A Dance Of Midnight Ink - Pt. 9
How To Not Break A Curse
Summary: “It was either the chaos of a crowd of thoughts or the silence of solitude... nothing in between” - Sanhita Baruah
Warnings: yelling, fighting, minor character death implied, past murder, guilt, grief, DID, implied child abuse
Virgil was the first to peer into the corridor and turned white as a sheet as he saw Patton. Roman and Thomas followed him out of the room.
"So? Isn't there anything you want to say to me, Roman?" Patton was crying but his voice didn't waver.
Roman fell to a knee, head cast downward. "Pat, I-"
"No! You don't get to call me that. You murdered my father! Your king! You swore to protect him! How could I ever trust you again?!"
Roman was shaking where he knelt. "My prince, I swear that I would never- all I wanted was to protect you. If you can't forgive or understand my actions, nobody would blame you. I can do nothing but ask you for forgiveness."
"Why would I forgive you?! What could possibly justify killing the only parent I had left?!"
Instead of Roman, Virgil intersected with the voice that was normally reserved for Janus, a calm that bordered on lifeless. "No, what he did- what he meant to do, was- is unforgivable. It may sound harsh but Roman was right to do that. He wasn't a real father. Fathers don't hurt their children. If Roman hadn't done it, then eventually somebody else would have had to." He pulled Roman back to his feet. Roman still didn't look at Patton.
Logan was shocked and if that is how he felt about a friend of a few weeks killing a complete stranger, he couldn't imagine how Patton felt.
"What has he done? What are you not telling me?!" Patton's tears were overflowing, fogging up his glasses and Thomas decided to intervene.
"I think we shouldn't have this conversation without some input from Janus?"
He received shocked looks from Roman and Virgil in return.
"Oh, come on, I know we don't talk about this but how is that worse than anything he just heard."
"And again you're trying to keep secrets from me," Patton accused him trembling. "Just tell me, is my father why we're like this? Is this my fault too?"
"No!" Thomas quickly moved towards him, arms outstretched but Patton stepped back from the hug. His face fell but continued speaking. "Nothing of this is your fault. A sorceress came to the castle and took offense in the way we greeted her, the prince- Janus specifically. As you can imagine we were even less fond of magic back then..." Thomas' voice trailed off.
"That can't be all," Patton was looking between Thomas and Virgil since Roman still refused to meet his gaze.
Thomas opened his mouth but Virgil sharply shook his head, the ticking of his clock intensified. "That's enough. You know the outlines of what happened, further details would only hurt you."
Logan fixated the chamberlain with his eyes. "Patton is not a child. You don't need to patronize him. He can make his own decisions."
If looks could kill, Logan would have dropped dead right this second. Virgil's look was glaring daggers into his and Thomas' chest.
"Some things are better not known," Virgil cryptidly insisted.
As Patton angrily wiped at his eyes, Virgil's gaze softened. "Patton, I swear to you, that we don't think you're stupid or childish or whatever it is you're thinking. We want to protect you and this story isn't entirely ours to tell."
"So you think it's better to keep me away from everything? Shelter me so I don't break like the fragile spoiled royal coward, I am?! I don't need your pity! I thought you were my friends and you lied to me for years and-" a sob choked out Patton's voice. He turned on his heels and ran, leaving the rest of them behind in stunned silence.
Regaining his senses first, Logan hurriedly followed after Patton. Unlike their first night, this wasn't a fun chase through the corridors. Despite his rather fast pace, Logan was shivering. Winter was almost upon them.
At the end of the carpeted hallway, Logan saw an open door that seemed to lead outside. Although it was late in the evening, it wasn't fully dark outside.
Logan stepped through the door and his feet meet something wet. As Logan looked around, he saw that winter had arrived. It was softly snowing, the first snowfall of the year. The gardens were already covered in a thin blanket of powdery snow. The light from the late sunset painted the sky orange and violet lit up the snow collecting on the roof of the pavilion ruin in the middle of the garden. The roses appeared to have frozen in full bloom and glinted like Emile's jewels.
Logan followed the footprints, breath creating small clouds of smoke in front of his face. For a while he heard only the crunching sound of his own footsteps then he reached the pavilion. At some point over the years, some parts of the structure had been damaged and there were parts of the ceiling on the floor, leaving holes in the roof for the snow to blow through. Around the ruins ranked the roses, frozen in place amid their beauty.
Patton knelt to the side, running his fingers over one of the vines, a melancholic look on his face. Slightly panting, Logan came to a halt and softly knocked onto the wooden frame, both to not startle Patton and to avoid making the whole thing collapse over both of them.
"Patton, dearest? How are you doing?"
Patton slowly rose to his feet and pushed the snow off his now soaked pants. Seconds later a shivering Patton let himself fall against Logan's chest, letting out a deep sigh. "I've been better…"
Logan tightened his arms around him. Right now he would give everything to shield Patton from whatever hurt the world decided to bestow upon him.
"That's more than understandable. Do you want to talk about it or should I try to distract you?"
Patton sniffled into his shoulder and Logan felt like his heart was shriveling up.
"I just- I know why they didn't tell me but it hurts, Logan. Everything always hurts and-" Patton's shoulders shook with his sobs and Logan cursed everything in the universe that there was nothing he could do to take that pain from Patton. He could only tighten his hold and look up into the night sky to stop the wetness from spilling out of his own eyes.
"-and I'm scared and I don't know what to do with that feeling and I'm tired of being scared. Scared that what if it's been too long? They're only stuck here because of me and it's been so long. What if they stopped loving me?" His voice went barely audible, almost able to be drowned out by the snowflakes landing on both of them. "What if they never loved me?"
"Then they're idiots," Logan spoke matter of factly even if he wanted to scream it out.
Patton pulled back and used his sleeve to rub his face clean. "Don't call them that."
"It's the truth. Anyone who will not love you, couldn't possibly be in their right mind. I'm not simply saying this to cheer you up, I do not fabricate falsehoods. You're astonishing, Patton! No matter what you do and even now, even with half frozen clothes and on the ground of an enchanted castle with more magic, and knowledge that I could have ever dreamt of, you're the only thing that's occupying my mind."
Patton stared at him, eyes shining with the remains of tears, and slowly shook his head, shoulders dropping. "You don't mean what you're saying."
Logan stepped closer to him until they almost touched again. "How about you let me decide that."
Patton was whispering now. "Lo, what are we doing here? You'll just leave anyway and then you'll forget everyone, this place… me."
Logan tilted Patton's face up with a gentle grip to his chin. The sheer hope he saw in his eyes caught his breath, knowing that his own face mirrored what he saw. "I could never forget you, not truly. And luckily I don't have to. I'm not going anywhere, Patton dearest, my sunshine, my world, I promise. I love you."
Logan's gaze was drawn in by Patton's full plump lips that opened in a surprised, perfectly shaped O. The next thing he knew was that Logan felt dizzy but also like flying, and singing at the same time because Patton whispered the five most beautiful words Logan ever dared to hear.
"I love you too, starshine."
Patton's hands tangled in his hair and pulled his head down the rest of the way, closing the distance between them. Logan's free hand pulled Patton even closer by his waist. It couldn't be close enough for him as Patton's soft lips meet his own. Logan's heart was overspilling with joy with a thousand little lightning dancing under his skin.
The feeling was addicting. Patton was addicting. He could feel the pleasant shiver running down the others' spine. When they finally parted Logan would have surged right back in if his head been not slightly fuzzy from the lack of air.
As he looked at Patton, his Patton, a wide smile spread on his face.
Patton grinned back and lifted his hair to brush one astray lock of his snowflake covered hair away from his face. Suddenly his smile froze.
"Patton? What's wrong, dearest?"
Patton was touching the scales on the left side of his face. He ran a finger over them again as if to check if his fingertips were deceiving him the first time. Then he started to sob, tears spilling over his cheeks, almost freezing before they could fall in the unforgiving cold.
Logan's concern was multiplying with every second Patton didn't answer.
"Patton, darling, please tell me what's wrong?"
"Everything!" Patton cried. "Don't call me that! Keep your pet names for when you actually mean them!"
Logan sucked in a breath as if someone had stabbed him in the stomach although that would have probably hurt less. "Dea- Patton, please talk to me. Of course, I mean them! I love you why-"
"Except you don't!" Patton tore away from his touch and gestured to his face. "They're still there! The curse was supposed to break, you were supposed to-" Patton was crying so much that he had trouble to keep speaking- "to love me! True love's kiss always breaks the curse but you're not- and I was dumb to think that I would ever be enough to be loved so why even bother- you promised and I stupidly believed you! And you lied-" With a sob, Patton turned and fled from the pavilion.
Logan just stood there as if frozen to the spot and his heart laid shattered at his feet.
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