Hi, all my fellow slash-loving Rushers out there! I really ope you enjoy this! PLEASE R&R!

Note: I named the story Big Time Garbage for two reasons. One: because everything starts when Carlos takes out the garbage for Mama Knight, and Two: because homophobia itself is garbage!

Big Time Garbage

It was a pretty typical Saturday night in apartment 2J. Kendall and James had gone out to see a movie, and Katie was spending the weekend with a friend, which left Carlos and Logan at home with Mama Knight. The two boyfriends sat cuddled on the couch, watching Logan's choice of show for the evening: Mysteries at the Museum, while Mrs. Knight busied herself with cleaning up the kitchen post-dinner. Carlos loved sitting so close to Logan on the couch, the smart boy's strong arm draped comfortably over his shoulders, but he was quickly finding the TV show to be boring. Any show that was considered to be educational wasn't really his cup of tea. His mind quickly drifted as he tried to think of something else to do. He knew that if he tried to surf the net or play his Nintendo DS, he would disturb his boyfriend, so he finally decided to catch up on reading some of his numerous comic books. Just as he was about to extricate himself from Logan's loose hold, he was interrupted by Mrs. Knight.

"Carlos, would you be a dear and take out the garbage for me?" the auburn-haired woman asked as she removed the bulging white garbage bag from the can under the sink.

Naturally, Carlos groaned inwardly like anyone would do when asked to such a mundane task. However, Mrs. Knight was like a second mother to him, and he was willing to help her out around the apartment (plus, he didn't want to get yelled at).

"Sure." the raven haired boy muttered as he climbed off the couch.

Padding his way across the room, he took the garbage bag that Mrs. Knight was holding out before exiting the apartment. After taking the elevator down to the ground floor, he made his way through a small series of empty hallways until he found the back door. The cool night air nipped at this skin as he opened the door, and stepped out onto the pavement, his bare feet making a light pitter-patter sound. The wide alley behind the Palmwoods was only partially lit by a single security light, which made it appear somewhat unnerving. It just looked like the perfect place for a drug deal to go down, or a silent murder to happen, or a meeting between a hooker and a 'client'.

Shaking these thoughts from his mind, Carlos made his way over to the dumpster a few feet away next to the door. Lifting the heavy plastic lid, he dropped the garbage bag inside, and quickly closed it again before the foul smell could permeate his senses. As he turned around, he caught a movement out of the corner of his eye, which startled him slightly. He relaxed a bit when he saw three guys whom he recognized from hanging out by the pool step out of the shadows.

"Hey." he greeted politely, "What are you guys doing back here so late?"

None of the guys said a word, but rather slowly approached him. Carlos felt a sense of uneasiness when he saw the ominous looks on all their faces. A small voice in the back of his head told him that he should get out of there; the door was only a few feet away, but he stayed rooted there both out of fear and out of not wanting to appear as being a wimp. He swallowed the large lump forming in his throat as the three guys drew closer to him, quickly having him surrounded against the dumpster.

"This alley is our hang-out," the tallest guy (who appeared to be the leader) said, staring daggers down at the smaller boy, "and we don't allow fags in our hang-out."

At first, Carlos wondered how these strangers knew that he was gay, but he quickly answered his own question with the reasoning that they had more than likely seen him and Logan kissing by the pool, as they frequently did. His second thought was, "Oh, shit, what are they gonna do?"

That question was quickly answered when the guy standing to Carlos' left delivered a sudden and sharp punch to the smaller boy's jaw. Carlos barely had time to react before the other two joined in the attack, delivering punch after punch to his face, chest, and abdomen. Carlos instinctively tried to defend himself, but he was clearly outnumbered. The next thing Carlos knew, he had been knocked to his knees, which only brought on more pain because he was wearing his favorite silky basketball shorts, so there was nothing to protect his knees from the rough, unforgiving pavement. Suddenly, there was a foot against the small of his back, shoving him roughly the rest of the way to the ground. Carlos tried to catch himself, but only succeeded in twisting his left wrist, causing a sharp pain to shoot through it. Once he was on the ground, there was nothing he could do to fight back; all he could do was curl up to try and defend himself. He cried out in pain as each blow landed with sharp force.

"Yeah, that's right! Cry like the little faggot you are!" he heard one guy yell before kicking him in the stomach.

Carlos instinctively curled into a tighter ball as he yelped in pain. He didn't know how long the guys assaulted him, but it seemed like an eternity….and eternity filled with pain and confusion and just begging for it to end. When the final blow finally landed and the guys decided to leave, Carlos heaved a painful sigh of relief, a sigh that was slightly shaky from the tears sliding down the raven haired boy's cheeks. Slowly uncurling from the tight ball he was in, Carlos sat up, whimpering, and leaned his back against the cold metal of the dumpster behind him. His entire body was racked in pain, and he could feel a warm wetness sliding down his chin from his split lip as well as down his legs from where his knees had been badly scraped on the pavement. He briefly thought about trying to make his way back up to the apartment, but he didn't think he could make it on his own. With a shaking hand, he reached into his pocket to take out his phone. However, he wasn't calling 911; he was calling the only person he trusted at a time like this: his boyfriend, Logan.

After dialing Logan's number, he pressed the phone to his ear, and sniffled as he tried without success to get his emotions under control.

"Hello?" Logan's voice came over the line after three rings.

"L-Logan…." Carlos stammered.

"Carlos, is that you? I was just about to come check on you. You've been gone a long time. Are you okay?" the brunette boy asked.

"N-no, I'm not okay." Carlos answered through tears, "I need you to come down to the dumpster outside. S-something happened…."

"What's wrong, baby? Are you crying?" Logan asked, his voice growing noticeably more concerned.

"Please….just come down here." Carlos begged.

"O-okay. I'll be there in a sec. Just stay there, okay?" Logan replied before hanging up.

"Okay." Carlos whispered to no one as he hung up his own phone.

Tucking his phone back in his pocket, the raven haired boy cradled his throbbing wrist in his lap while he waited for Logan. A small shiver ran through him as a slight breeze picked up, and he wished he'd chosen not to wear a tank top that day. A couple minutes later, the back door swung open with surprising speed as Logan sprinted out. He paused just outside the door for a moment as he scanned the alley. The instant his eyes fell on Carlos' hunkered, bleeding form on the ground, he rushed over, kicking up a few stray gravels.

"Oh, my God, baby, what happened?!" he gasped, falling on his knees in front of his boyfriend.

"Th-these guys just came out of n-nowhere and they beat me up for no reason." Carlos stuttered with tears still sliding down his cheeks.

Logan's eyes instantly widened, and anger flared inside him. What kind of heartless wretch would do something like this to beautiful, sweet Carlos? He quickly pushed that thought to the back of his mind; his first and foremost priority was take care of his injured boyfriend.

"Come on, baby, let's get you back up the apartment." he said in a soft tone as he reached out to take Carlos' uninjured hand.

He carefully helped the smaller boy to his feet, quickly wrapping an arm around his waist when he swayed a bit. When he stood, the tears covering his cheeks seemed to stand out more in the dim glow of the security light. Logan quickly reached into his pocket to take out a crumpled tissue, which he used to caringly wipe them away.

"Thanks." Carlos said in a small voice as he sniffled.

Logan responded by smiling tenderly, and placing a light kiss to his boyfriend's cheek. They then proceeded to make their way slowly back up to the apartment.

"Can we p-please take the stairs….I don't want anyone to see me like this, and stare at me." Carlos asked just after they stepped inside the back door.

"Sure." Logan answered, giving Carlos' hand a reassuring squeeze.

Taking the stairs was a long and arduous and considerably painful process for the raven haired boy. Every step he took brought on a fresh wave of pain as well as a few stray tears. However, Logan was right there beside him the whole time, whispering soft reassurances. When they finally reached the front door of apartment 2J about fifteen minutes later, Carlos was leaning on Logan noticeably more than he had before they started up the stairs. All he wanted to do was curl up under his covers and never come out.

"It's okay, baby, we're nearly there." Logan said softly as he twisted the doorknob open, and they stepped inside.

Carlos was relieved when Mrs. Knight was nowhere to be seen; the last thing he wanted was to have her fussing over him half the night.

"Let's go to our room, and I'll get you fixed up with my first aid kit." Logan said after he shut the front door.

Carlos nodded as they slowly made their way down the hall to the room they shared. Logan closed the door behind them, and helped Carlos to sit down on the edge of their bed. The smaller boy moaned softly and scrunched up his face in pain as he settled on the bed. Logan wasted no time in scurrying around the room and adjoining bathroom to gather up everything he needed: his sizable first aid kit, a few damp wash cloths, and a pair of scissors from his desk drawer. He then hurried back over to where Carlos sat, and he knelt on the floor in front of him.

"Here, wrap this around your wrist; the heat will help take the swelling down." he instructed, holding out one of the washcloths, which he'd soaked in hot water.

Carlos did as he was told, wincing softly when he had to move his wrist. Meanwhile, Logan took another washcloth, and carefully dabbed it across both of Carlos' bloody knees. The bleeding had subsided for the most part, so there was no need to apply any kind of prolonged pressure to them. When all the blood was wiped away, Logan could really tell the extent of the damage. The entire top layer of skin on both his knees was gone, and the brunette boy couldn't imagine how painful it must be. It broke his heart to see his precious Carlos like this.

Setting aside the used washcloth, Logan reached into his first aid kit to take out the gauze pads, antibiotic cream, and a roll of bandages. After applying a thin layer of antibiotic cream to the abrasions, he carefully placed a gauze pad on each knee before wrapping them with bandages.

"Now, lemme take a look at your lip." Logan muttered as he picked up a fresh washcloth, and sat down next to his boyfriend.

He carefully wiped the dried blood away from Carlos' chin to reveal the small cut. It was nothing very serious; Carlos had received worse facial injuries from getting into fights during the hockey games they used to play back in Minnesota.

"Logan, I've got something I need to tell you." Carlos said, casting his eyes toward the floor.

"What?" Logan asked as he set the washcloth aside.

"You know when I said that those guys beat me up for no reason?" Carlos asked, continuing when Logan uttered a soft 'yeah', "Well, I sorta lied. They did have a reason."

"What do you mean?" Logan asked.

"When they were beating me up….they kept calling me a faggot. They beat me up because I'm gay." Carlos answered, sounding as if he were fighting off more tears.

A fresh wave of anger flooded through Logan. Homophobia was something that never failed to infuriate him. The thought of a person hating, and in some cases harming another person based solely on who they were was pointless and disgusting.

"Baby…." the brunette boy whispered as he reached out to slide a hand inside Carlos' uninjured one, "….I'm so sorry."

Snaking an arm around Carlos' back, he gently coaxed the smaller boy to lean to the side so he could rest his head against his shoulder. Carlos sniffled and just let the silent tears fall. He knew he would feel worse if he tried to keep everything bottled up inside.

"It's okay. There's nothing wrong with you." Logan comforted softly, rubbing slow, soothing circles across his boyfriend's back.

"Y-you see it all the time on TV….but it's different when it actually happens to you." Carlos said as he turned his face further into Logan's shoulder.

For several more minutes, the two of them just sat there, neither of them saying a word. Logan continued to rub Carlos' back while he gently rocked him from side to side. He could feel the smaller boy's tears soaking the fabric of his t-shirt, but he didn't care; Carlos needed a shoulder to cry on, and he was more than willing to be there for him.

"I'm tired." Carlos sighed as he lifted his head from Logan's shoulder, and wiped at his tears.

His voice was much less shaky than it had been before, so Logan could tell that he was beginning to get in control of his emotions.

"Lemme get you and Aspirin for the pain, and then you can lay down." Logan said.

He placed a light kiss to Carlos' forehead before getting up and leaving the room. He returned a couple minutes later with a small glass containing an amber liquid in one hand, and an Aspirin in the other. He handed Carlos the small pill first, which he placed in his mouth before taking the glass of liquid to wash it down. He quickly identified the drink as apple juice.

"I really wish you would let me take you to the emergency room. You could have a concussion." Logan explained as Carlos set the empty glass aside.

"Please don't make me go. We'll be there all night." the raven haired boy begged in an exhausted voice, "You're good with all that medical stuff; can't you check me over?"

"I guess I could since you won't go to the ER." Logan replied.

Opening the top drawer of his nightstand, he rummaged around inside until he located the small, red flashlight he kept there. He then knelt down in front of Carlos, and alternated between shining the lower-level of light into each eye.

"Well, your pupils are equally reactive to light. That's a good sign." he said, "Does your head hurt?"

"Just a little." Carlos answered.

"Do you feel dizzy at all?" Logan asked as he put the flashlight away.

"No." Carlos answered with a slight shake of his head.

"You don't appear to have a concussion, so I won't force you to go to the ER." Logan said as he stood up, "But if you start to feel dizzy, we really do need to go. You can lay down now if you want."

"Thank you." the raven haired boy mumbled as he shakily stood to move the covers aside.

Logan was quickly there to help him as he tried to maneuver into the bed without hurting his knees or his wrist. He couldn't help but heave a sigh of relief when he was enveloped by the coolness of the sheets and the cloud-like surface of the mattress. His tense muscles almost instantaneously relaxed, and he felt just the tiniest bit better.

"There, now I'm gonna go in the living room so you can rest. Just call me if you need anything." Logan explained once Carlos was comfortably situated under the covers.

Before he could even take a single step toward the door, a pitiful little "wait" stopped him, causing him to turn back around to face his boyfriend.

"Would you lay down with me? I don't really wanna be alone right now." Carlos asked.

Even if Carlos hadn't been hurt, there was no way Logan would have been able to resist those perfect brown eyes of his. He never could resist them; they could persuade him into going along with many of the group's outlandish plans that he would normally stray away from.

"Sure." the brunette boy whispered before walking around to the opposite side of the bed.

After removing his shoes, he carefully crawled underneath the covers, and pulled Carlos into a warm and much-needed embrace. The smaller boy rested his head against Logan's shoulder, and for the time being, he felt safe comforted.

"I love you." he muttered as he let his eyes drift shut, not even waiting for Logan's reply because he knew what it would be:

"I love you, too, baby."

This had been Logan's reply ever since they got together, and it always would be.

A/N: Well, there it is! I hope you enjoyed it! *super duper snuggly panda huggles to all who did* PLEASE REVIEW! :D:D:D:D