Hi!! I got 2 place in the raffle (which I am super excited about!) so I figured I would place my requests <3
For a oneshot, may I request forbidden lovers loceit. With U!Virgil and U!Patton (if you don't do U!sides its fine without) as their parental figures (Virgil for Janus, and Patton for Logan). With Roman and Remus helping Logan and Janus. I would prefer a happy ending <3
For a second oneshot, can I request some parental!Virgil taking care of young Janus and Remus <3
And for my third, can I request Janus angst, with him constantly pushing away his own mental (and physical) health to make the others take care of themselves. And then the others find out and force him into self care as well <3
Any other ships are fine if you want to add them, but please please please no prinxiety! Its a really bad trigger for me! Also no remr*m but I think thats a given
And for the moodboards!
Can I request a Janus moodboard with a Victorian/1920s aesthetic <3
A loceit moodboard with a dark academia aesthetic <3
A anxceit moodboard with a punk aesthetic <3
And finally! A platonic dlamp moodboard with flowers <3
Thank you so so much!! I can't wait to see what you create!!! <3
@imma-potatoo I’ve already tagged you in the post for your moodboards, and I finally finished all the Oneshots, so here they are! Sorry it took so long, but I hope you like them!
Note: I unfortunately don’t do U! Sides because of personal reasons. I’ve already explained that to you, but this note is mainly for anyone else that reads this so that they know why it’s written a bit differently. Thank you for understanding 💕
A Little Help Goes a Long Way
Logan and Janus had secretly been dating for almost two weeks. Janus’ dad didn’t really get along well with Logan, and Logan’s dad wasn’t a bit uneasy around Janus.
It felt weird to be keeping a secret from their parents. Of course, they were planning to tell them soon. They just didn’t know how.
That’s how they ended up seeking the help of the twins down the street. Roman and Remus were like night and day.
“Just tell them that you’ve fallen for Snakey McSnakerson over here.” Roman responded, dramatically waving a hand in Janus’ direction.
“Orrrrr” Remus chimed in as he leaned over Roman’s shoulder. “You could just tell them you’ve got the hots for your bespectacled lover~”
Logan pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed in frustration. “I should’ve known you two would be of no use to us.”
“Logan, just tell them the truth.” Roman advised seriously. “Speak from your heart, and they will understand.”
With that advice in mind, Janus called Virgil and asked him to meet them at Logan’s house. Meanwhile, Logan called to make sure Patton was actually at home, and after assuring that he was, they made their way to Logan’s house.
When they got there, their fathers were talking at the kitchen table. Both turned to them when they walked in.
“So, why’d you call me here?” Virgil asked Janus.
“Yeah, what’s up kiddos?”
“We have something to discuss with you.” Logan explained, shifting nervously.
Janus, being the more confident of the two, took his hand, and raised his head to look at their fathers. “We’re dating.”
Virgil’s eyes widened, and Patton’s jaw dropped open. They stared at their kids then turned to look at each other. Some silent conversation passed between them before they turned back to them.
Patton came to stand in front of them and pulled them both into a tight hug. “That’s wonderful kids!”
Virgil slapped Logan on the back, the ghost of a smile playing on his lips. “Take care of him.”
Logan let out the breath he didn’t realize he was holding and leaned into Janus, who wrapped an arm around him. Janus kissed his cheek, smiling when Patton squealed happily.
“Alright everyone, dinner’s ready!” Patton ushered them to sit down, and Virgil helped carry the food to the table.
Logan squeezed Janus’ hand under the table, and Janus squeezed back, a content smile on both of their faces.
Virgil loved his kids. He really did. But sometimes, he wondered how he hadn’t died from stress yet.
Janus was a good kid. He was protective of Remus and always standing up for what he believed in, but he was prone to lying to get what he wanted. Virgil had slowly grown to be able to pick out the lies from the truths, but it wasn’t always easy. Janus didn’t lie to Remus or Virgil, aside from white lies to make them feel better. Yeah, Janus was a good kid.
Remus...Remus was a trip. The kid was crazy, constantly running around and doing something. He was good at causing trouble, though he didn’t always mean to. Really, he only did it because he hated being bored. He would rather be scolded or disliked than have nothing to do and nowhere to go. There was never a dull moment when Remus was around, whether that was good or bad, Virgil still couldn’t decide.
Remus would probably be unbearable if Virgil didn’t know the sad truth behind the boy’s behavior. Remus had been severely neglected by his family, to the point that they eventually sent him off to the orphanage to get rid of him. The kid caused trouble because he wanted attention from someone, even if it was bad. Remus had been starved of any kind of affection from a very young age, and that had taken a toll on his mind. Virgil had a feeling that was why Janus was so protective of him. Janus had been Remus’ first and only friend in the orphanage. Both kids were outcasts, and they were content with that, but Virgil had known from the minute he saw them that they wanted to be loved just as much as any other kid.
When Virgil adopted them, things were hard at first. Both children kept their distance, intent on not getting attached to him. They were convinced that would be easier because it would hurt less when they were inevitably sent back to the orphanage.
Virgil was persistent, though. He didn’t push them to like him, but he made it clear that he would never send them back unless they wanted to be. It took time, but slowly, the distance between them lessened.
After two years, here they were, gathered together on the couch, watching a movie. Both children were into horror movies, so Virgil reluctantly agreed to let them watch one tonight. He did restrict them to the less violent ones though.
Every time something jumped out, Virgil flinched. Each time, the boys would squeeze his hands and remind him that it wasn’t real. Eventually, Janus snuggled into his side, burrowing himself under Virgil’s arm. Virgil smiled and squeezed him gently. Remus clambered clumsily into his lap, leaning back against his chest. Virgil just rolled his eyes and began to affectionately stroke Remus’ hair.
Janus and Remus were a handful sometimes, but honestly, Virgil couldn’t imagine his life without them. He was happy with his little patchwork family, and they were happy with him.
It’s Okay To Not Be Okay
Janus, to put it simply, felt like he was dying. Lately, everything felt overwhelming.
He’d been helping Patton test new recipes, lending a hand to Logan with his projects, helping Roman learn his lines for the play, helping Remus plan his latest prank, and woken up at 2am three nights this week to comfort Virgil after a nightmare.
In his mind he knew he’d been doing so much, but it still didn’t feel like enough. He kept pushing and pushing. He needed to be there for them. He needed to do better.
Everything hit its crescendo when he collapsed in the middle of the living room. He woke up a few hours later on the couch. His head was in Virgil’s lap and his legs resting over Logan’s. Patton was leaning against Virgil’s legs and Roman was doing the same with Logan. Remus sitting between them, holding Janus’ hand. He could hear them talking quietly.
“How did we not notice?” Patton whispered sadly.
“That doesn’t matter now. All we can do is do better moving forward.” Logan reassured.
“Still, we got so caught up in ourselves that we didn’t even notice what Janus was going through.” Virgil lamented, gently combing his fingers through Janus’ hair as he spoke.
“Virgil is right. We’ll pay more attention from now on.” Roman added resolutely.
“Yeah, we were real assholes.” Remus pointed out.
“Do you think he’ll forgive us?” Patton asked quietly.
“There’s nothing to forgive.”
Every one of them whipped around to face him as he struggled to sit up, accidentally kicking Remus as he did.
Remus just gripped his hand even tighter. “No problem!”
Once he’d sat up properly, Patton and Roman squeezed in beside him. Remus grumbled about being left out and plopped down in Virgil’s lap instead. Virgil huffed exasperatedly but didn’t tell Remus to move.
“Why didn’t you tell us how you were feeling?” Logan asked in a surprisingly gentle voice.
“It would only have been a burden.”
“That’s not true!” Patton cut in. “We love you, and if you’re not happy, then we wanna help you!”
To emphasize his point he wrapped his arms around him and pulled him into a hug, smiling happily when Janus leaned into him.
“It’s okay to not be okay.” Virgil told him, reaching around Patton to squeeze Janus’ shoulder.
Roman took one of his hands and Remus took the other. “But if you don’t tell us what’s going on” Roman started.
“Then we can’t help you.” Logan finished, rubbing Janus’ back soothingly.
“All you gotta say is ‘Hey bitches, I need a hug’, and we’ll be right there!” Remus grinned.
Warmth flooded through Janus’ chest as he listened to them. They really care that much? He felt the familiar sting of tears in his eyes.
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Daisy Chains and Daydreams
Pairings: Mostly Moxiety but with some Logince as well because I love them and couldn't resist
Content : Fluff, Probably a bit long winded but it's the first fic I've ever finished 😅, mentions of food as a potential CW, as well as mentions of anxiety/panic attacks as well as general feelings of mild anxiety
Word count : 1960, jus a little one shot :)
"I'm boredddddd" groaned Roman, leaning his head back so that it rested on Logan's lap. Logan flinched slightly at the gesture, but was able to keep his composure well enough not to let out the squeak playing on his lips.
"I suppose today has been rather slow" he replied, turning a page from his novel without looking up. Virgil and Patton walked into the room quietly, perhaps hoping that the other sides would not have noticed their absence. No such luck, unfortunately.
"Hmm, Winnie the Blue and Patty-Cake," Roman began with a smirk "Couldn't help but notice that the two of you were, should I say, mysteriously absent?" Virgil simply shot him a death glare, where Patton looked sheepishly down at the carpet, a blush forming upon his freckled cheeks. God. His freckles. Typically his face was clear and bright, but on the odd summer where the sun shone a little brighter, they appeared. Virgil, as should surely be apparent, was a fan. Before they had gotten together, he often lay awake at night staring up at the ceiling, imaging tracing every single one beneath his fingers.
Virgil collapsed in an undignified heap on the couch. He, as the most cynical side, was not a fan of weather in general, but he despised these summer months. How was he supposed to maintain his edgy persona without a hoodie to pull over his head when he had had enough with Logan and Roman's nonsensical bickering? The only thing that had convinced him that dying of heatstroke was not the way to go was Patton tentatively offering up one of his many identical blue shirts.
Patton sat down next to his boyfriend, sliding his fingers into Virgil's and tracing his thumb in gentle circles on the top of his hands. The one gesture that was sure to make Virgil melt. As if he wasn't already doing that in this ridiculous heat. He looked up at Patton, the softest of smiles on his face. In return, Patton gave his usual wide, brighter than the sun itself, grin.
"Hey everyone! I had an idea!" he suddenly burst out, as if the thought had just entered his mind and he had to get it out before it left again.
"Yeah Pat?" asked Virgil softly, a light blush emerging just barely visible underneath his foundation when he saw the identical smirks on Roman and Logan's faces. Patton of course, noticed this. He gave Virgil a look the two of them had come up with together, asking with his eyes if Virgil was ok with this or if he needed to stop. Reassured by the slightest nod of Virgil's head, he continued,
"Why don't we go for a picnic? It'll be fun, and with the breeze it'll be cooler out there than it is in here!" Patton giggled, practically clapping his hands in excitement. There it was again. The ache in his face. Virgil, despite his reservations, had absolutely no intention of giving one of his typical cynical remarks that would have no doubt have been rewarded should any of the other sides been the one to suggest the concept. Logan and Roman both at the same time had said
"Sure!" causing them to blush and turn away from one another. Patton had been badgering Virgil for weeks to let him help set them up, but Virgil had gently insisted that this was something for them to discover in their own time.
"Let's do it," Virgil said, his voice starting out very quiet but becoming a little louder as he continued "It could actually be fun" Patton all but squealed with joy as he jumped up to prepare the food. That was another thing Virgil's mind would often wander to.
They could all cook to some degree. But Logan followed the recipes so meticulously and to every minor detail that the food was often a little bland, Roman had a bad gague of how hot was too hot, and Virgil, naturally, was petrified by the idea of burning himself on the hot stove. When Patton stepped up to the stove, however, it was like a whole other world. One could taste the pure love worked into every bite. The sides would typically cook for themselves, but if one was having a particularly rough day, or if they got sick, then Patton's cooking was sure to make them feel better. Virgil often received it after a panic attack, and more often than not it was the thing that grounded him.
"Oi, Panic at the everywhere, go get ready!" Roman's voice cut through Virgil's thoughts. The nickname still bothered him somewhat, but he could tell Roman was making the effort to be a little nicer to him.
"Alright Princey, if you insist." he smirked, sinking out and back into his room. He wasn't the biggest fan of wearing shorts, but he knew wearing jeans probably wasn't his best idea. He pulled on some loosely fitting jean shorts and, of course, Patton's blue shirt stayed on. He sat for a second on his bed, no longer feeling the need to repress his smiles now that he was alone. Patton saw them; when Virgil was with his boyfriend he couldn't keep them in, but he still felt a little wary around Logan and Roman. They had accepted him, but as the anxious side he still had his reservations. As he sat, Patton suddenly appeared at his side.
"Virge, are you ready to go? We're leaving soon!"
"Gah, Pat! What have we said about appearing in here with no warning?" Virgil exclaimed, but with no real bite to his voice Patton knew he was only kidding.
"C'mon, c'mon, c'mon! This is gonna be so much fun!" Patton giggled, pulling at Virgil's hands. Virgil would never in a million years admit it, but secretly he found Patton's somewhat childish nature the cutest possible thing.
Before they got to their picnic spot, they had a short walk to complete. Roman and Logan forged ahead, arguing about something Virgil didn't understand, nor did he really care about. He was with Patton, and he felt safe. Their hands were loosely intertwined, their pinky fingers locked but not so tightly that Virgil could not pull away should he feel the need. It had taken a little bit of time and a lot of clear communication, but Patton was now very good and understanding of the way his boyfriend felt about affection. He craved it deeply but it often overwhelmed him. But right now, Virgil was quite possibly the calmest he had ever been. The two didn't exchange many words as they walked side by side, only the occasional comment on the beautifully scenic park, or a stifled giggle between themselves as Roman or Logan would make some loud statement.
Finally, the close-knit group of friends found the place they were seeking. They stood in a little alcove discovered by Patton and Virgil on their first official date (by that point they had actually been on about seven, but Virgil was not exactly good at reading the room and thought Patton was just being friendly. Friends kissed on the forehead goodbye, didn't they?). Tall willow trees encircled them. The space was small, but not so small that it felt uncomfortable for their slightly larger than usual party. But what Patton and Virgil unanimously agreed was the best part was the daisies. They grew here wild and free, mostly white and pure but with some pink and some purple, exciting and joyful.
"Thank goodness! I understand that being fit and healthy is necessary for me to remain the most handsome Prince in all the land," Virgil barely stifled a snicker, "but seriously guys? Now I see why your dates always take such a long time!" Logan said nothing, but gratefully slumped onto the soft grassy ground. All those long hours and late nights working tirelessly on his computer did not leave optimal time for exercise.
"Ok everyone, food time! I know it was a little short notice but I hope you all like what I've prepared for us!" Patton said, grinning. Virgil looked inquisitively into the basket that Patton had carried with them for their whole journey. And just. Wow.
Sandwiches in the flavours each side liked best, as well as at least five different types of cookies, and best of all? A rather respectably sized vanilla cake. Their favourite. Roman clapped his hands, Logan raised his eyebrows with a pleasant surprise, and Virgil once again gave his tiny smile. Just a slightly lifted corner of his mouth, but still one Patton recognised well. His own mouth initially mirrored Virgil's, but his smile only grew from there into the one the sides knew so well.
"Alright everyone, dig in!" Of course, no convincing was needed here.
After having stuffed themselves silly, the group sat on the ground, quiet and content. Even Logan, who at this point during an outing would typically be badgering the sides to get back so that he could finish his next series of extraordinary projects, simply closed his eyes and looked up, barely concealing his satisfied smile. With his closed eyes, he did not notice the barely concealed glances of pure adoration given to him by Roman.
Virgil sat propped against a tall, sturdy willow tree, staring at Patton's back lovingly, quietly pondering what the taller side was doing: his back hunched slightly, humming a tune to himself. Within less than five minutes of wondering, he had his answer.
"Uh, Pat? What's this?" he stared in mild confusion at the interwoven daisies sitting in a loop against his pale wrist as Patton looked at him with soft eyes.
"It's a daisy chain! See, I wove them together like this!" As Virgil sat patiently listening as his boyfriend weaved together the pretty little flowers, a thought wandered to the front of his mind. "How on earth did I get so lucky?" Overcome by emotions and bravery, he dared to utter,
"Pat, is it ok if I kiss you?" As Patton gave him an unreadable look for just a few seconds, he wondered if he had crossed a line. But suddenly, he was rewarded with an enthusiastic
"Of course!" and a pair of lips on his own. As Patton eventually leaned back from the kiss to regain some of his air, he suddenly stared at Virgil intensely.
"Uh, y-yes, Pat, what is it?"
"Your eyeshadow, it's purple!" Patton conjured a mirror, shyly holding it up to a stunned Virgil's face.
"And it is. The credit for this one goes to you, Pat." Patton, clearly thrilled but wanting to make sure his boyfriend was conformable, opted, instead of saying a word, to lay his head down in Virgil's lap, looking up at him with what could only be described as pure adoration. In that moment, it was just them. Roman and Logan's quiet chatter faded into a barely audible whisper, the bird song silenced. They were together, and they were in love. A realisation that would later strike Virgil, and he would spend many am hour wondering how best to say so to Patton, but for now, they sat happily.
But what was the most exciting thing about the beautiful day they all shared together was that by the end of it, as Patton layed his head on Virgil's legs, Virgil saw Roman and Logan's tentatively intertwined hands, the awkward but hopeful smiles on their lips. Virgil decided not to tell Patton right now. Because at this moment, with his hands gently running through his boyfriends soft hair, a daisy chain around his wrist, he felt calm. He felt happy. Maybe tomorrow things would change, but just this once, Virgil decided it was alright to focus on today.
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a heart he couldn’t control (destined to love and hate and damn forever) Part 8
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | On Ao3
CV: thanks for your patience. you're certainly going to need more of it for the rest of this fic. i appreciate you guys for all the likes and reblogs and comments and i hope you all have a wonderful day <3
CW: fainting, mild unintentional self harm, reference to past thoughts of self harm (basically referring to Virgil in chapter 6)
Virgil hadn’t taken a breath since he’d started to run. His lungs felt nothing of the strain, his feet merely brushing the earth as they pounded by. His vision was a little blurry, but he refused to acknowledge it. The trees whipped by; his cloak snapped in the breeze. When he stopped, it was only to press a hand against one last trunk, gaze out past the edge of the forest and into the vast kingdom that surrounded him.
A hiccup caught up with him, and Virgil pressed his free hand to his chest, stuttering in and out. The stitch in his side zapped through his nerves; his body shook; Virgil bent down and let a few tears hit the dirt.
“Why,” he asked them. They soaked into the ground, disappearing without answer. He clenched his eyes shut. “Why wouldn’t he just come with.”
A part of him wanted to turn back, bolt to his brother and beg. Virgil knew he couldn’t do that.
Virgil took in a few more shaky breaths before he forced himself upright. He blinked the annoying tears away, set his gaze again to the distance. He still had a lot of ground to cover.
Just because he was at the edge of the forest didn’t make him in the clear. Without the town’s protection–the wards he and Patton had set again and again over the years–there was always the chance she’d find him. Some of them would be broken by now due to the witch’s appearance in the library, but Patton’s house would be safe. And so would Logan’s.
Virgil shook out his hands. His sprint had worked up a sweat, but standing still made it freeze uncomfortably in his palms.
With one last look to the forest behind him, Virgil took off again toward the kingdom.
The sky was purple and the horizon was a dull glow by the time Virgil showed up. Instinctually, he ducked into the shadows of the first house and pulled up his hood. The moon and stars were blotted out by dense grey clouds. The street lamps were aglow, but people weren’t fond of being out in the streets at this time in the winter. It was nearly empty apart from the rare straggler on their way home from work.
It wouldn’t be strange for Virgil to walk these streets. He’d lived there for years, been a working member of their society who bought from the market, greeted library patrons by name, accepted invitations to local meet-ups and then pretended to forget about them.
Yet, everything had changed now. In some ways it was like Virgil had gone back to that frightened child, afraid to leave Patton’s house, impulsively stitching protective charms into his cloak and Patton’s curtains.
In other ways it was as Virgil had never experienced before.
The years had taught him things that kid would never know–would never have found out if he hadn’t gotten out.
One thing the two had in common, however, seemed to be this persistent vulnerability. She would find him anywhere, surely. It was only a matter of time.
Virgil kept his head low as he walked among the shadows of the buildings, keeping to the edge of store fronts and away from the lamps. As he approached the residential sector of town, the number of people about increased–children playing in the last of the sun’s light, friends sharing steaming mugs on front porches. His hood–normal among the commercial buildings, perhaps– was strange here, yet he couldn’t bring himself to pull it down.
He beelined for the nearest safe point he could get to. Logan’s house was closer to the stores because he found it practical. Virgil couldn’t argue now. It was a gods-send to almost be somewhere he could finally collapse, finally feel safe with someone he could trust.
Maybe, if he was lucky, Patton would already be there, and Virgil could get a goddamn hug. Though, at this point, he wouldn’t be above risking rejection to ask Logan. Despite not favoring physical affection, he knew Logan wouldn’t bat an eye to hug a friend in need.
As Virgil approached the house, he noticed the porch wasn’t lit, but the living room most certainly was. The last of the sky had dimmed, leaving the windows to glow faintly behind their curtains, and Virgil caught a shadow moving inside. A breath caught in his throat, a tight hope bubbled in his chest, making his heart stand still. Wearily, he climbed the steps and raised a fist to the worn wood.
His knock was solid and clear. Practical. Logan would appreciate it.
There was a sound inside, and Virgil’s breath released as if to say Finally. I’m safe. Finally.
A loud crack sounded through the air, making Virgil jolt and choke on that one precious breath. He turned from the door and was met with a bright flash of green light, wide eyes, and frantic hands immediately on his face.
“You!” Remus shouted, then the sharp noise and bright light returned. When he felt Remus’ hands leave him, Virgil was still disoriented from the light. As he blinked through the haze, however, he was able to make out the silhouette of a large canopy bed, the edge of a bedside table, the dim outline of a window.
They were in a room. Remus had teleported them… somewhere. “Remus! What the-”
Virgil broke off as he honed in on his assailant. His eyes adjusted just enough to see Remus still standing in front of him. He was staring unblinkingly, like he used to do when he woke Virgil up by scaring him out of his pants.
Except… this time Virgil didn’t detect that hint of mischief, couldn’t see that sharp twinkle in his eye. Maybe it was the dim light, but Virgil couldn’t really see, well, anything there.
Remus stared like he was looking right through.
“R-Remus?” Virgil asked, now unsure. Remus, at last, blinked at him, and his eyes finally took Virgil in.
“You,” he repeated. “The purple man.”
Then, he promptly fell back onto the bed and fainted.
Remus was inconsistent in everything he did, but if there was one thing you could depend on, it was his ability to give Virgil heart attacks.
Virgil stood for a mere second, looking wide-eyed at his friend, hands out in a gesture that was somewhere between ‘what do I do?!?’ and ‘Remus, you goddamn panic attack.’ He pulled in half a breath before jumping into action.
He checked Remus’ pulse first, fingers skittering along his neck for a pulse point until he latched onto the strong thrum. He was alive. Fucking amazing. His skin was cold though, colder than Virgil, and he’d been running through the icy air all day. Remus didn’t have a fever, that much was certain, but, at this rate, he was on a one way street to getting one.
Since Remus had fallen only halfway onto the bed, Virgil first dragged him the rest of the way up. He was a real dead-weight while unconscious, but sliding was easier than lifting, so Virgil counted his graces. By the time he centered Remus in the bed, however, he knew he wasn’t going to be able to get him under the covers.
Next best thing. Virgil lifted the edge of the large duvet–too thick and warm for Remus not to be taking full advantage–and rolled. By the end of the endeavor, the fiend was nothing but a blanket burrito and a poof of hair sticking out of the top. He checked to make sure Remus could still breathe in there before sitting back, slumping into a chair set up between the bed and window.
“Fate, if you’re testing me,” he breathed, watching the even in and out of Remus’ burrito breathing. “I’m ready to square up.”
The room remained quiet. Virgil looked to the window, out of which he could see the mountains he had just fled. He turned away.
It didn’t feel real, being there now–in a dark room he wasn’t familiar with, having just fled the place of his memories and nightmares. This whole terror was finally settling into something a lot stranger, something far more surreal. What was real? Would he wake up in his room above the library, safe and happy? Or would he wake in his cold, stiff bed in the caves?
Maybe he had fallen asleep at Patton’s, warm under the blankets in his guest room. Maybe he had dozed reading a book on Logan’s couch.
Maybe he and Dee and Remus had piled blankets on the floor and told stories into the night.
Maybe Remus had knocked him out with a rogue spell, or Dee had covered for him so he could gaze at the stars, nodding off against the lip of the cave.
Maybe Roman had startled him while he was under the reception desk, and he’d hit his head again. Maybe Virgil had passed out because Roman made a joke and gave him that small, feather-light smile that suggested it was private, shared between just them.
As floaty and transparent as Virgil felt, however, this room was solid and real. He blinked up at the ceiling, trying to grab hold of that. He squeezed the wooden arm of the chair.
If this was where Remus had taken them, was this where he lived?
Virgil’s eyes, adjusted to the night, looked about. The bed was large and the blankets were thick and luxurious. The furniture looked finely polished and prestinely made. A mirror on one wall was shined, both glass and frame, and the paintings that paralleled it were gorgeous. The room definitely showed signs of wealth.
Virgil was in the castle.
His mouth moved without his permission. “Roman,” he whispered, heart thumping once loudly in his chest. Immediately, his face went red. His eyes darted to the bed to make sure Remus hadn’t heard.
At the sight of a still-intact burrito, Virgil exhaled. He let his mind wander again.
He thought of the last time he’d seen Roman–not that long ago, yet it felt like a lifetime. Standing in that forest, all Virgil had wanted was to run to him, take his hand, and never let go. And at the same time, he’d wanted all those feelings to leave. He didn’t want anything from Roman; he didn’t want anything from anyone. He had gotten everything he had coming already.
He’d wanted to tear down that hope in his chest and burn any Roman might’ve had too.
He hadn’t wanted to fall in love with Roman.
But Virgil had been cruel. He’d said exactly what he knew would drive Roman away. Yet even then, Roman had stayed. Had promised to help. Had said he wouldn’t give up.
Virgil had a lot to say to him, didn’t he? Things to apologize for. And things to confess. Roman had laid it all on the line–had left the castle and his duties, had opened his heart out to someone who was ready to stomp all over it.
Was Roman there, in the palace? Could Virgil find him?
Virgil was walking to the door–again, before his mind could keep up. When he stopped before it, he frowned.
How in the world was he ever going to find his way through a palace? More than that, how could he walk through these halls without getting charged with breaking and entering? And what if they found out he had magic too? He’d be a dead man.
Virgil stepped back from the door. Okay, bad idea.
His eyes stayed on its surface for a minute too long, contemplating this very bad idea.
It was for the better, really, when a crash sounded behind him.
He jumped a mile, spinning around and eyes darting to-and-fro. It wasn’t too hard to figure out the source.
“My gods, Remus,” he sighed, eyeing the lump of blankets on the floor. The figure was wiggling, most likely stuck.
“This cocoon can’t become a butterfly! How will the birds eat if I can’t become a butterfly?” he shouted. Virgil jolted, eyes darting to the door before rushing over to Remus.
“Dude, shut up! We don’t need anyone thinking I’m trying to assassinate you or something,” Virgil hissed. Remus flailed, trying to look up.
“A spider?” Remus exclaimed. “No wonder I’m in these webs! You can’t have me yet, though. I’m not a fully-cooked butterfly yet.”
“It’s Virgil, you idiot,” he said, trying to turn the guy over to find where the blanket ended.
“Oh, hey Virgil.”
Virgil rolled his eyes, tugging at the newly found corner. Remus started to tumble free. Virgil piled the blanket onto the bed and Remus jumped up, eyes alight.
“When did you get here? Is it storytime?”
Virgil eyed him and sat down on the edge of the bed. He’d forgotten how tiring it was to be in the same room as Remus. Still, he couldn’t quite keep his eyes off of his friend.
The last time he’d seen him, they were surrounded by flying books and cornered by their childhood abductor. It hadn’t been much of a reunion.
Especially after Virgil had left without so much as a goodbye.
“You teleported me here, Remus. How hard did you hit your head?” Virgil said, not quite prepared to go into the heavy stuff yet. It’d still been less than twenty-four hours since his conversation with Dee.
Remus shook his head, jumping onto the bed and sprawling out like a starfish. “I can’t teleport in the caves,” he said, laughing. Like it was a totally normal comment.
Virgil frowned, turning to look at him. “The caves?”
“Oh!” Remus exclaimed, sitting up and flopping over onto his stomach. His eyes were bright luminescent green. He was summoning his magic without even thinking about it. “Did you bring Dee with? I haven’t seen him in so long.”
Virgil’s stomach sank. He averted his gaze, picked at a thread in the very expensive duvet.
“He helped me get out,” Virgil confessed. Of all people, Remus deserved to know. “But he didn’t want to come.”
Remus blinked, his eyes going dimmer. His smile lagged a bit. “Oh. Is he busy again?”
“Busy?” Virgil asked. “With what?”
Remus rolled again to his back, talking to the ceiling. “She always gives him work to do. He never plays with me anymore.”
“What does that mean? Remus, are you messing with me?”
By this point though, it was as if Remus couldn’t even hear him. “He always just leaves me alone while he’s in the garden. We don’t do storytime anymore. Or look at the stars. Not since you left.”
Virgil was finally at a loss for words. What was Remus saying? He was talking as if he was still… in the caves.
“He always just leaves me with her,” Remus continued and sighed. “I don’t like being with her.” His voice grew small. A look at his face told Virgil that he really wasn’t there anymore. He was somewhere far off, in his head, some memory long gone.
“R-Remus,” Virgil tried, suddenly nervous. He should snap him out of this, right? He looked like he was in pain; he looked… haunted, eyes unseeing, face paling more the longer the silence went. Virgil would want to be snapped out of this if it was him. “Remus,” he said a bit more insistently.
Remus blinked, eyes still on the ceiling. Slowly, he looked over.
“Virgil,” he said, as if surprised to see him.
Virgil smiled weakly. “Hey, man. Glad to see you ba-” However, he was soon cut off when Remus scrambled up. In a move Virgil doubted any mortal eyes could track, Remus snatched Virgil’s tongue right from his mouth, holding it pinched between thumb and finger. Virgil looked at him with wide eyes. “Wahh-” he tried to speak. Obviously, it was a bit difficult.
Remus looked at the tongue strangely. He pulled it back and forth, looking over and under. Virgil did not like the sensation, especially since he had no idea where Remus’ hands had been.
“Her magic is on you,” he said at last, not sounding pleased with the answer. Virgil’s eyebrows lifted and he batted Remus’ hands away.
“How did you know that?” Virgil asked. Remus must have been referring to the silencing curse on him. Was it really that easy to spot?
“It’s on me,” Remus said, tracing an invisible pattern on his cheek down to his neck with one finger. He then spread his hand out, laying it across his clavicle and rubbing harshly across his shoulder and down one arm. His nails dug into the flesh of his forearm. “All over.”
Virgil gave pause. “Is there… a curse on you, Remus?”
Remus’ nails dug further into his arm. Virgil reached out, gauging Remus’ reaction to touch before carefully extracting the hand. He calmly kept it between his own hands, settling them into his lap. Remus watched on, calmly. It was a relief as much as it was unnerving.
Virgil bit his lip. “Maybe I can help you,” he said, thinking of Dee. Love magic was powerful, and reflexive magic was Virgil’s specialty. He didn’t have the control Dee had, but he did have instinct.
He looked down at the hand in his, focused on each point of contact–one palm to the back of Remus’ hand and the other palm-to-palm; each finger pad resting lightly against the skin. Virgil closed his eyes, let his mind wash against the spirit beside him.
He couldn’t feel the curse, nor could he see it like Remus apparently could. Virgil had to believe it was there and wash it away. He closed his eyes and felt that familiar thrum in his chest.
The magic was still as it transferred. It heated the chilly air like it had been coiling, waiting to spring and burst forth in all its silent intensity.
It simply existed. In him. In Remus. And in the room around them.
It knew what Virgil wanted, and though Virgil had never been the best sorcerer, the magic had always liked him, had always said yes to his human whims.
When Virgil opened his eyes, the purple glow within them dimmed. He looked down at Remus, but Remus hadn’t moved; there was no sign of any change.
“How do you feel?” Virgil asked, a tinge of hope in his voice. A long pause followed, and Virgil held his breath.
Slowly, Remus looked up, face inconstruable. Then, he frowned.
“Itchy,” he replied. His hand pulled out of Virgil’s and reached for his own arm again, nails scraping duller this time across the skin. Remus made a face.
Virgil blinked. His brow furrowed then he nodded, not exactly sure what to make of that.
“Okay…” He tried not to feel too disappointed. Whatever Remus’ curse was, it hadn’t seemed to work. Nothing had changed.
Virgil sighed and laid back on Remus’ bed.
“Dang, you rich guys know how to make a comfy bed,” he said, almost to himself. He was still frowning though.
Maybe they just had to be patient. Maybe something had happened.
But then again, perhaps only time would tell.
Following Virgil's departure, Dee had spent the day in the garden.
To be perfectly honest, there wasn't much to do there. He and Virgil had gathered more than enough, and Dee had spent the day tending the plants not too long ago. He didn't need to pull any weeds or trim any dead foliage. The sugar water didn't need to be refilled. The garden's border, physical or magical, didn't need mending.
The garden didn't need anything from him today. Dee, however, needed something from it. He needed an alibi. And he needed to give Virgil time to get as far away as possible.
Dee still wasn't quite sure what made him do it. The thought of freeing Virgil had been at the back of his head for days. Despite all the work the witch had put into getting him back, Dee had felt the powerful urge to set him free.
Normally, Dee wouldn't be so afraid. That was Virgil's thing after all. Dee was resilient. He was supposed to protect Virgil and Remus. He would learn everything in the book to make sure they stayed safe.
Yet lately, every time Dee so much as looked Virgil's way he was struck by an indescribable fear.
He saw the eye bags, darker than he ever remembered. He saw the dim eyes. Dee saw the way Virgil laid in bed and wouldn't sleep. He saw the way he had stood atop that boulder.
That boulder that he hadn’t ever noticed before, to be honest. That boulder which now, Dee skirted far away from, refused to look at. That boulder which couldn’t hurt him, and it wouldn't have hurt Virgil that day–not unless he tripped, but he was far too careful for that.
Virgil made Dee so afraid, which wasn't a pleasant experience nor one he wished to dwell on. However, his brain was quite intent on reminding him why. Virgil had hurt him before, had left him like he was nothing more than a passing thought.
After Dee was desperate enough to use love magic, of all things, it was obvious Virgil still had the power to hurt him.
Virgil had the most direct route to his heart, yet after everything, Dee had never been more afraid of anything than that boulder–stricken, dread surging through his veins, drowning all thoughts but to stand frozen, heart a red hot flash of thumps, breath an absent presence lodged in his throat.
And he realized there was only one thing that scared him more than Virgil leaving again.
Dee knew what scared him about that boulder.
Being there, with them, made Virgil miserable.
They weren't his family anymore. This wasn't his home.
And while that hurt–to know his brother couldn't stand him anymore–it somehow hurt worse to know that Virgil wasn't happy.
Perhaps Dee could be at peace knowing Virgil and Remus were both somewhere they belonged, with the people they belonged with. His best days had been with them–that would never change–but it didn't have to be the same for them. They could still make more for themselves.
In the end, that's why he'd let Virgil go, wasn't it? He had to give him a chance. You have to let go of the ones you love.
It was as if Virgil had never been back, he supposed. It was Dee and the Dragon Witch again, alone in the caves with a silent, lonely companionship and a bit of magic to make them feel alive.
He couldn't shake the feeling, however, that the few weeks Virgil had been there had changed... everything.
Dee had always wondered what had driven Virgil away. He’d believed it had something to do with him. He’d been so jaded, felt so betrayed, that he hadn’t ever thought critically about it. Dee had refused to consider it apart from examining his own faults, all the things he had done.
Perhaps, though, it had never really been Dee’s fault.
Virgil had asked Dee to come with him this time, said he wished he had before. He said he’d never wanted to leave Dee.
And he said it was because of the witch.
Controlling? She was protecting them. Cruel? It was just tough love.
Nevermind that she yelled. Nevermind the excuses. Nevermind his subtle terror at her knowing what he’d done.
Because if she knew, Dee wasn't sure how she’d react. She had put years into finding Virgil, apparently. She had been at it, even when Dee thought she'd given up–when Dee had given up.
And Dee hadn't given up for Virgil. When he realized Virgil was gone at first he was concerned. When it became evident he had run away…
Dee no longer looked for him. He no longer spoke of him. If Remus brought him up, Dee would pretend to be busy. If god forbid the witch said something, Dee would grit his teeth and pretend not to think about it.
In truth, it didn’t matter if anyone was talking about it or not; Dee was always thinking about Virgil. About why he had left, what Dee had done, what he could have done to make him stay.
And he’d thought of Remus–if he was better off, if he ever came back to himself, if Dee would ever see him again despite being with his real family once more.
Looking down on the garden, Dee swept his hair back so he could see, properly getting to work. His hand brushed over the birthmarked half of his face, prickling in sensitivity when there was a subtle popping sound behind him. Dee was used to the interruption, and today, despite his secrets, he felt no different towards it.
Lies didn't affect Dee all that much. In fact, sometimes he felt as though he was calmer when he lied, more confident. He wouldn't call that a tell, however. It never showed.
There was possibly one person in the whole world who knew his tells, and it wasn't her. That would be Remus.
"Dee, darling," the witch drawled, approaching leisurely. Dee didn't turn from his "work"–just gave a slight incline of the head. "Where's Virgil? I have more practice for him."
"I don't know," Dee answered cooly. "We split up earlier. I'm sure he'll be back soon, given that nasty sigil on his arm."
The witch sighed, floating up to one of the low standing boulders to sit. She propped her chin in a hand, elbow resting on her knee.
"I know it must seem barbaric, but would you rather he be able to get away again?" she said this flippantly, like she already knew the answer. It was obvious enough that what she assumed was wrong.
"I suppose," Dee said, going no further. Arguing any further would raise suspicion. He only needed enough to occupy her, distract her.
But he wanted to. He wanted to ask why she seemed to take pleasure when the sigil brought Virgil pain. Why did she find it so funny that Virgil missed home?
The witch's nails were long, and the tapping of them against the boulder made Dee look up. She was watching him with a smile. A shiver traveled down his spine.
"Yes?" he asked, guard up. She raised one shoulder. Dee frowned.
"You did something," she said, still smiling. Dee froze, but he covered it with a long, unhumored blink in her direction.
"Did something?" he inquired.
"You're getting very strong," the witch continued, ignoring him not for the first time. "You know that he's gone. You helped him."
Dee cursed inwardly, but his face remained neutral, maybe even a little concerned. "Gone? Virgil?"
"I worked very hard to bring him to us. He was supposed to be the last step before it all happened."
Now Dee was confused. He didn't need to play dumb anymore. "Before… what all happens?"
But the witch just shook her head. "I don't think I quite trust you anymore. You must understand that," she said. "But it's no matter. I can see now how strong you've gotten. You can manipulate the boulders. You somehow ruined my sigil."
Dee went to protest. She put up a hand.
"We don't need Virgil anyway. I think we're ready for the real deal now," she said, floating back down to the ground. She approached again, taking his chin in the palm of her hand, nails resting against his cheek. Dee watched calmly, still confused, still trepid.
She smiled down at him, and this time he really looked at it. He looked at how cold the gesture was, how vaguely threatening she always seemed–the hanging possibility of punishment always around. Dee lived in constant fear, constant guilt, even if he'd never tell a soul. Even if he was reluctant to acknowledge it.
Perhaps, that wasn't how people lived. Perhaps, what the witch did was never normal and never out of any sense of love.
But maybe it was too late for that.
"Are you ready for your destiny, Dee?" she asked.
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