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things are better here with you (or, the three times virgil almost proposed and the one time he did)

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Virgil flopped onto the bed, burying his head into the pillow to muffle a groan.

He’d received Roman’s text last night—a welcome and long-awaited confirmation that he’d finally pulled his head out of his ass and realised Logan was as in love with him as he was with Logan. Unfortunately, that text came with some fine print. The bet they’d made, tipsy off of strong spirits and an even stronger sense of love—one that both would barely admit to if asked—had two sides: a confession and a proposal. 

And given the confession Roman had already undergone, it wasn’t hard to guess which side he stood on.

Virgil hadn’t necessarily intended to procrastinate the proposal for as long as he had, he’d simply been nervous—nerves he knew, as always, weren’t entirely justified.

Patton loved him. Virgil had less reason to doubt that love than he did the world ending tomorrow or the boat they were on sinking or Roman burning the house down while they were away or any number of other things Virgil worried about on a daily basis. 

A proposal was just so permanent, so serious, and despite knowing in every part of his being that Patton was the person he wanted to spend the rest of his life with, he wasn’t prepared for Patton to not feel the same. Logically—god, listen to him, he sounded like Logan—he knew there was no reason for that to be the case but he and logic hadn’t always been on the best of terms.

“Honey? You alright?”

Virgil pulled his head up to watch Patton slip into the room, towel wrapped around their shoulders and skin still glistening with moisture from the pool. He swallowed, his mouth dry, and attempted to give a response through the very gay haze that had overtaken him—preferably one which wouldn’t make Patton suspicious. If he was gonna do this, he was gonna do it right; he couldn’t spoil the surprise so soon.

Sitting up, Virgil ran a hand through his damp hair, shaking away the last drops of water. “Uh, yeah, I think I was just getting a bit overwhelmed? There’s a lot of people around, you know?”

He cursed himself for sounding so unsure but luckily Patton just smiled—kind and sweet and gosh, he was so in love with them it was unreal.

“Well, you could have just let me know, love,” Patton murmured, taking a seat on the bed beside him. They placed a kiss on Virgil’s forehead, alighting his face with a blush and making warmth bloom in his chest—soft and glowing. “I would have come out and joined you sooner.”

“Yeah, uh, I know, you just- I don’t know, you looked like you were having fun. Didn’t wanna ruin it.”

They sighed lightly. “You could never ruin anything, promise.”

The way Patton was looking at him was so gentle and loving, the entirety of their soul bared in that gaze as if they had nothing to hide—not from Virgil; not ever. It almost made him want to propose right now, to get down on one knee in the cabin they were in and try his hardest to explain to them that their love was returned tenfold, that he couldn’t imagine what his life would be like without them.

Patton deserved better though. Patton deserved… Well, frankly, if you had asked Virgil, more than he could ever give them but certainly more than that. Patton deserved an emotional, well-planned speech; Patton deserved to be wooed and romanced; Patton deserved the entire world and more.

If Virgil was going to propose, he was going to do it right. So, instead of falling to one knee, he pulled Patton in close, pressing their lips together and tugging them both to lay back on the bed beneath them. 

And Virgil started to scheme.

 


 

“I just feel like it would be nice, you know?” Virgil said, slipping on a dark purple blazer. It was one of the few dressy pieces of clothing he’d brought with him on their trip, knowing that this exact situation was always a potential outcome and wanting to be prepared. “We’re here, so we might as well take advantage of everything.”

Patton screwed up their face a little bit but didn’t argue. “If you’re sure, love.”

Virgil knew his partner was just looking out for him—the main restaurant on the boat was frequently busy and definitely more upmarket than either of them were used to—but if he was going to propose here it had to be somewhere nice. That’s what Patton deserved.

He’d spent all his free time in the evenings—after Patton, ever early to bed, had fallen asleep against his chest—brainstorming and planning for the perfect proposal. He had a speech written out, a few different locations and settings theorised, and he did it all without Roman’s help, thank you very much. All and all, he was feeling pretty accomplished.

Zipping up Patton’s dress for them, Virgil pressed a soft kiss to the back of their neck, delighting in the way they giggled at the action.

Patton’s laugh was joy personified, no shame or fear or distrust hidden within it. He was in awe of them, every single day of his life—almost jealous of the way Patton loved with every fibre of their being and yet too enamoured with them to ever articulate as much.

Once Patton had assured that their hair and makeup looked alright, Virgil took their hand and pulled them out the door of the cabin, trailing them towards the ship’s restaurant. 

Small talk on their way was almost stilted—the ring box tucked away in his pocket all that Virgil found he could focus on—and when they were finally seated, Virgil had worked himself up into something of a state. Tense muscles shifted, pulling open the menu and scanning the wine list as if he knew even the slightest thing about wine.

“Honey,” Patton began kindly, pulling Virgil’s gaze up from the menu he hadn’t really been processing anyway.

They looked hesitant, almost, their mouth twisted and so, so pretty—painted in that perfect shade of pink which made Virgil want to tug them in and ruin all their hard work. Reaching out across the table, they took a hold of Virgil’s hand, turning it over and trailing patterns over his palm in a way that was far too distracting.

“I know you wanted to take advantage of the fancy restaurant and everything but this is all a bit much for me, I think.” They gave a small smile and Virgil felt some of his nerves melt away. “What about we just go back to the cabin, order room service and watch movies on your laptop instead?”

Slowly, Virgil nodded. He wanted to feel disappointed but, in reality, he was simply relieved. The idea of proposing in front of so many people was terrifying and though he was willing—for Patton, Virgil found there wasn’t much he wasn’t willing to do—he didn’t think getting down on one knee in the middle of a panic attack would be very romantic.

Possibly not one of his best ideas.

Patton smiled softly, watching Virgil’s shoulders drop as he let out a breath and relaxed for the first time that evening. Grabbing his hand properly, they dragged him past the front desk and out the door—not even bothering to explain their absence.

And as Patton fell asleep on the bed beside him that evening—halfway through a Harry Potter film, clad in onesie pyjamas they always insisted were essential for movie nights—Virgil figured… well, there was always tomorrow.

 


 

It was early in the evening as Patton and Virgil strolled down the ship, breathing in the beginnings of the cool night air.

Despite this being a proposal plan, it wasn’t quite in the forefront of his mind—Virgil far too distracted by the peaceful look on Patton’s face. They had their eyes shut, hand clasped gently in his, trusting him completely to lead them to wherever their destination was.

Their pace was slow, one foot in front of the other. Virgil didn’t want to rush them—this was all about taking your time and being in the moment, after all—but at the same time he was slightly anxious that he’d underestimated how long it would take them to arrive and they were going to miss it and everything would be ruined and Patton would break up with hi-

“Love?” Patton questioned, “Are we there?”

Virgil realised with a jolt that in his panic he’d stopped walking and picked up the pace again, pulling them in through a doorway and further towards the front of the ship.

“No, just- just a little bit further.”

Patton squeezed his hand reassuringly, humming their response.

It was less than a minute before Virgil pulled them up to the door, dark wood obscuring what lay beyond—for Patton, at least; Virgil had been integral in setting it up. He dropped their hands between them, still staying close enough to them that he could feel the warmth they exuded radiating against his skin.

“Okay, you can open your eyes now. It’s just through this door.”

Patton’s eyes fluttered open, blinking a few times to adjust to the light before focusing back on Virgil and giving a nod. “Mmm, okay, ready.”

Pulling open the door, the two of them were greeted by almost a little cove, fairly lights borrowed from the restaurant strung up around them making it feel almost magical. Everything was cast in shades of pink and red from the sun just beginning to set on the horizon in front of them, pulling long shadows across the ground and illuminating the look of complete amazement on Patton’s face.

It was breathtaking. 

Whether Virgil’s awe was due to Patton or the view, of course, it’s entirely impossible to say.

“V, oh my goodness!” they gasped, taking a step forward, so, so cautiously, as if this was nothing more than a hallucination that could disappear before their eyes, “How did you even organise this?”

Virgil bit his lip. “Uh, it took… some convincing, yeah, but… you know. You’re worth it.”

The shy smile that spread across Patton’s face was accompanied by a blush, soft and pink and delicate as a dusting of icing sugar across their cheeks.

Entirely unable to help himself, Virgil pulled them in closer, cupping their face and pressing a kiss against their lips. It was feather-light—almost nothing more than the suggestion of physical contact—and Patton giggled, filling Virgil’s chest with sunlight and his heart with love.

Hand in hand, the two made their way over to the sofa that he’d set up for them earlier, piled with cushions and champagne set out on the table in front.

He poured them both a glass, noting the way the fizz didn’t even compare to the bubbling feeling in his chest, the feeling Patton inspired in him each and every day. Distantly, he thought about saying as much but at that moment Patton leaned into him, tangling their limbs together and resting their head against him; it sent a wave of affection crashing over him like the ocean in a storm—unexpected and strong enough to knock him off his feet—and he found himself unable to speak at all.

The sun was dipping down beneath the horizon now, the silence calm as the water beneath them.

Virgil was swirling slow patterns into Patton’s skin, listening to their breathing as it melded in with his own. The wind chill was slight and yet even as the stars appeared, lighting up the night sky, Virgil couldn’t imagine anywhere warmer than this—wrapped up in his partner, blanketed by the love he was so grateful to know.

Snaking his hand down into his pocket, Virgil thumbed over the top of the ring box, tensing ever so slightly and yet so aware that Patton could probably feel every motion he made. Finally—the night covering them, keeping him safe yet edging him on—Virgil took a breath.

“Patton?”

There was a beat. No reply.

Drawing his eyes away from the night sky, Virgil glanced down at his partner. Patton’s eyes were closed, eyelashes barely fluttering and lips gently parted. Undeniably asleep.

There was a moment where Virgil wanted to laugh, to break out into hysterical giggles mere inflections away from sobs, but he didn’t want that to be what his partner woke up to—just thinking of the concern they would undoubtedly display already making his chest ache. Instead, he sighed softly, the breath just barely moving strands of hair away from Patton’s face and he untangled himself from their embrace.

It took Virgil a little bit more effort than he would like to admit to bring Patton into his arms, lifting them up from the couch so they could return to their room undisturbed. He also was not quite as smooth as he had hoped he would be and as soon as he’d reached the door—barely managing to open it without dropping them entirely—Patton squirmed in his grip, making a slightly discontented noise as they became vaguely aware of the situation.

“Shh, I’m just taking you back to our room,” Virgil whispered, words barely an echo in the space around them, “Go back to sleep.”

This seemed to satisfy Patton as they buried their head further into their boyfriend’s chest, gripping at Virgil’s hoodie and causing his brain to short-circuit in the wake of just how cute Patton was.

“This was good,” they mumbled, words muffled and slurred from exhaustion, “Love you s’much.“

Virgil closed his eyes for a moment, inhaling slowly and deliberately. His eyes were shiny when he reopened them and he blinked a few times, trying to keep any tears at bay.

“Yeah, I love you too.”

 


 

Virgil ran a hand through Patton’s hair, smiling as his partner responded with a sleepy whine, shuffling further over in bed to wrap themself around him. They were like a little octopus or a koala bear, clinging on so tightly as if Virgil could disappear at any moment—as if there were anywhere in the world he’d rather be.

It was the last day of their cruise. Later, they’d be pulling into port to Roman’s overexcited welcomes and Logan’s dry snark and Virgil would have to explain that no, they weren’t engaged and yes, Virgil was exactly as much of a coward as everyone thought he was all along.

It had been stuck his mind since the moment he woke up—Patton’s chest still rising and falling in time with their breaths, leaving Virgil alone with nothing more than thoughts.

He knew it was ridiculous but he couldn’t help but feel like maybe it was all a sign. None of his proposals ever seemed to go right so maybe it was for a reason; maybe they weren’t supposed to be married, maybe Patton was destined to find someone better than him—someone who could match his sunshiny disposition in a way he deserved.

The grip on his torso slackened slightly and Patton pulled away to meet his gaze, sweet and loving and still on the edges of sleep.

“Virge, darling, what’s wrong?”

The words were soft and quiet, settling lightly in the air around them. It felt so tender and so gentle that Virgil could almost feel himself folding, softening into Patton’s grip with tears in his eyes, mumbling his explanation but he refused to let this be the way he proposed. 

“It- it’s nothing. Don’t worry about it.”

Patton frowned—not mean but upset nonetheless—and Virgil felt something in him tighten.

“No, not just right now, something’s been on your mind for days at this point. You don’t have to tell me, hon, I just… I worry about you.” After a beat of no reply, Patton sighed, almost abashed—as if they had any kind of reason to be embarrassed. “I know it’s silly, you’re supposed to be the anxious one in this relationship, I should-”

Virgil held up a hand, cutting off Patton’s nervous rambling. “No, no, just- give me a second.”

There was a beat. Patton just lay on the bed, gazing up at him with so much love and concern in their eyes Virgil felt breathless with it.

“All this time I’ve just- I’ve been trying to make this perfect for you, you know?” Virgil asked, knowing perfectly well that Patton couldn’t understand what he was talking about and yet feeling like he had to get something out there or he’d simply explode. “You deserve perfect.”

Patton giggled—fond and a little confused. “Silly, I don’t need perfect; I’ve already got you.”

And what could Virgil possibly say to that?

“Marry me?”

Patton’s expression changed in the blink of an eye, their eyes widening, mouth dropping open in shock—shock but not revulsion, not horror; they loved him, he was sure they did. He had no reason to be afraid, no reason to be scared and though it was intrinsically his nature to be anxious, all Virgil could feel was all the love he had for them in return.

“What?” they asked, their voice hoarse and disbelieving, tinted with shades of hope Virgil prayed he wasn’t imagining.

He scrambled up, reaching to grab his hoodie from the edge of the bed and, from its pocket, Virgil retrieved a box—a small, black, velvet ring box.

And on the floor of their cabin, Virgil got down on one knee.

Oh.”

The exclamation was breathy, awed, a smile spreading across their face and tears filling up their eyes. Pulling themself up from the bed, Patton moved to sit on the edge—clearly trying to resist falling to the floor to join him before he’d even finished speaking.

“I had this whole speech planned out, you know? Cause I’d been thinking about this for ages, even if I’d only worked up the courage to actually do it recently. God, you’re just-” Virgil cut himself off with an incredulous laugh. “You’re amazing, Pat. You’re my best friend, the person who knows me better than anyone else ever could—ever tried to. I’ve been in love with you for longer than I can even remember being alive and I don’t want there to ever be a time where that isn’t true; I don’t ever want to be without you.

“So, Pat—sunshine, love of my life—will you marry me?”

It would be a lie to say Virgil had never seen Patton smile this wide; Patton smiled all the time for more reasons than Virgil could possibly count. Little kids playing on the street to a bumblebee landing delicately on a flower outside their window could inspire a smile from them and truly, Virgil adored that.

There was just something about this smile.

Maybe it was the way it was coloured with incredulity—brown and blue and white and gold, shimmery and unwavering—or the way it was focused solely on him like the single beam of sunlight on a cold winter day.

Maybe it was the way Patton was dropping to the ground in front of him, cupping his face and kissing him with that smile again and again, bright and giggling. Maybe it was the tears in their eyes, the choked off sobs from too much emotion and too much love as softly, sweetly, Virgil wiped them away.

Maybe it was just Patton.

“Is that a yes?” Virgil asked, the smile in his voice entirely evident. The ring box was set off to the side now, Virgil’s want to cradle Patton’s face in his hands, to hold them in his arms and never let them go obscuring his sense of order in situations like these. 

Patton feigned thought for a moment, their hand coming up to rest on their chin. “Hmmm, I don’t know…”

At Virgil’s joking glare they simply laughed, bringing their faces so close together Virgil would barely have to surge forward to kiss them. They didn’t move though, just looking into Virgil’s eyes with an expression of absolute adoration and maybe it was a little silly, a little ridiculous, to be gazing at each other like that but Virgil could not find it in him to care.

“Yes,” they sighed—soft, breathless and so in love, “Gosh, yes. There isn’t anything I could want more.”

Later, when his fiance’s head is resting on his chest, their ring glinting softly in the light streaming in through the curtains, Virgil would only have one thing left to do.

To ‘Prince Pining’:  hey, buy some champagne. i think it’s time to celebrate.