A/N I'm not sure where this came from, but it was cute in my head, so hopefully you guys think so to! This is before BTR existed.
James had just finished a long, hard study session at the library. His brain ached and his eyes were watering from the strain of staring at books and a computer screen for eight hours straight. As he pinched the bridge of his nose and took a deep breath, he thought of just finally going home and crawling into bed. It had been a bad day for the pretty boy. He was told he failed three of his classes and would have to repeat the tenth grade over again if he didn't make at least a B+ average in ALL of his classes. Right now, his average was D-! He had really messed up this time, and now he had very little time to fix things. So right after school, James had headed over to the library and there he stayed until closing time, eleven pm. The fluorescent lights began to shut off one by one, indicating the few people still left in the building at such a late hour to go home.
James' limbs felt like jello when he stood up and gathered his books. He piled them into his backpack, and, with a heavy sigh, swung the heavyweight bag over his shoulder and stalked out of the dimly lit building, headed for home.
"James! What are you doing here?"
James perked up a tiny bit when he heard his best friend's voice call for him from across the sidewalk. A tiny smile graced his tired features, and he headed over to Logan, who was dropping a few books into the outdoor book drop.
"Hey Logan. Nothing much, just got done studying a little bit," James answered, moving his long brown hair from his eyes, internally grateful that he had somebody to accompany him on his walk home. He needed somebody to take his mind off the anxious feelings surrounding his future-altering grades. Even after eight ruthless, mind-numbing study hours, he still felt just as well, dumb, as he had before he came to the library.
"For a 'bit'? You have been MIA all day and you look terrible," Logan pointed out, noting James' fragile, pale state even in the darkness.
James shrugged, ignoring Logan when he called him out. Logan always was one to worry about his buds. He wasn't much like your average fifteen year, who just cared about girls and his top score in video games. Instead, his universe surrounded around his best friends.
"Why are you here so late?" James asked. "Usually you're in bed by eleven."
"I had some books to return," Logan said, avoiding eye contact with James, so the taller boy knew right away he was lying.
"You could have returned them in the morning, Logan," James said, raising his eyebrows. It was kind of sketchy that he was here at library closing time for no other reason than to return a book when it would be much more logical to drop them off on the way to school in the morning.
"Fine, I knew you would be here, or at least I figured it anyway," Logan said. "I uh…" Logan cleared his throat really quick. "I heard you might have to repeat the tenth grade, buddy. So when you disappeared all day-even missing hockey practice- something told me you'd be here trying to redeem yourself. I just wanted to see if you were alright."
"I'm fine Logie. I swear it," James said, even though his stomach had been churning with nerves and he just felt like such a complete failure. But Logan didn't need James' problems on his shoulders. "I'll pick my grades up. I'm more mad about the fact that the secret is out. Everyone probably knows now that I'm the dumb kid."
"James, you're not-"
"Don't," James interrupted, keeping his head down, watching his light-up shoes leave a quick trail of red light with each step he took. "Don't say it just to make me feel better when you know it's true, Logie."
The sadness in James' voice made Logan realize this was serious. James was never down on himself. The kid had too much self-confidence most of the time, to be honest. But now he was walking scrunched down, as if he were ashamed to be himself for the moment, with a single tear threatening to roll out of the corner of his eye.
Logan was trying to figure out what to say to his hurting friend when he saw two shadows on the sidewalk, each shadow holding something with an orange, glowing ember end. As they approached the shadows closer, gray tendrils of cigarette smoke burned at Logan and James' nostrils.
Ronnie Duke, a fellow sophomore from their high school, stepped out from the shadows, to glare at the duo with a spark of something rotten in his eyes. He was up to no good, as usual. Logan and James were sick and tired of the guy. He'd been one of their tormentors since grade school, along with Billy Dart, who also stepped out of the shadows, puffing thick rings of smoke in the boys' faces.
"Well, well, if it isn't little genius turd and his best friend, the retard," Ronnie taunted. He took a long drag of his nasty cigarette. James just rolled his eyes.
"It's too late for this, guys. Save it for when we're in school," James said, an annoyed edge in his voice. He just wanted to get home. He tried to push Ronnie out of his way, but the bully hardly budged.
"You guys are such a contradiction," Billy teased.
"You actually know what that word means?" Logan asked, genuinely surprised. Billy just sneered at him. It was no secret that Billy and Ronnie were extremely stupid, although they apparently didn't think so.
"I heard the big ol' oaf can't even pass the tenth grade," Ronnie teased. "Why would you hang out with such a loser, Lo-gain?"
Logan rolled his eyes at his nickname. He did not want to deal with this right now. He wanted to comfort James. "I think you're the loser here, snout-face. Now let us go home already!"
James turned to look at Logan in awe. Ronnie really did look like he had a snout for a nose, but Logan never made comments like that! But Logan couldn't help it. He was irritated that his best bud was so upset and didn't have the patience to deal with the pointless teasing. All it would do to James is bring him down even more and Logan didn't want that.
"Look who's talking, you both are 17 and still sophomores," James said. "You'll probably be working as a plumber for the rest of your lives or something." James tried to push through the two big bullies again, but they were too solid. They looked like they were asking for an actual fight, like they really wanted some punches thrown. However, James rarely ever fought anybody. Unlike Kendall, who beat anybody up who even looked at his buddies wrong, or crazy Carlos, who liked to fight people as some kind of fun, odd hobby, James hated physical-and verbal- confrontation. He didn't mind the physicality of a hockey game, but when it came to one-on-one fights, he tried to avoid them at all costs. It's not that he was scared of fighting, it just wasn't in his nature. He was more of a gentle soul, like Logan. Or so he thought…
"Yeah but you're so stupid, you might as well give up everything and be the gay porn star you know you were meant to be," Ronnie said, obviously miffed and offended by the plumber and snout-nose comments. "Fag."
The last word was said underneath the bully's breath, but it was heard clearly. James visibly flinched, but pretended like he didn't hear it, even though it hurt his feelings.
But Logan, his face turned a shade of red James didn't know was even humanely possible. The tiny boy, who was probably a good 6 inches smaller and 100 pounds lighter than the two older boys, brought his arm back and released with all of his might. His small yet powerful fist landed on Ronnie's nose with an ear-piercing crack, and blood gushed out of his broken nose as soon as he withdrew his hand.
Ronnie fell to the ground, looked up at Logan like a kicked puppy, and immediately started wailing.
"You're so weird!" Billy yelled at Logan, undoubtedly afraid of the smart boy now. He helped his bully friend off the ground and the two took off into the night. Logan growled and rubbed his aching fist, shaking his head at the immature idiots.
"Are you okay, James?" Logan asked, concerned. He just couldn't believe Ronnie and Billy! James was the coolest person he knew, and didn't deserve to be bullied all the time. He turned to James, expecting him to possibly even be crying, but instead he was staring at him, wide eyed and mouth agape.
"What?" Logan asked, his soft voice an odd match for someone who just beat a kid twice as big as himself.
"Did you just punch a seventeen year old and make him cry?" James asked. He didn't know whether to be proud, grateful, or really scared.
"He called you a fag," Logan said sadly.
"I know," James said.
"It made me mad. You aren't a fag, Jamie."
James was still speechless and stunned. His tiny, sweet, shy-natured Logan just punched somebody, just to defend him.
"You broke his nose, Logan."
"Well, nobody says that kind of stuff to you. I guess it just made me lose my temper for a moment." Logan hissed in pain as he rubbed his knuckles, and James shook off his shock to tend to his little buddies hurt hand. His fist was red and a little bloody, already swelling from impact.
"Sheesh Logan, you really knocked him one, didn't ya?" James said, tenderly touching his hands and tracing his fingertips along the broken skin. Who knew Logan would pack such an insane punch? It was kind of awesome.
"Well he was a jerk. I didn't want him to make you feel even more bad about yourself than you already do. It's not fair."
James just pulled Logan in for a hug and whispered a thank you in his ear.
"You're welcome," Logan said, rubbing James' back with his bad hand, which only sent pain shooting through his fingers. "Ouchies!"
"Are you alright?" James asked.
"Yeah, can you walk me home and ice my fingers though? They really hurt!" Logan pouted. James smiled and slung an arm around Logan's thin frame as they walked side by side.
"Oh, and James, you aren't dumb either, okay? Ronnie and Billy, they're the definition of dumb. Me punching somebody twice my size, that was dumb. Because I have to deal with them tomorrow and it's not going to be pretty. But you James, you are pretty amazing and anything but dumb."
"Thanks. And you have awesome, scary random Hulk powers," James said, making Logan chuckle, despite the fact he was now sure had broken a few fingers and he wanted to just cry for a little bit. James took him home and wrapped his fingers in ice as they laughed at the way Ronnie cried like a baby. And the next day, after school, before Billy and Ronnie could get to Logan, the two bullies faced something much more terrifying then the little genius.
"This will be for calling my best friend a fag," Kendall announced as he stepped out of the afternoon shadows beside the brick building of the high school and blocking Ronnie's path, much like he had done to Logan and James the other night.
"This is for calling my best friend dumb," Carlos said, also stepping out of the shadows and pounding his fist against his other hand, his helmet snug on his head.
"And this is for breaking my best friend's hand," James said. He joined Carlos and Kendall, the trio of hockey players making a pretty intimidating looking wall.
Logan smirked in amusement as the fists began to fly and Ronnie and Billy went down to the ground immediately. He didn't normally condone violence but… This was an exception.
A/N Well that was fun! Review?