This all belongs to CP Coulter. The characters. The setting. Et cetera. I only own the story itself. Enjoy!
The blood red sun was setting over the trees. Julian, Derek, and Logan sat with their backs to the moist bark. It had rained that afternoon, leaving everything steaming in the early June heat. None of them faced each other; they sat around the tree staring into the setting night like a guard.
It was hot in Stuart House because the air conditioner had broken. Julian had begged to come outside because it was cooler. No one had liked that idea, especially not Logan and Derek. The rest of the Stuarts had taken to checking up on Julian consistently throughout the day. However, Logan and Derek rarely left Julian's side. So they'd agreed to coming outside, but had insisted that they all face different directions in case the stalker snuck up on them.
"I have so much studying for finals to do," Logan said, sighing and twiddling his thumbs as he stared into the misty air around him.
"Then why don't you just go?" Julian huffed. He sat scrunched up, his legs bent toward him, arms hugging them, chin on knees. It was a protective position.
"Because you and Derek could never take on a murderer," Logan said matter-of-factly, shivering slightly at the thought of Julian and Derek trying to beat up a murderer.
Julian rolled his eyes, though Logan couldn't see.
"Uh, excuse me," Derek said indignantly. "I think I could take on more like three murderers. Single-handedly."
"Unlikely," Logan replied coolly.
"What's your problem?" Derek asked, turning to look at Logan.
"My problem is being out here in the stupid 'cool air' when really everywhere is just as hot as everywhere else. Just because Julian wants to come outside. He completely disregards the fact that some of us actually have to study for finals." Logan's voice sounded full of contempt, and Julian sighed.
"Go. Inside. Stop being such an asshole about it and just leave the rest of us in peace," he said, resting his head against the cool bark.
"I don't know why I hang out with such a selfish prima donna."
"I don't know why I hang out with such a huge jerk," Julian shot back, standing up also.
Logan's fists curled, and he got that crazed look he always took on when angry.
"Hey. Ladies. Break it up," Derek said, standing and stepping calmly between them. "Nobody's making anybody else stay here. Logan, if I recall correctly, you were the one who suggested we come out as guards for Julian?"
Logan stomped off without a word, disappearing up the steps of Stuart Hall 50 yards away.
"Great," Julian said. "Just. Perfect." He slumped against the tree. "I really can't stand-"
He never finished his sentence, his lie. A loud crack resounded through the steam of the night. A small silver ball hit Julian in his right side, and he fell to the ground. There was a scream. Derek saw a black figure in the night, not 10 yards away. He appeared to be wearing a cloak.
"That'll teach you to ignore me, Julian Larson! Have fun in HELL!" A laugh, a cackle, and before Derek could move, Adam was running away.
There were more pressing matters, though. Julian lay at Derek's feet, groaning.
Derek kneeled down, his eyes raking Julian's body. He saw the bullet where it had ripped through Julian's t-shirt and into his flesh. There was a small circle of blood, growing ever larger by the moment, around the wound.
Derek's mouth formed words, but he couldn't say anything. He knew he should find help, or call 911, or scream, but he was useless in these situations. So he stayed. He kneeled on the ground and rocked back and forth, trying to think of what to do.
Julian only knew pain. He saw red and black and red again. His side had broken into two, his body unable to move. He couldn't distinguish shapes from other shapes, all he saw was a blur of color.
Somehow, through this, something came through. A thought, a word, what was it? Was it a name? Was it a person?
"Logan," he whispered, thought he didn't know who or what Logan was. Logan seemed, right now, to be a feeling. A feeling other than pain, a feeling of something good.
Had he been in his right mind, Julian would have known that Logan was not, in fact, a feeling of something good at all. He was a feeling of sadness and heartbreak and sorrow. But that bullet must have sucked all the pain away from the emotion, leaving Julian with the bare truth. Which was that Julian was in love with Logan.
"Logan," he repeated, in case he'd been unclear, which he thought he might have been because there had been no response from the colors.
"You want me to get him?" Derek asked, panic in his voice. "I'll get Logan. He'll know what to do."
"Logan," Julian whispered again. That was his only word. He repeated it again and again, even after he knew that the color Derek had gone.
"LOGAN! GET OUT HERE NOW!"
More banging. More shouting.
Logan rolled his eyes. It was Derek. Was Derek here to get back at him for what he'd said to Julian?
"Look, I'll apologize to Jules," Logan said, opening the door, "but I don't know why you're-" He stopped when he saw Derek's face. He was pale and looked like he was about to vomit.
"Julian," Derek whispered. Other people were peering out of their doors, and Logan assessed the situation quickly. Being a US Senator's son, he knew how to stay calm in emergencies like this. It was ironic, because emergencies were the only time he ever did know how to stay calm.
"Somebody call 911, tell them to come here right now," he said loudly. Several people disappeared into their rooms. Logan then turned to Derek. "Let's go." He grabbed Derek's arm and pulled him violently down the hall, down the stairs, out the door, and across the lawn.
When they got close enough to Julian to see the crumpled boy on the grass where they'd just had their fight, Logan's throat became blocked. He let out a sound. Julian was now bleeding profusely, and he was lying motionless at the foot of the tree. Logan let go of Derek and ran to Julian. He knelt down and touched Julian's cheek.
Julian was whispering something over and over again, but Logan couldn't focus enough to hear it.
"Jules?" Logan whispered.
Julian didn't hear him. His eyes were closed.
"Jules?" Logan said louder.
Julian's eyes flickered open, slowly. He did not immediately process what he saw. However, the colors came into focus slightly and he could see, quite close to his face, the color green in two small orbs.
He knew those green orbs were the feeling Logan.
"Logan?" he asked, even though he'd been whispering this the whole time.
"Jules," Logan breathed. "Hang on, Jules, hang on, the doctors are coming, they're coming, Jules, you'll be fine." He took Julian's hand in his and leaned closer to him. His deep breaths mingled with Julian's shallow ones. "Hold on, please, please, I don't…" He couldn't continue. A sob wracked his body. I don't want to lose you.
"Logan," Julian said, and he suddenly realized there was something really, really important about the feeling Logan that he had to tell Logan. Logan seemed to be a person, but Julian couldn't be sure. What was the feeling? What were the words?
It was getting harder to think, his brain was becoming black. He knew he only had a few minutes, and through all the pain came distress. Not because he was dying; because he didn't know what he was supposed to tell this person/feeling.
"Logan," he whispered again. "Tell. Logan." There. Tell. He had to tell Logan something.
What? What was it?
It was the feeling. He had to tell Logan the feeling.
What was the feeling?
"What? What do you have to tell me?" Logan asked, his voice quavering, his lungs contracting, tears falling onto Julian's cheek.
Julian forced himself to look up one last time, into the green orbs, and the words fought their way through the blackness.
"I love you," he whispered, and he knew that was it. Those were the words. That was the feeling. This was the person. He could leave now. He was done. The pain took over, the blackness swamped his brain, and the green orbs were all he saw until he saw no more.