I look between Fear and Disgust, gauging the conflict. Fear looks more annoyed than scared, but as she sets her mug aside, I notice a slight tremble has returned to her fingers. I grind my teeth and turn scowling to Disgust. "What was that for? Can't you be happy for Fear?"
"Happy?" she scoffs. "She's exchanged one delusion for another. To think you can live in a world without conforming to another person's standards is not only stupid but impossible."
Fear whimpers slightly and I watch as Anger's shoulders tense and her back straightens, her body positioning itself for war. "Mind your words, Disgust..." she growls softly.
Disgust simply waves a hand in dismissal. "Sadness doesn't want to be alone and Fear doesn't want to be rejected. They want to be vulnerable and expose themselves to a firing squad, be my guest, but I have more decorum than brandishing my mistakes likes some bloody brand of dignity."
"And that's why no one likes you," peeps Sadness, nestling in beside Fear.
I try to hide my smile. Sadness finding a voice, I never thought I'd see the day.
But Disgust brushes it off too, holding her head high. "Thank you, Sadness. I don't need to be liked. I represent image and that is all that matters." She tosses her hair and begins to examine her nails.
"And why is that?"
Myths has reappeared, standing directly before Disgust. I can see her slowly remove her gaze from her nails to meet Myths'. Her body becomes rigid and her face drains of all color. "No..." she breathes.
He turns to address the rest of us. "Disgust wishes I do not share her deepest fear." She scrambles to grab his arm to pull him back but he evades her with an easy side step. "While I am to remain impartial, I disagree with her request. As a result, I feel I must share with all of you--"
Disgust lunges at his legs. "Don't you dare!" she screeches, clawing up his body and clasping a hand over his mouth, at least, where his mouth is supposed to be.
It doesn't deter Myths, however. He continues to speak, as if to each of our minds. "As you can see, her desperation runs deep. Just as Fear didn't want to face her fear of creative rejection, so Disgust fights in her own why. Ironic that an image can turn so ugly, isn't it?" He turns his head to catch Disgust's gaze. She immediately releases him and melts back into her chair, pulling up her knees and curling into herself.
I measure the terror now gripping Disgust's hands to her knees. "She's obviously... disturbed," I begin, still marveling at the proud figure turned humble, "but what is it she fears?"
"Isn't it obvious?" Fear asks, speaking for the first time since her declaration of freedom. "She's afraid of being exposed."
Myths nods. "To be more precise, she is afraid of all her mistakes and failings being uncovered. In short, she is afraid of vulnerability."
"Oh," I murmur, hugging my arms to myself and gazing at Disgust's huddled form. The truth of Myths' words, again, cuts too close to home.