A/N. Since the Angst Monster currently has complete control of 'Little Hollow' I took the liberty of writing another one shot. Thanks to raindropsX for the request/idea! I don't own anything. Read on.
For the majority of the year, the state of Minnesota had downright lousy weather in every way possible. The winters were freezing and miserable, the falls were still cold, the summers were hot and buggy and frequented by rain storms or tornadoes, and the springs, the most pleasant time of the year, were far too short.
But the spring weather was what kept Minnesota populated. It was worth the endless snowstorms, rain storms, and tornadoes throughout the rest of the year. The countryside was almost criminally beautiful and camp sites came alive.
So it was on a cool day in May that Kendall Knight and his friends Carlos Garcia, Logan Mitchell, and James Diamond decided to join the masses and go on a weekend camping trip. Actually, the three boys surprised Kendall by taking him to a came site about fours hours' drive from their home town for his sixteenth birthday. The camp site was famous even outside of Minnesota for it's isolated beauty and the boys had only been there once before and that had been a day trip when they were nine. It had taken a great deal of convincing their parents to allow them the trip but finally they had succeeded.
"Guys, I can't believe you did this!" Kendall shook his head as he finished hammering in the last tent pick. "I mean, Black Bear National Park? How did you convince our parents?"
"Oh don't ask." James groaned. "It wasn't easy. Even with Logan." He nodded toward Logan who was quietly studying the map. He was the genius of the group and was almost always able to convince the adults of anything. "Your mom was worried about the nearest hospital being four hours away, Carlos' parents were positive he'd get attacked by black bears, and my parents were just as sure that we would get lost."
Logan looked up from the map. "Finally, when I told them that we most likely would not need a hospital desperately, that the three of us would keep Carlos a safe distance from the bears, and that we all know how to use a compass, they all agreed. Very reluctantly mind you, but they did agree."
"You guys are the best!" Kendall said enthusiastically.
"We know." Carlos grinned as he poked his head out from the tent. "Besides, what better way to celebrate the first sweet sixteen in our group than camping like this?"
James sighed and draped an arm over Kendall's shoulders. "All right, Kendall. We admit it. We didn't do this for you. We did it for ourselves. We just used your birthday as an excuse."
"You know, somehow that doesn't surprise me." Kendall chuckled and shoved James. "I'm just a convenience aren't I?"
"You're also an old man." Carlos crawled out of the tent and jumped to his feet. "Can we go on a hike now? Please? Or is Kendall too tired? How are your knees, old man?"
Kendall rolled his eyes. "Please, I can out-hike you any day of the week."
"Well, let's just see about that!" Carlos gave Kendall a shove before bounding away. "Come on you guys! Let's go!"
Kendall and Logan traded eye rolls and shook their heads. "No sugar for him today." Logan said as he stood up. "Come on. I promised his parents that we'd protect the bears from him. . . I mean, protect him from the bears."
"I don't think there's much of a difference." James said as he joined them. "That boy is crazy." They watched as Carlos investigated a noise coming from a bush, then run away with an angry mother blue jay in hot pursuit.
"Carlos." Logan pulled his friend off to the side and the four boys watched the bird fly back to her nest. "Blue jays are known to be temperamental. And mother birds are even worse. They are very protective over their nests. Try not to bother them okay? Besides. We're supposed to be staying on the trail. There's all sorts of dangerous animals around off the trail."
"You worry too much, Logan." James laughed. "You're fifteen! Relax a little!"
"I'm supposed to relax?" Logan asked doubtfully. "Not with you three as my friends." He shook his head. "Never. I'd have to get new friends. You know. The kind that spend all day in the library or in front of the TV."
"Couch potatoes you mean?" Carlos asked as he ran a few steps ahead. "They're no fun."
"But they're safe." Logan pointed out. Then he grinned and shrugged. "I guess you can't have fun and safe at the same time can you?"
"Logan, you act like were accidents waiting to happen." Kendall protested. "We're not that bad are we?"
"No comment." Logan pulled out the map. "We really have to be careful guys. Your parents were right to worry. Four hours is a lot to be away from a hospital. No sense inviting trouble. Which trail are we taking?" He showed the boys the well marked piece of paper.
"This one." Carlos said impulsively. He randomly stabbed at a spot on the map. "Viper Path." He read the name out loud. "Sounds awesome!" He added enthusiastically.
"You would pick the trail whose name is foreboding." Logan shook his head.
"What's foreboding mean?" Carlos asked innocently.
Logan simply shook his head. "I told you. If you don't know what something means, then-"
"Look it up in a dictionary." The three boys finished.
Logan grinned and laughed. "Wow, sometimes you guys are all really smart! Did you know that?" He sidestepped Carlos as he reached over to shove him. "Enough shoving. Let's hike already."
It was a perfect day for a hike. The sun was shinning brightly but a cool wind rushed through the trees pleasantly and kept the boys from getting uncomfortable. Everything was going smoothly until Carlos intentionally tripped James and then ran off laughing, James right behind him. An amused Kendall and a nervous Logan hurried after their friends.
They found the two boys standing off to the side of the trail laughing at a set of initials carved in a tree. All of them had always found the sentiment extremely corny and never missed an opportunity to make fun of it.
"You guys!" James exclaimed. "You have to see this!" He waved his friends over.
Kendall eagerly moved closer. Logan started to then stopped short. His eyes widened and he grabbed Kendall's arm and yanked him backwards.
"Ow!" Kendall stumbled into his friend. "Logan, what the-"
"James! Carlos! Don't move!" Logan rarely ever raised his voice and something in his tone made Carlos and James obey him. Their laughter ceased and they froze where they were, afraid to move at all.
Kendall followed Logan's eyes and his breath caught in his throat when see saw what scared him so much. A long rattlesnake was curled up on striking position three feet from where James and Carlos stood. "Logan?" He whispered, his voice shaking violently.
"Shhh." Logan released his tight grip of Kendall's arm and stared at the snake. "Guys, whatever you do don't move. Just wait. I have an idea." A plan was beginning to form in his quick mind and he shrugged out of his backpack. "Kendall, stay here." He instructed firmly.
"What are you-" Kendall began.
"Just stay here." Logan repeated.
Kendall watched as Logan picked up his backpack and moved to the other side of the trail. He moved cautiously with pain staking slowness. He also kept an eye on James and Carlos who still hadn't budged. He could tell that they had no idea what was going on but neither of them was too stupid to question Logan.
Logan inched his way closer to the snake. He swung his back pack around and held it in front of him. Instantly, the snake whipped its head around to stare at him and he almost collapsed in relief. The snake's attention was no longer on his friends. "Guys, when I say "now" both of you move away very slowly." He gave the backpack a small shake and then backed up a few steps. His heart jumped in fear and relief when the snake uncurled itself to follow after the apparent threat.
From a distance, Kendall watched paralyzed in fear. He couldn't do anything to help his friends. All he could do was stare and watch as Logan skillfully led the snake away from James and Carlos. His younger friend was the picture of calm as the snake moved closer to the backpack he held in his hand. Kendall had no idea where Logan had come up with such a plan. It was brilliant but also suicidal if it didn't work.
"Okay." Logan breathed. He flinched inwardly as the snake turned its ugly head at the sound of his voice. He swallowed. "Now." He risked a glance at James and Carlos who were both slowly moving backwards. They finally understood what was going on and their eyes were wide with fright. He moved his gaze back to the snake and stepped backwards a few more feet. The snake slithered along the dirt ground. Logan's stomach flipped. Snakes had always frightened him and now that he had one a foot away from him with only a backpack for protection, he felt positively sick.
"Logan." James couldn't take his eyes off of his friend and the deadly reptile. How had things gone from fun to serious so quickly?
"What do we do?" Carlos tugged at Kendall for an answer but the blonde could only shake his head helplessly. There was nothing they could do. Logan was doing the only thing any of them could do and it was working. So far.
Logan extended his arm and backed away. He now had a more comfortable distance between himself and the snake. If he was extremely careful he could move away altogether. He took another step backwards.
His heel caught on something and Logan fell to the ground with a thump. Then there was a sharp pain on his ankle and he caught sight of the snake slithering quickly away into the bushes. He staggered to his feet and stumbled over to his friends. His legs gave out before he could reach them and he feel to his knees.
"Logan! Did it bite you!" Kendall knelt down besides his friend and looked at his face anxiously. His stomach clenched in fear when Logan nodded.
"What do we do?" James practically yelled. He and Carlos dropped down besides Logan and Kendall. "Logan? What do we do?"
Logan took a deep breath and steadied himself. "Okay first we all calm down." He instructed shakily. His ankle was burning with the venom that was, he imagined, now coursing through his veins. "It never helps to panic. Where. . . where are we?"
"Viper Path." Kendall told him, trying not to panic. "Don't you remember?"
Logan gave Kendall the best glare he could. "Of course I remember. I'm not losing my memory." He glanced down at his ankle and barely restrained from groaning. It was swelling already. "I was wondering if any of you knew where we are specifically."
"Oh." Kendall paused trying to think. "No. Not really?"
"What do we do?" James asked again.
Logan sighed. "James, do you know how to get to the ranger's station?" He forced a relieved smile when James nearly nodded his head off. "Okay. James, you're the fastest runner. Do you think you can run to the ranger's station and get help?"
James jumped to his feet. I'm going, I'm going." He sprinted off without another word. He heard Logan yelling at him to be careful as he raced back up the path.
Logan turned back to face Carlos and Kendall who were both still far from calm. "Now." He said carefully, knowing that they wouldn't like what he had to say. "We wait."
"You're kidding." Carlos stared at Logan. "There must be something we can do."
Logan shook his head. "I don't have anything. There's this pump suction device that you can use to try and suck the venom out but I don't have it. And we, or at least I, can't walk." He took his hiking shoe and sock off. "I need to keep my foot as still as possible. And I'm taking my shoe and sock off so it gets as much circulation as possible."
"Logan, we have to do something. We can't just wait." Kendall glances down at his friend's ankle. It was turning all sorts of alarming colors and was so swollen that it looked like Logan didn't even have an ankle. He and Carlos watched as Logan merely shook his head. All they could do was wait.
James had never ran so fast in his life. Logan was actually the fastest runner of the four but now he was depending on James. His hoe caught in a root and he went flying to the ground. He slammed into the dirt hard, the air flying out of his lungs. But he didn't wait for the air to return and he climbed to his feet and raced on.
He didn't know how far or how long he had been running when the ranger's station finally came into view. Putting on an extra burst of speed thanks to adrenaline, James crashed into the small building.
"Whoa there, son!" A uniformed man jumped at his sudden entrance. "Say, that's a nasty gash on you leg. Come on over and-"
James glanced down to see blood trickling steadily down his leg. He must have cut it on something when he fell. He shook off the man's helping hand on his arm. "No! Not me!' He gasped out. "My friend! Please, he got bit by a rattlesnake and my other two friends are waiting with him. They're on Viper Path."
While he was still speaking, the ranger had leaped into action. He grabbed a long range walkie talkie and spoke quickly into it. Then he grabbed James' arm. "I'll fix you leg up later but it can wait. Right now I need you to come with me so you can show me exactly where your friend is."
James ran after him, dimly wondering if the man actually thought that he would have let him touch his leg in the moment. It was the furthest thing on his mind as they climbed in the Jeep and raced off down the trail.
Logan couldn't stop shaking. The pain was unbelievable. It was taking all of his will power not to scream or cry because he knew that it would send Carlos and Kendall over the edge and into hysterics. They were barely calm already and the last thing they needed was to know just how much it hurt. But Logan was past being able to talk and he could only shake his head "no" or nod "yes" to the questions they asked. Of course, the only question they asked was "Are you okay?" and technically the answer to that was "yes" because Logan wasn't exactly breathing his last breaths.
"How long do you think it'll take James to get help?" Kendall asked for the third time in an hour.
Logan knew the answer. James probably reached the ranger's station a few minutes ago. It would take them half and hour at the least to get back to where they were. And then there was the four hour trip to the hospital. But he couldn't tell Kendall and Carlos that even if he wanted to. Talking took too much effort.
Carlos stood and ran up the path. He craned his neck, trying to see around the corner, straining to hear the sound of a car engine. Nothing. He ran back to his friends and smiled encouragingly even though he felt like he was going to be sick to his stomach.
"Anything?" Kendall asked him hopelessly, and Carlos would have given anything to say, "yes" and tell him that help was coming down the road. He shook his head instead.
"Logan?" Carlos put a hand on his friend's shoulder. "How ya feeling, buddy?" Logan looked terrible. His skin had a grayish tint to it now and his brown eyes were sharp with obvious pain. His ankle was beyond swollen, making Carlos feel sick just by looking at it.
Carlos blinked in surprise. He hadn't actually expected Logan to answer him. He hadn't said a word in over half an hour. It was obvious that he wasn't fine though. "I'm going to go check to see if they're here yet." Carlos mumbled as he stood up again. His legs were shaking so badly that he didn't know how they held him. When he was out of sight, he promptly threw up in the bushes then sat down and tried to stop shaking. What if Logan died? His mind was absolutely numb with terror and Carlos could barely think straight. Logan couldn't die. He was only fifteen. He had saved his and James' life back there with the snake and now he was dying.
Carlos didn't even realize he was crying until he felt the tears spill down his cheeks. He had never been so scared in his entire life. This was supposed to be a fun camping trip. How had this even happened?
A sudden noise startled Carlos out of his thoughts and he jerked his head up hopefully. To his absolute joy, he saw the ranger's Jeep Wrangler coming toward him. He jumped to his feet and started waving his arms above his head like a mad man. The Jeep slowed down enough to pass him safely and Carlos turned to run after it.
When he got back, the ranger was already picking Logan up in his arms and placing him carefully in the back. James had climbed over the front seat and Kendall waited until Logan was in before he climbed in too. Carlos jumped in. He caught sight of the ranger's face and tried to read his expression but it was carefully blank. His urgency gave him away though and Carlos bit his lip so he didn't cry in front of his friends.
When they drove up to the camping grounds, the four hours hour car drive didn't seem all that long. But this time it was different. This time it felt like they were moving in slow motion. The ranger, who had introduced himself as Rick, instructed the boys to keep Logan awake and alert by talking to him.
So Carlos and James babbled on for an hour straight about absolutely nothing. Carlos told Logan how when he was little he used to subscribe to a magazine called, Ranger Rick. James promised him that when he turned sixteen in three weeks, they were having a party as his house where it was perfectly safe. Kendall sat unmoving as he listened to his friends ramble on about whatever came to their minds.
Logan had always been pale. He took after his late mother who had died in a car accident when the boys were six. He had the same black hair, brown eyes, and pale complexion. But now he looked even paler if that was possible. His jaw was clenched and Kendall knew that he was trying not to cry. He wondered if he had ever seen Logan actually cry before.
"Logan, hang in there okay?" Seeing one of his best friends in so much pain brought tears to Kendall's eyes and he struggled to keep them back. He raised his head to look out the window. The Interstate was whizzing by. Rick was probably breaking the speed limit ad Kendall found the thought comforting.
Logan whimpered in pain and Kendall whipped his head around back to his friend. His brown eyes were begging Kendall to do something but Kendall was completely helpless. "We're almost there." He lied in a hoarse voice. They still had at least two hours left.
"If I die-" Logan started.
"Logan, you're not going to die." James swiftly broke in
"But if I do." Logan persisted. "If I do die will you guys look after my dad?"
Kendall wanted to scream because dying was not something a fifteen year old should ever have to talk about. Especially Logan. The request was shocking as well because ever since his mother had died, Logan's father had become extremely distant and withdrawn from his son. Kendall thought how Ryan Mitchell was the only parent who didn't protest their camping trip. But Logan certainty didn't need to hear any of that. So Kendall told him what he did need to hear. "Of course we will, Logan." He swallowed. "But you don't need to worry about that because you're going to be fine."
"I just don't want him to be all alone." Logan murmured as if he hadn't heard Kendall. The boys didn't miss the worried look Rick threw their way as he accelerated. "Do you think he'll miss me?" Logan asked, suddenly teary eyed.
Fear was making Kendall almost dizzy. Logan was practically delirious with pain. He never talked about his father so freely.
"Of course he would." James hurried to assure him.
"So do you think he loves me?" Logan's words were beginning to slur together and he was blinking rapidly as if it was getting hard to keep his eyes open.
"Yes." James choked out. It didn't matter that he and Kendall and Carlos constantly asked the same question. Because it seemed that Ryan Mitchell's love for Logan had died along with his wife in the accident.
"He's in Texas now." Logan continued. "He's on another business trip." He looked sadly at his friends. "He's always gone."
What scared the boys the most was that Logan was telling them things they already knew. In fact, Logan had been staying with Carlos while his father was away. For a while, they were too frightened by Logan's vulnerable behavior to say anything. It was then that Logan lost consciousness all together and they panicked.
"How's his breathing?" Rick had to shout a few times before Carlos finally carefully looked over his friend. "It's a little shallow." He reported, his voice trembling. He grabbed Logan's wrist. "And his pulse is a little quick." He added, reaching the extent of his medical knowledge.
"Okay." Rick said calmly. "We're about an hour and a half away. He should be okay. Just keep an eye on him."
The ranger's words were a little reassuring but the hour and a half passed by slowly. It was like time had literally slowed down. But at last the scenery changed from country to suburban and almost before they knew it, Rick was pulling into the hospital parking lot. A team of EMTs were already waiting there and they expertly loaded Logan onto a stretcher and wheeled him away. The three boys followed until they were stopped by a stern by kind orderly. She led them over to a group of chairs and sat them down.
Somehow, probably thanks to Rick who had to leave to patrol the park again, their parents showed up. James started to cry the minute Jeffery and Michelle Diamond rushed into the ER waiting room and enveloped their only child in a two parent hug. There must have been a connection between parents and tears because when Carlos' parents and Kendall's mother came in next, the two boys began to cry as well. When everything calmed down a little, they could only sit and wait.
It was the worst birthday of Kendall's entire life. They waited for what seemed like hours. He wasn't even sure how much time had actually passed. Carlos Garcia Sr. tried every fifteen minutes to contact Logan's father but all he could ever get was a busy signal on his cell phone. His wife, Rebekah tried to keep him calm after the fourth failed attempt. Lacey Knight kept her son in the safe circle of her arms and tried to comfort him. But the only comfort would be a doctor's assurance that Logan would be okay.
Finally, a doctor appeared. He glanced over at the group and walked over. "Logan Mitchell?" He asked, and they all stood up. "Is Ryan Mitchell here?"
"He's not here at the moment." Mr. Garcia said curtly. "He's on a business trip in Texas ad we haven't been able to contact him, even on his cell phone."
"Is Logan going to be okay?" Carlos pleaded.
The doctor's face softened and he smiled. "Logan will be fine. I'm terribly sorry about the suspense. There was some concern when he was first brought in but he's quite a fighter. We'd like to keep him overnight just for observation but as long as there are no complications, he can go home in the morning."
The relief was nearly overwhelming. It took Kendall a minute to realize that the doctor was still talking. In fact, he was talking directly to him, James and Carlos. He shook his head. "Huh?"
The doctor smiled in understanding. "I asked you if you three wanted to see Logan for a few minutes. We want to keep him resting but he wanted to see you three before he slept. A little while won't hurt. Just don't get him excited."
He was still talking when the three boys jumped to their feet and nodded eagerly. They hugged their parents and Kendall dimly heard the doctor requesting that they continue to try and contact Logan's father. Then he led them away.
It was a short walk and before they knew it the doctor, who had introduced himself as Charles Johnson, opened a door and motioned them in.
Logan looked small in the hospital bed but to their relief he already looked so much better than he had when they were in Rick's Jeep. He smiled when they came in. "Hey guys." He said weakly.
"Dude, you sure had us scared." Carlos sat down in a chair and twisted his fingers together nervously.
"Sorry." Logan apologized. "It would have worked if I hadn't tripped."
"You and your brilliant plans." James shook his head. "Don't ever do that again, Logan. Don't risk your life for mine again." He and Logan looked at each other and Carlos and Kendall sensed a hidden meaning behind James' words. Something transpired between the two in that moment.
Logan broke up the moment. "I'd do it again right now if I had to." He said stubbornly.
Kendall sat down silently.
Logan caught his gaze. "Are you okay, Kendall?"
Kendall rolled his eyes. Trust Logan to ask people if they were okay after he himself had a near death experience. "I am now." He said simply.
"Sorry I ruined your birthday for you." Logan said regretfully.
"Logan, you didn't ruin my birthday." Kendall said firmly. "I'm just glad you're okay. That's the only thing that matters."
Logan smiled then and said tiredly. "Happy Birthday, Kendall."
A/N. So. It's done. I hope you all liked it. I have to go get ready for the day now. It's almost 10am. I woke up a little after 8 to finish this. I just want you all to know that I look like a freak right about now because I have a wicked sunburn and the most terrific dark circles that make me look like a vampire. Stupid vampires. ANYWAY, it would please me to hear what you thought about this one-shot. Let me know! Carpe Diem!