Summary: Logan stumbles across something called a comfort box and decides to make one for Virgil. However, he quickly discovers that he’ll need Patton and Roman’s help to make anything worthwhile—because it’s not like he can make anything good on his own, after all.
Logan is scrolling through Tumblr (an act which, he has discovered, greatly assists him in learning modern slang vocabulary) when he stumbles upon a post regarding boxes. Ordinarily, he would scroll right past it, but as he does a word catches his eye—anxiety. His curiosity is immediately piqued. Any information about the other sides is useful.
This, while perhaps not about Thomas’ sides directly, may allow him further insight into others’ dealings with anxiety, which might in turn offer him a greater grasp on what Virgil deals with. Perhaps it’s a long shot, but he’s willing to try. No time spent trying to understand one of his boyfriends can be considered wasted.
Besides, cubes are his favorite shape, after lemniscates, and a box is basically a cube.
The post, however, turns out to be less about boxes and more about what’s inside of them. It details a thing called a comfort box, which it insists can help ease anxiety if used appropriately. Suggested contents of said box are objects that appear to engage as many senses as possible in a soothing way. By doing this, the post declares, the box can serve as both a distraction and a comfort for those who suffer from heightened anxiety.
Logan is, to say the least, skeptical. He has often found that the best way to calm Virgil—and thus anxiety—is by talking their way through whatever troubles him. Patton’s hugs and cookies (snickerdoodles, specifically, although the peanut butter ones will suffice as well) also seem to help. Roman’s boisterous stories and jokes, too, usually serve to make Virgil relax—sometimes they even get him to laugh.
But, Logan supposes, extra comfort can never hurt—and he knows himself well enough to know that he won’t stop thinking about the possibilities of this box until he’s run an appropriate experiment.
That night, he excuses himself from his boyfriends’ movie-watching extravaganza, and they let him go without much of a fuss. For a moment, he allows himself to feel immensely grateful for them. They’ve begun to understand—he needs to focus, he needs to work, and if he needs to do that instead of watching a movie with them (not that that’s not fun, it’s just not his idea of mentally stimulating) they’ll let him. Of course, if he begins skipping every night, he’s certain that they’ll question him. They’ll let him exercise his mind, but they won’t let him run himself into the ground and oh, how he loves them for it.
The first thing he does when he slips into his room is conjure up a box. Its dimensions are 16x16x16 (all in inches), leaving it with a volume of 4,096 cubic inches, which Logan thinks is suitable for the items he’s selected. The first things to go in are a DVD copy of The Black Cauldron, followed closely by an MP3 player with several My Chemical Romance, Fallout Boy, and Gorillaz albums on it. Next is a jigsaw puzzle of the galaxy with one hundred pieces—simple enough that Virgil shouldn’t become frustrated putting it together, but complex enough that it should encourage him to focus.
After that, he slips in a package of peppermints—the kind that make Logan’s tongue burn and the air feel cold when he breathes through his mouth, sharp and piquant. A pair of noise-cancelling headphones go in next, along with a small box of Logan’s favorite herbal teas. Finally, he puts in a small card with crisis hotlines on it. His gut clenches as he does, and he hopes that Virgil never has to use them, but—but just in case, they’ll be there.
Once he’s done, he crouches in front of the box and takes a moment to study it. It seems much emptier than he had envisioned—perhaps he had miscalculated the volume he would need to fit everything inside. Unlikely, but possible. So maybe if he conjures up another one, but smaller—
A sudden hammering knock at his door startles Logan from his thoughts. “Logan, Patton is making cake and he wants to know if you want any. Do you want any? Logan? Are you listening to me? Do you have headphones on? Are you listening to that silly piano guy again? What’s his name? Bait oven? Whatever. That’s nerd stuff. But hey—hey, Logan. Logan, do you want any cak—”
Letting his breath out in an enormous whoosh, Logan crosses to the door and opens it to reveal Roman. “No, I do not want cake, and for your information, it’s Beethoven, and he’s not just a piano guy, he was one of the most important and influential composers of the—”
“What’s that?” Roman peers curiously over his shoulder.
“It’s a box.”
“Thanks, Captain Obvious. I meant why do you have a box?”
“If you meant ‘why do you have a box?’ then why didn’t you just say ‘why do you have a box?’ instead of ‘what’s that?’ Really, your communication ability leaves something to be desired. It—”
Roman waves him off. “Quit deflecting. If you don’t wanna say, don’t say.”
Logan pauses and frowns. Deflecting? He’s not deflecting. He’s merely attempting to eradicate Roman’s ignorance (an everlasting and thankless job) but, well, he supposes he is avoiding the question. And why? It’s not like the box has to be a secret. Secrets are irrational.
Still, he wishes that maybe, just this once, he could’ve done something nice for someone without help. It seems as though he always needs help to be kind, and he dislikes it—extremely.
Looking back at his bare, empty little box however, he knows that perhaps (the facts have added up, over the years) he simply cannot be kind on his own. Certainly he can try, but he must be missing something—some essential thing that the other three have, a thing that enables them to create and love and protect.
Something better than mere intelligence.
“It’s a comfort box for Virgil,” Logan says, sighing. He’s not selfish enough to try to do something on his own when the blatant fact that he can’t is clear. His box isn’t good enough for Virgil, but maybe with Roman’s help, and perhaps Patton’s, it can be.
“A comfort box. It’s supposed to soothe feelings of anxiety by stimulating the senses and allowing an individual to distract themselves, although I’ve no idea how accurate that statement is, as I’ve yet to test it myself.”
“The box does that?”
“Well, more specifically, the contents of the box. You can look, if you want.”
Roman goes to sit on Logan’s bed, picking the box up and rifling through it—although he is, Logan is pleased to notice, putting everything back where it belongs once he’s examined it. “This is cool,” he says. “A little minimalist, but—”
“Yes, exactly, that’s the problem,” Logan says. “So you should help me.”
“Help you what?”
“Fix the box.”
“I mean, there’s really nothing to fix.”
Logan stares pointedly at the box in Roman’s arms, plain and unassuming and minimalist. “That was sarcasm, correct?”
“No, I’m serious. I think it’s really—”
“Can’t you just—oh, I don’t know, add something?”
Roman snorts. “If you insist. First things first—we’re looking for comforting things, right? Like self-care stuff?”
“That sounds adequate, yes.”
“Great. In that case—” Roman twirls his hand and an array of items materialize on Logan’s bed. There are bath bombs (lavender and lemon and mint, if Logan is recognizing the colors correctly) along with vanilla-scented lotion, small candles in a variety of soothing scents, and a bar of milk chocolate. “How’s that?”
Logan stacks the items neatly into the box, and now it’s more than halfway full. “Good,” he says. “Thank you.”
“Oh, wait—one more thing.” Roman conjures up a coloring book of intricate patterns and a box of colored pencils. “Here. And then maybe we could put something on the outside of the box, too.”
“Hm, that’s—not a bad idea, actually.”
“Okay, here. Take this and draw something on that side. I’ll work on this one.”
“Like what?” Logan asks, critically examining the navy marker that Roman hands him.
“I dunno, math equations or something, whatever. Just make it seem like you.”
Logan does not think that he is very comforting, and thus nothing he makes will be, but he’s willing to entertain the idea if it’s Roman’s. Despite the fact that many of Roman’s ideas are completely ridiculous, the few that aren’t are often impeccable. After a long moment of contemplation, Logan sketches a graph on his side of the box and plots a lemniscate on it.
“Oh, that’s cute,” Roman says, when he finishes his side—it’s an intricate picture of himself in a crown. Well, it’s the thought that counts, Logan supposes. “An infinity sign.”
“What language is that?”
“English,” Logan says, baffled. “The shape is called a lemniscate.”
“No, that’s an infinity sign.”
“Perhaps in the common vernacular it can be addressed as such, but its true name is lemniscate.”
Roman holds his hands up. “Okay, okay, fine. Your box, your weird lemniscate.”
Logan nods, satisfied, and hands his marker back to Roman. “Very well. Thank you. Go and fetch Patton now, please.”
“You don’t think that’s suspicious?”
“Why would it be suspicious?”
“This is Virgil we’re talking about. Everything is suspicious to him. I was supposed to come down, like, ten minutes ago, and now I’m sending Patton up to your room? Sounds sketch.”
Logan waves him off. “Let it be sketch, then, just don’t let him come up here.”
“You got it.”
Roman slips out of his room, and Patton comes bounding in not two minutes later. “Heya, Teach, what’s up?” he asks.
“I need you to help me with this box.”
“You need my help? Oh, golly gee willikers, I thought this day would never come.”
“Yes, yes, enough gloating. It’s a comfort box for Virgil, so put comforting things inside of it, please.”
“Oh my goodness that is such a cute idea—you’re just the nicest guy, Lo—”
Logan shakes his head—he’s not nice or he would’ve been able to do this by himself. All he can do is nudge the others in the right direction. They’re the ones that actually do the nice thing. “Come on, before Virgil decides to come and investigate what we’re doing.”
Into the box Patton puts bubble wrap, stickers, a small stuffed dog, a fluffy black blanket, and a glitter jar that even Logan concedes looks fascinating when it’s shaken. On his side of the box he draws hearts and stars, puppies and kittens, and a large smiley face. “There,” he says, once he’s done. “How’s that?”
Logan looks contemplatively at it. One side of the box is still plain, but perhaps Virgil can color on it to make it more his. It’s quite full now, too, and Logan feels something untwist in his chest. He has done a good thing—albeit not alone (he can never do good things alone) but the point remains. “It’s adequate,” he says. “Thank you.”
“No problem, sweetheart. Do you want me to go get Virgil?”
Logan hesitates—but he doubts he can make the box any better than it is. If Roman and Patton are finished with it, then there’s nothing more for him to contribute. “Yes, please.”
Patton practically skips down the hall, calling, “Virgil, Virgil, Logan has a surprise for you, you’re gonna love it, c’mere c’mere c’mere—”
Virgil appears grudgingly in his doorway several seconds later, flanked by a bright-eyed Roman, and a Patton who is nearly trembling with excitement. Before he can speak, Logan holds the box out to him. “What’s that?” Virgil asks, making no move to take it.
“It’s a comfort box,” Logan says. He doesn’t meet Virgil’s eyes, but it’s not because he’s scared, of all things. It’s only—only, well, he really hopes he hasn’t overstepped his boundaries and made Virgil embarrassed or made himself look like a fool or—
“A what?” Virgil says, accepting the box from Logan and setting it on the desk to open.
“A comfort box. It’s supposed to help with feelings of anxiety by—” Logan stops, his words momentarily rendered unimportant upon seeing Virgil’s face as he begins looking through the box. Logan, having studied body language quite intently during Thomas’ acting lessons, thinks that his expression hovers somewhere between wondering and stunned.
“This is for me?” Virgil asks quietly.
“Yes,” Logan says. “Do you…like it?”
The smile that Virgil bestows upon him then is one of his rarest—bright and open and adoring, his eyes crinkled at the corners and dimples showing. “Yeah,” he says. “Yeah, I like it just a little bit.”
Patton squeals and wraps Virgil up in a joyful hug. “Oh, I’m so glad. You deserve it, kiddo.”
“I, too, am pleased that you find our labor of love to be satisfactory,” Roman says, straightening his shoulders a tad arrogantly, Logan thinks.
“It was Logan’s idea,” Patton says. “Isn’t he just the sweetest thing, oh my goodness—c’mere, Lo, pretty please.”
Logan crosses the room to stand before Virgil, back straight and eyes averted. Patton latches onto his arm and does his emotions thing, nuzzling his face against Logan’s and making happy sounds. “It was nothing, really. I merely found the idea on Tumblr—”
“You’re on Tumblr?” Virgil asks, startled.
“Never mind that. I gave the others the idea—which, mind you, was not technically mine in the first place—and they did most of the work. Patton is over-exaggerating the role that I played, but I do find myself pleased that you enjoy it.”
“Patton? Over-exaggerate? Why, always,” Roman says. “However, inexplicably enough, not this time. It was Logan who motivated us to make the box—although I shall take credit where credit is due and say that I clearly drew the best picture.”
“Thank you, Lo,” Virgil says, and when Logan finally meets his eyes they’re wide and unbearably fond.
“I didn’t do all the work,” Logan protests, glancing away again. “It was primarily Patton and Roman. I merely gave them direction, as per usual.”
“Hey, come over here.” Virgil holds an arm out and Logan slides under it, fitting himself to Virgil’s side. At least this way Virgil won’t try to catch his gaze anymore. “I know you didn’t do everything—and thank you, Patton, Roman, very much. But you are the one who gave them direction, Logan, so don’t think any less of yourself for that.”
“But that doesn’t matter,” Logan says, his frustration with—with himself, with this whole ordeal, finally boiling over. “Anyone could have seen the post on Tumblr, anyone could have said ‘why don’t we make a comfort box for Virgil?’ and it would have been just as well constructed without my help. It may even have been better. When it comes to doing nice things, that’s not—that’s not me. That’s them. I just tell them what to do. They’re the ones who get it done.”
The other three fall completely silent. Patton and Roman both fix him with shocked gazes and Virgil’s arm drops off of his shoulders. For a moment, vulnerability is a quivering and terrified thing in the center of Logan’s chest. He shouldn’t have said that. He should be celebrating the gift they’ve given Virgil, not complaining about what he can and cannot do. That was self-centered. He’ll have to apologize. Patton says apologies are polite and necessary if you’ve done something wrong. So—
“I’m sorry,” Logan says. “That was a poorly-timed outburst. Please disregard—”
“No,” Virgil says, and suddenly his arms are back around Logan, pulling him into a tight embrace. “No way in hell am I disregarding that.”
“Oh, honey,” Patton says, stepping closer and running his fingers through Logan’s hair. “Of course you can do things by yourself.”
“Yes, I am aware of that,” Logan says, his voice muffled by confusion and Virgil’s shoulder. “But I cannot do anything good by myself.”
Roman takes one of his hands, unlatching it from its death grip on Virgil’s hoodie (when had he begun to clutch that?) and lacing their fingers together. “You certainly can. Whatever makes you think otherwise?”
“Now is not an appropriate time for such introspection. We should be allowing Virgil to examine and appreciate his box, or at least—”
“Now is the perfect time for such introspection,” Virgil says, fingers scratching gently over his spine. A shiver twists its way through Logan as he does. “You’re more important than fussing about a box—however lovely that box may be. So—what makes you think you can’t do anything good alone?”
Logan sighs and relents—his boyfriends, whilst endearing, are also hellishly stubborn. (And oh, how he wishes he could believe them. Maybe, technically, they are right, and he can do good things by himself, but—but he just doesn’t know how, and that’s the whole problem, isn’t it?) “I was going to make the box alone, at first, but I wasn’t creative or emotional enough to obtain a satisfactory end product. It’s the same with most everything I do. Certainly, I can do some things—many things—but they will never be as nice as they could be when I have all of your help.”
“But that’s the same for all of us,” Patton says. “We can all make things on our own, but they’ll never be as good as they are when we work together.”
“I know, but—you see, the things that you and Roman and Virgil create alone will always be better than what I create alone. Patton, the things you make are full of—of love or joy or sadness, and they’re always brilliant. They have the ability to move others emotionally.”
“And what Roman creates is always, naturally, creative. He’s an artist, that’s what he does, and he does it well. He can create something out of nothing, and it’s rather incredible.”
“True,” Roman says, “and thank you. But—”
“And Virgil, the things he creates are—well, negative, yes, but they manage to be both creative and emotional. Some of the things he thinks up terrify me, and I, rationally, know that they are not real and cannot harm me.”
“Thank you, I think?” Virgil says.
“But the things I create are—are boring,” Logan says, hunching his shoulders. “There’s nothing admirable about them, save perhaps that they can be useful, from time to time, and encourage the three of you to do something even better.”
“Logan, you—hey, look at us, please,” Roman says, and Logan reluctantly lifts his face from the safety of Virgil’s shoulder. “The stuff you create is awesome. Like patterns! I use patterns all the time when I’m creating things, but I wouldn’t be able to use them without you. Like—like you literally made an infinity sign out of a mathematical equation.”
Logan glances at the box and his lemnsicate—boring, plain, unnecessarily complex. “I’m glad you like them, but—”
“And routines,” Virgil adds. “You make routines that work for us, which helps me feel a lot better. It’s comforting. You’re comforting.”
Well—well, perhaps that’s one way to look at it. (Another is that he’s a control freak.) “I’m happy that you think so, although—”
“And body language,” Patton says. “The way you understand what people are feeling just by analyzing how they stand, or how they move, it’s fantastic—and it’s really helpful when I’m trying to decide how to respond.”
Maybe. “Okay, so I may possibly—”
“There’s no possibly about it,” Roman says. “The things you create alone are just as good as any of the things the rest of us do. Okay?”
Logan drops his head and sighs into Virgil’s shoulder.
“Logan, okay?” Roman says, cupping the back of Logan’s neck. “Understand?”
“Yes, I understand,” Logan says—and he does understand. Even if he does not believe it, he understands what they’re saying, and maybe—maybe they’re right. Maybe. “Maybe you are correct.”
“I know we are,” Roman says.
“You’re wonderful with us or on your own, sweetheart,” Patton says, pressing a kiss to Logan’s temple.
“And Logan?” Virgil says.
“Thank you. I really like the box. The infinity sign is a nice touch.”
“It’s a lemniscate.”
“The shape is called a lemniscate.”
Virgil laughs and brings a hand up to cup the back of Logan’s head, ruffling his hair. “Okay. I really like your lemniscate.”
A smile tugs at Logan’s mouth, although he’s careful to keep it hidden against Virgil’s hoodie. “Thank you. I—I like it too, I think.”
“Good.” Virgil pulls back enough to give him a crooked smile. “You should.”
“I hate to interrupt this emotional moment,” Roman says, glancing towards the doorway, “but does anyone else smell something burning?”
Logan pauses, sniffing the air and yes, that smells like smoke. “Oh. Was it—perhaps—Patton, did you ever take your cake out of the oven?”
Patton freezes for only a moment, his eyes widening in horror—and then he bolts for the stairs, shrieking, “My cake!”
Weird Sh*t That Happened On My Way Home From School
So I take public transit to get to my college classes, work, and home every day. I don’t know what other people’s experiences are like but mine are always weird.
So today I was on my way home from class and all of a sudden I heard this conversation occur:
Girl 1: So I just downloaded the new Fallout Boy Album, you know Fallout 4: The Soundtrack, and it is so amazing. Its way different then the rest of their stuff. Like each song sounds like a completely different band.
Girl 2: Well go ahead and play some of it! What are you waiting for?! I want to hear it too.
Girl 1: *starts playing music out loud*
Me: *already knew what the song was going to be, trying not to laugh because they think its Fallout Boy but its really Fallout 4 the game*
Girl 2: Oh my god. Youre such an idiot. That’s from one of those stupid apocolypse games that my little brother plays.
Girl 1: Well if the music is this good the game must be too.
I sincerely hope these girls try playing the game and love it.