A/N. Epilogue time! Thanks to everyone who stayed around for all 52 chapters! You guys are truly the best! I don't own anything.
"What was it like?" Logan asked Kendall as he picked up the photo of them in Disneyland and studied it intently. It was pretty obvious that in the picture, he was the only one who was actually happy. His friends all looked exhausted, especially James. Their smiles were worn thin and there was a sadness in their eyes that Logan couldn't look at for too long. He set the frame back on his dresser and looked around.
They were home again. Minnesota. Since Logan's miraculous recovery, there had been no need for the intense physical and mental rehab and therapy. However, his cluster headaches prevented him from anything that offered an unstable schedule, making a Big Time Rush comeback impossible. There was nothing left for LA to offer them so a move back to Minnesota was agreed upon by everyone and now. . . Logan glanced out his bedroom window to see the white blanket of snow that covered the front lawn. Now they were really home.
"What was it like," Kendall repeated, almost to himself. "It was really hard, Logan." He sighed heavily as a flood of memories invaded him. He wished that James and Carlos hadn't gone home on the orders of their parents who hasn't really seen their sons in months. They would be back later that night because James couldn't sleep so far away from Logan without having occasional nightmares and Carlos simply wanted to be with his best friends. And while Kendall certainly couldn't hold it against the Diamonds and Garcias for wanting to see their sons so badly, he wished that their timing had been a little better. "We already told you a lot, didn't we, Logan?"
Logan nodded but he still looked troubled. "You told me everything you guys went through," he recalled softly. "But you never really told me that much about me. What was I like? Was I bratty or hard to deal with at all?"
Kendall stared at Logan's face, caught off guard by how intense and earnest he seemed. A fond smile crossed his face and Kendall put an arm around his brother's shoulders, pulling him close. "Actually," he said with another quick glance at the Disneyland picture. "You were really adorable."
Logan's face turned bright red, making Kendall laugh. Even more embarrassed, Logan sat down on his bed and pretended to be absorbed in petting Buddy who had been sitting faithfully at his owner's feet. "I'm being serious!" he protested when Kendall laughed again.
"So am I!" Kendall declared, sobering up quickly. "Logan, as difficult as it was to see you the way you were, it was also really hard to be sad around you. You were almost always happy and wanted everyone else to feel the same way. Everything you said and did was an effort to make us smile and it usually worked." Kendall smiled again. "There was this. . . innocence you had, but at the same time, you knew that we were hurting. All you cared about was us being together and being happy. The first part was easy after a while. The second part we couldn't have done without you. You were never really different except that you needed us more."
Logan was quiet as he listened to Kendall. The red in his face had faded except for a little color that lingered on the back of his neck. Self-consciously, he rubbed it, making Kendall smile at the familiar gesture. "I've always needed you guys," he said quietly. "I guess that I've never let you help me as much as I should have with certain things. Like my parents. Then when I got hurt," Logan looked down at his hands, twisting nervously in his lap, and then back up at Kendall. "I guess I didn't really have a choice."
"That was the hardest part," Kendall admitted. "We always knew you were hurting more than you ever let on. To see you with your guard down and knowing that you didn't really have a say in the matter. . . it was rough. You were so vulnerable. But at the same time," Kendall was quick to add when Logan looked upset, "I was glad. We were all glad that you finally let us in. Even with the circumstances."
"Well," Logan sighed deeply. "I think that after everything that's happened, I can't even try to hide things from you guys. I think we all need each other now more than ever."
Nodding in agreement, Kendall looked out the window. "A lot has changed," he says softly. "Even us. But our friendship hasn't. And I don't think it ever will."
Logan smiled at the thought. Out of the corner of his eye, he glanced at the alarm clock sitting on his desk. Then he turned his head so that he was staring straight at it. "Kendall?" he whispered, his posture stiffening.
Kendall frowned, confused by Logan's sudden change in demeanor. "What is it, Logie?" he asked in concern. "Is everything okay?"
"Is that-" Logan pointed at the clock. "Is that the right time?"
"Um," Kendall glanced at his cell phone. "6:23. Yeah, it's right. Why? Logan-" Suddenly, Kendall cut himself off and stared at Logan, his face matching the hope he saw in the other boy's expression.
Slowly, a huge smile spread across Logan's face and he leaned forward into Kendall's ready embrace. Tears burned his eyes until he let them fall, streaming down his cheeks and soaking into Kendall's shirt. His entire body felt limp and lifeless with relief and a joy that he hardly dared to recognize as real.
For two long months, Logan had dealt with headaches twice a day at a regular clockwork pattern. A combined hour and a half of each day had been spent in pure, hardly bearable, agony. He had already had his morning headache at the usual 11:00 am. But the second one, the 6:00 one, the evening one, had never come. It hadn't happened. Which could mean only one thing. The headaches were completely gone. Yes, they would eventually return, maybe even as soon as a couple of weeks. It didn't matter to Logan though. Because the peace was all that mattered now.
Kendall tightened his arms around Logan, his own eyesight becoming blurred at the realization. They had been so caught up in their discussion about the past, that they had let the time slip away, completely unnoticed. "We should call James and Carlos," he said quietly when Logan's tears had slowed. He felt Logan nod against him, but the other boy made no quick movement to call their friends. So with one hand, Kendall juggled his cell phone and sent a text message to James and Carlos. Then he waited. "You okay?" he whispered to Logan who was still quiet except for a few quiet teary sniffs.
Logan laughed, the near hysterical sound shaking both of them. "I'm fine," he managed. "I'm great." He pulled slowly away from Kendall's embrace and gave the older boy a shaky smile. "I'm fantastic."
Within five minutes, James and Carlos had stormed into the room, their faces white with anxiety even though Kendall had told them in his text that there was nothing to worry about. Obviously, they were both thinking about Logan and his headaches, but when they saw their friend in tears but looking far from in pain, they were confused. "What's wrong with Logan?" James demanded of Kendall as if Logan was incapable of answering for himself.
"Nothing." Kendall and Logan said at the same time.
Carlos was the first to get it. He stared hard at Logan's face, streaked with tears, but lit up in joy and relief. Understanding dawned on his face and he leaped forward, pulling Logan into a close hug. "You never got your second headache today!" he exclaimed happily. "Logan, you're all better right now!"
James spun around to look at Kendall since Logan was still trapped in Carlos' enthusiastic embrace. "Really?" he asked, tears already brightening his eyes.
Kendall nodded, relieved to be able to give his friend such good news. "Really," he confirmed. "It looks like we're finally getting a break."
Logan finally managed to gently ease himself out of Carlos' arms and walked over to James. Without a word, he wrapped his arms around his taller friend, bracing himself when James leaned against him a little for support. "It's okay, James," he says quietly, tears still thickening his voice. He knew that the headaches would return with their dreadful regularity and he didn't know when. Still, he refused to dread then. He was determine to enjoy the time he had without them.
James finally seemed to accept that they had been given an undetermined time period of peace. For however long it lasted, it would be as close to "normal" as they would ever get again. Logan wouldn't be suffering so much and that meant that James' constantly guilty mind would maybe be silenced for just a little while. The relief was staggering and James had to sit down before he knocked both himself and Logan over. "Thank God," he whispered, returning Logan's embrace and holding him close.
When they pulled apart and all four boys sat in silence, trying to absorb the fantastic development, Logan watched his friends closely. Carlos looked practically giddy with relief and was bouncing slightly up and down, a broad grin on his face. He looked happy and carefree, just the way he should look. Kendall obviously wanted to rush downstairs and tell their mother and sister the good news but was reluctant to leave his friends at the moment. All in all though, he looked happy, the cloud of worry that had been his constant companion for so long was gone and he looked more at ease. James. James was an open book for anyone to read two different emotions. Part of him seemed afraid that he was only dreaming, that the peace that now surrounded them was too good to be true. Another part of him was so close to the old James that Logan had once known over a year ago. The one who was a passionate dreamer.
As he studied his friends closely, Logan thought about how much he missed the way things had been before the accident. They had all grown so much, maturing in leaps and bounds, and it was bittersweet. Logan loved the way Carlos was suddenly wise beyond his years and incredibly tenderhearted and sensitive toward other's feelings. But he missed the goofy, innocent boy. He loved the quiet, thoughtful Kendall but sometimes missed the way his quick temper got the better of his protective nature. And he loved James' humility and selflessness, but there were still occasions where he missed the egotistical side of his best friend.
But at least they were all together, Logan decided. That was what really mattered. They were alive and for the most part, healthy. They wore the scars of the past year for all to see because they weren't ashamed anymore. They were proud of themselves and each other because after all they had been through, in the end, they were as they had always been: Together. And happy. That was all that really mattered.
A/N. The end. Since this was the last chapter, how about everyone reviews it? lol. Just kidding. You don't have to if you don't want to. Thanks again! Up next, a very special one-shot for a very special person and then I'm going to try to finish "How to Save a Life" before school starts in September. Ready, set, go!