A/N Happy 4th of July, peoples! I hope you enjoy this festive one shot! Also, it's the one year anniversary of my very first ever story on this site! I can't help but think that if I never posted "I'm Not Alright," I wouldn't have you guys in my life! Love my fanfic family! I do not regret posting the story that started it all! Thanks yew guyzzz!

This is just some random, adorable friendship with a tiny bit of Carlos angst. I hope you love this!

I in no way support the pairing of Kucy but I needed Kendall to have some reason to be busy on the 4th so there will be a small dosage of Kucy friendship in here *barfs everywhere*

Ps, Vik, I just wanted to say, I do not think you personally are a sick weirdo for blowing up grasshoppers but I am using it in this story because it's hilarious and disgusting and sad all at the same time lol. I love yew Vik! So yeah the grasshopper thing is her idea. Um, you'll see… lol…

Carlos woke up in a bad mood on the morning of Wednesday, July fourth, 2012, which is a somewhat unusual thing, because Carlos Garcia was constantly happy, even at ungodly hours of the morning. But when his alarm clock blared annoyingly at 8 AM, waking him up for rehearsals at Roqcue Records, he smacked the button angrily and rolled over in bed. The first thing he saw when he opened his peepers was James, who still snored away in his twin bed across from Carlos', hugging his lucky comb to his chest. Carlos scowled at the sleeping boy and stomped away for the bathroom to get ready for the day. He knew for a fact that James hated sleeping late. If the pretty boy didn't have adequate time to do his hair and primp himself, his whole day always went all wrong and he was all messed up.

"Good," Carlos thought evilly to himself. He didn't even thing twice when he passed James, not bothering to wake him up. He deserved it anyway.

After shaving and showering, Carlos dressed in jean shorts and a vintage cartoon t-shirt. He slid down swirly and headed for the kitchen, where Logan was yawning and stretching while pouring himself a glass of milk.

"Mornin' Carlitos," Logan said, his voice kind of distorted because he was letting out a super big yawn.

Carlos ignored him.

Logan raised his eyebrows as Carlos briskly walked past him, but shrugged it off. He was too sleepy to think anything of it. He sat down wearily at the kitchen table, sipping his milk. Carlos put a large, chocolate chip Eggo waffle into the toaster oven and watched it slowly start to brown.

"Oooh, Carlos, can you put one in for me too?" Logan asked. His stomach was growling loudly and he was ready for some breakfast. Carlos turned around and glared at Logan. The brunet drew back slightly, giving him a "wtf?" look.

"No," Carlos said simply and coldly. He whipped back around, took his waffle out of the toaster (of course he had to toss the hot, chocolaty waffle from hand to hand, quietly yelping because of the intense heat) and exited the kitchen, leaving Logan dumbfounded and hungry.

"Hey, hey buddy!" Kendall said cheerfully as Carlos passed his and Logan's bedroom. Carlos was about to grab his skateboard so he could skate by the pool while his so-called "friends" got ready, but Kendall pulled him into his room and shoved two different plaid shirts into his face.

"Which plaid shirt do you like better, 'Los? Red and blue, or yellow and grey? I'm trying to decide which outfit to wear for when I hang out with Lucy tonight! I'm thinking red and blue because of the holiday. Which one do you like?"

Carlos knotted his eyebrows in fury and pushed the plaid shirts away. "Neither. They're both ugly."

"Um?" Kendall said, looking completely confuzzled and maybe even a little hurt. Did Carlos just call his style ugly?

Carlos stomped back to his bedroom, tearing large bites out of his waffle and chewing it angrily. Just as he was grabbing his skateboard, James let out a tiny mewling sound and woke up. He sat up straight, feeling well rested, but he panicked when he saw the clock.

"Carlos! Dude! It's 8:30, why would you let me sleep this late? I only have 15 minutes to get ready now!" James tumbled out of bed and started throwing clothes around wildly, looking for an outfit to wear. Carlos hummed a tune and walked right past him as if he wasn't even there. James threw his hands up in frustration at his smaller friend and let out a distressed cry. He would never get his hair done in time! And Carlos seemed to be oddly pleased with this…

Several minutes later, the boys were all squished into the limo. Except for Carlos, who sat in the way back seat, as far away from the other guys as he could get. He paid no attention to their jokes and he didn't even answer to them when they tried to talk to him. The upset Latino just played his handheld videogame, jamming the buttons with more force than actually necessary.

"Dude, what crawled up Carlos' butt?" Logan asked.

"I have no idea, but he called my clothes ugly," Kendall said. "Nobody disses the plaid! Nobody!"

James, whose hair was still a big fluff ball because he didn't have time to condition it and style it properly, tugged his comb through his locks. "He refused to wake me up this morning! And look at him back there, he looks like an evil little leprechaun planning our demise or something!"

Logan and Kendall both turned around in their seats. Carlos had the meanest, scrunched up look on his face that they had ever seen. Every now and then he would mumble something angrily and inaudible under his breath. He looked kind of adorable, but they were also concerned for their friend.

"Why do you think he's so angry?" James asked in a whisper. "I've never seen him like this before."

"What if he's mad at us?" Logan asked.

"Relax, he's not mad at us. We haven't done anything. We're awesome!" Kendall assured Logan. "Maybe he just ran out of corndogs and he's still pouting about it!"

"I know, let's surprise him with a bouquet of corndogs at lunch today! That should cheer our ol' buddy up!" James said. Kendall and Logan nodded. If Carlos was sad about anything, corndogs would fix it in a heartbeat.

So at lunch time, James bought a half dozen corndogs at the local gas station and tied them all together, than presented them proudly to Carlos in the break room.

Carlos glanced at the corndogs, took them from James, and tossed them in the trashcan.

"WHAT? CARLOS, YOU- HOW- HUH?" James could hardly speak. He was stunned. Carlos had never done something like that before!

"I'm not hungry," Carlos said. Well, actually, he was a little bit hungry, but certainly not for anything James or the others tried to feed him.

Carlos took his skateboard and headed out to the parking lot to practice some tricks. James hung his head.

"Well, did it work?" Kendall asked, coming out of the supply closet that he was hiding in with Logan.

"Look in there," James said sadly, pointing to the trashcan. Kendall peered inside and let out a gasp.

"He threw his corndogs away?" Kendall couldn't believe it!

Logan bit his knuckles nervously, the edges of his eyebrows going up to form a "v." "Oh guys, this is bad!"

"Wait, let's not panic yet!" James said, holding up his finger as an idea popped into his head. "Kendall, you should go down and tell Carlos some jokes! He always laughs at your jokes!"

"Good idea, Diamond!" Kendall said, patting James' chest as he ran out to the parking lot with Logan and James close behind.

"Yo Carlitos!"

Carlos rolled his eyes and tried to skate away, but his friends had really long legs and walked fast to keep up with him. Finally, they had him surrounded in a tight circle and he was forced to stop skating.

"Hey, what do you call a cheese that isn't yours?" Kendall asked the skating Latino. This was one of Carlos' favorite jokes. Even though he knew the answer, he laughed every time.

Carlos sighed.

"Nacho cheese!" Kendall exclaimed, giggling loudly. Logan and James erupted into obnoxious, canned laughter. Carlos just blinked.

"Oookay," Kendall said when he realized Carlos was just staring at him, bored. "Um, so, this man walked into a bar, and said 'ouch'."

Again came the laughter from everybody but Carlos.

"Your jokes are getting stale," Carlos said. He pushed past the guys and skated back to Roqcue Records. James snorted, trying to hold in his laughter at Carlos' comment. It was harsh, but funny. Kendall's face heated up.

"Oh no you don't Mister! You are telling us what is wrong!" Kendall said, running after Carlos. He grabbed the smaller boy by the arm and attempted to pull him off his skateboard. Carlos tried to keep his balance while squirming away, but the board slipped from under him and he fell to the pavement, scrapping his bare knee up.

Kendall hissed in sympathy. "Carlos, I'm so sorry!"

Carlos blinked back fat tears that threatened to roll down his face and picked himself up off the ground, ignoring Kendall's outstretched hand.

"Just leave me alone!"

"It was an accident, buddy," Kendall said.

"Come on 'Litos, I'll get you fixed up inside," Logan said, going into doctor mode when he saw the blood oozing from the broken skin on his knee.

"No, I don't need your help," Carlos said, pushing Logan away.


"I said leave me alone!" Carlos yelled. Ignoring the pain shooting through his knee, Carlos ran back inside and to the small bathroom in Gustavo's office, where there was a first aid kit that Kelly kept for the boys since she knew how accident prone they were.

Carlos let a few tears stream down his heated cheeks as he washed the blood from his knee and put on a band-aid by himself. To be completely honest, he wished Logan was helping him. Logan always made his boo-boo's feel better somehow, and he was better at applying the sloppy medicine and putting the band-aids on straighter. But Carlos shook those thoughts away, because he was mad at his friends today.

The rest of the day was long and exhausting for James, Logan and Kendall. They were really worried for Carlos, but at the same time, very annoyed. He was extremely difficult to work with, whether they were singing or dancing. He didn't say mcu and kept shooting them mean glances that made them feel uncomfortable, and he just had an all-around bad attitude. Finally, it was evening and the boys all headed back to the Palmwoods anxiously. It was July Fourth and they all had awesome plans (well, all except for Carlos, that is.)

James had scored a date with the new girl, and he was going to take her to the Fourth of July parade and then out to eat.

Logan was taking Camille to the beach to have a romantic evening of fireworks.

And Kendall was going to hang with Lucy and some other friends, jamming out and blowing off some fireworks and stuff.

While the guys all got dressed and ready for their dates, Carlos changed into some fluffy pajamas and curled up on the orange sectional, watching television.

"I really don't think he's alright," Logan said with a sigh, watching his friend watch TV all alone.

"Something's wrong," Kendall said. "He needs us."

"I'll beat up whoever hurt him," James said. "I just wish he'd tell us who made him so sad."

"Buddy, we're really worried about you," Kendall said, sitting on the sofa. Carlos just continued to watch television.

"What's the matter, dude? Come on, you can tell us," Logan said.

"I'm fine," Carlos said. "Will you guys just leave already and go on your 'Hot Dates?'" Carlos said the last part while making air-quotations.

"Not 'til you tell us what's wrong!" James whined. "You've been a giant butt all day!"

"And now you're not even going out for Fourth of July! You always do crazy stuff on the Fourth!" Logan said.

'Well not this year," Carlos said. "I just want to watch TV so will you leave me alone already?"

"Fine!" Kendall said. His patience had worn thin. If Carlos wanted to be stubborn and depressed, that was his problem. "Come on guys, we'll be late for our dates!"

James sighed and followed Kendall out the front door.

'''Night, 'Litos," Logan said softly. Carlos ignored him so Logan left too, to go pick up Camille.

The door shut loudly with a thud and a click, echoing loudly through the empty apartment. Carlos squeezed his eyes shut, forcing tears back. They left him. They actually left him on Fourth of July to spend time with their new girlfriends. Carlos felt like his heart was pulled from his chest. He was just so sad now.

"Stupid Palmwoods, stupid LA," Carlos thought bitterly. Ever since they moved to Hollywood, Carlos felt like his friendships with the guys had changed quite a bit. They were more like brothers and in some ways even closer now that they were living together and had gone through so much together, but in other ways, he felt like they were also growing apart. Lately, things had been different. They were always off doing their own projects and hanging with girls and other friends rather than each other. Carlos couldn't help but miss buddies.

Before they moved to LA, spending the Fourth of July with a girl was unheard of! None of them would ever do that to each other! Ever since they were very little, all four of them had spent every single Fourth of July together. They never missed one fourth in the history of their friendship, not one! But of course, stupid girls had to go and ruin it!

Carlos pouted and rolled off the couch miserably, desperate for some sort of comfort. He trudged to the kitchen and searched the cupboard for his beloved blue sippy cup. He filled it with milk and headed back to the couch, but there was nothing on to watch. He went to the video cabinets to find a movie to watch and rummaged through the dvds. He had seen all of the movies in their collection several times, and it wasn't much fun to watch them without the guys, because they all had their own little inside jokes for each movie and quoted the lines together in goofy voices.

Carlos gave up searching and sat on his hunches, sipping his milk thoughtfully. He saw a pile of videos way in the back that he never remembered seeing before and reached in curiously. He brought out an old cassette tape and wiped the thick layer of dust covering the title.

"Home videos: Kendall with James, Carlos, and Logan." The cassette tape read. Carlos felt a little pang of sorrow deep in his chest and went to put the movie back, but then decided to pull out the whole stack and look through them. There were dozens of these old videos, dating from when they were in Kindergarten to before they left Minnesota. There were school plays, Christmases, Vacations, and even videos they filmed themselves, back when Logan wanted to be a movie director and James, of course wanted to be a movie star. They made tons of hilarious, cheesy short movies, like "Alien Puppy Attacks" and "The Fish Who Saw Everything." There were also videos titled "Kendall, Carlos, James and Logan: Fourth of July, 1998," etc. Carlos smiled sadly and popped in that video. It was their first Fourth together, and they were so tiny! They were only four to five years old. Logan was scared of the fireworks and was crying in his mother's lap. Sylvia was busy screaming at Carlos for getting too close to the fireworks that their fathers were setting off for them. Kendall was holding a baby Katie on his lap and James was giggling wildly every time a firework was set off. When James was little, he had the cutest, most contagious giggle out of all them. He even beat Carlos out for cutest giggle. He was just so easily excited about absolutely everything. Carlos couldn't help but miss the more innocent side of James. Now, the pretty boy was so wrapped up in everything Hollywood, he was like a totally different person.

Carlos sighed and put in a video from a Fourth of July a few years later. They were much bigger in this video, and James was starting to grow his hair out. Katie was a sassy toddler and was gladly bringing the boys toys like army men and little animal figures to blow up with tiny firecrackers. They were all setting them off with a bang, followed by tons of laughter, because what's a more fun pastime for a nine year old boy than blowing things up and watching them melt?

Carlos gagged and screamed when a tiny version of himself strapped a firecracker to a grasshoppers back. With an excited giggle, he lit the fuse with his sizzling punk and watched the bitty, green creature be blown into oblivion.

"Wow, I was a sick weirdo back then," Carlos whispered to himself, thoroughly disturbed by what he just saw.

For the rest of the evening, Carlos popped in video after video of the boys hanging out on the Fourth, planning silly shenanigans and acting crazy, slurping the milk from his sippy cup and cuddling with blankets. It made him feel so warm and fuzzy inside to watch these old, forgotten about videos., but also at the same time, deeply sad. He missed his bro's. He wished they would spend time together again, like they used to do.


James, Kendall and Logan were having a blast on their dates. They loved the company they were with, of course. It was the first Fourth of July they ever got to spend with hot girls! But, at the same time, their minds kept wandering back to the lonely Latino back at the apartment. How could Carlos not even make plans for the Fourth? Something had to be seriously wrong with him to want to just spend such an awesome night holed up at home on the couch.

And that's when they all realized, simultaneously, even though they were at totally different locations doing separate things, why Carlos was acting so upset all day. Call it best-brotha-from-anotha-motha telepathy, but the three boys jumped up, apologized to their dates quickly, and all met up in the lobby of the apartment at the same time.

"Guys, I just can't be on a date knowing Carlos is this sad," James said after they all crashed into each other chest first. "I've been thinking about him all night and that's just weird when you are trying to kiss a pretty girl."

"Ew," Logan said at James' comment, wrinkling his nose. "But I kind of feel the same way. We really screwed up, didn't we guys?"

"We should have never left him alone in there," Kendall said. "He really is mad at us. We never even bothered to include him in our plans. We've never spent a Fourth of July without each other and we pretty much just blew him off."

"No wonder he hates us," James said, shaking his head. He felt like the lowest loser ever right now.

"We need to go apologize to him," Logan said, turning around to go up the elevator and talk to his hurting best friend. Kendall caught him by his sweater vest.

"No, we need to do more than just apologize. We need to make it up to him," Kendall said with a mischievous glint in his emerald eyes. James grinned and nodded excitedly. Logan felt a little scared.

A few hours later, James and Logan had everything set up. All they needed was Carlos! Kendall drove back to the dark, quiet apartment to pick his little brother up. He found the younger boy sprawled out asleep on the floor, wrapped in a blanket with his sippy cup clutched tightly in his small hands. A home video of the boys blowing up fireworks and singing random songs was playing on the flatscreen. Kendall felt like a pretty horrible person.

"Yo Carlos, wake up buddy," Kendall said, shaking his friend to wake him up. Carlos moaned and blinked open his eyes.

"Kendall?" He asked. He missed his friend after he had been gone all night. He wondered if he had fun tonight or if he managed to kiss Lucy, but then he remembered he was mad at Kendall. Carlos rolled over onto his stomach with a huff and pulled his blanket up over his head.

"Carlos, I am so sorry," Kendall said, rubbing his back gently. "I think we realize what we did wrong, and we have something for you, ok?"

Carlos rolled over curiously. "What is it?"

"You have to come and see. But I think it's gonna light up your night," Kendall said with a wink. He pulled Carlos to his feet.

"But it's past midnight," Carlos said.


"That's past Logan's bedtime."

"Logan's making an exception."

"Oh. Are we going to get in trouble?"


"Bring it!" Carlos said, whipping out his helmet from out of nowhere and strapping it on his head with a pat.

Even though Carlos was still in his jammies, he followed Kendall to the BTRMobile. They drove for quite a while, to get out of the city. Finally, they arrived to the top of a hill. Logan and James were sitting at the top with a pile of boxes. They were wrapped in a thin blanket together because the night air was a bit cool, but still comfy, drinking soda and waiting for their friends to arrive.

"Carlos! You made it!" Logan said happily, standing up. Carlos smiled shyly. He felt like he just couldn't be mad at his friends any longer.

"What is all this?" The pajama clad teenager asked.

"It's Fourth of July, old school style," James said.

"Listen, Carlos," Kendall started. "We didn't mean to leave you out tonight. I guess we should have thought first before we made plans-"

Carlos shook his head. "No, you guys don't have to apologize, I-"

"No Carlitos, we're serious," Kendall said. "That was pretty dumb of us. Our friendship, it's been a certain way since as long as I can remember. Now that we're older and live in Hollywood, things are just different. We're finding girls, new friends, new interests… Things are changing and we're letting them. But I don't want to lose what we had, guys. I want to have it forever, our silly little traditions and our stupid rules and codes. The stuff we made up when we were little means a lot to me."

Carlos smiled and looked down at the grass. "I miss you guys, a lot. It's not just tonight, but I guess that's what finally broke me. I feel really bad and I shouldn't have treated you guys like that. But it bothers me that I can't even remember the last time the four of us actually hung out all together besides the studio. Logan's always with Camille and James is always trying to find new jobs and Kendall, you're so popular everyone has your attention all the time. I feel like I'm the only one who's the same old Carlos. Trust me, I would be bored of myself, too."

"Carlos, no," James said. He felt like he was punched in the gut. How could he let his friend feel so ignored? "You are so far from boring, trust us. That's not it at all. We just got a little wrapped up in everything. We never wanted to leave you on the Fourth. It's tradition for us to blow things up every year and that's what we're going to do."

"We really are sorry, 'Litos," Logan put in. "I love Camille, but you guys are always number one. I can't say things will be the same forever. We're going to have girlfriends and do different things. This isn't high school anymore, it's the big time, and we're growing up… But right now, right here, we have each other and a huge pile of fireworks. So I say we blow things up and forget about everything else for a little while."

Carlos grinned and dogpiled his friends in a huge hug. They all laughed and squeezed each other for a while, enjoying some peaceful time together.

"So who's ready to light some stuff on fire?" Kendall said, wriggling out of the dogpile.

"Yeah!" Carlos cheered.

So for the rest of the night, until the sun rose, it was just James, Kendall, Logan and Carlos. They laughed as they joked around and rough housed. They rolled down the hill and raced back up it. They "Ooh'd" and "Ahh'd" at the various fireworks they set off, lighting up the night sky with specks of vibrant purples, greens, reds, and blues. And when the bright ball of orange that was the sun began to rise, the four friends who were closer than brothers found themselves curled up together in an exhausted heap, slowly falling into a content and comfortable asleep, because they were together.

A/N Yeeeuuuppp… Lol. I hope you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading and happy 4th! Reviews are fireworks ;)