Logan Echolls had always refused to conform to any of her fairytale fantasies. And never had Veronica hated him more for that than she did now.
“Please, Logan,” she whispered, voice hoarse from tears and pain. “Please, wake up. Please…”
Her eyelids felt swollen and heavy, cheeks wet with grime and trails of mascara. And somewhere, long ago, she’d heard that you were supposed to put pressure on a bleeding wound. That was supposed to make the blood stop, make everything all right.
But her hands were sticky with Logan’s blood, and he still wouldn’t wake up, no matter what she told him.
“Please, wake up. Please…”
This was never supposed to happen; she was supposed to be safe from this. She’d dumped him, and they were over, and she was with Duncan now. That meant that his pain shouldn’t hurt her any more, that if he died she wouldn’t have to cry like this, to sob her eyes out, locked in some filthy basement.
Cutting herself loose had been the right thing to do, because it freed her, freed her from caring about him, from trusting him, from putting herself so close…
He was an explosion waiting to happen, and she wasn’t going to get caught in the blast.
But it wasn’t supposed to happen like this. He was supposed to go out in some colossal act of stupidity, and she was supposed to bury herself in Duncan’s calming arms and just be grateful that she’d escaped. He wasn’t supposed to go down coming to her rescue, a swift bludgeon to the head in her defense. He wasn’t supposed to still care about her, not after she’d left him.
It was all wrong. He was supposed to be bad for her, and Duncan was supposed to be good for her, and once she realized it, everything was supposed to be right again. It was supposed to be her happily ever after, her tale as old as time…
“Logan, wake up,” she breathed out raggedly. “Please… Everything will be all right, I promise. Just wake up…”
She knew that blows to the head were bad, that you were supposed to stay conscious if you had a concussion. And he was bleeding so much, but then head wounds were supposed to bleed worse than they really were, right? Some part of her just knew that if she woke him up, all would be right in her world again.
“I’m sorry,” she half-sobbed. “Do you hear me? I’m sorry. Just please wake up. Don’t die on me like this…”
Thick blood coated her fingers as she felt his faint pulse, and the darkness of the basement made his blood look black. She still felt half-relieved, half-horrified at those first few minutes after they’d been thrown down here – she bound and he unconscious – and she’d cried to him as she worked her wrists free and scrambled in the darkness to find the dull weight of his body.
“It’s going to be all right,” she rasped, her voice failing. “I promise. Just wake up, baby. Please.” And if this had been a fairytale and he’d played along, he would have woken up when her lips brushed his, suddenly transformed into a prince and taken her away. But his lips were still and lifeless, and he didn’t react to her in any way, and the anger she felt at him in that moment for not fitting into the universe she imagined almost overwhelmed her.
The scuffling upstairs distracted her, then, and a little whimper escaped her lips. They’d be back, and given that their boss had no compunctions about blowing up a bus full of school kids, she highly doubted that she and Logan were looking forward to a bright future…
Voice dropped to a whisper, she pushed blood and sweat back from his forehead. “I’m so sorry,” she whispered. “This is all my fault. You shouldn’t have been here.” And he shouldn’t have. Logan Echolls was not supposed to run to her rescue. He wasn’t supposed to be following the same trail. He wasn’t supposed to be there, by her side…
Loud voices sounded from the room above, muffled by the floorboards so that she couldn’t hear a word spoken. And the sudden knowledge that she didn’t want to die alone shuddered through her veins.
“It will be all right,” she soothed him, half believing the words herself. “You’ll see…” The fingers of her free hand twined with his, but his infinitely mobile and versatile fingers fell limp now, clumsy. He wasn’t supposed to be like this, at all. “If you just don’t die on me, I promise it will all be all right. We can be together again, I promise. I’ll never leave you alone, never again…” Soft promises whispered into the dark.
“Just don’t die…” she breathed against his lips. “I love you…”
And that was the kiss that was supposed to mean everything. Because in the storybooks, love brought back life and, in the end, that was all that mattered. He wasn’t supposed to feel dead to her; she shouldn’t have been able to feel his pulse fading…
And the door to the stairs shouldn’t have burst open just then, blinding her with its sudden white light.
One hand covering her eyes against the sharp pain, cringing from the light, protecting the body of her fallen love from it…
“Veronica? Veronica, honey?”
And then she was pulled away, and in her father’s arms, and she was sobbing for joy now. Because the cavalry had arrived, and her knight in shining armor was there too, and life was a fairytale after all. Her father spotted Logan and the blood, and passed her on to Duncan, while he did what heroes do and saved the day.
She buried herself in warmth and safety and oblivion. She didn’t even realize when she’d been carried away, when she’d left the basement, when the police and the ambulances had arrived. Hadn’t even remembered Logan existed until she saw the gurney being rushed to the nearest vehicle. Hurried, passing voices that he was still alive, that he’d be all right.
And she wasn’t quite sure if she imagined it, but she thought she saw the fingers of his hand curl and flex, reaching for some hope that he hadn’t even realized had been within his grasp. Of course, he’d only wake up now, when it was far too late.
Veronica just buried her head in Duncan’s chest and asked him to take her home so that she wouldn’t have to see anymore, wouldn’t have to feel the shame of promises that would never fit her perfect world.
After all, Logan Echolls was no fairytale, and it was his own damn fault for being that way.