A/N: Thanks for reading guys, hope you enjoy :) Part 1 of 2.

Disclaimer: Don't own.

Break Down
Chapter 1: Alone


"Hmm? Oh, sorry, Jo. What were you saying?"

Even from a thousand miles away, Jo could tell there was something wrong with her boyfriend. She hated when work took her out of town. Everything always went wrong at the Palm Woods while she was gone. "Are you okay?" she asked through the phone, concern seeping through her tone.

There was silence on the line for a minute; she could almost picture her blonde knight chewing his bottom lip. "Kendall?"

He sighed first. That was always a bad sign. Somehow, the Canadian winter backdrop that surrounded Jo just grew a little colder. "I'm sorry, Jo…" he started, his voice soft and small—a trait Jo had learned he only let slip out around those he was closest to. "I…it's the guys."

It was Jo's turn to sigh. Resisting the urge to roll her eyes, she replied, "What'd they do now?"

He went quiet again. From her place in the quiet ski lodge, Jo sat a little straighter and eyebrows knit together. Some foreboding feeling told her this was more than just a normal squabble. "What's going on, baby?" she tried again, gentler.

When he finally spoke, his words were so soft she had turn strain to hear over the long-distance line. "Griffin wants one of us to break out. The guys are taking it seriously."

Jo's eyes widened. "Oh," inwardly, she'd feared this day would come eventually, but a big part of her had always thought it never would. The guys were too close for that…or so she'd thought. "Kendall, I'm so sorry…" Really, what could she say to that?

Kendall sighed again. "It's just…I know the whole 'boy band' thing wouldn't last forever…I just…" he paused, breathing harshly like he was struggling to keep his temper. Jo imagined him running a hand through his hair. She smiled a little. She hated it when something was bothering him, but she loved the passion in his eyes; loved how, when he was worried, his hair stood up on all angles like a crazed porcupine.

Then he spoke again and her smile vanished. "They're actually competing for who should go on their own. Griffin's only gon'na pick one…the rest get forgotten."

Jo's temper flared. She hated Griffin with a passion. The man was all greed and no heart. "Babe…" she wanted so badly to say something meaningful, but she'd never really prepared for this conversation. She'd always figured that when the band broke up it would be a friendly event, not a ruthless competition.

She thought she heard Kendall sniffle, but it could have just been static. "I don't know what to do, Jo…I feel like I'm losing my brothers…and they don't seem to care at all."

No, he was definitely sniffling. "Oh babe, I'm sure they care…maybe they're just as confused as you are?"

His deep breath told her he was trying to compose himself. "I thought James was, but now he's working on a solo album concept with Griffin…Griffin! Of all people!" he stopped for a moment, voice quieting. "I'm sorry, hun…I called you to hear about your day. Not rant about this."

Jo's head shook furiously; how she wished he could see it. "No, Kendall. My day was boring," it wasn't, but she didn't care about it anymore. "You need to talk this out. What about Carlos and Logan? Have you been able to talk to them?

"No," he gave up trying to change the subject. He and Jo were too close for that. "I tried…but they're too wrapped up in it. Carlos is going for Broadway; Logan's gon'na be a game show host."

Jo couldn't help the surprised expression that crossed her face. "So that's what they'd do solo…"

"Yeah," Kendall managed to chuckle. "They're actually good at it, too…I'm pretty sure they'll do fine on their own no matter who Griffin choses."

"Well, what about you? What does "the Turd" want you to do?"

"Solo album. I actually tried, but…" there was that little sniff again. "It just felt…wrong without the guys."

Jo nodded, wishing more than anything that she could wrap her arms around Kendall's waist. "Is there any way you might be able to stop it?"

"I-I don't know…I don't know what to do…"

So badly Jo searched for the right thing to say. "You're gon'na make it through this, Kendall…you guys have been together way too long to be torn apart by some corporate mogul. I mean, you've beat him before, right?" she could practically feel his eyes rolling. "Right?"

"Not when I seem to be the only one who doesn't want it."

"Try talking to them again, babe. If I know the guys as well as I think, I have a feeling they'll listen. You guys are closer than brothers. They have to."

"Yeah," Kendall finally breathed, sounding terribly unsure. "Thanks, Jo…at least I know you've got my back."

Jo smiled. "Always. Now, unfortunately I got'ta run for a stupid cast meeting. Will you be okay?"

"Yeah, I'll be fine," she could hear the fakeness in his words, but pictured the tired smile on his face. "Call me later?"

Her heart always warmed when he asked that. "Of course. Love you."

"Love you too…goodbye kiss," she giggled at the smooch sound that echoed through her phone.

"Goodbye kiss," she imitated as she pulled her phone away.

From her place on the lounge couch, she worriedly touched her fingers to her lips and shook her head. With everything inside her, she prayed her favorite boys would be okay. As much as she loved Kendall for his strength, she knew that he'd crumble without James, Carlos, and Logan by his side.

Standing to leave, she stole one last look over the peaceful mountain-scape and sighed. They'd be okay, they had to be.

Meanwhile, on the other end of the disconnected line, Kendall rested his head in his hands. He was sitting on the roof of the Palm Woods. According to Bitters, it was impossible to get up here, but the boys figured out the lock quickly. Since then, the flat plateau over L.A. had been their hiding place; their secret sanctum from all the noise and insanity of stardom. And sometimes, on nights like tonight, a safe haven where emotions were released and catastrophes were compared to tiny city streets.

From his place, leaning his back against the wall of an unused air conditioner, Kendall crossed his legs and pressed his elbows into his knees. Had he been looking up, he'd see that the sky had turned orange after sunset; the overcast of clouds reflecting florescent lights back upon the city like a radioactive nightlight.

As it was, he couldn't care less.

His smile had dropped the second he hung up with Jo. There was no one left to pretend for. Not that he meant to pretend around Jo, of course. It was just that sometimes, for Kendall, emotions felt like weakness, and he didn't think he could handle anymore weaknesses today. At least not publicly.

So there he sat, hiding on the roof with his head buried in his hands, trying to ignore the burning sensation deep behind his eyes.

This was not how he planned Big Time Rush to end. Sure, he knew they wouldn't last as a boy band forever, but this ending was so different than the plan. Plan A was that they'd wake up one day and decide between the four of them (no Griffin involved) that they were ready to tackle new dreams. Plan B was that they'd live out the Big Time dream until they all got married and had kids and grew out of their own fame. Again, no Griffin involved. But this plan, this Griffin-forced disbandment of competition and backbiting was nothing like Kendall had ever wanted.

Kendall shook his head. Well, he thought, maybe it wasn't too late for him to get that hockey scholarship…he certainly wasn't going to participate in this stupid battle anymore.

But then, as his heart sunk to its lowest, he heard Jo's voice echoing in his head. "Talk to them…you guys are closer then brothers…they'll listen."

Kendall leaned his head back against the cool metal a/c unit. Of course he knew Jo was right, but what if…what if she wasn't? If he went and forced the guys to talk to him and found out that they really did want to break up, could he handle it?

A dark place inside Kendall's mind told him he couldn't.

Everyone thought he was so strong, but he'd lose everything without his friends…his brothers.

It'd been a long time since Kendall felt this low. Even when he thought he'd lost Jo, the pain wasn't like this. Of course it hurt—losing her was like a piece of his heart chipping away. But losing the guys? They were his heart. Everything he cared about, everything he worked towards; they were in every single good memory (and bad) he had ever had.

He was just so tired. This competition had been going on for two days, and Kendall hadn't slept since. And barely eaten, he realized as his stomach growled painfully. Absently, he could hear Logan in his head telling him he was being self-destructive. Kendall wasn't stupid; of course he knew what he was doing. It was the same thing he did when his father died years ago: forget self and bury focus into everyone else. He knew now, like he knew then, that he'd crash eventually. But, he figured, by then it wouldn't matter. The guys would be gone and he'd simply pass out into oblivion then have to try and fight sleep for the memories haunting him.

Of course he was being melodramatic.

It was only that right then, as silent tears finally spilled through clenched lashes, Kendall couldn't care less. He just wanted his brothers back.


A/N: Thanks again! Please review!