A/N. This is the last chapter of 'Little Hollow'. I can't believe it. When I first started writing this story it was May. I had no idea that by the time I was finally done writing that it would be August and that the story would have grown to fifty-five chapters, over one-hundred and fifty thousand words, and I certainty never expected over one thousand reviews. But my mind has been blown by what it has turned in to and the response has been overwhelmingly amazing. I wish that I could properly thank all over the awesome people who have left encouraging reviews throughout the past three months. But you all deserve way more than any words could say. Thank you. And now, it's time for chapter fifty-five. I don't own anything.
"Mitchell shoots! He scores! Team Logan and Carlos win by a score of 10-9 over Team Kendall and James! The crowd goes wild!" Carlos threw his arms up in the air and did a little victory dance before skating over to Logan to give him a high-five. "Nice shot, man!" He said gleefully. "You totally blew past them there!"
Logan's face was flushed from the cold air in the hockey rink and he returned Carlos' wide grin with one of his own. "Thanks, Carlos. That was some pretty nice. . . defense." He raised his eyebrows. "I would have never thought of throwing myself on the ice to trip an opponent like that."
"I protest that last goal." Kendall said as he joined the others. "Carlos purposefully tripped me! I think I deserve a penalty shot!" But the smile on his face told them that he wasn't serious. He shoved Carlos gently. "That was smooth, Carlos." He laughed. "You went down pretty hard."
"You did." Logan agreed. "Are you okay?" His eyes darted over Carlos searching for any sign of an injury or that Carlos could be hiding one.
"You're kidding right?" Carlos protested. "Seriously, I'm fine." He sidestepped Logan as he moved closer and backed straight up into James, nearly taking them both down.
Kendall laughed loudly, the sound filling up the empty rink. "I'm sure he's fine, Logan. But maybe we should get off the ice before someone does get hurt. Carlos is starting to get clumsy on us." He glanced up at the large clock. "Besides," He added as casually as possible. "We're supposed to be at Rocque Records in fifteen minutes." He looked up just in time to catch the reactions of his friends.
Carlos' smile never wavered a second and he gave Kendall a returning shove before he skated off for the rink door. James and Logan however grew pale simultaneously and started to panic.
"Oh my gosh, we're going to be late!" James spun around and skated after Carlos, passing the smaller boy in three long strides. "Come on, you guys!" He called over his shoulder. "We're going to be late and Gustavo is going to kill us! Today of all days!"
Logan groaned. "Kendall, we should have left twenty minutes ago if we wanted to be there on time. There's no way now. We're going to be late and Gustavo is going to be so mad. James was right. Today of all days." He shook his head and he and Kendall skated off the ice. "I should have-"
"Shut up." Kendall said, rolling his eyes. "It's not your fault that we lost track of time. It's mine. And I don't really care. We were having fun, that's all."
"We weren't supposed to be at the rink at all today." Logan reminded him. "We were supposed to be getting plenty of rest for tonight."
The four boys sat down on the bench off the ice and began unlacing their skates. "And I suppose that you and James got plenty of rest when you had your card game marathon last night?" Kendall laughed. "You guys were supposed to be in bed and instead you were up half the night."
Logan shrugged. "Neither of us could sleep. Right, James?" He glanced up at James who had already finished packing his gear away in his bag and was standing anxiously.
"Way too keyed up." James shook his head. He shifted his pack from one shoulder to the other and before he could stop himself, he bent to pick up Logan's bag. It was still automatic for him, for everyone, to want to help Logan.
Logan's hand brushed James away gently and he grasped the bag firmly. "I got it, James." He said firmly. Perhaps a little too firmly, with a little impatience, because James snatched his hand away quickly.
"Sorry." James muttered. His empty hand fell awkwardly to his side and he stood in front of Logan, unsure of what to do next. It had been two months since Logan told them that his cancer was gone. Two amazing, beautiful, happy months. But after a year of Logan needing them so much it was hard to get used to the fact that he was no longer so helpless. He knew that it embarrassed Logan and he wished he could make himself stop. By the sympathetic expressions on their faces, James knew that Kendall and Carlos felt the same way.
"No big deal." Logan said quickly. "Thanks, James. But I'm fine." He smiled apologetically.
Logan was fine. That was something James had to constantly remind himself of because he still couldn't get used to the fact sometimes. But it was true. It was the best thing ever. James nodded. "I know." He said, the words catching slightly in his throat. Embarrassed, he cleared his throat and turned toward the doors as soon as his friends were finished. "So let's go."
The four boys stopped by the front desk for a quick chat with Mike. "How did you guys do?" The retired hockey player asked with a gap-toothed smile that defined his career. His gaze went from Kendall to Carlos to James and finally stopped to rest on Logan. This is how it should be. He thought to himself. The eighteen year old was happy and healthy. His eyes were bright with the excitement of being back on the ice and the color in his face wasn't just from the quick pace or the cold of the rink.
"Logan and I owned James and Kendall!" Carlos bounced from one foot to the other, once again a ball of energy and happiness. "Didn't we, Logan?" He asked, turning to face his friend.
Logan shrugged modestly. "You could say that." He answered vaguely. "Carlos' defense was great up until the last game." He grinned. "Then he had to resort to face planting on the ice to trip Kendall."
"No way." Carlos said indignantly. "That was an accident."
"A pretty convenient accident." James murmured to Kendall.
"Aw, Logan was too fast for you guys anyway." Carlos said with a scoff. His eyes lit up and he turned back to Mike. "You should have seen him today, Mike. James and Kendall couldn't come close to catching him."
By now, Logan's face was bright red. He rubbed the back of his neck and stood awkwardly by as Carlos continued to talk to Mike about how fast he was and how he scored so many goals and on and on until Logan finally rapped the top of his friend's helmet with his hockey stick. "We're late." He whispered to Kendall, hoping that their leader would take control of the uncomfortable situation.
"We have to go." Kendall smiled apologetically, interrupting Carlos' reenactment of his convenient accident while Logan skated past James to score the final goal. "You going to be there tonight?" He asked, somewhat hopeful.
Mike smiled back and nodded. "I wouldn't miss it." He assured them. "I have to admit though, that I'm glad I have a twelve year old daughter to bring with me. She's been counting down the days until this night for three weeks now."
"I've been waiting for this night my entire life!" James said, running a hand through his helmet hair. "Has anyone seen my lucky comb?"
"It's in the side pocket on the inside of your bag." Logan said trying and failing to calm James down. "Take a breath, James."
Mike lifted a hand in a wave. "You'd better go get ready then." He said. "Have fun!"
"Thanks!" Carlos turned to return his wave and walked straight into the glass door. "I meant to do that." He told Logan who looked at him skeptically. He gave to door a push and shoved it open, holding it for his friends as they walked through. He gave Logan a wide-eyed stare of innocence when he passed by looking slightly exasperated. "I was holding it for all of you!" He let the door close with a bang as he followed the rest out into the sunlight. He had only walked three steps before he smacked right into Logan who, along with Kendall and James, had come to a sudden stop. "Sorry-"
"Gustavo!" Kendall said in surprise. "Kelly! What are you guys doing here?"
Gustavo folded his arms across is chest and returned Kendall's question with one of his own. "I think the correct question is, what are you dogs doing here? Or did you forget what today is?"
"Technically," Carlos said brightly as he raised a finger in the air as if to make a point. "It's tonight."
"No." Gustavo growled. "It's today and tonight. Today we have plenty to get ready for tonight. You four were supposed to be at my studio ten minutes ago!"
"Not very patient today are we?" Logan asked before he could stop himself. "I mean, you should have called one of us. We were at the rink and we lost track of time."
"I did call your cell phones. And when you didn't answer I used my amazing powers of deduction to decide that you were here instead of there." Gustavo used over exaggerated hand motions as if they made more sense than the actual words.
"Where's there?" Carlos asked in confusion.
Gustavo moaned and Kelly stepped in. "Boys, why don't you hop in the back of the limo okay? We really need to get going."
"I love riding in this thing!" Carlos said enthusiastically. He threw his gear bag into the trunk and climbed in, followed closely by his friends. "The rides get sweeter every time!"
Gustavo closed the door firmly and he and Kelly walked over to the front of the vehicle and the boys were once again left to themselves. But they fell silent and stared out the window as the world rushed by. Outside everyone was going about their daily business as if it were just another day. It was just another day for most of the people out there. But not for them.
"You guys think we're ready for this?" James asked as he ran his lucky comb through his hair over and over again. He shook his head and leaned back against the comfortable leather interior. "I can't believe this is actually happening." He said with his eyes closed. "I keep thinking this is a dream."
"Not this time." Kendall told him. "This is real." A wide grin filled his whole face as it hit him. The grin was catching as soon they all looked pretty ridiculous. "Tonight we have our first real concert."
The words only heightened the excitement in the limo. After all they had been through they were about to realize their dream. Finally.
Their last minute rehearsals went surprisingly smooth in spite of the boys' increasing nerves. Only a few lyrics were forgotten and a handful of dance moves mixed up. Logan performed each back flip flawlessly and blushed furiously when his efforts earned praise from Gustavo himself. But his drive and determination had doubled over the past year, especially the last two months. His illness had put everything on hold for so long that he felt the need to make up for lost time and pick up whatever slack there was. He didn't want to let anyone down again.
"All right, dogs!" Gustavo clapped his hands together, making the boys jump. Four assistants appeared and shoved garment bags into their arms. "Get dressed now. We'll meet you out front in half an hour. Move it!"
Logan carried his bag over his shoulder and went to his dressing room. He hung the bag up with care before pulling his T-shirt over his head. He paused and stared at his reflection in the mirror. His eyes were no longer dulled with the pain that he tried to keep hidden. The dark circles were gone and his face was tan from the California sun. His face was no longer sunken in like the face of a war refugee. It was whole and healthy, like the rest of him.
But Logan only stared at his face for a brief moment. Then his eyes wandered down to his bare chest where he could no longer see his ribs and his bones shoving through his skin. He brought his hand up and traced the long, jagged scar that ran along his hip bone. It wasn't terribly noticeable. But not a day went by when he didn't touch it and think of his father.
Ryan Mitchell had failed as a father. He had let his grief consume him until the distance between him and his son was far too great to ever fully cross. His return had been temporary and he had abandoned Logan once again when he needed him the most. His selfish action had nearly cost Logan his life. But in the end Ryan's death had brought Logan life. He would have died a long time ago if the car accident had never happened. It was one of those times when irony was in it's cruelest form. Usually when someone is in a car accident, people say that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. But one could argue that Ryan Mitchell had been in the right place at the right time.
Logan disagreed. His father had hurt him, badly. But he was still his father. Logan had cried when he learned of his death. Though he had never wanted to see him again after he was officially adopted into the Knight family, he didn't want him to die. He was a part of Logan.
"Logan? You coming?"
Carlos' voice jerked Logan out of his thoughts and he jumped. "Yeah! I'll be five minutes, okay?" He listened as Carlos' footsteps faded away and then ran his finger along the scar one final time before pulling on the shirt inside the garment bag. His father was dead. But he was a part of Logan. He would take him wherever he went.
"Are you boys ready?" Mrs. Knight surveyed the four with a huge smile on her face. She stood with the rest of the parents backstage, waiting until the final minutes before they had to take their seats.
Kendall looked the most at ease. He always performed best under pressure and tonight was apparently no exception. His answering smile was a little tight but his voice was steady when he spoke. "As ready as we can be I guess." He looked over his friends.
Carlos was clearly having a good time. He had a brief attack of nerves ten minutes before where Logan and James had to pry his helmet from his fingers and give it to Kendall to hand it off to Mr. Garcia. But now, Carlos bounced around behind the curtain as he waited for the concert to start. He wore a huge grin that took over his entire face. That was answer enough.
Logan looked a little pale but Kendall knew it was just nerves. For Logan, the anticipation was always the worst. Once he stepped out onto the ice, or in this case the stage, his nerves would be gone and he would lose himself in giving one hundred percent. He nodded at Mrs. Knight's words but didn't speak.
James, of all people looked the most nervous. In fact, he looked scared to death. He twitched constantly as he looked from the parents, to his friends, to the heavy curtain that hid the screaming crowd. He jumped when Mrs. Knight spoke. "Yes." He nodded hard like he was trying to convince himself.
"Okay, parents." Gustavo greeted them with all the patience of a puppy about to go on a walk and all the politeness of. . . Gustavo. "I hate to break up the family get-together but it's almost Go Time. I need you in your seats."
Carlos, despite having the biggest family there, managed to hug his father, mother, and all five of his sisters before anyone else finished. His helmet was forgotten in his barely controlled excitement.
"We're so proud of you, James." Mrs. Diamond kissed her son. "You'll be amazing and we'll see you later on tonight, okay?"
James could only nod and flash them a smile. His stomach did a somersault when a particularly loud cry from the crowd rose above the other noises. He had waited for this moment ever since he could remember. But now he almost wanted to run and hide under his bed. He caught Logan looking at him and when the younger boy read his expression, his eyes took on a mixture of sympathy and amusement that eased James' nerves slightly.
Kendall hugged both of his parents and Katie. He was ready. He was ready for all their hard work to pay off and he was ready for Big Time Rush to be a household name overnight. He was ready for the concert tour they would take during winter break. He was ready to sign autographs and be recognized on the street. But more than anything, he was ready to perform with his best friends.
Logan waited uncertainly as his friends' parents hugged their sons. He almost laughed at James because it was ironic that the dreamer of the group looking like he was going to lose whatever was in his stomach. But he also knew exactly how James felt because as he listened to the crowd outside, his own stomach tightened in anticipation. Just then he found himself in the warm embrace of James' mother and he forgot all about being nervous. His family was there and that mattered to him more than his nerves. For so long he had always had to endure the misery of being the only child without a parent at an event. Carlos, James, and Kendall and everyone else had always had at least one parent at a hockey game or a school event. And even though Kendall's mother had adopted him, he felt like he had three sets of parents. After all those years of being without a family, that one moment made all the hurt well worth it.
The families left the boys to listen to Gustavo's final words. He looked at them and studied them closely. "Don't screw up." He finally told them before he marched away.
Kelly tried to make it better as usual. "Have fun, boys." She encouraged them. "Don't worry about him. He's really proud of you but right now I think he's more nervous than any of you."
Carlos and Kendall seemed to find her words funny because they laughed. But James wondered how Gustavo could possibly be alive if he was actually more nervous than him and Logan of course, suddenly felt even more pressure to perform well.
Then the boys were alone and they had ten minutes to prepare themselves. "How are we doing?" Kendall stepped away to look over his friends like the leader he was.
"I think I'm going to throw up." James said honestly. "I don't think if I can do this. I-"
"James!" Logan took over before Kendall could say a word. "Of course you can do this. You've waited your whole life for this moment and it's finally here. Everything will be great."
James shook his head. "You guys, I panicked when I was auditioning in front of Gustavo remember? How am I going to handle all of those people out there?"
"You didn't panic." Logan argued. "You just got a little nervous and forget the words. And you went off key. And you asked to start all over which apparently isn't the best thing to do. But James, that was two years ago. You're different. You're a performer now. You were born to do this and we're right here with you. Besides," He said with a laugh. "Gustavo hated you back then. All of those girls out there are going to love you."
His words calmed James down. He took a deep breath and smiled a little. "Yeah well," He said as he finger combed his hair one last time. "I'm going to have to break all of their hearts when I have to tell them that I'm no longer single."
Logan spun around just in time to see Camille run over to him. "Camille!" He said in surprise, his arms automatically catching her as she hugged him. "What are you doing here?"
Camille grinned. "I'm here to see you of course! The other girls are saving my seat. We're right by your families. I just had to come say hi before the concert started."
"How did you get past security?" Logan asked in confusion.
Again, Camille smiled. "I'm an actress remember?"
James, Carlos, and Kendall stepped away to give the two some privacy. Their nerves had eased and they were simply waiting.
Camille took in Logan's appearance and hugged him closer to her. Her head fit neatly into the crook of his neck and she rested it there, closing her eyes. She loved holding him and not feeling like he was slipping away from her. She would never forget the day the boys had returned to Palm Woods after an unexpected trip to Logan's doctor. She would never forget their faces, the look of indescribable joy and peace in their once haunted eyes. She would never forget the way Logan took her down to the beach and held her hand the whole way. She would never forget the way he looked her in the eyes and told her that the cancer that had been threatening to take his life for so long, was gone.
Logan pulled Camille closer to him and kissed her on the top of her head. He rested his chin there and thought of how truly fortunate he was to have all the amazing people in his life that he did. He and Camille had grown closer than he ever thought possible. His cancer had connected them in a way that not many people ever experienced. They were connected also, by each having lost a parent. He had opened up to her about his mother more than he ever had before. She understood him. She knew the pain the loss of a loved one brought. She knew the nightmares that came unwelcome into a deep sleep. She knew him.
The two drew away when the crowd began to chant restlessly, demanding Big Time Rush. Logan kissed Camille again, this time on the lips, and smiled. "I love you." He whispered in her ear. "So much."
The words meant everything to her and Camille smiled too, tears brightening her eyes. "I love you too." She said, kissing him one last time on the nose. "So much. But I'd better leave. You have some songs to sing with your buddies. I'll see you after okay?" She watched him nod, then turned and hurried back to her seat before they started.
Logan watched her go and then turned back to his friends who had been trying their hardest not to stare at the couple. He didn't even blush though when he saw their amused faces. "Ready?" He asked, before anyone could say anything.
He had always struggled with accepting the fact that he had his friends. He often didn't believe that he didn't deserve to know them. Everyone else had left him. But maybe, just maybe, after all he had been through in losing his mother and ultimately his father, he deserved them.
The past year had been worth it because it had brought them only closer together. They had been broken and healed together so many times that it was only right that their strong friendship had grown even stronger. They were no longer four best friends from Minnesota. They were brothers, united by a struggle that had nearly torn them apart. They had all changed but for the better. And as they heard their name finally announced and the excited roar of the crowd, Kendall, James, Carlos, and Logan, exchanged grins and then stepped out to meet their dream head on.
A/N. So. It's over. I can't believe I'm posting the last chapter. Part of me feels relieved and accomplished to finally have this finished after over three months. But most of me wants to cry because this story was a very important part of my life for over three months and now it's over. So I have mixed emotions as I write my final author's note for 'Little Hollow'. Words cannot describe the gratitude I have for all of the amazing people who have read and reviewed this story. I can never thank you all enough for the encouraging messages and the inspirational words that were sent my way. I love you all. But all good things must come to and end. 'Little Hollow' is one of those things. Before you get too upset though, know that I have about six more ideas in my head to write. I won't tell you too much but I will tell you that the next one will be titled 'Everything in Between' and more or less is a collection of one-shots involving Logan and the other characters during 'Little Hollow'. I'm excited for it and I hope that you'll all return to me when I get it up. So, for the final time in 'Little Hollow' history. . . THANK YOU.