((Thank you for your kind response!!! I hope you all enjoy this part too!!
CW: mentions of neurological disorder, some cursing ))
-The Story So Far: Masterlist
“…should we do? Logan?”
“I told you, just give him a minute. I’m sure it was a shock to see us for the first time.”
“Must’ve at least been a shock to see Roman.”
“Virgil, that’s not helping.”
“Wasn’t trying to help.”
“Should I get the smelling salts?”
“Only if he fainted in the 1920s.”
“Actually, more like the 1880s. Smelling salts were used most frequently when corsets were in fashion, due to the–”
“Aaaand there he goes.”
“The point is, I seriously doubt he has smelling salts, Patton.”
“I don’t even think those are a thing anymore.”
“They most certainly are. They were traditionally composed of ammonium carbonate, though modern solutions often include things like lavender and eucalyptus, and–”
“Fascinating as this is, I think he’s coming around on his own.”
“Thomas? Can you hear me? Open your eyes.”
Thomas didn’t want to open his eyes. Thomas very much didn’t want to open his eyes, because he knew if he did, there would be one of two outcomes. In outcome number one, he would open his eyes and the room would be empty, and this would all have been a very strange dream. A good, if oddly disappointing and bittersweet, scenario.
Outcome number two, on the other hand, was a good deal more…complicated. Outcome number two involved looking up and finding his Sides staring down at him–four identical copies of his own face, existing as if they had any right to do so here in the real world. And as incredible as that might be, outcome number two came with baggage; baggage to the tune of hospital visits, MRIs, CAT scans, Therapists, and a barrage of medication.
And the closer his brain swam toward consciousness, the more likely option number two was sounding. Because those voices weren’t fading away like a strange and vivid dream. If anything, they were getting clearer.
And then there was the fact that someone was touching him.
Someone was touching him.
There was a hand on his shoulder someone was someone was touching–
He yelped, eyes flying open, and four startled faces drew back from where they’d been leaning over him. Four faces that were completely identical to his own, save for the tiniest of differences (the glasses, for one; Patton and Logan both wore them and they were real, there were lenses, not just frames, and Patton really did have freckles, and Virgil’s face was gaunt and paler than the others’ and was Roman’s jaw a little more squarish than the others and oh my gosh why is he worrying about what they look like when he should be–)
“Don’t,” Virgil said abruptly, voice strong and almost commanding, and Thomas’s panicked train of thought screeched to a halt. He stared up at the personification of his own anxiety, and saw Virgil was taking deep breahts through his nose.
“Don’t,” the side said again, softer now. “You’ll set us both off if you start on that.”
“Start…” Thomas found he had to swallow, as his voice came out a mere croak. “Don’t start…?”
“The panic thing,” Virgil explained. “Normally I’m all for it, but right now…”
“It’s not going to be particularly productive,” said Logan, and oh God, it was Logan, he’d know that sharp, shrewd expression anywhere, and–
“Am I…dreaming?” Thomas managed.
“If so, I’m not doing it,” Roman said, sitting back a little with a sheepish shrug. His voice was rich,deep and full and somehow…regal, even though he looked like he felt anything but. “Not this time.”
“To be honest with you, kiddo, we’re all kind of wondering the same thing.” Patton, and was it Thomas’s imagination or was the paternal side a little…softer around the edges than the others…?
“All we know is we were doing our thing, safely tucked away into your mind, and now…well, here we are.” Logan spread his arms to encompass all of Thomas’s apartment. All of his one bedroom apartment, Thomas thought suddenly, and the absurdly panicked thought about where he would put all of them surfaced along with an insane urge to laugh.
The sides were looking at him warily, and Thomas wondered just how much of his thoughts and feelings they could pick up on. Were they still…his sides? Were they still capable of influencing his decisions and his thoughts and emotions? Was he still even him, without–
Okay, why was he thinking about all of this like it was real?
“I’m losing my mind,” he mumbled, dropping his head into his hands.
“No; we’re all right here,” Patton said.
Thomas peeked up at them in time to see Logan rolling his eyes and Virgil smirking. Roman had situated himself half-behind Thomas, and laid a supportive hand on Thomas’s shoulder.
A supportive, real, solid hand.
What the actual flipping fuck?
“Okay,” he managed. “Okay. So. I, uh…”
“Yeah,” Virgil said dryly. “That’s kinda where we are on the whole thing.”
“How long have you been here?” Thomas asked, remembering that they’d all been asleep, sprawled out on his couch when he’d come down the stairs.
“Since about midnight,” Roman said with a sigh.
“The witching hour,” Virgil intoned, wriggling his fingers.
“Did that have something to do with–?”
“Heck if I know.” Roman shrugged. “The dragon witch is only a figment of your imagination. It’s not like she has any real power.”
“Excuse me, but I was under the impression that all of you were figments of my imagination,” Thomas grumbled. “Yet here we are.”
“Here we are indeed.”
“We’re not imaginary,” Roman said slowly, as if he were thinking it through. “Not precisely. We’re part of you. We are you, just…you in pieces.”
“Yeah, I know. I created you that way. For a youtube series.” Thomas climbed to his feet, agitated, and began to pace what little bit of his floor didn’t have a side on it. “You can’t be here. You’re not real.”
“While I’d normally be inclined to agree,” Logan said dryly, “even I have to take empirical evidence into consideration. We appear to be very real indeed.”
“How are you okay with this?” Thomas demanded, pausing to glare at Logan. “You’re supposed to be my logical side. I’d think this would be driving you crazy.”
Logan tilted his head in a kind of shrug. “Logically,” he said, “there have to be plenty of things that are within the realm of reason and possibility that I simply do not know about.”
“More things in heaven and earth,” Roman quoted softly.
“And you’re just…okay with this being one of them?”
“Thomas, I may not know what’s going on, but I’m quite capable of seeing that our current course of action is not getting us very far,” Logan said, a hint of sternness in his voice. “You have the evidence of your senses that we are real, and here. What more would you have?”
“But you’re my characters,” Thomas exploded. “I play you. I put on make up or costumes or both and I read off the script that Joan and I–”
He froze, looking down at them, as the answer clicked into place. He saw it dawning on the rest of them, as they glanced at each other, then back up at him. And then, as one, they all spoke:
“Thomas, that’s brilliant!” Patton cried. “Call Joan! They’ll know what to do!”
“More importantly,” Logan said, rising to his feet, “they’ll be able to tell you whether or not we are really here. If they can see us–”
“Then I’m not having a nervous breakdown,” Thomas finished.
“And if they can’t?” Virgil said.
“Let’s cross that bridge if we come to it, kiddo,” Patton told him gently. “Thomas is freaked out enough already.”
“And that is a very good sign,” Roman concluded. When the others looked at him, bewildered, Roman shrugged. “Well, think about it. If he were really having a nervous breakdown, this would feel…normal to him. Wouldn’t it?”
“Putting that time you played Sigmund Freud in middle school to good use, I see,” Virgil said dryly.
“He may have a point, actually,” Logan said. “Much as it pains me to admit it. Thomas, you’re aware we shouldn’t be here. Which means that you are, at least, still aware of how reality should function.”
“And aware of the fact that it’s decidedly not,” Thomas said. He sighed, and pulled out his phone, thumbing in Joan’s number. “They’re going to have me committed,” he mumbled.Then, when Joan answered, their voice groggy, Thomas said, “Hey, uh…Joan? Could you come over, please?”
“Thomas?” Joan’s voice sharpened. They sounded worried. “Is everything okay?”
Thomas looked at his sides each in turn, then huffed softly, a not-quite laugh of bemusement.
“I’m going to need you to tell me,” he said.