They moved Logan's things in the next day, and the spare bedroom became Logan's room. It only took one trip, because Logan had been living in the hotel since their father's house had burned down, and he didn't have any furniture.
Now that the last box had been unpacked, they were relaxing together on the couch. Charlie said, "I was thinking about calling my mom, and inviting her to dinner tonight."
"Oh… Okay." Logan wasn't sure if he was supposed to meet her, or make himself scarce for the night.
"I know it's kind of sudden, but we usually have dinner together at least once a month. And once I tell her what's been going on, she'll want to meet you right away."
Smiling Logan said, "Why? Does she want to yell at me for telling the world about you on Larry King?"
Charlie grinned. "Well, when I bring up your name she may want to, but once I explain, she won't."
"If you say so."
"I do." Charlie patted Logan's knee.
# # #
That night Charlie noticed Logan fidgeting and looking at the clock every few minutes. He opened his mouth to reassure the younger man, but the doorbell rang before he had the chance.
Charlie went to the door, and said, "Hi, Mom."
She gave him a hug. "Hello, dear." She let him go and made eye contact with Logan a few feet away. She pushed past Charlie and said, "And this must be Logan."
"Hi, Ms. Stone," Logan said, giving her a little wave, unsure what to do with his hands.
"None of that now," she said, as she walked towards him, "It's Jane."
"Okay." He held out his hand to shake and said, "Nice to meet you, Jane."
"Well, I've met you a few times before," she said with a smile, "but you were much smaller then." Instead of taking his hand, she put both of her hands on his shoulders, and pulled him down slightly to give him a quick hug.
After letting him go, she kept one hand on his shoulder, and put the other on his chin. She turned his head to the right and left, getting a good look at him. "You take after your mother," she said, and let go.
Logan nodded, "Everyone tells me I look like her." He turned to Charlie with a smile, "It was a surprise to see how much Charlie looks like Aaron."
Jane walked back to her son and put an arm around his waist. "He got the best of both worlds. Aaron's looks, and my sweet disposition."
With a smile, Charlie kissed the top of her head. Logan could see the bond they had, which reminded him of Keith and Veronica. He decided he liked Jane, and tried not to feel too jealous.
Fifteen minutes later, Jane had just finished telling Logan an amusing story about five year old Charlie, when Charlie said, "Dinner's ready. Come sit down."
Once everyone was sitting down with food, Logan said, "So, Jane, do you think your son is stubborn?"
Surprised, Charlie wondered where Logan was going with that.
Looking surprised herself, Jane said, "Well, I suppose he can be. Why do you ask?"
"You know Brian right?"
Charlie glared at his little brother, and his tone held warning when he said, "Logan…"
Jane looked back and forth between the two young men. Logan kept his eyes on her, and Charlie kept his eyes on Logan. After a pause, she said, "Yes. Brian is a lovely young man."
Without looking his way, Logan pointed a fork in Charlie's direction, and said, "Help me convince Charlie to give him a call."
Raising his voice, Charlie said, "We will not be discussing my love life at the dinner table!"
Purposely keeping his eyes off Charlie's face, because he looked way too much like Aaron when he was angry, Logan said, "What love life? Maybe if you'd call him like I told you to, you'd have a love life to talk about."
Jane burst out laughing startling both men. Once she had caught her breath, she said, "Oh Charlie, you looked like steam was going to be coming out of your ears." She shook her head, and turned to Logan, "I'm with you one hundred percent. It would be wonderful if you could get him to come out of the closet and repair his relationship with Brian."
Logan smirked and darted his eyes to Charlie to see if the anger was still visible. Instead of anger, the man looked a bit exasperated, but he clearly saw some humor in his mother's statement too.
"If I tell you both that I'll consider it, can we let it drop for the evening?" Charlie asked.
They both agreed, and the conversation veered off towards Charlie's newest book.
# # #
A week later, Logan had worn Charlie down with his badgering, and Brian had been called. Logan had met Brian a couple of days after that, and they'd hit it off right away. Soon Charlie and Biran started openly dating, and after three days of annoying media coverage on Aaron's gay offspring, the press ignored them. Wanting to give his brother space, Logan had spent most of his free time surfing with Dick, and hanging out at the beach.
Two weeks after that Brian had moved in, and after a lot of reassurance from both Charlie and Brian, Logan had been convinced to stay, and the three settled into living together. But Logan could only handle the happy family situation for a couple of weeks before he started to feel out of place and restless.
# # #
Looking at the clock again, Charlie wondered if he should call. Brian looked up from his book to see Charlie watching the clock instead of trying to write. Brian set his book down, and said, "Just call him, or you'll never get to sleep."
Charlie didn't want to come off as a killjoy or a disapproving authority figure, but he honestly didn't approve of all the late night partying that Logan did, especially when it meant he'd be drinking. He reluctantly called Logan's cell.
"Charlie?" Logan said.
The noise was so loud on the other end of the phone, he doubted Logan would be able to hear him. "Hi Logan, where are you?"
"Dick's throwing a 'Send Your Father to Prison' party, complete with nail files in the chocolate cake."
Charlie snorted. "Sounds like fun."
"Has been so far. So, what's up?"
"I just wanted to know where you were, and when you thought you'd be home."
The line was silent for a few minutes. "Logan?"
"I'm at Dick's house, and I'll probably crash here tonight."
With a frown Charlie said, "Okay, so you'll be back tomorrow morning then?"
"Better make it tomorrow afternoon."
Charlie sighed. "Be careful. Try not to get wasted okay? And if you need me to come pick you up, just call."
"Dude, don't worry so much. I'm fine. I'll see you tomorrow."
"Okay, I'll see…" The background noises cut off. "Logan?"
Brian put his arm around Charlie's shoulders and said, "He's nineteen and he's at a party with his friend. That's normal teenage behavior. He'll be okay."
Charley shook his head. "It would be normal teen behavior if he were trying to rebel, but he's not."
"How do you know?"
"If he were trying to rebel, he'd be doing something a lot more reckless and creative than drinking at a party."
"Okay, then what do you think it is?"
"He told me something when we were first getting to know each other. He said when things are good in his life, he always messes them up. A part of me has to wonder if he's just not sure how to handle life when he's in a happy situation."
"And the other part of you?"
"Has to wonder if he's pushing me to see if I'll react the way our father would have, since he knows without a doubt that I don't approve of his drinking."
Brian kissed the top of Charlie's head and said, "Give it time. He'll settle down after a while." Brian stood up off the couch and held his hand out to his boyfriend. "It's late. Let's go try to get some sleep."
Charlie let himself get pulled to bed.
# # #
The ringing of the telephone woke Charlie up. Beside him on the bed, Brian muttered, "What time is it?"
Glancing at the alarm clock, he said, "Two fifteen," and then picked up the phone, "Hello?"
"Dick and I kind of got in an accident."
"Are you okay?" Charlie sat up all the way, causing Brian to do the same.
"Yeah, we're fine."
"You need me to come pick you up?"
"About that…" Logan trailed off.
"I need you to pick me up at the police station."
"Dick got a DUI, and they said I can't leave unless I pass a breathalizer, or have someone sober pick me up."
Charlie rubbed a hand down his face to keep himself from yelling into the phone.
"Charlie?" Logan asked.
"I'm here. Hold on, let me get a pen, and you can give me the address."
Once he had the address, Charlie said, "Okay, I'm on my way. Sit tight."
"What happened?" Brian asked once Charlie had hung up.
"I have to pick up Logan at the police station."
With a groan, Brian got up and started putting his clothes on.
"You don't have to come," Charlie said as he got up to get dressed also.
"I know, but he's your brother. I want to come… if it's okay with you."
"Of course it's okay. I'll probably need the support." Charlie shook his head. "He said his friend, Dick, got a DUI. They were in an accident."
Brian stilled. "Wait a minute. Logan and Dick went out driving? When they were drunk?"
"Yeah I think they did," Charlie said with a frown. He finished getting dressed by pulling a shirt over his head, and sat down on the edge of the bed. He looked over at Brian and said, "What should I do?"
Brian shook his head, walked around to Charlie's side of the bed, and sat down next to him. He took Charlie's hand in both of his own and said, "What do you think you should do?"
"I don't know. Logan is nineteen, almost twenty. He's an adult. I've told him again and again that he shouldn't be drinking, but he doesn't listen to me, and I can't stop him when he's out with his friends. But…"
"What I really want to do is tell him he's grounded," Charlie admitted, "but I can't force him to accept that, and I'm afraid he'll tell me to screw off and move back to the hotel."
Brian squeezed Charlie's hand and said, "I think you have to try."
"I do. The kid is going to wind up in jail or dead if he keeps going down this path. You need to take a firm stand on this, even if it does make him move out. Logan is a smart kid, he knows what he's doing is wrong. Give him an ultimatum, and even if he walks out tonight, I'll bet he'll be back in a few days to accept it. But even if he never comes back, and it creates a rift in your relationship, at least you'll know that you did everything you could to help him."
Charlie slowly nodded, and then gave Brian a quick kiss before standing up. "Let's go get him."
# # #
Dick saw Charlie and Brian before Logan did, and said, "Dude, look. Your fake fag folks are here to pick you up."
Logan glared, and punched Dick in the shoulder hard.
"Ow!" Dick said while laughing, and covering the spot with his other hand.
Logan muttered, "At least my older brother is looking out for me."
Dick lost his smile, thinking about Cassidy. Without warning, he lunged at Logan, knocking him down to the floor of the cell, and started punching him.
Logan fought back, and they rolled around the floor exchanging punches, while the guard unlocked the cell door.
Charlie yelled, "Stop it! Both of you knock it off! Logan!"
The boys continued to struggle with each other until the guard came in, and hauled Logan up off the floor, and away from Dick. Logan hissed, "You're a moron."
Dick wiped some blood off his lip and said, "Whatever man."
The guard pulled Logan out of the cell, and locked the door again with Dick inside.
Charlie put a hand on Logan's shoulder and took a look at the kid's face. "You okay?"
"Yeah, I think so." Logan touched his eyebrow, and saw blood when he pulled his hand away.
"Let's get you out of here." Charlie and Logan followed the guard to go fill out paperwork so Logan could go home.
# # #
The car ride home was silent. Logan was too nervous to say anything, and Charlie wanted to have the potentially volatile discussion face to face in the comfort of home.
Once Brian pulled up to the house and parked, Charlie turned to the back seat and said, "Go have a seat in the living room. We need to talk."
Logan's stomach twisted. That was it then. He'd screwed himself over again, and now they were going to ask him to leave. He nodded in acceptance, got out of the car, and walked to the house with Charlie and Brian following him.
Instead of sitting, he stood by the couch and turned to face his brother. "Why don't we just skip the talk. I'll go pack my bags, and I'll be out of here first thing in the morning."
"Do you want to leave?" Charlie asked as he crossed his arms.
Logan shrugged and looked down at the couch. "No."
"Good, because I don't want you to leave."
"You don't?" Logan asked, looking up again.
"We don't want you to leave," Brian added.
"Right," Charlie smiled at his boyfriend. "We don't want you to leave. We like having you here."
Logan slowly nodded, believing them, and sat down on the couch. "Okay then, go ahead and talk."
Having thought about it the whole way home, Charlie started in with his lecture. "You already know that I don't approve of your drinking. You're underage, and we both know you use drinking as a coping mechanism to drown out your emotions, which isn't healthy. But I understand that going to a party and drinking is normal for someone your age, so I haven't tried to stop you. But tonight…" Charlie shook his head, and glared at his little brother. "Tonight you didn't just drink. You got in the car with someone who was clearly drunk, and let him drive."
Unable to maintain eye contact, Logan looked down his knees and said softly, "Yeah."
"You could have been killed, Logan."
"Or Dick could have killed someone else," Brian added.
"Right," Charlie agreed. "That's way beyond the usual college student mistake."
"I know, okay?" Logan said. "I know it was an idiotic, bone headed move that could have ended in disaster. I get it." He shook his head. "I just didn't think it through at the time."
"Is that the truth?" Charlie asked, "Or maybe you just didn't think anyone would care? Because I do care, and I'm really unhappy with you. Or maybe you wanted to see how I'd react? I may look like our father, but I'd never hit you."
Logan shook his head. "I know you wouldn't."
"But I am going to react, and you're not going to like it."
Logan looked up warily.
"You're grounded," Charlie said.
"What?" Logan said softly, not quite believing what he had heard.
"You're grounded for three weeks. No parties, no leaving the house, no having anyone over, and certainly no drinking."
Logan tilted his head to the side, as if trying to figure his brother out. "I'm gonna be twenty next week."
"Yeah you are, and you're going to spend it here at home, because you're grounded."
Logan's eyebrows drew together in a frown while he tried to come to terms with what was being said. He squinted at Charlie and said, "What if I say no?"
Charlie sighed, and walked over to sit next to Logan on the couch. The teen tensed up, not knowing what to expect. Charlie put his arm around Logan's shoulders, and gave him a side hug, "You're my brother, and I love you. I want you to stay here with me, but if you refuse to be grounded, then you're going to have to move out, because I refuse to sit by and let you risk your future if I can stop you."
Brian moved a few steps closer and added, "You said yourself it was an idiotic move. You know you deserve it, even if you don't like it."
Silence stretched out while Logan thought about what they'd said. A few moments later Charlie patted Logan's shoulder and said, "Why don't you think about it tonight, and let me know in the morning."
Logan shook his head and said quietly, "I'll be grounded."
"You will?" Charlie said, not quite believing it had gone so smoothly.
Logan looked at Charlie with tears in his eyes and said, "My mom is the only other person who has ever told me that they loved me. Not Aaron, not Lily, not Trina, not even Veronica said those words to me."
Charlie felt like he was looking into Logan's broken soul, and pulled the boy into a full hug. "I love you. I've loved you since you were a baby. I tried to shut those feelings out when Aaron disowned me, but it took a long time, and now that you're back in my life, I don't think I could ever do it again."
"I love you, too," Logan whispered, and tried unsuccessfully not to let anymore tears slide down his face. Charlie held him tight until Logan let go.
Charlie patted Logan's back and said, "Why don't you go get some sleep. We can talk more about being grounded and what that entails in the morning."
"Okay." Logan wiped the tears off his face, got up, and went to his room.
Brian held his hand out to Charlie and said, "I'd say that went pretty well."
Charlie took the offered hand and let Brian pull him off the couch. "Better than I expected," he said as they walked down the hall to their room. "We'll see how agreeable he is over the next three weeks."
"I think he'll surprise you," Brian said with confidence as he shut the door to their bedroom. "He's starved for affection. If you're consistent with him, and show him that you really do care, he'll stop being so self destructive."
"I hope so," Charlie said.
Soon both men were undressed and back in bed for the second time that night.
# # #
A month later, the summer was coming to a close. Logan had taken his grounding relatively well, only complaining a few times, and once it was done, he didn't immediately revert back to his partying.
It was a bright and sunny afternoon at the beach, with a slight breeze to keep everyone from overheating, and Charlie was sitting on the beach holding his laptop, when a young woman came and sat next to him in the sand.
He recognized her immediately from Aaron's trial. "Veronica?"
Charlie looked out towards the water to try and spot Logan or Brian, but he couldn't easily find them among all the surfers. He turned back to her. "What can I do for you?"
She shook her head. "Nothing. I just wanted to say thanks."
"Thanks? Thanks for what?"
She looked out towards the ocean. "For looking after him. For taking him in. For keeping him safe." She looked back at him. "For giving a crap, unlike the rest of his family. You probably saved his life." She looked back at the ocean. "In more ways than one."
He smiled at her profile. "I should be the one thanking you. You're the one who got the FBI to take down Gory and his family."
With a grin she said, "That wasn't entirely selfless, I would have investigated Gory even if Logan wasn't involved. But I'm glad I was able to have a hand in saving Logan. I owed him one, too."
Charlie knew he probably shouldn't stick his nose in his brother's love life, but he couldn't stop himself. "He still loves you."
"Yeah, I know. The feeling is mutual." She stood up and dusted the sand off her shorts, and walked towards the water.
Charlie wasn't sure what to make of that comment, but closed his laptop, and watched the young woman to see what she was going to do next.
# # #
Logan caught sight of Veronica as he and Brian were wading towards the shore. He hadn't realized she was back yet, and the sight of her took his breath away for a second.
"You okay?" Brian asked when Logan didn't respond to his question.
Logan kept is eyes on Veronica and picked up the pace. "I'm sorry, what did you say?"
"I asked if you wanted to eat out tonight."
"Oh, sure. Sounds great."
Brian looked towards the shore, to see what was holding Logan's attention, and quit asking questions once he saw the petite blond. Instead he patted Logan's shoulder and said, "Want me to take your board up to Charlie so you and your friend can catch up."
Logan handed the surfboard over and said, "Thanks, Brian."
Brian nodded at Veronica as he walked past, and headed towards Charlie.
Logan walked up to Veronica, and forced himself to keep a friendly distance.
"I got home last night."
"Was it everything you'd hoped for and more?"
She smiled. "It was pretty great, and my life wasn't in danger even once this whole summer."
"Must have been difficult to cope with," he said with a smirk.
"You have no idea."
After an awkward little pause, she looked out towards the ocean and said, "You probably haven't heard, but Piz got a job offer from a New York radio station." Logan's eyebrows shot up. She looked back at him and added, "He won't be going to college with us next year."
"Oh… well…" Logan forced himself not to jump the gun by asking her out, "…are you guys going to try the long distance thing?"
"No. We talked about it, and we both decided it would be best to break things off."
"Yeah?" He wasn't sure what to say. He was ecstatic that they'd broken up, but that wasn't the kind of thing a person should be saying, especially to an ex.
After another somewhat awkward pause, Veronica said, "How have things been going with Charlie?"
"They've been great," Logan said with a genuine smile. He opened his mouth to tell her that he'd been grounded, thought twice about that, and then decided to trust that she'd understand, even if no one else would. "He grounded me for getting drunk and being in the car with Dick when he got a DUI."
She gave him a soft smile. "I'm happy for you. You deserve to have someone looking out for you."
"Thanks." He blushed slightly and looked away.
She moved closer to him and put her hand on his chest. When he looked down into her eyes, she said, "I miss you."
"I miss you, too," he whispered. "So much."
"We could try again," she said hopefully.
That was all the incentive he needed. He pulled her close, and leaned down to kiss her. Their lips met, and the rest of the world dropped away. Her hands in his damp hair, the smell of her perfume, and the sound of her soft moan as their tongues entwined, blocked everything else out of Logan's mind.
A few moments later they stopped kissing, and just held each other close with their forehead's touching.
"I take it that's a yes?" she said.
"Yes. Absolutely yes."
She put her hands on the sides of his face and said, "I love you."
"I love you, too," he whispered, and then leaned down to kiss her again, so that he wouldn't break down and cry from the amount joy in his soul in this moment in time.
Author's Note: I can't believe it took me six years to finish this, when I was so close to the end. But here it is – another story of mine completed! Thanks to those of you who read and review even though the show has long since been cancelled (boo!)