A/N. Here it is, the final chapter. It's short and not a lot happens. There's also a large time jump, but I thought it was necessary. There was only one last issue to resolve in this story and I wanted to do it a certain way here. Hopefully, it satisfies all of you as well. :)
Logan stares out his window at the swirling white snow. It's been falling since this morning and has created a light blanket over the front lawn and all over. It's absolutely beautiful. The first snowfall of the year.
Sighing, Logan lets the shade fall back against the window, hiding his view of the outside. Right now, it's only reminding him of what he doesn't have anymore. He, Kendall, Carlos, and James, used to have this tradition of skating on their pond after the first snowfall of the year. Ever since they were ten, they'd take brooms and shovels and clean off the surface of the pond until it was as smooth as the ice rink. Then they'd play a game of hockey.
Logan can't remember the last time he put on skates. It was the day of his accident, but even after all this time, he has no memory of that day. He's still missing a lot of pieces of his life, but he has the important parts back and that's what counts.
He can't help but think that maybe, just maybe, skating might bring some of those lost memories back to him. His father left such a scarring impact on his life that it was no wonder Kendall tried to hide the truth from him. At the same time, the impact was also so powerful that it also makes sense that remembering him brought so many memories back. Hockey and skating in general was also an enormous part of his life. It's how he met his best friends. Wouldn't that make a difference?
Aside from that though, Logan just wants to skate. He wants to feel the sharp edges of his blades glide across the smooth ice. He wants to feel the cold biting at his face and the adrenaline coursing through his veins. He wants skating back in his life.
James and Carlos want him to skate too, and so does Kendall. But Kendall is so afraid of him getting hurt again, that Logan is actually afraid of him having some sort of breakdown. Ironic that he's protecting Kendall by letting Kendall protect him. Then again, that's how they've often worked.
Does it have to involve such a sacrifice though? Or is Logan being selfish. He'd pick Kendall being okay over playing hockey any day, same with James and Carlos. It's just really hard this time around and Logan is frustrated by the struggle.
He picks up the picture frame by his desk and stares intently at it. It's a new frame that Kendall gave him to replace the one he threw and broke. There's no crack separating himself from his friends. But it's still there somehow. Invisible. And Logan is determined to get rid of it.
Standing up, he carries it out of his room and into Kendall's room without bothering to knock. The older boy is sitting at his desk, bent over a text book. He looks up as Logan walks in and immediately reads the expression on his face. Logan holds up a hand to silence him.
"I already promised to never skate again if you didn't want me to," he begins, walking over and hopping up on the edge of Kendall's desk so he can have all his attention. "and I won't go back on that promise, Kendall. But that doesn't mean I can try to convince you to change your mind."
At first, Kendall isn't looking at him. He's staring at his textbook and Logan notices right away the slight tremble of his hands as he tries to close the large book. "Logan," he starts out slowly. "I want you to play, I really do. But I just- all I can see Logan, every time I think about you skating again, is-"
"Me falling and getting hurt again," Logan finishes softly. "Kendall, I thought you were doing well with your therapist. You're still imagining that happening to me? Does he know? Your therapist?"
He feels bad for bringing up the therapist, especially when Kendall flinches at the mention. They've all been to the therapist, a man named Ian, to deal with not only Logan's terrible accident, but the traumatic events that unfolded as a result of Logan's memory being so unguarded. Logan and Carlos were able to move on fairly quickly and didn't last long. But James and Kendall have been a different story.
James still deals with feelings of guilt and regret, while Kendall continues to be tormented not only by guilt and regret for what Logan's father did to him, but also by nightmarish memories of Logan's accident. Though they've both made slow but steady strides where the long ago past is concerned, Kendal still struggles with what happened to Logan this past summer.
"He knows," Kendall says quietly. "He said I'm not dealing with it the right way by not wanting you skate."
Logan can tell by the look on Kendall's face that Ian telling him how to deal was equivalent to telling him how to protect his brother. It can't have gone over very well. "What do you think?" he asks.
Kendall sighs. "I don't know, Logan, I honestly don't. Having you skate with us would not only make us that great team we used to be, but it's skating. It's what we do."
He's referring to them skating in the present tense, which Logan decides is a good thing. "But?" he prompts, knowing Kendall still isn't done.
"But I don't know what I'll do if you get hurt like that again," Kendall admits. "Or worse. . ."
"I can't promise that won't happen," Logan tells him regretfully. "but neither can James or Carlos or you or anyone else, Kendall. So why am I the only one sitting on the bench."
"Because you're the only one who listens to me when it's something like this," Kendall answers. "James and Carlos hate me for this. The whole team does. I hate myself. I just get sick to my stomach whenever I think of you playing again."
"Because you keep seeing my accident in your head," Logan states. "Kendall, how healthy do you think that is? And continuing it obviously isn't helping, so don't you think we should try something else?"
Kendall stiffens and automatically glances outside where it's still snowing. "I don't know."
Logan relaxes. At least it's not a straight out refusal. "We'll take it slow," he assures him. "No hockey, not even two on two. Just skating. I'll even wear my helmet."
Kendall doesn't say anything and Logan tries again. "It's tradition, Kendall," he reminds him. "We've been doing it since we were ten. The ice is where we met and I want to go back."
Kendall looks outside again. He stands up and goes to stand by the window. Logan falls silent, holding his breath while he waits. He's not out of options, but he doesn't want to push Kendall too hard right away. Today is just so important.
"Call James and Carlos," Kendall says at last, breaking Logan's train of thought. "It can't hurt to take a walk up there. I'll grab our stuff."
Outwardly, Logan struggles to remain calm, while inwardly he's suddenly so nervous and excited that he feels like throwing up. "Okay," he says quietly, pulling out his cell phone with a shaking hand. He knows he might not even end up on the ice, but at least he has a chance.
Logan can sense Kendall's eyes on him as he laces up his skates. They've already cleared off the ice and now they're getting ready to skate. Carlos is already skating around in tight, excited circles James has his skates on too, but he's simply standing on the ice, fidgeting nervously. Kendall looks like he's going to have a heart attack.
"Do you need help?" he asks, starting to kneel down.
"I can tie my own skates, thanks," Logan replies ruefully. He's so excited that his hands are shaking and he wonders if getting Kendall to help might actually be a good idea. But at last, he manages to tie them tightly enough and stands up.
Kendall's arms are reaching out towards him right away, ready to steady him if need be. "Good?" he asks breathlessly. "Are you okay, Logan?"
"I'm fine," Logan assures him calmly. "Are you okay?"
To his surprise, Kendall manages a quick smile. "Better than I thought I would be," he replies. Taking a deep breath, he steps out onto the ice and turns back to Logan, reaching out to him. "Ready?"
Logan is more than ready. He follows Kendall out onto the ice, but gently brushes aside his hand. He does let Kendall stay close enough to catch him on the off chance that he does fall. Immediately, a thrill rushes through him and he takes a deep breath.
"That's what we've been waiting for," James says almost to himself. "Kendall, don't forget to breathe."
"Ha," Kendall mutters under his breath. "I forgot your helmet, Logan," he says, obviously upset with himself. "I can't believe that I forgot your helmet."
"I can't believe you forgot it either," Logan says with a little laugh. "I'm fine though, Kendall. Really. Just because I haven't been on the ice for months doesn't mean that I forgot how to skate. I practically grew up here, remember?"
"He's not disabled, Kendall," James, less patient than Logan, skates toward the brothers and carefully eases between them. "Stop being a helicopter parent."
"I am not," Kendall denies quickly.
Logan laughs again and shakes his head. "Not at all," he says sarcastically. Part of him feels bad for laughing at Kendall when he's such a nervous wreck, but most of him is just too ecstatic to care that much.
Carlos conveniently slips and falls, nearly knocking Kendall down in the process. As the older boy struggles to maintain his balance and help his friend up at the same time, James gives Logan the smallest of shoves and winks at him.
Logan nods and takes off. He doesn't go too fast though because despite his assurance, his legs do feel unused to the slippery surface. Determined to not feel discouraged, he skates on even as he hears Kendall cry out his name.
"Logan, wait!" Of course, Kendall is skating right after him. He doesn't grab his arm though, afraid it might set him off balance, and instead forces himself to skate next to him.
"Kendall, I'm fine, really!" he exclaims, trying to stay patient and calm. "Look. This is me. Skating. Just like always."
Just like always. Kendall hesitates briefly as the words sink in. "Logan-" he tries, his eyes filling with tears. "I'm sorry. I know you're fine. I do. I just-" He stops and takes a deep breath. "You're fine. You're fine. I know."
Logan risks a smile and sighs in relief when Kendall gives him a small one in return. "So?" he asks, skating in a quick circle around his brother. "How are we doing?"
Kendall watches him glide over the ice as naturally as he always has. He looks over at James and Carlos who are both grinning widely. "Logan," he says finally. "I'm sorry I ever tried to take this away from you. It was wrong of me, and Logie, don't ever let me affect your decision making like that again. You. . . you were right."
Of course, the blade of Logan's skate chooses that exact moment to catch on an edge in the ice. He stumbles, flailing his arms out for balance, nearly taking Kendall down with him in the process. Steadying himself, he shakes loose of the grip Kendall has on him, and looks up nervously. "You were saying?"
Kendall shakes his head. "I was saying that you were right," he says, sounding slightly strained. "And don't worry, I still think that. It's still going to take a little time to get used to it."
"To get used to the fact that I was right?" teases Logan.
Kendall's eyes widen and he shakes his head again. "Logan, no, I didn't mean that! I meant it's going to take a little while for me to be able to. . . to relax. But not as long as I thought it would."
"It's funny," he continues thoughtfully. "I thought that seeing you like this would only make things worse since just thinking about it used to freak me out. But it actually makes me feel so much better."
Logan can't imagine being happier. He's with his best friends and they're on the ice once more. Sure, they aren't playing hockey. . . yet. They're taking it one day at a time. He elbows Kendall and with a grin says, "Remember when we were thirteen and James decided he wanted to reenact the entirety of Miracle?"
Kendall laughs and the sound is so good. He sounds happy. Janes and Carlos laugh too. "It came to me just now," Logan tells them, flushed with pride. "He made you be Coach Herb Brooks, Kendall, and we all got to be the Coneheads."
"Hey, I was the one who got to skip out on the sprinting scene," Kendall informs him with another laugh. "He was mad at me that week so I think his plan was to make me feel left out."
James rolls his eyes. "Clearly I've gotten better at making you angry."
"Don't remind us about that," Carlos says in a rush. "Happy thoughts only today, guys."
"I'm with Carlos," Logan agrees, slinging an arm over the smaller boy's shoulders.
Kendall and James both smile at the younger boys. "That's pretty easy to do," Kendall says. He holds out his hand and adds, "It's good to have you back with us, bro."
Logan takes Kendall's hand and shakes it firmly. "Thank you for trusting me, Kendall. All of you. Because I know Kendall wasn't the only one was nervous. I know I was."
"I knew you would be fine," Carlos says loyally. "I knew we'd all be fine."
Logan would love to have the confidence and optimism that Carlos possesses. But that doesn't matter here and now. Here and now, they're all in the same place and they all know that everything is going to be okay. He's back.
A/N. Thank you all so much for reading this story. A big thanks to everyone who took the time to tell me how they were liking it, because it means a lot to me to get any kind of feedback. I take everything into consideration and use it to (hopefully) improve my writing.
I would like to make a little announcement at this point though. This might be the last time I post anything for quite some time. It's been an up and down year for me (as I'm sure you might have noticed by now), and I'm still struggling with writer's block for all of my other in-progress stories. I might get hit with inspiration as soon as tomorrow and be able to pick on of those stories up again, but I don't want to make any promises and let you guys down. So for the time being, I'm taking a step away from writing fan fiction and concentrating on other things.
HOWEVER, this does not mean that I'm gone for good. I'll always be around if any of you need to talk. I'll also continue to read and review. And who knows? Maybe I'll post a one-shot occasionally or even figure out how to write again. We'll find out. In the meantime, thank you all for the support and encouragement so many of you have poured out and given to me even though I don't deserve any of it. You're all wonderful people and with the school year starting back up, I wish you the best of luck. Remember, I'm always here to talk. Love you!