Disclaimer: Still not my boys, although I kind of love them like they were.
Word Count: ~8000 for this part
Warnings: Spoilers/references to BT Rocker...I think that's it
Summary: Logan's hurt, James feels guilty, Kendall & Carlos are understandably confused.
Previous chapters: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6
Author's Notes: Thank you again to shisou_eimin for giving me feedback on this chapter ♥
Part 7: The Recovery
It sounded like James was saying something but Logan's head was fuzzy beyond belief, the combination of arousal and guilt and embarrassment and oh yeah, pain just way too much for him to handle. He felt himself being lifted and then he was laying on the couch, and someone—that was James, Logan couldn't really see him clearly at the moment but he knew it was him—was crouched next to him, and Logan could make out his own name, and something that sounded like 'Are you okay?'
And then there was a mix of voices, and faces, and then James was gone—Logan didn't like that, he tried to grab at him but that didn't work too well at all—and then there was something cold under Logan's head, and was that Mrs. Knight?
As bits and pieces of Logan's brain started coming back to him he was afraid he might have a concussion, which would suck because he might have to go to the hospital, and wasn't he supposed to be at the studio soon? Although a more immediate worry was the fact that behind the haze Logan still felt really turned on, and he was currently sprawled out on a couch with his three best friends and probably a mom staring at him. Hopefully they were all just staring at his face.
"Logan, honey, are you alright? Can you hear me?"
That was definitely Mrs. Knight, and hey Logan could understand her now, awesome. He nodded, the movement causing pain to throb against his skull and Logan groaned, lifting a hand to rub at the back of his head.
"I am so sorry Logan, I did not mean to make you freak out like that—"
"Shh, Kendall, you can apologize later," Mrs. Knight said softly. Logan was thankful, because Kendall was sort of really loud.
Logan blinked as he realized his vision was clearing, and there was Mrs. Knight kneeling next to him, and Kendall behind the couch, looking down at Logan with an expression that clearly said he thought he was the worst friend in the world. Logan should probably tell him it was okay, but uh…he could do that later. When his head didn't hurt so damn bad.
And Carlos was standing next to Kendall, hands gripping the back of the couch and looking almost comically worried. Logan wanted to smile at him, wanted to reassure him, but the smile turned into a frown because where was James? Did he run off and hide in his own embarrassment? No, that didn't make any sense, James probably wasn't embarrassed at all that they'd been caught. Again.
Then Logan felt a hand brush his own where it had stilled against his head. He tried to crane his neck around to look behind him, but Mrs. Knight stopped him with the back of her hand gentle against his cheek.
"Just hold still, honey," she said, her voice soothing. "That's James back there. Everyone's here, and you're gonna be fine, okay?" She squeezed his shoulder, but that made him wince in pain. "Ah I'm sorry! Did you hit your shoulder when you fell too?"
"No idea," Logan managed, although he was pretty sure she wasn't actually expecting an answer.
"Logan!" That was James, his voice not exactly as quiet as it could have been, and suddenly there were worried hazel eyes about six inches from Logan's face. "You're talking again! Are you okay? I saw you fall and I couldn't get to you in time, I'm so sorry Logan—"
"Shh!" Mrs. Knight said again, not quite as patiently this time. "He has a headache, James, keep your voice down! And you can apologize later, too!" Logan was impressed with her ability to whisper-yell.
"Sorry," James whispered back, but he didn't move out of Logan's line of vision.
Logan narrowed his eyes. "This is all your fault," he mumbled, but as he said it he realized he wasn't capable yet of the teasing tone he'd been going for.
So now James was looking utterly horrified, and Logan was torn between fresh guilt and welcome amusement. When his chuckles came out more like sobs he thought James was going to have some sort of panic attack right then and there.
Logan exerted a considerable amount of willpower to reach a hand up and poke James in the cheek. "Joke," he said simply, before letting his hand fall again. He closed his eyes, and focused on taking a deep breath. "My own fault," he breathed out.
"It wasn't anyone's fault, Logan," Mrs. Knight told him. "Do you think you're okay to sit up now? If you have a concussion I don't want you falling asleep."
He nodded, eyes still closed. He was beginning to think it wasn't a concussion; he was thinking pretty clearly now, except that he had a headache so thinking sort of hurt a lot. And he was okay with forming sentences, it was just that actually moving his mouth was a lot of work.
"Okay. James, can you help him sit up for me?"
A second later and there were strong arms around Logan again, moving him up and back so that he was settled into the corner of the couch, his legs still stretched out along one of the sides. He noticed that somewhere along the line someone had taken his shoes off. James picked up the cold pack Logan's head had been laying on and helped him get it situated, leaning in to whisper in his ear while he did. Even in pain like he was that still sent a thrill through Logan.
"It was my fault, Logan. I am so, so sorry. But…if it makes you feel any better, you were amazing in that scene."
Logan smiled, and this time he made a passable grab at James when he tried to leave. "Stay," he said when James turned back to look at him.
"Are you sure?" James asked, sitting back on the couch next to Logan. "I figured you'd want to be as far away from me as possible right now."
"Mm," was all Logan said in response. He was the injured one, he didn't need to explain himself. Even to himself, because honestly he had no idea why he wanted James there. He just did.
"Mom, is there anything else we need to do for him?" Kendall asked, and Logan realized that irrational as it was he was in fact a little pissed at Kendall. Sure he had been surprised, but hadn't that been an overreaction?
"I don't know," Mrs. Knight said with a sigh, her voice further away now. "I feel like I should be asking Logan what he would suggest. I guess I'll take him to the doctor, just to be on the safe side."
"I'm fine," Logan blurted out. Seeing Dr. Hollywood was just about the last thing Logan wanted to do right now, when he wasn't entirely sure he could defend himself from crazy treatment attempts.
"You're not fine," Kendall said immediately.
"You fell pretty hard, man," Carlos agreed, his voice sounding weird. But Logan wasn't going to think about that now, because guilt would make his brain fuzzy all over again.
"But I don't think I really hit my head that hard," Logan countered, impressed by his own ability to spit out a sentence that long. "I think my shoulder got the worst of it. And my ass." Which also hurt, but Logan preferred not to mention that.
"Oh right, I wanted to check your shoulder," Mrs. Knight said, stepping closer once more. "James, I might need your help again. If that's alright with you, Logan?"
Logan tried to shrug but ow. "It's fine," he said instead.
As James helped him out of the ridiculously high quality dress shirt Logan was really expecting some sort of comment about undressing him, or Logan getting out of James's clothes, or…something. But there was nothing, so Logan decided he needed to fill the void with snark.
"You probably had a heart attack when I fell in this shirt, huh?" he asked, trying to catch James's eye but he was moving too much. "Are you going to inspect it for damage?"
James didn't answer, but once he was holding the shirt Logan saw him looking hesitantly at it.
"You totally want to!" Logan said quietly, trying not to attract attention, although with everyone else right there staring at them that was probably a lost cause.
"I'm sure it's fine," James answered, like every word was a struggle.
"Okay, the undershirt too Logan," Mrs. Knight said. "James, I need your spot there. Logan, can you lift up your arms?"
"Um…" He tried, but winced again. "Just the left one."
"I got it," James said, stopping on his way up from the couch. He reached over again and Logan could feel hands brush against his stomach as James lifted the t-shirt. He paused to let Logan pull his left arm through, and then very gently worked the shirt up over Logan's head before sliding it carefully down his right arm. "Wow, that looks…really painful."
James met Logan's eyes briefly, his expression worried and apologetic as Logan gave him a soft smile. Then James brushed the back of one finger against Logan's cheek, and as Logan started to blush James was gone. Mrs. Knight sat in his place and asked Logan to lean forward, if he could, so she could see his shoulder.
"The rest of you boys go ahead and get lunch started, okay? Logan's going to be fine, I promise, and you don't want to head to the studio on empty stomachs."
"We're still going to the studio?" Carlos asked, surprise in his voice.
"Yeah, dude, I'm alright," Logan told him. "But none of us will be if we miss a day, you know that."
"He's right," Kendall agreed. "Logan falling on his ass isn't an excuse Gustavo will take for missing studio time. Sorry Mom," he added hurriedly.
She waved it off. "Your friend's hurt, you're allowed some bad language. Go eat, guys, you can still keep an eye on Logan from the table."
Kendall walked away, pulling Carlos along with him, but James sat down on the end of the couch past Logan's feet.
"Go, James," Logan said. "You're going to be miserable all day if you don't eat."
"I'm already going to be miserable all day, this is all my fault."
Logan rolled his eyes. "It is not. But whatever, at least go find me another shirt to wear."
"…Okay." James stood up. "Oh, all your clothes are in my room, right?"
"Pretty much, yeah. And I do want one of my shirts."
"Fine," James huffed, though Logan could tell it was mostly for show. He turned and left. Logan figured the first thing he was going to do when he got to his room was check the shirt Logan had been wearing for imperfections.
"Okay, shoulder," Mrs. Knight said, and Logan leaned forward as best as he could.
"Oh, wow, you got that pretty good," she said after a second. "You'll have a nasty bruise there. It already looks like there's a knot forming."
"Awesome," Logan sighed. Hopefully they wouldn't be doing any dance lessons that day.
"So how's your head? You're sounding much better, and your eyes are clearer now."
"Yeah, I think I'm good," Logan assured her. "I really don't think I hit it that hard. It was mostly…shock, I guess, that caused me to react so badly."
"Right, about that. What exactly happened in here? When Carlos ran to get me all he would say is that you fell, and I could tell he was really worried. But no one would say how you fell, just that…you tripped on the coffee table?"
"Um…yeah, that's pretty much what happened. I stumbled backwards and hit the table, then fell." No way was he going to tell her about why he stumbled in the first place.
"…Okay then," she said, eyeballing him like she knew good and well there was more to the story. "Well, I'll go get another cold pack for your shoulder. Do you want some lunch? And some Tylenol or something?"
"Yes to both of those, thank you," he answered gratefully.
When James got back with one of Logan's shirts in tow he tried to resume his spot next to Logan on the couch, but Logan refused to allow it until he got himself a sandwich first. Which of course made Carlos say that if James got to eat lunch with Logan then he did too, and before long all three of them were piled on the couch around Logan. James was inches from his shoulder, Kendall was on the other side of James and Carlos was at Logan's feet, sitting cross-legged and facing him, watching Logan and James with an expression that was just way too inscrutable for Carlos.
They were all eating in silence, which made Logan nervous because Mrs. Knight was already suspicious and the four of them actually being quiet wasn't going to make her any less so. She broke the silence herself, but not with a question about their behavior.
"Kendall," she said, looking around the kitchen like she was missing something, "have you seen your sister?"
"Um," Kendall said, and Logan almost laughed because he knew that 'um.' "Yeah, I saw her earlier, but that was a while ago. You, uh, want me to go find her?"
"Nah that's okay, I'll go look for her myself. You boys stay with Logan, I'll be back soon."
As soon as she was out the door Logan could hear Kendall texting furiously, no doubt warning his sister of the impending parental unit.
A few more moments of silence and Logan couldn't take the way Carlos was looking at him any longer. "We're not dating, Carlos," he said, throwing it out awkwardly into the weird atmosphere in the room.
Kendall made a noise of disbelief, and Logan tried to lean up to look around James at him but his shoulder wasn't having any of that. A cold pack fell when he tried and James retrieved it for him, setting it gently back on his shoulder while Logan winced.
"I don't want to hear it, Kendall," Logan said, leaning sideways against the couch and closing his eyes instead. "I'm still a little pissed at you right now."
"What, for having a natural reaction to walking in on two of my best friends groping each other on the couch? Look, I'm really sorry you got hurt, but—"
"There was no groping!" Logan nearly shouted, face already turning red.
"Hey, I don't know where James's hand was, and I don't want to know. The point is—"
"You were kissing," Carlos interrupted.
Logan still didn't open his eyes, because he didn't want to see the questions on Carlos's face. They were the same questions Logan had, and if he couldn't even answer them for himself there was no chance he could answer them for Carlos.
"Exactly," Kendall said in agreement. "And we were under the impression that was something you guys weren't doing."
"We're not," Logan said. James, feel free to jump in here at any time. "I was helping James rehearse a scene for an audition—"
"You have an audition?" Carlos asked, his tone having done a 180 and sounding happily surprised now. "Cool, what's it for?"
"Focus, Carlos," Kendall told him before James could answer. "So you were rehearsing what, a scene from a porno?"
Logan really hoped that loud thud was James hitting Kendall really really hard.
"Don't be an ass, Knight," James said, and Logan couldn't help smiling.
"So…you were just acting?" Carlos asked, voice tentative now. "Because…I'm not really an expert at kissing but that didn't look like acting."
"Well, Logan's actually a pretty good actor, you know," James said.
Logan's eyes shot open and he looked at James, disbelieving. Was James trying to give him an out? Trying to give him a way to avoid all those questions about feelings and intentions and all that crap Carlos wanted answers to and Logan probably needed answers to but just couldn't deal with right then?
…Or did James seriously think that had all been an act?
Kendall made another obnoxious sound and then he was jumping up from the couch, plate in hand, eying James warily. "No more hitting, dude."
"Look, guys, can we just talk about this later?" Logan tried, his tone a little pleading. "My head hurts, and my shoulder hurts, and—I want to just get some rest before we have to leave."
"Wait, you're not going to the studio," James said, breaking his glare at Kendall to look back at Logan. "You're staying right here."
"No, I'm going," Logan argued. "Just let me have some peace and quiet for a little while and I'll be fine."
"You want us to leave?" Carlos asked.
Logan shook his head. Slowly. A little. It hurt. "No, you can stay, just…peace and quiet. Please."
"Yeah, I don't know if that's going to happen with all of us in here," Kendall said. He stepped up next to Logan and leaned down to place a hand on one outstreched leg before looking Logan in the eye. "I'm sorry, man. You know I didn't mean to make you do that, and I feel like shit for it."
Logan sighed. Stupid sincere Kendall. "Yeah, I know. I'm over it, we're cool. So are you heading out then?"
Kendall smiled before straightening up again. "Yeah, I'm gonna go to the studio now, tell Gustavo what happened, try to soften him up a bit before you get there. Make sure we're not supposed to be dancing, at least." Logan smiled his gratitude. "I trust between James and Carlos they can get you there in one piece later."
"Leave it to us," Carlos agreed immediately, giving Kendall a quick salute.
Once Kendall was gone Carlos turned his attention back to Logan and James. Logan knew it was killing him not to ask at least some of his questions.
"Later, Carlos," James said, gently but with an unmistakable warning.
"I know, I know," he answered, turning around in his seat to lean back against the couch. "Is it okay if I turn the TV on?"
"Would you be more comfortable in your room, Logan?" James asked before Logan could answer Carlos.
"What?" Carlos said, sounding worried. "No, I don't need the TV on, you don't have to leave!"
But Logan had already been thinking about it. "No, James is right, Carlos. I think I probably should go lay down for a little while." He started to move his legs, slowly inching them off of the couch so he could try to stand up.
"Hey, stop," James said softly. "I got you." He lifted Logan's plate off his lap. "Here Carlos, will you take this to the kitchen?"
"Sure. Ooh, are you gonna carry Logan to his room? You're such a gentleman, James," Carlos said, teasing, as he walked away.
"Shut up, Carlos," Logan called after him, but that did in fact look like exactly what James was planning.
"Hold these," James said, referring to the two cold packs that were now more like relatively-cool packs. Then he slipped one arm under Logan's knees, the other gently around his back, and a second later Logan was off the couch.
He felt a little ridiculous, but whatever, at least he didn't have to walk.
"You're coming back, right James?" Carlos asked as they headed for the hallway.
"Yeah Carlos," James answered, then in a whisper added, "unless Logan wants to make out some more."
Logan blushed, rolled his eyes, and swatted at James's face with one of the cold packs. James just grinned, and Logan smiled in response, knowing that if James was back to teasing it meant he wasn't feeing too guilty and worried about Logan anymore.
"You're so out of it," James said quietly as they headed down the hall.
"Am I?" Logan asked. Right now he was feeling more tired than anything.
"Yeah. You're letting me carry you around while you're not even wearing a shirt, and earlier you said 'ass' while Mrs. Knight was right there and you didn't even seem to realize it."
Both of these pieces of information made Logan blush again, harder this time, but he didn't say anything else as they finally reached his bed and James lowered him down into a sitting position on it.
"There now, how lucky are you to have such a tall, strong, handsome best friend?"
"I will admit the tall and strong parts come in handy on occasion," Logan said, setting his cold packs to the side so he could turn around and lay on his stomach.
"While the benefits of me being handsome are constant, right?"
Logan couldn't help chuckling; that had actually been a pretty clever comeback, though James probably meant it entirely seriously.
"Do you want this on your shoulder again?" James asked.
"Yeah, thanks," Logan told him, assuming he meant the cold pack. He wasn't going to turn his head to check.
But Logan felt warmth instead, fingers lightly tracing the knot on his shoulder as Logan shuddered at the touch.
"Sorry," James said immediately. "It even feels painful, Logan. I'm sorry I didn't catch you. I'm sorry about…all of it."
The not-so-cold pack was set on his shoulder, painful but soothing at the same time. James stepped back, and Logan could see him now. He looked…small.
"Hey, we're not doing this right now, okay?" Logan said. "No more apologizing. I'm going to be fine, but Carlos is going to start freaking out if you're not back out there soon. Go try and answer some of the million and a half questions he wants to ask."
James didn't say anything for a long moment, staring at the floor. "…I don't think I actually have any answers for him, Logan. What do you want me to tell him? I'll say whatever you want."
"Just tell him the truth. There's no point in lying about any of it."
James looked at him for a second, but Logan couldn't read the look at all. Maybe he was still a little out of it.
"I don't think I have any of the answers, Logan," James said again, and for the first time in the weeks since that other kiss Logan started to think maybe he wasn't the only one completely confused by all of this.
It was both comforting and terrifying.
"Well, at least I'm not the only one, then," Logan managed. He had thought that morning he finally did have some answers, but there was a major difference between simply accepting a friend's casual flirtations and then throwing himself at that same friend in a heated make-out session. So now he was pretty much back to square one.
"But…" James continued, "I am really sorry about what happened today."
"Stop it," Logan admonished. "It's not like you planned it or anything."
"…But I did."
"…What?" Logan asked, and he knew he should just be confused but that felt an awful lot like anger building in his chest.
"Not you falling of course, God, I would never want that," James said quickly. "But I've been planning on kissing you since I first looked through the script. That's why I wanted to do the scene with you."
"What?!" Logan said again, voice rising. He shouldn't be surprised, he shouldn't be surprised at all but dammit, James! "I thought you wanted me to help you because you were too nervous to do it with a real actor, or whatever?"
"That too!" James was looking a little panicky now. "I mean, I wasn't lying about any of that, about anything, and you knew I wanted to kiss you again, Logan, I told you that the day after our first kiss! And I wasn't trying to trick you or anything, it's not like I've been going around looking for ways to force you to kiss me, but when I got the script and I read it I just thought of you immediately and I wanted to do the scene with you and—"
"Stop," Logan said, his head throbbing again. "Just stop, James. Later. I don't want to talk about this, about anything, right now."
"Sorry," James mumbled, voice small. "I'll leave you alone now."
Logan heard the door close and thought he probably should have said something else, told James he wasn't actually mad at him—or at least he didn't think he was—but Logan had a headache and his shoulder hurt and dammit James and he would sort all this crap out after a nap.
* * * * * *
"Is he okay?"
James shrugged, sitting next to Carlos on the couch and realized he'd left Logan's shirt there. He wasn't taking it to him right then, though.
"He's laying down. I think he's mad at me now, but…he said I should try to answer your questions. But Carlos, I don't think I know how to."
"I don't even know what I want to ask," Carlos said, flipping through channels on the TV. The volume was down much further than usual. "Except is that my jacket you're wearing?"
The question caught James off-guard and he laughed. "Maybe? I found it in our room, I was wearing it as part of my costume for the scene we were doing."
"Oh right, tell me about that!" Carlos said, excited now. He set down the remote and turned a little to look at James.
James tugged the jacket off of his shoulders, trying not to think about Logan's hands slipping under that jacket earlier. He dropped it on the cushion next to him and ran hands through his hair, wanting to reassert his own identity after walking around dressed as Oliver for so long.
"Well, Camille told me about it," he said, smiling now because Carlos was genuinely interested and it made James feel good about himself again. "The part I'm trying for is just a small role, but it's in that movie she's doing now."
"Oh, Spy High? Awesome! Are you playing a spy? A good guy or a bad guy?"
"Not a spy," James said, shaking his head. That really would have been cool, though. "The boyfriend of a spy."
"Ohhh, I can totally see that," Carlos said, nodding his head. "So…that means Logan was playing the girl in the scene, then?"
"What?" James asked, taking a second to figure out what Carlos meant. "Oh! Haha, no, Logan was playing a dude. Here," he said, leaning forward to pick up one of the scripts from the coffee table. Someone had moved them there so James could set Logan on the couch earlier.
"What?" Carlos echoed as he took the script. "So your girlfriend wasn't even in the scene? That's boring. And…wait a minute, there's kissing in the scene, right?"
"The characters are gay, Carlos. Duh."
"Ohhhhh. I get it now." He looked down at the script, but James really didn't expect him to read any of it. "So does Logan make a cool spy?"
"No, he actually makes a really hot spy."
Carlos laughed a little, then looked up at James with a semi-serious expression. James raised an eyebrow, waiting.
"So," Carlos finally said, "I know what I said before and all, but I'm starting to think now that maybe—"
He was interrupted by the door opening and the tail end of an argument between Mrs. Knight and Katie. "This is so not fair," Katie was saying.
"Making you eat lunch isn't fair?"
"No. I was on a roll, Mom!"
James stopped paying attention at that point, more interested in hearing the rest of what Carlos had been saying.
"You're thinking what, Carlos?" he asked.
"Oh. I'll, uh, tell you later, okay?"
"…Alright," James agreed. He turned back to the TV, while Carlos looked back down at the script.
"Man, I can't imagine Logan saying some of this stuff," he said, and James couldn't tell if Carlos thought it was funny or impressive. Probably both. James did, at least.
"He actually did really well," James said, smiling. He had been so proud of Logan for finally taking the scene seriously. Apparently very seriously, given that kiss.
Except James couldn't think about that right now, because it was confusing and Logan didn't want to talk about it yet so that meant James shouldn't worry about it yet either, right?
A few more moments passed quietly and then Katie plopped down on the other side of the couch. "So where've you been today, James? Didn't see you at the pool or anywhere."
James sighed. "You want some advice, Katie?"
"Um…no, not really."
"Don't get any older. Life just gets more complicated."
"Ain't that the truth," Carlos agreed.
"…Oookay," Katie said. "So uh, whatcha reading, Carlos?"
"Oh, this is—"
"Nothing!" James interrupted, snatching the other script off of the table before Katie noticed it. "Oh hey Carlos, isn't this your jacket? You should probably take that on upstairs," he said, handing the jacket and the script to his friend with a meaningful look.
Carlos blinked, but caught on. "Oh, you're totally right James, that is my jacket. I will go put that away, because hey, I'm already wearing a jacket and you know what, I don't need two of them!"
He left, taking the jacket and both scripts with him, and James let out a sigh of relief. He didn't really know why he had reacted that way, but something told him letting Katie get her hands on that script would probably let her way further into his and Logan's personal lives than anyone was comfortable with.
Plus, Katie was kind of his manager and if she found out he was doing an audition without consulting her first she might kill him. James wasn't willing to take that chance.
"Weirdos," Katie muttered.
A few seconds later Carlos was calling out from the balcony. "Hey uh, James?"
"Yeah dude?" James replied, looking over to see him poking his head through the door.
"Um, why does our room say 'WARDROBE' on it?"
"Because that's what it is."
"Oh. Okay then." He disappeared, and a moment later James heard him shout, "Whoa! You weren't kidding!"
James laughed. He'd have to clean all that up at some point, which sucked because now that Logan was all injured and stuff he couldn't even make him help.
"Dude, it's like your closet threw up in there," Carlos said when he reappeared in the living room.
"Don't worry, I'll clear off the bed at least today," James assured him.
"Oh, I'm not worried. I'll just sleep in the top bunk if you don't," Carlos said with a grin.
James shoved him as he sat on the couch. "Not if I get there first."
"Then I'll just throw all the clothes on top of you."
"Those are mostly Logan's clothes on that bed, you know."
"Oooh, then he'll be all mad at you because you made me throw his clothes around."
Carlos was saved from the scathing comeback James was brainstorming by a message notification from James's phone, followed by one from Carlos's.
"Wonder if that's Kendall," James said before checking his phone. It was.
'Studio at 4. How's L?'
James checked the time; it was close to 2:30. He texted Kendall back, telling him Logan was resting and they'd be there.
"Hey, Mrs. Knight," James called over to her. She was sitting at the table reading a magazine, eating her own lunch. "Kendall says we need to be at Rocque Records at four, when do you think I should wake Logan up?"
"He's going with you guys?" she asked, turning to look at James.
"Wait, what happened to Logan? Why is he asleep?" Katie asked.
"He fell earlier," Carlos explained.
"Yeah, he insisted," James told Mrs. Knight.
"What?! Is he okay?" Katie asked Carlos.
James shook his head and stood up, not able to deal with both conversations at once right now. He sat down at the table. "I don't want him to go, but he's already mad at me so I don't want to not let him go, either."
"Why is he mad at you?" Mrs. Knight asked.
"Oh, um. Well, I uh…"
"Is it something to do with why he fell? I thought he said that wasn't your fault? And Kendall said it was his fault."
"Well, um, it was kind of both our faults? But no one's fault, really, I mean it was an accident and all." James didn't like the way she was looking at him, and if he didn't get out of this fast he would probably end up telling her what happened. He wasn't sure Logan wanted that, though. "So anyway, when should I wake him up? Around 3:30, or earlier than that?"
"Earlier," she answered after a moment. "Check on him around three, make sure he's still alright and feels like going."
The next half hour seemed to last forever to James even with the distractions of Carlos, Katie and the TV. But finally he checked his phone and it was five till three, and James figured that was close enough. He grabbed Logan's shirt off of the couch and headed for the hallway.
"Checking on Logan?" Carlos asked.
"Tell him I hope he's feeling better."
"Sure thing," James said, looking back to smile at Carlos before turning the corner.
He debated about knocking for a second, but if Logan still had a headache he didn't want to risk making it worse, so James just opened the door slowly and peeked in. "Logan?" he whispered, and he had a flashback of the night before, doing this same thing after he got back from his date.
…Had that really just been the night before? So much had happened since then James could hardly believe it was the same day.
Like before, there was no answer so James slipped in the room and closed the door behind him. He found Logan basically the way he'd left him, laying on his stomach on the bed. The cold packs were both on the floor, and Logan had halfway wound his blanket around him, which was adorable but made James feel bad for not making sure he was warm enough before he left.
James sat on the edge of the bed and watched Logan for a moment, wondering if he would freak out again this time when he woke up and saw James there. James really hoped not, because as fun as that had been right now he just wanted to make sure Logan was okay, and that everything between them was still okay.
Logan's injured shoulder was exposed, and was now covered in a splotchy, dark purple bruise. It looked terrible, and James felt another pang of guilt. He shouldn't have done that, talking Logan into doing the scene with him. He shouldn't have gotten Logan to kiss him again; not if it ended up like this.
Something in that thought stuck with James. Logan had kissed him. Logan had kissed James. Without James even needing to break character and argue he needed the practice. Without Logan breaking character either, so did that mean he was just doing it for the scene? But Logan hadn't just started the kiss entirely on his own; he'd also done most of the work in keeping it going. James hadn't done much more than sit there and take it, and encourage Logan to make himself a little more comfortable.
…So what did that mean?
James didn't have any answers. 'Well, at least I'm not the only one,' Logan had said. And if Logan didn't have any answers either, then where did that leave them?
Knowing what he was doing but not really knowing why he was doing it—because it was probably not a smart idea at all—James lifted a hand to trace around the outside edge of Logan's bruise. He felt the skin tense under his fingers but otherwise Logan didn't move. James pushed the blanket further away from the injury and made wide circles to avoid hurting Logan, his fingers moving gently, slowly, around and around the knotted area until James couldn't take it anymore.
He leaned in and pressed a kiss between Logan's shoulder blades, not daring to get any closer to the bruise. There was still no real response from Logan, though, and James bit his lip, trying to decide exactly how stupid he was being to push for a reaction in this particular situation.
Pretty damn stupid was what he decided on but he kissed Logan again anyway, this time moving across to the other side of the purple splotch and pushing his lips against the top of Logan's shoulder. And that…felt really really nice, so he stayed, mouthing softly at the skin there until he felt Logan move beneath him.
"James," Logan breathed, and James felt his heart stop at hearing his name said like that.
"Hey," James managed to answer. Logan was facing away from him, so James leaned over across his back to see his eyes, but they weren't open.
But hey look, another shoulder, and James's mouth found its way there entirely of its own accord. He was just starting to thoroughly enjoy himself when Logan spoke again.
"James, stop," he said, voice quiet but to James it may as well have been a scream. He pulled away from Logan's shoulder immediately, eyes wide, and noticed that Logan's eyes were squeezed shut now.
"Oh Logan, I'm sorry," James said, then kept babbling. "I don't know why I did that, I shouldn't—that was just really…inexcusable, it won't happen again, I—" He stopped when he realized Logan was chuckling softly.
"I'm sore, James," he said, then finally opened an eye and looked up. He looked tired, really tired, but amused.
"What? Oh, um…I mean, I was trying to be careful—"
"Not just the bruise," Logan explained. "Like, basically everywhere. My muscles have stiffened up, and I'm sore all over now. I guess the fall was a little worse than I realized. And you keep shifting the bed, and I can feel it every time."
Logan was still looking at James, both eyes open now, while James tried to figure out what this meant. Logan…had been okay with the kissing? Except that it was hurting? And dammit, James had hurt him?
And uh, exactly how long had Logan been awake?
"Is it time to leave?"
James shook his head, clearing his thoughts and answering Logan at the same time. "We have an hour, I just came to check on you."
"And make out with my shoulders, apparently."
Heat rushed to James's face. "Well, you…have really nice shoulders."
Logan laughed a little, and James felt like he was in some alternate universe. Because not only did it seem like he no longer had to worry about getting kneed in the gut for being close to Logan and touching him and saying subtly inappropriate things, it seemed like it was also totally cool to have major make-out sessions in the living room and kiss Logan's bare shoulders while he was sleeping.
James was a big fan of this alternate universe. Even if instead of stars it was full of millions of unanswerable questions.
"Thanks for waking me up," Logan said. "It's probably going to take me 20 minutes to even get out of bed. Ugh, I don't want to move."
"Then don't," James offered. "Stay here, go back to sleep if you want."
"Tempting, but I can't," Logan said with a sigh. "I'll probably be okay once I start moving some. Help me sit up?"
"Couldn't I just join you down there?"
Logan rolled his eyes. "Help me sit up, James."
That turned out to not be the easiest of tasks, because James didn't want to touch Logan's bruise, moving him any which way at all seemed to cause him some sort of pain, and also he still wasn't wearing a shirt and it was kind of distracting, seeing and touching his bare skin. Logan really did have nice shoulders. And a nice everything else, too.
But finally they managed it, Logan sitting slumped forward, arms draped across his legs, and looking rather miserable. "I don't get it," he said, shaking his head. "I thought I landed mostly just on the back of my shoulder and my ass, and thumped my head pretty good. But I feel sore almost everywhere, and not a bruised kind of sore, more like…muscle strain, or something. But I just fell, I didn't—"
He stopped, and from his spot next to Logan James had to duck around to see the interesting expression on his face. His eyes were a little wide and his face was turning red, and somehow everything clicked.
"…It's from making out. Isn't it?" James asked, a grin spreading across his face, but he didn't even need confirmation because he just knew. "From holding yourself up for so long. Yeah, I'd bet your arms would hurt, and your back would hurt, and heck even your legs might. You really should have just sat on my lap, would have made things much easier on yourself."
"Shut up," Logan said, embarrassment in his voice, as he shoved James with his left hand.
James wasn't really sure what he was going to ask, but his voice sounded strange even to his own ears.
Logan shook his head. "Later. I said we'd talk about…whatever, later."
"It is later."
"Later later, James. Just…not right now, okay? I'm tired and I'm sore and I'm not even wearing a shirt, and…" James could hear him take a deep breath. "Just. Later."
"I brought you your shirt," James said, looking around until he found it and holding it out to Logan.
Logan smiled, but he wouldn't meet James's eyes. "Thanks. Wanna make any bets on whether I can dress myself?"
He gave a valiant effort, but after a string of 'owowowowowow' and a swear word or three James took over, basically doing the opposite of when he had taken Logan's shirt off earlier.
"Not as much fun as undressing you, I have to say," James said off-hand as he pulled the shirt down to cover Logan's stomach.
"See, I don't think you really had to say it, but maybe that's just me," Logan replied. "Oh, before I forget, your tie."
Logan's hand was on its way down to his pocket while James's was pulling back from Logan's shirt and on the way their palms brushed together, a completely innocent feather-light touch that sent heat flooding throughout James's body.
He jerked his head up to look at Logan, eyes wide, to find Logan looking back at him in shock and even though James was having trouble breathing all of a sudden he was glad he at least wasn't the only one who had felt that. It was like…his palm was sort of tingling, and all at once it was making the hair on the back of his neck stand up and his skin burn all over, and his heart felt like it was going to explode.
And it was familiar but at the same time it felt like something totally new, something James didn't understand at all, and as they just kept staring at each other he realized he was starting to feel a little afraid. He didn't even know what of, but he could see it in Logan's face too, genuine fear and—James didn't know what to do. He didn't know whether to run or stay or laugh or cry or grab Logan and kiss him until neither one of them could breathe and they forgot this feeling, this…scary feeling of a million possibilities that were probably all answers to those millions of questions in this alternate universe; except now James didn't want them, didn't want to be anywhere near those answers if this is what it felt like.
James had never in his life been so utterly relieved to hear the text alert on his cell phone.
Pulling himself away from Logan's terrified gaze was like pulling two strong magnets apart; when he'd finally managed it he felt like he was going to fall over from the sheer force it took, and James had no idea where that science-y metaphor came from but it probably had something to do with the trouble he'd had getting that magnetic clasp off of his shirt earlier. He fumbled for several moments trying to get his phone out of his pocket, then realized his hands were actually shaking as he checked the message.
What the hell was happening to him?
It was Kendall again, checking up on Logan and making sure he was still coming to the studio with them. James tried to reply but his fingers wouldn't cooperate, and after several increasingly frustrating attempts he threw the phone down on the bed and glared at it.
And now James didn't know what to do again. He couldn't turn around and look at Logan right now, but he couldn't just get up and walk away, either. Logan was still injured, after all.
They might have sat there awkwardly forever if there hadn't been a knock on the door right then. "Yeah," Logan called out, his voice so far-away and strange it made James shudder. Would his own voice sound like that if he tried to talk right now?
Carlos stuck his head in the door, looking a little hesitant but smiling when he saw them. "Hey, you're up, Logan. Feeling any better?"
"Yeah, some," Logan answered. James could hear a smile in his voice but he couldn't tell how fake it was.
"Cool. So, I just got a text from Kendall, did you get it too James?"
For a second James thought about saying no, but he could probably get Carlos to answer the text without actually lying to him. "Yeah, haven't replied yet though. Did you?" Yep, his voice sounded weird, just not as much as Logan's had.
"Was just about to, but I wanted to check with you guys first. You still going with us, Logan?"
"'Course I am. Don't want you guys getting screamed at without me…or because of me," Logan answered. Carlos grinned. "But we still have a while, right? I think I'm gonna chill in here until it's time to leave, if that's okay with you guys?"
"Sure, I'll let Kendall know," Carlos said, to James's relief. "You keeping Logan company, James?"
You couldn't pay me to stay in this room right now, Carlos, James thought. But he should probably come up with something a little better to say.
Logan coughed. "You, uh, still need to change clothes, right James? You don't want to go to the studio like that, right?"
If James wasn't still scared to death to look at him he'd give Logan a hugely grateful smile right about now, both for giving him an excuse and for reminding him he actually did need to change.
"Exactly," James said with a nod. "I'm still in costume, can't go wandering around in public like this." He made a face and gestured at himself, underscoring the ridiculousness of the idea. Then he hopped off the bed and grabbed his phone and tie, pushed past Carlos with a smile, and half-ran up to his room.
Where he closed the door and leaned back against it, his breathing heavy and erratic, and tried not to pass out at the realization that his life seemed to have just gotten a hell of a lot more complicated—even if he didn't understand why.