Fourteen years total?” 

Dorian hesitated for a moment, but there was no point in lying about that. They’d been caught in the act, and it went along with Logan’s story. He nodded again. 

“And the Knight joined around four years ago?” 

He chose not to answer that one, staring down at the table. 

Molly sighed, leaning back and crossing her arms. “You know, if Logan’s story is true, and you were forced into it under the threat of being murdered, we can help you. We can protect you and your brothers, though we can’t say the same for your fathers.” 

Another tear dripped down his cheek, and it was soon joined by numerous heart-wrenching sobs that almost brought Molly to tears herself. This would be a long day. 

******* 

“So, Thomas, I just finished interrogating your dad and-”  

“Which one?” 

“Oh, uh- Logan.” Adam sat down at the table opposite Thomas.  

Thomas shifted uncomfortably in his chair. “What did... what did he say?” 

Adam gave him a small sympathetic smile. “You know I can’t tell you that, Thomas. Can’t have you changing your story to fit his, now, can we?” That last part sounded like an attempt at humour, but Thomas couldn’t find anything funny right now. Adam cleared his throat, continuing. “Now, how about you tell me, in your own words, what’s being going on. Tell me your story, from beginning to end, and I’ll interrupt when needed.” 

“From- from the beginning beginning, or from when I got involved with... everything.” 

“Whatever’s relevant.” 

Thomas chewed his lip, pulling lightly against the handcuffs in thought. His eyes darted around the room, like cornered prey, before he finally seemed to settle down slightly, taking a deep breath, and opening his mouth to speak. 

“Um... well. Dorian and I are... are biological brothers. We were adopted together. Our birth mom, she wasn’t that great. She used to hurt him, scrubbing at his face while he screamed.” A tear dripped down Thomas’s cheek. “It wasn’t... it wasn’t good.” He took another deep, shaky breath. “Later, after we were adopted, I heard that she died, killed by the Prince.” He chuckled, a little morbidly. “I guess I should have realised, back then, that it wasn’t a coincidence. I was... I was stupid. I ignored all the signs, I should have- I should have realised.”  

Adam wrote a few sentences down on the notepad – summarising the story. 

“You’re not stupid, Thomas.” He reassured softly, reaching out to pat the teenager’s arm. “He had everyone fooled.” 

Everyone but us.’ Thomas thought but didn’t say. Instead, he just hummed in false agreement. The lies stung his tongue, like there were bees in his mouth, but they were necessary. He wondered if everything would ever go back to normal again. 

“Now, Thomas, you’re the Earl, right?” Adam continued. He gestured at Thomas’s outfit. “The colour scheme gives it away but… Conformation and all that, you know?” 

Thomas nodded. He cleared his throat. 

“We found out about two years ago.” Thomas said slowly, hoping this went along with his father’s story. “And- by we, I- I mean everyone but Remy. He found out about four years ago.” His voice cracked and a tear ran down his cheek – though not for the reason Adam thought. “He... he forced Remy to join him. I... he basically brainwashed him. If... if Remy keeps arguing, if he keeps defending Pa- I mean, Roman, just... just don’t take him seriously. He doesn’t mean it. He... he just loves him so much, even when- even when he hurts him.” Thomas looked down at his hands, more tears slipping down his cheeks. “Please... please protect him. He’s my little brother, he can’t get hurt, he just can’t . None of them can. Please...” 

He didn’t even have to be that good of an actor to sell this. The tears were real, even if his reasons weren’t quite true – at least the part about wanting to protect his brothers was.  

Adam felt like he was going to cry, himself. This absolutely wasn’t what he’d expected when he’d began working on the Prince case. A group of serial killers, yes, but a family of broken teenagers and cruel, serial killer fathers? This wasn’t what anyone had thought this would be. 

“Your-” He cleared his throat changing the subject. “Your fathers: Virgil and Logan. They were police officers, too, right? They worked at a different precinct, but I’d heard of them. They burned all the files and evidence from the Prince case. It didn’t do much, but there was still a bunch of stuff that hadn’t been put online yet. At the time, it was considered an accident, though they were still fired, but now I’m assuming it wasn’t?” 

Thomas shook his head. “No- no... that was just after we found out. We- the whole family walked in on Roman and Remy dragging a body through the kitchen.” He cleared his throat, shifting and tugging slightly at the handcuffs. “He... he threatened to hurt us. He threatened Remy. We didn’t have a choice. We had to stay quiet. Pop and Father had to burn the evidence... or.... or he’d kill us.” 

He didn’t feel like an eighteen-year-old right now. He felt like a scared child, younger than Dorian looked, and all he wanted was to bury his face into one of his father’s shoulders and sob uncontrollably.  

And by the look on Adam’s face, this all added up. Thomas’s story matched up with Logan’s: so far, at least. This was painful – incredibly, uncontrollably painful – but it would all be over soon, hopefully. 

“Later... he forced us to join him – got us all costumes and weapons and aliases. I’ve got no idea where he got everything, never met with any of his contacts, I don’t even know if any of my other dads know.” Thomas bit his lip. “And that’s... that’s it, I guess. That’s my story.” 

Adam nodded slowly, scribbling more things down on his notepad. 

“Thank you, Thomas.” He said. “…I feel like it’s necessary to tell you that you may be treated a bit... differently from your brothers here, as you’re 18, legally an adult. However, as all of this began when you were sixteen, you shouldn’t have too much to worry about, if you’re telling the truth, of course.” 

******* 

“Officer Laurie, when can I see my brothers again?” 

Steve gave Emile a small, sympathetic smile. “Soon, I assure you,” He said. “I... probably shouldn’t be telling you this, but there’s a good chance you and your brothers will get to go free, for now, while all of this is investigated, of course.” 

Emile chewed his lip. “And my dads?” 

“I’m afraid I can’t give you a straight answer for that. However, I can assure you that you’ll never have to live with that abuser anymore. He can’t hurt any of you now.” 

Emile wanted desperately to argue, to defend his papa against those claims, those horrible accusations that made him sick to his stomach just thinking about them, but he knew it would just make matters worse for everyone else. He furrowed his brow, pulling his arms tighter around himself. He had to stick to the story – they only did it because they were following Roman’s orders, like worker bees obeying their queen, only a lot darker. He wondered if his brothers were following that same line of thinking – Remy in particular.  

“Just so you know,” Steve continued. “I’ll be interrogating your brother, Remy, after this.” 

The teenager held back a gulp – that didn’t sound good. 

Steve pulled out a notebook, flipping it open. “Okay, let’s start with something simple. What’s your alias?” 

Emile fiddled with his pink and gold sleeves, which was difficult due to the handcuffs. “I’m the Viscount,” He said eventually, practically mumbling. Steve could only just make out the words, and he jotted them down before continuing. 

“And how long have you been the Viscount?” 

Emile counted under his breath. “Two... two years, I think. I don’t remember the exact date it started. You’re gonna have to ask my dads for the specific details.” 

Steve nodded slowly. “And why, exactly, did you join?” 

At that, Emile hesitated for a moment. He looked down at his hands. The beats of silence gave him a bit more time to process things, and his vision blurred a little. He clumsily used his elbow to wipe at the tears, as his hands were handcuffed to the table, before taking a shaky breath and continuing. 

“He, um...” Emile refused to make eye contact with the officer as he spoke. “Papa forced me to – or, uh... forced us, I mean. It’s just like Father said, we, um... none of us wanted to do this, but he forced us to.” He took another shaky breath. “He’d... he’d hold up guns to our heads or swords to our necks and force us to help him, or he’d kill us. I- we- we were all just so afraid of him.” He shifted uncomfortably in his chair. “We just did what he wanted.” A tear dripped down Emile’s cheek, and his voice cracked as he continued. “We hurt so many innocent people, and I.... and I just...” 

He trailed off with a sob. Of course, Emile had never actually hurt any innocent people. All of his victims had deserved it, and he saw them more as vigilantes – heroes, like the ones from comic books – than as serial killers. The tears were real, but for the wrong reasons.  

“It’s okay, Emile.” Steve said softly. “I believe you, I’m pretty sure we all do. It’s clear that Roman’s been manipulating and threatening you. This isn’t your fault, it’s his.” He passed Emile a tissue box, and the boy grabbed a handful of tissues, leaning forward to dab at his eyes. It was difficult, but he managed. 

“Are we... are we gonna go to jail?” Emile said in a small voice. 

Steve made a face at that. “I... I don’t know, Kid, I’m sorry. But, believe me when I say that Roman’s gonna get most of the punishment here.” He glanced down at his notepad, mumbling under his breath: “He’ll be lucky if he escapes getting the death penalty for this.” 

Emile let out another heart-wrenching sob.  

******* 

“So, Remy, are you-” 

“Fuck you.” 

Steve glanced up, a little startled at that. Remy glared venomously, like a wasp, zeroing in on its prey, looking like he was just a moment away from attacking the cop. Luckily, he was handcuffed the table, but Steve’s heart still broke for the kid. 

“Excuse me?” He responded. 

“Fuck. You.” Remy leant forward, practically spitting the words at him. “When I get out of these handcuffs, I’m gonna kill each and every one of you.” 

Steve sighed, looking down at his notepad. “Roman really did a number on you.” 

Remy snarled, baring his teeth like a predator. “Papa’s done nothing wrong. He would never hurt us, any of us. Don’t you dare talk about him that way. Don’t you fucking dare, you fucking pig. I hate you so much, right now.” 

*** 

“He held a blade to your throat earlier.” Steve said calmly. “He even cut you. Why are you defending him?”  

“Because- because...” Remy looked lost for words for a moment. “Because he’s a good guy! He’s a good dad! He... he doesn’t deserve any of this! He- he just doesn’t!” 

Steve gave him a sympathetic look, which Remy viewed as pitying. “But he’s the Prince, isn’t he?” 

“I, uh...” Remy looked like he desperately wanted to argue, but he couldn’t find the words, and even he knew that arguing that would be pointless. 

“And was your father right?” Steve continued. “Did you want to join Roman? Did you want to become the Knight? Did you want to kill people? Or did he force you to?” 

Remy didn’t seem to know what to say there either. He opened and closed his mouth a few times, looking a lot more like just a confused, desperate teenager than anything else. However, his expression quickly soured again, and he scowled back at Steve. 

“Fuck you.” He growled, deciding not to answer the question. Steve took that as him not wanting to admit what Roman had been doing to them.  

*** 

“When I break out of these handcuffs, I’m gonna take your other leg.” 

Steve shifted in his chair. Usually, he’d get offended and insecure when someone pointed out his leg, but Remy was clearly in a lot of pain right now, so he decided to let it slide. 

“Remy, is it true you’ve been the Knight for over four years now?” 

The teenager refused to answer that question, just like the last twelve.  

“Has Roman been manipulating you for that long? Has he been hurting you? How did you become the Knight? When exactly did you join him?” 

Remy also refused to answer those questions, sitting back in his chair and crossing his arms. 

“How many people have you killed?” Steve continued, hoping at least one of these questions would stick and get answered. “How many of those people would you say Roman’s actually responsible for?” 

Remy’s glare strengthened. If looks could kill, Remy would have killed Steve more times than the Prince’s suspected body count (which was almost impressively high).  

“Fuck. You.” He repeated, emphasising each word. “I’m not telling you shit.” 

*** 

After three hours, Steve sighed. “Remy, I need you to be honest with me.” He gave the teenager a serious look. “If your family is indeed lying, and you all chose to commit these... atrocities, then the consequences will be severe, for all of you. If that’s the case, we will find out, trust me.” He paused for a moment, taking in Remy’s unreadable expression. “However, if Roman has been abusing and manipulating you all and forcing you to help him kill people, we will help you all as much as possible. You need to tell me the truth here, for the sake of your whole family.” 

Remy looked down, biting his lip. His shoulders were shaking, and he no longer looked like the predatory serial killer that was threatening to kill him only moments earlier. He looked like a scared teenager. 

“I... I...” Remy stumbled over his words. He looked to be on the verge of a breakdown. “I don’t know... I- I just, I don’t know...” A single tear dripped down his cheek. 

Steve’s expression softened. “That’s okay, kid. We’ll... we’ll figure it out.” 

And, with that, the number of sobbing Sanders kids was brought up to four out of four, and the number of confused, conflicted cops was brought up to literally all of them.  

Chapter Text

“I guess it seems prudent to interview you first,” Adam said, sitting down at the table across from Logan Sanders, folder open in front of h im . “So... I’ll start simple. Did you know Roman was the Prince when you married him?”  

Logan snorted. “If I had known that I would not have married him. I was once a man of the law myself. It was not until... I believe about two years ago, that he revealed his true nature to us.”  

Adam nodded and made a note of that. “Could you describe how that played out for me?”  

Logan hesitated, taking a deep breath. “He... He and Remy were taking a body through our kitchen. I never knew the reason why, but , after we all discovered them, there was an argument. A rather loud one. I- afterwards he threatened the twins, Remy especially, and forced Virgil and I to bury the body. I’d rather not go into specifics if I can help it , but... it was well and truly awful. And after that night he began... recruiting us, in a sense. One by one he threatened us, the children, the children to get at us, until all of us were helping him, sometimes even killing for him.”  

Logan looked up from his hands, looking at Adam with desperation. “I- please. I’m a father. I never- I never wanted to kill anyone, I just wanted my kids to be safe. I never- never - wanted anyone to get hurt but he held a gun to the head of my children and I couldn’t- all I could do was collect evidence and hope that one day he’d get caught. I used to do this, I know what can be used so, whenever I could I would record him or the children- I have one of Dorian and Thomas discussing him. Please, you have to believe me! I just wanted to keep my children safe! They... we didn’t let the kids hurt anyone, if we could help it. Patton, Virgil and I did what we could to keep their hands clean.  

Tears were starting to fall down Logan’s face now and it pulled at Adam’s heartstrings. He wanted to believe him, and the evidence did stack up in his favour…  

“We’ll do what we can, sir.” Adam decided. “Is there anything else you can tell us that would speed things along?”  

Logan hesitated. “...I thought he was a good man once. But I wouldn’t be here now if that was true.”  

“I know, sir.” Adam said, feeling like his heart was getting squeezed. “I know. But if there’s anything else you can tell me I need to know it.”  

Logan paused again, seeming to think. “...The body. The one that they dragged through the kitchen? I- I know where we buried it. It haunts me, knowing where it is. I know it doesn’t prove anything I’m saying but I have other things to back that up. Recordings and such. But the body... maybe it’ll prove I’m not lying?”  

Adam bit his lip, thinking. “...Tell me where it is and I’ll see, sir.”  

Logan gave him the location and the room fell into silence while Adam wrote it down.  

“Can you-” Logan cut himself off, but Adam gestured for him to continue. “...I know you can’t promise me anything. But... a ll I want is for my kids to be safe. And they won’t be if that m-monster is roaming the streets.”  

Boy... i f his heartstrings were pulled before, now it felt like Logan had reached into his chest and physically yanked them.  

“We’ll do our best, Mister Sanders.”  

*****  

“It’s Pat, right?” Molly asked.  

The man in the chair before her squirmed a little, tugging at the cuffs on his hands. He gave her a tight smile that barely qualified as anything but polite.  

“Patton, actually , " He corrected softly. “Only my husbands call me Pat.”  

“Oh , sorry , ” Molly said, writing that onto her notepad. “Didn’t mean to offend.”  

“I’m not offended , ” Patton said. “...Not at that anyway.”  

Molly quirked a lip upwards. “Not a fan of what we’re calling your husband, huh?”  

Patton shrugged. “Would you enjoy it? People calling the man you married an abuser?”  

“Not if it was true , ” Molly said. “...Although I guess abuse can play with your mind funny, so actually, I probably would mind even if it was true.”  

Patton frowned. “I suppose that’s true...”  

“Would you say you’ve been abused , Patton?”   

He looked at her in shock. “I... That’s a little... extreme ! I’ve never- he hasn’t hit me or-”  

“There’s more to abuse than just physical , ” Molly said simply. “The way it’s all building up it seems as though your husband Roman was emotionally manipulative and often threatened harm towards you and you r children. Do you have anything to refute these claims ?  

Patton gaped at her, open-mouthed. He said nothing, only blinking.  

She continued. “I know your other two husbands were cops, and it says here that you were the secretary at their precinct before you adopted, so you probably know how this works. If it’s anything less than a unanimous report , everything gets a whole lot messier til we find out the truth. If we go that route, I don’t know what will happen, honestly. But the way it’s looking... I can’t guarantee anything but your kids might be able to go free , for now – w ith conditions, of course.”  

Patton stared at her for what felt like a lifetime. She was half tempted to squirm under the gaze but she held fast. From what she’d read about him , this was the right move to make in order to get the truth. She just had to stick to it.   

Eventually , his gaze dropped to his hands. Molly held her breath, daring the silence to grow louder.  

“...I married a good man,” He said, voice small and quiet. Desperate. “The man you saw today... that was not that man. I- if I’d known how it all would work out I might have played my cards differently but- the one thing I won’t regret is adopting my kids. We gave them a loving home even if... e ven if it didn’t last.”  

He looked up at her, tears in his eyes. “Did you know he taught Thomas to ride a bike? We caught him trying to ride one on his own but... R oman just took him aside and explained how it was done. And when Thomas got back on , he- he fell and Thomas skinned his knee and he looked so scared... But I kissed it and gave him a bandage with a Disney princess on it and promised that he’d be okay , t hat I’d watch out for him and that nothing would hurt him while I was around.”   

The tears fell, trickling down Patton’s cheeks like small silver rivers composed of human sorrow. “I’m a horrible father.” He said hoarsely. “The things I’ve exposed them to- the things I’ve let happen-”  

“It wasn’t your fault, Patton.” Molly said sympath et ically, reaching out to put her hand over his. “You couldn’t have known who he was or what he was going to do.”  

Patton sobbed. “I should have. I should have! I should have seen the signs , I should have protected my kids! Who’s going to protect them now?”  

Molly pulled away, glancing over the files. “It says here you have a cousin in town?”  

Patton nodded, looking a little confused at the change in topic. “Um- yeah? H-Hart and his husband Brian. But what has that got to do with anything? They don’t know about any of this, they’re innocent.  

“Well,” Molly shrugged. “Best case scenario , your children would be placed under their care. Assuming they’re innocent enough-”  

“They didn’t do anything!” Patton interrupts quickly. “Or at least nothing they could help. We did most of the killing , the kids just- they were mostly there to use against us! They helped , sure, they didn’t have a choice, but , if we could help it , they didn’t kill anyone.”  

“We couldn’t always help it,” He then admitted in a small voice. “And I know poor Remy’s hands are absolutely soaked in blood... but , when we could help it, we kept them out of that.” Molly watched as he swallowed. “I just... I want to give them their best shot, you know? No loving father wants his kids in the environment mine have been in. And certainly, don’t want them in here.”  

He gestured around. He probably meant jail even though this was just the police station but Molly wasn’t about to point that out. Besides, it’d be a rather backwards family to want their kids on this side of the station anyways.   

“I can’t promise you anything,” She said simply, wishing that she could. “But , honestly? I don’t want your kids to go to jail either. Most of them seem nice enough. In another life, I think all of us could have really gotten along. I don’t want to put them behind bars."  

A sob ripped out of Patton. Molly passed some tissues to him and sighed. Things were all becoming clearer. But at what cost? 

*********  

Steve sat across from Virgil Sanders, who was doing little more than staring at him like he was an unsavory piece of meat. Steve sighed and tried for a smile.   

“So,” He said. “I’ve gotten a lot of opinions on what went down with all this. Both the ill-fated heist and the last three years or so. Care to give me another one?”  

Virgil’s gaze shifted to his cuffed hands. Steve sighed. Apparently, this was the parent Dorian took after...   

“Look , Mr. Sanders,” Steve tried. “Even if you don’t talk, we’ve got a lot of compelling evidence. We don’t want to lock all of you up, but if that’s how things go that’s how things go. You were a cop once, right? So, you know how it goes. I’d even be willing to talk about making a deal with you for the right information. Probably not immunity but-”  

“What about for my kids?”   

Steve blinked, not entirely sure if he imagined Virgil’s voice or not.   

Virgil cleared his throat. “My kids. If I tell you what happened will you... can I get protection for them?”   

Steve thought for a moment. “I can’t promise anything yet. I’ll have to talk to the guys in charge. But I can promise I’ll try.”  

Virgil lets out a deep breath and nods. “...I’ll talk. But I want my kids safe, okay? If- if we go through everything we’ve gone through and they aren’t even safe then what’s the point of it all?”  

“I see,” Steve offered his most sympathetic nod. “And what is it exactly you’ve gone through?”  

Virgil smirked and shook his head. “Nah, bro. I’m not saying another word until I’ve got written proof that my kids are protected.”  

Steve stared at him for a moment before chuckling a little. He moved to pick up his files and gave Virgil a wry smile.   

“Well played, Mr. Sanders. I’ll do my best.”  

*******  

Out of all the interviews he’d done so far, Adam knew this was going to be his least favorite. Either he was walking into a room holding a man so twisted he’d manipulated his entire family into murder and likely only had said family for cover and pleasure anyway, or he was walking into a room with a charming man who invented all this just to keep his family who he loves very much safe. Neither were ideal, and e ither way the guy was a serial killer with a really high body count.   

He swallowed. “You sure Molly can’t handle this one?”  

“She’s busy with another interview,” The Chief told him. “And Steve’s trying to see if we can let the kids go home, for now, while we investigate everything . So, it’s either you or Herbert.”  

Adam wrinkled his nose. “Ugh. Okay, okay, fine. But I’m not gonna enjoy it. And if I die in there tell Molly she can have my encyclopaedias.”  

He step ped into the dimly lit room, shutting the door behind him before turning around.   

Roman Sanders sat there, examining his fingernails as if this was nothing more than a mundane waste of his time, little more than a trip to the DMV. Adam took a deep breath and sat across from him. Roman regarded him coldly before his face split into a polite, charming smile. It looked rather fake, as if it had been painted on.  

“Hello.”   

“Hi.”  

“Come here often?”  

“Well , I work here so...”  

Roman chuckled. “Right , of course. You know I actually met my husbands in an interview rather like this one.” He looked the detective up and down.  

Adam paused. “Sir , this is an interrogation.”  

Roman waved a hand. “Right, right. Well , obviously, it wasn’t one for murder , but I was a witness for some robbery or another. They were just so handsome I just couldn’t help myself , y ou know?”  

“Was this before or after they were assigned to the Prince case?”  

Roman’s eyes hardened, though his charming smile didn’t falter. “...Before.”  

Adam nodded. “I actually know the interrogation you’re talking about. We looked it up. It wasn’t too long after the murders in the Carlyle building , w hich is widely believed to be the first attack of the Prince.”  

Roman’s face twitched a little. “Really? How interesting.”  

“It doesn’t look good for you, you know,” Adam mused, looking over the files in his folder. “You were caught in a building full of bodies, in costume, with a bloody sword hanging from your scabbard. If you’re not the Prince , you’re a very clever copycat.”  

Roman frowned. “Are you expecting a confession?”  

“I don’t really need one, honestly.” Adam said, setting the case files aside. “We’ve got you dead to rights , you were caught in the act . It’s just a matter of how much you’re guilty of that’s up for debate.”  

Roman laughed, his charming smile returning. “Please! The Prince alone isn’t responsible for that many kills. Maybe fifty, max .”  

It was unnerving that he didn’t consider that to be a lot. “Maybe,” Adam admitted. “Unless said Prince was manipulating every other member of the Royal Court into killing for him. Then you’d be guilty of practically twice as many deaths, at the very least, as well as child abuse, spousal abuse, and child endangerment. I don’t think I have to tell you how badly that’s gonna hurt your image in the papers.” 

To his credit, Roman only flinched a little before leaning closer to Adam. “And what’s your proof of that, hm? Their word against mine?”  

Adam faltered and Roman laughed, a cruel, cold laugh with its mirth derived from the misery of others. It was comparable to that of a Disney Villain’s.  

“You don’t have anything to really prove it, then.” Roman said victoriously. “Besides, I know what they’re doing. They’re hoping to pin all the blame on me so that they can get away scot free. Typical Patton, concocting a ploy like this. I ought to put it in my next book, what do you think? Think that’ll sell?”  

“What makes you think it was Patton’s idea?” Adam asked, ignoring the book sales question.  

Roman shrugged. “He’s the real brains of the whole thing, you know. We don’t just call him the King for funsies , he’s the one really in charge.”  

“Really?” Adam said, writing that down , though he didn’t buy it . “And why him?”  

Roman rolled his eyes and shrugged again. “He’s just got a knack for it, I guess. The rest of us are just tools for him to point.”  

Adam hummed. “Right. So, I suppose you wouldn’t be surprised to hear he said the same about you?”   

“Not at all.” Roman sniffed.   

“But , i f that’s the case... why was Logan the first to say something?”   

Roman faltered for a moment. “I- Clearly he’d been told to do so ahead of time .”  

Mhm ,” Adam said. “But then, what about the kids? Surely , they’d be in on it, too, right?”  

Roman scoffed. “Of course! All of them except Remy. He’s far too clever to fall into Patton’s traps. I doubt he’ll go along with it.  

“Right. Mister Sanders, you married three men, correct?”  

Roman blinked at the shift in gears. “Er- yes?”  

“And then you later adopted four children?”  

“Well , yes , we- what does this have to do with it?”  

“Well , if I was a man who married three other men and then adopted, it would only be logical to have our kid or kids call us by different names in order to avo i d the endless stream of ‘ask your father.’ Right?”  

Roman nodded, still looking a little confused.  

“You guys did that with your kids, correct?”  

Another nod.  

“Would you list what the kids call each of you, for me?”  

Roman wet his lips. “They call Logan Father , because he likes to be dignified. They call Patton Dad , since that was his childhood dream or whatever. They call Virgil Pop because Thomas wanted to make Dr. Suess jokes. And they call me Papa because of my Hispanic roots.”  

Adam nodded, jotting all that down. “And they don’t mix those up?”  

Roman shook his head. “ O nly as often as anyone with multiple children would call one of them by the wrong name. Which I’ve admittedly done a few times myself.” He looked almost thoughtful for a few moments, before his expression returned to the smug coldness.  

Adam smiled at him. “So, when your children refer to being scared of their ‘Papa’ injuring them, there is only a slim possibility they’re referring to Patton instead of you?”  

The color drained out of Roman’s face, the smug expression melting along with it. He almost looked sick at the thought of that. Adam grinned and rose, taking his case files with him.   

“No further questions at the moment. Why don’t you sit here and come up with a better story while you wait?”  

********  

“You ready?” Steve asked.   

Molly and Adam shook their heads.   

“I think it’ll be a long time before I’m actually ready. But we have to listen to it. It’s the most recent, apparently , we can listen to the others later. ” Molly said softly.  

They stared at the phone in the middle of the table they were sitting at. The play button stared back at them like a coiled snake. It may not be venomous ... but once they reached out and pressed it, it was going to hurt.   

Molly took a deep breath and cursed under it before reaching out. Neither of her partners stopped her, so she pressed play. 

Thomas’ voice crackled through the speaker, making her wince a little.   

“Dee,” Thomas’ voice said softly , obviously talking to Dorian . “It’s not your fault, it’s not either of our faults. We... we’re not... he’s making us do these things. If- if we don’t kill for him, he’ll torture and kill us himself!”  

The Dorian on the recording choked back a sob. “But... but... I don’t want to kill people , ” He whimpered. “Yesterday he made me stab that guy... I had to watch as he bled out, begging for mercy. I know that Father said it wasn’t my fault, but...”  

“It’s not your fault , ” Thomas’ voice said.   

There was a pause before Dorian started speaking again, voice a little timid. “Is it bad that I still care about him? I mean... most of the time, when we’re not actually- you know- doing the murdering, he’s just so nice! And I just... I don’t know...”  

“I feel that way, too, sometimes.”  

The recording came to a stop and Molly let out a breath she hadn’t known she was holding.   

“These poor kids,” She said mournfully.    

******  

It was just about noon when they finally called it quits. Steve was in the break room giving his prosthetic a break, Adam stretched so hard that he was pretty sure he heard every bone in his back pop. And Molly? Molly had the fun fun job of handing off the Sanders kids. They’d decided to let them stay with Patton’s cousins for the time being, under a sort of house arrest, while the investigation continued.  

She sighed and tried for a smile as the solemn man approached her desk – he had a bag of spare clothes over his shoulder, so the boys could change and the costumes could be taken in as evidence . She rose and shook his hand.   

“M ister Hart Sanders , right?” He nodded. “I’m Detective Molly Kingsley. I wish we could meet under better circumstances.”  

  “Is everything okay?” Hart asked.  

She hesitated. “Dorian has a sprained ankle and Roman got shot in the leg , but both of them have received medical attention.”  

The man swallowed hard. “Oh , goodness...”  

“It’s... It’s a messy situation here, I won’t fool you.” Molly said gently, gesturing for them to sit. “I’m sure you were informed of some of it over the phone , but the long and short of it is that the parents will remain in custody while we work on out case and the children will be placed under house arrest under your care , most likely until the trial . I understand that you a nd your husband a re registered foster parents as well as being next of kin?”  

Hart nodded. “Yes , that... that’s right. We just adopted.”  

“Good. Good, that’ll make things go smoother.” She said. “I’ll need you to sign a few things but then you can take the kids and be on your way. I may have an escort follow you but it’s just a necessary precaution, I promise.”  

“Ma’am?” He asked, voice thick. “I know... I know you said they’d gotten medical attention but beyond that... are they okay? Mentally?”  

Molly hesitated again. “...I don’t know them well enough to say. But , I wouldn’t place my money on a good mental health state for any of them. Roman seems to have put them through the ringer already and we’ve been interrogating them practically non-stop, which I’m sure you can imagine wears a person out. I won’t sugarcoat it, sir, it’s pretty awful what these kids have been through .”  

His face fell so hard Molly swore she heard it crack onto the floor. “Oh, those poor babies...”  

She gave them a tired smile. “Just a few forms and they’ll be safely in your care, sir. I wish you all the best, truly.”  

“What about my cousin?” Hart asked. “Patton? And Virgil and Logan are they just... are they going to be behind bars for forever?”  

Molly chewed on her lip for a minute. “There’ll be a trial to decide the official sentences, but they will be serving time, yes.”  

Hart let out a sob, wrapping his arms around himself and staring down at the floor.  

Molly sighed softly. There was a long road ahead for everyone.  

Chapter Text

The car ride to Hart and Brian’s home was filled with silence, a tense, painful silence that was mostly only interrupted by the quiet sniffles of Dorian and Emile. Remy was sat in the front, beside Hart, and his brothers were sat at the back, Thomas in the middle, stoically holding on to the other two. Brian was still at home, looking after the twins, who were only three and obviously had no idea what was going on at the moment.  

Remy stared at the road ahead of them, his arms crossed. He was shaking, but if anyone had pointed that out to him, he’d have snapped at them, so it was a good thing they didn’t. He didn’t have his sunglasses with him, so there was no way to hide his red eyes or mask his expression.  

When they were about halfway to Hart and Brian’s house, Remy finally spoke up.  

“Did you know?”  

“Know what?” Hart asked.  

“About father’s plan,” Remy said, glancing emotionlessly at his uncle.  

Hart’s hands tightened on the steering wheel. “No,” He said. “But... I kinda figured they’d do something like this. It makes sense.”  

Dorian sniffled again behind them, shuffling even closer to Thomas. Remy glared down at his lap.  

“It doesn’t make sense to me,” Remy mumbled, hands clenching into fists. Hart sighed, eyes on the road, choosing not to comment.  

The rest of the car ride was filled with an even tenser silence than before, and it was afternoon by the time they reached Hart and Brian’s house. The kids had been up all night, due to the heist and the subsequent arrest, and none of them wanted to fall asleep, though Dorian was yawning between sniffles and blinking sleepily as he curled up against Thomas’s side.  

The front door opened as Hart pulled into the driveway. Brian ushered them inside quickly, wary of the fact that the arrest would be all over the news soon. He held Peter on his hip – the three-year-old absentmindedly chewing on his own fist – and Missy was at his feet, clutching his leg. They were oblivious to what was going on, but weren’t quite as oblivious to their fathers’ moods as they would have liked.   

Thomas and Dorian collapsed onto the couch as soon as they entered the living room, Thomas pulling his younger brother into his lap to hold him closer. Missy then waddled up to them, tugging on Thomas’s leg until he let her up too. Brian handed Peter to Emile, who moved to sit on the couch beside his brothers, and the adults went into the other room to discuss what to do. Usually, the teenagers would all want to help out with that, but, right now, they were exhausted.  

Despite that, Remy continued to pace the room, hands in fists as he mumbled under his breath. His twin watched him, chewing on his thumb as he bounced Peter in his lap.  

It was in moments like these when the teenagers really felt their young age, and longed for their dads more than anything else.  

Thomas wondered what evidence Father had collected that made the police so convinced Papa was the villain ...   

*** **  

Logan stepped into his bedroom, followed closely by his husband, Roman. Their other two husbands were downstairs, making dinner, and the children were in the living room, playing video games, so they likely wouldn’t be disturbed.   

This was during the early days of the Royal Court, when their family dynamic had only just returned to normal.  

Roman shut the door behind them, and a tense silence settled over the pair for a few moments, before he finally looked back up and made eye contact with Logan.  

“So,” Roman said awkwardly. “Where should we start?”  

“You’re the actor. This is your area of expertise.”  

Roman didn’t answer. Logan sighed.  

“Perhaps a text message conversation would be a good start.” Logan took out his phone, and Roman reluctantly followed.  

LOGAN: 
I can’t believe you. 

ROMAN: 
What? 

LOGAN: 
Was threatening us into silence not enough? Must you force us to participate in your crimes, as well? 

I can just about bear your threats to my safety, but leave the children alone. They don’t deserve any of this.  

Roman sat down on the edge of the bed, creasing the blanket, and Logan moved to sit beside him, pressing his arm against his husband’s in an attempt at comfort. They exchanged no words.  

ROMAN: 
And what are you going to do about it? 

They waited a whole minute – full of deafening silence and Roman finally took Logan’s hand and squeezed it supportively. It made typing harder, but it was necessarily.  

ROMAN: 
That’s what I thought. 

Don’t bring this up again.  

***  

Logan shut and locked the bathroom door behind him. He’d just come back from a murder as the Duke, and it had gone fairly well. However, he had gotten a bit bruised in the escape, which was what he was in the bathroom for.  

He rolled up the bottom of his shirt, examining the bruise on his hip. He pulled out his phone, and took a few picture s of it, to add to his evidence collection. After he was done, he flattened his shirt again, pocketing his phone and running his fingers through his hair.  

He flushed the toilet, to mask the real reason why he’d entered the bathroom, washed his hands and then left the bathroom. He passed Roman down the hallway, and they exchanged a solemn look.  

Logan tried not to think too hard about what they were keeping from the rest of their family.  

***  

Logan and Roman sat down on one couch, exchanging a short look and a nod. The former placed a book about astronomy into his lap, but pulled out his phone and began tapping at it. Roman took out his notebook, and began to scribble enthusiastically across one of the open pages. Thomas and Dorian were on the other couch, playing a card game and talking quietly.  

After a few more minutes of this, Roman paused in his writing, reading over his words with a creased brow. He then began to sigh loudly and dramatically, doing so multiple times until his family finally took notice. Logan glanced up at Roman, giving him a look, before tapping at his phone a few more times, secretly turning on the recording app, and placing it face-down on the coffee table, beside Thomas and Dorian’s card game.  

“Roman, just tell us what is wrong, your sighing is getting tedious.” Logan said, adjusting his glasses and giving his husband a pointed look. They’d done this a couple times in the past, with different members of their family, so, whilst Logan wasn’t exactly the best actor, he was quite used to this.  

“I’m glad you asked!” Roman exclaimed, sitting up straighter and brandishing his notebook. “I’m trying to write some dialogue for my next murder novel, but I just can’t tell if it flows well! I know I’m a genius when it comes to stuff like this, but writing’s just so hard! I’m stumped!”  

Logan hummed in thought. “Well, I could look over it, too, if you so desire.”  

“I appreciate the thought, my love.” Roman gave him a grateful smile. “But your talents lie in detecting grammatically errors, not in character’s emotions.” He paused for a moment, for emphasis, before his eyes lit up, and he turned to his two sons. “Thomas, Dorian, my amazing, beautiful, incredibly talented sons who I love very much…”  

They both turned to him, Thomas with one eyebrow raised and Dorian with a dry look on his face.  

“What do you want, Papa?” The 18-year-old asked, amused.  

Roman grinned. “Well, you both share my love of acting, do you not?” They both nodded. “And you both clearly inherited by skill for it, of course. So, could you, I don’t know… maybe act out part of this scene for me? The characters are sitting down, so you wouldn’t have to move around much, and it’s not too long, I swear!”  

Thomas blinked a few times in surprise, before reaching out and taking the notebook, placing it between himself and Dorian, so they could both read it.  

“Just from the top of this page-” Roman pointed to the second open page. “-to the end of what I’ve written so far.”  

Dorian snorted. “You named the girl ‘Dee’.”  

“Yup!” Roman chirped. “You can be her, if you like. The backstory’s that Dee and her father are being threatened by an old family friend into helping him kill all of his enemies, and Dee accidentally dragged her best friend, Josh, into it. This scene’s them talking about it.”  

Thomas and Dorian flicked through the pages of the section a few times, before the former cleared his throat and began to read.  

“Dee,” He read softly. “It’s not your fault, it’s not either of our faults. We… we’re not… he’s making us do these things. If- if we don’t kill for him, he’ll torture and kill us himself!”  

Dorian choked back a sob, and Roman’s grin widened with pride at his sons’ acting skills – they rivalled his own. Logan blinked a few times in surprise at that, slightly taken aback by how genuine their acting seemed.   

“But… but… I don’t want to kill people.” Dorian whimpered, again alarming his fathers at how realistic it sounded. “Yesterday, he made me stab that guy… I had to watch as he bled out, begging for mercy. I know that Father said it wasn’t my fault, but…”  

Thomas put one hand on Dorian’s shoulder – following the actions written in the notebook – using the other to turn the page.  

“It’s not your fault.”  

Dorian paused for a moment, eyes darting down to the page, before continuing. “Is it bad that I still care about him? I mean… most of the time, when we’re not actually- you know- doing the murdering, he’s just so nice! And I just… I don’t know…”  

“I feel that way, too, sometimes.”  

They stayed like that for a few more seconds, before both boys seemed to snap out of character in unison.  

“I think it’s good!” Thomas smiled, picking up the notebook and passing it back to Roman. “Maybe you should cut down on the description a bit, though, it kinda decreases the emotional impact of the scene.”  

Roman hummed in thought, looking over his pages again, as Logan picked his phone back up, tapping at it a few more times - ending the recording - before pocketing it with a sigh. He’d cut out the beginning and the end later, leaving only the scripted conversation to add to their large   

“Well, thanks for the feedback, kids!”  

Just as he finished saying that, Virgil came down the stairs, stepping into the living room, dressed in black and purple pyjamas with a golden crown in the centre of the shirt – Roman had gotten it for him. He paused as soon as he arrived, though, brow creasing when he spotted Dorian.  

“Wait, have you been crying?”  

*****  

Logan was certainly crying now. He wished he had Roman’s hand to hold, Patton’s voice to gently reassure him, or Virgil’s arms around him. He wished he knew for certain that this was the right thing. That condemning his husband to save their sons was the right choice. That all the work and effort and feigned evidence wasn’t for naught.   

But all he had was hope. And hope had never felt so lonely...  

Chapter Text

For once in his life, Emile wasn’t paying attention to the cartoons playing on TV. He was, instead curled up against Thomas’ side, absent-mindedly chewing on his lip, lost in thought. Dorian was half asleep at Thomas’s other side, and Remy was sat beside him, knees to his chest, talking quietly with Thomas. Missy and Peter were playing with stuffed toys in the centre of the room, and Hart and Brian were elsewhere , probably talking in hushed voices about what they were going to do with a houseful of teenagers.  

The curtains were drawn, though it was about midday, to keep the neighbours from spying.  

Thousands of thoughts and images danced across Emile’s mind – hardly any of them pleasant – and Thomas squeezed his shoulder supportively every so often.   

After about half an hour of this, Hart suddenly walked in. His expression was solemn, and he sat down on the other couch, silently picking up the remote and switching channels to the news. The woman on screen was halfway through her sentence when she appeared, but the brothers realised what was going on immediately.  

“-were arrested on Saturday night.”  

Everyone tensed up. Dorian sat up, awake, clutching desperately at Thomas’s arm.  

“Now the Royal Court have been terrorising us for two years now, and the Prince has been doing so since twelve years prior to that, but is there more to the story to that?” The news reported continued, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. “The police have given a select amount of information, though they claim the investigation is still ongoing. They even revealed to us the true identity of these monsters.”  

Emile let out a quiet whimper, which didn’t go unnoticed by the three-year-old twins on the carpet, and Thomas squeezed his shoulder gently, never taking his eyes off of the screen.   

“The infamous Prince is none other than the once beloved author, Roman Sanders.” A picture of Roman appeared on screen beside her. “The rest of the Royal Court are his family.”   

Just as she finished saying this, Brian stepped in. He took one look at the screen, then at Hart and the four teenagers, and then turned to his son and daughter on the floor. He quietly ushered the toddlers out of the room, promising to colour with them in their room. A guilty look crossed Hart’s face as his husband glanced back at him, as if, in that brief moment, he’d forgotten that their children were still there.  

“Roman Sanders has three husbands and four children – perfectly matching the number of killers in the Royal Court – though the seven of them tend to stay out of the public eye. Police claim that an overwhelming amount of evidence suggest that none of them had any choice in the matter, that Roman manipulated all of them into joining him once they’d all discovered his true identity, presumably sometime in the last four years, and threatened to harm or even kill their children if they didn’t comply.”  

Remy was shaking, a vicious scowl on his face as he glared at the screen, hands in tight fists. Dorian buried his face in Thomas’s shoulder, who ran his fingers through his brother’s hair in an attempt to comfort him. Emile glanced at Hart, who was chewing his lip with a pained expression.   

“The last thing the police revealed to us was which person used which alias. Roman Sanders was the Prince, of course. His son, Remy, who is 16-years-old, was the Knight. His husbands Patton, Logan and Virgil were the King, Duke and Overlord respectively. His 18-year-old son, Thomas, was the Earl. 16-year-old Emile Sanders was the Viscount, and 13-year-old Dorian Sanders was the Baron.” The woman cleared her throat, expression unreadable. “We will keep you all updated as this all progresses. I’m Sarah Smith, and this has been-”  

She was cut off as Hart switched off the TV. He looked over the teenagers sympathetically – Remy didn’t look like he appreciated it, but he didn’t say anything – before leaving the room again, likely to go find his husband and children.   

“...That’s that then.” Thomas said, voice strangled. “We... they...”  

“They’re gonna be locked up for good .” Remy said shortly.  “We’re on our own.”  

Dorian sniffled, withdrawing from Thomas just enough for them to see his red-rimmed eyes. “W- we don’t know for sure, yet, and we aren’t alone. We have Uncle Hart. And Uncle Brian. We aren’t alone...”  

“Please.” Remy huffed. “Our uncles have their hands full as it is. They’re only , like, ten years older than Thomas and just got their first kids. You think they know what’s gonna be best for us? You think they know how to raise teenagers?”  

“I think they’ll try.”  Thomas retorted. “They’ll do their best, and that’s all we can ask of them!”  

“Yeah right,” Remy laughed bitterly. “We let them parent us while our real dads rot in a cell! Oh-” He laughed again, this time borderline hysterical. “All except for Papa! Who’s probably gonna be sitting on DEATH ROW soon !  

Emile let out a choked sob and he and Dorian both burrowed into Thomas’ shoulders. He wrapped his arms around the two of them as best he could, but his arms just... weren’t quite enough. He sighed a little and almost glared up at Remy.   

“That was uncalled for.”   

Remy growled. “It’s true.”  

“Do you really think that’s what anyone needs to hear right now?”  

Oh, because a couple pretty lies will make everything better?”  

“I’m not saying that it will!” Thomas snapped. “But it’s not helping a single thing to sit there shouting about it! All that’s doing is making everyone feel worse!”   

Remy glared at him, seething. His mouth opened and closed rapidly, searching for some sort of word to express each and every one of the cocktail of feelings inside his chest. Then he caught sight of a tear, running down Dorian’s cheek. ...And it all crumpled.   

He swallowed hard. “I just...”  

Thomas softened. “I know. I know... none of us are blaming you for these feelings, Remy. But you can’t just yell and scream and expect things to get better. All that’s doing is making it worse.”  

“I can’t just sit here,” Remy gasped. “I can’t just sit here and watch cartoons knowing that they- that he-”  

“I know.” Thomas swallowed a little. “I... Trust me. I know. But we have to stick together. Fighting and yelling is just gonna pull us apart. ...We’re the only family we’ve got now.”  

Remy broke. Tears coursed down his face and he collapsed into Thomas, crashing into Emile a bit on his way down. Thomas could reach him, so Emile and Dorian reached around him instead, and Thomas whispered gently, as soothingly as he could.   

They stayed like that for a long time. Just a small, broken family, clinging to each other on a faded couch with all they had left.   

***  

Sep and August stared in shock at the TV screen. The news reporter had just moved on to another story, but the couple had most certainly not moved on from it yet.  

August reached out and squeezed his husband’s hand, and they exchanged a look of absolute horror: eyes wide and mouths slightly ajar.  

Wh - what-” Sep began, before cutting himself off and taking a deep, slightly shaky breath.   

“Hey, Toby!” August called out. “Can you come here, please?”  

Their son entered the room, one hand in his pocket, looking rather casual until he noticed the look of his fathers’ faces. His brow creased, and he crossed his arms.  

“What’s up?”  

Chapter Text

The first thought that appeared in Emile’s mind when he woke up was the date.  

It was Friday, the day he and Toby had been planning on going on a date together, finally , after years of pining after each other.   

Not that Toby would want to go on a date with him anymore, now that the arrest had hit the news and their crimes were broadcasted for all the world to see. Of course, it had been reported that Roman was the one at fault – threatening and manipulating his family into killing with him – but that only made it slightly better.  

Emile pulled the blanket tighter, and Remy rolled over beside him, turning to face his brother and blinking sleepily.  

“What’s... what’s up, bro,” Remy yawned. He hadn’t gotten enough sleep the night prior, but neither had any of t hem.  

“It’s Friday,” Emile mumbled.  

Remy didn’t seem to get it at first, his brow creased in thought, but then a look of realisation crossed his face.  

“Oh .”  

Remy reached out and took Emile’s hand, squeezing it reassuringly. “I mean, we don’t know for sure what Toby thinks about all of this. We don’t have our phones, so it’s not like we’d know if he’d texted us. ... Maybe he’s into murder?”  

Emile snorted lightly, though it sounded a little shaky. “It’s not like we’re allowed to leave the house, anyway,” He whispered softly, speaking quietly so Thomas and Dorian – who were still asleep on the sofas – didn’t also wake up.   

Remy scoffed, rolling his eyes. “You’re not supposed to kill people, either, it’s not like we ever listened to that.”  

“Okay, fair,” Emile conceded. “But if we got caught trying to leave, it’d mess everything up. Besides, Toby’s not gonna want to date me after all of this, so there’s no point in even talking about this.”  

“But we don’t know for sure.”  

Emile still looked unsure, chewing on his lip apprehensively. Remy then sighed, a little aggressively, squeezing his twin’s hand to get his attention.  

“Emile,” He said seriously, making eye contact with his brother. “If I don’t focus on trying to get you and Toby together, despite everything else that’s going on, I’m going to end up killing somebody, and that’s just gonna make this situation worse.”  

Emile blinked a few times in surprise. “Oh, uh... okay, then. I guess there’s no harm in checking later to see if Toby’s where we said we’d meet up. But how am I supposed to sneak out? There’s cops outside the house : they’d catch us.”  

“Just leave that part to me.”  

***  

“Are we sure this is a good idea?” Thomas asked, running his fingers through his hair and looking around anxiously. “If this goes wrong, it could mess everything up. Do we really wanna risk this?”  

Remy rolled his eyes. “Uh, duh. It’s for true love. We’ve been working too hard to bring Emile and Toby together to just give up now.”  

“The murder thing’s probably turned him off.” Dorian said dryly. He hadn’t let go of Thomas’s arm since he woke up, and hadn’t been talking much either.  

“We don’t know that for sure,” Remy said. “I mean, didn’t he say a while back that the Prince saved his cousin? Plus, the media’s making it seem like the four of us are just innocent victims. Besides, he was like super in love with Em , that can’t have just gone away already.”  

Thomas and Dorian exchanged a look, before Thomas sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose.  

“Okay, fine, what do you want us to do?”  

Remy grinned. “That’s the spirit.” He glanced around, double checking that the three of them were alone, before continuing. “Okay, you two have to keep Uncle Hart and Uncle Brian distracted, at least until Emile’s out of the house. Do whatever you have to. I don’t know, start crying, or something, shouldn’t be too hard given the situation. My job is to help Em leave through the back door. And- oh, speak of the devil.”  

Emile entered the room just as he said that, in jeans, sneakers and a large oversized grey hoodie, borrowed from Hart, to hide Emile’s identity while he was out. Remy looked him over and nodded.  

“Great, that works.” He turned back to Thomas and Dorian. “We’re gonna sneak Emile out the back door. He’s gonna sneak out into town, which will take about half an hour to walk to, and wait outside the coffee shop they arranged to meet at for at least 20 minutes, to wait for Toby, and, if Toby is there, he is to spend a maximum of one hour with him before returning so we only have to keep this going for two hours.” Remy smirked and winked at his twin. “No funny business, you two.”  

“But Uncle Hart and Uncle Brian will definitely notice if you’re gone for two hours, Em,” Thomas pointed out.  

Remy grinned mischievously at that. “Not if I pretend to be both of us at once. I’ll switch between wearing my leather jacket and Emile’s cardigan regularly, and hopefully our uncles will be too - like - distressed at our current situation to notice. Hopefully, they won’t notice that I won’t have any glasses, ‘cos apparently Em needs them or something .”  

“I think it would just make things worse if I got lost because I didn’t have my glasses.” Emile responded dryly.  

Just as Remy was about to open his mouth to respond, Hart walked in, followed closely Missy and Peter. Remy turned to Thomas and Dorian, giving them a subtle pointed look.  

“Hey, uh, Uncle Hart,” Thomas began. “Can we talk?”  

Hart gave Thomas a soft, but exhausted, look. “Of course, kiddo, what’s up?”  

Remy and Emile ignored the heartache at the word ‘kiddo’, slipping silently out of the room and moving towards the back of the house. They’d mastered the art of sneaking around due to their double lives; the only ones who’d notice when they snuck out of the house were their dads, but they weren’t here right now.  

They opened the back door, and Emile put his hood up.  

“Good luck,” Remy whispered, and Emile gave him a small smile and a nod in response. He then turned and began to walk away, but Remy stopped him. “Here,” Remy removed his sunglasses and handed them to his brother. “For luck. And to hide your face, too, I guess.”  

Emile hesitated for a moment, before putting them on over his normal glasses. He reached out and squeezed his brother’s hand, before turning and leaving. Remy watched him go for a few seconds, before he shut the door.   

Remy leant back against the door, tipping his head back slightly and closing his eyes. He ran his fingers through his hair and sighed a little shakily. He chewed his lip, thinking things over for a few moments, before straightening up and pushing himself away from the door with his foot, preparing for two hours of acting to help his brother, and hoping more than anything that Emile wasn’t about to get his heart broken.  

***  

Emile arrived at the meeting point ten minutes earlier than expected – he'd ran most of the way, worried about being late and missing his chance. He was sat on a bench outside the coffee shop, checking the watch he’d borrowed from Brian every few seconds, hunched over to hide his face from the public. His foot tapped against the ground as he chewed on his lip. Toby most likely wouldn’t recognise him like this, so he’d have to keep an eye out himself to make sure they didn’t miss each other.  

If Toby was even coming at all.  

Emile was too busy stressing out over the situation to notice when someone began to approach him, only looking up when they tapped him on the shoulder.  

“Hey,” Toby said softly, shifting awkwardly from one foot to the other as he ran his fingers through his hair.   

Emile stared up at him, mouth agape, for a few moments, before he jumped up.  

“Toby, you’re actually here!” He then looked down at himself, a little confused. “You actually recognised me.”  

Toby chuckled lightly. “It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing, I’ll always recognise you.” He stuffed his hands into his pockets. “Can we, uh... can we talk?”  

“Oh- of course!” Emile blinked up at him. “Um, where should we-”  

“I know a place.”  

Toby hesitated for a moment, before holding out his hand. Emile took it immediately, and the taller boy squeezed his hand reassuringly. He then began to lead Emile through a maze of shops and cafés and crowds, until they came across a small, relatively clean alleyway, devoid of people. Emile recognised it as a place a lot of local teenagers came to make out without the watchful eyes of their parents. He figured that probably wasn’t why Toby had dragged him there, but he still blushed nonetheless.  

Toby leant against the wall; Emile was still holding his hand, so he leant against the wall beside Toby, avoiding eye contact. There were a few seconds of silence, before Toby finally spoke up again.  

“So, I saw the news.”  

Emile gulped nervously.  

“Is it true?” Toby asked softly, without judgement. “Are you guys... are you really the Royal Court?”  

“Yeah.”  

There was a moment of silence.  

“And- and did your-” Toby took a deep breath. “Did your pa- did Roman really force you to...” His voice cracked as he said Roman’s name, and he turned to look at Emile’s face.  

Emile didn’t know how to answer that question, so he didn’t. Toby watched him, before sighing and running the fingers of his free hand through his hair.  

“It- it doesn’t matter,” Toby said. “I still like you, Emile.”  

Emile’s eyes widened.  

“You- you do?”  

“Yeah.” Toby smiled at him, but it was a little sad. “You’re a sweet person, Em , whether or not your secret vigilantism was a choice or not.”  

Emile stared back at him adoringly. “I really like you, too. Does... does this mean nothing changes between us?” He asked hopefully.  

Toby’s expression saddened, and Emile’s heart dropped.  

“I’m moving.”  

“Wait, what?”  

Someone walked past the alleyway, paying no attention to them, and the duo went silent as they waited for her to pass properly. Emile then turned back to Toby, shaking slightly.  

“You’re moving?”  

Toby looked devastated. “ My d ads d on’t exactly approve of all of this, and everyone already knows I'm close to you and Rem. They think we need a fresh start, somewhere else, where no one associates us with a family of serial killers. It doesn’t matter to them whether or not you guys had a choice in the matter. We’re going to stay with my grandparents for a while, until we can move properly.” He took a deep, shaky breath. “It’s happening first thing tomorrow.”  

“But- but we can stay in touch, right? I don’t have my phone right now, but we could figure something out, use landlines and computers.”  

“They’re making me delete all my social media and change my phone and phone number and email and everything else. They’re completely cutting me off,” Toby said. He squeezed Emile’s hand, to reassure the both of them. “I’m so ... so so sorry, Em, I wish things didn’t have to be this way. They’ll realise I’m gone, soon, I can’t stay long.”  

“I-” Emile’s heart shattered in his chest. “I’m never going to see you again?”  

Toby’s face softened. “One day,” He whispered. “I promise we’ll see each other again.”  

“I- I-” Emile started shaking slightly.   

Toby swallowed. “I know it doesn’t help anything but...”   

He pulled a small, round piece of metal out of his pocket and reached over, pinching the fabric of Emile’s borrowed hoodie to pin it in place. Emile looked down at it, fighting back another shiver of tears as he realized what it was.   

“I got that for you before everything... happened.” Toby explained. “I remembered that you liked Ruby and Sapphire and... well at first I wanted you to have something to remember our date by but now... just remember me?”  

Emile sniffled and gently ran a finger over the button, the gems happy faces seeming contradictory to his ripping heart.   

“As if I’d be able to forget you,” He whispered, voice choked.   

Toby smiled, sad and soft , reaching out and gently cupping his cheek with his free hand. “ Em ...” He said. “Can I kiss you?”  

Emile froze for a moment, before nodding, and then Toby kissed him.  

The kiss was short, but sweet, and Toby’s lips were soft, tasting faintly of chocolate. It was Emile’s first kiss, and Toby’s first romantic kiss. It wasn’t perfect, no first kiss is, after all. Their teeth clacked together and their lips were a little too wet. But it held a promise, unspoken and entirely too likely to go unfulfilled  

They pulled away, a few tears dripping down Emile’s cheeks. They pressed their foreheads together and stayed like that for almost a minute, before Toby finally pulled away.  

He pressed a soft kiss to the back of Emile’s hand, before releasing it and stepping back.  

“Bye, Emile.”  

And Emile stayed there, in that tiny alleyway, alone, for the next ten minutes, crying his eyes out.