Responsibility has always been the biggest part of their jobs. Long before Thomas managed to specifically manifest them in physical forms, they’ve been responsible for keeping him together, growing up, and moving forward. Which means even a little over a year since he’d started letting them parade in front of his audience and showcase their work, a lot of what they do goes unnoticed.
Roman knows Thomas doesn’t consciously wonder how his heart manages to beat everyday, how his lungs continue to inflate, or how any of his other body systems function regularly. He also knows that Logan and Virgil had reached an uneasy truce not to make Thomas wonder about who controlled those systems. He thinks the truce was struck mostly for Patton’s benefit, the playful facet not enjoying the sensation of Thomas’s full attention on the work he does in the background. Logan is much the same. He doesn’t want or need Thomas to dedicate brainpower into remembering how to shape his tongue, push air through the contracting muscles of his throat, and expel the sounds that parsed together make language. Once he’d learned that particular skill he’d never needed Thomas’s conscious input again. Virgil, as they had realized, spent more time motivating and manipulating Thomas into action in the background, though it’s likely there’s more he does that he hasn’t alluded to yet.
And Roman, well Roman does plenty. But this certainly is something that would not be appropriate to show online. Well at least not on YouTube. After all, when allocating some time for a rather physical form of self indulgence who else but the side of fantasies could Thomas turn to? And so long as they never have to talk about it one-on-one then Roman is more than happy to assist.
Roman first feels the stirrings of interest nudge at the edge of his awareness in a quiet moment in his room. It’s a rarity in itself that he’s not off on a quest of his own, but Thomas has been rather focused on his work and other tasks as of late, far too focused to let Roman quest off into the great wide somewhere. Instead creativity has been relegated to supplying quick concise inspiration. So when he feels arousal flare through him he could almost sing his relief. Finally, finally, a chance to fantasize in full for the first time in an eternity. Roman throws himself back on his bed and starts filtering through fantasies.
And stops short.
Flashes of memories take shape in his room. Golden mist that condenses into recognizable silhouettes and sensation. Stage lights. A script. Familiar laughter, the curve of a smile.
Roman jolts, panic seizing through him as he tries to stop the memories and longing from alerting the others. He sits upright and tentatively stretches out his awareness. Thomas doesn’t feel perturbed so he must have avoided polluting his mind with thoughts of Guys and Dolls. Shit. That was close. He’d promised the others he wouldn’t go down that road anymore. He tries to settle his nerves and attempts to find a more suitable fantasy for the task at hand.
Fighting. Phone calls. Regret. Possible reconciliation--
He feels frantic as he pushes the wave of thoughts back again.
“Whoa, what’s up, Princey?”
“Virgil what are you doing in my room!?” Roman tries to dispel the fantasies before the other can see them but the ghostly images and wisps of thought linger around his room. “I, this, this isn’t--” An echo of laughter curls through the air that stops Creativity in his tracks. It’s bad enough he’d accidentally summoned Virgil with his distress. He couldn’t stand for Decit to drop in on them as well.
Virgil’s mouth sets into a thin line as he watches the sepia remnants of the fantasies finally start to fade out. “Guys and Dolls, huh?” He pushes his hands deep into his pockets and scuffs his toe into the floor. “Well you summoned me, do you want to talk about it?”
He automatically wants to say no, automatically wants to shove the other side from the room, but he can’t. His emotions are too turbulent for it. Likely if he tried to get Virgil to leave anxiety would start to leech into Thomas’s awareness and after all the pain that their last conversation about Guys and Dolls had caused, Roman has no desire to reopen that can of worms. It wouldn’t be very heroic of him to cause so much trouble in such a short period of time. A small jelly jar forms in the mist, sickly green and disturbingly solid. Roman swats his hand through it. No need for the blatant reminder of the problems he’d caused during the announcement for Logan’s jam.
“I’m just having some difficulty disentangling good fantasies from bad.” He finally admits, motioning Virgil further into the room and summoning a chair for the other facet.
“And you feel bad enough about that to summon me?” Virgil lets out a low whistle. “That’s pretty bad, Ro.”
“I know, but what can I do about it? Patton might be moving on but I just can’t seem to find a new fantasy to follow.” He throws Thomas the idea to look for inspiration in other places in the hope of keeping his attention focused away from he and Virgil.
Anxiety seems to think on his words for a moment before he responds. "I don't know what to do about that." He says honestly. "But I don't think you need to be worried about it this much." Roman frowns and Virgil continues more quickly. "I mean it makes sense that you're linking memories of our ex to your romantic and sexual fantasies. They all have been tied up together for a long time." Virgil starts worrying his lip. "Things will get better over time, probably. Don't be so anxious about it, that's my job." He shoots the other facet small, unsure smile.
After a long pause Roman finally sighs. "Yes you're probably right, Dr. Freudgil. I just don't want to bring everyone down." He's been doing enough of that as it is.
Although Anxiety rolls his eyes at the nickname he seems to take the rest of Roman's response to heart. Another beat of silence stretches out between them before he speaks again, haltingly.
"If you're looking for something to work, in the short term, I, well, I might be able to help." A light dusting of pink covers his face and Virgil sinks back into his chair as if he thinks making himself smaller will somehow lessen the impact of his suggestion. Not likely. Roman stares at the other side almost incredulously.
"How could you help with this particular type of fantasy?"
Virgil scowls at him. "It's not that uncommon. Logan could probably explain it better, but people can sometimes mistake adrenaline from fear as arousal. I just thought," he shrugs, "maybe it could help if you fantasized about something so far out of the norm."
"Seems a little masturbatory." Roman tries to joke, but the words come out shaky and don't land well. It only causes Virgil to scowl fiercely and stand up.
"Okay, if you don't want my help I'm just gonna go."
His hand shoots out and catches Virgil's sleeve, careful not to touch his arm. They all know Virgil isn't much for physical contact and he doesn't want to make this situation any worse than it already is by crossing that boundary without permission. "Wait," he should be better at this. He's the creative one. He should be able to find the right string of words to sound smooth and reassured and grateful even that Virgil's offering his assistance at all. Instead all he manages to get out is a soft, desperate, "Stay, let's give it a try."
Virgil goes stiff at the almost touch before he takes a breath and nods. "Okay. We need to set up some ground rules."
Which is how Roman ends up laying on his bed, red sash knotting his hands above his head and his heart racing. "Are you okay?"
"Sure am, BDSMenacing."
Virgil rolls his eyes. "This is going to feel uncomfortable at first, but tell me if you ever want me to stop."
"I will." He almost wants to tell Anxiety to stop worrying, but he can't deny the nervous tinglings building in his stomach.
"Okay," Virgil mumbles, mostly to himself. Then he takes a breath and transforms.
It's not as if the other side really changes. He's still the messy haired, raccoon eyed, embodiment of a dark and stormy night. But he straightens his spine and his expression shifts from a softer concern to the same hard look he's given them all on occasion. The look that had scared all of them at some point into doing, or more often in Roman's case, not doing something Virgil had strong opinions about.
"Close your eyes." Roman feels nervousness prickle over his skin as Vigil leans over him, his voice low and echoing in the room. He hesitates and sees the confidence that Virgil draped over himself start to fracture. Immediately he closes his eyes and braces himself for whatever the other side is going to do next.
Fingertips trace lightly down the exposed line of his throat and suddenly Roman understands why Virgil has been so hesitant to let any of them touch him. Fear surges under his skin and floods his veins with fire that leaves his muscles aching and shaking with the need to move. His heart hammers beneath his ribs and his breath catches in his throat. The sensation is similar to how it had felt when they'd been in Virgil's room for too long, but it's more intense.
The finger retreats and the feelings pull away just as quickly, like a bucket of cold water has been dumped on him. The sudden lack of sensation leaves him gasping.
"Breathe," Virgil orders in the same patient tone. "How do you feel?"
It takes him a minute to find his words. "Shaky? Not seeing how this is going to help?"
Virgil doesn't respond for a moment and Roman is tempted to open his eyes so he can see the other's face and get a better idea of what he's thinking. But then the bed suddenly dips near his hip, and then again at his shoulder. Roman's breath catches again when Virgil's lips press to the corner of his mouth softly. Fear roars back to life through him and he goes rigid for a long moment. Anxiety pulls away after a second and waits and when he doesn't ask to stop, familiar fingers catch his chin before Virgil kisses him again.
His lips are chapped when they seal over his and his heart races. The disconnect between the anxiety that Virgil's touch pushes through him and the soft warmth of the other's mouth makes his mind spin. He feels likes he's being pulled in too many directions at once and he doesn't know which feeling to follow. And then Anxiety is licking his way into his mouth and adrenaline pooling in his blood makes the decision for him. He can't help the soft sound that escapes his throat as Virgil kisses him, almost violently compared to his previous touches. Teeth catch at his lower lip and the sharp jolt of pain makes his hips twitch off the bed. Holy Jekyll and Hyde he hadn't been expecting that. But even as the sensations push his thoughts further into the realm of arousal that he’d been looking for, the fear does not let up.
When Virgil pulls away Roman strains to hear him, tries to guess his next move, and the lingering nervousness starts to shape his speculations of what exactly the other is going to do next. Maybe that’s why when Virgil delivers a sharp nip to the underside of his jaw he could swear he feels the rasp of too sharp teeth rake over his skin. Roman hisses at the sensation his heart hammering as Virgil murmurs,
“That’s it. Don’t relax just yet.” This was a bad idea. He’s never going to be able to hear Virgil’s echoing serious voice again without remembering the way it’s making desire burn over his skin like it is now. The weight beside him shifts again but before Roman can guess what the other is doing he feels hands at the collar of his shirt and Virgil is back to pressing licks and bites to the column of his throat as he starts to work the many buttons of Roman’s shirt free. “You’re starting to make some wild speculations aren’t you, Princey?” It’s not much of a question and Virgil goes on without waiting for an answer. “Have you ever felt like this before? When you fought the dragonwitch, maybe?” No, he hadn’t been scared then. He’d been bursting with courage, he’d been ready for any challenge and filled with the surety of success. That monster’s fangs and claws couldn’t stand in his way… but now the memory feels different. Gone is the flare of triumph and in its place a cold dread drapes itself over him. He couldn’t be killed by another figment of Thomas’s imagination, right? But if he had been slain, if those claws had wrended his flesh, where would that have left he and the others? “Oh, that triggered something didn’t it.” The sound of tearing fabric makes his eyes shoot open and his gaze immediately looks down at his chest.
“What--!” Virgil’s hands have changed, fingers suddenly tipped in razor sharp black talons that are tangled up in the shredded fabric of his new shirt.
“Eyes closed!” He snarls and Roman gets a glimpse of the other’s face before he complies. His stomach writhes in nervous knots as he hopes that the mouth full of sharpened obsidian teeth was just his imagination getting out of hand. Virgil’s lips press roughly to his own again and Roman can’t fight the groan that pulls itself from his throat. When they kiss this time it’s far more careful than it had been before and when he chances licking his way into the other’s mouth the feels the shape of teeth far different and more threatening than before. But even as the new sensation lances his mind with dread, he can’t deny the appeal of feeling how dangerous Virgil is becoming, and how thrilling it is that the other facet is being so careful not to hurt him.
Clawed hands push the shredded remains of his shirt away and expose his skin to the cool air of the room. Virgil’s hands stroke over the planes of skin and muscle, careful fingertips moving delicately across his chest but Roman can still feel the prickle of those sharp nails that he’d caught a glimpse of. A thumb brushes over his nipple and he can’t help the sharp intake of breath that catches in his throat and makes his body twitch. Virgil’s hands pull back briefly before he delivers a sharp nip to his collarbone.
“Stay still. I don’t want to hurt you.”
Roman fights to find his way to coherent words. “Why-- since when do you have claws?” The other’s cool hands return to his skin and he does his best not to move.
“Fear can make fantasies take a lot of different forms.” The words vibrate against his skin, lips brushing against a dusty pink nipple. “This is apparently the form you’ve conjured for me.” Roman wants to deny it, but then Virgil’s tongue is lapping against his skin and all he can do is choke out another low groan. His wrists strain against his bonds, his desire to reach out and touch the other fighting with the terror laced urge to recoil. The other’s hands scrape over his hips, nails pressing just hard enough to leave stinging trails of heat, but not hard enough to really hurt. The sensation has no right to shoot straight to his cock, but it does anyway.
Fuck, “Virgil!” He gasps and feels the other’s breath hitch against his skin.
“Patience.” He commands in that same low tone, but Roman catches a touch of breathlessness at the end he hadn’t noticed before. A careful hand curls over the bulge straining his pants and his hip stutter off the bed. A groan tears from his throat as Virgil continues to palm his cock through the fabric.
“Virg,” his voice comes out thin and desperate. Desperate enough for the other to stop teasing and move to free him from the all too tight confines of his pants and underwear. Shivery with fear and arousal Roman almost comes apart when Virgil finally wraps his hand around his length and gives it a few long slow strokes, thumb swiping over the head with each pass.
The weight beside him shifts again, moves closer, and Virgil coaxes his legs wider and then claims the newly vacated space. Before Roman can parse out what the shift could mean he feels a hot puff of breath over the sensitive skin of his hip. Lips trace the breath, sharp teeth nipping at the bone before he moves downward. Roman’s entire body tenses in anticipation as Virgil presses a series of lingering kisses and bites along his inner thighs, mouth avoiding the place he wants it most.
“Not the best fantasy for what I had in mind.” He punctuates the statement by biting a bruise into his skin, letting Roman feel the elongated point of each of his transformed teeth. His heart skips a beat the thought of those dangerous fangs pressed against the most vulnerable part of his anatomy, sending a pang of fear through his core. So why does the same thought make his cock twitch and a moan stutter out of his throat? The reaction seems to give Anxiety pause as well because his ministrations come to a jerky halt. “Oh,” he breathes against the other’s stinging thigh. “Didn’t think you’d be so into this.” The words vibrate against his skin. And then his mouth is gone and Roman is left keening at the loss.
“Fuck!” Every muscle in his body goes tight as Virgil holds his hips down so he can lick along the shaft of his cock. A tingling burn seeps out from his wrists, muscles shaking as he strains his bonds. His hands burn with the desire to reach out, to bury his fingers in Virgil’s hair, to grab and hold of something to keep him from being pulled under by the wave of lust and fear that threatens to drown him. But the tie doesn’t budge and his hands just twist uselessly in his bonds.
Virgil is careful as he mouths along his cock, lips and tongue spreading a nearly unbearable heat over his skin. But never taking him into his mouth. Carefully keeping his sharp teeth from tearing his skin open.
“Virgil,” he gasps, squeezing his eyes shut tight against the need to open them. Fuck, the mental image of what the other would look like, crouched between his knees, lips pink and spit slicked, eyes half-lidded, the little flash of gleaming black fangs every time he opened his mouth-- it takes all his willpower not to look down and confirm the sight. The muscles in his stomach coil tightly in warning of his impending orgasm. “Close--” is all he managed to stutter before the other is taking the head of his cock just inside of his mouth, hand curled around the base. Virgil’s other hand pushes his hips into the bed with bruising force, claws creating sharp pin pricks of pain, to keep him from bucking up into the heat of his mouth and hurting himself. His tongue swipes over the tip once more and that’s all it takes.
His orgasm slams into him, leaving him breathless. His mind goes blank, no fear, no Guys and Dolls, no envy. Only the sound of his blood pounding in his ears and pleasure so intense he thinks he’s going to come apart at the seams.
Roman’s still gasping as Virgil tucks him back into his pants, shaky with aftershocks of fear and lust. He can hear Virgil’s uneven breaths and when the other begins to move away he tries and fails to reach after him.
“Come here,” he barely manages to stutter out. The return to coherent words seeming almost foreign to his mouth in his post orgasmic haze. The weight between his legs stops, hesitates. “Come on. I want to return the favor.”
When Virgil speaks again his voice has shifted. “You don’t have to.” Gone is the intimidating rumble and confidence that he’d used since he’d ordered his eyes closed. Instead he sounds like himself once again. Soft and unsure.
“Get up here Misery Business, I want to.” He thinks the other might deny him and leave, but after a minute Virgil’s weight shifts again, leaning forward. Roman opens his eyes hesitantly, half expecting to be yelled at again, but Virgil just looks down at him, face flushed as he leans forward and starts to undo the knots at his wrists. The brush of their skin takes on a slightly different tone. The fear that Virgil had been pushing into his blood lessens, turns into hot shivery embarrassment. It’s not quite an unpleasant sensation, but it’s certainly a far cry from where this encounter started. As the fear fades the black claws slowly evaporate, melting away into uneven, but nonthreatening, nails. Shit. Well. This all continues to happen then and he’s never going to be able to look at the other the same way again. His hands are still tied but that doesn’t stop him from leaning forward and pressing a series of lingering kisses to the side of his throat. He hears Virgil’s breath catch and smirks against his skin. Payback.
When his hands are free, wrists tingling as blood surges back into his skin where he’d strained too hard at the ties, he catches the other’s face between his palms and drags him in for a kiss. Gone are the slow measured movements that Virgil had tortured him with before. Now the other facet’s hands tangle into his hair, bites desperately at his lips with blunt human teeth, gasps into his mouth. Roman rolls and pushes Virgil’s back against the mattress, breaking the kiss only when he’s sure that his lips will be bruised and red for days. His mouth a mess, bangs mussed and out of place, eyes half-lidded, Virgil is wrecked. Fuck, his spent cock twitches at the sight.
Roman swallows hard before he crawls down the length of his body, hands dragging over Virgil’s clothed sides until he reaches his waistband. He pauses, licking a stripe over the bulge in Virgil’s pants, drawing a shaky moan from the other’s throat.
“R-Roman,” The other carefully palms the length of his cock for one long luxurious moment before flicks open the button of his pants and tugs down the zipper. Virgil’s moans send heat flaring across his skin as he strokes the other’s dripping cock before he leans down to suck him into his mouth. “Shit, Ro!” He licks along the heavy weight of Virgil’s cock on his tongue, savoring the flavor of his skin. A hand reaches down and grasps his shoulder tightly and Roman glances up to see Virgil, head thrown back, knuckles of his other fist between his teeth to muffle the sounds coming out of his throat. Fuck, this isn’t going to last long. He doesn’t have a mouth full of dangerous fangs, so he urges Virgil’s hips into movement, short sharp thrusts that are going to leave his jaw aching. But it’s worth it to see the other side come apart after a few more thrusts. Roman swallows down his release, tongue flicking over the head a few more careful times as he works Virgil through the aftershocks.
“Fuck, Roman, stop.” He murmurs, voice trembling and hand swatting at him weakly. “Too much.”
“Sorry.” But he’s anything but as he rights the other’s clothes before collapsing on the bed at his side. Silence stretches between them, only the sounds of their breathing filling the room. Without their skin touching Roman finally feels his heartbeat calm, the burn of a adrenaline subsiding within him. Anxiety returned to its source. “Thank you.”
Virgil huffs out a laugh. “Pretty sure that’s my line.”
“No, really,” he says sincerely turning to look at him. “That helped a lot. I’m grateful you were willing to offer your assistance.”
The other flushes, likely not used to the sincerity. “Yeah well, whatever. You called me. It would’ve been pretty shitty if I didn’t do what I could after that.”
It’s his turn to feel embarrassed and he clears his throat slightly before he speaks again. “Perhaps, in the future, if you’re interested we could try that again?” Virgil reaches over to his hand, carefully runs one finger over his knuckles and Roman shudders as sticky fear seeps through his nerves.
“Really wasn’t expecting you to be so into that.” His voice is pitched low and echoing again for a moment as his touch lingers. Then his hand drops away and he speaks normally. “Sure, I don’t see how it could hurt to explore a few more of these fantasies.”
And what fantasies he’ll come up with. He can already feel a few starting to buzz in the back of his mind, taking on dark inky shapes of fear tinged arousal. He’s halfway through opening his mouth to see if Virgil is up for another round when a succinct, jarring knock sounds at his door.
“Excuse me, Roman,” Logan calls from the other side of the barrier. “It seems as though Thomas has some concerns about whatever fantasy you’ve just provided him with and I have to ask, is everything ‘Gucci’ in there?”
Virgil buried his face in his hands as Roman bolts upright on the bed. “Everything’s fine, Logan. Not a single problem here!”
The silence that emanates from the other side of the door feels suspicious but after a moment Logan finally says, “Very well then.” And they hear the echo of his footsteps moving back down the hallway.
“Guess we’ll have to be a little more responsible about this next time.” Virgil mutters. “I better go before I start to make Thomas worry too much.” He glances back at Roman and gives him a small crooked smirk. “That would kind of take the fun out of this.”
His stomach does a flip. Oh shit. “R-right, of course.”
“See you later, Princey.”
“Farewell, Virg--”And in the same way he was summoned, he blinks out of existence. Roman stares at the empty space on his bed, a fluttering building in his gut. Well. That’s definitely new. He tries to push the sensation away. He’d fulfilled his responsibility, avoided making Thomas long for ideals he couldn’t achieve. He hadn’t brought the other sides down. The longer he stares at the space where Virgil had occupied the more it seems like a black mist is trying to coalesce into his form. Roman waves a way the smoke and shakes off the fantasy.
There are other ideas to sculpt, more dreams to chase. He doesn’t have time to linger with this one. After all their work is never done.