Disclaimer: Not my boys, although I kind of love them like they were.
Word Count: ~5,100 this part (in total over 25,000)
Warnings (overall): language, crossdressing, slight angst
Summary: Logan likes doctors and scientists and smart people, but what he really likes is girls—so that's what James is going to give him.
Previous chapters: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4
Author's Notes: Written for the palmwoods Harvestfest. This...kind of got away from me. I wanted to post it all at once but there is still a bit of adding/editing left to do; the full fic should be posted by the end of the week.
Also after I wrote this and re-read the prompt I realized I may have taken it in a different direction than desired? But I'm still really happy with how it's turned out. Oh, and I'll also be writing a side-story to show what Kendall & Carlos were up to the whole time. :)
The title, of course, comes from "Time of Our Life," which became the official theme for this story after the first time I paid attention to the lyrics. So thanks for that, Logan ;)
And forever thanks to shisou_eimin for her help with this ♥♥♥
Prompt: (#25) "James/Logan: Halloween. James sets out to seduce Logan. He dresses up as a girl with some sort of costume that includes a mask and a way to hide his masculinity (i.e. gorgeous muscles). He plays the part perfectly and wins Logan over, discovering in the process that it's not just his looks that make him amazing--he has a lot to offer personality-wise, too, when he lets down his diva wall. What happens when Logan realizes it's James is up to you, it doesn't even have to be a happy ending (though that would be nice). Bonus points for James trying to sound smart and dancing with Logan (and not awkwardly like in BTProm), and Logan feeling bad for James for being such a "tall" girl."
Unfortunately, Camille and Jade had gone into the girls' bathroom and that was one place Logan couldn't follow them into for spying purposes. He tried waiting right outside the door, but he got some weird looks from a couple of girls as they walked in so he backed up.
As the girls opened the door, though, he heard yelling. Camille yelling, and barely a second later the two girls ran back out, more yelling escaping through the door before they closed it.
Logan wanted to crack the door open and hear the yelling but that was really going too far, so he waited anxiously, straining his ears to see if he could catch even a word here or there. He was still too close to the party, though, and the music made it impossible.
What the hell could Camille be so upset about, anyway? Was it…oh, damn, was it because Jade had been flirting with Camille's ex-boyfriend? Did they have some sort of ex-boyfriend code that had been violated? Logan hated the idea that he'd been a part of it, if that was the case.
…But it didn't exactly make him regret his actions. As long as Jade wasn't crying…or Camille…seriously if Logan had caused girls to cry this evening he was going to hate himself for a very long time. Maybe he could blame it on James somehow.
Or maybe Camille thought Jade was messing with Logan's emotions? She had seemed concerned he would get too attached to her cousin during this short visit, but Logan had told her he understood it was a limited-time-only thing. Jade hadn't done anything wrong, and there was no reason to throw a fit at her over it.
Dammit Logan really wanted to know what they were saying.
He got as close as he dared to the bathroom door, and then he could hear vague yelling sounds. Logan couldn't tell at all what was being said, but the voice was loud and unhappy and…sort of deep, which was weird but was probably just the result of listening through the door or something.
"Hey Logan!" a voice behind him said and Logan jumped about a foot in the air before he realized it was Carlos's voice.
"Dude!" Logan told him, eyes wide. "I'm trying to listen here, a little warning next time!"
"Sorry," Carlos said immediately. "Wait…why are you listening at the girls' bathroom?"
"Because Camille and Jade are in there and they're yelling at each other and I want to know why."
"Oh!" Carlos nodded in understanding. "Okay, that's what I was gonna ask you, if you knew where Camille was. Why are they yelling?"
"No idea," Logan said with a shrug. "Why are you looking for Camille?"
"Oh, well…" Carlos's eyes went wide, giving him a deer-in-the-headlights look. "Um, well, we were like, hanging out, and, and dancing, and stuff, and…she just took off all of a sudden, and I was just wanting to make sure everything was okay."
That made sense. But…wait. "You were dancing with Camille?"
"I didn't do anything wrong!" Carlos shouted. "Kendall was watching to make sure!"
Logan almost laughed at that, but just then the door to the bathroom was thrown open violently and a tear-streaked Camille looked out at them, and Logan felt like shit.
"Camille?" Carlos said, worry overflowing in his voice.
She glanced at Logan for a second before turning and running down the hallway, leaving the door open behind her. Logan heard Carlos shouting for her and maybe he ran after her; Logan was worried, too, but he wanted to check on Jade first.
Except. When Logan looked back through the open door the figure that caught his attention wasn't Jade.
Standing there, dressed all up in a wig and a skirt but now without the bandana to cover his face, was the other person occupying Logan's thoughts that evening.
Logan's brain worked quickly, as a rule, and even as nothing made sense anymore everything started to fall into place.
This was why James had been gone so much.
This was why he'd left early that day.
This was why he never showed up at the party.
This was why Jade had seemed so familiar.
This was why Logan had felt such a connection to someone he barely knew.
This was why everything had felt so easy and right and perfect.
Because James was a fucking liar.
"Logan—" James started to say, but the rage in Logan's ears was too much, the hurt in his chest was too much, the hot prickling behind his eyes was too much, and like Camille had done moments before Logan turned and ran.
Logan got to the stairs with no idea whether James was following him and with no interest in finding out. Right now Logan didn't want to see anyone, least of all that asshole of a so-called best friend.
Because what the fucking hell? Logan understood what had happened, that was simple enough: James had been having some sort of 'girl lessons' or some shit and he'd snuck off earlier to get all dressed up and he came to the party pretending to be Camille's cousin, and had quite soundly fooled—well, Logan, at least.
But why? Why the fuck would he go to all that trouble? And why would Camille help him?
Although obviously she was pissed about something, so apparently Logan wasn't the only one James hadn't been truthful with. And since the only thing Jade—James—had done all evening was hang around Logan, it must have had something to do with him.
Logan worked out the possibilities as he raced down the stairs just slow enough to not kill himself. Camille could have been upset, like Logan had sort of thought before, that James was just screwing with Logan's heart. Or head. Or both. Because what the hell sort of best friend secretly dresses up as a chick and spends the night flirting with a guy he's known most of his life?
Was it a dare? No, because who would have dared James to do anything like that? Only Carlos or Kendall. Carlos wouldn't have been able to keep it a secret, and Kendall would have put a stop to it as soon as he saw Logan was getting emotionally invested.
The next possibility made Logan freeze and nearly slide off of the step he was on. What if James had somehow found out? Logan had been so careful the last couple years to hide it, and especially careful the last few months since it got bad…Kendall had never said anything about it and if Kendall didn't suspect then James couldn't either, right? James couldn't possibly know that Logan—
And if he did? Then what, he was trying to rub it in Logan's face? 'Haha, I know you have a thing for me so I'm going to dress up like a girl and be amazing and wonderful and make you think you have a chance with someone you really connect with and then take it all away from you'? That was…that was too much for James, wasn't it?
He wouldn't really do something so incredibly cruel. Not intentionally. He wouldn't. Logan knew James better than that. Right?
Logan started down the stairs again, faster this time as he tried to outrun that option. That didn't leave much to consider, though, because why else would Camille have gotten so mad? Why would she have been crying?
Unless…the other thing. The ex-boyfriend thing. But no, that made no sense either, because Logan knew, Logan had known forever that there was no way James was into him like that. Because James was never quiet about the things he wanted. If he wanted Logan they'd all know about it by now.
And, if James did want him this was about the stupidest way he could've ever gone about making that known.
Whatever, Logan wasn't going to try to figure it out. It didn't really matter, anyway. What mattered was that it had all been a lie, that not only had James bailed on him he'd also tricked him in the worst way imaginable. He'd given Logan what he wanted—what he'd been trying not to want for so long now, because he knew it was something he could never have—and made him believe it was real and it was possible and…
The heat behind Logan's eyes was close to becoming actual tears and he blinked rapidly as he reached the exit of the building. That was the worst part of it, the fact that Jade wasn't even real, that everything they had shared had been fake. It hurt, a lot, and that made Logan feel like the biggest idiot on the planet. It made sense now, of course, why they had gotten along so well, and it stung his heart to know he had gotten a glimpse of what being with James might be like. Of what it never could be like.
Maybe that was the real worst part of it.
Logan was a few yards away from the building when he heard the door open behind him. James's voice, calling his name, was enough to turn all of that hurt, all of the confusion, into sudden and immense fury.
* * * * *
It had taken James a few seconds to unfreeze himself from his spot in the bathroom, and another few to retie his bandana. By the time he caught up with Logan they were already outside the building.
"Logan, wait! Talk to me!" James grabbed his arm, forcing Logan to spin around.
"I don't want to talk to you!" Logan shouted at him, more anger in his voice than James thought he had ever heard. If Camille had been scary, Logan was downright terrifying.
Once again James took off his bandana, hoping if Logan saw his face he'd reconsider. He also didn't let go of Logan's arm.
"You're a fucking asshole, James," he said, and now his voice was trembling a little. "And take those fucking contacts out."
"Okay," James said, trying to make his tone calming but he was scared and also trembly. "Okay, Logan, but I need both hands and I'm afraid if I let you go you're going to run again."
Logan jerked his arm out of James's grip then, and turned away. "Take them out."
James hesitated a second, but when it looked like Logan wasn't going anywhere he did as he was told. "I'm not very good with these," he admitted, "so it might take me a second…"
"Just don't fucking talk to me until they're out."
With shaking hands taking the contacts out proved to be even more difficult than putting them in had been, and James would very much have liked to ask Logan for help but he was at least smart enough to know that would probably result in a fist to the jaw. Or nose. Or eye. Or other lovely facial feature that James really didn't want marred.
"Okay they're out," he finally said, blinking as his eyes adjusted to being themselves again.
Logan took a step forward, away from James. Just as James reached out to stop him Logan turned back around, his face still so full of anger that James had to take a step back himself.
"When were you going to tell me, James?" Logan asked, not bothering to keep quiet. "Were you going to wait until I tried to feel you up and realized nothing was there?!"
"No, Logan," James said emphatically. "I had a—wait, you try to feel up girls you've just met?"
"No, of course I don't, that was—I'm just trying to figure out how far you were planning to let this go!"
James threw his hands out in either direction. "I had it all worked out!"
"Were you going to let me fall for you first, James?" Logan's eyes were narrowed. "Going to wait until after I'd kissed you and asked you if I could come visit you in Connecticut? Then make me feel like a complete idiot?"
James shook his head. "I wouldn't have let you do that! Look, I had it all worked out, okay?"
Yeah, that was actually a total and complete lie. James had intended to come up with a plan but he'd kind of gotten caught up in just being with Logan and flirting and dancing and all of that fun stuff.
"You were going to tell me you liked me," James began, slowly, thinking up something he could pass off as a plan on-the-spot, "and you would start to suggest that we meet up again sometime or try to kiss me but I was going to stop you and tell you how this was all a mistake, I shouldn't have led you on like that, I had just wanted to try one more time to see if I liked boys but no, it wasn't working, and you were such a nice boy and I hated to treat you this way and I wished I could like you, I really did, and there must be something wrong with me, and then you would say no, no, it wasn't my fault, I couldn't help who I was attracted to."
It was at that point that James had the brilliant idea to use this fake plan to get what he was really after—an idea whether Logan could ever want him as himself. "And then you'd say that you understood, that you had been attracted to guys before, and you even had a crush on one of your best friends. And then I would ask why you weren't spending the night with him instead of me."
James took a deep breath, trying to ignore the incredulous look Logan was giving him because he wasn't done yet: "And you would say 'Actually we were supposed to hang out tonight, but as you know he never showed' and I'd say 'Well maybe he has feelings for you too and didn't know how to face you' and you would say 'Yeah right, he probably ran off with some girl as soon as he got here' and I would say 'Well maybe he saw you with some girl and got sad and left' and then you would stop and think about that for a minute and I'd say 'Or maybe he didn't leave, maybe he's been here the whole time and you just haven't been looking hard enough' and I don't know what you would have said to that but eventually you'd take off my mask and you'd know it was me and then you'd kiss me."
Once James was done acting out this entire conversation—and doing a damn fine job of it; seriously he was rocking the improv tonight—he chanced a look at Logan, anxiously awaiting his reaction. James had just about laid all his cards on the table with that one.
Logan was staring blankly at him, and continued to do so for several long seconds. "…Really, James?" he said finally. "You were going to pretend to be a girl going through some sort of sexual identity crisis to get me to talk about my feelings for you?"
James furrowed his eyebrows, instantly coming to his own defense. "Hey it was a good plan!" Especially for one he was making up as he went along. While Logan was being all distracting and stuff. Really, James amazed even himself sometimes.
"Yeah except for the part where you lied to me the whole night!"
"I was in character! You've never called Camille a liar for playing a part! And it's not my fault you couldn't recognize your own best friend in a skirt!" Logan had shouted and okay maybe James was shouting for no real reason too, but Logan's dismissal of his entire plan hurt. He had thought really hard—and really fast—to come up with that.
Logan sighed. "It was a bad plan, James."
And that sounded like a dismissal of the whole night. Of 'Jade' herself.
"What the fuck ever, Logan," James said, that teary feeling from before starting to come back a little. He didn't like it. "I'm only so clever. I'm not fucking Kendall." In fact, if he had asked for Kendall's help with all of this he'd probably be making out with Logan right now, not being yelled at by him on the street.
"…Well that's good to know."
James stared at Logan for a second, then blinked once. "…What?"
"I don't know," Logan said, shaking his head. "It was a joke, just—not a good one. I don't even know why I said that. Trying to lighten the mood or something, I guess."
"Why would you even care if I was fucking Kendall?" James asked, eyebrow raised, hope high in his chest. Had he done it? Had he made Logan want him for real?
Logan didn't say anything; he just looked at the ground.
"You're going to have to use your words, Logan," James prompted. "I'm done trying to write dialogue for you."
"Why do I doubt that?" Logan glanced up, just enough for James to see his eyes under his hat.
The words, the tone, the look: they all conveyed disappointment, disbelief. It was enough to make the hope shrink back down, and when James answered his voice was small and sad. "Because you think I'm a liar?"
"I don't…I don't think you're a liar, James," Logan said with a sigh. "I mean, you kind of are, but…I think mostly you went a little too far to prove a point, and didn't think about how I might get hurt."
"What point was I trying to prove, Logan?" Maybe if Logan knew, maybe there would still be a chance…
Logan shrugged. "I haven't…figured that one out, yet."
"I'll save you the trouble," James told him, heart beating fast. Before Logan could respond or protest James stepped forward, grabbed his face gently with both hands, and kissed him.
This wasn't the way James had wanted to do it. For one, he didn't want to be wearing a wig. But more than that he'd wanted to be sure, first, of Logan's feelings on the matter, but…everything was falling apart and he had one last-ditch effort and one thing James Diamond did know was that he was a fucking amazing kisser.
And for the whole four seconds that Logan kissed him back, James believed that everything was right in his world again. Better than right.
But then Logan pushed James away, roughly. "You have to use your words, James," he said, voice low.
"Like you did when you answered my question?" James was trying to sound—well, anything other than sad, but that's all that came out.
"You owe me."
And maybe James did.
He took a deep breath and let it out in a long, unhappy sigh. Then, for the first time since the beginning of all this, he told the whole truth.
"The point—the point, Logan, is that I want you, and I didn't—I couldn't handle you saying you didn't want me," James said, feeling defeated by the admission. "So, I did this, and I was going to make you want me like this—I was playing a part Logan but I was truthful, as honest as I've ever been in my life, I had to be real for this to mean anything at all."
James wanted to see Logan's reactions, wanted to try to get some sort of positive out of all this. But Logan was looking down again, the brim of his hat hiding everything, so James continued. "And then…if I made you want me, and if you took it back when you found out it was me, then…I don't know. At least I could be indignant about it, I guess. At least I would have an excuse for you not wanting me, at least I would have something to blame, at least I could try to hate you for being so closed-minded and not giving me a chance." James stopped, realizing something as the tears threatened again. "…It was a bad plan, Logan."
"No, I know, it was stupid, I'm stupid, I should have thought about it more, I just—"
"James." Logan looked up finally, looked James in the eye, but James didn't want to see him now. More than that, James didn't want Logan to see him. Not when he'd screwed everything up so badly.
"You hate me now, don't you?" he asked, fidgeting, looking everywhere but at Logan. "For trying to trick you. Except I wasn't really, Logan, I just…couldn't think of any other way. Because I'm stupid."
"James you're not stupid." The words were said through a sigh, but with such conviction that it grounded James; made him look back at the boy in front of him. James felt like he was awaiting judgment…which, really, he was. "You just…have a really weird way of thinking sometimes," Logan went on. "How could you ever think I wouldn't want you? You're James fucking Diamond. Everyone wants you."
James shook his head, refusing to acknowledge the subtext in that statement. Not after everything he'd been through. "No, everyone has the potential to want me. I do have to try sometimes, and—that's what this was. Me trying. And succeeding, by the way," he couldn't help adding. If nothing else, that part of his plan had worked perfectly.
Except all of the work that had gone into Logan falling for inside-James was now being made totally useless because inside-James might be pretty awesome in some ways but he was still, after all, an idiot.
"You could have just tried as yourself," Logan said, looking at James with eyes that were sad now more than angry.
James knew he couldn't be hearing that right, though. Logan would never have wanted him as himself, not without some help. "I had a better chance like this," he insisted.
"Yeah, a better chance of making me so pissed at you that it didn't matter either way."
Frustration and panic were starting to rise in James. He had to make Logan understand. But how? "I didn't—I wasn't thinking about that, Logan."
"No," Logan agreed, shaking his head slightly. "You were just thinking about yourself, how you would feel getting rejected, how you needed to cushion yourself against the possibility by being someone you aren't. If I didn't fall for you then it wasn't really you so it didn't matter. If I did then you could take all the credit. If things changed when I found out the truth then you could blame it on your gender or on my being a prude or whatever other reason you could come up with to cover up the fact that you didn't trust me enough to just be honest. That you would rather risk hurting me than hurting yourself."
That had been one long accusation, and okay, James didn't have any interest in hurting himself, but that didn't mean—James never wanted to hurt Logan. Never.
It just seemed to be a specialty of his.
James blinked, the tears finally starting to break through. They might help his case but he tried to fight them anyway. "Logan, you…fuck, you don't think I'm hurting now?"
Logan looked back at him, steadily. He was too calm now, and like before with Camille it just made everything seem even more serious. "I think it didn't figure into your plan at all," he said. "And that's the issue here, James. Your intentions. You intended to end this night either happy with me or full of self-righteous pity without me. Did you think about how I would end this night?"
James whimpered, but his mouth was moving before he could stop it. "…Well I had a few ideas."
"I'm sure you did," Logan said, something like disappointment on his face. James was starting to feel like he'd always be a disappointment to Logan. Hell, maybe he always had been. "If your plan succeeded. What if it didn't? Did you think about how I'd feel, even a little bit?"
James managed to take offense to that, and it—along with his barely-contained panic—came through in his voice. "I don't see how it would've mattered! If you didn't want me then you'd just be losing some girl you'd known for a few hours, it shouldn't have been a big deal!"
Logan gaped at him. "Seriously, James? You of all people are telling me that?"
"You're not me, Logan," James shot back, angry whether he had a right to be or not. "You're smart, and logical, and all of those things that I am not and a few hours isn't enough for you to get all attached or whatever to a girl."
And besides, James might get attached quickly but he got unattached just as quickly. None of those girls—or boys—were worth pining over. Logan was the only one.
"It is," Logan said, voice rising in matched anger, "when that girl is actually the best friend I've known since third grade, have been attracted to since halfway through 10th grade, and have been desperately fighting a crush on since our fucking junior prom!"
For a split-second James thought maybe Logan had hit him after all. It certainly felt like he'd just taken a blow. James didn't know how long he stood there on the sidewalk staring, unseeing. Uncomprehending. However long it took for him to realize he really was still standing upright, on the sidewalk. Solid ground. Beneath his feet.
He had to close his mouth before he could form a thought, and the first one he came up with was not exactly ideal but he said it anyway.
"…Where I was also wearing a dress, I might add."
The second one was I'm an idiot, and yeah, he probably should have held out for that one. The impossibility of this situation was making him even dumber than usual.
Actually, right now James felt about the dumbest he ever had in his life.
Logan stared back, wide-eyed, but rolled with it anyway, and if James hadn't been preoccupied with his own stupidity he would have really appreciated that. "And looked absolutely nothing like a girl, I might add. It wasn't the fucking dress, jerk."
James was in too deep now; might as well keep going. "The tux? It was pretty hot."
"It was," Logan allowed, tilting his head slightly, "but no."
"…What then?" James asked, voice small, hesitant.
Logan gave him an incredulous look. "What the hell have you done tonight to earn an answer to that question?"
"…I established that I'm not fucking Kendall?" James answered with a hopeful shrug.
Okay, now that Logan mentioned it, maybe not. "I will now. Not fucking Kendall, never have, never wanted to."
James shrugged again. "I have no idea if Carlos wants to fuck Kendall."
Logan shook his head quickly. "No, that's not—you and Carlos."
"Oh. No. Just you, Logan," James said, and tried to impart the full meaning of those words as he said them.
"Just me, what?" Logan sounded tired now. "That you want to sleep with?"
"Just you that I want, Logan." How could he make that any clearer? He was making eye contact and everything. "In whatever way you'll let me have you."
Logan was shaking his head again. He didn't seem to be doing it on purpose. "And then what? You move on to the next unsuspecting conquest?"
"'Conquest'?" James repeated, eyebrow cocked. "That's kind of a harsh way to refer to someone you're dating. Even for me."
"Oh so you want to date me now."
James took a short breath and let it out quickly. "I want—all of it, Logan. But I'll take whatever you'll give me."
Logan eyed him, suspiciously. "Why?"
"Lots of reasons," James said with a shrug. "You're hot."
"So are Kendall and Carlos. So are half the people at the Palm Woods, half the people in this city. Am I just next on some sort of list or something?"
List! James felt a renewed sense of hope at the thought. You're a fucking genius, Logan. See, this is why I want you!
"You kind of are the list, Logan," he said, and even though it was his only option it was still embarrassing as hell to admit this. "I mean, there are other lists, but…you're the only name on the most important one."
"And what's the name of that list?" Logan asked, eyebrow raised doubtfully. "'Best friends I currently want to fuck'?"
"Why would I need a list for that?" There was no reason for James to write down something that could only ever have three names at the most, and only ever would have had one. He kept talking before Logan had the chance to interrupt, wincing in anticipation of telling this particular secret. "It's my 'list of people worth being exclusive for.' And there are other names that have been scratched out, but…yours was the first one written, and it's the only one that's always stayed. It's the only one there now; has been for months."
Logan looked at him curiously, as if he was trying to decide whether to believe him. Like James would make up something so damaging to his image. "…Why, James?"
And really, what James was about to offer was the only proof Logan should need that James was crazy about him. "Do you want to see it?" he asked, somewhere between tentative and earnest. "I wrote down the reasons. It's in my room, I can show it to you…I thought about bringing it tonight but I didn't want you to feel it in my pocket."
That was actually true, but he hadn't intended to bring it to show anyone. He just wanted to have it if there were any new reasons to write down.
Logan sighed a little. "Can't you just tell me what it says?"
James bit his lip. He didn't like feeling embarrassed, and his clothes were not helping his situation. "…I'd really prefer for you to read it yourself. Or at least let me look like me again first."
"Fine," Logan said with a 'whatever' shrug. "Let's go home."
Good idea, except Camille had driven him and James did not want to walk like this. "Um, will you…give me a ride?"
"Yes James, that's what I meant." Logan was sounding more like exhausted now. "Text Kendall and Carlos and tell them we're leaving."
That was also a problem. "I didn't bring my phone."
"Here, use mine," Logan told him as he handed it over. Once James was holding the phone Logan walked away, and James had to text while he followed to make sure Logan didn't decide to just leave without him.
Originally posted at http://rensahannou.dreamwidth.org/95814.html. Comment here, or there using OpenID.