It was quiet in the Mind Palace, maybe even too quiet. Roman was sitting on the couch in the living room by himself with his eyes closed, earbuds in and volume turned up high as he could stand it. He bobbed his head and mouthed the words to the Dear Evan Hansen soundtrack without noticing the figure approaching him. He did feel the weight plopping down next to him though, and he opened his eyes. “Hey, Grimdork! What brings you here?”
Virgil snorted. Grimdork, that was a new one. “Nothing. What are you listening to?”
“Sincerely, Me just started! You want to listen?” Roman took out the right earbud and held it up.
“Mmm, sure.” He giggled softly when his fingers brushed against the shell of his ear after allowing him to stick the bud in. He shivered and leaned against his shoulder comfortably, unconsciously snuggling closer to the warmth.
Roman let out a soft “aw” and didn’t protest the intimate contact in fear of scaring him off. He wondered if Virgil knew he had noticed that cute giggle of his, but he chimed in with his favorite part of the song before he could dwell further on it. “KINKY!”
“Hey!” Virgil whipped his head around, pulling the earbuds out of both their ears. “Princey, come on!”
“What? Like you weren’t thinking of doing the exact same thing!” He placed his hands on his hips. “You ruined it!”
His mouth twitched into a smile, and he giggled again. “I hate you.”
“You love me.” Roman moved to put the earbud back in his ear, then stopped. “And I love hearing that laugh of yours.”
Virgil made a sound that could only be described as a squeak, a blush spreading across his face invisible under the makeup. “Again, I hate you!” His voice cracked at the end.
“I’m sure you do, Tickle Me Emo.” He could see the flush on his cheeks now, and it was adorable. “Question, are you ticklish? I think you are after the way you reacted to me barely even touching you!”
Honestly he expected him to deny it or call him names or even run, but instead he nodded shyly. “Maybe a little.”
Roman blinked, trying to process what he had just been told. “A little?” he said finally. “I wouldn’t call that a little! You almost dove off the couch!”
“Did not!” Virgil snapped. “And so what if I’m ti-that, isn’t everyone? I’m sure you are, too!”
He gasped dramatically, draping an arm over his forehead. “You have wounded me with your scandalous remarks! How shall I ever recover from this travesty?”
“You’ll find a way.” He scooted back after seeing the devious glint in his eyes, biting his lip nervously. “What?”
Roman scooted forward. “I shall get you for this.”
“Back off, Ro.” Virgil’s voice held a warning edge to it, but he didn’t move anymore. “I’ll kill you.”
“I’ll kill you first.” He paused, giving him time to take in his expression. “With tickles.”
His eyes widened, and he sunk down into the cushions with a wobbly grin crawling across his lips. “No.”
Roman scoffed. “Yes.” He sat himself down on the younger Side’s legs for leverage as he snuck his hands through his hoodie and under his thin shirt to tease the pale skin of his sides. Giggles almost immediately bubbled out of his throat, and he bucked up into the touch instead of away. Interesting. “See? I’m hardly doing anything and you can’t take it!”
“Fahahahalsehood!” Virgil stuck out his tongue and giggled harder when the gentle touch turned into light fingernail-tracing. “Get ohohohohoff!”
“You’re not fighting me!” He nipped at the hand that tried to push his face, coaxing out a happy squeal. “Come on, you can do better than that! Give me a challenge that I am worthy of!”
“Royal pain,” he hissed in response.
Roman shrugged. Oh well, it was his funeral. “Something tells me this cute little tummy might be ticklish!”
“You’re delusional!” Virgil sucked in his stomach as far as it would go.
“Rude!” That was the last straw. Grinning evilly, he finally struck without any mercy. Clawing, pinching, scratching, all without a discernible pattern to keep his friend guessing what he’d do next. It was perfect.
“RohohoHOHOHOHOHO!” He burst into bright laughter that clashed wonderfully with his dark and strange persona, arms flailing awkwardly. “WHY ARE YOHOHOHOHOHOU DOING THIS?”
Roman rolled his eyes. “Did you honestly just ask me that question? I’m doing this because you’re a grump with the purest laughter in all the land! Plus you like this!”
Virgil shook his head no, arms flopping uselessly to his sides and confirming those suspicions. “SHUHUHUHUHUT UP! SHUT YOUR DIRTY MOHOHOHOHOHOUTH, IDIOT!”
“Who are you calling an idiot?” He tried his best to sound angry, but found it was a hard thing to do when he had an adorable boy squirming underneath him just from his touches. He had power over him. It felt good knowing that. “You want to repeat what you just said? You were talking about how much of an idiot I am, remember? Want to pick up where you left off? Hmm?”
He groaned through his laughter and brought a fist up to punch him in the chest, not making it clear if the gentleness was on purpose or just from him being weak. “I SAHAHAHAHAHAHAID-“
“What? Can you try saying that again without laughing? I can’t understand you!” Roman snuck a quick kiss to his quivering belly and poked at one of the dimples on his face. “Oh look, the beautiful sun came out to say hi to me! Hello, sun! It’s so lovely to see you!”
“FUCK OFF!” Virgil screeched.
“Did you just swear at me?!” He wiggled a single finger in his belly button, earning a shriek. “Bad spot? Or would you consider this a good spot since you like it?” Eyeliner-laced tear tracks were streaking down his rosy cheeks after only a few minutes of navel tickling. He laughed along with him and kissed his cheek as he booped what he was now cooing to him was a “giggle button”, feeling nothing but pure love.
He loved Virgil. He loved Virgil so much. Despite the rocky beginning they experienced with each other, he now loved him more than anything in the world.
“Why did you stohohop?”
Roman chuckled awkwardly. “Sorry, I was just caught up in my thoughts. Did you want me to keep going?”
Virgil bit his lip and gazed up at him with an embarrassed smile. “I wouldn’t really mind. What were you thinking about?”
“I love you.” He brushed one of the tears off his face (mentally making a note that even that made him giggle), black smudging his hand. “I was thinking about how I love you.”
“Don’t say things like that unless you mean them.” He paused. “Promise you mean it?”
Roman nodded, pushing aside his bangs. “I promise that I truly love you with all of my heart.”
“Then prove it.” Virgil’s eyes fluttered shut as they kissed slow and soft, hands tangling in hair and clothing. They had to cut it short due to one of them occasionally grinning too hard to hold that kiss for much longer without laughing into the other’s mouth. “Uh, wow.”
“Wow,” he echoed. “That was truly divine. Will you perhaps do me the honor of being my boyfriend?”
He covered his face with shaking hands, peering through his fingers. “Y-yeah. And I love you too.”
“Score!” Roman punched the air and wiggled his fingers ominously. “So, you said you wouldn’t mind this again?”
Virgil grabbed his hands and bit them with a cheeky smirk, laughing at the pained shriek ripped from the prince’s mouth. “Only if you can catch me first.” And then he was gone.
He blinked, stunned for a couple seconds, before launching himself off the couch and tearing down the hall as fast as he could run. “I’m gonna get you so hard!”
“I look forward to it!”
Logan briefly glanced up from his book, hearing unfamiliar laughter from the room next to his. “I don’t think I even want to know.”