A/N: Written for a James/Logan fic fest challenge on LiveJournal.
Warnings for angst, minor descriptions of unhappy things like death and war, but nothing graphic. Title from "Far Away" by Nickelback.
Logan knows only a few people in the entire history of the world have been given his gift. He asked a fortune teller once, why he was able to remember past lives, and she'd laughed and said it was "for a purpose." He'd shot her a dark look and left, refusing to pay her the money he'd offered.
That was sometime in the late sixteen hundreds. He's never been to a fortune teller since.
The memories aren't always with him; it takes a while before they start to come back. It's always around fourteen. The vividness with which they strike him is earth shattering sometimes; like in 1758, when he was in school and his teacher was lecturing them on the Black Death epidemic of the 1300s. Logan was suddenly inundated with images of his mother, stricken down by the horrible disease, his sister weak in bed, and his own succumbing to it.
He'd immediately excused himself and thrown up outside the schoolhouse.
Sometimes the memories that hit him are good; like in the early fifteenth century. Logan met a young boy his age, who was blond haired and green eyed and brave, so brave, and said he was on his way to being one of the king's knights. Logan remembered meeting him in his previous life, remembered how he'd been willing to follow Kendall to the ends of the earth, and he does every time their lives cross paths.
He wonders, sometimes, what the meaning of it all is. Some lives he lives older than man ever thought possible; some lives he's struck down young, just when the memories resurface.
And always, in every life, there's James. And always, Logan loves him.
Sometimes he loves James with a ferocity that could shake the foundations of the earth; in times when society cares little for homosexuality and its moral implications James is Logan's, all passionate love and beautiful hazel eyes and Logan wishes those lives could go on forever. Other lives James is little more than his friend, but it's enough, because Logan always has past lives to remember.
There are only three lives Logan remembers that make all this worth it; the first is around 1415; before America, Logan lived in London. He met James when he was thirteen; old enough to be considered a man back in those days. James was beautiful, working in an apothecary, smiling down at Logan over the counter as he handed him the poultices and medicines he'd come for. They'd stared at each other before James had led Logan to the back room and they fell together in a tangle of limbs and lips and teeth that will be forever burned into Logan's memory. And James was his, until the day he died, at the ripe old age of twenty.
The second life is in 1710; America now, Logan loved colonial times the most. He apprenticed for a doctor, holding patients down as the doctor let their blood to purge diseases. Looking back on it Logan is horrified, but had he not been part of it he would have missed James and his broken leg from falling off his horse. James had no family in those days, so Logan kept him; tending to him like the most legendary of nursemaids. James had a breathtaking smile, and when he pulled Logan down to press their lips together after Logan brought him something for the pain it was like the planets aligned. James was his after that; he never left Logan's house, never moved from Logan's side, and it's easily Logan's favorite lifetime.
The third life is short, both for Logan and James, but that doesn't make it any less meaningful; Logan meets James in 1942, just after the United States entered World War II. They've just turned twenty-one. They're assigned to the same unit, under Kendall Schmidt, one of the brightest generals in the US army's history. Logan smiles when he sees Kendall; he's followed this boy king into battle before, and the ease with which Kendall commands his troops makes Logan wish for such a presence. James is all flirty eyes and suggestive touches, and Kendall turns a blind eye to all of it, making sure the rest of the unit does the same. It's a brief love, though; James dies in his arms in the first battle, and Logan is so grief stricken he doesn't even flinch when the Nazis capture and execute him. It's the only time James was ever killed in front of him.
The purpose of all this still escapes him; now it's the twenty first century, and Logan is just starting to remember his last life; when he was killed in action in Europe. His first memory surfaces when he's in History class with Kendall; they're studying WWII, and their teacher talks about the invasions the US orchestrated, and the memory of James bleeding in his arms hits him like a bullet to his chest. He immediately excuses himself, remembering that time he did in the 1700s and flies to the bathroom, immediately vomiting in one of the toilets.
Kendall finds him and soothes him; Kendall has always been good at that. Logan leans back against him; he's Kendall Knight this time, and Logan thinks it's the most appropriate surname yet, and allows Kendall to hold him.
He's told Kendall before, about his gift; Kendall's always accepted it with the same level headedness he applies to everything else. Logan knows this will be one of the times he tells Kendall, because all he can see in his mind's eye is the life fading from James's eyes.
"What happened?" Kendall asks softly. "I've never seen you get like that in History before."
"It's hard to explain," Logan tries, and Kendall just holds him, knowing he'll speak when he's ready. After a few minutes it all comes pouring out, and Kendall blinks before nodding in acceptance, just like he always does.
"So we've met before?" he asks with interest, and Logan nods; Kendall always has the same reaction.
"I served under you in World War II," Logan explains, "you were an army general." Kendall looks intrigued, and wonders aloud how heroic he was in battle, looking at Logan expectantly.
"You were amazing," Logan says softly, and his heart suddenly aches for James. "I watched you lead us, we followed you anywhere."
"That's so awesome." Kendall is grinning, pleased with his past self, before looking at Logan with concern.
"What about you? Were you as awesome as I was? I bet you were, if you served under me." Logan shakes his head, allowing the memory to wash over him, of the gun pointed between his eyes before everything went black.
"I was killed," he whispers. "Nazis captured me." Kendall looks horrified, and the smile falls from his face.
"It's okay," Logan assures him, because it is; he can't change the past. "It wasn't the worst way to die."
"There are worse ways?" Kendall asks just as softly. "Like what?" Logan laughs quietly, envying Kendall his innocence.
"I died from the plague in the thirteen hundreds," he offers, "it killed my whole family." Kendall lets out a noise, like he can't believe what he's hearing and squeezes Logan tight.
"I'm sorry," he says, and Logan shrugs; dwelling on death is unproductive, and Logan has never been much concerned with it anyway, all it would serve to do is harden him.
"C'mon, let's go back to class," he says, shooting Kendall a smile. "I'm feeling a lot better now."