A/N So this is just a quick little Jarlos cuteness that I wrote in honor of Carlos' tattoo. Written to make Vikwhis13 cheer up. And any other fans who are sdklvnjeiojeioaskl about it. I also know absolutely nothing about tattoos so excuse me if I am way off.
Carlos scrunched his eyes shut and tried to think about anything else other than the tiny needles puncturing his delicate skin, permanently marring his body with jet black ink. He bit his lip to help fend off the pain and didn't stop until a thick, iron-y tasting liquid pooled against his tongue. It hurt so badly. Carlos hated pain. But at least it was a different pain than he had been feeling the past month or so.
It was the fact that he was the good one, the angelic one that drove him to get a tattoo. He felt like his presence in Big Time Rush was barely even noticed, except for how childlike he was. All day he heard comments about his baby face, and how innocent he was for his age. He never once realized that all those qualities was what made him unique and beautiful, because the world just didn't have enough people like him in the world. Instead all he saw in the mirror was somebody who was weak and useless.
The only solution to this, in his young mind, was to be the bad boy, like Kendall was. Do something crazy, rebellious. Everybody always noticed the bad boy. He wouldn't be so invisible anymore if he did something crazy.
So with his irrational emotions compelling him, he waited until the middle of the night and grabbed a chunk of money from his bright yellow piggy bank then walked off to a local tattoo parlor that he and his buddies had driven past so many times. Logan always commented on how sketchy the place seemed, but Carlos didn't think of the fact that the tattoo artists might not be real professionals. He didn't think that maybe he could get diseases or infections from contaminated needles. His mind was set on getting a real tattoo and becoming a tough man, instead of tiny, cute Carlitos.
He was already regretting the decision. He hadn't known it would hurt so badly. Tears pricked at his eyelids and he was sure he could take no more of the unbearable pain.
"Just stop!" Carlos suddenly cried out over the loud buzz of the needles going into his skin. Alarmed, the tattoo artist stopped his work and shut off the needle… Gun… Thing. Carlos didn't even know what it was called.
"Uh, is everything alright kid?" The large, burly man asked in his gruff voice. Carlos looked at him and couldn't believe he ever let this guy go at him with needles.
"No," Carlos squeaked. "I want to go home."
The large man had to suppress a laugh, his huge, tattooed arm jiggling with his effort. "But I barely even started, Carlos! I'm not even half done yet! It looks good, do you want to see?"
Carlos sniffled and nodded, and the man helped him lift his arm so he could see the start of a skull and crossbones tattoo on his left side.
Pain shot through Carlos' abdomen when his arm was lifted and he cried out, his cheeks turning pink with humiliation. The tattoo artist chuckled. Carlos wanted to cry even harder when he saw how red and disgusting his skin looked. Blood oozed around the ink, creating a disturbing mix of red and black swirls. Now Carlos really wanted to go home. He didn't want the needles to come near his skin again, and honestly he was kind of scared of the bizarre-looking clients walking in and out of the shop, smoking their nasty cigarettes and watching him as if they were planning on eating him for dinner.
"I don't want anymore," Carlos said, trying to get off the table, but the man pushed him back down. He shuddered with fear, thinking that the huge, scary man was going to hold him down and finish the tattoo regardless of his protests. "Please don't finish it!"
"Will you relax, kid!" The man said, amused. "We can always finish it later. You think you're the first customer I had that came in and freaked out halfway through the tattoo? I just need to clean you up and disinfect everything before I let you go."
"Oh, ok…" Carlos agreed reluctantly. The process of getting it cleaned was extremely painful as well, and again he was near tears by the time the man was finished. Carlos hopped off the table as if it was on fire and grabbed his shirt, his side flaring up in pain with each movement.
"C-can I make a phone call?" Carlos asked timidly, gesturing to the phone hanging on the wall by the front desk. The burly man nodded.
"Be my guest."
Carlos took a deep breath and dialed seven very familiar numbers, relief and comfort flooding through him when he heard the groggy, low voice on the line.
"James!" Carlos yelped. "Hey, you gotta save me! I'm downtown and I'm scared to walk home and it hurts and-"
"Whoa! Calm down, buddy. What happened? Why are you downtown?" James asked frantically, his voice projecting panic and concern.
"I'm at that one tattoo parlor by Happy Burger," Carlos explained. "Please, just come get me? I made a stupid mistake."
"Yeah, just hold on buddy, I'm coming. Don't go anywhere!"
"I don't plan on it," Carlos said meekly. James hung up and Carlos anxiously awaited salvation from the horrible, pain filled 4 walls of the tattoo parlor. He didn't have to wait for long for James to burst through the door looking like he was on some kind of mission, wearing a black leather jacket and a shiny hunk of plastic held in his hands. He had the appearance of a very tough, very protective older brother for once instead of the face of a pretty boy. The tall brunette gave the tattoo artist a look of great disdain, as if he was the only reason why Carlos was huddled in the corner of the smoke filled tattoo shop with tears leaking from his scared, puffy eyes.
"Carlos, are you ok?" James shouted over the shrill buzzing that echoed through the small shop.
"James!" Carlos cried, running to his best friend. "And you brought helmet!" James placed the beloved helmet on Carlos. The Latino wrapped his arms around James tightly, but quickly let go with a scream of pain when James hugged him around his waist, accidently squeezing his tattoo.
"Oh my God, Carlos what did you do?" James asked with a sigh, ghosting his fingers over the raw, red design on his used to be perfect skin. "Why would you do this buddy?"
Carlos looked at his feet guiltily and sniffled. James frowned with sympathy and patted his shoulder.
"It's ok, bud. We'll talk in the car. I'm going to go ask a few questions and then we'll go home. Just sit tight, Los."
Carlos nodded sadly and sat in a chair as James talked to the tattoo artist about random stuff. Finally, James thanked the man and came over to Carlos.
"Ok buddy, he said he can remove it for you tomorrow. It's easiest to remove it when the ink isn't set or something apparently. It's gonna cost us, though. Mama Knight isn't going to be too happy."
"Do we have to tell her?" Carlos asked tearfully, looking up at James with red-rimmed puppy dog eyes.
"Yeah, sorry Buddy. She has to know about this. Come on let's get out of this hell hole." James put an arm around Carlos and walked him out to the car. They drove in uncomfortable silence until they reached the parking lot of the Palmwoods. Carlos tried to make a hasty escape but James stopped him.
"Not so fast, 'Los," James said gently. Carlos sighed and sat back in his seat, leaning his head back and closing his eyes. He was dreading this part.
"I don't want to talk about it, James."
"Too bad, you have to. Just because we have to tell Mama Knight about this stunt doesn't mean you have to tell her why, but you have to tell me."
"How come?" Carlos asked in a whiny voice. He was tired and just wanted to cuddle in his blankets and sleep.
"Because I'm like your big brother, and I care about you Carlos. And what you did back there, that wasn't you. Besides the fact that it was illegal because you are only 17, it's against all your morals and just… Not very Carlitos. The Carlitos I know would never sneak out at night and do something like that. You could have been killed walking downtown in the middle of night in LA! At least you had the common sense to call me instead of walk home but jeez Carlos a sketchy tattoo parlor, really? Any tattoo parlor that will ink a kid is 50 different kinds of wrong. What if they don't clean their needles? What if they aren't even certified to do that job?" James continued, his voice rising higher and higher with anger. "You could get aids! Lucky for you that guy seemed legit but-"
"I did it so you could notice me," Carlos suddenly said, breaking James of his rant mid-sentence. James just stared at him, flabbergasted.
Carlos was silent for a moment, save for the occasional tiny, self-loathing whimper that escaped his mouth. He wiped his tears and took a shaky breath. "I said, James, I did it so you would notice me, for everyone to notice me. The fans, Kendall, Logan…"
"What are you talking about?" James asked, stunned and confused.
Carlos coughed and pressed his cheek against the cool glass of the window pane beside him, letting hot tears run down his face. "I'm just… Tired of my image in the band, James. I want to be different, cool… Like you guys. I'm the baby of the group, the cute face. Don't you realize I'm constantly made fun of for that? Guys don't even want to hang out with me because I'm such a baby and all I hear from girls is how adorable I am and how squishy my cheeks are. I don't feel very manly, James!"
James hid his smile, because it would be very inappropriate to laugh while Carlos was in the middle of the rare act of spilling his guts out. He also had to suppress the urge to coo about how cute he was being at the moment.
"Carlos, I understand what you're saying, I do. You aren't the only one who is haunted by his 'image' in the band. Logan has to go around for the rest of his life as the timid little nerd. I'm the pretty boy, which you could imagine the kind of comments I get for being that. And Kendall gets labeled as the heart breaking bad boy all the time."
"But none of that's true," Carlos said. James nodded.
"Yeah, I know that. You know that. And that's what matters, bud. Before I moved here, my mom warned me about labels and all that stuff. She just said to always remember who you're true friends are, no matter what Hollywood throws at you. And when you look at it like that, it's not much different than high school. As for your image, I wouldn't worry too much about that. You don't need a tattoo to prove your strength. We already know your strength inside, dude."
Carlos looked up, interested. "What do you mean?"
"I mean, remember that time your dad was shot when we were in the 5th grade, and you stayed so brave for your little brother and didn't even cry in front of him?"
Carlos nodded. "I only cried in front of you, so I wouldn't scare him."
James nodded. "Yeah, and what about that time in middle school when you found out the new girl in school was being abused by her stepfather? Dude, you stepped in like some kind of super hero and protected her and made sure she was safe as if you were a grown up. And don't forget you left behind your normal life in a small town to become a rock star in LA. That takes a lot of bravery, too."
"I never thought of it that way," Carlos admitted. James ruffled his hair.
"All I'm saying is life hasn't been so innocent to you, yet you have always kept your innocence, you didn't let those things ruin it. It's what I admire most about you. You kept your purity on the inside and it shines on the outside. Being innocent isn't such a bad thing, Carlos."
Carlos smiled, warmed by James words. "Thanks, James. Really. It's what I needed to hear. So, you aren't mad about the tattoo?"
"Oh I'm pissed about the tattoo and I'm convincing Mama K to ground you for a month." James leaned over to look at the half finished marking on his side. "I have to say though, I dig the tattoo choice. Skull and crossbones, very hardcore."
Carlos shrugged. "Yeah maybe I'll keep it instead of remove it as a war scar so I can get the ladies."
James laughed and pushed Carlos playfully. "No way. Shut up, baby."
"You shut up, pretty boy," Carlos said with a laugh, his doe-like brown eyes twinkling. James smiled, admiring the familiar twinkle in his eyes. No matter how many tattoos, bullies, or anything else that came along that threatened to steal Carlos' innocence away like a thief in the night, James would always be there to protect it.
A/N Tada! Yeah I have no idea what that was. I wrote it in like, an hour and a half in the middle of the night so sorry if it made no sense lol. But I really hope you guys liked it! I actually really like it but maybe I am just deliriously tired. Review and let me know? Reviews are fuzzy ducklings. Love ya!