A/N: So... Before I get back to work on a larger project, I had this idea and I just had to write it before my head hurt any more from keeping the idea trapped inside my brain. I'm not sure how many chapters this story is going to be, but it won't be too many. NO SLASH! Just good ol' friendship :) And a little mystery that's going to shock you. Probably. I hope.


Chapter 1

Logan had a bruise on his face. It hadn't been there yesterday.

"What'd you do?" Carlos asked him, chuckling.

A slight tinge of red crept into Logan's cheeks. He spoke quietly, avoiding eye contact with his friend. "I bumped it. It's fine."

The mark on Logan's cheekbone was reddish-purple and looked kind of painful. So, naturally, Carlos reached out to poke it.

Logan slapped his hand away. "Don't touch it," he grumbled, making a face.

Carlos laughed. "What'd you hit it on?"

The injured boy awkwardly scratched at his head and cleared his throat. "Um, you know. The… door."

Carlos's amusement vanished, and he narrowed his eyebrows. He didn't know much about anything - and had the report cards to prove it - but he did know when his friends lied to him. Carlos knew that lying to friends was the worse kind of lying anyone could possibly do, because best friends were supposed to be honest and tell each other the truth.

Well, Kendall had told him that. But it was a good philosophy, and Carlos liked to stick to it.

The twelve-year-old was about to ask Logan some more questions when the teacher strode into the classroom. Carlos sighed and took to his assigned seat directly behind Logan, who sat in the front row and as close to the teacher's desk as possible.

Carlos looked across the rows of students and saw Kendall in the far corner, placed there because when he sat next to one of his friends he got himself into mischief.

James sat in the back row, next to a girl named Jenny Tinkler. He was contemplating asking for a move, because only Jenny could make smoke come out of the top of her pencil when she erased something with too much vigor. And only Jenny could sneeze so hard that her pen could fly out of her hand and shoot like a spear into James's shoulder. And, of course, only Jenny could give James a high-five and somehow end up breaking his thumb.

The teacher began to take attendance and start the day. Carlos stared at the back of Logan's head, wondering who had given him the bruise this time. Carlos, as well as everybody in the entire school, knew that Logan had been bullied before.

It happened so often, in fact, that Carlos, Kendall and James didn't really see it as a big deal anymore. It was a regular occurrence that Logan usually dealt with himself. He didn't put up with kids taking advantage of him or kids pushing him around. Though it wasn't always like that.

Carlos recalled back to first grade and the first enemy Logan had ever made. Bobby Finton, a third grader, found enjoyment in threatening to beat up Logan unless Logan gave Bobby his lunch money. Of course, being an innocent six-year-old who didn't exactly realize the consequences of disobeying, Logan told the kid to get his own lunch money and to leave him alone. One black eye later, and Logan's friends had found out. Needless to say, a fight had transpired. Parents had been called, punishments had been fixed, and after that, whenever another bully made his way into Logan's life, Logan would retaliate by telling the principal. Problem solved. Kendall, James and Carlos no longer had to get involved and ultimately get themselves into trouble, and, most of the time, the aggressor got suspended.

It was a mystery to Carlos why Logan attracted so many bullies in the first place. Sure, Logan was a bookworm and got straight A's and let his mom pick out his clothes, but it wasn't like Logan was unpopular. He hung out with Carlos Garcia, the class clown, James Diamond, arguably the most handsome boy in school, and Kendall Knight, star hockey player. Logan himself was on the hockey team, and according to all the other twelve-year-olds, if you played a sport, you were automatically deemed 'cool'.

Carlos figured maybe it was because Logan was so small. Carlos himself wasn't the tallest kid around, but at least Carlos had some muscles. Looks were deceiving with Logan. He was strong - Carlos knew that for a fact from wrestling with Logan and playing hockey with him and climbing trees and stuff - but because of Logan's pale skin and limbs that resembled sticks, he appeared weak and vulnerable.

Whatever the reason, Carlos was just glad that Logan was standing up for himself.

Except this bruise was strange. There was no doubt in Carlos's mind that Logan was lying about bumping into a door. The way Logan said had said it, and the way Logan had looked when he said it, told Carlos all he needed to know. Something else had caused the bruise on Logan's face.

It was just puzzling, because normally Logan confessed to who was giving him a hard time when Carlos or Kendall or James asked him. And after school, the four boys would go to the principal's office where Logan would show off his injuries and explain what happened. Sometimes Kendall got a little angry and would end up trying to pick a fight with the bully after school, but Carlos and James usually managed to hold him back.

Carlos frowned, deep in thought. He hardly noticed when the teacher called his name until Logan turned around in his seat.

"Huh?" said Carlos, snapping up.


Carlos's eyes found the teacher. "Oh, sorry. I'm here."

She nodded and made a checkmark with her pencil, continuing to go down the list of students. As Logan gave Carlos a strange look before facing forward, Carlos was unable to tear his eyes away from the bruise.

Why would Logan lie about it?

Carlos decided he would ask Logan more about it in private.

"Okay, class, get out your textbooks and turn to page twenty-seven," said the teacher.

Carlos groaned. He hated learning.

"What is this stuff?" James asked, cautiously poking at his lunch with a plastic fork. The greenish-yellow slop made a sickly sucking noise as he pressed down on it with his eating utensil.

"I think mine moved," said Kendall.

Logan pushed his tray away, wrinkling his nose. "It smells like Carlos's shoes."

Carlos shrugged, mouth full of unidentifiable mush. He didn't think it tasted that bad. Could maybe use some salt.

Logan, Kendall and James grimaced as Carlos brought another forkful of whatever he was eating to his mouth. He didn't even need to chew, which was strange because the substance was viscous enough not to fall through the prongs of his fork.

Carlos sat with Kendall to his left and Logan and James across from them. A few other kids from the hockey team filled the rest of the seats at the lunch table. Carlos knew that some of those guys, especially the ones who acted like big, tough jocks, could be jerks at times. But he doubted any of them would pick on a fellow teammate like Logan.

Carlos swallowed what was in his mouth before looking up at Logan. He was curious what sort of answer Logan would give the guys. "Did you tell James and Kendall about the door?"

Logan looked confused for a moment.

"What door?" James said.

"Tell 'em, Logan," Carlos urged. He shoveled more goop into his mouth, though he stared at Logan intently.

Kendall squinted and leaned forward in his seat. "Oh, does this have anything to do with the bruise on your face?"

Logan nodded, shrinking back at the scrutiny. "Yeah. I hit it on a door."

"Liar!" Carlos cried, his lunch spewing out of his mouth.

Kendall and James give him the look they always gave Carlos when he did something random. Logan, on the other hand, wiped specks of green from his face. "Gross," he mumbled.

Carlos gulped before laughing nervously. "Uh, yeah, I mean, um…" He desperately fumbled for an excuse. He wanted to talk to Logan about this alone. Carlos had decided that his next period gym class with Logan was the best time to do so, because James and Kendall both had science class during that time. "You… told me you bumped it. Not hit it."

Kendall rolled his eyes.

Logan raised an eyebrow and spoke slowly. "It's… the same thing."

Carlos knew that look. It was Logan's 'I can't believe you're that stupid' look. It didn't really faze Carlos anymore, though. He was used to it.

"What, you don't believe me?" asked Logan.

Kendall and James whipped their heads around to Carlos expectantly.

Carlos didn't know how to answer. He didn't want to tell Logan the truth, but he also didn't want to lie. Forcing a goofy grin on his face, Carlos got to his feet. "I'll tell you what I do believe," he proclaimed, gesturing to the clock hanging above the cafeteria. "I believe it's time to go to gym!"

It was dodge ball day, and Carlos was excited. He waited impatiently in the hall outside the locker room as Logan was busy drinking from the water fountain.

"Hurry up," Carlos groaned, bouncing up and down. He loved dodge ball, and he was actually good at it. Plus, it was a relatively safe sport. The balls that were used were soft and didn't sting too bad when they came in contact with skin. Even so, Carlos still wore a helmet to gym class. He was always getting concussions, and they were no fun.

Logan took his time at the water fountain. He at last looked up and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.

"Finally!" Carlos exclaimed. "Let's go change!"

Logan smirked. Without a word, he bended down yet again and continued to drink.

Carlos huffed in frustration. "Come on, you're just doing this to bug me."

"Yep," Logan answered casually, slurping away.

The Latino stomped towards his friend. Logan always pushed his buttons. It got annoying sometimes. Especially when it was dodge ball day and Carlos could be warming up early.

"Let's go," he whined, grabbing hold of Logan's arm. Logan laughed as Carlos gave it a tug and began to drag Logan away from the fountain and down the hall.

Logan's mirth cut off abruptly. "Ow!" he hissed, twisting out of Carlos's grip. "Stop!"

Carlos whipped around, immediately concerned. "What?" he asked.

Logan cradled his right arm with his left, biting down on his lower lip. Carlos craned his neck, catching a glimpse of what Logan was obviously trying to hide. Several deep bruises dotted Logan's forearm, as well as a few scratches.

Carlos gasped, heart nearly leaping from his chest as concern and guilt pounded through him. "Logan, d-did I do t-that?" he stammered, brown eyes wide.

Logan shook his head. "No, don't be stupid," he muttered. "It's fine, really. Just hurts when someone touches it." He sighed, lowering his arm back to his side as the pain lessened. "Let's go."

He started forward for the locker room, but Carlos stepped in front of him. "Dude, what happened?"

Logan opened his mouth, closed it, then opened it again. "I-I, um…"

Carlos crossed his arms over his chest.

"The door. It knocked me down."

"You're a horrible liar."

"…Am not."

"Are too."

"Am not."

"Are too!" Carlos stomped his foot in exasperation. "I'm really bad at figuring things out, but I know you're lying." Carlos pointed to Logan's arm. "Who did that to you? Tell me so Kendall and James and I can go beat him up."

Logan offered a gentle smile and gave Carlos's shoulder a friendly pat before pushing past him to head towards the locker room. "I can handle it."

Carlos frowned. He rotated around, yanking open the door and hurrying after his friend. The foul smell of body odor hit his nose instantly, and Carlos momentarily felt lightheaded. However, he quickly shook it off, rushing towards Logan, who was already at his locker working the dial on the lock.

Carlos approached his own locker, which was two down from Logan's. "Why'd you lie?" Carlos asked.

Logan shrugged and said nothing. His lock clicked open, but he didn't grab his gym clothes.

Carlos opened his as well. He peeled off his shirt and tossed it carelessly inside the messy interior of his assigned storage space. "Seriously, dude."

The pale boy remained stationary. He hesitated before speaking. "I just… I can't tell you, is all."

When his gym shirt was on, Carlos responded. "How come?"

It wasn't surprising when Logan failed to give an answer.

Carlos sighed, undoing his belt and stuffing it into his locker. He glanced over at his friend as he wiggled out of his jeans. "Well, aren't you going to change?"


Carlos sighed a second time. Now what? Logan was suddenly shy about changing in the locker room?

"Turn around," said Logan.

"What?" Carlos asked incredulously. He didn't actually think he was correct in his assumption. He pulled up his gym shorts and reached back in his locker for a helmet.

"The faster you turn around, the faster we can go play dodge ball."

Carlos twirled around on his heel. With his back to Logan, Carlos fastened his helmet strap under his chin. "Done yet?"

"No." The rustling of fabric was heard as Logan presumably removed his shirt.

"How about now?"

"No, Carlos."


"What do you think?"

Carlos groaned, attention span dwindling. He absentmindedly began to drum his fingertips against the metal lockers. But that only lasted a few seconds before he was bored and began to rock back and fourth on his feet.

Carlos turned around. "Done yet?"

Logan let out a tiny yelp, holding his gym shirt up to cover his exposed torso.

The Latino narrowed his eyes, catching a glance at something dark on Logan's chest. "Hey, what was that?" He reached forward, trying to pull away Logan's shirt.

"No, stop it!" Logan cried, leaping backwards. "Don't! Turn around!"

Carlos's immediately withdrew his hand, surprised at how afraid Logan looked. "Logan, what's wrong?" Carlos asked quietly. His heart thudded faster with alarm.

Logan looked near-tears, and Carlos would have looped a comforting arm around Logan's shoulder if Logan didn't look so terrified all of a sudden.

"You…" Carlos started, holding up both hands to show that he wasn't going to touch Logan. "You know you can tell me anything, right?"

He really, really hoped that Logan would say yes. But when Logan was slow to give a response, Carlos began to worry even more. Had he done something wrong? Had Carlos somehow given Logan the impression that he didn't care to help Logan with his problems?

"Logan…" murmured Carlos, feeling hurt.

Logan's Adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed, hard. He took a deep breath, then slowly lowered the shirt held up to his chest.

Carlos gaped at him. "Dude…"

Some were small, some were large. Some were fresh and purple, and some were old and yellowing. Either way, Carlos knew exactly what the glaring dots were that dappled Logan's skin.

"W-Who's doing this to you?" Carlos whispered, eyes widened in horror.

Logan averted his gaze to the floor, pulling the shirt over his head. Carlos finally blinked.

"Please don't tell anyone," Logan said, voice hoarse with emotion. "I'm taking care of it, I swear. Those bruises are… Those are old."

Carlos wasn't the brightest bulb in the box, but he knew better than to believe that. Though some people thought otherwise, Carlos wasn't that clueless. "Logan, if you won't explain to me what's going on, then I'm telling Kendall and James. Maybe we can -"

"No!" Logan cried. "No, Carlos, you can't."

Carlos's heart rate was increasing more and more by the second. He had to tell someone. He couldn't help Logan on his own. And who was better to help than Kendall and James? Kendall always knew what to do. Surely Logan realized that by now.

Carlos closed his eyes and screamed. "KENDALL!"

Logan jumped about a foot in the air before his face reddened in anger and embarrassment. "Shh! What are you doing? Kendall's in class on the other side of the school, idiot!"

"I don't care!" Carlos exclaimed, nearly frantic. "Kendall always knows when something's wrong! If I scream his name he'll sense the brain waves I'm giving off and come over here! KENDALL!"

"You can't have brain waves if you don't have a brain!" Logan growled. He shot a glance at the locker room door. "Now shut up, you're going to get us in trouble!"


Logan clapped a hand over Carlos's mouth. "Dude! Just listen to me, okay?"

The flash in Logan's eyes was frightening. Carlos nodded slowly, and Logan uncertainly removed his hand before continuing. "If you tell anyone about this, things are only going to get worse, understand?"


"But I don't even know what's happening!" Carlos whined. The backs of his eyes began to sting from tears of worry. "All I know is that you're getting hurt. Why can't you just tell me what's going on? Don't you trust me?"

"No, no, of course I trust you," Logan insisted. He exhaled loudly and pinched the bridge of his nose, seeming flustered. "Just… Just trust me that Kendall and James cannot find out about this, alright? Nobody can find out." His tone turned stern. "Promise me, Carlos. Promise me you won't say anything."

Carlos was about to shake his head no, then stopped. What if things really did get worse for Logan if Carlos told Kendall and James?

"Carlos," Logan said again, looking him dead in the eye. "Promise."

Carlos nervously rung his hands together. He couldn't let Logan get hurt anymore. And if Logan honestly thought that if anyone found out about the cause of his mysterious injuries things would get worse, then Carlos couldn't risk it.

"Okay." He barely managed to croak the words out. "I promise."

"Good," Logan breathed. He turned back to his locker and finished getting dressed as Carlos stared into space, questioning whether or not he had done the right thing. "Let's go."

Carlos shuffled uneasily behind his friend as the two left the stuffy room and headed towards the gym. He didn't feel like playing dodge ball anymore.