A/N. Okay, so this is the last chapter which I am relieved for since the lack of consistent reviews kind of made writing this story less enjoyable than it was in the beginning. I'll be writing more of 'Head On Collision' in the future and I hope to start 'How to Save a Life' sometime next week. Okay? Okay. I don't own anything.
We're finally breaking into the daylight,
In the warmth of the sun,
I will stand by your side till your fear passes on,
So just look in my eyes,
Baby try to hold on and you find it won't be long
"Save the Day" by David Archuleta
Kendall opens his eyes and yawns in exhaustion. He turns to his left to find the alarm clock so he can see what time it is, but it's not there. Actually, Logan's desk isn't even there. His dresser is there. Kendall's dresser. Kendall sits up and looks around in confusion. Even though his mind is still slow and heavy with sleep it doesn't take him long to realize that he's in his own room instead of Logan's. It's been a long time since Logan has had a nightmare but Kendall has been sleeping on the floor just in case. They have gotten to the point where James and Carlos go home for the night but Kendall isn't ready to leave Logan totally alone just yet. So it's a mystery to him as to why he's in his own bed in his own room.
Kendall turns to the right to see on his alarm clock that it's just after nine in the morning. He should be getting up anyway. He swings his legs over the edge of the bed and flinches when his bare feet hit the cold floor. He yawns, nearly cracking his face apart in the process. They went to bed fairly early last night so why is he still so tired? He shrugs off his fatigue and leaves his room to find his family.
The house is unusually quiet as Kendall tiptoes down the hall, not wanting to wake Logan or Katie if they're still sleeping. He can hear his mother downstairs preparing breakfast and stops in the bathroom to splash cold water over his face. When he reaches Logan's closed bedroom door, Kendall can't resist. There's an eerie feeling that clings to him so he opens the door to check on Logan. He takes a step inside the room and freezes.
It's empty. The room is empty. But it's not empty like Logan woke up and went downstairs. It's empty like no one has been in it for months. The bed is neatly made,which is normal for Logan, but there's a somewhat musty smell to the covers. The desk holds no school books or pencils, not even the scrapbook they gave Logan for his birthday. As Kendall whirls around the room, he sees nothing that they gave Logan for his birthday. Baldwin isn't sleeping in the corner and it's the dog's absence that really scares Kendall.
He turns to go but something catches his eye. The top of the dresser is covered with pictures and small candles that create a sort of shrine. Kendall approaches the dresser warily and studies the objects closely. The pictures are of Logan and the candles. . . the candles are from the candlelight vigil that the neighborhood held last November. But it's not possible. Sure they placed these items in Logan's room as soon as they came home that night but they removed them in June when Logan came home. The candles are in the hall closet downstairs and the pictures are in albums where they're supposed to be. Because Logan is home where he's supposed to be.
Kendall reaches out and picks up one of the pictures, almost expecting his hand to go right through it. It can't be real. But his fingers close around the edge and he lifts it closer to his face. He turns and looks out the window to see snow on the ground. Another glance at the alarm clock that's still there shows Kendall that it's 9:30 on December 17, 2011. Almost Christmas. The date and time are both right but that's all. Everything else is wrong.
Trying to push away the wave of panic that is threatening to take him under, Kendall sets the picture back on the dresser and hurries from the room. "Mom?" He calls, forgetting to be quiet. "Mom, where are you?" He thunders down the stairs, nearly tripping over his own feet and skids to a stop in the kitchen. "Mom?"
"Kendall, I'm right here, sweetie." Mrs. Knight looks up from reading the newspaper and eyes Kendall in concern. "You're as white as a sheet, Kendall. Are you okay?"
"Mom," Kendall says again, breathing heavily from his rush. He shakes off the hand she's laid on his cheek and looks at her closely. "Where. . . where's Logan?"
Instantly, he knows something is dreadfully wrong. His mother's face whitens and her hand moves to cover her mouth in shock at his question. "Kendall," She breathes. "What do you mean?"
"I mean where is Logan?" Kendall says, his voice rising slightly as the wave of panic towers over hi, ready to crash as any second. "I just went in his room and he's not there. He was there last night but he's not there now."
There's a tiny part of him that expects her to say that Logan is with Camille or Carlos and James or even Katie somewhere. Maybe he's took Baldwin for a walk by himself and that explains why the dog is missing too. But then her eyes fill with tears and Kendall waits for her to call 911 because Logan is missing. Again. But he doesn't expect her to say what she actually does. "Kendall. . . Logan is gone."
"What do you mean gone?" Kendall demands, shocked at how resigned and hopeless she sounds. "Mom, if he's gone then we need to call the police. Call Carlos' dad. He and Luke will find him again!" He spins around to get the phone himself but his mother's next words stop him in his tracks.
"Again. Kendall, listen to me. You. . . you must have been dreaming. Honey, I'm so sorry." She stands up and reaches out to him as if to take him into her arms and hold him closely. Kendall backs away and waits for her to finish her explanation. "Logan. . . Logan is still missing. We never found him."
The wave of panic crashes over Kendall and for a moments, he can't even breathe. He's drowning. "No," He whispers. He backs away from his mother as she tries to hug him again. He turns and flees back up the stairs and crashes into Logan's room. It's the same. Still untouched and empty. Devoid of life.
"Logan," Kendall's knees hit the carpeted floor. He hears footsteps and he knows it's his mother coming after him. Her frantic voice is calling out to hi but he can't respond. This can't be happening. Was it all a dream? Did Logan never really come back? Were the past six months all just a wonderful dream? Kendall's vision clouds over until everything is black.
Almost as soon as they close, Kendall's eyes snap back open and he sits up with a start. He's breathing heavily, trembling all over as he tries to untangle himself from his sleeping bag. He's back in Logan's room.
Kendall starts to breathe a sigh of relief but it catches in his throat as he turns to Logan's bed. It's empty. The covers are tossed aside, hanging partway to the floor. Baldwin is sound asleep in his corner but Logan isn't there. He's gone.
Instantly, Kendall's mind grabs onto the worst possibility and he can't shake it away. Logan is gone again. He's been taken again. "No," He pleads, tears already flooding his eyes and blurring his vision. He stumbles to his feet but soon crashes back to his knees. Baldwin wakes up and joins him by the foot of the bed, whining softly and licking Kendall's tears away. "Why? Why didn't we hear anything? He's gone again. Logan."
Soon Kendall is overcome with tears and he lays his forehead on his knees shaking with sobs. He was so relieved after waking up from his nightmare, only to discover another one that's real. He's crying so hard that he doesn't hear the footsteps and he doesn't realize that he's no longer alone until he feels a hand on his shoulder.
"Kendall? Kendall, what's wrong?"
Kendall jerks his head up at the familiar voice. His green eyes meet a pair of brown and he finds himself staring back at Logan. "Logan," He whispers in disbelief Logan's eyes are full of wild concern and Kendall tries to explain himself. "Logan. . . I. . . I couldn't find you. I had a dream that. . . that we never found you and then I woke up but. . . but you were gone again and I. . . I thought that it was happening all over again."
Logan's eyes widen with understanding and he grasps Kendall by the wrists and pulls him gently to his feet and then pushes him on the edge of his bed. "Kendall," He says quietly. "I'm right here now. I'm sorry. I just went to get a drink. Then I heard you crying and. . . I'm sorry."
Instead of answering, Kendall's body jerks with another hard sob and when Logan's arms go around him, he cries even harder. He can barely breathe but he hears Logan's voice whispering soothing words to him and together, the voice and the close contact slowly start to bring Kendall back from the edge.
Logan lays Kendall down and holds him, ironically, the way his friends used to hold him after he had a nightmare. He realizes that Kendall can't be the protector right now and the revelation shakes him a tiny bit, but not enough to render him useless. There's been a role reversal and although Logan hates to see his friends so distraught, he's glad that he can help for once. "Kenny," He says gently, relieved to see that the shaking has stopped a little bit. "It's okay."
Kendall nods, still unable to speak but finally getting his control back. It was so real. All of it. The nightmare. And when he woke up, he didn't stop to think that Logan might just have gone to the bathroom or to get a drink. He didn't stop to think that the window wasn't broken like last time. He didn't stop to think that Baldwin would have woken everyone up before anything happened. All he could think of was how Logan wasn't where he should have been and the panic blinded him from everything else. "I'm sorry." He finally whispers.
"It's fine. Let me help you for once." Logan tells him. "I really am back, Kendall. You just had a nightmare. Everyone has nightmares. This. . . this is real."
At that, Kendall smiles. "I know." He says in pure relief. "It's the best."
Logan relaxes when he sees Kendall's smile. "Yeah it is." He agrees. "Just think. We'll hang out with James and Carlos later today and do some Christmas shopping. After all, Christmas is a week away. All we have in front of us right now are good times."
Kendall's smile widens and he nods. "I know. Thanks, Logie. Thanks for helping me."
"I have a good teacher." Logan murmurs. He hears Kendall laugh a little and he smiles then. Sleep tugs at him then because it's only four in the morning. Kendall is completely relaxed once again so Logan closes his eyes and allows himself to drift back into a deep sleep, glad that Kendall was so willing to let his vulnerability show. He's not the only one making progress.
At first, Kendall stays awake because he's afraid of going back to sleep. He's afraid of having another horrible nightmare or of waking up to find that this is a dream. He now has a better understanding of what Logan has been through with all of his nightmares. The line between reality and the dream world becomes impossibly blurred until he can't be sure of anything. But gradually, he begins to relax and when he sees Baldwin sitting guard by the bed, he smiles and closes his eyes, easing back into a sound sleep.
It's freezing outside. Logan shivers slightly and adjusts his gloves so that they're more secure on his hands. He glances at Camille and grins. Warm enough?"
Camille shoots his a glare. "Oh, I'm practically sweating. Are you sure Baldwin needs a walk today? It's like forty below zero out here."
"I wouldn't say it's that cold." Logan says with a laugh. "Maybe five below." He laughs again at the look on Camille's face. "Welcome to Minnesota! Winters here last pretty long. How cold did Connecticut get?"
"Not this cold." Camille replies, wishing she and Logan were home in front of a nice warm fire. But the other boys were busy digging around in the attic for the Christmas tree decorations and Logan wanted to take the dog for his daily walk before it started to snow again. She glances around at the two feet of snow that is already piled high around them. They didn't need anymore but the weathermen were predicting another small blizzard.
"Just wait until January and February." Logan tells her. "They're the worst months because it's right after Christmas and there's not much to look forward to." He pauses and looks up at the sky. "Here it comes."
Camille follows his gaze and groans at the sight of snowflakes falling from the cloudy sky. "No, it's too soon!" She protests.
Logan chuckles and holds Baldwin's leash with one hand, wrapping his free arm around her. "Better get used to it. Unless of course you want to move somewhere else at all." He stumbles when Camille stops in her tracks and looks back at her. "Camille?"
"I'm wherever you are." She says softly. "I'd live in Antarctica if it made you happy."
"Well, I'd live in LA if you really wanted to." Logan replies without hesitation even though the thought of moving back to the city where he was kidnapped makes him shiver again. "But we don't have to worry about where we're going to live right now." Baldwin, impatient to get out of the cold starts walking again and the two of them follow. But Logan is silent for a while, lost in thought.
"Logan?" Camille asks tentatively. "You're not. . . having second thoughts about us are you?" She doesn't know where exactly the question came from but it's been in the back of her mind since Thanksgiving.
Logan slowly shakes his head. "Not exactly." He begins. "I'm just wondering if I'm good enough for you." He holds up a hand to stop her from protesting. "Let me explain. I'd like to think that years from now I'll be able to get back to normal without worrying about panic attacks. But what if I can't? What if I can't find a good job because every little thing sets me off? What kind of husband would I be?"
"This is about my dad isn't it?" Camille frowns. "Logan, he doesn't hate you. He's worried and he's never been able to. . . think very optimistically. He's really a pessimist. He's worried about what you're worried about right now. But Logan, he doesn't know you. I do and James and Carlos and Kendall and Katie and your mom know you. You know who you are. Do you really think you'll be like you are now twenty years from now?"
"I don't think so." Logan answers honestly. "But we won't know until we get there."
Camille smiles at Logan's "we" and grabs his hand in her's. "Exactly." She says. "You're eighteen, Logan. Don't think about that now. I know you'll be a fantastic husband and father when the time comes. You'll see."
Logan starts to speak but suddenly Baldwin catches sight of a baby bunny hopping quickly across the snow covered ground. He barks in excitement and then runs in a small circle before dashing after the small animal. For a second, Logan and Camille are tangled up in the leash and pressed tightly against each other. Then in the next second, they're falling to the ground.
Camille falls on top of Logan, the snow cushioning their fall. She opens her mouth to ask him if he's okay but she has her answer right away. Logan laughs at the look on her face and she fights back laughter of her own as she attempts to straighten her snow hat. "It wasn't that funny." She tells him even though she disagrees with herself. "Now I have snow in my hair." She reaches up to brush the cold, wet clumps from her dark strands but Logan stops her.
"Don't." He says softly, the laughter ceasing. His brown eyes are serious as he stares up at her, forgetting that they're still laying in the snow. "You look pretty with snow in your hair."
At that, Camille laughs. "Yeah right." She says doubtfully. "I bet I look like a mess.
"Not at all." Logan promises. "You look like a snow angel."
"Logan, there's no such thing as actual snow angels." Camille says. But her heart thuds inside of her as she meets his gaze. "We could make snow angels if you want. I mean, we're already wet and cold. I don't think it'd make too much of a difference."
Logan brushes a strand of hair from Camille's eyes and smiles again. "You're my snow angel." He whispers.
Camille opens her mouth to argue but is silenced when Logan presses their lips together. She's taken by surprise at first but doesn't pull away. Instead she waits for Logan to pull away first, like he always has, too afraid to continue. But Logan doesn't pull away.
Logan forgets all the horrible memories he's dealt with in the past several months. He forgets the torture and the nightmares and everything but where he is right around. He sits up a little and drapes an arm over Camille's waist, pulling her impossibly closer. His free hand reaches up and strokes her cheek gently, letting his fingers trail slowly down from her forehead to her chin. When he feels tears on her face, he wipes them gently away with his thumb.
Camille can barely breathe. She's heard of kisses taking someone's breath away but it's one thing to hear of something and another thing altogether to experience it. They break apart for an instant and she rests her forehead on his, trying to fill her lungs with oxygen again. "Logan?" She whispers uncertainly.
"I love you." Logan tells her not for the first time. But then he kisses her again and it's more real than it's ever been before. His heart beats wildly in his chest and he can feel Camille's heart beating in unison. He hates to break the second kiss but it occurs to him that they've been making out in the snow. A blush heats up his face and when he looks at Camille her cheeks are pink as well.
"Still having second thoughts?" Camille smirks when she sees how surprised Logan looks. He's always been somewhat tentative and his nightmarish experiences have only sent him deeper into himself. But everything is so completely perfect and natural right now.
Logan's breath is still coming quickly, creating smoke-like clouds above their heads. "I never did." He whispered, realizing that it's the truth. Because every doubt has always been superficial and now they're gone as if they never existed. He gives her one last quick kiss and is suddenly interrupted by Baldwin, who has never left in the first place, stopping right away after his master fell and watched the two humans with his head tilted to one side.
Now he forces himself in between Logan and Camille and sits heavily on Logan's chest. Logan laughs and pushes the dog gently away so he can sit up. "I think he's jealous." He jokes, closing his eyes against the tongue that begins licking his face. "Or maybe he's just cold and he wants to go home."
Camille stands up and pulls Logan to his feet as well, smiling at the puppy's antics. "Don't worry, Baldwin." She teases. "We love you too." Now that she's standing again, she remembers how cold she is. "Ready to head home?" She asks.
"Sounds good to me." Logan agrees. He links their hands and smiles, his eyes shinning with more life than anyone has seen since before his kidnapping. "Thank you."
When they reach the house, everyone is waiting for them, Carlos and Katie impatient to decorate the tree, James combing his hair, something he only does now out of absolute necessity or when he's nervous, and Mrs. Knight and Katie, somewhat anxiously. "Sorry," Logan apologizes. "We got distracted.
Kendall stops fussing long enough to study his friend. When Logan turns red under his stare, Kendall raises an eyebrow questioningly and grins. "Well, you're here now." He says, the relief evident in his voice. "Let's get started."
Mrs. Knight already has the Christmas music playing and the fire is roaring, quickly warming Logan and Camille inside and outside. Logan pulls one of the boxes closer to him and begins hanging ornaments on the green branches, the others following his example. He starts singing first, quietly to begin with and then when his friends join in, he's a little more at ease.
James clears his throat and tries to sing along but it's difficult at first. He realizes that it's the first time they've sang together since Logan came back and the revelation is a little overwhelming.
James turns to find Logan staring at him. "Logan?" He mimics, forcing a grin to his face.
Logan studies him closely, his eyes full of concern. "You're crying." He remarks, his voice so soft that no one else hears him. "Are you okay?"
James blinks to discover that his eyes are full of tears. "I'm fine." He says quickly. "It's the tree. . . I think I'm allergic."
But Logan roll his eyes. "James, come help me bring the hot cocoa in for everyone." He says lightly, dragging James into the kitchen before the other boy can even think of a protest. Once they're away from everyone else, Logan folds his arms across his chest. "So? What is it? We've been best friends for our whole lives, James. I can tell when you're lying. So can everyone else because you're a horrible liar. Just be glad I didn't make a big deal."
"It's not a big deal." James continues to resist stubbornly.
"James," Logan sighs. "I don't believe you. Please. What's upsetting you?"
It's the tears that begin to form in Logan's eyes that make James swallow his pride. "It's just. . . different things."
"Like?" Logan presses gently. As he waits he sets a teapot full of water on the stove so it can boil.
James takes a deep breath and clears his throat again. "Um, where do I start?"
"The beginning." Logan suggests. "Just. . . talk."
"I was just thinking about how today was the first time we sang together sing the day before you. . . went missing." James begins. But then he can't stop and he continues to talk, forgetting how hesitant he was earlier. "Then I remembered when you weren't here for Christmas or. . . or anything and I missed you so much. We all missed you. It hurt, Logan. I shouldn't be talking because we didn't suffer nearly as much as you did. I'm sorry, I just. . . I wasn't upset to begin with. . . I was happy. But then I thought about why I was happy and then I wasn't happy anymore. Right now, I mean. It's almost Christmas day and I don't want to feel like this."
Logan's steady gaze wavers for an instant. The water in the teapot is boiling so he takes it off the stove before walking over to James and embracing him. "You and Kendall," He muses quietly. "I'm glad Carlos has enough sense to not keep his feelings buried like you two do."
"I'm sorry." James apologizes, now feeling guilty for worrying Logan. "I just feel like you have enough on your mind."
"Yeah. I have to worry about my best friends exploding because they're too selfless to care about themselves. But don't be sorry, James. Just don't hide anymore." Logan steps back and looks up at James. "Okay?"
James nods and grins. "I think I can do that." He says, relaxing now. "Thanks, Logie."
"Guys!" Carlos bounces in and looks at both of them, the excitement in his eyes dying slightly. "Are you okay?" He asks softly.
Both of the boys nod and hurry to fill the mugs so they can bring everyone the hot chocolate Logan promised them. "We're fine, Carlitos." James tells him quietly. "Just talking."
"Good." Carlos says in satisfaction. "Because you and Kendall don't talk enough."
Logan laughs at the expression on James' face. "See?" He asks, shaking his head. "I'm not the only one."
"Well if you need to talk more, I'll take in the hot cocoa." Carlos offers.
Logan's laughter stops abruptly and he shakes his head. "Carlos, I love you like my brother, you know that. But-"
"You don't trust me with the cocoa." Carlos finishes with a grin. He shrugs. "That's okay, neither do I. I can go distract the others then."
James laughs this time. "Thanks, buddy. But we're good for today." He takes the tray from Logan and heads back into the family room to be with the rest of his family.
Kendall jerks awake. He sits up quickly, just missing smacking heads with Logan who is hanging off his bed and watching his friends. "Logan? Wassa matter?"
Logan laughs and sits up. "Merry Christmas! I thought you were going to sleep the whole morning away."
Kendall grins and whacks James and Carlos with his pillow, waking them up out of a sound sleep. "It's Christmas, you guys!" He announces, childlike excitement in his voice. He rises to his feet and plops heavily on the bed. "I'm tired." He mumbles, laying back down. "Wake me up in a few hours."
"Kendall!" Carlos protests. He leaps onto his friend and tackles him to the floor. "You did not just throw your pillow at me and tell me it's Christmas, just to go back to sleep. Come on! Let's go downstairs and open presents!"
"You'd better get up." Logan advises him with a grin. "I'm pretty sure that together, James and Carlos can come up with a way to make you pay for that rude awakening. Listening to Carlos might get you off easily."
"Maybe." James grumbles. He runs his fingers through his hair and drags both Carlos and Kendall to their feet, plopping them both on Logan's bed before joining them. "Anyway," He says in a lighter tone of voice. "Merry Christmas, guys."
"It is." Kendall says seriously. "And I think we all know why." He ignores the blush in Logan's face and sits up a little bit. "Logie, I wanted to say something on Thanksgiving but I never got the chance. But today works just as well I think."
Logan simply nods, giving Kendall permission to go on.
"I think we can all agree that March 2010 to June 2011 was the worst fifteen months in our lives. We've been best friends since we were five and being separated wasn't easy at all. But it was why we weren't together that was the hard thing. We didn't have a clue what happened to you, Logan. It scared us. We never found a single clue that would tell us anything about you. But that was why we never gave up hope. Because even though there was no sign that you were still alive, there wasn't a sign that you. . . weren't alive either."
"So we let ourselves hope together because without that hope I'm sure we would have been way worse than we actually were. And the best part is that our hope wasn't in vain. We never would have thought that you were in Minnesota for six of those fifteen months, Logan. We never thought that Carlos' dad and Luke of all people would find you. And after learning everything that happened to you, I'm sure there were times for all of us when we wondered if we'd be okay again."
"Now look at us. Look at all of us. We've come so far but only because we've done it together. It couldn't have happened any other way. June 2011 up until this point hasn't been easy but it's been the best months of my life because we became four again." Kendall laughs but tears glisten in his eyes. "Being three sucked, Logan. When we were together, all we ever thought about was what, or who, we were missing. You. And now you're back and we're whole."
"Well," Logan says quietly. "I've said it before but I'll say it again before we go downstairs. "You guys are why I'm still here today. Because I had something to hold onto. I know it hasn't been easy with all of my nightmares and panic attacks but you've all stuck with me. Thank you for that. Thanks for supporting me so matter what."
"That's what friends are for." Carlos answers promptly. "Right, guys?" He looks at James and Kendall who both nod. "And anyway, Logie. It works both ways. We kept hoping because of you."
"And we kept living because of that hope we had in finding you again." James says softly. "So thank you."
Logan finds himself in the middle of a group hug and smiles. "You're all the best." He whispers.
Suddenly, there's a knock at the door and Katie and Camille are yelling at them to wake up. Kendall chuckles as he untangles himself from his friends. "I guess we'd better hurry downstairs." He remarks with a grin.
"Wait." Logan says quickly. "I want to tell you guys something. I want you to be the first to know what I've decided."
"Decided?" James asks.
"Logan nods. "For college. Since I've been tutoring you guys this fall, it made me realize how much I love to teach."
Instantly, Kendall's eyes light up. "Logan, you're a great teacher!" He exclaims. "That's a perfect idea. You'd teach math, right?"
"Of course." Logan nods. "I mean, college is still a year and a half away now that I'm back but at least I have a goal again. It's not a doctor, sure, but it's something I'm passionate about and it's something I'm good at."
"Great." James corrects. "You're great at it, Logan."
"So you'll be Professor Mitchell instead of Doctor Mitchell." Carlos grins happily. "Perfect."
Logan shrugs modestly. "We'll see."
"Logan, you can do anything you want." Kendall says confidently. "And like we said before, we'll be there for you."
It seems redundant to thank his friends once again so Logan simply nods, knowing that they only want him to agree anyway. "Okay." He says. "Then I'll do it. Because there's nothing we can't do together."
Carlos exchanges high-fives with his friends and then leaps up. "So what do you say we put some of that teamwork to work and go downstairs to open Christmas presents?"
Kendall stands up and pulls James and Logan up as well. "I think that Carlos has a great idea."
Logan nods and rubs Baldwin's head until the puppy wakes up. "Come on, boy!" He says with a laugh. "I bet you can unwrap presents faster than Carlos!"
The four boys and the dog leave the room and head downstairs where their families are already waiting for them. Everything is right.
So the ending may have been a little rushed and I apologize but I'm tired and kind of want this story to end since I'm beginning to question that quality. Um, review since it was the last chapter? Thanks so much to all of my loyal readers and reviewers because without you I wouldn't keep writing! One last thanks to Lauren who has been the BEST. Peace!