Virgil Knight has had a crush on Janus Parcel for years — probably his whole life. He met Janus in pre-school and has been absolutely devoted to him ever since.
From an outside perspective, it probably looked like Virgil was head over heels for Janus, and Janus was completely indifferent to him, but Virgil knows that’s not true. Janus likes keeping his cards close to his chest — he always has — but he’s completely devoted to Virgil, too.
Janus is the one who told him about the rumors that were going around about him in seventh grade. Middle school meant new classmates, and new classmates meant people who’d never met Virgil before, people who didn’t watch him spend the last seven years following Janus around the playground like a lost puppy. They thought Virgil was a loner (he wasn’t a loner, Janus just had a different lunch than him), they thought he hated people (usually true), and they thought he couldn’t talk (it’s true that Virgil didn’t particularly like talking to people he didn’t know, but he’s not sure how everyone could possibly think he couldn’t talk). Virgil’s favorite rumor had been the one that he was a vampire; he once wore fangs to school just to freak people out.
Virgil returned the favor by telling Janus the rumors that spread about him in ninth grade.
During the summer between eighth and ninth grade, Janus fell face first into some sticker bushes while trying to pop a wheelie on his bike. The end result was a long, thin scar trailing down his face. When they started high school in the fall, a rumor spread like wildfire that Janus had been injured in a knife fight.
The very thought that Janus would ever fight someone with a knife was ridiculous (“always bring a gun to a knife fight, Virge,” Jan liked to say, not that Jan had a gun, or liked to fight, but he did like winning), but Janus found the rumor hilarious, and never did anything to dissuade people from it.
It was in high school that Virgil realized that he loved Janus romantically. It wasn’t that the feelings started in high school, that’s just when Virgil realized they were there.
He didn’t do anything about them, Janus was always the leader; Virgil figured that if his feelings were reciprocated, Jan would let him know.
There was one time in tenth grade that they almost kissed. They’d been watching a movie at Janus’ house, or rather, they’d been having a heated debate about philosophy (a subject Virgil only started arguments about because Janus was cute when he was passionate) while a movie played in the background, when they found their faces very close together — Virgil could swear that Janus had been looking at his lips — but Mrs. Parcel had walked in before anything happened.
They never talked about it.
Two months later, Virgil met Remus Kingsley at an art competition, and suddenly their twosome became a threesome.
Virgil’s crush on Remus had been much easier to identify — especially since he’d been crushing hard on Remus’ identical twin brother Roman the year before. Until he learned that Roman was a pompous jerk that is.
Remus wasn’t a jerk though, which is why his crush didn’t go away after a month like it had with Roman. Remus was sweet, and affectionate, and so very very excitable. He could be loud, and impulsive, and sometimes he stepped over the line, but he was very good at remembering where the line was once he’d crossed it once so that he wouldn't do it again.
Remus had his own rumors floating around school. Well, ‘rumors’ wasn’t really the right word since most of them were true. Any rumor that wasn’t true was like a self-fulfilling prophecy, and Remus almost always followed through — he never killed anyone though, and that’s always a huge plus in Virgil’s book.
It was easy for Virgil to fall in love with Remus, but it was even easier for him to see that Janus fell in love with him too.
Eleven months after Remus joined their group, Virgil noticed a shift in Remus and Janus’ relationship — it was subtle, but it was there — and that’s all Virgil needed to know that his best friends were dating and hiding it from him.
Two months into Janus and Remus hiding their relationship from him, Virgil was sitting on Janus’ couch, waiting for Remus to get there so they could start movie night. He barely paid attention when the doorbell started ringing (and didn’t stop until after Janus answered the door), or when Remus burst into the living room cheering about a ‘party’, but when a solid weight landed in his lap, he noticed.
Virgil let out a startled hiss, thinking that Remus had launched himself into Virgil’s lap, but the blue eyes that blinked up at him owlishly from behind a pair of large, round glasses were decidedly not Remus’.
The boy in his lap and Virgil stared at each other for a moment as Virgil’s brain tried to think of something to say, literally anything to say. ‘Looks like you’ve fallen for me’, ‘come here often?’ or even just ‘hi’. Anything.
“S-sorry,” the boy stuttered, blushing.
Virgil blushed too because this was Patton Morales, Virgil’s third persistent crush. Patton Morales was sitting in his lap. Virgil’s gay heart might just explode right now because Patton Morales is talking to him.
“It’s, uh, it’s fine,” Virgil finally said, like a moron.
He’d never actually met Patton before, never even had classes with him, but Virgil knew who he was.
Virgil’s admired Patton Morales from afar since freshman year when Patton yelled at a group of seniors for pushing around a couple of seventh graders that included Virgil’s younger sibling, Elliot. And since Patton wasn’t one of their friends, Virgil might have mentioned liking him once or twice to Remus and Jan, a mistake that probably led to Patton falling into his lap a few seconds ago.
Fortunately, Virgil’s saved from having to think of anything else to say by Remus jumping on the couch and yelling “movie!”
Unfortunately, Remus began bouncing up and down, and as a result, Virgil instinctively wrapped his arms around Patton Morales’ waist to keep him from flying off.
So now he was sitting on the couch. With Patton Morales in his lap. With his arms around Patton Morales’ waist!
Honestly the rest of the evening was a bit of a blur because the only thing Virgil could focus on was how warm Patton was. Every time Patton shifted, Virgil had to fight the urge to tighten his arms around his waist — if Patton wanted to move, Virgil would let him — he never even attempted to get up though, and Virgil hoped he couldn’t feel his heart racing.
At some point, Remus got up from the couch, stripped most of his clothes off, and lay on the ground. At the same time, Janus also got up and turned the light off before settling himself onto the recliner, leaving just Virgil and the now-sleeping Patton on the couch.
“What am I supposed to do?” Virgil hissed, praying that Patton didn’t wake up.
“Sleep on the couch,” Janus deadpanned, clearly conveying how ridiculous he found the question.
“What do I do with Patton?” Virgil rephrased. The blond stirred against his chest and Virgil held his breath in fear that he’d disturbed the sleeping boy, but Patton just sighed and burrowed deeper into his chest, completely out.
“Wake him up if he’s bothering you,” Janus answered knowing full well that Virgil would rather die than inconvenience someone.
“Sell him on the black market!” Remus piped up.
“Maybe we should try selling you on the black market,” Janus suggested. “Might go for a few bucks.”
“Aww, Janny, you love me too much to sell me!” Remus grinned.
“You’re a stepping stone on my path to world domination,” Janus replied breezily.
Normally, Virgil would enjoy the playful banter and might add something to this conversation, but right now he’s too focused on getting into a reclined position on the couch without waking Patton. Once he was in the recliner position though, his legs stuck off the couch awkwardly and he had to shimmy up the couch until his head was against one armrest and his feet were against the other.
Luckily, Patton continued to slumber. Virgil let out a small sigh of relief, he could hear Janus laughing at him from the recliner, but he refused to acknowledge him.
There was a clock on the wall somewhere in Janus’ house. Usually the sound of it ticking out the seconds was drowned out by the TV, or Remus, or something. But right now, at dark o’clock in the morning, with the other three people in the house fast asleep, and the menu screen for the last movie they watched was illuminating the living room, there was nothing for Virgil to do but listen to the steady ticking. The steady ticking, and the soft breathing of the boy sleeping on top of him.
For hours, Virgil’s brain had been consumed with thoughts of Patton. What will he do when he wakes up? Does he like Virgil back? Is he going to be creeped out that he essentially slept on a stranger? Does he like Virgil back?
All important questions, and all too loud for Virgil to fall asleep.
Light was starting to peek in through the window to Janus’ living room by the time Virgil finally managed to fall asleep.
He awoke hours later when someone sat down on his stomach.
“Up and at ‘em, sleeping beauty!”
Virgil opened his eyes to glare at Janus. There’s significantly more light now, and Virgil can’t see anyone in the living room other than himself and Janus.
“I hate you,” Virgil groaned, pushing Jan off him.
Janus moves easily enough, allowing himself to be pushed off the couch.
“Remus left to take Patton home,” Janus told him, moving over to sit on the recliner.
“Hmm,” Virgil sat up to stretch, his back popping satisfyingly. “What time is it?”
“Almost two. How long did you lie away thinking about Patton?” Janus asked, resting his head on his fist and smirking.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” but his blush betrayed him if Janus’ growing smirk was anything to go off.
“Of course not. Patton made pancakes for you, they’re in the freezer but he left specific instructions on how to reheat them.”
“Wow, actual breakfast food? How glamorous.”
“Don’t get used to it,” Janus warned.
The pancakes were pretty good heated up, and definitely beat the dry cereal/leftover pizza they usually ate for breakfast when Janus’ parents were out of town.
“You can stay, you know,” Janus said after pancakes, as Virgil was gearing up to go home.
“Nah, I haven’t been home for like two days, I should make sure it’s still standing and stuff.” Honestly Virgil would love to stay at Janus’, but he’s gotta make sure Elliot is ok.
He walked home from Janus’, it took him over half an hour, but it let him delay the inevitable a little longer.
Virgil lay awake that night long after even Elliot had fallen asleep, quietly snoring in the bed across the room. Virgil himself was still suffering from having laid awake the entire night before, so he just lay in bed, scrolling through Tumblr on his phone, while blasting Fall Out Boy through his headphones.
At around two a.m., a pillow flew across the room and hit his legs, effectively gaining Virgil’s attention. He pulled the headphones off one ear and turned to his sibling quizzically.
Elliot continued to lay on their side, looking asleep except that they stuck one arm out to point at the window.
“Window,” they muttered, grabbing their own headphones as best they could while refusing to open their eyes.
A second later a tapping came from said window, and Virgil turned to find Janus balancing on the tree branch outside. He glanced back to Elliot, but they were steadfastly refusing to move.
Virgil crossed the room to open the window and let Janus in.
“What are you doing here?” He hissed, listening for any indication that his parents had been awoken.
“I wanted to try something,” Janus said quietly, refusing to meet Virgil’s eyes as he slowly peeled off his gloves.
This time Janus did meet his eyes, he had clearly steeled himself up for whatever he wanted to try.
“If I make you uncomfortable,” he whispered. “Tell me to stop and I will.”
Virgil was about to ask what he was talking about, but Janus brought both his naked hands up to cup Virgil’s face, and his entire being just froze. Had Janus been standing this close the entire time? Janus was leaning even closer- shit shit shit.
Their lips connected and the only thing Virgil’s goddamn cursed mind could come up with was ‘kiss kiss fall in love’.
Janus started pulling back after a couple of seconds of Virgil just standing there, frozen, which finally spurred Virgil into action. He placed his hands on Janus’ hips, returning the kiss to the best of his ability. He could feel Janus smirking against his lips, but he didn’t care as long as they were still kissing.
A pillow hit the back of Virgil’s head.
He turned to find Elliot still curled in their bed like they hadn't moved at all, but now they had no more pillows
Janus chuckled quietly. “Can we go somewhere to talk?”
“Yeah, you go ahead, I’ll be down in a second.”
Janus nodded and headed back out the window.
Virgil grabbed his backpack and his headphones before heading for the window.
“You’re leaving?” Elliot asked, no longer ignoring him.
“Yeah, cover for me?” Elliot shrugged, but Virgil knew that was a yes.
Janus was waiting for him on the ground, and once Virgil got down, they both silently headed off towards the park located a few blocks away from Virgil’s house.
“So,” Virgil broke the silence once he was sure they were far enough away. “That was…”
“Late?” Janus offered with a rueful smile.
“I was gonna say ‘nice’, but yeah.”
“Well I wouldn’t be opposed to doing it again.” Janus slipped his hand into Virgil’s and gave it a squeeze.
“I thought we were supposed to be talking?” Virgil teased as they finally reached the park.
“We can do both,” Janus suggested, his blush visible even in the sparsely lit park and Virgil snorted. As much as Janus liked to pretend that he was suave and mysterious, he was just a dork.
“We’re outside,” Virgil pointed out.
“Lots of serial killers target young couples out late at night.”
“Oh my god! That’s what you’re thinking about right now?” Janus demanded. “Our chances of being murdered?”
“I’m always thinking about my chances of being murdered,” Virgil answered earnestly.
“Oh my god,” Janus repeated as he pushed Virgil into a tree, pinning him there. “You’re the worst.”
“I know.” Virgil smiled innocently up at Janus, wrapping his arms around his neck. Janus continued to glare at him, so Virgil added a slight pout.
“You’re too cute for your own good,” complained Janus as he leaned forward.
This time when Janus kissed him, Virgil was ready to respond in kind. He’d been thinking of doing this for so long that he could hardly get enough.
A branch snapped a few feet away, causing Virgil to jump back from Janus. Unfortunately, he was still pressed up against a tree so all he really did was hit his head on the bark.
“Are you alright?” Janus asked, managing to hold back his laughter, but unable to keep the smirk off his face.
“We’re going to be murdered,” Virgil informed him, ducking away from the tree and heading off in the direction of the noise.
“We’re not going to be murdered, it was probably a squirrel or something.”
“That’s what murderers want you to think!”
By the time Virgil was responsibly certain that there was no one else in the park — let alone anyone that would kill them — Janus had taken a seat on one of the swings.
“We’re doing all the stereotypes,” Virgil commented as he sat on the swing next to Jan. “Teenagers, having a deep conversation in the park at night, on the swing set.”
“Hmm.” Janus kicked his foot against the ground, moving his swing slightly. “I like you.”
“Yeah I kinda figured that out.”
“Hush, I’m trying to talk. I like you. You like me. Both of us like Remus. Remus likes both of us.”
“You’re sure?” Virgil whispered. As far as Virgil could tell, Remus never acted like he had a crush on Virgil, and he’d hate to be operating on an incorrect assumption moving forward, it would be too awkward.
“Yes, Remus and I already had this conversation. We both decided that I should tell you alone so as to not overwhelm you.”
“What- uh, what now?” Virgil stuttered. He was blushing so hard that Janus could probably feel the heat radiating off of him. He’d liked Janus for years, and then he’d liked Remus for almost as long as he’d known him, and they both liked him back? He could barely wrap his head around it.
“My original plan was for the three of us to get together,” Janus said slowly. “But I’ve realized there’s one more thing I forgot to factor in.”
That was so vague. Too vague, it gave Virgil way too much room to overthink. Luckily, Janus seemed to know that, and continued speaking unprompted.
“And I think that instead of a threesome, we should become a foursome.”
“You and Remus are both clearly smitten with Patton Morales,” Janus explained. “And I can, erm, see his appeal.”
It was Janus’ turn to blush, and Virgil could help but wonder what had happened yesterday to cause that reaction.
“So you want the three of us… and Patton?” Janus nodded. “But how are we- he’s afraid of us! He’s like- he’s like a fluffy little puppy, and we’re like a pack of feral cats!”
“Puppies notoriously love everyone,” Janus shot back. “Besides, I have a plan.”