Inside a Boy
He just wanted to snap, he wanted to shout at him, Stop talking about Camille! But James cared too much about Logan to tell him to stop caring about someone else. One-sided Jagan.
a/n: Felt the need for some Jagan angst in my life for some reason. The fact that there's been a lot of Lomille on the show lately sort of spurred this on and I cranked it out in a couple days and there's really not much to say about it. Enjoy! (BTR is not mine. Still.)
James liked drilling dances. The other boys complained—well, Logan complained, and sometimes Carlos did just because Logan would somehow mind-trick him into thinking he wanted to complain, but James loved drilling their dances over and over and over again until he was sore. Sure, he knocked Gustavo sometimes for pushing them so hard, but James loved being perfect. And if he had to drill to reach that perfection that was what he did.
Some days, like today, James came in to the studio of his own accord and ran through the steps alone. He'd hook up the speakers to play their music and drill the concert routines as best he could on his own until he was sore.
It was a good kind of sore, though. The kind of sore that actually made him feel great, that made his skin tingle and only made him want to do more. James suspected the sort of soreness he got from dancing was just like the soreness he'd heard came from arching one's back into another person's warm body, pressing into someone so deep, tensing every muscle until it was numb.
He couldn't be sure, though. The only person he'd ever wanted to feel that soreness with was a boy who began whining at the first hint of an ache while dancing. A sort of clumsy boy that was constantly half a beat behind his bandmates in a dance routine and sometimes got frustrated with himself to the point that he just sat down and watched until the fit of annoyance passed. And even in those moments when James thought Logan must be awful in bed, he still wanted so much from him that he'd never get.
James' mind was wandering too much and he kept missing steps, so he made the executive decision to take a short break after screwing up Someday six times in a row. And he also decided he liked the feeling of being an executive, even if just for himself.
Although he'd been ignoring texts for the last hour, he figured it wouldn't hurt to check his phone now as he drank from his water bottle, panting and sweating past the lip of plastic. He skipped over the few texts from Carlos, each telling him something different and random that didn't require immediate response, and one from Kendall chewing him out for leaving the coffee table a mess—again. James hardly cared.—but he stopped on the one from Logan that made him frown.
You need to be home now.
Not a lot of time had passed since the text had come to James' phone, maybe fifteen minutes, so he held his water bottle under his elbow as he texted back.
ill b home soon
He tossed his phone back onto his duffle full of extra clothes, but it buzzed again as soon as it hit the bag. He tried to feel annoyed, but really he was just confused. He picked the phone back up.
Logan was bossy, yes, but not like this, as if he were James' mother, telling him what to do. It sort of annoyed James. He was busy, dammit, and even if Logan was adorable and desirable and all James ever wanted, it was no excuse to tell James when to be home.
im busy ill b home soon!
This time another text came at the same time James hit "send", Logan apparently not having waited for James' response before continuing.
I'm tired of being upset.
Oh. James felt a little bad. Logan would get his snippy text and think it was in response to that last one… He hastily typed back, hopefully before Logan could say any more.
just finished up b home in a few
He'd brought extra clothes to change into so he wouldn't look disgusting going back out into public, but now he didn't care. He threw his water bottle, iPod, and towel into the duffle bag with his nice, clean clothes that would now need to be washed again for contact with his gross things and hurried out of the studio to catch a cab home.
"Loges?" James tapped his fingers lightly on the door to Kendall and Logan's room as he cracked it open. He'd gone straight past Kendall in the lobby and Carlos on the couch in the living room, sparing them each a half-hearted smile and "Hey," on his way to Logan. He couldn't help noticing that each of them had been in much closer proximity to Logan than he had been and yet he was still the one who had been texted to come.
The lights were off in Logan's bedroom, the only light coming in from the window. It was still enough to light the room up, but only barely. Logan was on his bed, leaning into the corner of the walls looking more tired than any dance practice had ever made him. From the way it looked like he hadn't moved for awhile, James guessed Logan had been letting the sun light the room all afternoon and when it started to set, he'd just let the room darken. He thought about switching on the light, but if Logan hadn't bothered to get up and do it himself, James assumed he didn't want it on.
Logan hardly acknowledged James' entrance. He glanced at him, then let his head thump against the wall. The action made James' stomach sink a little and he closed the door as quietly behind him as he could. He hesitated there for a second, waiting for some sort of invitation to move or speak or anything, but nothing came. Logan was just still and silent, staring at the wall across from him.
So James finally spoke on his own. "Logan, what's wrong?" Logan didn't answer. If he hadn't sighed in response, James would have been concerned he was comatose or catatonic or something else he didn't know the meaning of.
Only when James actually approached his bed did Logan finally really react. He dropped his head forward and pressed the heel of his hand against one of his eyes, turning his face away from James. Immediately James was on Logan's bed, closing in on him and pulling him into his arms. He had no idea why Logan would be crying, but nothing broke his heart like that image. Logan was too logical and reasonable to cry for no reason. The only way James knew how to react was by holding him close.
Logan didn't react at first, but he eventually couldn't do anything else but grab onto James' tank top, the sweat from James' earlier practice having gone dry and salty on his skin and clothing, and buried his face against James' neck, sobbing now.
James honestly didn't know what to do. He hadn't seen Logan like this in a long time. Once, Logan had suffered a bout of homesickness and cried like this, but that involved all four of them shoved onto his bed holding him for hours until they shuffled into the living room to eat cookies and watch all of Logan's favorite movies to make him feel better. They'd all had those moments, even James, who loved LA so much. Even Kendall, who had his family right there with him, had broken down at times with longing for the cold Minnesota comfort he'd always loved.
Besides that one time, though, James was pretty sure he'd only seen Logan cry this hard a couple times. Even when he'd broken his arm in a particularly vicious game of pee-wee hockey, Logan had taken it like a pro, with gritted teeth and not a tear shed.
James had wailed like his world would end the first time he'd broken a bone.
And Logan had been the one there to hold him and "shh" him until his mom came out on the ice and took him to the hospital.
Now James was holding Logan, one hand buried in his hair and the other rubbing his back gently as he felt his neck become wet with tears. Rare Logan tears that probably cured puppy cancer or turned horses into unicorns or something.
James would be making himself giggle with those thoughts if the prospect of Logan crying didn't scare him so much.
This wasn't homesickness or physical pain. This was something else entirely and James didn't want to admit to himself that he knew what it was.
"Logan, talk to me…" he tried, reaching behind him to click on Logan's bedside lamp in the darkening light. A box of tissues sat next to the lamp as a regular precaution to satisfy Logan's paranoia and James took a couple. He gently shrugged Logan off of him and dabbed at his friend's eyes as he made himself comfortable on Logan's bed. He wouldn't be going anywhere for awhile, not so long as Logan was still like this.
Logan seemed to struggle to catch his breath, sobs still shaking his shoulders and his downcast eyes red and wet, still soaking his face. James' attempts to dry his cheeks did no good when the tears just kept streaming.
"I—I just don't understand…" Logan tried to begin, his voice cracking and hitching in a way that made James himself want to cry. Logan coughed, having cried himself to the point he couldn't breathe right.
When he continued, though, James felt even worse. "Camille. I don't understand her."
James hated himself, because those words made him want to check out of the conversation right then. He shouldn't have thought like that, of course, he knew, Logan was his best friend and he loved him more than anything, he should have been willing to listen to anything.
But… it was hard to listen to Logan be so hurt over Camille. Who, yes, was an awesome girl, and a good kisser, James could attest, but he didn't see why Logan was still so upset over her.
She'd broken his heart too many times for him to still spare tears for her.
"I swear she just screws around with me!" Logan said, practically yelling, a little more like the abrasive, loud Logan James was used to, but his voice was still deep and thick with sobs.
James had no other response but to nod and keep catching Logan's tears with a tissue, petting at his hair with his other hand. Normally, Logan would swat away James' attempts at coddling, but he didn't this time, and that made James feel pretty good, secure that he was doing the right thing. Of course, Logan probably wouldn't have texted James to come home and come to him if he hadn't wanted or even needed to be comforted right now.
Logan was silent for a good few minutes. His gaze was trained downward at his hands fiddling in his lap, wet eyelashes stuck together and shielding his eyes from James' view. Everything about Logan was red and James wasn't sure if it was from the endless crying or from anger that welled up in Logan like fire under a volcano. His lips had been bitten and sucked scarlet and his cheeks were a soft ruddy pink that bled up into the rims of his eyes. James didn't have much to compare it to, but he was pretty sure seeing Logan like this was what heartbreak felt like.
He felt helpless.
"I swear she knows how I still feel…" Logan whispered the words so low that James wouldn't have heard them if it weren't for the extreme silence pervading the room. "And she just…" He sniffled again, wiping at his nose as James dropped his hands away from his face. The tissues were wet to the point of being pointless. "She's gorgeous and smart and creative and nice and perfect. I shouldn't have let her go… She was the best thing that's ever happened to me, she was crazy about me, and now it's like I'm nothing. And she's moved on and I'm…" he trailed off, either unsure of how to finish the sentence or unwilling to, but either way, James was feeling frustrated with Logan. He just wanted to snap, he wanted to shout at him, Stop talking about Camille! But James cared too much about Logan to tell him to stop caring about someone else. "I hate seeing her, James."
"Then stop seeing her." James said it before he thought about it, and realized as the words came out of his mouth that they were not only insensitive but also stupid.
Which was evidenced by the look Logan fixed him with, eyebrows drawn down and his mouth tight. At least that was more like the Logan James was used to. "I can't stop seeing her, we live in the same building," he said, and James sighed heavy and annoyed.
"What I meant," he started. "Was to stop hanging out around her. And… geez, Logan, stop… kissing her," he huffed, nearly snapped, throwing his hands helplessly against the mattress. He hoped as an afterthought that his bitterness didn't show in his words.
Logan dropped his chin back to his chest again, unable to keep up looking at James the way he was. He sniffled again, wiping his eyes with his arm. James watched him, that helpless feeling sort of sticking to him like the way hair gel stuck to his hands, the way an attempt to wash it off would only make it slimy and stickier.
Logan looked smaller when he cried, more like a little boy James remembered from years back who would always be the one they called over in a game of Red Rover because he was never big enough to break through their team's defenses. James never told anyone else that he liked calling Logan over because he wanted him on his side, holding his hand as tight as he could.
That's how James still felt. Wishing Logan was with him, clasping his hand instead of grabbing for Camille's when she clearly didn't have any interest in taking care of him. And, dammit, James did. Right now, he felt the hollowness in his chest that came from wanting to gather Logan in his arms, hold him close to his chest and make everything feel okay.
In fact, the way Logan looked right now, weak, vulnerable, wiping his eyes with wet hands with his shoulders shaking on every breath… James wondered if he really could bring Logan close to him like that and get away with it. His hands twitched. He could wrap himself around Logan now and hold onto him until the pain went away, however long that would take, James didn't care. Logan was just upset enough, too, James could…
James reached out and touched Logan's cheek, getting his attention. Logan looked at James, tears still welling up and flowing freely down his face from bloodshot eyes. His eyebrows moved a little as he clearly expected James to say something. James really didn't have anything to say, though, so much as he wanted to do something. He leaned forward a little, his tongue running quick between his lips.
But he stopped. That was wrong. As much as he wanted to kiss Logan right now, as much as it killed him to stop the urge, as much as it was a real, serious struggle to stop moving closer, he couldn't take advantage of Logan's pain like that.
Even if he knew he could make Logan feel better that way.
He stroked his thumb over Logan's cheek, doing little to clear the wetness there, and ran his hand around the back of Logan's neck to wrap his arm around his shoulders. He struggled a little to speak, forcing words to cover up what he'd almost done. "This too shall pass," he said quietly, knowing the words were far too sagely for him, but he'd heard it before and it felt right. "Some famous dude said that, right?" he added just as quietly as he guided Logan back to lean against the headboard, adjusting so he could lay his head on Logan's shoulder.
Logan chuckled through another sniffle, rubbing his nose as he relaxed back with James, allowing him to keep the hold around his shoulders and laying his cheek against James' head. "Yeah. A few famous dudes, actually."
The silence came back and James ditched the tissues in his hand on the nightstand table. He wanted to feel for Logan's hand, and he knew it was bad of him, even just holding Logan's hand was taking advantage of his state a little. And it wasn't like it would help James' situation at all. He wanted Logan bad enough as it was.
He kept his hands to himself, figuring he had enough in holding Logan around the shoulders and snuggling his head close to him. He was already pushing his own limits.
"Hey, James…" Logan whispered after a minute or so—too long—of James fighting with himself. James gave a little hum of acknowledgement, tilting his head to examine Logan's hand sitting in his lap. His mind was still elsewhere, thinking about a game of Red Rover. "Thank you," Logan said, and he took his hand from his lap and touched James' on his own.
James bit his tongue. It was all he could do to not grab onto Logan's hand and never let go. "I didn't even help any…" he said, eyes still fixated on Logan's hand on top of his.
"No. No… You did." Logan's voice was still quiet, whispery and raspy from crying, but his chest had stopped shaking. James was just thinking that that was a sign the tears had finally stopped when Logan shifted his hand and wrapped his fingers around James'.
Well… then it would have just been rude if James didn't hold Logan's hand back.
It still might as well have been a game, though. Logan didn't belong to James and he never would. He would text James to come comfort him and wipe his tears, but he would never want to be held or kissed by James. He would always belong on the other side, the other team, and although he was holding James' hand for now, he would always be reaching for someone else's.