A/N: This is a Christmas present to my fan fiction wife, Miss Fenway. It has your three favorite things: Jagan bromance, Guilty James, and angst. I hope you like it. I hope you all like it.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
"Come on, Logan, please?" James asked me for the twentieth time.
For the twentieth time, I rolled my eyes, before glaring daggers at my best friend, who now had his hands clasped in front of him, begging me.
"No!" I replied…again.
"It's just like a Band-aid, Logie. The quicker you rip it off, the less painful it will be," James commented.
"Actually, that's not true at all. Ripping Band-aids off is always painful. Unless of course you haven't had the Band-aid on all that long, or there's no hair underneath the Band-aid."
"But no one else will come with me! Carlos and Kendall are fast asleep. Mrs. Knight hasn't got her eight hours of sleep yet, and you know how she gets when she doesn't get eight hours of sleep. There's no way I'm asking Katie!"
"Oh, so I'm the fifth person you would have asked? Gee, don't I feel special?"
"Aw, Logie. You know I didn't mean it like that!"
I let out an exasperated sigh. I closed my eyes, pinched my nose, and took several deep, cleansing breaths in succession. Maybe if I hope hard enough, I'll open my eyes, and James won't be standing before me. Yeah, I'll be back in my nice, comfortable, warm bed, and none of this will have ever happened in the first place. I slowly opened one eye, and then the other. Nope. James was still standing in front of me; closer than I remembered him being before I closed my eyes too…
"Have I ever told you that you're my best friend in the whole wide world?" James asked, before flashing me a huge smile.
I scoffed. "Yeah, your best friend in the whole wide world who you would have asked fifth!" I remarked sarcastically.
"Will you get over that already? I told you that I didn't mean it like that!"
"Besides, whenever you want something from someone, you always tell them that they're your best friend in the whole wide world. I'm sure the next time you want something from Kendall or Carlos, you'll tell them the same thing."
"Right. Then why did your voice get all high-pitched and girly just now?"
James chuckled nervously before clearing his throat.
"What are you talking about? My voice isn't high-pitched and girly!" James replied in a purposefully deep voice.
"Whatever. I still don't even know why you would want to go through with this in the first place?"
"Oh, come on, Logie! No one has to know! Plus, I'm…curious."
James was now in full on pout mode. It was quite annoying really. He was pulling out all the stops too. His lips were even pouted. I sighed deeply.
"I don't know, James. I mean what if we get caught?" I asked
"We won't. I promise. We'll be careful," James responded.
"But James, it's illegal for me to drive without an adult in the car. Anyhow, why do you even want to go shopping on Black Friday? Haven't you heard those horror stories about people getting trampled to death on Black Friday? I don't know about you, but I'd prefer not getting trampled to death!"
"But Logan, I don't have my learner's permit, and you do. As far as shopping on Black Friday is concerned, I want to see what all the fuss is about, don't you?"
I peered past James to the clock on the microwave. It read 4:23 in bright green numbers. I groaned. You know it's early in the morning when the sun hasn't even risen yet. Dawn was really early, and it wasn't even dawn yet!
"Please, Logan? If you do this for me, then I'll give you my word that I won't ask you for anything ever again…at least not for awhile. So you see? It's really a win-win situation," James remarked.
Sometimes I doubted whether I really could be classified as a vertebrate seeing how at times it felt like I had no backbone. I could never say 'no' to any of my best friends, especially James, and especially when he got all pouty and stuff like this.
"I've gotta get new friends," I commented.
James pumped his fist in the air out of celebration. He was well aware of the fact that my comment was as good as a 'yes.' I sighed once more. I sure hope I don't regret this decision.
"See? Now that wasn't so bad, was it?" James asked from inside Mrs. Knight's rental car.
We had finished our Christmas shopping. Well, I should say that James finished his Christmas shopping. I didn't buy a single thing. I just pretended like I was looking at things to appease James.
"Oh yeah, sure," I replied, my voice dripping with sarcasm. "We were just waiting in a line that stretched all the way around the block. We just nearly got trampled to death when they finally opened the doors at 5 a.m. I don't think I've ever been pushed or shoved that much my whole life, and that's saying something too since you and I are hockey players and have been since we were five! Plus, there's the little issue of it being a madhouse in there! So yeah. It wasn't bad. It wasn't bad at all!"
"Yeah, but I got all my Christmas shopping done!" James said proudly.
"Yeah, but do you even know what you ended up getting? What, with people stealing things out of other people's unattended shopping carts, and grabbing random things off shelves just to have their hands on something?"
James carefully considered my words for a second before frowning.
"Well, no," he said glumly. Then a smile stretched across his face. "But I'm sure I got some pretty good stuff! Even if I didn't, it's the thought that counts, right?"
"True," I replied.
I had made up my mind. I would just do all of my Christmas shopping online. Either that or wait until all this Christmas shopping craziness died down. One thing was for certain though; I would never shop on Black Friday again!
I was driving up a row of the parking lot when a large SUV peeled out of its parking spot and backed right into the driver's side of Mrs. Knight's rental car. Rather than get out to see if we were okay, the driver just sped off. James reached over and honked the car horn three times.
"Jerk!" James yelled.
My breathing had accelerated. It felt like my heart would beat right out of my chest. My hands gripped the steering wheel so tightly that my knuckles started to turn a ghostly white hue.
"Are you okay, James?" I asked, my voice shaky.
"I'm fine. What about you?" he replied.
"I think so."
We were back at The Palm Woods. We got out of Mama Knight's rental car, and began to make our way through the parking lot. I cringed when I saw the poor shape the vehicle was in. The driver's side door was smashed in. Anyone would be able to notice the huge dent in it.
I had no idea how I was going to explain this to Mama Knight. I was usually the responsible one. Granted, I didn't crash into anyone. Someone crashed into me. However, I borrowed the vehicle without asking for permission first. I drove without an adult in the car with me. Let's face it; I broke several rules.
What was Mrs. Knight going to do? Ground me? How? She's not my mother. I mean, yeah, sure she's technically my guardian for the time being, but being someone's guardian and being someone's mother are two entirely different things. Mothers can ground their kids. Guardians can't. Or at least they shouldn't be allowed to. Then again, maybe I'm just thinking this because I know that I broke the rules and now have to pay the consequences.
Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever been grounded before. I don't think Mrs. Knight has ever grounded Kendall or Katie for that matter. It kind of makes me wonder if she's even capable of grounding in the first place. I sure hope she's not. With my luck, the first time she grounds someone, she'll ground me. Now how is that even remotely fair?
My thoughts were interrupted by a dripping sound. It kind of sounded like a leaky faucet, but we were nowhere near a sink. After stopping in my tracks, and listening carefully, I realized I was the source of the dripping sound. I felt a sharp pain resonate from my side. I hissed in pain, and clutched my side. I felt something wet and sticky there. I held my hand up to my face with my palm towards me, and that's when I saw it: blood.
"Logan, come on! What's taking you so long? Are you trying to sneak a peek at my presents? If so, no peeking!" James scolded.
I quickly brought my hand to my side, being careful to keep my palm away from James' line of sight. I didn't want to worry him if it wasn't necessary. Oh, who am I kidding? I didn't want to worry him at all. Besides, I was probably just overreacting. It was probably just some superficial flesh wound. More than likely, it was nothing. Certainly it wasn't worth making a fuss over.
"Excuse me for being sluggish. Someone had to wake me up at four in the freaking morning!" I retorted, giving James a half-smile.
"Yeah, and it was totally worth it!" James replied happily.
It wasn't until we were riding the elevator to the second floor that James noticed that I was bleeding. By then, my vision was speckled by bright spots. It felt like the whole interior of the elevator was spinning around like some crazed carousel.
"Logan, you're bleeding!" James exclaimed.
James was instantly at my side, and went to lift up my sweater vest. I shoved his hand away before he could though. Hurt flashed in his eyes. I knew he was just concerned about me, but I was fine.
"Logan, let me take a look at it," James stated.
"It's nothing!" I snapped.
However, at that moment in time, I lost my equilibrium, and stumbled forward. I would have fallen flat on my face if it wasn't for James catching me.
"I got you, Logie. I got you," James said.
I had always been somewhat of a klutz, but I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that my loss of balance had nothing to do with my klutzy tendencies. Without my permission, before I could even stop him, he lifted up my sweater vest, and gasped at the sight before him.
There was a nasty gash on my left side. There was nothing superficial about it; it looked fairly deep. The area around the wound had already started to turn black and various shades of blue. It was quite clear what had caused my loss of balance: blood loss.
"This isn't nothing, Logan! You're losing a lot of blood! You already look really pale. What do I do?" James asked frantically.
"Pressure…wound…stop…bleeding…s'cold…" I said, unable to form complete sentences.
Just my luck, there was a malfunction in the elevator as it came to an abrupt halt. Now we were stuck somewhere in between the first and second floor.
"You've got to be kidding me!" James remarked.
I don't know how long we had been stuck in the elevator, but my eyes were starting to grow heavy. James was sitting on the floor of the elevator, with my head cradled in his lap. He had me propped up slightly so that I wasn't quite laying flat on my back. An ever-growing pool of blood, my blood, was amassing beneath me.
James had taken off his long-sleeved shirt and tied it around my ribcage as tight as he could. It was already saturated with blood. I'm not even sure what color it was before, but it was red now. The good news was that it was slowing down my blood loss. The bad news was that it wasn't stopping it altogether.
"S'tired," I said, my voice slurring.
James gently shook me, and my eyelids fluttered open. I tried to glare daggers at him for not letting me rest, but I'm not sure how successful I was. It was probably a pitiful attempt at that.
"Hey, you stay with me. You hear? I can't have you falling asleep on me now," James said, trying to keep his voice steady.
However, I could still tell it was there; the guilt, sadness, and fear. He was trying to stay strong for my sake, but I could tell that it was a losing battle. He was afraid for my well-being. Frankly, I was afraid for my well-being too. Most of all though, James felt guilty. Like he was responsible for my condition. That couldn't be further from the truth. He wasn't the one that backed into me with his SUV at a speed that shouldn't even be allowed in a parking lot in the first place.
"S-so…s-sleepy…" I whined.
I flinched at how pathetic my voice sounded. It put me in mind of some toddler griping because he didn't get his way. Would you look at that? I just compared myself to a toddler. Something really must be wrong with me.
James tried his cell phone for the billionth time, but he didn't have any service inside the elevator. He then tried my cell phone for the billionth time, but I didn't have any service either. He pushed the help button. Mr. Bitters, after having our predicament explained to him, said that help was on the way. However, that felt like an eternity ago.
"I'm so sorry, Logan! I have nobody to blame but myself," James said.
"S-stop…it! N-not…true!" I countered weakly.
Looking up at him, I saw tears stream down his face creating new tear tracks. He was crying. James was crying. I didn't like it when James cried. I didn't like making anyone cry, especially my best friends.
"Yes it is, Logan! If I hadn't dragged you with me to go Christmas shopping on Black Friday, this never would have happened! Now Mrs. Knight's rental car has a massive dent in it, and worst of all, you got hurt!" James exclaimed.
"I-I'm…cold. W-why…is…it…s-so…cold?" I stammered.
James looked at me, his eyes glimmering with tears. There he was in his lucky white V-neck, and I doubted he was cold. Then again, he wasn't the one bleeding out. That was me. Even so, what did Mr. Bitters have the thermostat set at? If I survive this, I'm going to have to have a serious talk with him about that.
James gathered me in his arms, and rubbed up and down the lengths of my arms, trying to keep me warm. It helped too…marginally. It was still cold in the elevator. I was still cold at least.
I had come close to dozing off countless times now, and every time, James would shake me until I woke up. He didn't want to risk me falling asleep. If I did, I might not ever wake up again. The thought of that was terrifying to me.
With every drop of blood I lost, I also lost another ounce of strength. I already felt so weak. At my current state, I could probably arm wrestle an eighty year-old senior citizen and lose in one second flat. How could I even have any blood left in me?
James held my hands in his, our fingers interlacing. I don't know if he could tell, but I could feel my grip slacken more and more with every second that ticked by.
"J-James…t-talk…t-to…m-me…P-please?" I stuttered.
He wiped his eyes with the backs of his hands. He sniffled before clearing his throat. Despite him having just wiped his eyes of tears, or maybe even in spite of him having just wiped his eyes of tears, there were already more falling down the sides of his face.
"I don't know what you want me to say," James admitted.
"S-something…anything…" I replied.
James must not have been able to come up with anything because he was silent. I wanted to say so many things to him, but I couldn't. I physically couldn't. Merely talking took such a tremendous toll on my deteriorating body.
I wanted to thank him for being the best friend I could ask for. I wanted to tell him that no matter what happens to me, this wasn't his fault. I wanted to ask him if he could say goodbye to Kendall and Carlos for me if something does happen to me. I wanted to tell him that I have no regrets about any decision I made today, or any decision I had ever made in my life, including the one where I decided to move out to L.A. with him, Kendall, and Carlos. I wanted him to promise me that he would stay strong if something did happen to me, and I didn't pull through.
My eyes started to roll to the back of my head. I felt my eyelids start to droop. I could feel my head loll off to the side. James shook me, each time with more gusto than the last. However, my eyes didn't fly open this time around.
"Logan, come on! Don't do this to me! Hang in there, buddy! Just a little longer! Help is coming real soon!" James shouted.
I felt my grip on James' fingers slacken. Soon, my arms fell to my sides, and I couldn't hear or see anything; not James, not anything.
I heard this obnoxiously annoying beeping sound. Beep…beep…beep…It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what that sound was; a heart monitor of course. At least that meant I was alive. I wasn't sure there for awhile.
"Logan, if you can hear me, squeeze my hand," James said.
I did as he asked.
"Guys, he squeezed my hand!" James remarked excitedly.
"Logie, rise and shine sleepyhead," Carlos said in a sing-song voice.
"Yeah, dude. Haven't you slept enough? Geez, it's all you do anymore!" Kendall added.
I'm not for sure, but I think that brought a smile to my face. I hadn't used any of the muscles in my face in who knows how long that I may have forgotten how to smile or something. Besides, my lips felt as though they were incredibly chapped, making a simple gesture such as smiling simply…painful.
"Come on, Logan. Open your eyes," James coached.
It was easier said than done. My eyelids felt like they had been duct taped or something. Who knew that such an elementary thing could be so…complicated?
After numerous failed attempts, I finally managed to crack my eyes open. The blinding white light's effect on me was instantaneous. I shielded my eyes with my hands, and squinted. I could make out three blobs hovering over me, but they were extremely blurry. I couldn't tell which blob was who. For all I know, one of the blobs could have been a chair or something.
It took some time, but eventually my eyes adjusted to the light. All three of my best friends had these ridiculous lopsided grins plastered on their faces. As it turned out, there wasn't a chair hovering over me after all. It certainly would defy the laws of physics…
"Hey! Guess what, Logie? The four of us are blood brothers now! See?" Carlos said, before raising up his forearm.
Kendall and James did the same thing, and they each had a Band-aid on one of their forearms. To tell you the truth, I was most surprised that Kendall had donated blood. He had always been afraid of needles. He had always been squeamish when it came to blood. Come to think of it, James hates needles too, especially needles of the large variety.
"Yeah, you were low on blood, so you needed a transformer thingamajig. That's where me, Kendall, and James came in. Wouldn't you know it? We'll all the same blood type: O negative," Carlos explained.
I snickered at Carlos' "transformer thingamajig" line, but tried to disguise it as a cough. I don't know if it worked or not though. Kendall rolled his eyes, so it must not have fooled him. James chuckled, so I was zero for two. Meanwhile, Carlos had poured me a glass of water thinking my throat was dry or something of that nature, which it was, but…well, I was one for three.
Out of nowhere, Kendall smacked me in the back of my head.
"Ow! Dude, what was that for?" I demanded, massaging the back of my head.
"Don't you ever scare us like that again, Logie!" Kendall answered, shaking his finger at me.
Okay, truthfully, I expected something like that from Carlos, but not Kendall. Now Carlos, he and I were known to get into little sissy fights with each other like during our photo shoot for Pop Tiger magazine.
"Sorry?" I replied. I think it was supposed to be a statement, but it came out like more of a question.
I stood in the bathroom half-naked gazing at my reflection in the mirror. The car crash, if you can even call it that, had left a scar on my side. There were stitches there now; stitches I would eventually have to get taken out. I didn't like my scar. It was a constant reminder of what happened that fateful day. It was kind of hard to forget about what happened when I had to see this every time I looked in the mirror.
I pulled a t-shirt over my head. I couldn't cover up my scar fast enough. I opened up the bathroom door, and walked out into the kitchen where my three best friends were waiting for me.
When I gave the police my statement, they had asked me if by some chance I had managed to get the license plate of the SUV that backed into me in the parking lot. Luckily, I had a photographic memory. I easily recited the license plate to them. However, when they asked me if I wanted to press charges, I told them that I had no intention of pressing charges.
Christmas was today, and the last thing anyone should have to worry about during the holidays was criminal charges. Besides, I was a forgiving person; some would even say too forgiving. I beg to differ. I don't believe there is such a thing as too forgiving. You're either forgiving or you're not. There's no grey area in between.
However, that wasn't the only reason I didn't want to press charges. I also felt like I was just as much to blame for the crash as the driver of the SUV was. I mean it's not like I was stationary when the SUV crashed into me. We kind of crashed into each other. Had I been paying more attention, had I slammed on the brakes, had I even swerved out of the way, the SUV wouldn't have backed into me.
"Finally! I swear sometimes you're in the bathroom longer than James even!" Carlos remarked.
"Hey! Not cool, Carlos! I resent that!" James replied.
"Merry Christmas, Logie!" Kendall said, before handing me my present from him.
I carefully undid the bow, and then started to meticulously work on the tape. Carlos sighed dramatically.
"Dude, that's not how you're supposed to open presents!" Carlos commented.
I stifled my laughter. I was intentionally taking my time, you see. I loved getting a rise out of Carlos. I actually think it's one of my favorite hobbies. He's so easy to mess with. Plus, he isn't exactly the most patient person in the world.
To appease Carlos, I tore through the wrapping paper in a mad rush to reveal its contents. I saw a book. It wasn't just any book either. It was a math book. It wasn't just any math book either. It was a Phoebe Nachee math book. It wasn't just any Phoebe Nachee math book either. It was autographed.
Kendall looked at me uneasily.
"It's a stupid gift, I know," Kendall said.
"No!" I said immediately, startling Kendall as well as myself. "I love it! It's perfect."
"Ooh! Me next!" Carlos exclaimed before holding out his present to me.
I furiously undid the bow, and the wrapping paper. I saw that it was a stuffed animal. It was a white dog with blue, floppy ears and a blue spot over its left eye.
"Do you like it?" Carlos asked, hopefully. "I mean I know you're more of a cat person, but still."
"No, it's great! Thanks, Carlitos!" I responded.
Carlos pulled me in for a bromantic hug. Hands down, he was the most…affectionate…of the four of us.
James then stepped forward and presented his gift to me. Just from the shape and size of the package, I could already tell what it was. At the very least, he could have put it in a box or something so it would be more of a surprise.
"Not to brag, but I really do think you saved the best for last," James commented.
I hastily undid the wrapping paper, and it was just as I expected; it was a container of 'Cuda massive hold hair gel.
"You shouldn't have," I said honestly.
"It was nothing. Besides, I know it was you that keeps using up all of my 'Cuda massive hold!" James exclaimed.
I rolled my eyes at my best friend.
"Think about it, Logan. Carlos doesn't put any product in his hair. Look at it! Kendall may or may not use hair gel, but a certain someone who spikes his hair ever so slightly in the front I know for a fact uses product in his hair!" James explained.
"Yes, but I'm not the one obsessed with 'Cuda like someone who shall remain nameless," I retorted.
"Can we change the subject? This one's boring," Carlos whined.
"So Logie, what did you get us for Christmas this year?" Kendall asked.
I chuckled nervously. In comparison, their presents to me were so thoughtful. Yes, even the hair gel, which for the record, I do not use 'Cuda massive hold. I love Christmas, but I hate Christmas shopping. I royally suck at getting people gifts.
I think for Christmas one year, I got my grandma AAA batteries. Hey, everyone could always use batteries, right? I mean there's so many uses for them: television remotes, flashlights, and…other things that need batteries…
I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket and held it up to my ear.
"What's that, Kelly? You need me at the studio? Okay, I'm on my way," I said.
I made a beeline for the front door to Apartment 2J.
"Dude, we were right here! Your phone didn't even ring!" Carlos exclaimed.
I didn't have time to chat. I was out of Apartment 2J like a bat out of a cave. I had Christmas shopping to do. I was going to get Kendall, James, and Carlos entirely new presents. Who even shops on Christmas anyways?
Uh-oh. A thought just occurred to me. Were there even any stores open on Christmas?