A/N: First thing I had managed to complete in months. Not even funny. I had to publish it before Mama will update, 'cause, you know, otherwise it'll be AU. And then I'll feel weird.
Warnings: Post-Hell Night. Spoilers. Beware.
Disclaimer: CP Coulter owns all of the characters except Blaine and Kurt, who is owned by Glee, who is owned by FOX. All This Time is owned by OneRepublic. Therefore, I own nothing.
It wasn't the same. It never will be the same. That night, when everything fell apart – it was the final hole; the dead end. Any other friendship – it had its ups and downs; it had bumps along the road. This friendship was a road that constantly went down, and the only 'up' it had wasn't an actual up – it was the up to get back to normal, where they argued and bickered and fought. In a normal friendship, that will be the down side – their down side was when they didn't speak, didn't even acknowledged each other's presence.
It happened far too many times.
Their road of friendship wasn't even direct and well paved. It went down, as previously mentioned, but it didn't go straight forward. It went left and right and back and forth, never stopping, never letting them rest, never letting them stop and take a breath. It was full of holes - but those holes, they were risky. They were invisible to one side of the friendship. Side A knew about the holes, and all he ever did was trying to make sure their friendship will go right or left or whatever - just so it won't fall down that hole. Side B didn't even know there were holes. He was oblivious; like he usually was when it came to this relationship.
Julian was always Side A. Logan was always Side B.
Those holes were so, so dangerous – and Logan didn't even know they existed. But that was the whole point of Julian's task of hiding them – making sure Logan didn't know. Didn't suspect. Didn't even think that maybe...
He didn't; the plan was obviously working.
Because every hole like that – each and every one of them – was a slip-up. Something, that if not handled extremely carefully, will reveal the presence of Julian's ever growing feeling towards his blonde friend.
That was out of the question; Logan was oblivious, and so he will stay – Julian had to make sure of that.
That didn't mean it hurt any less, though.
The night everything burst out in flames – literally, too – was that hole; the only hole Julian never managed to cover, never managed to avoid. It was the end of everything; he knew that very well.
It was the night Adam stood there, holding a knife to his throat, and threatened him to tell the Stuart prefect how he felt.
He did that. He obeyed. In a way, he guessed that one could say he successfully threw their friendship into that hole himself, after all of the hard work her did in trying to stop it.
And the sad thing – the thing that still ate at him every time – was that he didn't do it in fear of his life. He could die; he didn't care.
He did it in fear of Logan's life. Even in the last moments of their friendship, he still cared about the blonde more than everything in this fucking world.
That thought ripped his heart to tiny pieces every single time.
It never went back to normal after that.
He was a shell – a nothing. The outside of the person he once was, the soul he once had. Dalton recovered itself – not as quickly as he hoped, though. He wanted the burns to be gone; the ruins to be rebuild.
He didn't want to remember anything about that night.
He was barely Julian anymore – anyone could tell you that. He was stuck in a limbo of nothing; he couldn't go forward, he couldn't move on and forget, because everyday he woke up to see that old picture of them – Derek grinning, Logan smirking, Julian smiling his trademark smile with sunglasses on – and he remembered how it once was. How it could still be, if only.
Everyday, he woke up to see the damaged shell of another person, and knew that his confession in that one fateful night didn't only ruin their friendship forever – it also ruined Logan forever. He was never the same, either.
He avoided thinking about it, though. Any thoughts of the blonde were shoved out of his brain as quickly as they came.
Carmen was part of the reason he was still there – the place he wanted to get out of the most. She said his health is quite more important than acting, and even though she is his agent, she can't let him go back to Hollywood like that.
He wanted to ask like what, but was afraid of the answer.
The first time he talked to Logan after that night was entirely Derek's fault. It was short, and to the point, where Logan only managed to say, "Julian –" before Julian turned around, his eyes shut close to stop himself from crying – the 'smile and cry when nobody can see' method was out of the window by now, as he couldn't bring himself to even smirk anymore – and said, "Forget it."
He walked away before Logan could even say anything.
Derek was just as affected as them by the changes, and both Julian and Logan knew that – the sad fact was, they couldn't do anything about it anyway. It was two months after Hell Night – that night, as Julian preferred to call it now – and everything was looking okay again.
Key word is 'looking', of course.
Nothing was okay with Dalton anymore. Everyone that was somehow involved were scarred for life, they all lost one of their friends who was now lying under the ground in his grave, and almost everyone still had the wounds on their body to remind them of what happened. But nobody was as bad as the Stuart Trio, and it was a known fact to everyone. The Stuart House was completely quiet nowadays. Once upon a time, it was almost always full of Logan's practicing and Derek's girlfriends' phone-calls and when Julian's occasion stays rolled around, the three were always – always – fighting and yelling and making as much noise as possible when you're not a Windsor.
These days, Logan didn't even touch the piano, Derek almost always kept his phone shut, and Julian...
Julian was like a ghost. There, but not there. Barely speaking, barely eating, barely doing anything that didn't involved staring at the ceiling, deep in thoughts.
If he only once opened his door while he was doing that, maybe he could've see Logan was always sitting there, in the hallway, with his back against the wall and his knees against his chest.
Kurt once caught Julian while he was sitting outside, and Julian could tell Alice wasn't going to let him go now. It was late at night, and he wasn't even sure what Hummel was doing there, but he was – and strangely enough, Julian didn't even feel like avoiding him like he did with everyone else.
"You have to talk to him."
There were no questions needed.
"Julian... You will never get better, if you will keep avoiding the subject like that."
Julian kept staring at the distance.
"Who said I want to get better?"
He did though, even if he wasn't saying it out loud.
Kurt just kept silent, and after minutes – hours? – of that silent, he got up from the bench they were sitting on. When he was quite far away from the actor, he quietly said, "Too bad you're not seeing you're not the only heartbroken ghost, Julian. He needs you, and you're being the oblivious one now, by not seeing that."
Too bad Julian didn't hear him, either.
When the end of the year finally came along, and the Prom was just around the corner - Senior Year with it, just beyond reach – Logan caught Julian by surprise.
He walked over and talked to him.
"Are you coming back next year?"
That was it. Just that. Six words, simple question – just as if they were still friends.
Julian was never more sure of something like he was sure they weren't; not anymore.
"I don't know."
Logan nodded. He was probably expecting this reaction.
They stared in silence, not saying anything, until Logan finally turned around. Seconds before he was gone, Logan whispered, "You should. I think it will be the smart thing."
Julian was shocked into speechlessness, left to think this over.
Did it mean Logan wanted him to come back?
No. No. They weren't friends anymore; he probably just cared about Julian's education.
But why would he do that, if he didn't care about Julian, too?
Maybe he wanted them to be friends again.
Did Julian want them to be friends again?
Did Julian want them to be something more?
Was it even possible?
He came back, eventually. Senior Year, you know. It's a big deal. It was fine with Carmen, because he had this really big, important part ready for him one month after graduation, and she thought it will only do well to his image to be one of those stars who could say school was important.
He only wondered what it meant for him and Logan.
He was definitely shocked when he finally saw the prefect. And yes, he was still a prefect – amazing, considering he fucking hated it. He stood there with Derek, in the Main House where everyone was gathered around to the 'you're our seniors, you need to serve as a model to younger students, yada-yada-yada' talk.
And they were both grinning.
He knew they spent the summer together. Derek even asked him to join, and Julian had to decline – even though deep down, he really wanted to say yes – because he had some things to work out with Something Damaged. But he didn't know one summer together, far from Dalton, will affect them as much.
Especially because the first thing Logan done was casually one-arm hug him and say, "Hey! Look who's here, D! The Primaddona is back, after all."
Julian was never happier to have Logan's teasing back.
It was just like it was before, even though it wasn't, in a way. Nothing will ever be the same again – it simply couldn't. But even with Hell Night hanging in the air as a silent elephant in the room, things were pretty much the same. Derek had four new girlfriends, Julian had pulled out his sunglasses from his dusty Dalton bag that hasn't been touched for a while, and they were slowly falling into that comfortable routine of bickering and teasing, just like they had when they were freshmen – just without the anger in the air all the time, like they had when they were juniors.
The only thing that wasn't the same was that even though Logan was still in the Warblers, he hadn't touched the piano – or solo-sang, for that matter – since Hell Night. Julian wondered, but never asked. That was the subject they had the unspoken rule about – no mentioning of the past.
That rule went down one dark night, when they all sat in Logan's prefect room, studying. Well, Derek was studying. Logan was flipping through sheet music, and Julian was drinking his coffee from his comfortable position on Logan's bed. That was, until Logan suddenly spoke up.
"I have your CD."
Both Derek and Julian looked at him. His back was still turned. Julian wondered if he was hiding his face.
"I found it on my desk that other day. I..."
Shit. Well, Julian knew a certain person who was going to be dead when this conversation is over, and his name rhymes with 'Nailey'. He also noted that Logan still hadn't turned around.
"Have you meant it?"
A pause, and then, "Meant what?"
Logan had finally turned around. "That you still cared, even though you wanted to leave."
Julian was, once again, shocked into silence. Logan was doing that a lot lately. He was nowhere near the person he once was, even though people who weren't Derek and Julian might think that. He stopped taking pills, because the doctors were afraid it will affect him in the wrong way after his post-trauma experience, and still – he controlled himself perfectly. Julian used to think it was because he was a shell, like Julian once was – that he, too, had that feeling that nothing is even worth it anymore – but now that they were both relatively fine again, Julian wondered if it was something else.
And then, he knew he had to answer. "Yes."
That one word was another change to their already unpredictable friendship.
Nothing changed for a while, after that. Julian didn't mind. Everything was actually going pretty good; it was like the friendship he always enjoyed with Logan, just without the jealousy and constant fear he might find out. Because he knew for sure Logan was over Kurt after he helped the Warblers with the 'let's get Blaine to understand he need to give Kurt a promise ring because they are absolutely perfect together' project, and after he downright told Kurt that he was over him. And also because now Logan knew about Julian's feelings, and he didn't seem to care.
He didn't do anything about it, either.
That hurt, too. But Julian would never, ever, tell that to someone - or even admit it to himself.
"Go out with me to dinner?"
"Dinner. I need to talk to you."
"Uh, okay? Should I call D?"
"No. I need to talk to you. Alone."
Julian didn't even bother to answer that. He was far, far too shocked.
It was not a date. It wasn't. It wasn't, because Logan never asked anyone out on a date, just like that. He was the 'I'll woo you and make sure you are completely aware I'm into you and then I'll ask you out'
But Logan never asked Julian to eat alone with him, either.
No. No. It wasn't a date.
"Do you hate me?"
Okay, so Julian was not expecting that. The second they sat down in that restaurant, Logan just came out with it. Which was weird, since he usually kept things to himself until he blew up and finally said them out loud.
"What kind of weird question is that?"
"Are you asking or saying, Larson?"
Logan stared for a second, before asking, "Do you love me?"
He couldn't talk. Couldn't react. Couldn't even do anything, like getting up and running away, because that was the taboo zone – the no-no subject, the thing that tore them apart from the beginning.
But this time, he was going to do this right. If Logan was serious, then so will he be. "Yes."
"I did everything to get rid of it for three years, Lo. It isn't going anywhere."
"You tried? Why?"
Julian glared. "Because I don't like to know that even though I was always there, you always chose other people over me. Always looked above me, through me, like I wasn't there. Is there even a point to this conversation? Or are you just trying to ruin everything we had finally rebuilt this year?"
Logan didn't even blink. "Sing with me."
He was taken aback. Again. "What?"
Julian wasn't entirely sure how he found himself back in Dalton three hours later, or how they had went through that dinner like nothing happened, or how exactly Logan had dragged him into the Warblers' room and onto the piano's seat. But he was there. And his fingers were on the black-and-white keys, and it was so much like that time Logan taught him to play on his keyboard, and the only thing Logan said before they started playing was, "I feel through my music. And ever since I lost you, I couldn't touch music at all. Does it mean anything to you, Jules?"
Six on the second hand
Two New Year's resolutions
And there's just no question
What this man should do
Take all the time lost
All the days that I cost
Take what I took and
Give it back to you
All this time
We were waiting for each other
All this time
I was waiting for you
We got all these words
Can't waste them on another
So I'm straight in a straight line
Running back to you
They didn't kiss.
They didn't have to.
They had al lot more than that, now.
They weren't together.
But somehow, for the first time in a very, very, verylong time, Julian had a feeling they were getting there.
"He told me he was going to give you two a chance."
Julian looked up at Derek. It was two days after the dinner night, and he still hadn't had the chance to talk to Logan.
"In summer," Derek clarified. "That was why I was so happy. He said that if you'd come back for Senior Year, he's giving you two a chance, because he never felt so empty alone – not even because of Kurt, or Blaine, or Josh, or whatever."
Julian just blinked.
"Were you really?"
"Waiting for me, all this time."
"I believe so. I mean, look at it this way: who else can control and understand me like you can? You really do complete me, Jules. I just didn't know that."
"Because you're a giant squid of ignorance."
"So... When are you leaving again?"
"For how long?"
"I don't know... Three moths? Four? Something like that?"
"And after that?"
"I don't know."
"Nothing. I was just thinking, you know... never mind."
"New York. I like it there."
"I do, too."
"Very interesting, indeed."
Julian now confirmed his theory, that, yes: Logan was a fantastic kisser.
Neither of the boys saw nor heard Derek grinning and pumping his fist in the air triumphantly outside the room. They were too busy for that.