A/N: Thank you so much for all of your reviews and criticisms thus far. They have helped immensely shape this chapter and are beyond appreciated. Furthermore, I regret to inform that I will no longer have access to type any following chapters for quite some time, so I hope this resolution will satisfy until I can update again, if I choose to. I may just end it here. Anyway, thanks again for your continued reading and reviewing. I appreciate you all dearly, and I hope you enjoy. xx
What the hell, Julian? Pull yourself together. Stop this; these thoughts. Why are you pacing? Why is this stressing you so much? Just go sit down. Sit. No, I can't sit. I can't. What if those first years heard me talking to Logan? They did. They had to. They were looking right at us. No, they were looking at us because you screamed like a girl and spilled coffee all over yourself. Idiot. Such an idiot. Why did I even tell him to come in? He was going to leave. I should have let him leave. I should have…
"…and then I just let him leave. Just... He just… left. Up the stairs. And I let it happen," Logan mumbled into the harsh wind hitting his face.
Derek sat beside him on the frigid bench, hugging himself tightly. "So… there is something going on between you two, then?"
Logan stared blankly in front of him. "Yes, D. That's what I just spent the last twenty minutes explaining to you," he responded boredly.
"It's not like it matters," he continued bitterly, "He didn't like the things I was saying, anyhow. It freaked him out, especially when the first years came in. He didn't want them hearing something that could 'damage his reputation,'" he commented in a mocking tone, still staring straight ahead of him.
"Don't jump to conclusions, Lo."
Logan's head jerked up to look at him. "What's that supposed to mean?"
Derek shrugged. "Everyone has secrets they don't want some people to know."
"Are you suggesting—"
"Don't make me break Jules' confidence, Logan," Derek cut him off sharply, with a tone that was all too knowing.
"Derek, please. I need you to elaborate. Fuck his confidence."
"Dude, no. Forget I said anything."
"Let it be."
Logan stared at the brunette's chill-bitten face incredulously. Derek's gaze left Logan's, dropping down to stare at his knees. He could feel Logan's hungry gaze on him. But he wouldn't crack. He couldn't.
What does he even want with me, anyway? I mean, Jesus, he's spent the entirety of this year pining over Kurt. The years prior, he spent all over Blaine. He said he's… liked me, or whatever, for three years. Three. If he wanted me, he could have had me. But, no. He chose them. He chose them, Julian. Not you. And then, suddenly, he decides to tell you he wants you. Why the hell should you believe him? He has Kurt. He still wants Kurt. Goddamn it! He fucking wants Kurt. Get that through your head. He's just going after you because Kurt turned him down. You're nothing. You're just a rebound for Kurt…
"And then, to top it all off, Kurt came to see me this morning." Logan's eyes had fixated on the icy ground again.
"Did he, now? I thought you two weren't talking anymore."
Logan chuckled. "I thought so, too."
"What did he say, then?"
Logan went quiet, remembering the conversation. He sat up a bit straighter. "He and Blaine have broken up," he began in a monotone with a glance to his friend, "temporarily, he says."
Derek's eyes narrowed. "And he's telling you this, why?"
The Prefect leaned back against the bench with a nonchalant shrug of his right shoulder.
"He said he wants to be friends again."
There was no way to tell if it was the bitter cold, or the anger that flooded through Derek at mention of this, that caused the cherry red to cover Derek's cheeks. One would be safe to assume the latter, however.
"Hell no," Derek sneered.
"No. You told him no, didn't you?"
"I.. you know.. well, I…" Logan stammered, avoiding his gaze.
"Logan!" Derek screeched, sounding like a disappointed mother.
"What?" Logan sat up, staring him down. "What the hell did you expect me to say, Derek?" He shut his eyes tightly, his tone softening dramatically. "I..I can't help myself around him. You know this…"
Derek rolled his eyes, standing up to face him, glowering down at his best friend. "Listen, Logan. I'm not going to sit here and watch you go through this again," he points off in the vague direction of Windsor House. "I had to reap the consequences of this last time. The last time you pined hopelessly over Kurt. The last time he all but strung you along, dropping anything to do with you once he got bored. You think I want to go through that again? You think I want you to go through that again? It's not worth it," Derek had begun to pace by now. "The times he made you happy; can you count them on more than one hand? The times you've sung together; they don't make up for the times he tore you down relentlessly," He pauses in front of him. "Relentlessly." He began pacing again. "Besides, you want Julian now." Derek didn't ask the last part. It was just a statement; fact to him now.
Logan watched him incredulously as he paced around and occasionally got in his face. Derek knew better than to argue any point with Logan. Logan always got his way. Always. So when he argued this time, Logan had no idea how to react. He merely sat there, mouth agape, as he listened to the horribly true realities Derek was shoving into his face.
"But, Kurt is—"
"Kurt is nothing. Leave him to Blaine."
"But, Derek. I can't just forget—"
"Yes, you can," the brunette hissed. "You can't have them both, Logan."
"Listen to you. You have a dozen girls on your arm at any given moment and you're telling me this. You fucking hypocrite. I've no reason to listen to you any further," He stood, sizing Derek up with his eyes.
"Like hell you don't. I'm the only voice of reason you have in your life, and you damn well know this. That's why you called me to come talk to you in the first place, yeah?" Derek retorted, stepping up to meet his challenging stance.
"Don't puff your chest out at me, Derek. You're not hot shit."
"Not trying to be, Lo. Just trying to make a point."
Their eyes were locked in an unblinking stare for a long moment before the blonde sighed, pushing him hard in the chest and sitting back down on the bench.
Derek stumbled a bit, but merely dusted himself off, sitting back down beside him. "S'what I thought…"
I wonder where he is now. He's not in his room, I know that. It's too close to me for his liking. God, how predictable is he? He's probably not even on campus anymore, that twat. He's run off and hidden somewhere, I know it. I wonder what he's thinking? I bet he regrets telling me. He's probably already called Derek up, and is telling him these awful things about me. Fuck, I swear to God if Derek opens his mouth about what I've told him… FUCK! I can't do this.
"So is he still up there?" Derek asked after a long and rather uncomfortable silence between the two. "In his room, I mean."
Logan shrugged. "It's been two hours. How am I supposed to know where he is?" He snapped back.
Derek shook it off. "You know, it's not doing you much good talking to me about all of this. And I'm fucking freezing out here."
"Go inside, then."
"You're the one who needs to go inside."
"I'm not cold."
"I don't care."
Logan's frigid stare found his best friend's. "What's it to you?"
Derek sighed, pressing a finger to his temple. "I'm just… I've had it up to here with being in the middle of you and Jules' little tiffs. And this... well, this is bigger than a tiff and I swear on whatever you consider holy that if you don't go fix this, if you don't go sort this out I will slaughter the both of you," he threw his hands up dramatically. "I'm done."
Logan rolled his eyes. "Some friend you are."
"Oh, fuck off, Logan. If telling you to man up and fight your own battles makes me a shit friend, then so be it. You have to do this. I can't do this for you, and I can't do this for Julian. This is all on you two."
The Prefect blinked over at his friend. "Julian doesn't want me, Derek," he reminds him in an almost sad tone. "Julian doesn't want me, and Kurt does. You see the obvious choice, don't you?"
"Kurt is hardly an option. Let's not fool ourselves."
"And Julian is? He fucking stormed out of the room, D."
"You know as well as I why he did that."
"Stop with this Ghandi bullshit. What I know is that Julian is straight. Julian is also a self-righteous, pompous, run-of-the-mill celebrity. He can get what he wants. He knows this. If he wanted something – if he wanted me – he would have come after me. Don't you see?"
Derek shook his head. "That isn't necessarily true."
"You know something I don't," Logan stated in an accusing tone, leaning nearer him. "That's why you're pushing this, isn't it? Derek, did Julian say something to you?"
Derek remained silent. He didn't want to lie, but he didn't want to break his friend's confidence, either.
"Derek. I asked you a question."
"Why don't you find out for yourself?" Derek prompted as he stood and grabbed Logan by the arm. "C'mon."
Logan snarled up at him as he was tugged out of his seat. "Find out for myself?" He hissed at his friend, jerking his arm out of Derek's grasp. "I'm not going up there, D. Stop this."
The brunette boy rolled his eyes. "For once in your life, Logan, you don't have a say in the matter. You're doing this," he barked, taking Logan's arm again, more firmly this time. He marched off in the direction of Stuart house, dragging Logan fast beside him. "So, just shut up, Logan. You need to get this sorted."
"Who the hell are you to tell me what I need and needn't do?" The blonde howled in his ear, trying and failing to tug himself free once more from Derek's surprisingly tight hold on him.
"Just shut up."
What am I supposed to do now? Sit in my room and think about this all day? Fuck that. No. But I can't leave. What if he's out there? I mean… I do kind of want to see him… just to get this over with. But, damn it. That's heavy. That's a lot to deal with. I cannot deal with that. Not yet. …. Can I? I mean, I'll have to eventually. I can't hide from him forever. Shit, you said it yourself. He probably even isn't on campus anymore. He's afraid. Remember? Afraid. I should go on a walk. Clear my head. Maybe I'll get some coffee and go for a drive. Just get out of this room. You are going crazy in this room. Go. Now.
"I doubt he's even still in his room," Logan reasoned hopelessly as they marched off toward the ominous looking Stuart House.
"You said it yourself; it's been two hours. How are you supposed to know where he is?" Derek retorted in an annoyed tone. He had no intention to let Logan walk away from this one so easily. He hardly had the patience to deal with this for the next few weeks.
You've got everything you need. Money. Keys. Hell, you have a private jet if you really want to run. Just go. Get out of here. Go think. Go do something other than sit on this bed and feel sorry for yourself. What's stopping you? You won't run into him. Dalton has a big campus. Just go.
"I don't fucking want to go, Derek! Stop!"
"Stop dragging your feet, Logan! You're acting like a whiny child!" Derek bellowed as he pulled him roughly up the stairs of the dormitories.
"I'm acting as such because I don't want to go where you are taking me. You can't force me to do things like this!"
"I'm not forcing you. Well, okay. Maybe I am, but it's for your own good. You'll thank me one day."
"Fuck off, you self-righteous bastard!"
"No need for name calling, dude. Look. We're here. Was that so hard?"
The Prefect jerked his arm away as soon as Derek's grip had loosened even in the slightest. He rubbed his arm as he turned to face the door in front of him. His gaze fell down to the light streaming out from underneath the door, and his heart began to pound loudly against his chest.
"He's still in there," Derek whispered, echoing Logan's thoughts.
"Yeah, D. I can see that," the blonde answered shortly, his gaze burning into the door.
"Well? Go on then."
Just open the door. That's the only thing stopping you from leaving, Julian. This wooden door to the outside. Stop staring at it. It's not going to do anything. It's not going anywhere. But you are. You're leaving. Right now. You have your keys in your pocket. Open this door. Run. Go. Before he finds you. Don't look back. Just go. Just open the door.
"Just open the door, Lo."
"It's not hard. Put your hand on the handle…" Derek reached for Logan's hand, pushing it toward the handle.
Logan retracted his hand quickly. "Jesus, Derek, I've got this, alright?"
Derek brought his hand back, folding his arms across his chest. "Do you?"
Those green eyes never left the bold framing of Julian's door. Of course he didn't 'have this.' This was ridiculous. He didn't even want to be here in the first place. With a short glance over his shoulder, he soon realized Derek wasn't going anywhere. Not until Logan was in Julian's room. He had taken his stance and was holding it firmly.
Logan groaned loudly, looking back over to the door.
"You're just going to stand there, aren't you."
"Until I go in there."
"Goddamn it, Derek," he hissed under his breath as his hand reached for the door handle. "Whatever. Fine. Here we go…"
Here we go…
Logan's hand snapped back as soon as it had rested against the handle, startled, as he watched the golden door knob slowly turning before him. He let out a sharp hiss and stepped backward, stumbling into Derek, who caught him. The door slowly swung open, revealing an equally surprised looking Julian.
Derek released Logan, pushing him forward a bit. "Hey, Jules."
Julian smiled endearingly at Derek. "Hey, D. What.. I mean…" He looked back at Logan, who was staring at him with wide, bewildered eyes.
"Logan wants to talk to you."
Julian's eyes remained on the blonde boy in front of him as he responded to Derek. "Does he?"
Derek nodded, eyes on Logan as well. "Definitely. I was about to head out for breakfast, then I, uh, ran across him." He paused, watching the way Julian and Logan were staring each other down with equally frightened looks. "So, uh. I'll leave you to it, then. Do you guys want anything from Cassie's?" He asked rather awkwardly.
Julian shook his head in response to Derek, blinking down at Logan. "No, I think we'll be fine."
Logan nodded. "Fine, thanks…"
"Right. Well," Derek took a step backward toward the staircase. "I'll, uh, I'll just be—" he motioned back behind him as he continued taking steps back, before turning around and shoving his hands into his pockets and hurrying down the stairs and away from the warzone.
Julian's eyes never left the prefect's. "Well, um. Want to come in?"
Logan hesitated for a brief second before pushing past him and ducking into his room without another word. Julian let out a loud breath, closing his eyes briefly before turning and following him into the room. As the door clicked shut behind him, Julian turned to face Logan, who had moved directly to the window in Julian's room and was staring after Derek, watching his form get smaller and smaller as he headed to the gates of Dalton.
"So is he your chaperone now?" Julian inquired, taking a step toward him.
"Not in the mood, Julian."
"I was just asking…"
Logan crossed his arms, staring past his vague reflection in the window as Derek completely disappeared. He slowly turned around, meeting Julian's gaze.
"He said I have to talk to you."
"Since when does Derek tell you what to do?"
"Then why are you here?"
Logan's eyes shut as his head rested back a bit. "You really are dense, aren't you." His eyes opened as he let out a loud breath. "I wasn't finished with our conversation from earlier. I told you this when you ran off." He motioned to the door with one hand before promptly folding it back across his chest. "Speaking of, where were you going when we got here?"
"You didn't have enough this morning?"
"I guess not."
Their gazes had found each other again, locking into another cold, unwavering stare.
"Well," Julian began, breaking the stare and throwing his hands up slightly. "You wanted to talk," He sat down on the white couch near him, motioning for Logan to do the same. "So, talk."
Logan eyed the couch. "I've already done my share of talking. It's your turn."
Julian was silent for a long moment, absentmindedly picking at a string unraveling on the couch cushion he was sitting on. "I've nothing to say to you."
"Like hell you don't."
The brunette looked up at him with tired, red eyes. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"You were going to say something. Before those kids came in. You were going to tell me something. That's why you ran."
"That's a load of shit."
Logan didn't even bother to respond to that. He knew as well as Julian did that this wasn't true. He was waiting for Julian to say something else.
"Fine. Whatever," Julian mumbled after a moment. Logan had to put serious effort into not letting the smirk touch his lips at this. He sat at the other end of the couch, crossing one leg over his knee and resting his right hand against his ankle. He cleared his throat expectantly, not risking a glance at the other boy.
Julian also stared ahead of him. This is it. What you've been thinking about all morning. It's here. Just fucking do it. Talk. Get this over with.
They sat in a long silence for what seemed hours. Logan was growing impatient. He had never been one to beat around the bush, so to speak, and he wasn't planning to start now. He just wanted to get this over with.
"Let me make this easier, so we can both move on with our lives: You don't… don't want— don't love— I mean, you don't see me, how I see you," Logan paused for a moment, chancing a glance over at him. "Yes?"
Logan's gaze lingered on him for a moment longer than necessary before he couldn't take it anymore. He looked back ahead of him, drumming his fingers against his ankle. Whoa.
"That's what I said."
Logan's heart was banging loudly against his chest again now. Shit. He wasn't prepared for this. So convinced that Julian would never want anything to do with him, romantically speaking, he wasn't prepared to hear that. Derek had been right. He knew Derek knew something.
"And you told Derek, before you told me?"
Julian's brow furrowed, his lips sneering as his head jerked around to look at him. "He fucking told you?"
"Well. That confirms it."
"Goddamn it," Julian murmured under his breath.
There was another uncomfortable silence between the two, both of them sitting and staring down at the floor in front of them. Neither knew what to say; it was obvious, and it was awkward.
Well… it's out in the open. Julian thought. What now?
The brunette cleared his throat. The blonde remained silent, his unblinking gaze cast on the plush carpet. Julian was the first to break this awful silence.
Logan's head perked up in a fashion that made Julian regret asking.
"Why are you asking about Kurt?" Logan asked, his voice coming out in a half-whisper.
"Well, to the best of my knowledge, you've been pining over him for the last year," Julian lifted his gaze to meet Logan's. "And now you're… well, you're coming to me… about this… I just… I don't know… figured something was wrong…or…" He cleared his throat again. "How's Kurt?"
Logan's eyes narrowed onto the brunette before setting his gaze back onto his feet. "He's fine."
Julian nodded. "Well, good."
Logan scoffed slightly, leaning back comfortably against the couch. "He and Blaine have broken up," he added in a short tone. Julian's posture remained rigid.
"He came to see me this morning."
"Said he wants to start talking to me again."
Julian's head tilted in his direction. "You two weren't speaking?"
Logan had forgotten he neglected to tell Julian about he and Kurt's blowout a few months back. As far as Julian knew, Logan was still seeing him on occasion. The Prefect shut his eyes hard. He knew what this must have looked like to Julian. He knew what was coming.
"So, wait," The brunette sat at attention, looking incredulous. "You and Kurt… you two haven't been speaking. For.. for how long?" The suspicion in Julian's tone was too present for Logan's liking.
"Months. Three and a half, to be precise," the boy stated simply.
Julian was silent for a long moment. Logan waited patiently for the blow up.
"Is that why you're telling me this, then?" Julian all but growled after some time, stormy eyes set on his own lap. "Because Kurt wanted nothing to do with you?" A bitter laugh left the boys lips. "Figures. I can't believe I fucking— I sat here and believed you actually—" The boy laughed again, shaking his head and standing up, not looking at him. "Wow. Get out."
Logan shut his eyes briefly before opening them wide and looking to the boy towering over him. "Julian, hold on a second. You don't understand, I—"
"I swear to you, it isn't what you think it is," Logan protested, sitting forward a bit, staring into the eyes that once again refused to stare back.
"No? Then what is it, Logan? Pray tell."
The Prefect hesitated for a minute, searching for the words to properly explain himself. He glanced up at Julian just in time to catch his scoff. "I— Julian, I've known you for years," he swallowed hard. "I've wanted… I've wanted you for years. Kurt… well, Kurt distracted me from you for some time…" He stares the other boy down. "I thought you were straight. I thought… I thought, how can I be..." he hesitated with the words, spitting them out clumsily, "in love with someone who is not only straight… but never here?" He took a deep breath before continuing. "So I had Kurt. Kurt's gay. Kurt's here. Kurt was what you weren't."
Julian had begun making his way back to the couch by now, appearing to listen intently to Logan's words. Logan's eyes followed him until he was sitting before continuing. "So," he sighed out, shifting in the seat he was sitting, "When… when Kurt and I stopped associating… I was forced to think of you again. He… he couldn't distract me away from you anymore, as much as I wanted a distraction. I had nothing. I have to see you every day." His eyes find Julian's reddened ones. "Do you fucking realize how hard this is for me?" He ended in an almost inaudible whisper.
Julian was pale by now. His red eyes stuck out vibrantly against his whitened skin. If Logan was being honest - which Julian assumed he was, as he was always painfully honest with him - then it all made sense. All of it. Years of questions and wondering all seemed to dawn on him in this moment, and he shifted uncomfortable in his seat.
"So, you mean to say Kurt meant nothing?" He asked quietly.
Logan quickly shook his head – almost too quickly. "Not saying that, no… I did care for him. I do care for him. And at one point, I may have even loved him. But…"
Logan shook his head again, but slowly this time. "Never mind it."
Julian decided not to push. Logan was already exposing himself, he thought, and he knew that was something that Logan found difficult to do at times, especially exposing this much of him all at once.
Julian simply nodded, crossing one leg over his knee, mirroring Logan's earlier position.
"I'm doing an awful lot of talking," Logan mumbled after a moment, bringing his hand up to scratch at his blonde locks awkwardly. Julian winced a bit, knowing this was his cue to explain himself, as Logan had just done.
"What is it you're expecting me to say?"
"Tell me you understand," Logan said in a half-whisper.
"What I just told you. Tell me you understand what I just said."
That's all? This is all he wants? Easy enough, Julian thought.
"Okay. I understand."
Julian's eyes narrowed. "And what?"
Logan's head turned to face him. "Give me something to better understand you. Understand this."
The brunette shifted uncomfortably under Logan's gaze. "Orientation," he began after a moment of thought. "Do you remember freshman orientation?"
Logan allowed a smile to play against his lips. "Of course I do."
Julian gave a short nod. "Me too. I'll never forget it. The day I met you," he risked a glance up at the other boy. "The day I began questioning everything about me. What I wanted. Who I was."
Logan's smile had dropped by this point, and he was staring at his feet.
"Since that day," Julian continued, "I've spent every minute around you in this… this hellish, introspective nightmare. This… this constant questioning. Constant running away from the answers I didn't like to hear. The fact that I was…" he paused, seeming to choke on the words as they rose in his throat. "falling for a boy." Cold, tanned hands reached out to grasp pale, warm ones. Logan froze at the feel of this contact. Julian was showing affection. Logan couldn't comprehend it properly.
"Do you understand, Logan, why I ran all the time?" He asked in an almost desperate tone. Logan's gaze remained locked on the floor as Julian's hands tightened around his. "Do you understand me now? All of our past indiscretions… do you understand?"
He did. It all came down on him now, and he even found himself mentally sympathizing with him. Logan had had the luxury of being sure of himself from day one. He always knew what he wanted; always knew how to get it. He always had a certain, unshakeable confidence in himself. It was obvious now, that despite the actor's public image, despite the hardened exterior he presented so fully, Julian Armstrong-Larson was just a confused boy still in the midst of figuring himself out. Logan certainly could not fault him for that.
"I do," Logan responded shortly, only now meeting the other's gaze. They held each other's eyes for a long moment, as if desperately trying to convey through their stares what they failed to convey in words.
Logan didn't let him finish. He had said all he needed to say in Logan's eyes. No use in torturing either of them any longer. Instead, Logan took the earlier display of affection from Julian as a sign that this would be okay. That what he was about to do would be accepted.
With only a second's hesitation, the blonde loosened his hand from Julian's grasp. Leaning forward, his green eyes frantically searched the frightened, brown ones that were now mere inches from his own. There was absolute silence in the room, and Logan wondered if Julian could hear the achingly loud pounding of his heart against his ribcage as he closed the painfully short distance between their lips.
Julian's eyes shot wide open in… shock? Surprise? Resentment? He pulled away from Logan, eyes unblinking. Logan's eyes opened halfway to gauge the reaction that obviously wasn't a good one.
"What are you doing, Logan?" Julian whispered breathlessly.
Logan merely shook his head. "Jules, just…" he didn't finish his sentence, but leaned forward once more, pressing his lips against the other's.
This time, Julian didn't object. The boys eyes fluttered closed, allowing himself to be consumed by the boy's lips, his scent, the feel of his hand rising to caress his cheek…
As Julian sank into the kiss, Logan shifted his position, dropping his hand to rest on the couch beside Julian, the other shakily snaking around Julian's middle as he began leaning him back onto the incredibly plush couch. Julian's heart was beating so hard, he thought it would stop at any minute. What was happening? What was Logan doing? His hand flew up to grip the back of the couch, internally torn. Succumbing to Logan meant succumbing to his feelings for the boy. It meant the point of no return. It was finality. But as Logan planted kisses along the boy's jawline and down his neck, gently grazing his teeth against his skin, Julian couldn't resist him any longer.
A quiet groan left the brunette's throat as Logan hit his weak spot. How could Logan possibly know this was his kryptonite? Being kissed at his throat… Logan had never been told this, had never seen this. He just knew, and he focused his attentions there as Julian's back landed against the couch, his grip on the back of the sofa falling weak as he gave in.
"I love you," Logan whispered against Julian's heated skin between kisses. The actor threw his head back against the cushion, arching his neck into the feel of his lips, chest already heaving with ragged breath. This was it. This was the start of something Julian was afraid he could never finish. Logan had spoken the words that sold it all. The finality. It was real, it was imminent. And as Logan's hands slid up to pull the collar of his shirt down, kissing affectionately along the boy's prominent collarbone, Julian let slip the words to seal the deal.
"I love you, too."