Hi everyone! I'm sorry it took so long, but here it finally is: chapter 14 :) Just one more chapter after this and then we're done *freaking out*. Thank you so much for the people who've stayed with me and this story even if I made you wait for so long. I'm so sorry for the long waits, I really hate them, but I just can't work faster, I have so much to do ;_;

Anyway, I want to thank my beta a million, million times, because she made me a better writer and I love her with everything I have :) Beth, you're amazing and thank you! Also, I should say that she said that it's not to be recommended to read this chapter with Down by Jason Walker playing XD Apparently :P I love you, Beth *snuggles*

Also, I should say that the writing style might be a little bit different, so I hope it doesn't bother you ^^

And now I should stop talking and let you enjoy (I hope?) one of the last chapters. Happy reading, sweeties :)


Chapter 14: Love Me Tender


You're going to be fine.

You have to be fine.

Jules... Julian...

Let's run away from here.

Logan's vision was blurred, unclear—the world bleeding away in front of his eyes and slowly slipping from his grasp. The ambulances stopping in front of the open doors were vague yellow splotches, stretched out over a canvas of light blue. The world was wiped out, as if someone had smeared their hands through a freshly painted drawing. He suspected the tears were causing it, but while his cheeks were still wet and salty, his eyes had dried out a long time ago. His head hurt, he felt dizzy, and when his arms slipped from their hold on the unconscious boy in his lap, his hand fell on his leg and landed in a huge pool of crimson blood.

The pain was excruciating, torturous. Somewhere in the back of his mind Logan realized he should call for help now—but his last cries still echoed painfully in his head, loud enough to hurt him, loud enough for everyone to hear.

No... I should stay.

...Jules...

His thoughts were a hazardous, fragmented mess—scattering broken and damaged memories of another lifetime everywhere.

Countless profanities and insults—pushes and shoves that ended up against bookcases and closets—smirks about coffee and homework—laughter at impossible places to fall asleep—crying because of damaged families and broken hearts—crushing hugs that felt awkward and right—and—and—

He groaned, trying to make sense of these strange, unknown memories, trying to make them go away. They weren't his, they couldn't possibly belong to him

Little deceptive pills and lost memories—terrifying, hopeless blackness—horribly confusing fights with a stern looking man and an upset looking woman who looked concerned and sweet and—silence, silence, forever silence—and running—staying invisible—always, always running away—

He was used to running, to always getting out. Fleeing was a familiar feeling, escaping without leaving traces—and even though his body felt like lead and even though every movement was torture—through the jumble of thoughts and memories, he felt the horrifying urge to run and get out. To pick up Julian and run for their lives.

Maybe they could escape this hell. Maybe they could live. Maybe they could survive after all.

Run, run, run, run—

The pain in his leg seemed to have spread out to his head. When he clenched his teeth and doubled over in pain his chest pressed tightly against Julian's—and for one terrifying moment he could swear Julian had died. But then the faint sounds of a heart beating filtered through the mess in his mind, a light pounding vibrated through his ribs and he could breathe again.

Stay, stay, stay—you have to stay—

The blackness crashed down on him before he had a chance to move, before he had a chance to escape this incredible chaos he'd created. It was a heavy, crushing weight that forced his eyes to close, made him slump to the floor, made it difficult to breathe.

He was tired.

Can't run, can't get out—

The last thing Logan remembered were the paramedics, with their soothing voices and businesslike commands, who had to pry his arms off of Julian with force, ignoring his weak but urgent pleas to not take the boy away from him. In his last moments of lucidity—right before the world and everything in it evaporated into darkness—his last thoughts were not of pain, and they weren't the strange memories of earlier either. His last thoughts were of a boy with a vibrant smile and with eyes the color of the setting sun—the only person who could make him feel, even when he'd taken his medication.

Julian.


When Logan opened his eyes the first thing he felt was a crushing sense of loneliness and terror, and in a reflex he searched for someone's hand to hold onto—Julian, Derek, an unknown boy with silky hair and starry eyes, but mostly Julian—and found no one. He swallowed, his fingers clenching around empty air as he looked around bewildered.

Where the world had been a hazardous mess of colors at first, it was a blinding white that pierced its way into his skull now. He squeezed his eyes shut, making a little sound of distress that hurt his throat, and wished again for someone to be there.

After a few seconds—when his breathing had regulated and his heart wasn't making these ridiculous attempts of breaking free from his chest—the horrifying fear washed away and he dared to open his eyes a little bit. The white was less blinding to look at, but he was still all alone, and his heart leaped when he thought of the people that were supposed to be with him now, particularly one person.

The minute that person crossed his mind, the memories slammed into him, and his eyes widened when he remembered everything with a horrifying clarity.

"Logan, justgo away—"

"Julian,shut up! Clavell—step away, don't you fucking touch him!"

Logan frowned and closed his eyes, trying to repress those frightening memories and failing miserably.

The gunshots—those horrifying, deafening blasts that ended the world as Logan knew it and threatened to rip away his heart— had torn apart the air.

And then—

"Julian! Julian—no—! JULIAN!"

"Jules," Logan whispered. He cleared his throat, blazing with annoyance when his voice sounded so weak and raspy while he wanted nothing more than to scream out that name. "Julian—"

He started when someone grabbed his hand, and a wide smile appeared out of all the white. Blue eyes stared down at him, concerned and patient.

"Logan?"

Logan blinked, looking up at the young woman with the nice voice and the kind eyes, forcing himself to focus on what she had to say.

"Logan, are you with me?"

But he didn't care about that, he didn't care about himself, and he felt slightly annoyed that the lady didn't know that. All he cared about was—

"Julian?"

The blue eyes dipped up and down when the nurse nodded. She leaned down to gently squeeze his hand. From his peripheral vision, he thought he saw her other hand fiddle with his IV. "Is that the boy who was with you?"

Yes. Yes. Yes.

But the nurse couldn't read his mind and Logan had to clear his throat before replying, his voice a painful rasp when he whispered, "Yes."

"Julian is sleeping in a different room."

Logan narrowed his eyes a bit, wondering why that sounded wrong. "Can I—"

"He's still hurting, Logan." Her hand brushed lightly over his cheek and he jerked away from her touch as she wiped at something. Tears? It was difficult to focus on anything but Julian. The thought of the actor being in as much pain—probably even more pain—as he was in right now scared Logan more than he cared to admit.

"But I'll make a deal with you," the nurse continued. "I'll bring you to him when you've really woken up and when you're not in so much pain anymore. Okay?"

Logan thought he nodded, but the world had turned black again before he could fully comprehend what he was doing.


A few days later, when he was holding Julian's hand with their fingers laced together and feeling like something had finally been set right in the world, Logan finally figured out what the nurse had been wrong about.

She'd obviously never seen Julian sleep before—curled up like a cat, with the sheets of the bed all tangled up around him, his face peaceful and utterly gorgeous in rest—or she would have never said that the actor was sleeping.

Logan rested his head on the bed, right next to Julian's pillow, his eyes unblinking as he gazed at the unconscious brunet. He still looked beautiful—his long lashes resting on his pale cheeks and his dark hair splayed out over the whiteness of his pillow—but he absolutely did not look like he was asleep.

It would've been good if he'd been sleeping, Logan thought, his thumb brushing absentmindedly over Julian's hand with gentle strokes. Sleeping was good, a healing process, whereas a coma... Well. A coma was more like a violent lockdown of the body, a desperate attempt to protect it, merely functioning as a waiting room before death would come crawl over for a last visit. A last resort to prolong life.

I wish you were sleeping.

He should be lucky Julian was alive to begin with. With multiple broken bones, one collapsed lung, a concussion, and an excessive amount of blood loss... it was a miracle he'd survived. Logan reached out lazily, brushing some brown strands out of Julian's face, letting his hand fall listlessly on the mattress after.

You should be sleeping.

From the limited time he'd functioned as Julian's fake-bodyguard, he'd seen the actor fall asleep in the strangest places and at the most impossible times. On the couch, at the table, sitting on his kitchen counter with a cup of unfinished coffee in his hands and a blanket around his shoulders. And if Logan could've pushed away the darker thoughts—the ones about murders, guns and a lot of regrets—he would've smiled in remembrance at the brunet's most vulnerable moments.

"You should be asleep," he murmured, tenderly caressing Julian's cheek.

For a while, Logan could actually pretend that Julian was asleep—the sniper's slow strokes over Julian's hand following the pace of the actor's breathing, which didn't hitch for minutes, not even once. The heavy silence hanging in the hospital room only added to the desperate fantasy, creating the foundation of this short moment in which Logan was completely content living in this false moment of peace.

But with every good thing he ever created—whether it be mentally, emotionally, or physically—eventually even this fell apart. Julian's monitors started beeping—their tones gentle yet begging for attention—and at the same time, the horrendous pain in his leg returned. He squeezed his eyes shut, his fingers clenched around Julian's hand, but the actor didn't wake up to react with his usually snappy answer—"what?"—and he didn't even flinch when Logan's grasp got so strong it had to be hurting him. Julian stayed eerily silent, the movements of his chest guided by the ventilation machine, the rhythm of his irregular heartbeats carefully registered on the monitor next to his bed.

And throughout his pain, Logan became aware of a black feeling dripping into his system, and he realized he'd never felt lonelier in his life. Not even when he'd woken up a few days ago without anyone by his side, not even when the pills had poisoned him and the black holes had threatened to overtake his mind, and not even when everyone in the world—even the world itself—had abandoned him so many years ago. Everything, absolutely everything in his body yearned to stay with the unconscious brunet, who he'd never seen so vulnerable in his life, who he wanted to protect and treasure no matter what. He wanted to stay with Julian forever—even if it was for purely selfish reasons, even if it was so Logan wouldn't be alone anymore.

He was so tired of always being alone.

I don't want to be alone.

The pain in his leg flared up to an excruciating torture and before Logan could cover up his involuntary wince, the nurse was already by his side, gripping his wheelchair and taking him back to his room.

Logan held onto Julian's hand until the very last moment, until only their fingertips brushed over each other, the touch lingering but not lasting, and finally whisked away like waking up from a good dream.

My mind is always on you.


The police came by one day, messing up Logan's perfectly pristine room with various colors of blues and stern looking faces. His nurse of the day stood by in a corner, glaring at the intruders and obviously displeased with this disruption of his schedule, practically daring the officers to move one finger out of line so he could send them away.

One of the officers walked over to Logan's bed, grabbing a chair and dropping into it without any form of invitation. He offered his hand, which Logan shook in a reflex, and introduced himself as 'McCartney'.

"So... Mr. Wright?" he asked as he pulled out a little notebook, glancing up at the blond expectantly.

Despite his pain and inner turmoil, Logan recovered quickly from his initial surprise—crossing his arms and narrowing his eyes. He wasn't in the mood for this—not now, not ever. "What?"

The policemen looked at each other with raised eyebrows, some of them even sending a glare at the rude blond. Logan wasn't fazed, wasn't impressed in the slightest, and he glowered at the officer sitting in front of him.

"We'd like to know what happen—"

"No."

McCartney looked up in confusion, his fingers fiddling idly with his pen as he cocked his head in question. "What do you mean 'no'?"

"I mean no, I'm not going to talk about anything," Logan explained, his voice low and menacing.

"Listen, Logan," the officer said patiently, expression softening as he leaned forward. "I understand that you need some time to heal, but we need to know what happened. People died, Logan, we need to get everyone's story straight."

Logan's cheeks flushed with color, his bright eyes blazing as he glared at the officer. "I'm not going to tell you anything—my best friend is dead and my... my... Julian Larson is still unconscious and hurt, and—"

His nurse jumped towards him, his expression almost smug as he stood next to Logan, ready to hold him back if the blond tried to lunge at the officers. He stared up at the officers with clever, grey eyes, not even trying to repress his sneer as he politely asked them to leave.

"As you can see, my patient is still in shock, and he's emotionally very unstable—exactly like I told you an hour ago."

McCartney seemed to hesitate for a moment, but when he glanced at Logan again, he seemed to realize any sort of interview would be next to impossible. He sighed and shook his head as he surrendered. "Fine, we'll come back later—" He exchanged a questioning look with the nurse before looking back at Logan, almost as if he sought permission. "Your friend, he's—"

"Go away—" Logan rasped. It sounded less intimidating than he wanted it to be, and the officer's expression turned into one of pity as he looked down at the blond.

"We found—" he tried again, but Logan interrupted him for the second time.

"I don't want to hear it, go away—please, leave me alone—"

After what seemed to take ages, McCartney gazing deep in Logan's eyes as if trying to find something, the former pressed his lips together and nodded shortly, gesturing for the others to follow him.

"Good luck with recovering, Mr. Wright. We'll come back later, when you're feeling better."

As Logan stared after the officers leaving his room, he wondered when in the world that would be, and then he wondered if he would ever feel better again.


The rain was pounding on the windows, the clattering water steady and calming, almost perfectly in beat with Julian's light breaths. Logan sat in a comfortable chair, his legs stretched out and resting on the bed, the laptop in his lap creating a strange hue of colors that illuminated his face, making his eyes swim in colors, so bright and brilliant they didn't seem to belong in this world.

His leg wasn't hurting as much anymore and thanks to a few blood transfusions and a lot of rest, his blood loss had been cured and he didn't feel dizzy anymore every time he tried to stand. If he was being careful, and if he moved at the pace of a snail, he could stumble through his little hospital room all by himself. The last few days of his stay in the hospital, Logan spent more time in Julian's room than he spent time doing his therapies.

In all that time, Julian never opened his eyes, never moved—and after he'd told all his stories and after he was done complaining about the lack of good coffee in the hospital, Logan resorted to finally watching all the movies Julian had starred in. He watched completely transfixed as Julian—younger, happier, and absolutely beautiful—acted out his characters perfectly, and the tough sniper found himself laughing and crying and hurting along with the brunet in every single scene.

In one particular movie—one of the older ones in which Julian was only a teenager—the actor lay sprawled out in the grass, his pregnant fiancée besides him. They were holding hands and they whispered sweet words in each other's ear, his sepia gaze every so often lovingly touching her swollen stomach. It was the picture of happiness and young love—and it loosened all kinds of new emotions in Logan, awakening a love and tenderness so pure and so honest it made him feel invincible.

The brunet boy in the movie turned around—his eyes big and brown and utterly beautiful as they stared up at the girl straddling him—and he smiled a smile so happy and glowing it warmed Logan's heart. And when the boy cupped the girl's cheek and whispered the words, "I love you" with such intensity it pierced the silent air—Logan touched the screen and didn't think twice when he whispered the words back.

"I love you."

I love you.

I love you.

He'd never experienced love, didn't know what it felt like, didn't know what it tasted like, didn't know the power of it. But when Logan glanced away from his laptop for a split second, his eyes glistening as he looked down at the quiet brunet—so different from the careless boy in the movie—he realized that this was it.

This was love.

A never-ending fall, exhilarating and thrilling... absolutely frightening.

His hand didn't tremble when he reached out to take Julian's, their fingers lacing together easily, the touch instantly soothing. He sank a little in the chair and rested his head on Julian's pillow. For a few seconds he relished in the closeness, reassuring himself that as long as Julian was still here, nothing bad would happen.

Having acknowledged these... new feelings... he noticed that his heart felt a little bigger and a whole lot lighter. He thought about how sad and unfair it was that he would realize his feelings at a time like this—when the person he loved was unconscious and hurt, and would probably be hurting for a long time to come. But before his thoughts could turn into even darker ones, he forced his attention back to the movie, where happier things were playing out.


A week after that, and only one day before he'd be discharged, Logan discovered that happy things didn't only happen in movies.

"Mister Logan Wright," the nurse tittered as she walked in her patient's room.

Logan's eyes snapped up and a suspicious expression crossed his face as he saw her happy smile. "Amber and smiling..." he sourly remarked. "You usually only smile at me like that when you want me to do something—and that usually involves pain. What's wrong now?"

Amber's smile only widened, her eyes sparkling as she walked closer. She placed her hands on the side rails of the bed, and her voice was loud and clear and glorious as she gleefully announced, "They're about to wake up Julian. They're taking him off the ventilation as we speak."

Logan didn't even notice the sudden tears on his cheeks, didn't really care when Amber reached out and handed him a few tissues. He did remember the time he had woken up, how scared he'd been and how alone he'd felt—and he bluntly demanded to be brought to Julian immediately. He wouldn't let Julian experience that painful feeling of loneliness—not in a million years.

Amber smirked smugly at his demand and walked out of the room, only to reappear a few second later with a wheelchair in her hands. "If you hop into this, I'll bring you myself."

Logan shook his head and managed to stand up from his bed without falling over. "I can walk myself."

"And you'll reach your friend by the time he's ready to be discharged," the nurse stated dryly, pointing to the seat with a no-nonsense expression. "We'll do this how we've been doing this the entire time. Sit, Logan."

Narrowing his eyes in frustration, Logan limped over to the wheelchair and dropped heavily into it. Amber immediately rolled him out of the room and her shoes tapped rapidly against the floor as she flew him over the hallways.

She didn't go nearly fast enough.

When they finally reached the Intensive Care Unit and eventually Julian's room, Logan instantly saw the differences—the way Julian's eyebrows were pulled together in a frown, the way his serene expression had changed into a distressed one, the way he struggled to get his breathing right. Logan clasped onto the wheelchair, his eyes wide, his entire body yearning to be with Julian. Amber rested her hand on his shoulder, squeezing slightly in an attempt to comfort him.

"They just took the ventilation tube out, because he's breathing on his own again," she said in a hushed voice. She was watching the actor with wide eyes, her gaze flickering from the mumbling doctors to the fast-moving ICU-nurses. "He should wake up in a few moments, but it may take a while. They're going to monitor him closely in the meantime, checking whether he's breathing okay enough on his own."

Logan nodded slowly, swallowing against the lump in his throat. "Okay."

When the doctors and nurses finally filtered out of the room—discussing the changed health status of their patient in hushed voices—Logan stood up from the wheelchair and slowly walked to Julian's bed. He looked down quietly, staring at the heavily breathing actor for a long time before he finally sank down into a more comfortable chair. Eventually, Logan took one of Julian's hands and laid his head on the brunet's pillow, their foreheads touching, their breaths ghosting over each other's cheeks.

"You can wake up now, Jules," Logan whispered with a tenderness so great it constricted his throat, made it difficult to speak clearly. He wanted to cry—to cry and scream and yell at the unfairness of it all. Because this wasn't over, wouldn't be over at all when Julian woke up. There was still the pain and the heartbreak, and suddenly Logan wanted nothing more than for Derek to be here with him. Derek with his gentle eyes, his sanity, and his absolutely aggravating habit to always say the right thing. Logan pressed his lips together, letting the tears stream freely over his cheeks, his body shaking with repressed sobs.

I'll do anything for you.

When after a few hours Julian's lashes fluttered and he finally opened his eyes—his sepia gaze glassy and unfocused, the meds circulating through his veins making him drowsy and sleepy—it took him a while to locate Logan, who was watching him with huge, hopeful eyes. But when he did and when their stares locked for the longest period of time, Julian granted Logan a halfhearted, cautious smile and he squeezed the blond's hand weakly.

"You're here," he whispered, his voice raw and fragile, and Logan winced when he heard it crack. Julian didn't seem to care about the pain, didn't seem to care about his surroundings, his wide eyes glistening with tears as he examined Logan's face. "You're here—"

I'll do absolutely anything for you.

"Of course I'm here," Logan choked, his voice thick and full. One of his hands was suddenly moving up, his fingers tangling in Julian's hair, pulling him closer as their foreheads pressed together. Logan didn't think he'd ever cried this hard in his life. "Of course I'm here—"

I'll make this right.

Julian was crying too and he closed his eyes, but not in time for Logan to miss seeing the biting hurt when all the memories came crashing down on him. The blond moved closer, half sitting and half lying on Julian's bed as he clutched the actor to his chest, holding him as tightly as he dared.

I'll fix this.

I'll fix this.

I'll fix this.


Logan had never really thought the world would be alright again when Julian woke up, but he'd secretly hoped for it. The realization that the painful road of recovery had just started burned in his heart and left it heavy with despair.

At least things got better when Julian was moved to a normal ward, in a private room and with a hell of a lot less beeping monitors and hurrying people. Logan had found a cheap hotel room somewhere in the neighborhood, but he was spending most of his time in the hospital anyway, in- and outside of visiting hours. They had to thank the latter arrangement mostly because of Julian's celebrity status, but Logan liked to think his own charming smile had played a role too.

"Oh shit, are you okay?"

Logan jerked back when Julian cursed, scared as his hands fluttered uselessly over Julian's body, staring in fear as the actor squeezed his eyes shut in pain.

"Yeah—yeah, just don't—don't touch me… there," Julian gestured vaguely to his body and Logan snorted despite of the situation they were in.

"You just gestured to all of you."

"Yeah well, it's all of me that hurts," Julian mumbled, staring out of the window absently. "Does..." he hesitated and for one terrifying second Logan thought he was going to broach that subject—but Julian seemed to change his mind the last moment. "...does anyone know?"

Logan cleared his throat and glanced away for a second. "Does anyone know what?" he whispered.

Julian turned around, staring at him with guarded eyes. "What you do. What you did. What you wanted to do... before... all of this."

Logan frowned. "I'm not... I never left traces... No one knows anything. Except for you and..."

"And..." Julian breathed, knowing what would follow and hating, hating, hating where they were going.

"...Derek," Logan whispered, voice softer than a breath, broken and damaged and cracking.

Julian's face scrunched up, his eyes closed and his chin trembled as he tried to repress his intense grief. Logan's heart leaped, crashed, and he felt just as powerless as all those days ago—when he watched Clavell hold a gun against Julian's temple, when the gunshots sounded, when Julian fell, when Julian almost died...

As Julian tried to control his ragged breathing, Logan was left not knowing what to do, not knowing what he could say to soothe the actor. And he felt useless for it. So he did the only thing he could think of, the only thing he could do. He crawled onto the bed and gently gathered Julian in his arms, pulling him against his chest as he sat back against the pillows.

"We don't know for sure," Logan murmured, absently brushing his fingers over Julian's arm.

"Do you—do you know anything about him? About what... happened?" Julian asked hoarsely, his voice strangely controlled and calm. "Do you know anything?"

Logan bit his lip and shook his head. "The police—the police came to talk to me a while ago," he answered quietly. "But I—I sent them out, because I was... I was angry and worried and... and hurt." He took a deep breath, remembering those days when Julian was still unconscious. "I don't know anything about Derek."

He heard Julian exhale slowly and he felt his body shiver as the actor tried to hold back his sobs. "Okay," Julian breathed. "Then we'll—they'll come back, right? The police? We'll just—we'll just ask them when they come back."

Logan was silent for a few seconds, contemplating this semi-hopeful suggestion. After a while, he pulled Julian closer and buried his face in his dark hair. "Yeah. We'll just do that."


"No—ow—that hurts!" Julian hissed as the nurse helped him sit on the edge of his bed. The nurse hummed a response, but didn't stop from helping the actor sit up straight.

"It's good for your lungs, Julian," she argued, strict as ever as she held Julian's shoulder. "You don't want to develop pneumonia, do you? The sooner you get out of bed, the sooner you're allowed to go home."

Julian pressed his lips together, his eyes wide and pleading as he searched for Logan. "Help me?"

Logan snickered, face splitting in a halfhearted grin for the first time in hours. He'd been standing in a corner, well out of the nurse's way, and he'd been watching the brunet with great worry and concern. His hands twitched every other moment, like he wanted to jump in and safe Julian from the hands of the nurse—and Julian must have noticed this.

"He's not going to help you," the nurse said calmly. She pulled up a chair and as she held all the lines of the IVs in one hand, she motioned for Julian to get up. "Okay, this is how we're going to do it. I'm going to help you stand—"

"But my leg is broken," Julian protested, "I'm not able to stand."

"That's why I'm here. It's been a while since you've broken your leg and I'm sure it's healed enough for it to hold your weight. If it hurts too much, you can rest your weight on your other leg. I'll help you stand and then you're going to turn around and gently sit down in this chair."

Julian stared at her in complete horror, absolutely unconvinced of how this was supposed to go. "Do you want me dead?" Turning to Logan, he shook his head in fear. "She wants me dead—"

"You're going to be fine, Julian. I promise."

Biting his lip, Julian gazed from the chair to her and back to the chair. "Fine." He held out his arms and hooked them around the nurse's shoulders. "You sure you're able to hold me?"

The nurse snorted. "If I can't hold you, I'd better just quit my job. You're way too light for your own good." She pushed the chair closer to the bed with her foot and grabbed Julian's arm. "On three. One, two, three—"

She hoisted him up without effort, but Julian cried out in pain when his entire body protested against the sudden strain. He stood straight for a few seconds and then the nurse urged him to turn around and gently guided him in the chair. As she arranged the lines around him, Julian crossed his arms over his chest in an attempt to relieve the pain, clenching his teeth and gasping for breath.

"Ow—"

The nurse smiled at him, draped a blanket over Julian's shoulders, and crouched down to his level. "You did a brilliant job, Julian. Very, very good. It's not easy, sitting down on a chair after such a long time in bed—but you did extremely well, and this is a good first step to recovery. I'm going to leave you alone for a little bit, but if you want to get back to bed, you should call me, okay? It's alright if that's after only a few minutes, whenever you feel like it." As she stood up, she nodded to Logan with a small smile and swiftly left the room.

Logan moved to sit on the edge of the bed, watching Julian in concern as he still tried to catch his breath. "Are you okay?"

"Do I look okay to you?" the actor snapped, frustrated and hurt as he glared at the blond. "Idiot."

Logan smirked. "I'm glad to hear your inner bitch returned."

"Oh, fuck you," Julian muttered, closing his eyes as he eased back in the chair, sighing as he let his body relax. "This actually feels pretty good."

Logan snorted and muttered, "It's almost like they know what they're doing in here."

"Almost." Julian looked up at Logan, his smile sincere but sad, his eyes haunted by nightmares and idle hope. "Thank you, Lo."

Logan's lips twitched at the forgotten nickname. "What for?"

"For being here."

Before Logan could respond to that, before he could promise Julian that he'd always be here no matter what—two policemen walked in the room. He could hear Julian's trembling gasp and he could guess his expression even if he didn't see the actor's face.

"Hello boys," one of the policemen said, and Logan recognized him from before.

"We've been here before—a few weeks ago," the other continued, briefly glancing at Logan. "We didn't get the chance to ask you some of our questions, but we'd like to ask them again now—if you don't mind."

Logan stared at them, his chaotic thoughts only called back into order when he felt Julian's cold fingers lace with his. Julian shook his head, his eyes huge as he motioned towards the chairs in the corner.

"No, I don't mind," he breathed.

The officers seemed to sigh in relief and it took them only a few seconds to pull the chairs to the bed and sit opposite of the two boys.

"Before we—" McCartney hesitated and glanced at his colleague before continuing. "Before we get down to the questions of what exactly happened, we'd like you to identify a few people. If that's alright with you."

Logan's gaze slid from the officers to Julian, who was sitting motionless in his chair, all his pain seemingly forgotten, his expression endlessly scared. The sniper gently nudged the actor, reminding him to breathe, reminding him to answer the question.

"Yes," Julian whispered breathlessly.

The officer pulled two pieces of paper out of his bag, handed one of them to Logan and tapped onto the paper expectantly. "Him, we found in the same building the paramedics found you in. I suppose you know him?"

Logan tilted the photo so Julian could look at it, too. Julian's chin trembled as he stared at the dead face of Adam Clavell, but he nodded resolutely.

"That's the one who wanted me dead," he rasped. "He—he shot Logan and me."

"His name?"

"Adam Clavell," Logan muttered, glancing at the horrible picture one more time before handing it back. "His name is Adam Clavell."

"He was my stalker," Julian added. "He—I knew him before he went mad—but I—didn't know he'd—" He took a deep breath, managing to calm himself down a bit. "He tried to kill us."

"Okay," the officer wrote down the name in his notebook. "Now, the following picture is from someone we found in the house. We were able to identify the majority of the people we found there, but... we weren't sure about him..."

The room was loaded with a horrible, awful tension that crawled up Logan's spine and constricted his nerves, making his body feel strangely numb. Julian's hand was trembling violently in his and when he looked sideways, he noticed that Julian's eyes were brimming with unshed tears.

The officer gave him the picture upside down, but Logan couldn't bring himself to move, couldn't for the life of him remember how to twist his wrist.

Julian helped him. He reached out, delicately took the picture from Logan's hand, and turned it around at once.

The silence in the room grew worse, grew so thick that it was nearly suffocating, and Logan heard Julian choke, felt his own breath hitch in his throat.

"We... found him in the house," one of the officers whispered.

Logan's heart was beating so fast and so thunderously loud, the officer's voice was barely audible, as if he was listening to it through a wall of glass. Julian's eyes were wide and filled with an incredulous terror as he stared at the picture, tears streaming down his cheeks and landing in dark spots on his sweatpants.

"He lost a lot of blood due to the bullets... in his body... He took out a lot of Clavell's men, they were lying in the same room, none of them alive."

"Is he—"

"There was one remarkable thing, though," the other officer added as in an afterthought, not having heard Julian's hesitating question or simply having ignored it. "His phone was lying a small distance away from him..."

Logan closed his eyes the same time Julian let the picture slip from his motionless fingers. It fluttered through the air, and fell to the floor with a feather light thud.

"...he'd dialed 911."

He felt his own tears slide down his cheeks and he felt the light weight of Julian as the brunet sagged against him. Logan pulled him closer, desperate to soothe him, desperate to be soothed.

"The ambulances would've never come for you if it weren't for him. He saved you."

Logan's voice was hoarse and barely existent as he asked them one last thing—a question they all knew the answer to, but one he needed to have confirmed nonetheless. He needed to know for sure.

"But is he—did he—?"

He needed to know for sure, needed to know if he really—really, truly—lost one of his closest friends, one of the very few people he cared about with all his heart.

McCartney lowered his gaze, shook his head. "I'm afraid... he didn't survive."

Julian made an awful sound in the back of this throat, something that sounded like a choked plea and a horrified cry at the same time.

"No—no, please—"

The certainty, the ice-cold realization that they would never be able to turn this around, that Derek would be gone forever, was terrifying. Completely stunned and overwhelmed with grief, Julian started to shake so violently Logan had to pull him against his chest to prevent him from hurting himself. The sniper didn't know what to say, didn't know what to do, and once again—for the thousandth time in way too short a period of time—he felt absolutely worthless.

Julian's sobs were devastating to listen to, soaked with so much despair and so much desolation, they ripped right through Logan's soul. He had to try his hardest not to fall apart right then and there, to hold it together for Julian, to be strong for the absolutely shattered actor in his arms.

The officers seemed almost afraid to ask and they hesitated for a few seconds, staring at the crying brunet, their expressions utterly miserable as they saw the broken look in Logan's eyes. But protocol was blazingly clear about this one, and they had to ask.

"...His name?"

Julian tried to answer that, felt that he was the one who should answer that question, but as soon as he tried to speak, renewed sobs tore from his lips and left him unable to pronounce anything. Logan closed his eyes and pressed a lingering kiss in Julian's hair, wanting nothing more than to make this horrible pain stop for both of them. He glanced at the officers with teary eyes, his voice cracking and breaking and sounding absolutely dreadful as he answered the question.

"Derek—Derek Seigerson."

Julian shuddered and Logan took a long, deep breath.

"His name is—was—Derek Seigerson."


So. Hah. I hope you liked it? :3

Anyway, whether you liked it or not, thanks for reading! :D Reviews are hugely appreciated and I swear to god they do help me to write faster ;) I'll try to finish this story as fast as possible, so I hope to see you soon again!

- Rose