A/N: Written for the palmwoods fic exchange on LJ for one _kirbylicious_. Please don't judge too harshly. Prompts really kick my ass.
It was a rare quiet night at the Palm Woods for Kendall and Logan; Katie was having a slumber party with the girls, and Mrs. Knight was on a date. Similarly, James and Carlos were taking advantage of their free night and were out on the town doing who knows what. Kendall doesn't really care either way. He and Logan are alone on the couch, and that's all he needs. Logan is almost sitting on top of him, they're kissing, their hands moving knowledgably under t-shirts, and moving downwards in a type of euphoria.
Logan isn't technically moaning, he's almost whimpering, but it turns Kendall on way more than it should; his voice is going higher than he manages to in song, and Kendall feels powerful. When Logan reaches underneath his belt, though, he remembers how weak he really is, for Logan. Simultaneously they moan, fumbling with buttons, and all of a sudden, it stops. Or rather, Logan stops, and when Kendall doesn't, he pushes him off.
But he only shushes him, grabbing a pillow, watching the door open. James storms through it, looking pissed off, Carlos following him, pouting. Logan's face softens, but he keeps his hand planted on the pillow on top of his lap. "It's James and Carlos!" Kendall exclaims, punching his boyfriend on the shoulder.
"Oh no! it's not James and anybody. We're just total strangers walking down the street together. Carlos doesn't want his name next to mine, he doesn't want our names kissing or holding hands or doing anything!" James paces angrily around the living room, sporadically throwing up his hands.
Carlos trails after him, a pained look on his face, "That's not – James! I didn't say that!" But James doesn't look at him, choosing to storm out of the room. With a wave toward Kendall and Logan still on the couch, Carlos follows him.
Kendall turns back to Logan, glaring, "Carlos and James."
"It could have been your Mom! Or Katie, or Bitters!"
"Okay, it's ten at night. Bitters will not be bursting into our apartment. Our apartment is private."
"I'm just saying there's nothing wrong with being careful."
"And I'm just saying there's a big difference between being careful and being paranoid." They stare at each other for a minute before the anger in Kendall dissipates, he can't be mad at Logan for long, and he sighs. "I'm pretty tired, I'm gonna go to bed."
He turns to get up when Logan grabs his arm, kissing him softly, "Goodnight."
A small smile escapes him, "G'nite."
The next morning Kendall is more agitated than angry, and more frustrated than agitated. Ignoring the pancakes his mom is making, he takes a piece of toast and a glass of orange juice down to the pool. He knows they both decided it was in everyone's best interest to keep their relationship a secret, better for the band, better for Gustavo's blood pressure, and better for Mrs. Knight's sake. So they made it a secret until they walked in on Carlos and James making out in one of their favorite closets, but after coordinating secret make-out spots, the four agreed on secrecy. It was actually really fun for a while, Kendall remembers, combining genius scheming and the satisfying of extreme horniness.
Except now, when it isn't sneaking around, it's an attempt to spend any alone time together, and somehow Kendall and Logan fail miserably. All Kendall wants to do is put an arm around his boyfriend, or share a blanket while they watch a movie, but Logan won't have it. Last night in particular seriously bothers Kendall; what kind of relationship do they even have if they can't act like boyfriends in their own apartment?
Surprisingly, James comes out, joining Kendall next to the pool. His face is stony, and plopping down on the lounge next to Kendall, he mutters "Hi." Kendall isn't sure he's ever heard him sound more defeated.
"Hey," and seeing the magazine sit untouched on James' lap, Kendall asks, against his better judgment, "What happened last night?"
They both look around conspiratorially before James answers almost under his breath, "We went to a movie, and there was like, nobody there – and what are movie theaters for, really? But Carlos wouldn't let me touch him! He got so freaked out I couldn't even hold his hand."
"I know how you feel."
"Did we interrupt something?"
Kendall shakes his head, "It doesn't matter. I think Logan might've thought he heard a car door slam and jumped off me anyway."
"I'm starting to think this secret thing is bullshit."
Kendall doesn't say anything else as they both sit stewing, but he can't help but silently agree.
The rest of the day Kendall's mind is on what James had said, through rehearsal, Gustavo's inspiring speech, and even Kelly's freak out. "Bottom line, I'm not happy," he ends up practicing in the mirror before they leave the studio.
"Hey," Logan kisses him on the cheek and gives him a quick sideways squeeze, "You missed Kelly and Gustavo just now – it was hilarious…"
"Logan? I need to talk to you." He says to the air in front of them. Logan stops at his voice, the smile dying on his face, turning to him. But Kendall shakes his head, "Not here."
They walk the rest of the way home in silence, and even after they get into 2J, Kendall keeps walking until he gets into their room.
Logan's face has gone from curious to worried, to almost terrified in the time it takes them to get home. "Okay, what's up?"
Kendall's eyes are closed as he turns to Logan, saying, "I don't want to hide anymore. I want to hold your hand outside and kiss you without wondering if your eyes are shut or not."
"That was one time!"
Kendall doesn't stop, his eyes now open, "I don't want to not be with you in our own apartment!"
It takes a few seconds for Logan to speak, "We both agreed, Kendall. It would ruin everything. The band, living in LA – I don't want to lose what we finally have here! Our single comes out next week."
Kendall starts to pace, "You think I don't know that? I'm right there, every day, same place, same Gustavo yelling at all of us."
Logan's face scrunches up, "I was just making sure you knew, because you don't seem to care!"
"Of course I care!" he throws his hands up and walks in a small circle, "I care about you, my boyfriend! Except it doesn't feel like you're my boyfriend anymore." Logan looks like he's been slapped, his mouth open, speechless.
"It was fun before, closets and empty rooms…" Kendall stops, walking to Logan until they're nose to nose, his hands itching to grab onto his boyfriend, but he can't bring himself to. "I just want to sit on the couch and watch a movie with you, arm around you, cuddling – not worrying about anything. You not worrying about who might come through the door."
Through his eyelashes Kendall can see Logan close his eyes, breathing deeply, "C'mon, Logie," he whispers quieter than before, "turn off that big brain of yours." He doesn't respond, even as Kendall caves in, moving his arms up Logan's back, holding him exactly where he wants him.
Almost a minute of deep breathing later, Logan lets out a quiet, "I can't." As Kendall takes a step back he draws a shuddery breath, adding, "There's too much at stake." Numbness fills Kendall, and he doesn't know what he's doing or where he's going, but he ends up walking the LA streets in silence for hours.
At dinner that night the sound of clinking silverware echoes through the apartment. Katie's only half-awake, Mrs. Knight hadn't let her nap after she came home, and so she's threatening to fall asleep in her mashed potatoes. James keeps stabbing his chicken nuggets violently, Logan's eating as though he isn't there, Carlos keeps rearing his dinosaur nuggets up and looking over at James, and Kendall simply stares at his plate, not eating.
"Okay," Mrs. Knight sets down her silverware and looks up at her boys. "What's up with you guys? Dinosaur nuggets are your favorite."
Kendall doesn't look up, "I'm just not hungry."
No one else speaks so she prompts them, "James? Carlos?"
"It's really good."
"I had too much candy earlier."
She raises her eyebrows at the two before turning to Logan, but no sound comes out of her open mouth. He's chewing slowly, and their eyes meet briefly before he focuses on his dinner again. She clears her throat, "I think I know what this dinner needs. Ice cream!" She gets up going toward the freezer, but she turns around, a frown on her face. "We're out. But … that's okay! I'll go get some." Immediately Mrs. Knight grabs her purse and marches toward the door, "If Katie wakes up tell her she doesn't get any."
The choking silence continues for a few seconds after Mrs. Knight leaves, and waits until Katie's head droops a few more inches before breaking. James takes his plate to the sink and throws it in as noisily as possible. "I don't need any ice cream. I need to keep my shape so I can find a better boyfriend!"
"What?" Logan lets out almost involuntarily at the same time Carlos jumps up from his seat, crying out, "James!"
"I'm serious, Carlos!" he goes on like their argument has been going on for hours, pacing angrily around the furniture. "I don't want a boyfriend that won't act like one or admit it."
"I am your boyfriend! All the time! I just … don't want to show anyone!"
"Ah ha! You won't admit it!"
"Of course I admit it! I'm James' boyfriend!"
"Too bad there's no one here!"
"It's not the same!" he goes in a circle pulling at his hair for a second before he adds, "It's not the same, or worth it, and Kendall agrees with me!"
Kendall and Logan, who had been staring at their plates thus far now look up at their best friends, wearing almost innocent bewildered expressions. Carlos had been following his boyfriend around trying to get closer, but now he stops and takes a half-step back, "What?"
"That's not – I didn't say exactly – I never said that." Kendall fumbles to meet the broken face of his close friend above him, "I didn't…"
Ignoring everyone, James plunges on, "He wants all this out just like I do! We're sick of hiding and not really having boyfriends! Right, Logan?"
Logan looks up, startled, unable to hide the answer in his face. He doesn't open his mouth, but his eyes widen as he looks from James to Kendall and back to his plate. "No."
James rolls his eyes, "Whatever," walking to the couch he grabs a pillow and tosses it angrily from hand to hand. "Maybe Kendall and I should just go out and get it over with."
All three boys look up at him to see if he's joking or not. He doesn't smile or glare back at them, causing Carlos to start hyperventilating before Kendall speaks up. Very calmly he states, "No offense, James, but we both know it would never work between us."
James nods, grinning, and in a few seconds his whole face lights up, looking at Kendall. Their boyfriends nervously exchange glances before he says, "Or maybe we could!"
Carlos' face is dangerously pale, "What, go out?"
Logan's voice shakes as he asks, "Like on dates?"
"To the movies?"
"Or in supply closets?"
James throws a pillow at Logan's head, "No – we" he gestures between himself and Kendall, "Can act all publicly boyfriend-y."
Nodding, Kendall stands up to join him, adding, "And we can prove it's no big deal!"
"Yes! Aaaand we get to cuddle in the open."
"I think it's a win-win." Kendall and James are both smiling, arms around each other, triumphant at the dinner table. Still sitting, Carlos and Logan can only stare at the pair, mouths open, waiting for somebody to jump out and yell, 'Just kidding!'
Logan and Carlos are on their toes the whole next day, watching their boyfriends, waiting to see what they might do. In dance rehearsal, James remains oblivious even as Gustavo yells at Carlos for not starting in sync or not moving at all, both side effects of being so concentrated on anything James is doing. Logan manages to be much less obvious, but more than once Kendall adds an extra booty shake in his direction, accompanied by a suggestive wink. Otherwise, nothing at all is different from the days and weeks before that.
Back at the Palm Woods Logan smiles, breathing in deeply the taste of relief. A smirk on his face, he turns to tell Carlos, "I told you they were bluffing!" Carlos rolls his eyes and nods his head, letting out a sigh of relief, plopping down on the couch next to the window.
"Hey guys!" Kendall walks in, his arm around James' neck, both wearing swim trunks and a towel.
"We're going to the pool," James adds unnecessarily.
"Together. Out by the pool. Like this."
"Okay! Okay! We get it!" Logan throws up his hands at them. The second the door clicks shut behind them, he sinks down into the couch, pulling a pillow over his head and moaning. Carlos just stares after them, his mouth open.
It doesn't take very long for James and Kendall to get comfortable by the pool. James takes out a magazine and scrunches himself down so that the upper part of his body is resting on Kendall, who merely stretches himself out, closing his eyes in the sun. Two hours later, James has slid down, discarded his magazine, and he's humming intermittently, head in Kendall's lap. Kendall half-heartedly picks up his own magazine and throws it down again, preferring to observe their Palm Woods neighbors, a hand in James' hair.
From his vantage point, Kendall can see a lot of people looking at them in interest, but they simply shrug their shoulders. Most surprising, Kendall keeps seeing a lot of people look, and then they don't say anything or even look like they want to say anything (he was expecting at least one nasty comment). The fact that no one seems to care at all that two best friends who are in a band together and had previously had girlfriends are cuddling gives Kendall deep satisfaction.
Running his fingers slowly through James' hair Kendall wonders how long he really has to work to get it so soft, and he looks up to where he hopes Logan and Carlos are watching. Except the second he thinks about it he feels guilty, remembering Logan's heartbeat, his deep breathing, and how long it took him to say no. One quick look around at the Palm Woods' collective indifference alleviates a good portion of his guilt, and he can't help but smile as James starts bopping his head back and forth to the music in his head.
The two only sit for another twenty minutes or so, but it's more than enough time for Kendall to complete more than one revolution in his guilt and triumph emotional cycle. There's more than just triumph coursing through his body looking at everyone looking back at them and not caring, there's an overwhelming calm. Calm in his knowledge he doesn't have to make up a story or feel guilty for lying to people about doing completely innocent things. At the same time, the weight of a relaxing James is extremely comfortable, and so simple, and that in itself is amazing. The whole time they lay there, however, a small voice in Kendall's head keeps nagging that he could be happier.
Before James and Kendall can make it completely inside the apartment, Carlos launches himself at James, dragging him into the hallway closet. Not entirely surprised with either the act or the pouting, upset face Carlos was wearing, Kendall continues inside without him. It looks like Logan's sitting in the same spot on the couch from earlier, and Kendall would point it out just because the sight of Logan sulking is infuriating, but his mother's in the kitchen making dinner, so he doesn't.
"Don't rub it in, I saw that no one cares. You don't have to gloat about it," Logan tells Kendall harshly, popping up off the couch and making his way to his bedroom. Conflicted, Kendall plops down on the couch, and he feels his heart sink down through his stomach as the most amazing smell in the worst possible way reaches him.
The next morning in between fittings, Kendall is determined to catch James, but surprisingly, James finds him first. He hasn't even opened his mouth when James says bluntly, "This isn't gonna work." Kendall opens his mouth and then closes it, unsure of what to say. "No offense or anything," James pushes on, "but you're not really my type."
"I'm not your type?" Kendall bursts out.
"No, not really."
About ready to punch him, yell some more about the fact he's just standing there all nonchalant, Kendall lowers his arms and remembers he doesn't want to be James' type. Ignoring his arm spasms, James goes on, "Being out in front of people – where I should be – was really nice, but it wasn't all that."
Kendall leans in, whispering, "Because I'm not Carlos?"
Looking somewhat sheepish, he admits, "You didn't smell right."
Grinning, Kendall tell him quietly, "Your head's way too big for my lap, and your hair is too nice to mess up."
"Thank you!" Kendall rolls his eyes and shoves James away from him. "Wait!" James looks concerned, "So we're definitely not together?"
Kendall smiles, "Definitely not together."
In spite of his revelations, Kendall's happiness seems to evaporate when James leaves the room. Even though he isn't trying to flaunt his sexual orientation anymore, Logan still isn't talking to him. Normally he can only do it for a few days at most, but apparently, Kendall has really pushed Logan's buttons, because he hasn't directly talked to him for an entire week. On top of that, 2J is now an overwhelmingly happy atmosphere, because James and Carlos came out to Mrs. Knight and Katie. Consequently, there are a lot more impromptu wrestling matches, and an increase in furniture space from how often they share.
Watching Carlos and James covetously one night, Kendall jumps up. "Hey Logan?" he says without looking at him, "I need to ask you something." Logan doesn't look up, "Um... that one dance move… you know… come here!" Without waiting for an answer, he grabs Logan off the couch, silently dragging him to their room.
He expects him to be mad, to yell, or hit him, but all he does is ask quietly, "What dance move, Kendall?"
"You know I didn't bring you in here for that."
"Then what?" Logan's tone is polite, but he isn't looking at Kendall.
"Us! You and me!" He waits for Logan to say something, but he doesn't. "Are you still mad at me?" More silence. "It didn't mean anything, and I told you, and I don't care – I just want you! If I'm going to be out with somebody then it's going to be you. Damn it, Logan!"
It takes a while for Logan to say, to the doorway, his voice strangled, "Well then I guess you won't be out." He makes a move to leave the room, but Kendall blocks him.
"It's still – I want –" Kendall's having trouble speaking too, and it takes him a minute to turn his thoughts into speech. "I don't need the world, Hollywood, the Palm Woods, or Roque Records – I need you. They don't have to know, we can be –" he lets out a frustrated sigh, "Please look at me."
Logan turns, his arms still crossed tightly, a sour look on his face, tears in his eyes and tear tracks all down his face. A sudden desire to kiss his face dry overcomes Kendall, but the rest of Logan's face suggests he'd like to punch Kendall, so he refrains. "I want to be with you, only you," he pauses, "but we can't hide forever."
"But –" Logan's voice shakes as he tries not to completely break down, "I – can't – we – can't – K-Kendall…"
"One person. Just one person we don't have to hide from."
But Logan shakes his head, "No – I can't – your Mom – no – ruin everything." He walks away from the door, pinching the bridge of his nose, and all Kendall can see is his back, his head held low.
"What about Katie?" Kendall doesn't remember saying it, or thinking it, but knows instantly it's a good idea. Taking Logan's silence as assent he calls out the door, "Katie!"
"I need to talk to you."
"Just get in here!"
She rolls her eyes but comes into her brother's room anyway. "What's up with him?" she points to Logan's back, but he just waves a hand behind him, and she shrugs again.
"Katie, can you keep a secret?"
"Better than you can, bro."
"If I tell you something, you won't tell anybody?" She raises her eyebrows at him. "Just promise."
"If you don't tell anybody about anything that may or may not happen, that may or may not be done on my orders… then I won't tell anyone."
"Deal!" and he shakes his sister's hand, looking to Logan, who has just turned back around. His eyes are red and his face is stony, but he doesn't try and stop Kendall.
Looking Katie squarely in the face he blurts out, "I'm gay." When she doesn't say anything or make any other reaction he adds, "And Logan's my boyfriend."
Both boys stare anxiously at her, and after a second she looks from one to the other and says, "Okay," making her way back to the living room.
"Wait, that's it? 'Okay'?"
"Well it wasn't exactly shocking news," she wiggles her fingers mockingly. Taking another look at their faces she reassures them, "But I won't tell – I promise." The door swings shut behind her.
Kendall turns, grinning, to Logan, who is shaking his head methodically, "I hate you, I really hate you…"
"I know," Kendall whispers, kissing Logan softly. And Logan's kissing him back, and he knows that it's really all that matters.