He wouldn’t have waited so long to contact Logan, but with news of Hannah’s death and the horrifying realization that she had called out to him for help, Ehren was having a hard time grasping much of anything right now. Late one evening after work, Ehren sent a text to Logan.
Can you come by? It’s been a really rough couple of days. He had picked Daisy up from Dani on the way home and figured it was best just to stay at home then try to move the dog to another apartment. Not only had he gotten that message from Hannah before she died but they’d started coming in after her death and Ehren was starting to think he was going crazy.
As usual, his apartment was unkempt, perhaps more so from the last few days. He’d only left the apartment a few times. For work, once to see Dani and to Josie’s to drink himself into oblivion. Maybe it wasn’t fair to put his burden on Logan like this but there were so few people he could actually turn to about this.
The day had been filled with its own challenges. Even now, weeks after he’d been released and acquitted, he still had residents who heckled him, accused him. He was growing tired of it though he never engaged anyone in debate nor denied it or stood up for himself. It wasn’t worth going back to prison for beating the life out of someone for being stupid. He had more to lose now than ever, keeping quiet was for the best.
It’d been a bit since he’d heard from Ehren and that bothered him a little. While he knew he could reach out, too, he liked being the one receiving the communications and not always the one who had to initiate things. They’d had a connection - formed a relationship - and now he wasn’t sure what to make of all the silence.
Work helped a bit, staying busy kept his mind off of any stray ideas. He had heard about the woman being found but had no idea the impact it was having on his boyfriend until that text came.
Vibrations called out to him. Luckily his phone was within reach and after seeing who it was his focus went to it solely. Yeah. Everything ok? Be there soon.
As promised, Logan finished getting himself together and presentable before he was outside of Ehren’s apartment. A knock would come and he waited.
Ehren had been pacing around his apartment when the knock on the door finally came. He’d read over those text messages a hundred times and he still couldn’t believe what he was seeing. He eyed the door for a moment before opening it up to see Logan. Immediately he wrapped his arms around his boyfriend and pulled him in for a tight hug. “I’m so sorry I’ve been quiet, I don’t even know where to start with what’s going on.” He held himself in Logan’s arms for a bit before he pulled back.
“Come in.” He offered, stepping further into his apartment. His eyes were puffy and red and his hair was in a troubled state. It had grown so long and the curls were becoming harder to manage by the day.
Something was terribly wrong. Frowning, Logan held onto Ehren in the threshold of the doorway for a few seconds before he pulled back to let himself inside. Once the door was closed a moment would be taken to greet their dog, who he also hadn’t seen much, offering pets and words of encouragement to the tailless little wonder.
Once on his feet Logan’s attention went back to Ehren. “What’s going on?” He inquired, tone skirting the cusp of demanding. He didn’t want to be harsh with the other man, something was wrong, but he was confused and had no idea where even to start trying to help.
“Why don’t we start at the beginning? I just want to understand what happened.”
He paced around for a minute before he finally found himself on the couch. He took a deep breath before he began to speak. “I sort of knew the girl who was killed. We talked on the beach, she was crying out for help and I didn’t do anything.”
It was fucked up, the whole thing was fucked up. “Now I’m getting texts from her. Part of her ability was technology manipulation. I feel like I’m going crazy.” Maybe he was, maybe Caspians intervention made him finally snap.
Eyes would watch the back and forth motion. Left to right, left to right, and then Ehren seemed finally to settle down. Before Logan moved at all he listened to the story, suddenly feeling like a huge asshole for being mad at all in any context. His expression would soften and the distance between himself and Ehren was closed. Logan sat, drew his boyfriend into his arms and held onto him.
Losing someone was hard, a close friend or an acquaintance. It dredged up memories of Casey and Cece again but Logan pushed them down and away so as not to let that burden his responses to Ehren. Ehren needed him, needed him not to be so selfish.
“What could you have done?” It was an honest question. Could Ehren have broken her out of where she was? Could Ehren have done anything, other than just be there? Logan doubted it.
A kiss would be pressed into Ehren’s mop of hair and hands would slide across arms, along his back, in an attempt to soothe. “You didn’t do that to her. The guards did. She was a victim to the system like everyone else. They tried multiple times to kill me too, while I was locked up.” He’d never admitted that part to Ehren. “It’s a fucked up system here, but you didn’t do anything, and you couldn’t have stopped it from happening.”
The texting part couldn’t be helped either. It seems to him that the transmissions now were allowed to go through where they weren’t before. Or perhaps Hannah had become a ghost in the shell.
Ehren leaned into his touch, closing his eyes in Logan’s embrace. He could feel the tears start to well up and there was nothing he could do to stop the flow of water falling. His breathing became shaky and he held on tight to his boyfriend. He couldn’t tell Logan about how he was trying to help her with the faction, not after Mayor Monday had slandered them in his press conference.
He looked up at Logan at the mention of them trying to kill him. His hand came up to his cheek to cradle it. “Jesus Christ. What is this world we live in?” He asked him, resting his chin on Logan’s shoulder.
He stayed silent for a moment after that. “She told me they put her in this thing called the cloud, some kind of upload or something I don’t know. I think her consciousness is trapped there.” He finally said, a single tear spilling from one eye.
Arms would hold strong around Ehren, Logan would lend his support to the other man for as long as it was needed. Whatever the other needed he would do to bring that smile back again. Sometimes silence was the best medicine when you couldn’t find the words you wanted to say.
Feeling Ehren pull back, Logan looked down at him. “That’s how prison is,” he explained. “It’s not a picnic in the forest.” If the guards weren’t trying to kill you, the other prisoners were. Only the strong survived, it seemed. “They were angry that one of theirs was taken out, even though I was innocent it didn’t matter. People always look for someone else to blame.” They hadn’t hurt him, though.
With no idea what a cloud was, Logan could only nod. “Well she’s still here in spirit.” A hand would lift and wipe away those tears. He hated seeing someone he was close to cry, it wore on him.
His eyes closed as Logan wiped away his tears. He didn’t understand, how could he? Ehren himself was struggling to understand exactly what was happening. He pulled his cell phone from his pocket and opened it, finding the text messages and showing them to Logan. “I think that’s exactly what’s happening. She responds to me and I think I need to do something.”
What could he do? She was trapped there, uploaded onto the cloud. There was no way he’d be able to gain access to a machine like that, it had to be heavily guarded. The wheels began to turn in his head. Maybe if he showed these texts to the Faction, they could make a plan. It would be dangerous but Hannah didn’t deserve to be trapped in there.
“I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.” He said finally, letting Logan scroll through his texts.
Ehren would’ve been right to say he didn’t understand, nor did he share the grief. He could empathize about losing someone close, God knew he’d been there, but he didn’t know Hannah at all to be more than shocked by her death.
Letting Ehren pull away he watched, curious as to what he might be after. Responding back to texts? That was odd. He still didn’t understand but he nodded anyway.
Taking the phone to see for himself he browsed. “I wish I could do more to help, but this isn’t what I’m good at.” He wasn’t the most tech savvy person. “I mean it’s not like we can storm the place and make them put her back. Where would she even go?” There wasn’t a body left to host her.
“Maybe she doesn’t have to go back somewhere. Maybe it’s just good enough to free her so that she can be at peace.” He probably noticed the text where it said that he was in danger, because he was in the system when he wasn’t before. With Mayor Monday’s press conference, they’d be on high-alert for faction members too.
His tilted his head as he looked back at Logan. Maybe it was best not to say anything about his plans, Logan would probably worry and try to convince him not to do it. He didn’t want to lie to him, but he had to keep the faction a secret or he could expose himself and put himself into more danger.
Nodding at him, Logan offered Ehren back the phone. “She will never be lost as long as people like you remember her. That’s what matters.” Keeping her memory alive in his heart would always keep her living.
He hadn’t known about the faction until the press conference. But he also didn’t believe in everything the Mayor said, either.
A small, albeit still sad smile came to his lips then, and he leaned into to Logan, resting his head on the other man’s chest. “Thank you.” He said quietly, making himself more comfortable in his boyfriend’s arms. Logan had been so good to him and Ehren wasn’t quite sure how he’d ended up so lucky.
His arms would wind around Ehren once more. Squeezing the other man’s shoulders for comfort, he fell silent and just held on. Had he a way to take that sadness and burden he would’ve without a doubt. Ehren deserved happiness, not to have curve balls thrown at him every chance it got.
“You’re so good to me.” He said, without really thinking about it. It was clear now that Ehren was falling in love with Logan and that he was powerless to stop it. The thought frightened him but not as much as he thought it would. It was actually feeling more comfortable every day.
He loved the feeling of having Logan’s arms wrapped around him, like he was a security blanket, keeping him warm in the fierce jungle that was their lives. “Please be careful.” He said, mirroring Hannah’s words to him.
Those words touched him. He wanted to be sure that everything he did was in consideration of Ehren, Daisy. No longer could he be truly selfish and treading lightly was key to surviving. “I hope so.” He never wanted that aspect to change.
“I will. You too,” Logan murmured. They both needed to heed that warning as unpredictable as life could be here on the island.
The truth of the matter was that Ehren most likely would be careful, but not smart. He intended on doing something about Hannah, whether Logan wanted him to or not and chances were that it was going to be dangerous.
“Yeah I suppose I could do that.” He replied, bringing his head up to look at Logan, hand caressing his cheek before he leaned in to kiss him. He knew he’d neglected Logan the last couple of days and that it was a bad way to start their relationship, but maybe if he just stopped being afraid and came to him when things went wrong there would still be hope for them.
The risk in this circumstance was not worth the reward. Logan would play it cautious, keep to himself and observe. He didn’t want to bring trouble to himself, Ehren, or Daisy.
A little smile would twist upon his lips. “It’d be the right thing to do,” he assured the other man. Being careful. All the missing and the second guessing was bypassed in this moment.
He chuckled at that a little, the first real smile he’d had since Logan came over. It seemed so easy for him to smile around Logan, such real joy he’d felt. “Well if you could tell me what exactly ‘right’ means in this climate than I maybe I can agree with you.” The statement was made in jest but the meaning behind it was real.
Logan didn’t really know that part of Ehren, the revolutionary, the rebel, the fighter of rights. Ehren wasn’t sure if he’d ever be able to share that with Logan while they were still here on this island because it would put him in danger. “I guess we can only be so safe anyway, it’s not like we have anywhere to run.” His whole viewpoint about the island was turning grim, like they were all doomed to live in a world where they had no freedoms.
“Not getting yourself locked up or killed would be a start,” Logan replied. Whether it was made in jest or not, the comment from Ehren, his answer was more or less serious. He’d been through enough loss and didn’t need more any time soon that could be otherwise helped.
“All the more reason not to attract undue attention.” He was perfectly fine hiding in his apartment. While he knew he couldn’t expect Ehren to do that same thing it was safer that way.
One day, he promised to himself, he’d tell Logan all about the faction, he’d be honest and forthcoming about all he’d ever done. Now, with people dropping like flies in the streets he couldn’t draw any attention to himself or to Logan. “Yeah I guess you’re right. Maybe if I just keep my head down this will all just blow over.” It wasn’t a totally sarcastic statement but he knew the solution wouldn’t be that easy.
“I don’t really care, as long as I have you and Daisy.” He admitted. At the end of the day, no matter what kind of risky plans he’d dreamed up, the two of them were a big chunk of his life now that he wasn’t ready to give up.
“Sure,” he replied. That sarcasm wasn’t well met, this subject was sensitive. He didn’t want to lose Ehren for any reason and recklessness was not getting his approval in any sense of the word. They didn’t need heroes here. “I hope you think I’m right,” he said quietly.
He hoped that the value of what Ehren just said would weigh in if anything risky did come up. Whatever the other man was into he wanted to know but he wouldn’t press. Now wasn’t the time.
He wasn’t going to let this simmer below the surface or cause anything between them. He was over sabotaging any kind of relationship he’d ever had. His hand came to Logan’s cheek to bring his eyeline directly into Ehren’s. “I’m not going to do anything reckless. I promise you.” Because maybe he was starting to like the feeling of being protected.
And this was a promise he was keeping for the both of them. It may have been up to Ehren to find a way to keep this plan in motion, but he could delegate to more qualified members of the Faction.
He took that promise to heart. Logan would hold on to it, keep it close When danger reared its head and threatened them. It would come, he wasn’t blind or stupid, but with Ehren’s strength and support he had a new reason to face what happened their way.
Leaning into that touch he nodded, sighing with relief. A hand would go up to cup Ehren’s hand. “Thank you.”
A warmth filled him at Logan’s gratitude. He hoped he could make Logan happy like he had made him. “You’re welcome.” He replied with a quick kiss to lips. Daisy hopped up then and gave a little bark which caused Ehren to let out a laugh. How could he ask for more than he had now? Maybe freedom from this place was unnecessary. Maybe just getting to be with Logan and Daisy was enough.
“Do you think you could stay here with me tonight? I’m not sure I want to be alone.” More out of fear than anything else.
There was no way he could deny that request. Logan nodded, shifting to let Daisy climb on him to better get to Ehren. Whatever lay ahead for them he wasn’t sure but he knew they would make the best of it.
“Of course. Do you want me to go get something for us to eat and bring it back?” They didn’t have delivery service here but if Ehren wanted to stay in and figure things out from there he was fine with that, too. One of them was going to need to learn to cook.
A smile came to his face. Logan was so thoughtful and Ehren was lucky he liked to hang around with him. “Yeah that sounds nice.” He said softly, moving away from Logan so that he could get up and do as he said. He let Daisy wander over to his lap and he grabbed her, giving her a full body pet.
“Thank you.” He said to Logan. This was the first time he’d ever needed Logan for comfort and he was glad that Logan was so good at it.
Nodding, he pulled away carefully and moved to stand up. He had an idea already as to what sounded good and once he had acquired their supper he would make his way back quickly. A quiet night in sounded nice. Perfect, really. “Alright. I won’t be gone long.”
He leaned down to steal a kiss and then moved toward the door, walking out once it was open. With a last look at Ehren he closed the door after stepping out and took off in the direction of the Marketplace to get dinner.
A smile came easily to his face when Logan kissed him, his hand trailing up to stroke his arm briefly before he walked away. He pet Daisy for a bit before he looked at his phone again. The text messages were burning a hole into his brain. The call had been even worse, a harrowing message telling him he had to get a message out into the world.
Ehren grabbed a dvd while he waited, one of his favorites called Before Sunrise. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy meeting on a train in Europe and just talking all night. No silly Hollywood cliches, just people having honest conversation. He wasn’t sure if Logan had seen it before but he was anxious to see it again after so many years. He sat and watched the movie, holding Daisy in his lap as he waited for Logan.
As if he had lightening in his shoes Logan bolted toward the Marketplace. He had a feeling Ehren was in no shape or be alone and he didn’t want to leave him like that for any duration of time that could be helped. It took only moments to find what he wanted - waiting for the preparation seemed like ages - and then he was hurrying back albeit carefully, with their dinner.
He’d left the door unlocked and let himself in, bags of food in hands. He shut the door behind himself with a foot, toting everything to the kitchen to set it down on the countertop.
It was then Logan began to unpack their dinner - cheeseburgers and fries, milkshakes to go. “Come and get it.” There was even something little for Daisy.
He paused the movie when Logan announced the food, letting Daisy off his lap so that he could go into the kitchen to grab some food. He leaned over to Logan and pressed a kiss on his cheek before finding a plate to shovel his food onto. “I see what you’re trying to do here, you’re trying to fatten me up so I can’t run away.” He teased, grabbing one of the shakes and the plate of food over to the coffee table in the living room.
He didn’t mind that Logan got him junk food, it was sort of a comfort having it when he felt like he did. Something about a cheeseburger always calmed his moods as a child. “You know my mom used to buy me burgers when I was a kid to shut me up. I’d cry and cry and cry until she finally caved in.” He supposed that was the only child coming out of him.
“Yeah?” He inquired, amused. One of the shakes was plucked up and he drank from the straw. The milk and cream danced across his tongue, so sweet. He set it down and began to unpack his own dinner. The aromas made his mouth water.
“I don’t wanna shut you up, dork. Just make you feel better.” Chuckling, he grabbed a plate, loaded it up and then joined Ehren on the couch.
Taking a fry into his mouth and turning back the chapter on the movie, Ehren leaned into his boyfriend. “Mission accomplished. And I didn’t say you were trying to shut me up, just fattening me up.” He said with a smirk as the beginning of the movie started over.
“Besides, there are much better ways to shut me up.” He added with a wink, turning his attention back to the tv screen.
A playful eye roll would come as a response. He ate until he was full, the trash piled up and set aside. Shifting to get comfortable, an arm would wind around his boyfriend and he relaxed against the cushions.
The movie was pretty good. It wasn’t one he’d seen before so he did his best to get invested in it.
Ehren finished his food quickly too and as the movie played he felt himself get comfortable next to Logan. He always liked the movie because the characters had a natural chemistry and conversation. When the film was over he looked up at Logan, looking at the subtle features of his face. The way his beard pointed at the tip, the long slope of his nose.
“You’re so handsome.” He said, the words slipping out of his mouth as he stared at his boyfriend. He was sure it went without saying but he meant that Logan was so handsome inside and out. That he’d do this or anything he’d ever done for Ehren.
He wasn’t someone to just watch a movie with no plot or context much to what someone might think about him based on his appearance. While he liked fast paced action like anyone it was the subtext and backstory that really made a movie worth watching.
Eyes would roll down to peer at Ehren once the comment was made, small smile creeping across his lips. “Thanks.” He didn’t know what else to say, that would have to suffice.
“Okay okay, I’ll stop with the shallow compliments. I just thought you should know.” Also he didn’t actually just mean his physical appearance. Logan was a lovely person and that made him even more handsome.
He leaned back against Logan even though the movie was over and just sat there. If they had been at Logan’s apartment they could have watched the icy landscapes of Alaska but instead they just had a dvd menu to look at.
“They’re not shallow,” he replied. Logan shook his head at Ehren. He knew what it was like to be complimented for ulterior motive and Logan truly believed the other man’s words. Nor did he think Ehren liked him simply for the way he looked.
He continued to hold onto his boyfriend, sitting there in silence comfortably.