A/N. Wow, almost a month after Christmas and I finally got this finished! I'm sorry for the long wait, especially for only six chapters. I hope you all liked it, thank you for reading!
The days pass quickly after that, but there's still peace in the air. Carlos and Logan spend their time having snowball fights, building snowmen in the likeness of famous historical and fictional characters and then trying to guess who the other has made. They play countless ridiculous one on one hockey games at the pond and even shovel the driveways for some of their neighbors. When their fingers and toes are finally numbed beyond all feeling, they go inside and play games or watch movies. Not once has Logan mentioned getting an early start on their homework and Carlos has no plans to bring the subject up either. He's just glad that Logan is having such a good time.
The day that Carlos' family and Logan's father are supposed to fly home, a violent snowstorm hits the state of Minnesota. The boys are forced to spend their entire day inside, doing various things to keep their mind of the weather while they wait for word on the travelers. They hardly speak to each other at all, each lost in his own thoughts.
Carlos keeps glancing out the window at the swirling snow. He can't see anything else except snow. Everything else is completely covered, hidden, virtually invisible under a blanket of white that grows heavier and thicker with the passage of time. He also looks at Logan every once in a while, deeply worried for his best friend. He's nervous and pale, unable to concentrate on even a simple game of checkers. "Logie?" he finally ventures. "Are you okay?"
Logan stares at the checkerboard in silence. He picks up one of his red pieces and rubs it between his thumb and pointer finger. "What if they can't get home in time?" he says after a while. "Christmas is the day after tomorrow, and-"
"Logan," Carlos interrupts gently. "I'm sure that they'll be able to get home in time. They still have two days."
But Logan shakes his head, absentmindedly moving his piece forward to a place that will allow Carlos to jump him and then be crowned. "One day," he corrects softly. "They won't be able to come into Minnesota any time today, and tomorrow is Christmas Eve." To Carlos' compete dismay, he has tears in his eyes and when he speaks again, his voice is choked. "I ruined everything for you, Carlos." "
Whoa! Hey, Logan, what are you talking about?"'Carlos asks anxiously. He abandons the game and moves to where Logan is sitting wrapping an arm around the other boy's shoulder, he pulls him close. "Logan, you didn't ruin anything."
Logan shakes his head again and tries to pull away, but is held fast by Carlos. He drags his sleeve over his eyes and sniffs. "You might not see your family for Christmas and it's all my fault. If it wasn't for me, you would be down in Florida with everyone. I-"
"Logan," Carlos sighs. "Listen. I don't know what's going to happen. I mean, you're right that they won't be getting in tonight, but they could get a flight for tomorrow or even the day after so that they would be just in time. But, Logan," Carlos swallows hard. "Even if they can't. . . I'm not sorry I stayed home with you. Not at all. I'd do it again in a second."
"We've been through this before," Carlos reminds him patiently. "You're part of my family as much as any of my sisters or my parents. You're my brother, Logan. So no matter what happens, I will be with my family for Christmas."
Logan relaxes under Carlos' arm and gives him a tentative smile. "Thanks, Carlos." he says quietly. "Have I ever told you that you're the greatest?"
Carlos grins back. "Not lately. Thanks though. You're not too bad yourself."
Logan laughs a little, by stops when his cell phone rings. "It's my dad," he tells Carlos. "Hang on a second." Carlos removes his arm and moves to give Logan room. Watching his friend in concern, he listens, trying to decipher Logan's words into a full, two-sided conversation. "Yeah, it's still coming down really hard. We still have power though. For now anyway. Yup, plenty of firewood and flashlights just in case. Uh-huh, and food and water. We're prepared."
Carlos tries to keep his face blank, but he feels very surprised. It sounds like Mr. Mitchell is actually making sure that they're well prepared in case they lose power. Carlos would never even think that it would cross his mind. And from the expression on Logan's face, he isn't the only one. But then the almost happy looks drops and is replaced by a poorly masked sadness. Carlos' heart sinks. He knows what's wrong even before Logan speaks. "Oh. Okay, well, that's understandable. It's difficult to get last minute tickets so close to the holidays. The day after isn't all that bad. Yeah. All right, well I'll call you, okay? All right. Stay safe, Dad. I love you. Bye."
"You can spend Christmas with us!" Carlos blurts out even before Logan hangs up his phone. "I mean, if my family can get home in time, you can stay with us. They won't mind, don't even try to refuse, Logan. Remember Lilo and Stitch? Ohana means family. Family means-"
"No one gets left behind," Logan says softly.
"Or forgotten." Carlos finishes. "Right. So, if my parents and everyone can get back in time, you're coming home with us. Okay?" Logan so clearly has just had a huge chunk of his hopes absolutely crushed. His dad isn't going to be home for Christmas. He's not going to home until the day after. But once again, Carlos had pulled him up and set him back on his feet. He's given Logan a reason to smile.
"I guess I don't have a choice," he jokes with a small laugh.
"Nope!" Carlos says cheerfully. He shoves Logan and then returns to his place on the other side of the checkerboard. "We'd love to have you, Logan. Trust me."
"You're the greatest," Logan says again.
"I know." Carlos' grin widens. "Now let's finish this game." The words leave his mouth an instant before an especially strong gust of wind makes every inch of the house creak. The lights flicker once, and then go out. "Of course," Carlos sighs. "Are you okay, Logan?"
"Fine." He can hear Logan fumbling around and then the light of his cell phone illuminates the dark room just enough so they can see each other. "You?"
"I'm fine." Carlos stands up, abandoning the game of checkers. "We should head downstairs though." He takes out his own phone and lets it light his way to the wall where he waits for Logan. "Do we need anything?" he asks breathlessly.
Logan shakes his head. "No, we should be good. We brought some food and water down there this morning, remember?" So they feel along the wall until Logan's fingers close around the knob of the basement door. He swings it open and cautiously proceeds down the stairs, holding tightly to the railing. Once his feet are on solid ground, he lets out a sigh of relief and turns to watch Carlos. "Careful," he warns.
But Carlos is finding the power outage to be a fun challenge. He joins Logan at the foot of the stairs and then looks around, admiring the pitch black room. "This is so cool!" he exclaims in an awed voice. "It'll be like camping!"
Logan snorts. "Yeah, I just hope we don't run out of firewood and freeze to death." As he speaks, he moves to the fireplace, gesturing for Carlos to help him. "Find a flashlight and hold it so I can see what I'm doing."
Carlos quickly obeys. "Need me to do anything else?" he asks, watching Logan select a few pieces of wood.
"Nope," Logan replies. "Just hold the light steady, please." Logan is an old pro at starting fires and within minutes, they have a comfortable blaze going. Sighing in relief, Logan sets aside an extra log and then sits back on his heels. "Okay," he breathes. "Let's just hope the power won't be out for too long."
Outside, the wind howls around them, and both boys can't help but shiver a little. Carlos' cell phone rings and he hurries to answer it. "Hey, Dad."
"Carlos, how are you boys doing in the storm?" his dad asks, getting right to the point.
Carlos turns to Logan and makes a face. "The power went out," he says reluctantly. He can't help but grin when he crosses his fingers and sees Logan do the same thing at the same time. But their wishes are useless. Of course his dad is going to worry about them now.
"How long has it been out? Is the storm getting worse? Are you boys going to be okay?"
"It's been out for about fifteen minutes, I don't think the storm is getting worse, but I also don't think it's getting better, and we'll be fine, Dad. We have food and water and we're down in the basement with a fire going in the fireplace." Carlos dutifully reports. "Now, what about you guys?"
His dad sighs and Carlos braces himself for the worst. But he's surprised.
"We have tickets for a flight late tomorrow night. If the weather clears up, we should be home at around 3:00 AM Christmas morning."
"Really?" Carlos catches Logan's eye and gives him a thumbs up. "That's fantastic, Dad!"
"I wish we could be there now," his dad says with a heavy sigh. "Are you sure you'll be okay, Carlos?"
"Yes," Carlos says firmly. "I promise. We've lost power lots of times before, Dad. We have each other though so please try not to worry?"
His dad chuckles dryly. "It's impossible not to worry when you're a father," he says, and Carlos thinks of Mr. Mitchell, who just a little while ago was checking in on them. "I guess you're right."
"Of course I'm right, I'm your dad." Carlos can hear the smile in his voice. "Listen, buddy. I want you both to turn your cell phones off and turn them on only to call us every hour. All right? I want you to your batteries saved as long as possible just in case."
"Right. Sure, Dad. I should go then."
"Hang on, let me talk to Logan."
Pleased, Carlos tells his dad that he loves him and hands the phone over to Logan who looks equally pleased. "Hi, Papa. No, we're fine, really we are. I talked to my dad and told him just what Carlos told you. We have everything we need for now, so don't worry too much. Like Carlos said, we have each other."
While he waits, Carlos takes Logan's cell phone and sends a brief text message to Ryan Mitchell about their current situation. Then he does the same for Kendall and James, knowing that the two older boys will probably worrying by now. He lets them all know about the phone situation, saying that his dad will pass along their hourly messages, and then he turns the phone off. With nothing left to do, he sits back and watches Logan.
"Um, no. The first flight he could get leaves in the middle of the afternoon on the 26th. It's okay though." Logan's face turns red and he ducks his head away from Carlos, reaching up to rub the back of his neck at the same time. "That's what Carlos said." he whispers. "Thank you, Papa. It really means a lot to me. I will. Okay. I love you too. Bye." He hands the phone to Carlos silently.
"You okay, buddy?" Carlos asks softly.
"I'm fine," Logan assures him. "I just can't get past how awesome your family is sometimes, Carlos."
Carlos turns his phone off. "I let your dad and Kendall and James know what's going on. My dad will keep them posted."
"Thanks. For everything."
"You're welcome. For everything." Carlos grins. "Up for a game of cards?" he asks.
Carlos blinks tiredly, his mouth opening and stretching wide into a huge yawn. It's almost midnight on Christmas Eve, and though the storm has finally let up, the electricity still hasn't come back on. He and Logan have yet to go to sleep, staying up to make sure the fire doesn't go out. They've also been dutifully checking in with Mr. Garcia every hour. They haven't bothered to consider that they could take shifts and that one of them could sleep while the other waits. They're keeping each other company. But after countless board games and card games, they're both tiring. They also have bigger problems than just being tired.
"That's the last of the firewood," Carlos says worriedly as he tosses a piece in the dying blaze. He shifts closer to it and pulls his blanket tighter around him.
Sitting across from him on the hearth, Logan does the same. "Carlos," he says slowly. "If we run out of wood and the power doesn't go back on. . . We might be better off at your house. You'll have firewood and the electricity might actually be on."
"Yeah," Carlos agrees, half-asleep. It's hard to think coherently and he's having trouble stringing together sentences that are longer than just a few words. "Do you think we should head over there?"
"The storm is over, so it'll be safe enough maybe." Logan shivers a little. "I don't know how cold it is out there. It might be colder than in here."
Carlos laughs a little. "For now anyway." He eyes the dying fire warily. "I know the storm is over, but do you think we'll be able to make it through all of that snow?"
"I don't know," Logan sighs. "I mean, I haven't heard the snowplows, have you?"
Carlos shakes his head. "Nope."
"Well, I guess when this dies," Logan nods at the fire. "We'll at least look outside to see how bad it is. For now. . ." he trails off and shrugs. "We'll see."
Carlos watches the flames uneasily. He can see them shrinking and losing intensity by the minute. The house is getting colder and he can't help but feel a little afraid. "At least we won't have to worry about calling my dad and making him worry," he tries to joke. "They're on their flight home right now."
"It's not like he can do anything right now anyway," Logan gently points out. He frowns when the last flame flickers and dies, leaving them in total darkness. Reaching for the flashlight nearby, he turns it on. "Want to go take a look outside?"
Carlos nods and reaches for his own flashlight, standing up as he does so. They head slowly up the stairs and to the front door. Peering out the windows, they can see nothing but blackness. "Well, it's dark out." he observes.
Logan rolls his eyes and cracks the door open. But that's all it opens: a crack. it doesn't move anymore because it's stopped by a thick wall of snow. An icy chill sweeps in the already cold house and Logan yanks the door shut, reflexively locking it. "We're snowed in." he says, sounding slightly stunned. "We're literally snowed in."
Carlos refrains from asking what figuratively being snowed in would be like. He can sense that Logan is in no mood for poor jokes or curiosity. "Well," he says, trying to sound cheerful. "I guess the only thing we can do is head back downstairs. Or do you think it would be better if we went upstairs? Heat rises, right?"
"I don't know of there's any heat to rise right now," Logan says fretfully. "It would probably be a better idea though. Just in case."
"All right," Logan seems to be at a loss for what they should do, so Carlos steps up to take action. "Let's go down and get whatever we'll need, then head up to your room."
"Right," Logan says faintly, allowing Carlos to take his arm and drag him to the basement steps. "That makes sense."
Downstairs, they collect the spare flashlights and extra batteries, as well as their cell phones and some food, water, and blankets. Armed with their necessities, they walk carefully back up the stairs and then continue up to Logan's bedroom. Carlos glances out the window, taking time to marvel at the deep snow that lights up the inky night. "I don't think it's ever snowed this much at one time." he says in an awed voice.
Logan joins him by the window, groaning at the sight. "I can't believe this is happening. We're going to die!"
Carlos bursts out laughing. "Logan, don't be ridiculous! We're not going to die. I doubt it's cold enough for us to freeze to death and it's not like we don't have enough food and water. We'll get out of here before we freeze or run out of anything we need."
"If you die though-" Logan's voice cracks and to Carlos' horror, he begins to cry. "If you die, it will be all my fault. B-because you should be w-with your parents and s-sisters and grandparents flying h-home right now. You shouldn't b-be here with m-me."
"Logan," Carlos moves quickly to his friend's side and pulls him into a tight hug. "Don't cry, buddy! I'm not going to cry, and neither are you. We're going to be fine, you'll see!"
"But, C-Carlos-" Logan stammers.
"No." interrupts Carlos. "Listen to me, Logan. We're both going to be absolutely fine. In a few hours, my parents and everyone will be home. I bet you anything that as soon as they do, my dad will be over here to get us out and take us to my house. And we're going to celebrate Christmas together. It'll be great, you'll see."
"Do you really think so?" Logan sniffs.
Carlos nods. "I know so, Logan." he promises. "You'll see."
Logan takes a deep breath, calming himself down. "Sorry," he breathes. "I guess I'm- I'm a little scared right now, Carlos."
Carlos hugs him tighter. "You don't ever have to be afraid, Logan. I'm here with you and I always will be. I promise. I'll take care of you."
"Carlos. Logan. Wake up, boys!"
Carlos stirs and cracks open his eyes. To his surprise, it's not only lighter, but also warmer in his room. He realizes rather quickly that the power has finally gone back on and that his dad is sitting on the edge of the bed, gently shaking his shoulder. "Dad," he says sleepily. "You made it."
"Hi, Carlos." Mr. Garcia smiles and helps his son sit up so he can draw him into a hug. "Are you boys all right?"
"We're fine," Carlos says in a muffled voice. "We ran out of firewood and the power wasn't working, so we came up here."
Logan wakes up then, looking incredibly disoriented. "Carlos?" he asks around a huge yawn. "What time is it?"
"Just after four in the morning," Mr. Garcia answers. He reaches over and gently pulls Logan into his arms as well. "Merry Christmas, boys."
Logan's eyes light up with realization. "Papa! You're home! Carlos, the power came back on too! And it's Christmas!"
Carlos laughs and leans close to his father. "I know, Logan!"
"Looks like I got here just in time," Mr. Garcia says, looking serious. "The power was back on, but you boys were really snowed in. I had to dig out the door so I could get in." He looks closely at each of them. "Are you both okay?"
"We're fine," Carlos assures him quickly. "Aren't we, Logan?"
Logan grins back at him and nods. "Just like you told me." he says gratefully.
Mr. Garcia smiles in relief and then lets go of them to stand up. "What do you say we pack a few things up and then head home? I think your mother convinced the girls that they could wait until later to see you boys again, but she'll still be up herself. We shouldn't keep her waiting."
Carlos and Logan hurry to obey, hastily packing up Carlos' things and then throwing together some of Logan's belongings. It takes them no longer than ten minutes since they're eager to leave the house.
At the door, Logan pauses to look around at the Christmas decorations. He closes his eyes briefly and Carlos knows that he's thinking about his father. "Ready, Logan?" he asks gently.
Opening his eyes, Logan smiles and nods. "Yeah. I'm ready. Let's go."
It's freezing outside, so they hurry to the car that is still a little warm from the drive over. The streets are dark, empty, and completely quiet and no one speaks for the entire ride to Carlos' house. There's one light on in the family room and Carlos drags his luggage behind him in a careless manner, too eager to see his mother again to be bothered with caution. "Mom!" he says happily when she opens the door for him.
"Carlos! Hi, honey!" Her arms are around him instantly, forcing the bags to be dropped to the floor. "I missed you so much, baby." Pulling away, she kisses him and then smiles over at Logan who is standing shyly off to the side. "Come here, sweetie."
Carlos laughs a little at the look of surprise that crosses his face when he's instantly pulled into a motherly embrace. He's glad to see his friend recover quickly however and return the hug. "Are all the girls asleep?" he asks.
Mrs. Garcia kisses Logan and then steps away. "Yes. Your grandparents are too. And you boys," she adds sternly. "I want you two in bed too. You both look exhausted!"
"We are," Carlos admits as Logan nods in agreement. "Come on, Logan. Let's go. Night, Mom and Dad." He hugs his parents again, grinning when neither of them let Logan escape the same.
They walk up as quietly as possible, not wanting to disturb Carlos' sisters or his grandparents in the guest room. Sighing in contentment at the sight of his own room, Carlos pulls out the trundle for Logan before collapsing in pure exhaustion on his bed. "Night, Logie." he murmurs, his voice muffled from being buried in his pillow.
"Goodnight, Carlos." Logan replies, sounding just as tired. "Thanks for everything you did for me this week. It was really. . ." There's a pause as Logan searches for a word that fits. "Amazing." he finally says, sounding slightly unsatisfied with the lack of adjectives.
Carlos understands perfectly though. "You're welcome, Logan. I'm really happy that you had such a good time."
To his surprise, he doesn't fall asleep right away. He hears Logan's breathing become deep and even, as he drifts off into a relaxed sleep. But Carlos is almost too relaxed to fall asleep right away. He's happy that everything worked out so well. Sure, there were little bumps along the way, like the pathetic tree and the disastrous cookies. But the tree turned out beautifully once it was decorated and the cookies make him laugh now. It all worked out. The last week was a lot of fun. He's never spent that much time alone with Logan and it was wonderful to see him so laid back and at the same time, so excited. It was almost like Carlos had given Logan a missing part of his childhood that he always deserved. He's pretty sure that Logan will eventually go back to his normal, more serious and mature self. But that's okay. Carlos and James and Kendall love him just the way he is.
It really has been, Carlos thinks as he finally slips into unconsciousness, the best Christmas ever.
A/N. I will now be starting two more multi-chapter stories, one titled "All Of Me" which features Daddy James, and "Invisible" which is another Cargan. The first chapter of "All Of Me" should be up later tonight and I have to figure out the plot holes/weak spots in "Invisible". Thanks again!