A/N. This is a Christmas present for my Fan Fiction husband, Fish Stick Friday. Once again, it's late and I apologize for that. I hope you enjoy it! I don't own anything.
Seven-year-old Carlos Garcia bounced impatiently from foot to foot as he waited to what seemed like the longest line he had ever seen in his short life. He leaned to his left and then to his right to peer around the maze of legs in front of him and groaned loudly when he still couldn't see anything. "How much longer, Daddy?" He tilted his head up to look at his father who smiled back at him.
"Soon enough, Carlos." Carlos Garcia Sr. chuckled when his son stuck his lower lip out in an unsatisfied pout. "Don't worry, you'll get there eventually."
Carlos sighed loudly and crossed his arms over his chest. "We've been waiting for hours!" He whined. "Why is it taking so long?"
His father laughed at him again and then knelt down so he was eye level with the eager child. "Carlos, first of all, we've only been waiting for five minutes. Second of all, there are a lot of other kids that are waiting to tell Santa what they want for Christmas just like you. Everyone, including you, will get a turn. You just need to be patient."
"Well," Carlos replied with another sigh. "I guess I have to, huh? Logie says that being impatient doesn't make things go faster."
Mr. Garcia smiled and nodded. "Logan's right." He said as he patted Carlos on the shoulder and stood up. "Patience is a virtue."
Carlos disregarded his father's words of wisdom because he had no idea what a "virtue" was. But he willingly acknowledged the compliment that one of his best friends had been given. "Logan is almost always right. He knows a whole lot."
"He sure does." Mr. Garcia said with another nod.
The long wait was forgotten as Carlos thought about Logan and his other friends. "Logan wants to be a doctor." He informed his father. "Kendall wants to be a hockey player and James wants to sing."
"What about you?" His father asked curiously.
A huge smile lit up Carlos' face. "I want to be a policeman just like you." His brown eyes ran up and down his father's uniform and he reached up with one hand to touch the badge, smiling even more when his dad knelt down again so he could reach easily. "I want to take care of people like you do." He added softly.
There was unmistakeable pride in Mr. Garcia's voice as he spoke. "Whatever you end up doing, Carlos, I know that Mommy and I will be proud of you."
"Will you be proud of my friends too?" Carlos asked hopefully.
"Of course." Carlos' father smiled at his young son's selflessness. "Kendall and James and Logan will be great too."
"And we'll be friends forever." Carlos said confidently.
"I hope so." Mr. Garcia replied with a fond smile. Then he straightened up and grasped Carlos by the shoulders, turning him around. "Look, buddy."
Carlos turned and gasped in delight. "Santa!" He exclaimed, tearing himself loose from his father and rushing over to the jolly looking man in the red and white suit. He shook off the helping hands of the elves that he actually found rather frightening, and climbed into Santa's lap. "Hi." He said brightly.
"Ho, ho, ho!" Santa chuckled, much to the delight of the little boy. "What's your name?"
"My name is Carlos." Carlos answered promptly. "Carlos Garcia Jr." He turned and pointed to where his father was watching the interacting in amusement. "That's my daddy, Carlos Garcia Sr. He's a policeman. He took me here right from work. That's why he's all dressed up."
"I see." Santa nodded along with Carlos' chatter. "Are you going to be a policeman just like your daddy?"
Carlos turned serious for an instant. "Of course." He said with a sharp nod. "I want to help people."
Santa smiled. "Well, that's very good, Carlos. Santa likes little boys and girls who want to help people. Have you been good this year?"
Carlos frowned in deep thought. "Well, I accidentally broke my mommy's favorite vase and I sometimes fight with my little sisters. And one time I stole Logan's red Power Ranger because I was jealous of him. But I gave it back to him the next day and he forgave me." He gazed up at Santa in concern. "Have I been naughty?" He asked with wide eyes.
"Oh, I don't think you've been top naughty." Santa assured him. "We all make mistakes, right?"
Carlos bobbed his head up and down quickly. "Uh-huh. That's 'cause we're humans. At least that's what my mommy tells me. And my mommy knows a whole lot."
"She's right." Santa smiled. "So what can I get you for Christmas, Carlos?"
Carlos' answer was swift. "A red Power Ranger." He bounced a little in Santa's lap. "That way I don't have to take Logan's or even be jealous of him."
An elf handed a candy cane to Carlos and the conversation paused so the photographer could snap a picture. Santa gave Carlos another candy cane and then set him on his feet. "I think that sounds like a great idea, Carlos. I'll see what I can do, okay? Have a very Merry Christmas!"
"I hope you have a Merry Christmas too." Carlos was already unwrapping the first candy cane as he spoke and walked backwards to where his father waited. "Bye, Santa!" Once he reached his father, Carlos handed him the other candy cane and sucked contentedly on his own. He clung tightly to his father with his free hand as they navigated the crowded shopping mall to the front doors so they could go home. He smiled cheerfully as he thought of Santa and how on Christmas morning he would wake up to a red Power Ranger under his tree.
"Carlos, you can be the red Power Ranger today if you want." Logan started to hand over his favorite toy to the younger boy but was stopped right away.
"No thanks, Logie." Carlos shook his head and pushed the coveted object back to Logan. "I can wait. I'm going to get my own for Christmas."
"How do you know?" Logan studied his friend carefully and then his eyes widened. "Carlos, you didn't peak in your mommy's closet again did you?"
Carlos looked mildly insulted by the accusation but merely shook his head. "'Course not. But I know I'm gonna get one because I asked Santa Claus to bring me one." He grinned happily at the memory. "Then Santa gave me two candy canes and I gave one to my daddy."
But Logan didn't share his enthusiasm. He scowled darkly and set the Power Ranger aside. "Santa Claus isn't real." He said softly.
"Yes he is!" Carlos exclaimed in shock.
Logan shook his head. "No he's not. Nobody can fly all the way around the world in one night. It's impossible."
"It's magic." Carlos corrected with a scowl to match Logan's.
"There's no such thing as magic." Logan returned. "If there was really magic then Santa would have done what I asked him to last year." His bottom lip trembled suddenly and his eyes filled with tears. "He would have brought my mommy back to me."
Up until that point, Carlos had been prepared to fight tooth and nail for his belief in Santa. But when Logan made his statement, every argument that he had was brought up short. "You asked Santa to bring your mommy back?" He asked breathlessly.
Logan nodded, still fighting back the tears that threatened to fall. "I didn't get my mommy back." He said sadly. "I got a Mickey Mouse toy. My daddy gave it to me because I didn't ask Santa for Mickey Mouse. I asked him for my mommy." He wiped his eyes with his sleeve and then looked back to Carlos. "Santa isn't real."
Logan's tears had ceased but Carlos felt his own eyes fill. "But. . . I thought he was real."
Instantly, Logan realized his mistake when he saw how upset Carlos was. "Well," He said slowly, as he frantically tried to think of a way to make things better. "I don't know. Maybe he is."
Carlos shook his head. "You just said that he wasn't real." He reminded Logan, a sob shaking his small body. "You're smarter than me, Logie. You know more. And you're right. If Santa Claus was real then he would have brought your mommy back."
Logan hated seeing his friends upset and it made things worse knowing that he had made Carlos cry. "Don't cry." He pleaded uselessly because Carlos was already wailing.
"I really thought he was real!" Carlos turned away from Logan's comforting hand and buried his face in the pillow that sat on the couch they had been playing on. "My mommy and my daddy both told me that he was!"
"So then he is!" Logan bit his lip as he watched Carlos continue to cry. "Mommies and daddies know everything!"
"Nu-uh." Carlos disagreed. "My daddy told me that there are some things that he and my mommy don't know. He said that they're wrong sometimes." His crying slowed and he wiped his eyes. "I'm sad now. I don't want to play anymore. I want to go home." He slid off the couch and walked out of the room to the kitchen where the boys' fathers were talking.
Logan hurried after him, sliding to a stop when he saw Carlos wrapped in a tight embrace, crying even harder than he had been just a minute ago. He saw his own father watching in concern and then turn to him.
"Logan, what happened?" Ryan Mitchell took in his seven-year-old's guilty expression and frowned, not quite ready to lay out a punishment.
Logan bit his lip again and then walked over to his father, motioning for him to lean down. "I told Carlos that Santa isn't real." He whispered in his father's ear. Tears filled his eyes when he saw the disappointment.
"Oh, Logan." Ryan sighed and then looked up to Mr. Garcia and relayed the problem, mouthing the words silently.
"I'm going to take Carlos home for today so we can have a little talk." Mr. Garcia squeezed Logan's shoulder with one hand and nodded to the other boy's father. "We'll all get together tomorrow."
Logan heard his father talk to Mr. Garcia some more and then it was just the two of them. His father lifted him up into his arms and carried him into the family room. He laid his head on the strong shoulder. "I'm sorry." He whispered.
"You're getting too big to carry." Ryan said sorrowfully. He sat on the couch keeping his son on his lap. "Don't cry, Logie. Why did you tell Carlos that Santa isn't real?" He watched Logan with a troubled expression on his face. He wasn't even aware that Logan didn't believe in Santa.
"Because," The tears in Logan's eyes overflowed and spilled down his cheeks. "Because he didn't bring Mommy back. That's all I asked for last year."
The tearful words broke Mr. Mitchell's heart and he drew the little boy into an embrace, rubbing his back soothingly when he began to cry. "I miss Mommy too, Logan. But she can't come back. She's in Heaven right now."
"I know that Heaven is a happy place," Logan sniffed and pulled away so he could see his father. "But I thought Mommy was happy here with us."
"She was." Ryan wiped tears away gently. "But she'll always be with us, Logan." He tapped his son's chest, directly over his heart. "She's in here as long as you remember her."
Logan paused in his sobs and laid one hand over his heart, letting his father cover it with his larger hand. Then he used his other hand to feel his father's heartbeat. "Is she in here too?" He whispered.
His father nodded, a sad, tired smile crossing his face. "Of course she is. And she loves you and I very much."
The sadness in Logan's eyes lifted a little and he smiled, leaning up against his father. "I love you, Daddy."
"I love you too, Logan." Ryan pressed a kiss to the top of his son's head.
Logan enjoyed the feeling of security that he had when he was in his father's arms. But the feeling only lasted a little bit because then he remembered Carlos. "Daddy, I still don't believe in Santa but I feel bad that I made Carlos cry."
Mr. Mitchell sighed and settled into deep thought. "Maybe you can tell him that you were wrong and that you believe in Santa after all."
But Logan only shook his head. "I tried too." He told his father regretfully. "But he said that I'm too smart to be wrong and that it made sense because of Mommy."
"Well then." Ryan pondered the predicament, aware that his son was watching him hopefully. He hated to let him down. "Can you think of any way that you can change things?"
Logan frowned as he considered the question with great seriousness. Then his eyes lit up and he smiled at his father. "I know what to do!"
"Look, Carlos!" Mr. Garcia smiled and pointed to a small package sitting under the tree. "There's one more present for you to open."
Carlos grinned happily and hurried over to the tree, snatching up the present before one of his little sisters could. He looked at the package and then at his parents. "It says it's from Santa." He said doubtfully. He was careful to be quiet because he didn't want to upset his sisters over the non-existence of Santa Claus.
"It must be." Mrs. Garcia exchanged glances with her husband. "I've never seen that wrapping paper before. And look," She pointed to Carlos' name written in pen across the paper. "That's not my handwriting or daddy's."
Still unwilling to believe, Carlos ripped the paper away only to discover a plain, unmarked box. "It's a box." He looked back to his parents and gave the box an experimental shake. Then he opened the box and gasped in delight. "Look!" He shouted.
"What is it?" His father asked him, holding back a smile at the excitement.
"It's just what I asked Santa for!" Carlos said happily. "I didn't ask you because I thought Santa would get it for me. And he did!" He pulled out an action figure and held it up for his mother and father to see. "It's a red Power Ranger!"
Hi, Logie! Hi Kendall and James!" Carlos grinned at his three friends as he entered Logan's family room, leaving his parents in the kitchen with the other adults. "Ready to play Power Rangers?"
"Uh-huh." James and Kendall held up their own toys right away but Logan hesitated.
"What's the matter, Logie?" Carlos asked in concern.
"Nothing." Logan insisted with a small smile. He held up a black Power Ranger for Carlos to see. "Let's play."
"Wait, Logie." Carlos frowned. "Where's your red Power Ranger? It's your favorite."
Logan shrugged. "I lost it." He said casually. "But that's okay because I like this one too."
Kendall nodded and nudged Carlos. "Come on, let's just play."
"At least you and Logie won't mix your Power Rangers up." James pointed out. "And now we all have different colors. I have green, Kendall has blue, you have red, and Logan has black. It's perfect."
Carlos grinned at James' point. "Okay." He said happily." James was right. It was perfect. He settled on the floor with his friends and they began to play with their toys, content with the company they had in each other.
A/N. Haha. This ended up being more angsty than I intended it to be. Oh well. Angst, fluff, and Cargen bromance. I hope you liked it, Fishy! P.S. That's my nickname for you. -heart- Review? Oh, and in case anyone missed the point of the title, I was inspired by the scene in Big Tike Blogger when the boys are being interviewed and Logan is crying and being hugged by Carlos as he says, "I was only seven, I didn't know what I was doing!". Lol. Yeah. Oh, and Ryan Mitchell was so nice in this! -sobs- I'm not going to lie, he's my favorite part of my BTR world. He gives me so much angst. Love him. Anyway, I'm done here for the day. Carpe Diem!