Coping Mechanisms, Part I
An Eventual Jogan Fic
Summary: Julian Larson spends most of his life acting, whether on set or off. His own emotions are his worst nightmare, and he’s developed a few highly effective ways to rid himself of them. He keeps getting interrupted, though, and he can barely keep himself under control anymore.
"What else has been happening? Why didn’t you tell me?!"
"You’re not much use to anyone when you’re busy wooing someone who already has a boyfriend, Logan!”
Derek winced when a particularly vehement foot stomping upstairs jostled the chandelier. A cloud of dust dropped onto the red armchair where he sat with his chemistry textbook. It was a Thursday evening, and Stuart residents were studying for their final classes of the week or talking quietly among themselves. All except Julian Larson and Logan Wright—and no Stuart was too surprised by that.
"That’s entirely different and you know it. What I want to know is why you could tell Derek but not me that a stalker psycho knows where you live and has been leaving you…presents!” Logan spat out the last word.
Logan had finally discovered the truth about Julian’s demented stalker on Monday afternoon, when a rose dipped in blood and a note addressed to Julian’s room number was left outside the doors to Stuart House during dinner. When the three returned from their meal, Julian’s steps slowed imperceptibly and his smile cracked just for a second, while Logan grabbed the stem in a tight fist, ignoring the thorns that pricked and drew blood, and shook it in Julian’s face.
"What. Is. This," he demanded harshly. Julian’s eyes flickered, but his lazy smile remained intact. He shrugged easily.
"A fan," he said simply.
And then everything went to hell.
Julian and Logan had argued four times in the past three days over Julian’s attempt to keep Logan in the dark, and the times when they weren’t arguing were spent in tense silence. Derek couldn’t stand to be in the same room as them anymore, but apparently that didn’t stop them from bringing the argument back to him.
As the Stuarts looked up at the ceiling with a mixture of annoyance and apprehension, Derek decided he’d had enough. Dropping the textbook on his chair, he resignedly trudged up the stairs to face an unmedicated Logan and a defensive Julian.
"I knew you’d act like this, get all indignant when it’s none of your goddamn business! You come poking into my life when it suits you—"
Julian’s voice faded out with an ominous crash of thunder from outside, which only stirred up the rain lashing against the windows of Stuart House.
"Oh, like you don’t do the same thing, snapping up movie deals and leaving in the middle of the night, then coming back a month later like nothing happened?"
"There’s a big difference between a career and a friendship, Wright, and given your altogether extensive experience with the latter, I can’t say I’m surprised you don’t see it.”
Derek reached the top of the stairs in time to see Logan flinch. Julian sneered and turned on his heel to descend the stairs, but Derek put out an arm to stop him. An irritated look appeared on Julian’s face, but the other boy only stared back sternly.
"Enough is enough," Derek said, easily slipping into his oft-required role as arbitrator. "Stuart can’t function while you two take every opportunity to scream at each other in the hallways. Go to Julian’s room, now.”
His mouth set in a thin line, Julian walked stiffly to his room, soundproofed at the request of his parents in case he needed to run lines late at night. Logan followed at a distance with his hands shoved deeply into his pockets.
With the door shut, Derek turned to his friends with a scowl. Julian and Logan would do anything to goad each other, and it was time to set the record straight.
"Logan, Julian isn’t unconcerned about the stalker. He hasn’t slept well in weeks and he’s not eating. You need to give him a break." Julian made a strangled noise at this, while Logan’s eyes widened and he turned to regard the things he’d missed—the dark circles under Julian’s eyes, the barely-visible stubble near his jaw, the wrinkles in the cuffs of his Dalton blazer. Derek turned to Julian.
"And you should have told him, Jules. I know you wanted to keep it low-key, but this girl—or guy—isn’t going away, and Logan of all people deserves to know what’s going on." Julian’s eyes narrowed at the words ‘Logan of all people,’ and he gritted his teeth and stormed past Derek to fling open the door. Derek turned to catch his wrist, but Julian yanked it away and thundered down the steps.
"He’s all yours, Seigerson!" the actor called carelessly without turning around, and he threw open the double doors and walked out into the howling storm.
Derek turned back to Logan, whose red face and clenched fists spoke volumes. He raised his hands in supplication and cautiously approached his friend.
"He didn’t mean what he said about your friendships, Lo," Derek said, somewhat warily meeting Logan’s furious gaze.
"Perhaps not," Logan allowed stiffly. "But he’s right."
His body loosened then, the taut line of his mouth collapsing too as he took a deep breath. “I may…do things that I later regret. To you and to Julian. But I have never intended to harm either of you.”
Derek knew this was as close to an apology as he would ever get from Logan for the times he was in such a rage as to attack his friends.
"You know, I’ve never needed other friends," Derek said seriously, in the heartfelt way one might say, ‘I love you.’ Logan’s lip quirked up at that, though his eyes remained as cloudy as ever.
"I suppose I’d have to be nicer to everyone if I got bored of you."
"Never that," Derek replied, with a small, ironic smile, and with that they went in search of a towel in preparation for their soon-to-be-sodden friend.