So this got long. Prince kind of came in and stole the show, and then I realized that I had a whole to go before I reached the end. I hope you like it. Especially since there’ somehow 600 of you now, and that’s terrifying. So yeah, really hope this turned out all right. Also @slutsanders, tumblr is not letting me tag you for some reason. So if someone else could tag them that would be great. And please let me know if you want to try and tag you on the later parts as well. Anyway Part I is here. Part III Part IV
Anxiety was hiding.
He had been for the past three days. He’d been living off tap water and the granola bars he kept in his room, but unfortunately those hadn’t lasted very long, and now he was hungry. But if he wanted to get food, he’d have to go to the kitchen, where he might see the others.
Anxiety knew he couldn’t avoid them forever, but he didn’t know how to face them. Didn’t know how to face their newfound pity. Anxiety could admit it, he was scared. He’d gotten used to being alone, to being overlooked, and now that was changing.
Part of him wanted to be hopeful, to think that maybe this was a good thing. But mostly he was just scared. What if he got used to the attention and then once they deemed him “fixed enough” they left him alone again? Or worse what if trying to spend time with them made them realize why they were better off without him?
Anxiety curled up tighter on his bed. He wished he’d never said anything.Then nothing would have changed. It wasn’t like he needed physical contact anyway. Logic was wrong.
His stomach growled, and he cringed. While he may not have needed physical contact, he did need food. He glanced at the clock. It was just past midnight. The others were probably asleep. Maybe if he went now, he could grab some food and make it back without seeing anyone.
As his stomach growled again, Anxiety made up his mind. It was worth a shot. Carefully and quietly, he crept out of his room, cringing at the slight creaking of the door. Balancing on the balls of his feet, he made his way to the kitchen.
Not wanting to risk turning on the light, he began to grope around in the dark. He pulled more granola bars out of the pantry, as well as a loaf of bread, and a box of crackers. Setting them on the counter, he then moved to the fridge, hoping to at least grab some fruit.
But when he opened the fridge, he was stunned. Sitting on the middle shelf was a foil-covered plate with a note reading For Anxiety on top of it in Morality’s handwriting. He pulled it out, staring at it in disbelief.
Morality had left this, for him? Even though he didn’t know if Anxiety would even see it? Had he been doing this every night?
“You should eat that,” a voice remarked from behind. “Morality will be thrilled.”
Startled at the unexpected noise, Anxiety’s hands fumbled with the plate, and dropped it. It fell to the ground and shattered, the ceramic shards now scattered around his bare feet. He hissed in pain as some of them cut into his skin.
“Woah, easy there” the voice spoke up again. It was Prince.
A hand reached out to grab his shoulder, but Anxiety shrugged it away. He didn’t need this.
“I’m just trying to help,” Prince said exasperatedly, “Hold on, I’ll get the light.”
After a few moments and the sound of shuffling, Anxiety screwed his eyes shut at the sudden brightness as the lights flickered on.
“Well that looks bad,” Prince remarked, staring at Anxiety’s feet.
“No shit,” Anxiety muttered, staring at the ground.
Prince approached him cautiously. “Don’t freak out,” he told him.
“Why would I freak-“
But before Anxiety could finish asking his question. Prince’s hands were on his waist, swinging him up and over, depositing him on the counter. As soon as the hands loosened their grip, he jerked back, glaring at Prince.
Prince looked unrepentant.
“I needed to get you out of the way to clean this up,” he explained, “And I didn’t want to risk you stepping on any of it.”
Anxiety supposed he could see the sense in that. Grudgingly. He stayed still on the counter as Prince fetched a broom and pan and began sweeping up the mess. From the looks of it, Morality had made him chicken and peas. Anxiety regretted dropping the plate.
Once the mess had been swept up and thrown away, Prince turned back to Anxiety.
“Alright, Black Veil Bride,” he said, “Let’s get those cuts cleaned up.”
“I can do it myself,” Anxiety snapped, eager for this encounter to end.
Prince didn’t look impressed. “I’m sure,” he replied sarcastically, “But I have more experience treating injuries than you, and besides, it is somewhat my fault that you obtained them. Now hold still.”
Running a washcloth under some water, and grabbing a med kit from under the sink, Prince approached, picking up Anxiety’s right foot. Anxiety resisted the urge to squirm in discomfort. He was all to aware of Prince’s closeness, all too aware that this surge of concern was only motivated by pity.
And yet, he couldn’t bring himself to pull away. Like in his last conversation with Logic, he felt almost frozen in place, staring as Prince gently wiped away the blood.
“These aren’t as bad as they looked,” Prince murmured. “They’re actually quite shallow. I’ll finish cleaning them out and then put some bandages on them.”
Anxiety had only meant to say sure, but what came out of his mouth was, “Why do you care?”
Prince looked up, frowning. “I know we don’t always get along,” he said, “But that doesn’t mean I’d leave you here bleeding.”
“Not- not just this,” Anxiety said, feeling as though the words were bubbling out of him with little conscious thought. “This whole thing, the whole touch thing. Why do you care? It’s not like it matters”
Prince’s grip on his foot tightened, before he let out a long slow breath.
“You know how I’ve rescued maidens from towers in the past?” he asked, seemingly quite randomly.
“Yeah?” Anxiety drawled, not sure where this was going.
“Do you know what they said the worst part of being in those towers was,” Prince said, now looking much more solemn than Anxiety was used to seeing him. “They said the worst part was the loneliness. The way they felt isolated from anyone and everyone. I remember one girl refused to let go of me for some hours, because she was afraid I’d turn out not to be real if she let go.”
“Okay, what does this have to do with me,” Anxiety asked, feeling slightly uneasy.
“Anxiety, you weren’t locked in a tower, but we did leave you alone,” Prince said softly. “We shouldn’t have. I, at least, should have known better. We may argue, but you’re still part of this family, you’re still under my protection. And I failed you. Please let me make it up.”
Anxiety could only stare. Prince looked genuinely remorseful. And pleading. His eyes begged Anxiety to say yes.
He didn’t need help though, really, no matter what Prince might think. But as he opened his mouth to tell him that, Anxiety couldn’t bring himself to say it. Instead he just muttered, “Just finish bandaging my feet, I want to go to bed.”
“Of course,” Prince said, his eyes still watching Anxiety. “I’ll do that now.”
Sitting in uncomfortable silence, Anxiety watched as Prince cleaned and bandaged his feet. He was being surprisingly gentle, and Anxiety didn’t know what to make of it.
When he had finished, Prince stepped back. “There,” he said, “All done. You can go back to bed now. Although,” and here he hesitated, “It might still hurt a little to walk. I could- I could carry you if you like?”
“I can walk,” Anxiety snapped, but on seeing Prince recoil, he relented slightly.
“It’s not that bad,” he insisted, looking away. And then more quietly, forcing out the words. “But thanks for offering I guess.”
Prince smiled at him. “It’s no trouble,” he replied. “I’ll let you make your way back to your room now. Hopefully, I’ll see you tomorrow? It’s not the same, having no one to banter with.”
Anxiety groaned internally. He’d really be an asshole if he said no. He supposed he could make an appearance. “Yeah, I guess,” he said, hopping off the counter, suppressing a wince. Okay, that actually did sting a little.
“I’m glad,” Prince said, now looking much more cheerful. “Well then, good night, Anxiety.”
With his last words, he reached out to give a quick squeeze of Anxiety’s shoulder before drawing back, almost too quick for Anxiety to react.
“Night” Anxiety replied, aware that his face was tinted red. He was so tired of this bullshit.
He trudged back towards his room. But despite his wish to just go to sleep and forget everything, Prince’s words kept floating through his mind.
The worst part was the loneliness. You’re still part of this family.
Anxiety groaned, he still couldn’t believe how guilty Prince had sounded. And Logic had sounded the same when he’d last talked to him. He just didn’t get it. But they were so determined. It was ridiculous.
Maybe, just maybe, he thought, reluctantly, I can indulge them a little. For their sake, not mine. Just enough so they wouldn’t feel so freaking guilty. Then everything would go back to normal.
Anxiety rolled over. He’d deal with this in the morning.