Author's Note: Well hello, all of you fellow Coult members. I have to apologize-it has been a few months since I've updated. But, I didn't abandon this story, as I still love it and adore it, and I've finally got this approved by my beta, Lauryl! Yay! :) So, I hope you like it! :)

Guys, read the disclaimer.

Disclaimer: A bit different this time—to go along with the storyline of Dalton, some dialogue from actual canon!Dalton is used (to show reactions of such dialogue from another point of view). From here on out, this situation will be occurring more and more. Of course, those words, if you recognize them, do not belong to me—they belong to Miss CP Coulter, and can be found in Chapter Three of her story.. I also do not own any of her characters, like Derek Seigerson and Logan Wright. I also don't own Glee, Kurt Hummel or Blaine Anderson as they belong to Fox and the RIB clan.


Stuart

Chapter Four: Crossing Paths


"What the hell was that about?"

It was very late into the evening, but the library still held few occupants as Murdoch's paper deadline grew closer and closer. Tensions were running high, but unlike the rest of the students that were in the library, Theo and Burke had more things to worry about than Murdoch's grueling assignment.

"I—I don't know!" Little Theo stuttered, his voice hushed to a whisper as he heard Mrs. Abernathy's tall heel stalk briskly past their table. "What could Jon be holding against Andrew?"

Burke shook his dark hair out of his eyes and dragged a hand over his face, "I don't know either! More importantly, what the fuck is Jon thinking trying to ruin Derek—?"

"We don't know that's what Jon is trying to do…" Theo said hesitantly, trying not to jump to any conclusions. Clearly, Burke did not share the same concern, as his eyebrows shot up in utter disbelief.

"Are you kidding me, man? You may be a freshman but I thought you had some common sense!" Burke rolled his eyes and continued, "Jon said—"

"I know what he said!" Theo retorted, "I was there, remember? But just because Jon said he wanted to 'bring him down' doesn't necessarily mean—"

"Are you kidding me, Theo? You know how Jon is and you know how much he hates Derek! I'm actually surprised it's taken him this long to do something about his pent-up anger."

Theo sighed and leaned back into his chair, shooting a quick glance at Mrs. Abernathy, whose head had shot up at Burke's last outburst. He smiled tentatively at her, and the librarian narrowed her eyes but looked away from the two boys. Theo looked at Burke, who was leaning over the table they were sitting at.

"Listen," Burke continued, "You know just as well as I do that Jon is a man of conviction, and once he sets his mind to something, he's going to go through with it—"

"That doesn't mean…"

"It means," Burke held up a hand, silencing the younger boy, "that whatever Jon has up his sleeve is going to put Derek in danger, or get him in a lot of trouble. And we can't let that happen! He's our captain, and he deserves that spot!" He looked at Theo, "Don't you agree?"

"Y—yes, of course." Theo nodded adamantly. He worshipped Derek Seigerson, and it was ridiculous—in his mind anyway—for Burke to suggest otherwise. Of course Derek deserved the thought! Derek was like Superman!

"And don't you think it would only be right if we, his dedicated teammates, were always there for our captain?" Burke said, gaining confidence in his words and his influence over Theo.

"Yes."

"And don't you think," Burke continued, "it's in everyone's best interest if we figure out what is going on?"

"Wait…"

"No, no waiting. There is no time. We don't know when Jon is going to strike."

"Uh…Burke?"

"What?"

"Are you sure we are doing the right thing?" Theo said timidly, "I mean, we don't even know what exactly is going on? And I share a house with these guys, man. I would like to live to see graduation! This really isn't our business—"

Burke smiled, "Theodore. Of course it's our business. We're a team. And yeah, we don't know what's going on, but like you said, you do live in Hanover…"

Theo stared at Burke, and the other boy just grinned, "Alright freshman, here is what we are going to do…"


Derek awoke the next morning to the sound of harsh banging on his bedroom door.

"Derek? Derek? Deerrrreeeeek!" The boy in question groaned as he stood up to answer the door, assuming it was one of his one-night-stands he conquered the week before. He began to rack his brain for names and faces as he opened the door, but found the action was unnecessary.

"Logan?" Pretty sure he hadn't slept with this one.

The blonde raised an intrigued eyebrow at Derek's sleepy state and smirked, "Did I wake you up from your beauty sleep, princess?"

Derek rolled his eyes and turned back into his room, leaving the door open as an invitation for Logan to come in. "What do you want, Lo?"

Derek turned around and was met with a brown envelope. Logan shoved the envelope into Derek's hands and he smiled, "I need you to give this to Kurt Hummel."

The statement fully alerted Derek, "What? Kurt—Kurt Hummel? Why? And why me?" He weighed the envelope in his hands as he watched his friend walk over to the window. He gazed out of it thoughtfully, which made Derek roll his eyes. Seriously, when did Logan become so intrigued by the damn trees outside!

"You know Windsor," Logan returned distantly, "They won't appreciate me going there, what with our history," Logan chuckled as an afterthought, which gave Derek not so pleasant chills.

"Okay," Derek said, "But I'm in Stuart too, you know—they won't necessarily appreciate my presence, either."

Logan made a face and waved him off, disregarding his concern, "Yeah, but better you than me, I think. Plus, your ex-boyfriend doesn't live there—"

"Thank god," Derek muttered, his mind wandering to the hospital visits he would have to endure if any of his exes lived on campus.

Logan nodded, "Yeah, so you see what I mean."

Derek shook his head, placing the envelope on his desk, eyeing it carefully. He groaned at the thought of Logan getting into yet another fight with Blaine, considering all of the drama he caused the year before. He didn't understand why Logan had to go after that hobbit's guy! He knew Logan was smart, but when it came to romance and relationships, sometimes Derek thought he was as clueless as Steve Erkel.

What was more unnerving was the fact that even if Logan decided to pursue Kurt, Derek knew it would end in heartbreak, because Logan didn't see what Derek saw. And that was the look Kurt gave Blaine when they left the hall together. It was the look Logan gave to Blaine when they dated. It was the look Logan gave to Josh, and it was the same look Logan gave to Kurt now.

Only this time, it wasn't reciprocated.

And Derek had a hard feeling that Logan was only going to get hurt if he kept this going. And as much as he loved Logan, he was not in the mood to pick up all of the pieces—again. Especially with everything else on his plate. He had tests and papers and practices with his boys and a scholarship to worry about…

"You know Logan, I don't even think you should send it."

"Why?" Logan asked.

"Because…I…I feel like you're fighting a losing battle with this guy! Blaine Anderson has Hummel wrapped around his midget little finger!" Derek exclaimed.

This didn't faze Logan in the slightest; on the contrary, he simply continued to gaze out the window towards Windsor house, "Yeah…that's true." He nodded, "But Blaine hasn't completely won him over," Logan stuck his chest out slightly. "I still have a chance."

Derek groaned loudly and Logan shot a pleading look at him, "I know my luck with Windsors hasn't always been the best—" at this, Derek scoffed and muttered a sarcastic 'no kidding' which earned a dagger glare from the prefect.

Logan continued, "But I just…have a feeling. Will—Will you please just do this for me? Please?"

Derek groaned but gave in, finding it useless to say no to his best friend when he looked so helpless, "Alright, fine. I'll do it." He smiled at Logan, his dark eyes gleaming, "Just—I want you to be careful, okay? Even though you're a pain in the ass, you're still my best friend," He grinned cheekily, "And if this guy hurts you, I'm not afraid to break his porcelain skin, you know."

Logan grinned so brightly that it was like he won the lottery (or got laid, which ever). "That won't be necessary D. Kurt wouldn't do something like that to me—or to anyone." He glanced back out the window towards Windsor as he imagined what Kurt was doing at that very moment, "He's perfect."


"He's perfect."

Derek pulled a mocking face as he mimicked his friends' words, earning a hoot and a holler from Rodney and Grayson, who agreed to endure the journey to Windsor with Derek (well, not so much "agreed" as "eventually complied, after multiple threats of early morning practices for the rest of the year.")

Derek was a manly man—don't get him wrong—but knowing that the Brightman twins lived in Windsor house, and that they were always armed with some sort of mock weapon that would cause him irritation, did put him a little on edge.

And hey, a little bit of backup never hurt anyone. And Windsor's were dangerous, unpredictable, insane creatures. So he needed his boys.

"I can't believe you are actually doing this, Seigerson," Grayson said with a loud, long sigh of annoyance, running a hand through his long hair, "If it were me, I woulda said 'screw it'—nothing is worth having to go to Windsor!"

Derek shrugged, but Rodney chimed in, "Yeah man. I mean, friendship is one thing, and what you are doing for Logan is saint-like…but this is like jumping off of the plank willingly! If Grayson asked me to do this, I'd say hell no—with all due respect, Gray. I'd rather sit through Murdoch's class twice then subject myself to Windsor shenanigans."

At this Derek rolled his eyes and laughed, "You guys are so dramatic—I'm making a delivery, it's not like I'm walking to my death."

However, it did feel like that, especially with the ways Grayson and Rodney were acting, their eyes darting from side to side as they made the long trip across campus, as though they expected the Windsor's to ambush them before they even made it half way there. It was making Derek more nervous than he needed to be, and it made the whole thing more ridiculous. Honestly, Derek couldn't believe he had agreed either and he wish he hadn't. He could be doing homework right now, or doing extra credit for Biology—he needed to secure that A. He could have even fit in an extra jog around campus instead.

So why had he agreed again?

Logan's lovesick face flashed in front of him. Urgh. At times, Logan could be like a puppy dog. Pathetic, but impossible to resist.

Derek had to restrain from hitting his two teammates, as they continued to compare his action to digging his own grave and other things of the like.

"If I don't make it out alive, you can get my coin collection," Rodney said mockingly, swinging an arm around Derek's shoulder. "I know how much you love it."

"Don't talk like that Rod, you know I can't live without you!" Grayson made a dramatic sobbing noise.

"What if they have the paint guns again?" Rodney said, suddenly serious. He rubbed his chest with a grimace. "Those things hurt, man. And this shirt is new. Damn, D, if these Windsors mess up my Abercrombie and Fitch, you're paying."

Once they reached the door of the house, Derek turned around to face his two teammates, "Listen—unlike you, I actually have some self-control. So watch yourselves. If you get into a fight with these maniacs and get in trouble, I will make your life hell," he said this threateningly, and it earned eye rolls from the two boys

Derek nodded and turned around, knocking on the door as he did so, "Good. Just keep your mouth shut and everything will be fine." Or so help me, Logan will never hear the end of the hell he put me through, Derek thought to himself.

The door opened to reveal David Sullivan, a darker boy in Derek's year. He was a Warbler, and surprisingly, unlike the rest of Windsor, Derek didn't have a large problem with him. He hung around Blaine, which was annoying, but he was calm and often times held back the annoying little Asian from making a fool out of himself. By Windsor standards, he was pretty normal. Plus he had a girlfriend who Casey had known—supposedly she was really nice. Casey had even mentioned double dating before…well anyway.

"Hello, Derek." He said civilly.

"Hello, David," Derek managed to pull a fake smile onto his lips, and his hand gripped the envelope in his hand—a single reminder as to why he was there in the first place. "We were wondering where Hummel was."

Wes, the boy in Derek's French class, and that "annoying Asian," suddenly turned up next to his best friend. He crossed his arms, leaning against the door frame. "Upstairs, in his room. Why?" He said, giving a skeptical look to the athlete and his two cronies.

Derek resisted the urge to roll his eyes, yet he was amused by Wes' display of protectiveness. Silly Windsor's, always trying to act tougher than the clowns they were—only the twins were truly scary. "Logan wanted us to give him this," he lifted the envelope in the air, waving it in front of them.

Derek noticed the two boys eye it cautiously, and Wes frowned, taking the envelope out of Derek's hands skeptically.

"What's in this that you need a color guard with you?" He pointed to Grayson and Rodney, who glared at the Windsors. "Anthrax? To ensure the complete knockout of our entire in-house Warbler lineup? You already did get everyone when you put laxatives in our drinks before we could perform A Very Potter Musical and steamroller you last year, but with Kurt here…"

Derek's smirk stayed plastered on his face, but he felt irritation brew in his core. Really? Is that how he is going to do this? Well if that's the case…

"No," Derek said coolly, "actually, it's chunk of C4 to get back at you people for replacing our centennial sculpture's head with the head of the Pillsbury Dough Boy." At the Windsor's look of displeasure, he grunted. "No, I'm afraid it's a present. Why Logan would have any more interest in someone from Windsor, though…" He rolled his eyes.

"You jealous, Derek?" Derek snapped his head towards Wes, who was smirking arrogantly, "No, honest question. Worried about competition after having Logan all to yourself since he chased away his last Windsor conquest? Thanks for breaking his heart, by the way—we were so happy when second lead soloist moved away—"

Derek took a deep breath, his fists clenching in aggravation. Oh yeah, Wes was definitely annoying. He managed to get right under Derek's skin. Grayson took note of this and placed a cautious hand on his shoulder, slightly squeezing to remind Derek to keep his cool. Derek shook his head and scoffed, "Wow, you really think you're funny—" Derek hissed and took a threatening step towards the Warbler.

He was suddenly taken aback by the yell of another boy. Derek backed up to gain a better look at the pale boy, and recognized him as Dwight Houston. He knew Dwight was a year younger than him, and that he was quite…weird—so he was surprised when he put himself in the middle of him and Wes.

"Whoah!" The odd boy exclaimed, "Now, now. Everyone keep calm and I won't have to spray you." He paused to look at Derek with a hectic look, "Past is past, what's done is done. And nothing was ever proved. As far as we're concerned, we're all innocent. Let's not throw accusations all over again. Nothing's happened this school year, right? It's a giant clean slate. We're still all good?"

Derek and Wes shared a glance, and the latter smiled harshly, "Nothing's happened…yet."

"I'm sure if anything does, it's from you pranksters," Derek returned sharply, nodding toward the interior or the house. "Seriously? A bonfire in the middle of the night for the newbie, with all the dry leaves everywhere? His voice is fantastic, but I don't think it's worth setting fire to campus. This is not an episode of Jackass." He snapped sarcastically.

"Why can't you all get along outside of Warblers' Hall the way you do inside?" Derek's attention was averted to Dwight again, who pouted.

"Derek's not even a Warbler, Dwight," Wes said.

Derek rolled his eyes, annoyed at the banter between the housemates, "Whatever," he snapped, "Can we not do this? I'd like to pass midterms with a clean student record." Not only that, but I'd like to get to the next regatta without a trip to the dean's office. He shuddered at the thought, and how it would reflect on his chances for the scholarship. Right. The scholarship. He needed to work tirelessly if he wanted to achieve it. He didn't need these Windsors and Logan's drama ruining it for him. He prepared himself to go, his patience for the day all worn out—David echoed his thoughts.

"You may leave now," He said sharply, with a taut, icy look on his face. "We'll give Logan's regards to Kurt," he finished.

Derek sighed and nodded, "Why thank you, David." The only reasonable one in that whole damn place.

With that, Derek turned around to face Grayson and Rodney, who both nodded and turned around and headed away from Windsor without a glance back. Derek followed them, keeping his head high, so happy to have his stupid errand for Logan out of the way. Now that it was done, he truly wondered why he had agreed, when he knew it would be nothing but hell. He wasn't Logan's lapdog, after all. Didn't he have more pride than that? Next time—next time he wouldn't do it. Logan would have to brave the battlefield his own damn self.

Once they were out of earshot of the troublemakers, Rodney whispered to Derek, "You alright man? Things got sort of heated back there."

Derek nodded curtly, "I'm fine. Those Windsor's are just…impossible to deal with."

Grayson agreed, "I know man. It sucks Logan made you deal with them like this." He paused, "Though I mean, maybe it was best if he didn't go over there."

Derek scoffed, "Why is that? Actually, I was just thinking that I'd make him do it himself next time. I'm not a mailman. I have things to do."

Grayson shrugged, "Yeah, but…well there's that fencing meet today. Windsor versus Stuart. Things are already heated with us as it is, but if Logan went…things would have been much worse, don't you think?"

Derek blinked rapidly—the fencing meet! He had completely forgotten that it was today. A rush of guilt took over him. He always hated it when Logan couldn't remember about his football games or regatta meets, and here he had forgotten about Logan's own battle…and he would be facing off of Blaine. Maybe that's why he was so intense this morning.

"Yeah, Logan would probably have been murdered over there," murmured Derek, breathing out slowly and shoving his hands in his pocket.

"I hope he can get his head out of this new kid's ass and into the game," Rodney commented. "We really can't lose to Windsor. Not after that."

"Logan's awesome, he should be fine," Grayson shot back quickly.

"But he's on meds—"

"Both of you, just…shut up," grumbled Derek. Urgh. What a way to start the day. His head pounded and he couldn't get over how guilty he found in regards to Logan—and now his teammates were getting on Logan's case. Even Derek, though, deep down, doubted Logan's skill. Did he really have what it took to defeat Blaine? If he didn't, it wouldn't help his already shaky track record with the house. He needed to start the school year off right.

Derek shook his head at himself. If his teammates could hear his thoughts aloud, they would laugh and say he was more concerned about Logan than his own mother.

The sad thing was that was true.

"Come on guys, let's get back to Stuart," Derek sped up his pace. "We might as well get pumped for the match too."

Logan would need all the support he could get.


The match hadn't started by the time Derek, Grayson, and Rodney had arrived. Derek nodded to the bleachers and tapped Rodney on his shoulder,

"You guys should go and get seats—I'm gunna go and see if I can find our lovely prefect and give him a pep talk."

The two other boys nodded and Grayson patted Derek's shoulder, "Good luck trying to find him. You think his meds will affect his game?" Grayson asked nervously, scratching the back of his neck and giving Rodney a wary glance.

Derek grunted, "Not sure. Guess I'll find out, won't I?"

Both boys nodded and headed towards the bleachers and Derek turned on his heel, heading for the bench where the fencers sat.

Derek spotted the blond Warbler as he adjusted his fencing gloves, and he had to smile, admitting to himself that he liked seeing Logan prepping for some ass-kicking. As he made his way over, something, or rather, someone caught his eye.

Derek stopped dead in his tracks as he saw her enter the arena.

Her.

Her brown hair was longer than he had remembered, but that didn't matter—Derek would always recognize that face.

The horrifyingly beautiful face of Casey Lambert that still haunted his dreams.

He frowned at her presence, but that frown turned to a horrid sneer of disgust and outrage when he saw whose arm she was pressing firmly too.

His eyes narrowed at Wes Hughes as he smiled at Casey. The girl returned the smile and the pair moved to take a seat in the bleachers across from where Derek saw Grayson and Rodney had taken their seats.

Derek balled his hands into fists so hard his knuckles turned white. What is she doing here? And more, what the fuck is she doing here with Wes?

He forgot about Logan and started to walk back towards the bleachers when a sudden, high pitched squeal got his attention.

Derek felt the wind being knocked out of him as he felt a pair of small arms wrap around his neck; a familiar scent of floral perfume washed over him and he took a deep breath, instantly recognizing who it was that was holding him. Tabitha.

He wrapped his arms around her easily, as if she was another one of the random girls he hooked up with on occasion.

"Hey Derek," she pulled away from him, but making sure her arms stayed firm around his neck.

"Hey, you." He smiled easily at her and he let his hand graze her waist—a simple touch, but it drove girls wild. He knew from experience. "What are you doing here?" he asked.

Tabitha shrugged and linked her fingers with his, "I came to watch the match," she paused and smirked. "And to see you?"

He grinned, "Oh yeah?" He raised an eyebrow and cast a quick glance to Casey, who was still sitting next to Wes. Suddenly, their eyes met, and Derek felt the pit of his stomach drop.

Derek knew Casey was pissed at him for what happened the night everything went terribly wrong, but instead of seeing anger in her eyes, he saw something else—was it regret? Pity? Maybe even disappointment? Whatever the case may be, it made Derek feel like an insignificant piece of crap. However, he wasn't going to let her see she still had this effect on him. He couldn't. He was a man—a damn attractive one at that. As shitty as it may seem, he had to live up to his expectations.

Besides, he and Casey were over. She didn't care for him anymore—she was through with him.

It didn't matter that Derek still dreamt about her. It didn't matter that he regretted ever…doing what he did the night Casey broke up with him. It didn't matter because she didn't care. No matter how much he did.

Derek continued to eye her until the presence of Tabitha underneath his arm grabbed his attention. Tabitha wrapped an arm around his waist, and he snapped his head back to face her, giving her an award winning smile.

"Watcha looking at?" She asked, leaning forward to see what could be holding his gaze.

Derek could still feel Casey's gaze on him, but why should he care? She certainly didn't.

"Nothing, babe." He smiled at her again and leaned down to capture her lips in his. The kiss was meaningless to him, yet it was long and looked passionate to any outsider. Tabitha gripped his hair and Derek grasped at her hips possessively, aggressively, growling into her mouth.

All thoughts of Casey temporarily vanished from Derek's mind as he felt Tabitha's tongue swipe over his bottom lip. Though the kiss meant nothing to him, he secretly wished it meant everything to Casey, as he hoped the public display of affection would make her slightly jealous.

But at the same time, he knew he needed to forget her. Being single and not hooking up with anyone gave Derek's mind more time to mull over his and Casey's falling out…which is something he did not need.

So, he gave his mind something else to think about.

Whether it be just a random hookup, a date every night, or an actual girlfriend, like Tabitha—he needed something else to occupy his mind so he didn't go completely insane thinking about how badly he fucked up and all of the regrets that went with it.

Tabitha may not be the brightest girl, or the most calm—but she was hot as hell, and was willing to get it on in public places and would probably obey his every command. Like right now—grabbing her for an impromptu kiss to her was probably romantic, but to him it was something to ease his mind after seeing Casey.

Derek knew kissing Tabitha to rid his mind of someone else was wrong, but he needed the distraction. And she was the perfect one.

When they broke apart, it seemed as though others had started watching them, and Derek felt his cheeks redden. Tabitha smiled and tugged his hand.

"Come on," She nodded to the bleachers where Rodney and Grayson were, "Those are your friends, aren't they? Let's go sit with them? You know…" She shot her eyes up suggestively, "We can continue this later… behind the bleachers, if you want."

Derek smirked and he felt Tabitha grip his hand as they passed the bleachers where Casey and Wes were sitting. Casey looked up at them and Derek winced when Tabitha shot a glare to the pair. Derek had to tear his eyes from the ground to look up at them. His eyes moved past Wes quickly and went straight to Casey, who was piercing him with a look that could kill.

He frowned and looked away, unable to hold the gaze for too long and continued to walk away with Tabitha to the bleachers.

Most of the game went on and seemed like a blur for Derek, who couldn't stop thinking about Casey, and the painful look she had given him.


Cal peered around a large trunk of a tree, his eyes focusing on the figure doing tireless movements by the shore of the lake.

Cal couldn't help but frown when he saw Jon Eagen (who everyone thought was confident of his sport) break down during his practices. Yeah, Jon was a complete asshole, but assholes had feelings, and expectations of themselves. And when those expectations weren't met, their world falls apart.

And that's what Cal felt like he was witnessing. And, oddly enough, it hurt him to see him so…vulnerable.

Jon threw his oar harshly onto the ground, muttering curses under his breath. He stood up and walked away from the boat, fisting his hair and pulling it at its ends. Jon was frustrated, and Cal knew he shouldn't approach him under any circumstances.

But that didn't stop him.

"Problem, Eagen?"

Jon froze at Cal's charming voice and turned around on his heel, wiping a few strands of brown hair out of his eyes. His cold expression turned to one of mild content and relief and he smiled stiffly,

"Not at all, Morrel." Jon muttered through gritted teeth, though he was trying not to show Cal he was displeased with himself.

Cal raised an amused eyebrow, seeing through Jon's act right away. He picked up the thrown oar. He looked from the boat to Jon, and then back to the oar, "I saw you throw the oar. Why did you—"

"It was nothing." Jon snapped, stuffing his hands into his pockets. "Didn't seem like nothing to me." Cal continued, "What's the problem?"

Jon dragged a hand down his face and took a deep breath, looking down at his hands. He shook his head and gave a defeated sigh, letting his shoulders slump forward,

"My hands—my wrists. They…something's wrong. I can't get them to do what I want."

Cal smiled softly, but hid it quickly from Jon as he walked slowly towards him, reaching out to hold his wrists. His warm hands touched Jon's smooth skin, and Jon flinched a little. Cal gripped his wrists lightly, letting his thumb brush over the skin. He lifted his wrists up and turned them harshly, earning a slight wince from Jon.

"See?" Cal said, pointing to the angle of his wrist, "You have to keep your wrist strong—like this, see— if you want the stroke to be strong. Didn't I tell you to—"

"Yes," Jon snapped, his eyes locking with Cal's, his cold stare piercing through the Cox, "I know what you told me," He lowered his voice to a whisper, almost embarrassed to speak the words, "Don't you think I've been trying to do what you tell me? You're a smart guy, Cal, I'd be stupid not to trust you. I just can't do this."

Cal rolled his eyes and dropped Jon's wrist, "Yes you can, Eagen. Stop being such a woman and get your head into it!" He lifted the oar again and shoved it into Cal's hand. Jon stared at it and Cal took a deep breath,

"What's the problem?"

Jon shrugged, "There's no point in doing it if I fucking can't."

Cal glared at him, but inside he was extremely surprised. Yeah, the kid was an ass, but he didn't think he was a quitter. In fact, Cal always thought of Jon as the type to never give up. The fact that Jon was out here on the lake practicing was evidence of that.

"Since when have you ever thought you couldn't do anything, huh?" Cal said.

Jon simply glared at him, "Don't you have something better to do than pick apart my personality?" he paused, "Actually, isn't that fencing meet today? Shouldn't you be throwing your Pom Poms up for your house?"

Cal grunted and shrugged, "I guess, but I'd rather be here instead—"

"Well aren't I lucky—?"

"Whipping your ass into shape—"

"Who said I needed whipping—?"

"So you don't mess things up for our regatta!"

Jon swallowed the lump that formed in his throat, but immediately shook it away—how dare Cal assume he would be the one to mess up the regatta?

Even though he had the same thought himself?

"How dare you say that to me? You may know your shit, Cal. But you don't know a damn fucking thing about me. And you sure as hell aren't out on the boat rowing you ass off—"

"Well maybe," Cal said, trying not to let his sudden frustration get the best of him, "if you weren't an ass all of the time, people wouldn't assume the worst of you."

Jon laughed coldly, shaking his head at Cal, "I already know what people think of me, and to be frank, I don't really care if they think I'm a good person or not."

Cal, though he should expect nothing less, was utterly shocked when he actually heard the words from Jon. He knew Jon didn't care about other people and only cared about himself, but to hear him say it…it was almost hard to believe.

"I think you do care, you're just afraid to show it." Cal said softly.

Jon scoffed and leaned into Cal almost threateningly, their noses mere inches from each other, "And why do you think that?"

Cal, getting a sudden wave of confidence, cocked up an eyebrow, "Because you don't want people seeing a susceptible side to you."

"That's bullshit." Jon said defensively

This time Cal had to laugh, and muttered, "That is so something you would say." He sighed dejectedly and straightened his tie, looking at Jon straight in the eyes.

"You can be a good person, Jon," Cal said. "But if you keep up this douchebag act you like to play, no one is ever going to see that."

"That's because there is nothing to see." Jon grumbled.

"Why the hell do you want us to hate you so much?" Cal lifted his chin. "Don't tell me you get kicks and giggles out of being the asshole on Crew."

"I told you already. I don't give a shit about what you people think about me. Unlike a lot of you, I actually care about this sport, you know. I care a lot. This is my life," Jon hissed.

"Yeah, I know, Mr. Olympics," Cal rolled his eyes. "But just because the rest of us aren't up for gold medals doesn't mean we don't care—"

"Well you don't care as much as me—"

"See, I think you're wrong," Cal's voice grew softer again and he lifted his shoulders in a half-hearted shrug. "I wouldn't be out here if I didn't."

"Shut up, Morrell," Jon growled, tightening his grip on the oar. He turned away from Cal, taking a moment to glance at the boat. Without making eye contact, he spoke sternly,

"You can leave now."

Cal scoffed, crossing his arms across his chest, "What makes you think I'm going to leave?"

Jon gave him a surprised, yet intrigued look, his eyes glinting with sudden interest, "Because I don't want you here."

"Well tough, I'm not leaving until you get your stroke back in order," Cal walked over to a nearby bench, where he plopped down, swung his legs up and stretched them out , letting his backpack be a temporary pillow and folding his arms over his head. He gave Jon a sarcastic smile,

"Well, get to it, then."

Jon stared blankly at Cal. To be frank, Jon was quite shocked at Cal's new wave of confidence. It was something he had never seen before, and he was quite positive no one else at Dalton had seen it, either. Morrell was always such an easygoing guy—a pushover, actually. The only time he ever asserted himself was on the water, and even then, it was all technical shit that any smart guy could rattle off. No, this was new. This confidence was coming from a place that even Cal probably didn't know. It was intriguing to Jon, and he felt suddenly drawn to it, drawn to Cal. Jon needed to figure this guy out, somehow or someway—figure out what made him tick."

He stopped himself. What are you doing, Eagen? He forced himself to look at a smirking Cal, who was looking at him expectantly.

Jon sighed. He couldn't let himself get attached, especially to Morrel—he had a plan. And with that plan, he needed to follow through. Jon knew what he had to do. He let his eyes linger on Cal's laying form and smirked, an idea forming into his mind.

Yes, he could definitely use this boy to his advantage.

He stood up straight, groaned, turning back around towards the boat, only to hide the smile forming across his lips,

"Fine," Jon spat, "You can stay. Just…don't speak too much and don't interrupt me."

Cal nodded, "Fine."

Cal smiled to himself as he watched Jon crawl back into the boat and begin his strokes. He was proud of himself for sticking up to Jon. He really had no idea what came over him—if it were anyone else, he would probably have crawled back into his shell and let the person walk all over him, like everyone else did.

And with Jon, he was surprised he didn't let that happen. So why had he stood up to him? Why had he even bothered to care? Why did he even try?

He continued to watch the Hanover and he shook his head. They had a regatta to win, and Cal wasn't going to let anyone, not even the resident tool of the team, stop their team from achieving that.

But there was also something to Jon that Cal couldn't put his finger on. Something that made Cal want to stay and help Jon.

And he wasn't sure what that was… but he certainly wanted to find out.


"I can't believe I lost. To Blaine fucking Anderson." Logan kicked the coffee table in front of him, making his irritation known to the other Stuarts, who were trying to calm him down.

Derek rolled his eyes and sighed, shooting Logan an aggravated look—now he understood what Logan meant when he said Derek became, "A whiny ass bitch" whenever he lost a game and started to complain.

It was incredibly annoying.

"It's alright, Wright," Grayson said, patting Logan on the shoulder sympathetically, "You fought well."

"I fought like shit!" Logan groaned, running a frustrated hand through his hair.

"Here! Have some coffee!" A frantic voice spoke out from the crowd of Stuarts that surrounded Logan and a random hand with a coffee cup stuck out in front of Logan's face.

Logan rolled his eyes and pushed it away, but replaced by the coffee cup was a Political Science text book, and another Stuart was flipping through the pages right in front of Logan's face,

"Here Logan, smell the textbook pages. Smell them. That should make you feel better—"

Logan hit the textbook out of the boys' hands, not even slightly flinching when the heavy book made contact with the wood floor, causing the room to echo.

Logan stood up and Derek followed suit, placing a protective hand on his shoulder, "What is the matter with all of you!" Logan exclaimed, "Just, get out of my sight and out of ear shot before I do something I regret."

The boarders of Stuart didn't need to be told twice—they bolted in all different types of directions, trying to make sure they didn't make eye contact with Logan as they fled the room, following through with his demands.

Logan sighed and dragged a hand down his face, and he sat back down on the couch. He let his head fall into his hands had he pulled his hair at its ends. Derek laughed softly and sat down next to him,

"Why do these things happen to me?" Logan drawled.

Derek shrugged, "It happens to the best of us." He nodded.

Logan laughed, "Not to you."

"Yeah, well, I'm flawless."

Logan chuckled slightly; however, his laugh didn't fool Derek into thinking that he was feeling any better. Derek leaned his hands on his thighs and stood up, earning an odd glance from Logan.

"You," Derek said, pointing to the blonde, "seem like you could use a drink."

"I highly doubt alcohol can cure the level of inadequacy I feel at the moment…" Logan returned, pinching the bridge of his nose.

Derek scoffed, "Oh come on! Since when have you ever felt inadequate? And compared to Anderson? Please! You have at least three feet on him! Come on; let me make you a drink,"

Logan groaned as he reluctantly leaned back into the couch, listening to Derek bustle around the kitchen and into the private stash. Logan exhaled deeply as he heard a few pots and pans clatter to the ground—though Logan had to grin at the comment made from a boarder on the top floor, ("Oi! This isn't Windsor, keep it down in there!").

After Logan heard the blender whirl a few times and sink turn on and off, Derek emerged from the kitchen carrying two cups. He grinned as he set one down on the coffee table, handing one over to Logan,

"Drink. Now." The athlete demanded.

Logan rolled his eyes and took a drink, shuddering after the liquid touched his lips. The drink was plain awful. The more the thought about what just entered his system, the more he wanted to throw up. He swallowed the sip, however, and pinched his nose again, "Jesus Der. What is in that?" He demanded, trying hard not to gag.

Derek grinned and took a larger gulp of his drink, obviously enjoying the taste and flaunting his higher tolerance for it, "If I told you, you wouldn't drink it. Just relax, buddy. This is supposed to be helping you. Just forget about Blaine and your fencing match and get drunk with me," Derek took another sip and leaned back against the couch, closing his eyes.

Logan rolled his eyes and took another sip—he knew if he didn't, Derek would force feed it to him, so he might as well have the chance to drink it at his own pace.

The boys continued to drink in silence, until finally, Derek's ringtone went off. Surprised, he reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone, laughing as he saw the name that was flashing on his caller ID. He answered the call, smirking as he spoke into the phone.

"Hey diva, how's the limelight treating you?"

Logan heard a faint, muffled voice come from Derek's phone, and he let out a sigh of relief as he realized who had called.

Julian.

"Hey, hey Derek," Logan said, suddenly feeling light headed as he reached over for Derek's phone, "Let me talk to him!"

Derek laughed at the slightly buzzed Logan, "I'll just put him on speaker—hang on—okay—Julian," He asked, lifting his phone up to his lips, "Can—can you hear me now?"

The voice on the other end of the line laughed, "What is this—a Verizon Wireless commercial? Yes, I can hear you. How are things in the hell hole over there?"

Derek laughed, "Good question, why don't you ask Mr. Sore Loser over here?" Derek handed the phone to Logan, who snatched it out of his hand,

"I am not a sore loser!" He exclaimed before putting the phone up to his lips, "Juuulian?" He slurred.

"You lose a match today, Princess?" Julian asked.

Derek laughed out loud as this. "Yeah, he did! How'd you know?"

"Like it's a surprise? I'm highly attuned to Logan's pitiful whining by now, Derek; all he had to do was say my name."

Logan frowned and ignored them both with his own grumble, "To what do we owe the pleasure, Diva?"

"What?" Julian asked, mocking an offended tone, "Can't a guy call his two best friends just to catch up?"

"No," Derek returned, not missing a beat.

"A guy can, but you don't," Logan pointed out.

Julian gave a frustrated sigh on his end, "I love the amount of faith you guys have in me. Really, it warms my heart," he said sarcastically.

Derek smirked, and projected his voice, "It should. It's not often we express that kind of affection for someone—especially someone who is never here." A pause. "Speaking of which, when do you plan on coming back?"

Julian stayed silent for a moment, and for a second, Derek thought they had lost signal, but then he spoke, "What fun would it be if I told you when I was coming back? Doesn't that ruin the surprise?"

"I hate surprises," Logan muttered.

"More of a reason to give you one, then!" Julian said, the boys knowing his trademark smirk was probably dancing across his lips as he spoke.

Logan rolled his eyes and leaned back against the couch, "When did you become such an ass?" He responded, which earned a laugh from Julian.

"When you decided to be a brat," Julian said easily. When Logan didn't answer, Julian continued, "So, Lo, who did you lose the match to?"

"I don't want to talk about it," Logan snapped.

"Ooh, touchy... Derek, care to tell?" Julian asked.

"He lost to Anderson. Blaine Anderson."

Julian snorted "Ooh. Battle of the Exes," he paused. "But how did you lose to him in the first place? Lo, you're ten feet taller than him."

Derek laughed, "Isn't it true that the short ones are always quicker on their feet—?"

"You guys!" Logan exclaimed, rubbing his temples, "Please. No more short jokes. Do we have to do this right now?"

"While you're almost intoxicated? Abso-fucking-lutely." Derek took another sip of his drink.

"It pains me you decide to drink at a time I am not around," Julian whined, "The one time Logan is almost drunk, and I can't be there to make use of my digital camera!"

Logan groaned, "I hate you so—"

There was distant voices coming from the phone, and both Logan and Derek knew that their phone conversation would be cut short by the Something Damaged cast coming to retrieve Julian. Derek watched as Logan's face screwed up into a grimace, and the blond grabbed a pillow and chucked it across the room.

Julian sighed, "I gotta—"

"Go. Yeah. We know," Logan practically growled. "Fine. Run along, play Hollywood."

"Thaw out, Ice Queen," Julian shot back.

"Why don't you come and make me?" Logan snatched the phone out of Derek's hands, but it was too late; Julian had hung up, once again whisked away by his other life and his other "friends." Derek watched Logan carefully as the different emotions went by on his face and he dropped the phone on the couch, but he couldn't pinpoint anything specific. He just knew that Logan was definitely more pissed off than he was.

Why wasn't he more pissed off at Julian anyway? He should be; the damn diva hadn't given them more than five minutes of his time lately, calling spontaneously and usually when the time wasn't all that good. But tonight, he was really needed. Logan was feeling shitty and for a little while they had been together again. Sure, Julian wasn't actually in the room, but it was as close as it was going to get until he decided to come back. Derek picked up his phone and pocketed it, wishing he was just more than annoyed. The sad thing was that the reason he wasn't mad—if he was honest—was because this just happened too often.

Oh well. That was all in the past. Another day done—he had bigger issues a.k.a Logan Wright the Third.

"Get me more drink, Derek!" The prefect demanded harshly. "If I'm gonna get drunk, I want to get drunk fast."

Derek shook his head but went to the kitchen, his mind flashing images of Casey at the fencing match. He felt his heart drop and he swallowed thickly as guilt once again took over.

Yeah, he definitely could use that drink too.