Logan is always the weak (read: underestimated) one.
He doesn't know if it's because of his cautious personality, small stature, his emotive facial expressions - whatever it is, it makes people hyper sensitive around him. It's what makes Kendall so crazy protective, Carlos so willing to drop anything for him, James so forgiving of his none-too-kind sarcastic remarks. It's why they think he's weak.
He wants to prove it, has wanted to for years. But there's one term to describe Logan Mitchell: people-pleaser. His parents like good grades, so he gets them. Gustavo likes good singers and dancers, so he practices. Mrs. Knight likes well mannered boys, so he always says 'please' and 'thank you'. Camille likes his lips, so he lets her kiss him.
His friends, his boys, his life, they like him being the weakest. So he stays that way.
It's on one of those all too common days, when Logan was humiliated for the umpteenth time by Kendall's need to protect (a boy had muttered something about the brunette being a fag as he passed. Kendall was, quite obviously, displeased.) that he saw it. He was just walking down the street, trying not to be too frustrated (read: discouraged) by the fact that Kendall didn't understand and when he'd said he was going for a walk James had said, "Hold on, I'll come with you." he'd realized that none of them understood.
Because regardless of their misconceptions, Logan was still a man (...slash-boy-thing; on the verge of manhood, one might say) and he did not need some sort of keeper always keeping track of him.
He shook his head in an attempt to clear his mind when the flyer blew with the breeze right into his face. Of course, he flailed at first before realizing he was not, in fact, being attacked, and looking around awkwardly as he pulled the paper away. The words were black, like blood in dim light; the paper the yellow of a daisy.
1327 DURDEN COURT
MIDNIGHT TO UNDETERMINED
WEAR CLOTHES YOU WOULDN'T MIND STAINING
Logan blinked at the paper, turned around and walked back to the Palm Woods. Two steps in to 2J and he was bombarded with, "How was your walk?" "Are you feeling better?" "Do you want to talk about it?" "Did anyone bother you?" "Are you hungry? Thirsty?" "Are you cold?" "Do you need anything?"
All Logan heard was, I'll watch you. I'll make you happy. I'll comfort you. I'll defend you. I'll feed you. Hydrate you. I'll keep you warm.
I will do everything for you because you can't do anything for yourself.
He smiled, his brown eyes not crinkling as they usually did. He told them that really, guys, he's fine (read: enraged).
He crumpled the flyer in his pocket.
As midnight hit, Logan raced down the street, taking a left at the corner before coming to a halt at what appeared to be an abandoned house. He breathed heavily, his old and stained tank top heaving with his chest.
He glanced in between the daisy colored paper and the address before slowly (read: cautiously), making his way to the door. Stepping in, it still seemed vacant; no furniture or nick knacks, not even curtains on the windows, dust from the ceiling to the floor. "Hello?" he called, still earning no response.
Suddenly, he heard laughter from the basement. He wandered down to find a room with a small crowd of other men - one or two of them his age, the rest ranging from twenty to fifty. They were all mingling, apparently ready for a good time.
A man stepped to the front. "Alright, dirtbags, form a crowd around me!" the man stood tall and proud, cocky grin stretching his lips and sunglasses hiding his gaze and what seemed to be a black eye. Logan made his way to the front.
"Welcome..." he gestured to the gloriously thrashed, filth covered room, "to Fight Club.
The first rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club." The glasses were removed, exposing a nasty dark color blooming across his face. His stare travelled the room, making some squirm with anticipation and others with intimidation.
"The second rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club. The third rule is if someone says stop, goes limp or taps out, the fight it over. Next, two guys to a fight. One fight at a time. No shirts, no shoes, no weapons, and fights will go on as long as they have to. And lastly, oh, lastly…" he grins, face brilliant with unrestrained joy and deviation, and his icy eyes locked right on Logan's coffee orbs. The young boy's face had lost its color, his form trembling with fear (read: excitement) because he didn't live under a fucking rock; he'd seen the movie (Kendall had loved it), read the book, he knew what a Fight Club was. He knew.
He also knew what the eighth rule was.
"Lastly," the man repeated once more, face that of a jackal, "if this is your first night at Fight Club, you have tofight. Now, who's first?"
Logan was appalled (read: overjoyed) when he realized that his hand immediately shot into the air. The men behind him shoved him into the circle.
The ringleader, he grinned omnisciently, as if he'd known who the boy was and why he was here, and what he was going to do. Logan wondered if he already knew the outcome of his first match.
Another man threw himself into the ring, and they got down to business.
Logan didn't remember much of it. There were kicks and punches, a couple of chokeholds and maybe, embarrassingly enough, a bit of hair pulling; but he knows he'd been bit at some point and he didn't exactly think Oh God, what if he's diseased? but rather If that's how you want to play… before bringing his knee savagely to the stranger's stomach. The man brought a fist to his face, and he beamed. He could only imagine how ridiculous it looked when he tasted the blood pooling into his mouth.
As Logan snuck back into 2J that night, he grinned in euphoria as he took a moment to look at his battle wounds. He knew, logically, that he should probably get stitches for some, but that would mean questions and questions meant answers and well – he didn't want to break the first two rules after only one night (or even after ten. Or a hundred).
So, instead, he pulled off his blood stained clothes – making sure to hide them under his bed because Kendall was a nosy motherfucker – before climbing beneath his covers with a satisfied smirk and falling asleep instantaneously.
He'd never felt so good about losing.
"Logan," he groaned in response, rolling over in bed. "Logie, holy shit, get up, man!"
The brunette sighed irritably before obeying, sitting up in his bed. He looked at his friends, all three of them present and staring at him wide eyed. He was not amused at. All.
"Dude," Carlos reached out a hand, "your face." Lightly, ever so lightly, as if Logan was a fucking porcelain doll for Christ's sake, he caressed his check with his fingers. He tried not to flinch at all, but when his index finger caught on a heeling scab he could tell the boys noticed the way his jaw tightened.
"Logan, what the fuck happened?" Kendall had never looked so pissed off (read: upset) in his life – at least, not since his dad left.
"Oh, uh, this?" Logan gestured to his face sheepishly. The guys couldn't find out. They couldn't because if they did, they would never let him leave the Palm Woods by himself again. And, they'd probably try to shut it down, too, so then he'd have some very angry/very massive men out for his blood. And they would be terribly hurt, and everything about him telling the truth seemed so dreadfully wrong. "I, uh….I got jumped."
It was the only believable response.
"What? Were you by yourself? Why didn't you tell us?" Kendall growled, teeth bared in an animalistic fashion and Logan thought oh as he realized it made his cheeks flush. "That's so stupid! Why didn't you wake us up? God, you could have died!"
The short boy laughed aloud at that. "Kendall, I'm the one who studies these things. I was not going to die, okay? I'd call you if that were the case."
Kendall scoffed. "No, you'd call an ambulance first, dipshit."
"No," he corrected. "I'd call you first, asshole." Then when he smiled at the blonde, he could visibly see his shoulders sink with relief (read: affection).
James intervened. "We still have to call the police. Maybe if you provide a description they'll be able to find him."
"I didn't get a good look at him."
"Wait," Carlos furrowed his brows, looking to the two beside him, "Logan wasn't like this when he came back yesterday."
"Oh my God, someone broke in!" James exclaimed. "I have to go check my Cuda products!" And with that he was out the door in a flash.
"My helmet!" Carlos followed.
Logan sighed, relieved, until Kendall spoke again. "Why are you lying to us, Logie?" He looked so hurt by the mere thought of it, the idea that his best, best friend could be anything less than fully honest with him.
The shorter looked him square in the eye and said, "I'm not lying, Kendork. I swear."
He could tell the other still didn't believe him. Enforcing eye contact had always been his tell.
Still, he didn't call him on it.
The next time Logan came back from a fight, he immediately snatched his laptop up, hiding out in the bathroom and watching youtube tutorials on how to properly apply concealers and foundations to hide flaws. He went to bed and woke up early the next morning to fix the makeup that had undoubtedly smeared in his sleep. Walking out of his room, he glanced uneasily from one person to the next, trying to gauge any odd reactions.
The others, it seemed, were none the wiser.
This continued for two months. Once a week, Logan would sneak out to the Fight Club. Sometimes he would tap out early because they had dance practice, or vocal lessons the next day and being bruised to the bone didn't exactly help.
But God damn him if it wasn't therapeutic.
It was one of those nights, when he was busy putting his shirt back on over sweat and blood soaked skin that one of the other fighters approached him.
"Logan, right?" he asked with an amiable grin. His lip was split, and all Logan could think of was licking it clean, tasting the other's blood.
"Yeah," he nodded, checking his pocket for his belongings. "I'm sorry, you are…?"
"Gabe," he smiled once more, this time a little more confidently (read: wolfishly) than before. "You're leaving a bit earlier than usual, aren't you?"
Logan shrugged, meeting eyes with the dark haired man. "Busy day tomorrow."
Gabe hummed in response, flipping his too long hair out of his too dark eyes before asking, "You want to go get some coffee?"
Logan paused, turning around to really look at the other; as stated, his hair was too long and too dark and so were his eyes, all shades of brown that the smaller boy just wasn't feeling. He wasn't tall, wasn't short, just caught somewhere in the middle; wasn't necessarily muscular, but definitely not frail. He was average on all accounts.
In the back of his mind, Logan heard a voice say, He's not average, dumbass. The voice said, He's just not Kendall.
Shaking his head, he gave his signature crooked grin before saying, "I'd love to."
It doesn't take them too long to walk the two block distance to the nearest café, where they order and take a seat at one of the booths. They spend a few hours just talking about random things, and Logan tries not to do it but – well, he can relate almost everything back to his best friend. Nearly everything the Gabe boy says has the other blurting out, "Oh, my best friend loves that" or "Ugh, my best friend always complains about that" or "My best friend has the craziest eyebrows – no, really, they're ridiculous!" and he doesn't want to even mention the green eyed boy, let alone think about him; but, it seems, some things cannot be helped.
"So," Gabe pauses with a long sip of his chai tea latte, "what exactly is the name of this…best friend of yours?" The tone of his voice is suggesting something about Logan (read: his transparency) and it makes the brunette's stomach coil.
"Kendall." He replies. He looks down at the table, a mix of embarrassment and shame and guilt rolled into one small body.
"That's cool." The taller boy takes another sip, as if for emphasis. Logan can feel the stares of the few other people in the café at this hour, can hear their not-so-subtle whispers questioning the cuts and bruises adorning the boys' faces. "How long have you been in love with him?"
Logan sighs. "I don't know, really. Could be months, could be years."
The other hums in response. He swishes his cup around, the lack of sound signifying his need for a refill. He appears to be trying to telepathically communicate with the waitress, staring down the back of her head and willing her his way.
"Don't worry about it." He grins, and it's not big or small and it sure as hell isn't blinding like... "I'm using you to get over someone, too. No offense."
And Logan laughs. He laughs like it's the greatest thing he's ever heard, as if every funny thought or action or anything at all had just been shoved into one moment and he laughs some more; laughs until he's blue in the face and black in the eyes and the nasty cut on his cheek has split open once more, the blood swirling with his joyous (read: desperate) tears to fashion a light pink trail that follows down his jaw line.
"None taken," he gasps out, rasps out, forces out, "none taken."
By the time he gets back to the apartment he's running into the bathroom because it's only minutes until the others wake up and he's still horribly disfigured from his magnificent night (not to mention the still healing scabs from previous nights). He's applying the makeup in the most rushed manner, only hindering himself when he nearly drops everything into the toilet. Someone begins to jiggle the handle, and Logan looks up, attentive (read: frightful). It jiggles a little more and no matter how irrational it is, he can't help but think the lock's just going to give out at any moment and let whoever's on the other side in on his terrible secret.
"Who's in there?" James grumbles. The handle jiggles some more.
"It's me," and Logan thanks God that Joe, the man who fought him last night, had tried to choke him, because his voice sounds raspy with sleep. "I'll just be a few minutes, alright?"
He waits for a response, but none comes.
He rushes through the rest of his mask, coming to the conclusion that you really can't hide a swollen eye, and opens the door. "James?" he calls.
The other is sitting on the kitchen floor, leaning against the counters and fast asleep. Logan, chuckling, reaches down to wake him when a voice says, "Don't."
He looks up to Kendall, offering the most questioning of gazes.
"Logie," Kendall sighs, pulling the other up before grabbing his face in both hands. "What happened to your eye? Why's it all swollen?"
Logan blinks. "Pink eye." He swallows. "I, uh, I got pink eye."
The blonde boy frowns, gingerly running a finger across the skin. "What the….?"
Logan frowns as well. "What?" He follows his best friend's gaze to the finger that touched his skin, an obvious layer of powder coating it. Squeaking, the brunette throws a hand over his eye to cover it up. "I need to take a bath!" And with that he's locked himself back in the bathroom, invisible to the outside world once more.
Kendall frowns harder. Clearly upset (read: distraught) by the brain's behavior, he kicks James awake and drags himself back to his room.
Logically, Logan knew this would all blow up in his face. He wasn't considered the smartest boy of Big Time Rush for nothing.
Still, he didn't expect it to happen like this.
"I don't like him."
Logan sighed. "Kendall, you don't know him."
"I know enough."
"Gabe's a really nice guy." Logan sent him a half-hearted glare. "Besides, weren't you the one who told me I needed to get out on the dating scene now that Camille and I are just friends?" It was a messy situation for all involved, really, but Camille was really a nice girl with good intentions and she understood when Logan confessed that he really just didn't feel for her - or almost any other girl - that way.
(Of course, that's leaving out the number of 'scenes' she had to practice with him for the next few months; all of which had something to do with slapping, of course.)
"Yeah, but with cool guys. Not Gabe guys."
Logan sighed again. "What exactly is it that you don't like about Gabe?"
"You guys are always bickering." Kendall huffed, "and aside from that, he's the most boring guy to ever walk this planet. He seriously puts me to sleep."
"Well, maybe I'm just a boring person who needs to pair up with someone equally as boring to have a successful relationship." The shorter snaps. His mouth clamps shut the moment it's out because shit, when did his brain to mouth filter start failing so bad? He's almost as bad as Carlos!
Kendall groaned this time, replying, "Logie, you know that's not true. You're like, the most interesting person I've ever met."
Logan scowled, shoving his phone into his pocket and searching for his wallet. "You don't have to lie to me, Kendall. I'm not an idiot." And before the stunned boy could respond, his friend had stormed out the door to meet his new boyfriend.
Normally, Kendall would say that he needed his space, needed some alone time to calm down; but all Logan wanted anymore was alone time, or at the most time with Gabe and Kendall couldn't handle it. His best fucking friend didn't want anything to do with him anymore, and he just wanted to know why.
He stormed out, prepared to confront the other. He raced down the hall and to the elevator, through the lobby to the front door of the Palm Woods. Looking around, he couldn't find signs of the brunette or his new beau. That is, until, he heard some shouting around the corner.
"Dammit, Logan! Why do you keep pushing him away? How the fuck are you supposed to win him over like that?"
The blonde can't help but think hell fucking no as he paces over, prepared to bitch this asshole out for screaming at his Logan like that.
"Yeah, because you forcing yourself upon Daniel has worked out so well for you, right, Gabe?" Logan screams back.
And then there's a sickening crack!
Kendall watches in horror as his best friend stumbles back, stunned, clutching his jaw where a bruise is already blooming. He steps forward, ready this time to either run and comfort Logan or crush Gabe's skull, which ever needs attention first but then –
A chill strikes him as he seas the devious smirk across Logan's face before he's lunging himself at the other boy and a full blown brawl is occurring right before Kendall's eyes.
All he can think is,
"What. The. Fuck?"
The couple freezes, Logan beneath Gabe with his hands at his throat; Gabe has his fist pulled back, ready to strike. Logan's one eye is wide in shock, the other swollen almost completely shut. There's a slice in his shirt, a scratch with blood pooling in it. Gabe's lip is split, and there's violent red, finger shaped rings around his neck.
And Logan, in all his battered, bruised glory, he doesn't say some cheesy one liner. He doesn't say I can explain or This isn't what is looks like. Because his life is not a sitcom, and there's no audience ready to laugh and applaud on cue.
"Kendall," he says. "I guess this means you know I wasn't jumped."
Kendall just glares harder and replies, "Logan fucking Mitchell, you better tell me what the fuck is going on right. Now."
Gabe stands up, reaching a hand out to help his boyfriend. The smaller teen, he chuckles as he gets up, and eventually Gabe is laughing with him. They're laughing like this is all one big prank, like Ashton Kutcher is going to pop out to Kendall and shout, "You've been punked!"
Mainly, though, Logan is laughing because this is his reality and it blows his mind.
Suddenly, a bunch of kids come running out from the Palm Woods, Carlos and James leading the pack.
"Dude!" Carlos calls, running up at full speed. He's grinning from ear to ear in utter excitement. "Dude, I heard there was a fight and – Logan?"
Logan smiles sheepishly (read: proudly) at them, waving half-heartedly. Gabe laughs again and plants a loud kiss to his temple. Kendall tells Carlos to get everyone inside right fucking now and he doesn't hesitate to obey.
"That means you too, Gabe."
The brunette boy shrugs, whispers something into Logan's ear that earns him a slap to the back of the head, and heads inside with the others who are groaning in disappointment but also whispering in shock. "Oh my God, did you see Logan's face? But Gabe was tore up, too! I didn't think either of them had it in them."
It's the last one that makes Logan incredibly pleased (read: smug).
"Logan, seriously." Kendall's trembling now, and the brown eyed boy can't quite figure out why. "Please, please tell me what's going on?"
Logan can't help but smile. Kendall is begging for him. He's begging him to tell him the truth, what's been going on, why he's so happy to take a punch in the face. Kendall wants nothing more at this moment than to know what is going on in Logan' life; not what Jo's up to, not what Carlos or James are scheming about, not where his baby sister is at.
Still, all Logan can think is Kendall never begs.
"I'm not weak, Kendall."
The blonde blinks at him. "What?"
"I'm not weak." He repeats. "Ever since you guys met me, you've been treating me like I'm the baby of the group. Like I have some illness and will keel over at any moment if not properly cared for. Like, if anything happens to me, it will be your entire fault. I'm not the baby, Kendall. I'm not sick and I'm not dying. And I'm sure as hell not blaming you." He grins. "I'm not weak."
And finally, Kendall hears it. He hears what Logan is saying.
Kendall hears, I do not need you to take care of me.
Somehow, that hurts more than it should.
"What the hell am I supposed to do, Logan?" he bites his lip. "I just – I can't turn it off, for chrissake. It's not – it's an instinct, Logie."
Logan swallows, because now he just can't not notice the way Kendall's lip shines in the sunlight. "I know, I know. I'm not saying you have to stop completely." He laughs. "You wouldn't really be Kendall if you did that. But just….tone it down, okay?"
"I…." Kendall swallows now, too, because he notices Logan's staring and he wants to smirk so bad but this is supposed to be a serious moment. "Okay. But…
But that still doesn't explain how you worked out this 'let's-beat-each-other-when-upset' relationship with a guy who came out of fucking nowhere."
Logan grabs Kendall's wrist and pulls him towards the Palm Woods. His cheeks have tinted themselves pink. "Sometimes, you have to destroy something beautiful." When Kendall's eyes get wide he adds, "I'll explain more thoroughly when James and Carlos join us in the privacy of our own home."
Kendall tries not to make it too obvious, but he slowly slides his hands into Logan's.
Two weeks later, everything's back to normal.
Logan's cuts and bruises are healing themselves with the help of some antibacterial meds (the doctor had looked at him skeptically when he'd said he'd fallen down a flight of stairs). When he says he's going out, no one asks where or invites themselves unless he does first. He's also become less secluded, more willing to partake in the groups antics once more. The guys even caught him scheming before they even took a moment to think.
But when Kendall walks in on a Friday to find Logan lazing on the couch in his pajamas, reading a book, he notices something's off.
"Why aren't you out with Gabe?" he asks.
Without looking up the other says, "We broke up."
"What?" Kendall blinks, shocked (read: ecstatic). "Why?"
Logan looks up this time. He lets his eyes slowly travel up the blonde's body, taking everything in before meeting those vivid green eyes. Smiling forlornly, he says,
"He finally got who he wanted."
And with that, he's up and back in their bedroom.
This goes on for three more weeks.
This time, though, Carlos and James notice that things are starting to get weird again.
Logan is slightly more introverted again. They can tell he's trying to let them know when he's angry and not just hurt, and that he's trying to force himself to stay normal with them. For them.
They can also tell how Kendall is suddenly far more uncertain. How he hasn't been taking charge quite like he used to and how his gaze lingers on Logan longer than necessary. The way he gets these pitiful looks on his face when the brunette stands next to Carlos or James or anyone that isn't him. The way that he's letting these things show.
"Alright, you ready?" Carlos asks. His helmet is securely fastened on his head.
James, he ties a bandana around his own. "I was born ready."
With that, they give each other a nod before splitting up. James heads to the pool area and Carlos…well, Carlos just walks across the lobby.
He flops next to Logan on the couch, propping his feet up casually.
"What are you and James up to?"
"What?" Carlos squeaks. "I mean, ha, what? No, we're not up to anything. When are we up to anything? We're never up to anything! So why would we be up to anything now? We wouldn't be!"
Logan gives him the most un-amused (read: completely, ridiculously, terribly amused) expression possible.
"What I mean is – oh look!" he cries, "Bitters' office is open!"
" Wha - Carlos!" Logan yelps as the smallest boy hitches him over his shoulder and runs to the door, throwing him inside. "What the hell?" he cries from the floor.
The door is slammed in his face.
"Carlos, dammit, let me out right now!" he calls, but he's not really too angry. Tired is more fitting.
There's a commotion outside. Then, the door opens and a body is thrown on top of Logan's and he goes toppling over with an extremely manly (read: all together too feminine) scream.
"Ouch." The body says and then, leaning over the smaller brunette, "Hi, Logie."
Logan chuckles. "Hi, Kendahlia."
"Why did they do this again?"
"I have no idea."
James' voice carries through the door, "So you can discuss your feelings!"
Carlos laughs maniacally. "Yeah, like little girls – ow, James!"
The two trapped teens release heavy sighs.
Kendall expects Logan to not talk. He expects him to concoct a plan to get them out of here that leaves Carlos and James none the wiser. But rather he says, "So who goes first in this share fest?"
So Kendall says, "I love you."
Logan, for once, shows his raw, unconstrained emotions as his jaw drops and his face looks like a fire is burning beneath the surface.
Coughing, the taller of the two adds, "Was that too forward?"
Logan, he's still spluttering like a fish out of water.
"It was, wasn't it?" he sighs. "You're such a girl, Logie."
At that, his brown eyes suddenly begin to smolder and his jaw tightens. "Excuse me?"
"If you want me to stop thinking of you as weak," he continues, "then stop acting like such a girl."
Logan stands up abruptly, gripping Kendall by the collar and yanking him up as well. The blonde stumbles, confused. Logan's glaring when he shoves him roughly into the door.
"Is everything okay in there?" Carlos calls, voice laced with concern.
With slow, deliberate steps, Logan begins to close in on Kendall, slamming his hands on either side of his head.
Carlos cries, "I don't think everything's okay, James!"
Kendall's eyes are unbelievably wide, fear and something else (read: intense intrigue) flashing through them.
Logan leans up and speaks softly in his ear. "Girly, huh?" He leans back, staring the other straight in the eye as his hand reaches to the back of his head and tugs harshly on his hair. The taller boy's head tilts back and he winces slightly, but keeps his eyes trained on his aggressor's. "I'll show you girly."
"James, maybe we should let them out?"
And then Logan slams his lips into Kendall's, all teeth and tongue and it hurts just enough to feel good. He's gripping the back of his hair and has a fistful of shirt, Kendall's hands coming round to slide into his back pockets and squeeze. Logan gasps and Kendall smirks.
The door gives out from behind the blonde and they stumble onto the floor.
Seeing their swollen lips, James gives them a smug look and says, "I told you everything was fine, Carlitos."
Carlos throws his fists in the air. "Dude, it worked! We're awesome!"
Logan looks down and sees that spark in Kendall's eyes. He laughs, loud and happy and he doesn't feel the least bit sick for finding joy in this, not like when he fought.
Looking back down at the boy beneath him, he says, "I need new friends."
Kendall grins up at him and sees that same spark.
Yeah. The feeling's mutual.