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When I say I love you I mean it

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“Listen, Logan, you’re like, my closest friend,” Virgil started, wringing his hands together.

Logan barely glanced up from his book. “You’re my closest friend too, Virgil.”

“U-uh, yeah, yeah, right,” Virgil said, falling silent. He ran his fingers through his hair and let it fall in front of his eyes, shaking his head to feel the strands shifting. He pushed it out of his eyes just enough to peek at Logan, who turned the page yet managed to look like a greek sculpture all the same.

A few more beats of silence passed and Logan looked up, not moving his head and instead gazing at Virgil from the corner of his eyes. “Is something the matter?”

“No! No, of course not, never, uh,” Virgil said, squeezing his fingers and tensing his shoulders.

“I’m sorry if,” Logan said hesitantly, biting his lip and considering his words carefully. “I have done something, or said something–”

“Oh my god no!” Virgil burst out. Logan jumped, fingers shifting around the book and expression opening in surprise. Virgil rushed on, saying, “I – it’s not – I mean, you could never–”

“Hey,” Logan said. He reached out, then paused, hand hovering above Virgil’s knee as if uncertain how Virgil would take the physical comfort. After a few seconds passed with no negative reaction forthcoming, Logan gently lay his hand on Virgil’s knee. “It’s okay. We’re okay.”

“Okay,” Virgil said, forcing the word vomit down his throat. “Sorry, I just–”

“No apologizing,” Logan said firmly, withdrawing his hand to return to his book. Virgil silently bemoaned the sudden absence of warmth. Logan searched Virgil’s gaze, examining his body language, before returning to his book.

Virgil quietly took a deep breath. Well, freaking out certainly wasn’t the greatest reaction to sharing feelings. Virgil wasn’t great at… explaining, or admitting, to emotions.

So, attempt one crashed and burned, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, right?

Apparently, Rome wasn’t built in a week, either, because Virgil was still in the Planning Stage of admitting his feelings to Logan.

“Crofters,” Roman declared, brandishing a fork like a weapon. “That’s the way to your man’s heart.”

Crofters, of course! Virgil thought, letting out a breath of relief. Okay, a plan. He steeled himself. You got this.

There wasn’t much to his plan, really. Just to get downstairs before Logan but not too soon as to make Logan suspicious why Virgil was only making Logan something. And it wasn’t a large something, just his usual addition to coffee, only Virgil would be making it. Totally normal.

Virgil pushed the toaster down and eyed it distrustfully, moving slowly to sit down at the counter in wait. Conveniently, while he sat there Logan walked down the stairs sluggishly, glasses askew and hair a mess.

Virgil quickly averted his gaze, ignoring the heat brushing at his cheeks. “Morning, Lo.”

“Morning Virge,” Logan said lowly, almost yawning. Virgil hid his face further behind his large sleeves, face growing steadily darker because Logan’s morning voice was divine.

“I’m making some toast if you want some,” Virgil mumbled, a fluttering, buzzing sort of hope and fear in his gut.

“Sure, that’d be great,” Logan said, gradually moving into a seat next to Virgil. Virgil glanced at Logan’s face, Logan’s eyes bleary and slow. Logan was most definitely not a morning person, and was (absolutely adorable) mainly confused before his coffee.

Since Virgil had let his guard down – never a good plan – he jumped when the toaster popped. Logan laughed softly, no, giggled, and Virgil decided making a fool of himself was worth the angelic sound.

Virgil meandered over to the toaster, turning his back so Logan couldn’t see what he was doing. He quickly buttered one piece – his, but that didn’t matter – and carefully spread crofters into a misshapen, but still identifiable, heart.

Virgil slowly, slowly brought the plate over, because if he dropped it then he might just die and if he died then he wouldn’t get to see Logan’s smile again and really, nobody wanted to miss even one of Logan’s smiles.

“Here,” Virgil mumbled, pushing the plate at Logan and munching on his own piece. He slumped back into his chair, seemingly uncaring, but his eyes remained trained on Logan.

Logan’s eyes softened when he saw the toast and made eye contact with Virgil. Virgil swallowed, heart beating in his throat, their gazes locked for seconds longer than a normal ‘thank you’ glance would dictate (Virgil knew).

Eventually Logan smiled at him, one of his small genuine ones that got Virgil all flustered, and turned back to his breakfast.

Virgil buried his burning face in his arms. Strike two.

Logan was direct. Perhaps a more direct approach was needed.

“Logan, hypothetically, what should one do to inform another of their romantic inclination towards them?” Virgil phrased delicately, having crafted the sentence earlier.

“I don’t consider myself aptly prepared to answer this,” Logan said, a strange infliction in his voice. He cleared his throat when Virgil glanced at him weirdly.

“C’mon, Roman’s useless for this,” Virgil said, almost (almost) begging.

“Are you sure?” Logan said, gently reaching up and touching his glasses. Virgil was instantly on high alert, because Logan touched his glasses for very specific reasons. One, he was feeling rather cocky about a certain point he’d just made and touched them to affirm to his genius. Two, they were bothering him and he needed to adjust them. Three, he’d been told a particularly bad joke and he needed a moment for a mini existential crisis. Four, he was feeling unsure or irritated, without a clear answer.

Virgil really hoped it wasn’t the last one.

“Positive. Roman’s advice didn’t work anyhow,” Virgil said, prodding him.

“Alright, if you’re sure,” Logan said slowly, as if waiting for Virgil to interject and negate his statement. When Virgil only looked at him earnestly, Logan sighed in resignation. “I suppose… leaving them little notes would suffice.”

“Would suffice?” Virgil repeated. “Well, what would you do?”

“I!” Logan said quickly, face turning red. He mumbled under his breath, then said, “I would leave little notes, I simply wasn’t certain if… that were accurate romantic behavior.”

“Depends on the notes,” Virgil said.

“I suppose it would,” Logan replied, giving Virgil a soft look that left Virgil at a real loss for words, as if the English language had simply flown out the window with a wave for good luck.

“Thanks!” Virgil managed to squeak out, scurrying away before he made a bigger fool of himself.

He went straight to his room, grabbing a pile of sticky notes and a few different colored sharpies. Virgil sat at his desk and chewed on the end of one of the sharpies, contemplating.

He ended up spending two hours in his room, and Patton knocking on his door for dinner was the only thing that drew him out. When questioned by both Roman and Patton he brushed them off. Logan simply sat quietly.

Virgil would plant them all tonight, in places Logan always looked, and wait for results the consecutive day.

Virgil groaned in frustration and slammed his head on the table. “I can’t. I can’t!”

“What’s wrong, kiddo?” Patton asked gently, sinking down next to him. “Something happen?”

“He thinks they’re for someone else!” Virgil said, exasperated. “Honest to god he’s the only one who drinks that apple cinnamon tea and he thinks ‘I like the way your eyes twinkle when you’re excited’ is for Roman! Roman only drinks tea at tea-time because he’s a pretentious little shit!”

“Hey!” Roman’s voice warbled from the room over. “That’s Mr. Pretentious Little Shit to you!”

“I hope your charger breaks!”

“Well, I hope your eyeshadow runs out!”

“How dare you–”

“Okay!” Patton placed two hands on Virgil’s shoulders as he rose, preparing to join a full-fledged banter with Roman. “Eyes on the prize here!”

“Right, right.” Virgil slouched back into his seat. “Logan and his oblivious ass.”

“Language,” Patton chided softly. Virgil made an exaggerated face and Patton poked his shoulder.

“I don’t understand how he didn’t realize they were for him! I ask him how to be romantic and he tells me to give them notes – the next day, a bunch of notes show up during all his daily activities and he doesn’t question it! One of them said ‘thank you for lending me all of your books’ and he thought it was for you!”

“He’s not the most observant when it comes to romantic advances,” Patton said. “Maybe you need to be more frank about it? Clearly laying out your attraction will definitely click.”

Virgil dropped his head into his arms and let out a muffled noise something like “mhguhnuhguhff”.

“I know it’s not ideal,” Patton said sympathetically. “But it’s the only way.”

“Doesn’t mean I have to like it,” Virgil muttered. “I could just stew in my feelings forever. That’s fine too.”

“I’m sorry Virge but Roman knows, and we all know how much of a matchmaker he can be,” Patton said consolingly. Virgil scrunched up his nose. Patton was right, after too much time of inactivity Roman would take matters into his own hands.

“Okay, I’ll try,” Virgil said begrudgingly.

“Yay! I’m proud of you already,” Patton said, ruffling his hair gently. “I’ll make us some hot chocolate, okay?”

“Okay,” Virgil said, grinning behind his sleeves.

He had this. There was no way he could fail, with Patton backing him.

Oh man, he was freaking out. His palms were clammy and he kept rubbing them on his pants, because what if Logan thought he was a freak? What if he rejected him and hated him and then Virgil would have made everything awkward and they wouldn’t be able to be a group anymore because Logan would refuse to be anywhere Virgil was and Virgil would be forced to leave the group forever –

“Honey, breathe,” Remy said, smoothing down Virgil’s hoodie at the shoulders. “It’s gonna be fine. If worst comes to worst, we’ll drug him and say it was all a fever dream.”

Virgil laughed shortly, some of the tension riling up in his stomach calming.

“Now go get ‘im tiger,” Remy pushed him into the coffee shop and stepped away from the door, out of sight.

Virgil started walking robotically, his legs stiff and unnatural as he approached Logan.

“Hey,” Virgil said awkwardly. “Uh.”

“Oh, Virgil!” Logan said, looking up in surprise. “I wasn’t expecting to see you!”

“Is that good or bad?” Virgil asked wryly.

“Well, it’s certainly good that your here,” Logan said so matter-of-factly that Virgil flushed.

“Okay, whatever,” Virgil muttered, sliding into the booth seat across from Logan, eyes trained at the table. Virgil then cleared his throat before Logan could start talking about some other topic and caused Virgil to lose his nerve. “So, there’s this, uh, guy, who I like.”

“Yeah?” Logan sounded stiff but Virgil didn’t dare look up.

“Yeah, and, well, I’ve tried telling them multiple times but they didn’t… he didn’t… notice,” Virgil said shortly. Wow, they should really invest in some new tabletops, these ones had all kinds of stains on them.

“They don’t sound particularly observant,” Logan said flatly.

“No, no, they’re – he’s really smart,” Virgil protested, eyes flicking up to Logan’s for a split second. “He’s just kinda dense, y’know?”

“Maybe you should be more obvious,” Logan said, sounding, frankly, a little testy. “If they’re not noticing your advances.”

“Uh,” Virgil shifted in his seat, suddenly uncomfortable. “Like… like what?”

“A simple ‘I love you’ would suffice,” Logan said. He continued to sound like someone had given him the wrong order for the dozenth time.

“Do you really… you really think that would work?” Virgil asked, sounding more vulnerable than he wished. His gaze locked on Logan.

Logan visibly softened, despite something like pain swimming behind his eyes. “It’s certainly worth a try.”

“Okay.” Virgil took a deep breath. “Logan, I love you.”

“Yes, that exact phrase,” Logan said, a contrast of encouraging and remorseful.

“Holy shit,” Virgil said softly.

“If that doesn’t work, we can always try something different,” Logan continued. “Perhaps a love letter?”

“Oh my god,” Virgil said. “Christ.”

Logan paused. “Are you alright, Virgil?”

“I…” Virgil said. He couldn’t believe it. He really couldn’t believe it. “I gotta go.”

Virgil slid out of the booth and started for the door.

“I suppose I’ll talk to you later?”

“Yeah, see ya,” Virgil said quickly, slipping out the door and closing it in disbelief.

“So?” Remy said excitedly.

“He fucking,” Virgil whispered, staring straight ahead, “didn’t hear me or something. I said ‘Logan, I love you.’ Those were my exact words. And you know what he said?”

“What…?” Remy asked slowly.

“‘Yes, that exact phrase,’” Virgil repeated. “He thought… he thought I was practicing. For someone else. Holy shit.”

“Oh, no,” Remy said, laughing. “Ohh honey I’m sorry that’s… that’s rich.”

“I can’t handle this much longer,” Virgil said, voice straining. “Oh my god.”

“Let’s go home and get something warm to drink,” Remy said, leading him away from the coffee shop. “We’ll try again later.”

Virgil shook his head, still unable to fully comprehend what had just happened. What was this? Strike three? Four?

How many more would Virgil go through until Logan finally understood?

“Logan, I need to tell you something,” Virgil said, his nerves frayed but emotionally drained from his constant worry. He needed Logan to know like he needed air, there was no way Virgil could keep living like he was, in some emotional limbo with Logan at the crux.

“Okay,” Logan said, pushing aside some papers and sitting back on the couch, giving Virgil his full attention.

Virgil looked him dead in the eye and went full steam ahead because fuck it. “I have an enormous romantic gay as fuck crush on you and if I don’t tell you I might just explode.”

Logan stared at him. Virgil stared back.

The silence was suffocating, fear wrapping around Virgil’s throat and squeezing because he wasn’t saying anything why wasn’t he saying anything.

“Say something,” Virgil said, voice cracking.

“I– I don’t–” Logan squeaked, his hand shooting to cover his mouth, face flaring bright red. Virgil almost cooed because what the hell that was so cute. “You do?”

“I– yes. Yes, of course I do Logan, do you have eyes?” Virgil said, subconsciously scooting closer. “Sure, my first attempts were miserable at best, but honestly do I make hearts out of crofters for anyone?”

“The…” Logan’s eyes widened. “I didn’t want to…”

“And then the notes! They were everywhere and you didn’t believe one of them was for you?” Virgil threw his hands in the air, unable to stop the words from spilling from his mouth. “They were all for you! Not one was for Patton or Roman!”

“You… notes… that took…” Logan stumbled, unable to form a complete sentence, hands fluttering around his face.

“And then, and then, in the coffee shop!” Virgil almost started laughing. “Logan, I was talking about you!”

“I never considered…” Logan said softly, so softly and unlike himself that it broke Virgil out of his rant. Virgil tried to catch his gaze, reading the curled in, shocked body language, but Logan was avidly avoiding Virgil’s eyes. “I never wanted to consider you wanted me. Because the chances of you not were… too high.”

“How could I not want you?” Virgil said quietly, reaching for Logan’s hand. Logan let Virgil pick his hand up and play with his fingers, memorizing the calluses and divots in his skin before linking them together. Their eyes slowly moved from their joined hands to each other.

“Say it again,” Logan whispered.

Virgil shifted ever-so-slightly closer and swallowed. Mustering up every ounce of courage in his anxiety-ridden body, he said, “I love you.”

Logan looked so overwhelmed with emotion, so unable to handle Virgil’s love, that tears started brimming on the edge of his eyelids. “I–” his voice broke and he squeezed Virgil’s hand tighter, but he didn’t break eye contact. “I love you too.”

Virgil suddenly felt that same overwhelming feeling sweep through his body, starting from his chest and expanding outwards. He wondered if this is what people meant when they said people in love glowed, because he felt so full of love, so full of love for Logan that he just might burst at the seams.

“You have no idea how long I’ve waited to hear you say that,” Virgil whispered.

“You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to,” Logan replied. Virgil gave him a watery smile before dropping his head on Logan’s shoulder, unable to handle anything else, too drained to move and unable to think anything other than garbled phrases of I love him, he’s the light to my dark, he grounds me when I am afraid…

And maybe it took a little longer than expected, and maybe it took a little more effort than originally thought – in the end, Virgil would do it all again just to see Logan’s eyes light up when he realized – when he finally realized – how much Virgil really, truly loved him.