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Title: Steady Hands
Disclaimer: Not my boys, although I kind of love them like they are.
Pairings/Characters: James/Logan
Rating: PG-13 (entirely for language)
Word Count: ~3,300
Warnings: shots?? of the needle variety

Summary: Some people outgrow a fear of needles. Some people also get over unrequited crushes on the T.A. they had their first semester of college. James Diamond doesn't belong to either of those groups.


Author's Notes: A really silly college AU thing in which Logan and Carlos are older than James and Kendall, but Kendall still always knows what's best for everyone, even when it's entirely a coincidence.

Written for the Big Time Exchange at [livejournal.com profile] logan_james for [livejournal.com profile] thesmartdog. The prompt I used was 'The last thing on earth James wants is a flu shot.'



----

"Kendall, I'm not doing this."

"Yes, you are, James."

Kendall was pushing him—pushing him—towards the door of the student clinic, which he was only managing because James was too busy being terrified to fight him off.

It was clearly an unfair situation.

"I won't get sick! I'll just—stay inside all winter! I'm telling you, a flu shot is just really unnece—mmph!"

"Huh, I guess that door opens out," Kendall said, kindly removing James's face from the glass of the door.

James turned as much as he could to glare behind him. "It has a handle!"

Kendall just shrugged, tugging James out of the way enough to get the door open and shove him inside. James managed to get a few fingers around the door frame. "I refuse to be a part of this!"

"And I refuse to lose three games in a row again this season because half my players have the flu! You're getting the shot, James!"

"This is cruel and unusual punishment!" James was losing his grip on the frame, and Kendall was nudging him inch by inch further into the clinic.

"No, this is you being a big baby," Kendall said with a grunt. "The rest of the team already got their shots, you're the only one I had to drag in here kicking and screaming."

"There hasn't been any kicking," James said, though that sounded like a good idea. "Yet."

Kendall huffed, shoving hard at James's shoulders, finally getting him away from the door frame and sending him stumbling forward a few steps.

"Can I help you?"

James broke off the glare-of-doom he was firing up at Kendall to look over at who had spoken. There was a lady behind the counter, raising an eyebrow at them and looking far too amused for James's liking.

Kendall clamped both hands down on James's shoulders, effectively preventing an escape. "My buddy's here for his flu shot. I believe he has an appointment?"

That set James right back to glaring at him. "You made me an appointment?"

Kendall just grinned—past James, out at the receptionist. "James Diamond, 11:15? We're a little early; I expected to have more trouble getting him here."

The receptionist looked down, then nodded. "Here it is. Well, we don't have a lot going on right now so we can probably get you in and out quickly. Just fill out this paperwork and I'll let our intern know you're here."

She held a clipboard out, and Kendall marched James forward, then took it himself. "I can fill this out, actually," Kendall told her, smiling. "So he can just go on back whenever you're ready."

"If that's what you want to do," the woman said, eyeing them a little oddly as she handed a pen over to Kendall. Who started filling out the paperwork, his left hand clamped tight around James's arm. James resumed glaring at him, so hard, as the receptionist said someone would be out for James in a minute.

Kendall was almost done filling out the page—James really didn't even want to know why Kendall knew some of this stuff about him—when someone stepped out from the hallway.

"Okay, which one of you is James Diamond?"

James glanced over at the sound of his name, and promptly felt his heart stop when he saw who was standing there.

"Logan!"

It took Logan furrowing his eyebrows at him for James to realize he had sort of blurted that out. "Do I…know you?" Logan asked, expression like he was trying to place James.

"Um, not…really?" James said, blinking. What was he supposed to say? 'I was a little obsessed with you freshman year but you probably didn't actually know my name'? "I…I, uh…"

"He'll be ready in just a minute," Kendall said, choosing that moment to finally stop being a completely terrible friend. Better late than never. "Just need to finish these last couple things on the paperwork. And possibly have a pep talk."

James wrenched his arm away from Kendall to punch him with it.

"Right," Logan said, the one word all it took to refocus James's attention on him. He looked even better than the last time James had seen him. Three years ago. "Well, I'll just uh, be in Room 2. Whenever you're ready."

"Wait," James said, going completely still, frozen in place, "you—you're giving me the, the shot?"

"Unless that's a problem?" Logan asked, pausing in his turn to head back down the hall.

"Not a problem at all," Kendall said before James could even get a word out. Or stare at Logan's hands, which was more likely to happen. "He'll be right there. Pep talk."

"Okay," Logan said, looking both confused and a little amused, and James was going to kill Kendall. As soon as he could move again.

James watched Logan walk out of sight around the corner, and then Kendall pinched James on the cheek, because Kendall was an asshole. "Earth to James."

"Ow," James said, rubbing the sore spot. Then he grabbed Kendall's shirt and pulled him several feet away from the reception counter. "Dude, do you know who that was?"

"No idea," Kendall said, then added with a smirk, "but I know what you wanna do to him."

"Kendall," James said, shaking his friend a little, "that was Logan. Logan! You remember Logan!" Kendall just raised an eyebrow at him. James groaned. "From freshman year!"

James could tell when the lightbulb went off. "Oh! That T.A. in your chem class you were crazy about?" Kendall jerked a thumb towards the hallway. "That was him?"

"He doesn't remember me," James said forlornly.

"Well," Kendall said, prying James's fingers out of his shirt, "maybe if you go in there and get your flu shot like a good hockey player, he'll fall madly in love with you anyway."

"You think so?" James asked, hopeful.

Kendall opened his mouth, eyes wide like he was about to agree, then he sighed a little. "I don't know, James. But you've got a second chance now, right? Don't waste your opportunity."

James stood a little straighter, squaring his jaw. "Right."

"Plus if you try to leave here without getting your vaccine I'm going to give you the damn shot myself, and I'm sure you'd rather have Logan touching you."

"You got that right," James muttered, then grinned when Kendall punched him.

"Room 2, go," Kendall said, waving him away.

James took a deep breath and started for the hallway.

——

Logan—Mitchell? maybe? James had sort of gotten stuck on his first name and never paid attention beyond that—had been the absolute best part of James's first semester of college. Even though James spent the whole time being mildly terrified of the guy.

Chemistry was never James's best subject—nothing was ever James's best subject, really, but science was always towards the bottom of the list—but sitting through hour-long lectures on things he didn't understand was completely worth it when he got to stare at Logan the whole time.

And labs were even better, because Logan liked to make sure everyone's experiments were going okay, which meant James got to talk to him. James usually asked stupid questions and Logan would have to fix something so James didn't set the room on fire but it was interaction and therefore rocked. While also being hugely intimidating.

"Why don't you just ask him out," Kendall had wanted to know, but that was just…you don't ask teachers out. "He's not a teacher, he's a T.A.," Kendall had said, but Logan was older and smarter and the only time they talked was when James was being stupid about science.

"Fine, just write 'Logan please be my boyfriend' at the bottom of your next test, with your phone number. Problem solved," Kendall had said once, and James was holding a basketball at the time so he threw it at Kendall's head.

——

So now apparently Logan worked in the student clinic and gave people flu shots. No big deal. And he was going to give James a shot. On his skin. Somewhere. Where did you even get flu shots?

Anyway. No big deal.

Except that when James walked into Room 2 Logan smiled at him and James had to stop this little squeak-whine-thing from escaping his throat.

"Wasn't sure you were gonna show," Logan said, shuffling some papers into a folder. "I was getting a head start on my own paperwork."

"I can let you get back to that," James said quickly, gesturing at the door.

Logan smirked. "Afraid of shots?"

"Who, me? N-no way," James said, but his dismissive wave was a little jerky.

"Lots of people are," Logan said, slipping his hands into the pockets of his lab coat. "You know they have a nasal spray vaccine too, right? No needles involved."

"What?" James said, half a second later than he should have because he was distracted by the lab coat. His eyes shot back up to Logan's face. "They do?"

"Yep," Logan said with a casual nod. "We uh, don't offer that here, though. You'd have to go to another clinic, off-campus."

"Oh," James said, glancing back in the general direction of Kendall.

Logan chuckled. "Yeah, your captain probably wouldn't be too happy about that, so. Shot it is, then?"

"I guess," James agreed with a heavy sigh, then frowned. "Hey, wait—how'd you know he's…?"

"I go to the games," Logan said, turning away to rifle through some more papers. "I have a friend who used to be on the team; Carlos Garcia?"

"You—" James said, eyes wide in surprise, "you're friends with Carlos? He's like, a legend. Kendall met him once and wouldn't shut up about it for days."

"Well, you can tell Kendall Carlos finds him equally impressive," Logan said, facing James again with an eye roll. "Whenever Carlos makes it to a game he spends the whole time talking about how awesome the team captain is."

James smiled, but it quickly fell. "Ah, so, that's why you knew who Kendall was." Of course, Kendall was the one to get remembered.

"I recognize you too," Logan said, handing a paper out to James. James took it, but he didn't look away from Logan. "It took me a minute, but I know I've seen you playing, too. That's an info sheet about the vaccine."

James just kept staring at him until Logan pointed. "Huh?" James asked, looking down.

"That paper. It's a fact sheet about the flu vaccine. I'm supposed to go over it with you before you get the shot."

"Oh, uh—okay."

"Take a seat," Logan said, nodding at the exam table.

James did as he was told, looking at the paper in his hands without really seeing the words. Logan recognized him. From the ice, but still. That had to mean something, right? "Where am I getting this shot, anyway?"

"On your arm. Upper arm. Deltoid," Logan said, and when James glanced up Logan was getting things out of drawers.

"Oh. Do I need to take my shirt off?" James may have sounded a little more eager with the question than he meant to. But it was so much easier to tell if someone thought he was hot when he was shirtless.

"Um," Logan said, and there was a sound as he fumbled whatever was in hands, "no, uh, that—that won't be necessary. Just pull up your sleeve. I'll go ahead and disinfect the area."

"Okay," James said, then glanced at each of his shoulders. "Which sleeve?"

"Are you right-handed or left-handed?"

"Right."

"Then your left one," Logan said, stepping closer with gloves on and a cottonball in one hand. James pushed up the sleeve of his t-shirt, rolling it a little so it would stay. A second later and Logan was right there, in his space, leaning in. "This'll be cold," he said, quietly, before taking hold of James's arm with one hand.

James didn't know whether to watch Logan's face or his hands. It was sort of a painful choice, and his eyes ended up darting back and forth between the two for the five seconds or so it took Logan to swipe the cottonball over the skin on James's upper arm. All too quickly, Logan pulled back.

"Okay," he said, "while that dries, here's what you need to know about the flu shot." And then Logan started explaining to James what was on the paper and James nodded and agreed like he was actually processing any of the words instead of being stuck on the lingering feel of Logan's fingers on his skin.

James didn't really come back to the moment until there was a needle in front of his face.

"You were one of my students, too, weren't you?" Logan said, sort of nonchalantly.

"Huh?" James said, eyes flicking up to Logan when he realized he'd said something, but then just as quickly focusing back on the freaking needle in his hand.

"When I was a T.A. for freshman chemistry," Logan explained, and James nearly jumped as the question finally hit him. "You were in one of my classes. That's how you knew my name."

"You—you remember me?" James asked, staring intently at Logan's face.

"Kind of," Logan said, stepping in close again. "I dealt with a lot of students that year—" he gently grabbed James's arm again, pulling at the skin some—"so it's all kind of a blur, but yeah, I think I remember you."

"You were my favorite thing about that class," James said, helplessly focused on Logan's eyes, and then felt a sharp, bright pain in his arm. "Ow!"

"Shit, shit!" Logan said, wiping his thumb against James's skin. "Dammit, I'm so sorry! I can't believe I—here let me get a—" He stepped away and James looked down at his arm. There was blood.

"Is that it? Was that the shot? Is it over?" James asked, not even caring how pathetic he sounded.

"I—oh God, don't hate me," Logan said as he came back, pressing a cottonball against the bright red oozing out of James's skin. "Please don't hate me, but—no, that—that was me screwing up and making you bleed, dammit, I am so sorry. I have never done that before. Which doesn't help you at all."

Logan sounded—a little frantic, and when James looked at him instead of at his own injury he sort of forgot about the pain and the blood, because Logan looked sort of frantic. Worried, and guilty, and embarrassed.

"So the shot's not over?"

Logan let out a short, sad laugh, then looked back at James. "No, I'm sorry. We'll have to try that again."

And then James realized Logan was looking at him, and they were still really close to each other. So he forgot to say anything else.

"Does it still hurt?" Logan asked, softly. James shook his head slowly, not breaking eye contact.

"Good," Logan said, smiling a little. "You okay with letting me try again?"

"Y-yeah," James managed, his voice rough, and then Logan pulled away. Before coming back again with the needle.

"I was trying to distract you before," Logan said, "but that didn't work out all that well, so…it helps if you don't look, sometimes. And you should probably not say anything, either."

"Okay," James said, a little confused, but he turned away and didn't speak. He felt the pressure of Logan's hand again, and tensed up reflexively.

"Relax," Logan said. "It won't hurt this time. I really do know what I'm doing."

James smiled, though Logan probably couldn't see it, and let go of the tension in his arm. A second later there was a pinprick, and then stronger pressure on his skin.

"Did I mess up again?" James asked, turning to look at Logan, worried.

"No, you did great," Logan said, smiling at him. "We're done."

"Wait—what?" James blinked. "But—that didn't hurt at all! Why did it hurt the first time?"

"That was my fault," Logan said, before stepping away. He took off his gloves and tossed them and the used needle into a box on the counter. "I was—surprised, and that's really not an excuse, and I'm sorry. You're not bleeding anymore, but do you want a Band-Aid?"

"Will you put it on?" James asked without thinking, and Logan turned to stare at him, wide-eyed. James just looked back. Maybe if he pretended he didn't say anything it would be like he really hadn't.

The mutual staring went on for longer than James was expecting, but it was too late to back out now.

"I'm not sure what to say here," Logan finally said.

"I have no idea what you're talking about," James replied, with his best 'I have no idea what you're talking about' face.

Logan furrowed his eyebrows, but not in that confused way he had when James recognized him earlier. This was more like he was a little annoyed with James playing dumb.

"James," Logan said, and James had to stop himself from that whining thing again because Logan said his name, "I have to maintain some standards of professionalism here. So I can't—you can't just say things and expect me to run with them, because I can't. So either say something, or, or leave."

James pushed himself off the exam table. "Say something like what?"

"Like—" Logan gestured at nothing. "I don't know! But I've never—I've never messed up giving someone a shot before, so, so—if you're going to do something about that, then…oh God I don't even know what I'm saying." He ran a hand over his face, sighing.

James, on the other hand, was starting to figure this out. He stepped closer, heart beating rapidly, and waited for Logan to peek out at him through the fingers still covering his face.

"You were my favorite part of chemistry," James repeated, sliding his hands into his back pockets and noting the way Logan's eyes darted towards his left arm, where the sleeve was still rolled up. "And if I'd known you were giving flu shots Kendall wouldn't have had to trick me into coming here and then push me into the building."

Logan's hand slowly lowered. "That class was like three years ago."

James grinned. "Yeah."

Logan looked away, then back up. "I do remember you. I didn't remember your name, and you look…different, now, but I remember you always seemed to be enjoying the class. Not many students did."

James laughed, soft and low. "It wasn't the class I enjoyed, Logan. Not the science part, anyway."

"Yeah, I'm getting that now," Logan said, his smile crooked.

"How, uh," James said, ducking his head down a bit, "how strict are you about that whole professionalism thing?"

"Very," Logan said, but he was staring at James's mouth.

For a second, James thought about pushing it, but…he could be patient. "That's too bad. So, are you free tonight, then?"

Logan met his eyes. "Very."

——

James didn't say a word to Kendall all through lunch (which Kendall bought, because he wasn't always an asshole) or even the entire drive back to the apartment. It seemed to freak Kendall out because James was also smiling the whole time and Kendall couldn't tell if he was happy or silently plotting Kendall's murder. James later felt vindicated by the knowledge he had been accidentally torturing his best friend, but at the time he was really just too happy to even notice, much less give a damn.

Also, by that night James's arm had totally bruised and he ended up getting lots of kisses from Logan to make it feel better. So it was pretty much win-win.

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