Knowing the secrets of someone you've never even met was a very very bizarre thing. Nobody quite knew what to make of the soulmate connection and everyone had very strong views about secrets, whether it was that they should keep everything hidden or reveal all constantly, but either way, they were deliberate over how they treated secrets.
Virgil wasn't sure if he liked keeping so many secrets, but when the world left him certain people would vilify him for everything, from the clothes he wore to the things he enjoyed not matching the popular ones, it just felt safer to keep them secret.
Occasionally he'd make a friend and try trusting them with some of who he is, and now even that felt like stealing the knowledge of his accidental secrets away from his soulmate. After all a secret shared by 2 people isn't really a secret at all when they know each other in person.
His soulmate however didn't seem to keep any particularly identifying secrets. The secrets that would appear in Virgil's mind were random, about places they went occasionally, or praises for someone called Roman. Why those things needed to be kept secret, he couldn't know without meeting his soulmate, but he kept note of them in a journal. At least nothing seemed likely to make him get his soulmate arrested over a secret.
There's been news reports over the years about soulmates getting each other arrested, or testifying against each other without actually meeting. It damaged both parties in that soulmate connection as people saw betraying the secrets of your soulmate with utmost scorn, no matter how reprehensible the acts they'd carried out were. Virgil dreaded the chance he could be in that situation, but whomever his soulmate was didn't seem likely to do that.
Currently they were planning a surprise birthday party actually. Virgil had been surprised that came to him as a secret since usually parties like that needed multiple people to plan and it had remained secret for long enough that he knew when the decorations would be brought and that his soulmate was getting them from a department store in the same chain he worked at. It could even be the same one given there had never been a clue over where his soulmate lived.
Virgil hadn't learnt much beyond that they'd come with their brother since that meant sharing the plans with someone else, but he was going to keep an eye out, especially in case anyone in blue or called Patton mentioned wanting birthday decorations. He knew that sometimes people planning surprise parties forgot to let their friends know they were remembered while planning it all. Blue had been mentioned way too much while Remus was planning the party entirely in secret so Virgil could only believe Patton liked the colour a lot.
By the time the day to get party decorations came around he'd grown more and more curious over if there was a way to plan a meet up, make secret arrangements just with himself to go somewhere specific enough his soulmate could meet him there. It was a futile dream and one Virgil couldn't imagine doing. He hated being around public spaces alone, and then the added anxiety of hoping his soulmate might actually try to turn up? It would never happen, but then again he was kind of doing the return with his reaction to this party.
“Come Onnnnnn! If we're going to get this party set up we need to get decorations and get home!” An obnoxiously loud whine brought Virgil out of his thoughts as a pair of twins came into the store. Really it was a guy in what seemed to be a see through green and black ice skating costume and combat boots was dragging someone identical to him but far more reasonably dressed into the store, already looking around to decide the direction they'd head in.
“Welcome to the store, how can I help you today?” Virgil recited, long since trained into greeting people, even if they clearly didn't need to.
The ice skater outfit twin glanced at him for a second. “If you have pinatas I need to know where and if I can beat them up before buying them!” He decided, completely seriously after a second.
“Or perhaps you could direct us to party decorations. My brother has decided to throw a surprise party for one of my friends.” The other interjected, straightening his jacket now the pull on his wrist was released.
“Someone Had Too and you, for all your bluster of being a courteous knight wouldn't even bring up his birthday at all, despite the hints he kept dropping about wanting to do something!”
Virgil interrupted with a quick cough, not wanting an argument to break out. “You want the back shelves, that corner and pinatas are like an aisle away from the decorations. That classes as a party game instead.” He directed, arm pointing through the small clothing section near the front of the store.
“We've got decorations to get and things to beat up then. See ya!” The ice skater uniform was once again dragging his twin away, already talking about the various other things the world said it was good to beat up against things it was bad to.
Once they were out of sight Virgil returned to thinking and just watching the doors, half wondering if the pair could have been connected or possibly even his soulmate and whomever they'd chosen to go shopping with. He could imagine ice skater in combat boots keeping some of the weird secrets he'd received over the years.
“Um, Hey, are there any party decorations in here?” A rather down trodden man had come in while Virgil was thinking. He was in a blue collared top, and had his arms wrapped around him trying to hug himself.
Slowly Virgil nodded, “Sure, but are you okay? You don't look much like you want a party currently.” He wouldn't normally ask a customer this, but even without the thoughts in his head that this could be Patton, he just thought the guy needed a friendly face.
“Friends all forgot my birthday, I guess I'll do something myself. Perhaps if I get a party set up and invite them over this evening I can have a small celebration or something?” The puppy dog eyes though the guys glasses were fatal, and Virgil definitely hoped this was Patton, or at least this guys friends were doing the same thing as his soulmate.
None of that could be said though, so Virgil dragged a hand though his hair. “That's rough, Buddy. Come on, I've finished my time as greeter and should check the shelves anyway. I'll show you where the cakes are and help carry any decorations you pick out once we get there.”
“You don't have to do that, Kiddo. Thank you, though. I'm Patton.” The thanks had Virgil shaking his head, but the name had him freezing. This was his soulmate's friend, or given the weird twins from earlier, his soulmate's brother's friend and definitely had a surprise party planned for him already. How the hell was Virgil going to not only keep him from spending too much on decorations, as well as away from the brothers, while still managing to meet his soulmate?
Either way he definitely was sticking with Patton now. “No, I insist. Come on, I know the nicer cakes we have in stock. What type of cakes do you like? Chocolate, plain with jam, decorated to look like character or animals? We've got something for everyone here.”
“Animals. I love puppies and kittens so if they're on anything I'll probably pick that. Some of my friends have allergies so I can't get a cake with nuts on it.” Patton was already seeming happier with his help, but paused for a moment. “If you're gonna be helping me so much Kiddo, can you tell me your name? These glasses aren't good for reading name tags quickly.”
“I'm Virgil, and now I can't decide if I should show you the latest tray of cupcakes we've started getting or one chocolate sponge I've been tempted to get a few times.” This was far more customer service filtering than Virgil usually did, but he could play sweetness and light for a while.
They were looking at the cupcakes when the twin in a red coat called over. “Hey, Patton, fancy seeing you here.”
Virgil narrowed his eyes to the end of the aisle he'd come from before turning around. With how loud the call was it screamed of distraction technique and if the ice skater dude was around Virgil was going to either give him a piece of his mind or make sure it was passed on to Patton's friends. “If this is one of your friends I should probably get back to stocking shelves before someone challenges what I've been doing.” He offered, seeing Patton glancing towards him.
“Gosh Kiddo, I hope I won't have gotten you in trouble.” Patton had those puppy dog eyes again.
“Nah, I'm pretty sure I've got a good excuse if they try anyway. We pride ourselves on customer service.” Virgil dismissed it, already heading out the aisle. “Hope you have a good birthday.”
Sure enough when he got to the aisle with birthday cakes on there was the dude in his ice skating costume. Virgil immediately marched over, more irritated he'd been caught in this entire thing than happy at the chance to meet his soulmate now.
“Next time you decide to keep a birthday party a secret go to some other bloody store. I did not need to have to distract Patton all because you and that idiot with you left him feeling abandoned on his birthday!” He got immediate attention on him, even with the completely bewildered gaze. “Also is your brother Roman, and that why you constantly have secrets thinking something he's made is good? Cause right now if Patton is his friend primarily I've got half a mind to go and yell at him. Your party for him better be good!”
The ice skater guy burst out laughing then, “Honey, I've imagined meeting my soulmate a million ways but never thought it would be telling me off in a supermarket! You're coming to this party now and I'll make sure you can corner Roman to yell at him too! Especially if I can watch with popcorn. Can you tell Jay and Lolo off at the same time? They've all said I'm making a big deal out of nothing trying to set up a surprise party for Patton, but he's done so many parties for all of us.”
“I'll add them to the list. Have they at least got birthday presents for him?” Virgil shrugged, not quite sure what to do with the sudden invitation, but it wasn't like he was doing anything that evening.
“If they didn't earlier they definitely will by now. I got my morning-star out to threaten them with when Logan tried claiming the fuss made of birthday's was excessive.” Remus agreed, already nodding before pouting. “Hang on, you've known me all of two seconds and have somehow decided to care about both Patton and me in that time? Why the hell is your biggest secret that you're lonely?”
Virgil was not here to get called out for his own issues. “Anger for being dragged into surprise party planning does not count as caring.”
“Yeah and Roman's artwork is as worthless as he claims when the shading goes slightly wrong. Pull the other one. You've latched on quickly.” Remus cut through any blustering arguments Virgil might have tried to say.
“Loud places or crowded places are way too stressful to talk to people in. Hell even here I stick to the tills whenever there's holidays coming up to avoid the crowds. Doesn't exactly help me make friends and any I had have long since vanished cause they liked them.” He shrugged, reaching for the cake Patton had almost gone for before deciding it would be too big for the amount of friends he thought might come over at short notice.
“Cake got, now for chocolate gateau so I can shove it in someone's face!” Remus bounced off, tugging Virgil along with him. “Also, since we're soulmate's I better be getting your number and address so I can turn up out of the blue randomly.”
Virgil snorted. “So you're going to stalk me under the pretence of getting to know me?”
“You know it, MarketKing, you know it!” Remus really was looking through the refrigerated aisles for gateaus, but still turned to leer momentarily at him.
“Just call me Virge, or Virgil. What's your name anyway? I kinda forgot about that since I already knew what you're doing.” He wasn't going to point out the chilled desserts were on the end of an aisle nearer the frozen foods. On the chance an employee figured out who their soulmate was while working they were allowed a margin of unproductive work time.
“Remus, although Duke or Dukey works too. It's fun to have Roman scream those nicknames after I've pranked him. Half the time he gets so embarrassed it's like a second part of the prank.” Remus cheerfully offered.
Whatever this surprise party was going to be, Virgil was definitely interested in where getting to know his soulmate would end up.