A/N. It feels strange not writing an author's note for 'Little Hollow'. After all, that's what I've been doing for the past three months. But 'Little Hollow' has come to an end so the only thing I can do is write another story. This one focuses on some moments during the time of 'Little Hollow' when Logan was still sick. This particular chapter is set between C43 and C49 of 'Little Hollow'. I'd like to dedicate the first chapter to my Fan Fiction Twin, OneManWritingGames. Without her, my characterization of James would be half of what it is. And if you'd like to read a truly amazing story, read 'He Lives On' by her. I cry every time I read it but it's worth the tears. Anyway, without further ado, I present to you 'Everything In Between'. I still don't own anything.
Logan Mitchell felt sick and tired. But then, he always felt sick and tired lately. The cancer inside of him was slowly tearing him down and he felt the pull of it every single day. Everything he ate made him sick causing a dramatic weight lost in the already slight frame. Everything he did drained what little energy he had. So most of the time he slept or laid around like an invalid.
He was an invalid. And he hated every second of it. He hated that his cancer was not only destroying him, but everyone around him as well. His best friends were slowly coming undone and he was terrified that it was only a matter of time before one of them snapped completely. Their worry for him was so out of control that they never looked after themselves anymore. Logan wanted to get better for their sake as much as his. He was sick and tired of being sick and tired.
"Logan?" One of his best friends, James Diamond knocked on the open door and walked into Logan's bedroom. Immediately, his eyes swept over Logan, searching for any sign that something was amiss. He saw nothing out of the ordinary. The sad thing was, the dark circles and pale color of Logan's face had become ordinary. James sank down on the bed next to Logan and stared at his hands.
"What's up, James?" Logan asked quietly. He set aside his book and studied his friend carefully. Out of all his friends, James worried him the most. James, who until all of this had happened, had been obsessed with his appearance. He was forever looking in every single mirror he happened to walk by and he carried his lucky comb with him wherever he went, running it through his silky brown hair that fell almost to his shoulders. He almost always had a can of Barracuda Man Spray on hand in case he needed to attract a girl's attention.
Like he never needed an edge. James was really good looking. Back home in Minnesota the girls chased after him all the time. They came to all their hockey games, screaming his name whenever he did something remotely remarkable. It was no different in LA except for the fact that James had met a girl named Julie and the two were steadily developing a close bond.
But James was different now. When he had been self-obsessed it frequently became irritating. But Logan found himself wishing for hat missing part of James more and more every day. Because it was killing him to see his friend, who had once been so passionate about becoming a star in Hollywood, slowly retreat within himself more and more with each passing day.
He was depressed. James was depressed. The three words didn't seem right together but Logan was forced to arrange a sentence with them. He had been depressed ever since Logan had been pronounced dead only to return to them. Up until then, Logan had been worried about Carlos. But Carlos seemed greatly encouraged by the miracle and was more optimistic than the shadow he had been before. James was a mess now. He was depressed and that scared Logan more than anything his cancer could do to him. He had been trying to shove another word out of his mind for weeks but when he was alone it spun around in his mind like a demented carousel.
Suicide. What if James was depressed enough to take his own life? The thought made Logan feel sick to his stomach and he struggled to bring his thought back to the present.
James' fingers twisted around each other nervously and he couldn't bring himself to look at Logan. "Well, Kendall and Carlos and I were wondering if. . ." His voice trailed off and he glanced quickly at Logan before dropping his gaze again.
"If?" Logan prompted.
"We were wondering if you wanted to watch a movie." The words fell out in a rush and James fell silent once more.
It was obvious was James was so hesitant. Despite the fact that he slept more than anything else, Logan was constantly tired. But Logan ignored the weariness that tugged at his consciousness and nodded his head. "Sure. What movie were you thinking of?"
James looked surprised at Logan's quick agreement but the light in his brown eyes died down as quickly as it had appeared. He shrugged. "We didn't pick one. You can if you want." He stopped and watched Logan yawn. "If you're too tired-"
"No." Logan said quickly. "I'm fine." He smothered another yawn. "What about 'Miracle'?" He asked, hoping for a any kind of positive reaction. 'Miracle' was James' favorite movie.
James shrugged again. "Sure, that sounds good."
Logan sighed and stood up, shaking up the lightheaded feeling that accompanied any quick movement. "So let's go then." He wanted the old James back. The one who would be demanding that Logan watch the movie instead of studying. Not that Logan had anything to study for since he had dropped out of school. But if the old James was back then Logan probably wouldn't be so sick.
James and Logan wandered out into the family room where Kendall and Carlos were waiting. Both looked pleasantly surprised to see that Logan was with James. Logan sat down while James, like a puppet being held on by invisible strings and controlled by an invisible puppeteer, silently found the DVD and slid the disc into the player before joining his friends on the couch.
The movie started and for a brief time, everything seemed normal. Everything seemed right. But it was a false sense of security and even when James laughed at a scene in the film, Logan heard the hollow tone and he was brought back to reality with a thump. The fear in his chest tightened and he shifted slightly closer to his friend, determined not to let him go.
Logan opened his eyes. He was back in his bedroom, tucked carefully beneath his covers. His face heated in embarrassment when he realized that he must have fallen asleep during the movie and one of his friends had carried him to his bed like he was a little kid. It wasn't the first time it happened and it probably wouldn't be the last considering his tendency to fall asleep at the drop of a hat. But he hated it all the same.
He sat up in confusion. Why had he even woken up? The house was dark and silent and he still felt exhausted. Logan glanced at the red numbers of his alarm clock. 1:34am. Way past midnight. Everyone else was asleep by now. Logan debated laying back down and shutting his eyes but it was too difficult to ignore the feeling of uneasiness in his stomach. So he swung his legs over the edge of his bed and stood up, flinching slightly at the cold wood on his bare feet.
His feet led him out of his room and down the hallway. He stood in confusion in front of the closed door to James' bedroom and wondered what he was doing there. James was asleep. He didn't want to wake him. But apparently it was only his brain that didn't want to wake James because his hand slowly moved upwards and turned the knob, shoving the door open in one smooth motion. His other hand flipped the light switch and he froze.
James was standing in the middle of his room, his back turned towards Logan. But in his right hand, James clutched a gun and as Logan watched, paralyzed with fear, James brought the gun up to his head and rested it on his temple.
Suddenly Logan regained control over his own body and he stumbled forward. "James!" He hissed in a whisper, completely unsure of what he was supposed to do. "James don't do it. Please! Put the gun down, okay?"
But James acted like he couldn't even hear Logan. As Logan reached him he saw an empty look in his eyes. It was almost like James was doing it in his sleep except for some reason, Logan knew that he was wide awake.
Tears blurred his eyesight and he grabbed James' free hand, too afraid to touch the one that held the fatal weapon because it could go off accidentally and injure or even kill one of them. "James, please." He said, shaking his friend's hand to claim his attention. "Don't do this. Don't leave us."
Then James turned to him and Logan almost dropped his hand at the blank, apathetic expression on the once "But you're leaving us." He whispered right before he pulled the trigger.
"No!" Logan shot up in bed, breathing heavily. His heart pounded so hard in his chest that he was afraid he would have a heart attack. He waited for someone to come rushing in, alarmed by his panic cry. Maybe they could even hear his heart thudding away. He laid a shaking hand across his chest and took deep lungfuls of fresh air.
It was just a dream. A nightmare really. An awful nightmare. But it wasn't real. That was what mattered. Logan waited for the crashing of his heart to subside and for someone to come. But while his heart slowed to a more normal pace, he didn't hear a sound in the house. He breathed a sigh of relief. At least he hadn't woken anyone up. He looked at the clock and shivered slightly. 1:34am.
He laid back down and stared into the inky blackness of his dark room. He was afraid to close his eyes. What if he saw James again and- Logan couldn't have fallen asleep then no matter how tired he was. He had to check on James.
Once again he found himself walking down the hallway. But before he could reach James' room, Logan noticed a thin stream of light coming from the bathroom door. Again, his body ignored his brain and pushed the door open. It wasn't even fully closed to begin with. And again, Logan froze.
James lay on the floor, his eyes shut. On each wrist there was a deep cut out of which blood was streaming out of and onto the white linoleum floor.
Logan dropped to his knees besides his unconscious friend and tried to call for help. But terror squeezed at his throat until he was choking. At the same time his hands were reaching out and yanking bath towels from their racks. One hard tug brought the entire rack down with a resounding crash and Logan sighed in brief relief because surely the sound would alert someone. Still coughing and choking, Logan grabbed James' wrists and wound the towels tightly around, trying the stop the flow of life.
"Help! Somebody please!" He finally found his voice and screamed the words as loud as he could. "James needs help! Call 911!" But his words echoed in the empty house and as the blood seeped through the cloth, Logan brought one of James' limp hands up to his face and cried.
Logan's eyes snapped open and he looked around wildly. He was in his room. He sat up, shaking. What on Earth was wrong with him? What kind of person had these kinds of nightmares/ Not normal people, that was for sure. He was losing it.
A glance at his clock told a familiar story. 1:34am. Something tugged at the back of his mind. There was something significant about the time 1:34. But his tired and shaken mind refused to cooperate. Logan let out a deep sigh. He had to check on James for real this time. Because both of the nightmares had seemed so real. He felt like a baby but he knew that James would understand. And he didn't even have to know if Logan was quiet. All he wanted to see was James sleeping. Breathing. Alive.
Logan pushed aside his tangled sheets and stood up. He was shaking and it was hard to walk because his legs felt loose and weak. But he pushed himself across the hall and into James room.
On his way, Logan couldn't help but poke his head inside the bathroom. He sighed in relief when he saw that it was empty inside. He stopped to lean on the wall and rest. He was so tired. He felt slightly light headed and gripped the counter with one hand. When the dizziness passed, he straightened up to leave the room. As he did, his fingers brushed against something and he looked down.
At first Logan was confused. Pill bottles were spread out over the counter. Empty pill bottles. On closer inspection he realized that they were his empty pill bottles and he felt even more confused. Doctor Walsh has just given him his refills two days ago. There was no way that he should be out.
Then it was like a light went on in Logan's mind and he spun around so hard that he smacked his hipbone into the door knob. He barely registered the pain though as he raced toward James' room and flung the door open.
Logan was smart. Brilliant maybe. It was rare that he was wrong about anything and even rarer for him to be wrong about something important. But in that moment, Logan dearly wished that he could be wrong. Because sometimes, it was even worse to be right.
James lay perfectly still in his bed. From where he stood, Logan could not detect the slightest motion. Ignoring what he knew, Logan fell again to his knees by James' side. He grabbed his friend's shoulders and pulled him roughly to him, falling back as James' heavier body slammed into his small one.
"James!" Logan pleaded, as tears began to stream down his face. "James, wake up! He tried to rub warmth into the frozen limbs as words continued to come from him, falling on deaf ears. James' head rolled around loosely as Logan continued to shake him and beg.
Logan felt a blackness closing over all around him and he let the limp body fall to the floor. He bent over and laid his head on James' chest. When he failed to feel a heart beat or the rise and fall of breathing, Logan knew that his best friend was gone forever. "Why?" He pleaded to James uselessly. "Why?" He closed his eyes and let the blackness swallow him up.
Logan jerked awake. His body shook with silent sobs and he sat up so fast that he ended up on the floor with a thump that was dulled by his accompanying blankets. He grabbed onto the the edge of the nightstand and jerked the clock from where it sat. 1:34am. The numbers seemed to laugh at him and the clock fell from his shaking hands. Without trying to calm himself down this time, Logan stood up and rushed toward James' room.
"Logan?" James had been awakened instantly by the footsteps in his room. His eyes widened when his eyes adjusted to the darkness of the room and he could make out the shadowy form of his friend standing over him. In one smooth motion, James sat up, switched on the lamp by his bed, and grabbed his cell phone. "What is it, Logan? What's wrong?" He asked, urgently, his fingers ready to dial for an ambulance. He waited for Logan to tell him that he was sick or in pain but the words never came.
Instead, Logan sank down onto James' bed and stared at James with an unreadable expression on his face. James looked at his friend closer. His face was pale and he was soaked in sweat. His whole body was shaking and. . . Logan was crying.
"Logan, talk to me." James begged. He pulled Logan into a hug and shut his eyes. He didn't have a clue what he should do. Was Logan in so much pain that he couldn't talk? Was that was he was crying? James debated running for help or simply calling the hospital on his cell phone. But something held him back from taking any action and he simply waited.
At Logan's words, James' body stiffened and he tried to pull Logan away so that he could see his face again. But Logan's fingers had dug into his T-shirt with no intention of letting go. He pressed his face in James' chest and cried.
"Logan, of course I'm alive. What are you talking about?" James begged again.
This time Logan's response was swift. "I had a nightmare." He said, his voice slightly muffled. "You died."
James' body slumped in relief. "Logan, it was just a nightmare. You're awake now. I'm right here. I'm not going anywhere."
Logan pulled away enough to shake his head. "You don't understand." He whispered.
How could Logan say that? James had watched him actually die and it hadn't been a nightmare. It had been real. But James didn't dare say his thoughts out loud. He waited for Logan to speak again.
Once again, it didn't take long. Logan pulled away further this time and looked at James. "You killed yourself." He said, his voice shaking. "Three times. I kept waking up and you kept killing yourself over and over again. First you shot yourself in front of me. Then you cut you wrists. And then you took all of my pills. You overdosed. And I couldn't get help. No one would come. You kept dying right in front of me and I couldn't do anything."
James could only stare at Logan. He was speechless. Was this what he had been doing to his friends and family in his state of depression? Even now, Logan was shaking like he might never stop. "Logan." He finally choked out. What could he say?
"I know that it was just a dream, I mean a nightmare. But James, it was so real. Every time I thought I woke up I was just in another nightmare. It was so strange too. Every time I looked at my clock it was 1:34am. Even when I woke up this time it was 1:34."
1:34. James' breath caught in his throat. Logan's time of death. Since that day everything had changed. Though Logan had ultimately returned to them James would never forget that day. He would never forget the way Logan's face had taken on an inhuman blueish tinge when he stopped breathing. He would never forget the way Doctor Walsh had ordered them out and then began performing CPR on Logan. And he would never ever forget the loud crash of instruments as Doctor Walsh shoved a tray away or the broken tone of his voice when he announced Logan's time of death. The images, the noises, haunted James 24/7 and pulled him down under the sea he was drowning in.
When he saw James' expression, Logan's own face went from confused to understanding. "Oh." He said quietly. He took a deep, steadying breath. "James, it's okay now. Why can't you move on?"
"Move on?" James repeated. "Move on and pretend it never happened? I saw you die and I'm supposed to just forget about it and move on? No. No, Logan. It's not okay. It never will be okay. You died and even though you're alive right now you could still die any day now. That makes it not okay."
"If I do die," Logan said, ignoring James' small rant. "James, promise me you won't kill yourself."
James' mouth tightened into a hard line, but his eyes filled with tears. "I can't." He whispered. "Logan, I don't know if I could go on if I lost any of you guys. You're my best friends and-"
"Yes." Logan agreed. "We are. So James, what will happen to Kendall and Carlos if I die and you kill yourself? What will happen to your family?"
In all honesty, James had never even thought of the others. Logan's words were like a bucket of ice cold water on his face and James stopped. He stopped trying to convince Logan that his suicide was justifiable. He stopped trying to convince himself that it would end his pain. Because the end of his pain would mean a whole new world of pain for everyone else. "I didn't think." He admitted. "I was so selfish that I was blind to see how it would affect anyone else. All I could think about was me and bringing my pain to an end. That's not right is it?"
Logan shook his head. "No, James. It isn't. You'd be leaving behind so much. All for nothing. I might die and I might live, James. But either way I want you to keep living. For me and for everyone else but most importantly for yourself, James. Because you and Carlos and Kendall are probably the three most amazing people in my life and you're all way too important to just give up on life just because you lose me."
"You say it like it's supposed to be easy." James said slowly. "But it's so hard, Logan. It's so freaking hard sometimes. And if you die I know it'll only get harder."
"Sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better." Logan replied. "But don't even think about the future right now, James. Right now is what really matters. And right now I'm alive. And I want you to want to be alive too."
Logan was right of course. He was wise beyond his years sometimes and tonight had been no exception. His words had given James a hope that he didn't know he could have and the darkness inside of him was shoved aside, at least for the moment, in exchange for a little light. "Okay." He finally said and he watched as the fear left Logan's eyes and smiled. "Are you okay now?'
Logan hesitated then shook his head. "Not really." He said honestly. "Do you mind if I sleep in here tonight? On the floor?"
James snorted. "The floor? Logan, don't be ridiculous. If you're uncomfortable with sharing a bed than I'll sleep on the floor. But I don't mind."
Logan sighed in relief and laid his head down on the pillow. James laid down too and even after Logan fell asleep within ten minutes, James stayed awake. He watched Logan breath, each inhale and exhale, a reminder that Logan was alive. Tears crowded his eyes and slid down onto the pillow as James leaned closer in to feel the warmth radiating from his friend's body, another reminder that Logan was alive.
Depression didn't just hurt him. It hurt the people around him and tonight James had seen how badly Logan had been hurting. The thought that his friends and family felt the same way made more tears run down James' face. He was still afraid that Logan would die way before his time. And he still didn't know if he would be okay if that ever happened. But for the time being, he had hope that everything, no matter what, would be okay.
A/N. And so ends chapter one of another multi-chapter fic. I feel happy. I only hope that you all enjoy this, and my future fics, as much as you enjoyed 'Little Hollow'. Please review and tell me what you liked if you liked anything. I love you all! Oh, and I hope to have this finished within a week. It'll only be four chapters so I'm optimistic. Once school starts. . . Let's not think about that right now. Anyway, thanks for reading!