Thomas glances casually over his laptop. Patton is still in the kitchen. That’s ok. Thomas can be patient. Patton will move eventually. He just has to play it cool, it will all be worth the wait. Thomas goes back to his computer whilst glancing at Patton out of the corner of his eye. Two minutes later (Thomas is keeping track.) Patton straightens up, dusts off his hands, and exits the kitchen. Patton has barely left the room when Thomas is jumping to his feet and sneaking into the kitchen.
Thomas rifles through the cupboards. Then the top shelves. ‘Damn it. Where are they?’ Thomas tries under the sink next but to his utter dismay there isn’t a dorito bag in sight. He’s been looking for the family sized dorito bag he bought last week, for four minutes now and he is running out of time. He has to find them before Patton comes to the kitchen to make lunch.
In the past week, Patton had become very strict about snacking before meals. Thomas had disagreed vehemently against cutting down his snacking until Logan had joined Patton, saying that snacking was generally unhealthy and should be limited to fruits or vegetables. After that Thomas had given in to Patton’s idea, afraid they might both take Logan’s approach and gang up on him. Less cheesy goodness was better than no cheesy goodness.
He slams the last shelf door closed and stands with a huff. Fine. He’ll ask for help. If he’s lucky Logan won’t tattle on him. It’s a big if but desperate times call for desperate measures. He waves at Logan to get his attention. Logan looks up from across the room and raises an eyebrow in question.
‘Where are the doritos?’ Thomas signs. Logan just squints in confusion. ‘What?’ Logan signs back.
Thomas drops his head back with a groan.
This ‘quiet hour’ thing is killing him. Last week Logan had informed Patton and Thomas that they were- “not progressing in sign language at the speed with which most people do”- and that he didn’t think they were getting enough practice. He proposed they dedicate an hour of each day to not talking to ensure they practiced. Thomas is almost positive Logan made the whole thing up to get Thomas and Patton to talk less. They had discovered a mutual love of puns and Logan was endlessly frustrated by it. Still, Thomas had to admit it was a good idea.
Thomas tries asking Logan again. ‘Where are the doritos?’ Logan still looks confused.
Thomas checks to see if he is spelling ‘doritos’ right. He thinks he is but maybe not. He pretends to open a bag and mimes eating a chip. Then he gestures to the kitchen. He thinks he made a pretty good impression but unfortunately Logan doesn’t see it. Logan is looking at Patton who’s just walked in.
Patton is smiling but it freezes over when he sees Thomas in the kitchen. His eyes narrow in suspicion. Thomas swallows heavily. ‘I was looking for something.’ Thomas signs.
Patton squints even more. “What?” Patton quickly puts his hands over his mouth before signing instead. ‘Can you say it again?’ ‘I wanted-’ Thomas tries to think of an excuse. ‘-water.’ He doesn’t know if Patton is buying it or not because Logan speaks up instead.
“Thomas we don’t know what you are saying. You’re too far away.”
Now Thomas is the one confused.
“What do you mean?” He asks.
“Guys! No speaking remember? It’s still quiet hour!” Patton reminds them.
Logan ignores him. “Thomas, how are we supposed to know what you are saying when you are that far away? We can’t see what you are signing.”
Thomas glances around. Is he in a shadow or something? “Logan I’m not that far away. Are you telling me you can’t see my hands?”
Patton gives up on quiet hour and focusses of Thomas’s hands with Logan. Thomas spells out his name. (the first thing he could think of.)
“Kiddo, Logan’s right. You’re too far away.” Patton agrees.
Thomas wants to let this go as just a trick of the light or something, since both Centaurs are saying he’s too far to see, but he has a nagging feeling something else is up. He raises his hand and holds up three fingers.
“How many fingers am I holding up?”
“Thomas don’t be redicu-” “Two.” Logan looks at the smaller Centaur in surprise. He squints and looks harder at Thomas’s hand. “I see three.” He says.
Thomas holds up four. “How many now?”
“Still three.” “Five?” Logan and Patton look at each other confused before Logan speaks.
“Patton can’t you count?” Patton glares at him. “Of course I can! I just can’t see him clearly from this far away!”
“It is clear he is holding up three fingers. Can you not see that?”
“Logan, I’m holding up four.”
An awkward silence falls. All three look between each other. Logan clears his throat.
“Be that as it may, I still believe you are simply too far away. Patton and I cannot see you from this distance and I’m not sure why you are taking this so out of proportions.”
“Because you guys should be able to see me. I’m not that far! Here, I’ll prove it. Patton hold up your fingers.” Patton holds up two fingers. “Two.” Thomas says confidently.
“That doesn’t prove-” “Now you’re holding up four.” Logan’s eyebrows draw close together.
“Are you implying that our sight is impared?” He asks.
“Oh! You mean like glasses?” Patton asks. “I used to have glasses. But they- uh, they broke. I haven’t actually worn any in years.” Logan and Thomas are surprised at this information.
“You knew you needed glasses?” Thomas asks. Patton wrings his hands a little. “I’d actually forgot I ever had any. It was a long time ago. I haven’t had any since I was sold to the fair.”
“Well I think it’s safe to say you still need them. Logan, did anyone ever say you needed glasses?”
“Anything regarding me would have been discussed with my owner, not me.”
That makes Thomas mad. “So he knew?”
“Possibly. The last time I was examined was when he first bought me so my sight might have digressed since then. Also, what makes you certain I need glasses anyway?”
“Logan,” Patton says. “If you can’t see any better than I can and I needed glasses then I’m pretty sure that means you do too.”
“I’m aware, Patton, but holding up fingers from across the room doesn’t provide concrete evidence. It is possible there is light interference or something of that nature.”
“Which is exactly why I’m getting you guys an appointment with an Optometrist. There’s the one I always go to so we can just go there.”
“Opta-who?” Patton asks.
“He means an eye specialist.” Logan clarifies. “Thomas, we do not need an Optometrist. A Centaur vet would work just as well. Patton and I would not be allowed in an Optometrist’s office anyway.”
“Yeah but a vet,” Thomas nearly snarls at the word. “- wouldn’t know what exact prescription to give you. They couldn’t tell us much more than we already know. Hell, I bet they just have a box of glasses and you try them all on till you find one that works a little.”
“That’s how I got mine.” Patton confirms. ‘Damn it I was making that up.’ Thomas thinks.
“See? What’s the point in getting you guys glasses if you still can’t see right?”
“That is a valid point,” Logan concedes. “- but we will still not be allowed to enter the building so I don’t see another way.”
“Course you don’t! That's because you need glasses!” Patton snickers.
“One could come here?” Thomas suggests, ignoring Patton’s quips. Then he thinks it through more. “Naw, they’d still need those machines or whatever.”
“Machines?!” Patton looks alarmed. “Why would they need machines?”
“I have no idea but they always use them so they are probably important.” Thomas says. “I’ll ask Joan and Talyn if they know any Centaur friendly places. Who knows? Maybe there’s one in town.”
Logan rolls his eyes. “I seriously doubt it.” He doesn’t protest it though so Thomas takes that as permission to go ahead. It isn’t like it will hurt to check.
“I’m gonna get started on lunch.” Patton says, moving to the kitchen. “I was thinking of making sandwiches. Oh, and Thomas,” Thomas faces Patton just in time to catch a bag of doritos from hitting his face. “Stop snacking before meals.”
“Where did you even hide that?! I looked everywhere!” Thomas blurts without thinking. He shrinks back at the disapproving look Patton shoots at him.
“I mean, yes sir! No more snacking before meals. Got it.” Thomas slinks back to the table and hides his face behind his computer screen in shame. He racks his brain, trying to think of where Patton could have possibly hidden the chips. He’d been sure he looked everywhere. The fridge maybe?
Thomas is texting Joan and Talyn to ask about possible doctors when a thought occurs to him. It’s hardly the first time he’s wondered this but he no longer feels like it might be insulting to ask.
“Yeah?” Patton looks up from where he is making cookies.
“Why don’t Centaurs tell people their names?”
Patton looks thoughtful. “Well, I guess it’s so we can choose who we want to let close to us. If we don’t want to be friends with someone we don’t tell them our names and that's that.”
“Oh. That makes sense, but is it something you do with everybody or only humans? Or is that rude to ask?” Thomas says on second thought.
“Oh, no. We do it with everybody.” Patton assures him.
“So what if two Centaurs meet and only one ever gives their name?”
Patton shrugs. “That happens sometimes. It’s a little awkward but not usually. Most people know better than to expect a name in return.”
Thomas nods and ponders what Patton had said. He is still thinking about it during dinner.
“What about nicknames?” Thomas blurts out, catching both Centaurs off guard.
“Excuse me?” Logan says, eyebrows up in confusion.
“He’s talking about our names.... I think.” Patton says.
“Yeah, me and Pat were talking about it earlier and I didn’t think to ask about nicknames.”
“What about nicknames?” Logan questions.
“Is it rude for people to use a nickname for you if they don’t know your name yet?”
“Yes.” Says Logan. “It defeats the purpose of withholding a name. With a nickname you can refer to a person as though you are familiar with them. For as long as you do not know another person's name you must retain a respectful distance.”
Patton still seems to be thinking through the question. “I suppose if you already know that person's name and you just wanted to use the nickname for when you’re talking to other people, it wouldn’t be so bad.”
“Really?” Thomas is intrigued. "You're saying if I had nicknames for you guys I could use it when talking to other people?”
“Not quite.” Logan says. “It differs based on personal preference. Personally I would not mind, provided the nickname was something I approved of and whomever you were speaking with would not address me as such.”
Patton nods in agreement.
Thomas is a little excited now. Maybe he won't have to struggle so much with names anymore!
“Would you guys mind if I use nicknames for you when I’m talking with Joan and Talyn?”
“I don’t mind.” Patton confirms.
“Neither do I, provided the name is satisfactory. However, I do not wish to be referred to with a literal name. Perhaps something else?”
Thomas stops to think about that. “A nickname that isn’t a name… okay. I can do that. Can it describe you or should it be random?”
“I see nothing wrong with a description.”
“Smart!” Patton yells.
“I think that would turn into ‘smarty’.” Thomas says. “Which sounds more like an insult.”
“Okay, what about Wise?”
“Maybe intelligent?” Thomas tries.
““Black? -Wait, no, uh….like your hair….?”
“No colors Pat. What about…..heavy?”
“Sorry! Sorry! I don’t know where that came from, I was trying to say strong!”
Logan doesn’t look very flattered with any of their attempts. “You are both ridiculous.” He grumbles.
“Joy kill.” Thomas mutters under his breath.
“What was that?” Patton asks.
Thomas isn’t sure if Patton actually heard him or not so he plays dumb. “What? I didn’t say anything.” He is quick to divert the conversation. “So Logan, did you like any of the names we said?” Thomas seriously doubts it.
Logan rubs his forehead. “I personally find each of them, at best, annoying. How are any of those names logical?”
Patton and Thomas freeze. They look at each other. Thomas feels a grin creeping up on his face to match the one on Patton's.
“Logic!” They both yell, startling Logan.
“Logic! It suits you. Like, a lot.”
“Yeah! You’re always so logical and down to earth. It fits perfectly!”
Logan looks thoughtful. “Logic.” He says, testing the name out. He looks momentarily excited before switching back to his usual, calm state. “It will suffice.”
“Yes!” Thomas fist pumps. It would be easy to remember too, since it was so similar to Logan’s actual name.
“Now that that is settled, I believe it is time for Patton’s turn.” Logan and Thomas both scrutinize the Pony. There are so many words to describe him that Thomas isn’t quite sure where to start.
“Well if mine is to be Logic I suppose we could go with something similar.” Logan suggests.
“That’s a good idea. Let’s see, if you are a logical person then Patton is a…..” Thomas racks his brain. Still too many words.
“Sensitive person.” Logan surmises.
“What? No. That sounds mean.” Thomas argues.
Patton squints. “Being called sensitive isn’t a bad thing Thomas. If more people cared about others this world would be a much better world.”
Logan rolls his eyes. “Yes, but caring is not always in your, or others, best interest. Emotions are flawed.”
“You say that like emotions are a bad thing! They’re how we know right from wrong!”
Logan frowns and Thomas groans. Not this again. They seem to have this argument every few days and it never goes anywhere. They just circle around each other and neither ever gives in. It’s pointless.
“Guys, focus. What should Patton’s nickname be?”
Clearly Logan is not quite ready to let the matter drop.
“Right and wrong are most often based entirely on a person's individual moral standpoint and therefore often clash with the moral guidelines of others.”
“Morals? What’s that mean?” Patton asks.
“Mo-ral or Mo-ral-i-ty: Principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.” Logan recites.
“Logan did you just quote a dictionary?” Thomas asks, flabbergasted.
“Yes. I’ve been reading my way through it again.”
“Wha- you’re reading- hold up, did you say again?” Thomas says in bewilderments. ‘Who in their right mind reads through the dictionary of their own free will?! TWICE?!’
“I like that word.” Patton says, oblivious to Thomas’s state of shock.
“You should.” Huffs Logan. “Since you are always getting on my case about how I’m not following your ‘code of conduct’.”
“That’s because you’re rude.” Patton says.
“So what if I’m rude? I don’t see why that is a bad thing. In fact, I’m usually just being honest. Isn’t that a good thing?” Logan makes finger quotations when he says ‘good thing’.
Thomas has an idea. He knows the perfect name. It suites Patton and has a somewhat catchy ring to it. It has nothing to do with interrupting the arguing. Absolutely nothing.
“What about Morality?”
Logan hesitates. “What about it? I just gave you the definition. Did you not understand it?”
Thomas waves him off.
“No, I mean what if we call Patton Morality?”
Logan and Patton both open their mouths to disagree but then they hesitate.
“It’s kinda catchy.” Patton says.
“It’s most certainly accurate to his personality.” Says Logan.
Victory! Thomas is a genius and now he is free!
“Awesome! It’s decided then. Logan is Logic and Patton is Morality. Boom. We’re done. I’m gonna go call Talyn and Joan. See you both later!”
Thomas rushes out the door before Logan and Patton can stop him. He smiles to himself as he half jogs to his house. Logic and Morality. Oddly enough they seem to fit.