This is actually really crappy and I’m not sure it makes sense…. but I hope it’s sort of okay :| Siiiiigh
Logan stared past a sleeping Derek out of the window, quietly watching as the wind gently swayed the branches of a tree, his fingers absently playing with Julian’s. It was only a matter of time now, before the actor would wake up. The doctors and nurses had told them repeatedly—his vitals were looking better, he was breathing on his own now, the tube in his throat had finally been removed and things were definitely looking up. It was only a matter of time… and the only thing they could do was wait.
And waiting was what they did. Four days they’d been waiting now, barely sleeping, barely eating, practically living in the hospital. But they didn’t care, it didn’t matter. Julian was about to wake up and they would stay with him until that happened even if the world threatened to explode.
Derek suddenly woke up with a jolt, his hands clasping the chair and his eyes frantically searching for Julian. Logan stared at him with wide eyes, his hands tight around Julian’s, his heart speeding up immediately as he followed Derek’s stare and turned to look at the actor.
Julian was lying unmoving in the hospital bed, his face pale and drawn, his eyes closed gently, his lips slightly parted to let the shallow gasps of air through. There had been no change. As usual.
“What is it? What’s wrong?” Logan whispered as he watched Derek stare intensely at their friend.
Eventually, Derek huffed, sagged back in his chair and shook his head. “Nah, never mind. It was just a dream.”
“Oh.” Logan exhaled slowly, glancing at Julian before he went back to stare out of the window. His thumb drew slow circles over the palm of Julian’s hand, as if he wanted to comfort the actor, as if Julian could’ve noticed the sudden, short moment of disturbance.
Derek rubbed his face and grunted a curse. He looked exhausted. “I’m sorry, Lo.”
Shrugging lightly, Logan felt his heart slow down to its regular tempo again. “It’s okay. I know the feeling.”
Derek gazed at his friend before adverting his eyes to the ceiling, too empty and drained to cry but feeling like he was about to.
It was on the fifth day that Logan felt Julian’s fingers move against his and he gasped loudly, waking Derek from his daydreaming. They stood up instantly, hovering over Julian with hopeful expressions, whispering his name, stroking and squeezing in his hands, tucking some of his hair—which looked so much darker in comparison to his pale face—behind his ear.
But when Julian cracked open his eyes, they looked glassy and absent, and they stared right through his friends, not recognizing them at all.
“Julian—come on,” Derek begged, his hands squeezing Julian’s hand a little too tightly.
Julian didn’t react and Logan and Derek’s voices didn’t cause any spark of recognition to form in his tired eyes. It didn’t take long for the monitor to pick up the change in his vitals, and the alarms started beeping slowly. When the nurse came speed-walking into the room, she found her patient with his eyes open and his two friends immensely worried and endlessly disappointed. And no matter how many times the nurse explained to them that this was normal—that the sedatives and painkillers made waking up difficult for Julian—it didn’t soothe Derek and Logan at all, and they looked at each other desperately as they sank back in their chairs.
It was on the seventh day that things really changed.
Julian opened his eyes again, and Derek and Logan looked at him tensely—expecting him to be as glassy as the past two days, afraid to get their hopes up again. But when Julian coughed weakly and moaned in pain when that hurt his broken ribs, their eyes widened and they looked at each other hopefully before standing up.
“Ow,” Julian moaned, squeezing his eyes shut and coughing again.
“Jules…?” Derek asked tentatively, gently squeezing his friend’s hand to gain his attention.
It took Julian a while to focus on his friends and when he noticed them, his eyes widened and he stilled completely. “What—what are you doing here?”
“You’re—you’re in the hospital, Jules,” Derek said, frowning in confusion. “You just woke up—and—”
“I—what?” Julian’s eyes widened even more and he shook his head. “No—no—I was not supposed to—”
Derek was horrorstruck, and he glanced sideways to catch the terrified gaze of Logan.
“Jules, you’re not supposed to what?” Logan pressed, horrified to hear the answer.
But Julian never answered, instead he snapped his eyes up to Logan, so many emotions crossing his panicked expression, Logan could easily drown in them.
It was like they were back in the burning Art Hall and Julian was feeling the knife on his throat and he was seeing Logan in danger, so very near the all-destroying fire, and he was hearing himself confess everything he’d managed to hide for three years, and fear constricted his heart and chest and he couldn’t breathe.
The monitors were ringing their alarm even before Julian started hyperventilating, coughing and moaning in pain as he did. Derek and Logan started panicking, tried to calm him down, but Julian shook his head and pushed them back.
“I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe—”
Tears filled his eyes and poured down his cheeks, and Derek and Logan were shaking as they looked down at their absolutely broken friend, feeling completely powerless and useless, their own tears streaming down their faces.
The nurse made Julian sleep for a long time after the panic-attack, explaining to Derek and Logan that it might take him a while to wake up again and that it might take even longer for Julian to come to terms with what happened.
These kind of reactions were ‘normal’, she’d said.
But when Logan and Derek looked at each other, they shook their heads, telling the nurse that Julian wasn’t ‘normal’ and that this reaction wasn’t ‘normal’ for him. The nurse nodded quietly and she let them sit next to Julian for the entire night.
Julian opened his eyes not even a day later. He was so quiet, Derek and Logan hadn’t even noticed that he’d been staring at the ceiling for quite a while now.
They were so afraid for another panic-attack, they didn’t really dare to talk to him, didn’t really dare to say anything to him. So when Julian stayed quiet, they stayed quiet too. It turned out to be nice, just sitting there in absolute silence, holding Julian’s hands while he blinked up at the ceiling. It was peaceful, soothing, healing.
Julian hoarse voice broke the silence after a few minutes and Logan snapped his head around to look straight into wide, sepia eyes. They looked as scared as they had in the burning building and that emotion caught him unexpectedly, silencing him effectively.
Derek shook his head, his fingers brushing over Julian’s arm. “You’ve got nothing to apologize for.”
Julian scoffed, wincing when that hurt his body. He let Logan escape from his haunting stare as he looked back up at the ceiling. “I do.”
“You don’t, Julian,” Logan said, almost vehemently. “It’s not your fault. Nothing is your fault.”
Julian smirked darkly, disagreeing but not voicing it aloud. He was too tired for these kind of arguments, because he knew that whatever he’d done, Logan and Derek would’ve said the same thing anyway. Not your fault, never your fault… when all three of them knew it damn well was his fault.
But he’d save this argument for later, when he wasn’t so damn tired… He looked at his friends, noticed the bruises under their eyes and instantly knew they’d been sitting next to him for one hell of a long time. He smiled, this time sincere and grateful.
“For what?” Logan asked, suspicious for this sudden change of subject.
Julian rolled his eyes, reluctant to say it, but wanting to nevertheless. “For being here, of course.”
Derek smirked, squeezing the actor’s hand. “You kind of forced us, you know, not waking up and all.”
Julian snorted, but didn’t respond. He exhaled slowly, trying not to think of the horrendous aftermath that was sure to follow. It was hard not to think of it, and he felt panic rising up already. But then Logan and Derek were holding his hands again and they were talking to him about how everyone was alright and how nobody was blaming him for anything, and the sound of their voices effectively distracted him from his nightmarish thoughts.
“You’re going to be alright, Jules,” Logan muttered. His blazing eyes were holding the actor captive, and Julian could’ve sworn he’d never felt this safe in his life before.
“We’ll make this alright. I promise.”