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Promptobers 3-31

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     Still smelling like ashes and fire-extinguisher-foam, Logan ignored the wet, gray rings around the bottom of his sneakers, where the remnants of his put-out house-fire still clung. Ringing her doorbell would’ve been a bold move, except the action came thoughtlessly; he didn’t have anywhere else to really go, and she knew that when she opened the door. Anger, coming off him in waves, came with it’s tides of grief, of despair, of loss. When she presses her face to his chest, more muscle-memory for him than a conscious hug, it’s the only good thing in a long, hard day. Less like a bonfire, it’d been a wildfire to watch; standing on the sidelines of your entire life burning down, it would’ve been poetic if Logan had been the one to light it. But he hadn’t, of course, and he knew who had. What to do about it? Is another thing entirely, something he doesn’t mention when he’s bargaining for her couch for the night. She isn’t on his side, but she isn’t not… and Logan imagines that’s a bigger deal than it is.

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Logan looked to Veronica, sitting straighter in his suit when her tear-stained face shot him a soft look from across the church and she came next to him. Sitting in his pew in the back of the church, Veronica sat quietly, listening to her own heartbeat, listening to the priest blather on about a Lily Kane he never met, and now never would. Eyes down, Logan eyed the few inches of polished hardwood, just a few inches of space, between him and Veronica. He focused on the imperfections of the wood, the splinters, the cracks; anything to ignore the monotonous droning of a priest talking about protecting youth. When Veronica noticed him fixated, she slipped her hand into his in his lap, feeling fresh tears come when he slid across the few inches of the bench, closer to her. With Duncan dead-to-the-world, and Lily just dead, Veronica figured she had about one best friend left in the world. Silently leaning closer into his shoulder, resting her weight against him, Veronica knew they were both missing Lily, and that Logan was probably one of the people who could understand most what she felt then. They were grieving, but grief would end. Soon, the person who caused this, the person that killed her best friend, would have to pay. Closing her eyes during a psalm Lily would’ve snored through, Veronica squeezed Logan’s hand harder when she felt his shoulders shake next to her. She just squeezed his hand with her eyes closed, through the rest of the ceremony, deciding not to think about what came next just yet.

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   “Boo.” Weevil got her attention over the counter with a gruff head nod. He’d heard she’d been working here- some coffee-chain for uppity hippies, yuppies, and pu- well.

    “Trying to scare me, too, now?” Looking around for her boss, Veronica tried to gauge how long she’d really have to talk to Weevil; she knew she had a lot of questions.

    “You? I don’t haveta scare you,” he guessed, palms flat on the counter. She’d always been too smart to scare easily, and but smart enough to know when things were going to get tough between them. At least professionally. These days, their rift was a little more personal. “Your boy’s gonna get himself killed though, V, and I can’t do a thing about it.”

    Watching her eyes level-out into a distant stare, Weevil figured this was a topic of regular argument in paradise. He didn’t expect less from her.

    “You could at least order something, you know,” Veronica prompted with a hard edge to her voice; there wasn’t a line behind him, it was nearly closing, she didn’t expect too many more customers, but still. She was still pretty new at this gig, and this time she wasn’t related to the boss.

   “Fine. Coffee. Cream, no sugar,” rolling his eyes at her, Weevil anticipated her being like this. Well, she was like this again,  back in the sunshine of Neptune, out of the shadow, and feeling pretty good about herself with the sun on her face.

     “Can’t or won’t do anything about it?” Shoving the coffee at him, Veronica saw her manager come out of the backroom, still looking busy. “That’ll be $2.51,” Veronica whipped out her best customer-service-satisfaction smile, and took Weevil’s ten dollar bill and gave him change.

   “Either, I guess?” Weevil shrugged, figuring that was at least true.

   “He did get you back into school, remember?” Veronica knew firsthand how favors worked wonders with Weevil, and with the PCH gang.

   “Yeah, I saved his life that night, you know, and what’d he do? He killed Felix,” Weevil challenged.

   “No, he didn’t,” Veronica countered, met Weevil’s eyes, and they both  let a beat of silence pass between them over the counter.

    “Don’t end up on the wrong side of this thing, V,” he warned, genuinely, face softening a little, not that he’d own it.

   “How is possible I’m perpetually on the wrong side,” shoving the cash drawer closed with a hard click, Veronica shook her head. The wrong side of Neptune, the wrong side of Lily’s case, the wrong side of Felix’s murder. When she looked up again, Weevil was just out the door, his change in her tip jar, and his coffee left for her like a parting gift.

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    Eyes wet with tears, Veronica made herself look at the crime scene photos. At the position of Lily’s body, at the signs of struggle in the backyard around her, at her eyes still open and staring back, only not. Wiping her cheeks, Veronica read her dad’s initial report- disturbance at the Kane residence, that quickly spiralled into a homicide investigation. The cries for her father’s resignation didn’t come as a surprise; Veronica knew why the other locals were upset, and it didn’t have that much to do with Lily. It was that murders didn’t happen in the 90909 zip-code, and they especially didn’t go unsolved.

    Tossing her long, blonde hair over her shoulder, Veronica took a deep breath. Her dad was going to find Lily’s killer, whether he was Sheriff or not; she had to believe that, and she did.

    “Hey, hon,” Keith gently knocked on the bedroom door. His daughter’s boxes were all unpacked already, empty and discarded cardboard piled in the corner of her new room. “I’m all ready for us to eat out here, full spread of your favorite a-roni , and a dessert special that- I’ll just give you a hint - rhymes with Iced Whiskey Pete,” Keith smiled. It wasn’t like telling your teenage daughter that her best friend wasn’t actually murdered, or that her mother was back home. But, Keith took the small smile on his daughter’s face as a minor victory for the Mars’ household.

    “I love rice krispy treats,” Veronica shuffled the paperwork on her new desk, burying the Lily Kane files.

    “I hope I’m not interrupting anything of vital importance to national security?” Keith asked.

   “Just studying.” Veronica shrugged, the picture of non-committal, but she didn’t feel like she’d lied.

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   Wallace’s ring of the doorbell came right on cue, and Veronica smiled at her homemade sundae bar as she went for the door. The perk of having one absent parent, and one hardworking one? Ice cream for dinner, she thought. 

     “I hope you brought your fat pants,” Veronica welcomed in her best friend, “tonight, we eat like-”

    “Six year olds,” Wallace gave her half a nod, and grabbed a spoon. He was always well-fed in the Mars household, quantity-wise. As far as nutritional content went, Wallace shrugged. “So, what’d the super sleuth find out from my little retrieval operation in the office?” Spooning rainbow sprinkles onto a chocolate-vanilla-swirl concoction, Wallace silently promised his mother he’d finish all his broccoli for a week.

    “I was going to  thank you, you don’t haveta pretend like I wasn’t!” Veronica poured the fudge on both their sundaes, and finally dug into hers, happily. “Thank you,” she added, mouth full of ice cream and happiness. “Your mission was a success; thanks to those files,” Veronica smiled, eyes sparkling darkly, “I know who I haveta nail to the wall.”

   “You have whipped cream on your nose, V.” Wallace pointed out, making Veronica frown. "It's really messing with your intimidating vibe."

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     Tucking his body closer to the curve of hers, Logan slung his arm over Veronica's bare hip, and felt her relax against him. 

     "Good work, team," she brought his hand to her lips, pressing a kiss to his palm with a smile. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to sleep for five thousand years, hope that's cool," turning her head to see him out of the corner of her eye, Veronica leaned into the kiss he planted in her hair. 

     "Fine by me, I'll be here." After lifting the hotel sheet over them, Logan's hand settled back on Veronica's middle. "Your hair smells nice," he whispered, sleepy from sleep-inducing-bedtime-activities, but not quite asleep yet. 

     "Like sunshine and promises?" Veronica asked, with her eyes already closed; a tiny smile on her lips. 

     "Like rainbows, sweat, and satisfaction." He whispered back, and his breath tickled her neck. 

     "Well, that figures; don't think that's related to you," she laughed, "sweat and satisfaction's the name of my shampoo." 

     Nodding against the crook of her neck, Logan smirked, "And the rainbows?"

     "Just happy, I guess," Veronica whispered, and drifted off to sleep, definitely satisfied. 

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  The problem with having a last straw, Veronica comes to think, is that it doesn’t stop the world from pushing bad shit on you.

    Just because your best friend gets murdered, just because your dad loses his job, just because you have to move, just because your mom leaves, just because you’re raped, just because you’re ostracized, doesn’t mean that anyone, anywhere will really give you a break. And it doesn’t mean that you won’t wake up to a tomorrow that really wants to be the new worst day of your life.

    So Veronica figures she does have some options left. She could cower, cry, and give up; she could let the world win, she could let all the bad shit push her into being somebody smaller than she is. Or, she could take the world down with her. So she  starts a new habit. For her new haircut, her new job, her new role in Neptune as the resident metaphorical punching bag, Veronica starts a new habit, and it doesn’t involve cowering.

    Somewhere in between the brushing and spitting part of her morning routine- somewhere around the minty swishing- she gets into the habit of putting on an invisible mask. The mask lessons the look of fresh panic in her blue eyes, it takes the pink out of her cheeks when she’s riled, and it definitely, definitely keeps her bottom lip from shaking. Even when she comes out of school and has to drive home with ‘slut’ spray-painted in highlighter yellow on her windshield for the first time, the invisible mask works.

    And at some point, between the brushing and spitting, Veronica starts forgetting all about making sure her mask is on. She just spits, fixes her bangs, and likes the way her bottom lip never shakes anymore.

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   “I guess I finished my interview,” Logan stood next to the plastic pop-up table in the deputy breakroom, hands shoved in his pockets. “Your dad really loves doing the third degree bit, huh? Now I get why you always take your curfew so seriously.” Shuffling his feet against the yellow linoleum, Logan kept his eyes on his feet.

    By Veronica’s count she’d been in the breakroom since the dawn of time, but the clock on the wall told her it’d been about five hours. Five hours of refilling the coffee pot, listening to the deputy chatter, and most important, checking in with her dad every couple of hours.

    More than anything, Veronica felt numb; the tears came in cycles, but mostly she felt exhausted, lost, and numb.

    “The sun’ll be up soon,” Logan talked again, looking nervously to Veronica when she still didn’t acknowledge his presence. Sitting across from her, Logan saw the pile of pink nail polish she must’ve peeled off while she’d been waiting in there all night.

    “That’s the thing about the sun,” Veronica cleared her throat when her voice came out dry and scratchy-sounding. “It comes up no matter what, I guess, huh?”

    No matter that Lilly was dead, and someone had violently killed her.

    Keith appeared in the break room’s doorway, knocking gently. The interview had been tough on both of them, but Logan was just a kid. A kid who lost someone close to him, and Keith looked to his daughter, knowing they had that in common.

    “Logan, your parents are done with the paperwork, they’re ready for you to go,” Keith said, and Logan stood and nodded.

    “That’s my cue to go home and self-medicate,” voice gone fake-chipper, Logan didn’t miss Veronica’s reproachful glare. “What? It’s what Lilly would’ve wanted,” he said, defensive edge to his voice, as he passed Keith on the way out the door.

    “How’re you holding up, kiddo?” Keith asked, taking a quiet moment with his daughter while he had the chance to.

    “Statistically, it was someone that Lilly knew who killed her,” Veronica got up from the table, throwing out the pile of polish scrapings. “Someone I know,” she added, not meeting her dad’s eyes.

    “Honey, I don’t want you to think like that, Veronica,” Keith started, but Veronica shook her head.

    “You know it, too,” she pointed out, and turned her back to her dad, taking an uneasy breath while she emptied stale coffee out of the pot, down the sink.

    So, Veronica, who in your inner social circle is a murderer? With her sleeve, she smoothed a stray tear off her chin. Until she knew who it was, Veronica figured she’d have to satisfy herself by only being angry with the sun for still coming up.  

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     "Veronica Mars, let's hear from you," the English substitute teacher called, and made Veronica sit up at her name. Mrs. de Salva wouldn't have even been so bad, if she didn't insist on teaching Romeo and Juliet, and she didn't insist on calling on Veronica when her hand was nowhere near up. "What do you think Shakespeare's saying about romantic love?" The teacher stepped closer, waiting.

     "What Shakespeare thought about romantic love," Veronica repeated, dryly. "Well, half the cast ends up dead," she offered, almost mockingly. "How about... romantic love gets you hurt, until it gets you killed? If Shakespeare was so gungho about going gaga for somebody, then he probably wouldn't have written it to be tragedy," Veronica hypothesized. "Or maybe Billy was just really anti-teen-marriage," with a dramatic shrug, Veronica went back to not drawing little swirly hearts in her notes. 

     "I see," the sub offered Veronica a small smile, "does the tragedy cancel out the love Romeo and Juliet shared, then?"

     "Does the romance make them any less dead?" Veronica asked rhetorically, without raising her hand, and figured that was fair since she'd been called on without volunteering before. 

     Mrs. de Salva pressed on, looking for romantics in other parts of the room, and Veronica went back to biting her thumbnail for the entire twelve minutes left in the period. Juliet should've cashed out of fair Verona and gotten the hell out of dodge, she couldn't help but think, when the bell rang. 

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    “Welcome to detention, boys,” Clemmons introduced Duncan and Logan to the janitor’s supply closet like they were seeing mops, brooms, and bleach for the first time.

    “Wait, so that’s why there aren’t any party streamers?” Logan asked, dropping his mouth open in false surprise.

    “Next time you boys want to fight on school grounds, maybe you’ll think about the Saturday you had to spend cleaning the school’s basement. I’ll check on you in a little, but I expect to see this place spotless before you’re done.” Leaving them to it with a parting, withering stare Clemmons didn’t have to practice in the mirror anymore, he left the basement door open, to hear any trouble should it arise.

    “My social calendar was missing this  little experience, actually,” Logan said to no one, since Duncan was apparently ignoring him. “I mean, what does spotless mean, this place is covered in three inches of dirt everywhere you look.”

    Running a finger down a discarded bookshelf like proof, Logan wagged his greyed fingertip at Duncan, and still got nothing.

    “You thought I did it, didn’t you?” Logan asked, his face dropping to something that resembled sad and sincere. His father was a killer, Lily was dead, why wouldn’t Duncan have thought Logan killed somebody, too? “That’s why you didn’t have my back this summer; you thought I was a killer, too.”

    “I didn’t say that,” Duncan spoke, finally, with his eyes set on the place he was repeatedly sweeping, knuckles white around the broom.

    “See, that’s what I love about Veronica, she just comes right out with her accusations.” Logan turned his back to Duncan, reaching for the mop. Spotless, right. The thought came to Logan of his rotting corpse, dying in the school basement after eighty years of mopping before the place was spotless.

    “She told me you didn’t do it.” Duncan offered, stilling the broom a moment, before carrying on.

   They both caught Logan’s wording too late, talking about what he loved about her, but Duncan shook his head. During their fight, Logan had said Veronica was in his rearview, and Duncan knew Logan was in Veronica’s past.  Logan heard the brushstrokes against the cement floor resume, and rolled his eyes.

    “My murder trial came up in your pillowtalk? Well, I’m touched; here I was thinking she abandoned me and you betrayed me, but… I guess I’ve got it all wrong, then.” With a hard shrug of his shoulders, Logan turned back to Duncan and  got to mopping; splashing gray water on Duncan’s shoes. “Oh, did I getcha? Sorry, man,” staring Duncan in the face, Logan splashed water his way again, just missing this time.

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   "Are you lost, little girl?” Weevil smiled to see her, surprised as he was to see her on his doorstep. Paler, with longer hair than she’d left with, Weevil saw time had definitely changed her from the college freshman he’d last seen. “Looks like Veronica Mars,” he reached a tentative finger up to her face, poking at her cheek, “feels like Veronica Mars,” he laughed.

    Going in for the hug at last, Veronica laughed too, shaking her head. He looked different than the Weevil Navarro she’d left two and a half years ago; older, maybe, with more of a beard thing going on.

    “I was thinking to myself that I wasn’t expecting visitors tonight, and I definitely wasn’t expecting you, V.” Weevil waved her into his small apartment, and dug two beers out of the fridge, handing her one. “Are you hungry?” He asked.

    Slightly-disheveled bachelor-pad-decor, Veronica was almost surprised to see Weevil was living alone.

    “Are you cooking?” She smiled, hit by a smell of rice, beans, and spices that drew her back to his dining room table.

   “Don’t act all surprised, I like to eat, my grandma taught me how to feed myself,” serving her a plate of rice, Weevil saw her eyes go a little wider as she sat at the table. “About twice in my entire life I’ve impressed you, but a plate of rice does the trick, huh? Food; shoulda guessed it, you being that tiny,” he shook his head.

    “More than twice,” Veronica twisted the cap off her beer and took a sip, “maybe not always in the good way, but you usually impressed me.” She thought about it, with a smile.

    “They must make the boys softer on the east coast, if you’re misremembering our relationship like that,” he took the seat across from her in the cramped kitchen.

    “I don’t know about the boys,” Veronica sipped from her beer again, and her manicured nails around the green beer glass made Weevil smile, “but I think I’ve just about completed my transition from SoCal bitch to Upper East Side bitch. You should hear me order a macchiato, it’d make you cry,” she pushed rice around on her plate.

    “So, is it true what they say? You can’t go home again?” Leaning back in his chair, Weevil stopped to think about how much he’d missed her without realizing it. Something brought her back, he figured, he just didn’t know what.

    “Back Up got sick a few months ago, and the vet thought it’d be better for him to put him down,” clearing her throat, Veronica continued, “I wanted to be there, you know? He was my dad’s dog but he was always my back up,” she sighed, lips on the edge of her beer, “almost took a bite out of you on a couple of occasions.” With a wink, Veronica told Weevil she’d never really let him get maimed; probably.

    “I remember. His bark was worse than his bite, though, once you got the belly rub thing down.” With anyone else, Weevil might’ve reached for their hand, or apologized, but he’d put the time in learning Veronica Mars’ thornier parts, and the girl he knew wasn’t comforted so easily.

    “Everybody’s got their kryptonite, even pups,” shrugging, Veronica remembered a tiny Back Up, growling positively ferociously until he got a scratch behind his ears.

    “Even you?” Weevil laughed, seriously doubting it, unless it was possible for kryptonite to take the form of rich, white boys, with issues. “So, is there anything I can do for you? Veronica Mars comes walking around after a few years, one might start thinking this was an official business call.” Once upon a time, their relationship consisted of mutual back-scratching and no-one-else-to-calls. Sitting in his kitchen, Weevil wasn’t sure which type of visit this was, yet.

    “I’m officially out of the business,” Veronica leaned forward, surprising him, again. “I haven’t taken a case in a year and a half, thank you very much. I just came for the company.” Like she was bragging about uncertain sobriety, Veronica smiled, hesitantly. “And the cheap beer,” she laughed, and put her empty bottle down.

    “You’ve been gone for two and a half years, V,” Weevil reminded her, and laughed into his beer, shaking his head at her.

    “Yeah, well. You know what they say about leopards and spots,” she tilted her head at him, flashing him a Veronica from the past.

   “You ever notice how the older we get, the more those spots start looking like scars?” Meeting her eyes, Weevil offered her a soft smile, the knowing kind, that she came to see from him.

    “I don’t know what you mean,” she said, returning his smile. “Walk me out? I have an early flight, I just wanted to say hi. See how you’re doing, without my get out of jail freebies, you know, getting you out of jail.” Teasing him, Veronica heard through the grapevine that Weevil was going by Eli now, and was straightening up considerably in a post-Veronica life. She stood ready to go, saying goodbye this time, no matter how hard it was.

    “It’s been tough, but I’ve survived,” nodding sarcastically, Weevil smiled, walking her back to the front door. “Don’t be a stranger, Mars.” He said, hugging her goodbye, glad to get to do it, this time.

    With a small nod, Veronica turned on her heel, and caught the glimpse of the bike on the street in front of Weevil’s place. Turning back to him, she hung her head, and almost went for the hair flip.

   “Actually, could you do me a favor?” She smiled at his amused, overdramatic sigh.

   “You never could help yourself around me,” Weevil teased, “Have I ever actually said no?”

   “Take me to the airport tomorrow morning? I’ve missed the California air, and something about being on a big hog,” she pulled a hopeful face, the kind that always won him over in the past lives.

   He nodded, and she smiled her thanks, and turned to go. That kind of favor he could do for her; the normal friend kind. “No luggage cart on that thing, V,” he called after her, laughing.

    “I’ll have my dad send it,” she waved him off, “I’ll text you flight details.”

    “You didn’t ask for my new number,” he called after her again, reminding her.

    “I didn’t ask for your new address either,” Veronica turned to wink at him, and walked back to her car.

    “Veronica Mars, back in Neptune, one-night-only,” Weevil sighed to no one, watching her drive away.

Chapter Text

    “It’s been six weeks since our last session,” Ms. James prompted, throwing a wrench in Veronica’s plans to sit stubbornly in the quiet for the whole meeting. “How are you dealing with Lily’s death, since the last time we spoke?”

    Veronica stared across the desk at Ms. James’ wide-eyed, earnest expression, that showed she was eager to listen, and help, and talk about safe ways of coping, and some of the aftershocks of trauma. Even sure it was coming from a genuinely good place, Veronica couldn’t bring herself to oblige Ms. James, anymore. The sessions weren’t bringing Lily back, and they weren’t making thing easier at school.

   “Lily’s murder,” Veronica amended. “I’m fully healed,” she said sarcastically, with a shrug. “Best way to get over your best friend’s murder is to become a social pariah; really good for the soul, you should write that down, like a case study or something. Could help the next kid who’s best friend gets murdered, I got lots of pointers for ‘em.” Smile tight and vicious, Veronica wondered how far she’d have to push Ms. James before she’d agree to stop scheduling sessions.

    “Your father’s been stripped of his sheriff’s position, has that stripped you of your social position as well?” Again, eyes wide and looking to help, Ms. James tried to get something from a Veronica who just blinked back at her. “Last year, you were a very glass-half-full kind of kid, Veronica. I’m just trying to see what sort of changes trauma’s provoked in you,” the counselor admitted, eyes on Veronica’s newly cropped hair.

    “What sort of changes,” Veronica nodded, fighting an eyeroll. “Well the glass was half-full,” Veronica agreed.  A year ago, she had a whole family, a boyfriend, a best friend, a healthy social life and minimal worries beyond what shade of pink she was going to pick for this week’s pedicure. Things were all upswing for that Veronica Mars, of course the glass was half full. “I guess, once the water’s been spilled, kinda hard to look at the glass the same way,” Veronica picked up her stuff, ready to go. “I think maybe, we should take a break from the counseling, Ms. James.”

    With a solemn nod, the counselor guessed their meetings might hit this point.

    “You really should talk to someone, Veronica; it doesn’t have to be me,” Ms. James offered softly, and got a smile from Veronica, at last.

    “Haven’t you heard? People are lining up to hear the Mars’ side of the story,” Veronica swallowed a laugh, and left the office. Fourth period gym was going to be bad enough without having to remember that she used to be a happy-go-lucky-glass-half-full kind of girl. If that was all the change trauma provoked in her, Veronica figured she was ahead of the learning curve, anyways.

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 It was at Aaron’s lawyers’ incessant urging that Logan found himself at the penitentiary, wearing a Visitor #427 sticker, and waiting next to a set of phones separated by thick-paneled glass. Any indication that Logan was rooting for his father, was deemed a positive-press move by Aaron's expensive and intrusive defense team.

    “Hey, son,” Aaron smiled half-heartedly, testing the phone system as Logan tentatively put his side to his ear. “I’m glad you’re here, Logan, I’ve really needed you, it’s time we stick together.”

   Predictable, but nauseating all the same, Logan was pretty sure this was the exact reason he’d been putting off coming to see his father.

    “Right, cause you killing my girlfriend is going to be a big family-bonding moment for us. Really gonna help us move past the rough patch in our relationship,” Logan frowned, rolling his eyes. “Did you even care that I loved her?” His voice cracked over the syllables, and Logan knew, “It didn’t even matter to you, did it?” Shaking his head, Logan thought he was visiting for some answers, but face to face with his father, Logan wasn’t sure how much he wanted to hear.

    “Son, please. After everything I’ve sacrificed for you -”

    “Sacrificed!” Logan yelled, a bitter laugh caught in his throat when Aaron deflated, “All those prison beatings must’ve done a number on the ‘ole noggin, huh, pops?” Taking in a shaky breath, Logan forced himself relaxed at the guard’s presence. Yelling was a no-no, Logan looked down at his visitor's’ sticker pass.  “Time to go, I think. I have an inheritance to spend, and everything,” Logan smirked, “See ya at trial, then? I’ll be the one not in the shackles.” With a flippant peace sign, Logan hung up the receiver with a rough shove, and didn’t look back at his dad the whole way out. Did he have the power to fire his father’s lawyers? Logan was going to have to look into that. Peeling off the visitor's sticker, Logan crumpled it and discarded it, tossing it away in the parking lot. 

Chapter Text

"I know the calendar on the wall says it's Halloween, but it feels just a little like my birthday in here. Did you sneak a peek at my wishlist?" Logan grinned wide, finding Veronica in a catsuit and mask on his hotel couch. "You know, I never figured you for a dominatrix- actually, wait; you, cruelty, pain, and a twist of sexy? Okay, yeah I see it now," he nodded enthusiastically, earning himself a dramatic on-cue eyeroll from Veronica.

"I'm Catwoman," she corrected him, with a glare, telling herself that her boyfriend would be ready any minute, and they'd leave and party, and Logan's jabs would be danced away. "The Michelle Pfeiffer kind," she added, with a jut of her chin.

"Meow," with a mocking growl, Logan tossed her a kit-kat in the spirit-of-Halloween fun, and saw her painted-red lips frowning at him. "Catwoman's a villain, isn't she? Someone Batman's attracted to despite his moral fiber and tragic crime-laden upbringing?" Wiggling his eyebrows in a game of gotcha, Logan couldn't help but eye the curves of her suit.

"It's just a costume for a Halloween party, Logan," Veronica challenged him, softly. Truthfully, she let herself get the suit because she thought Lily would've pushed her into it, and that thought made her smile. It would've made Logan smile, too, but Veronica kept it from him; out of loyalty to Duncan, or stubbornness, or something unexplainable.

"Ready, babe?" Duncan emerged from his room, masked, too.

"Caped crusader and Catwoman," Logan offered only a sullen nod, "You two really put the ugh in c-ugh-ple's costumes, don't you? Birthday sequence officially nixed," Logan met Veronica's eyes, and realized he didn't even have to eat ten pounds of candy to feel nauseous this year.

"I'm ready," fiddling with her mask, Veronica got up and pushed past Logan and his bag of kit-kats, with a humorless grin.

"You could still come, man," Duncan said to Logan, a last minute invitation Veronica hoped Logan wouldn't take.

"Yeah, but what would I wear," Logan faux-fretted, with another candy bar in his mouth. "The Joker position's obviously being filled," he mused at Duncan's expense, playing on the apparent Batman theme of the evening.

"Let's just go, Duncan," Veronica reached for Duncan's bicep, touching the plasticy leather of the Batman get-up, watching Duncan's jaw clench. Pushing her boyfriend out the door, Veronica paused to look back at Logan, shaking her head.

"Hey, do me a favor and give me a call if you need help getting out of that outfit later, okay?" Logan munched a kit-kat and called after her, dropping into her vacated spot on the couch. "Happy Halloween, Veronica Mars," he saluted her off.

Rolling her eyes, Veronica slammed the hotel door behind her, leaving Logan alone for the night.

Chapter Text

   Slapping Duncan a departing high-five, Logan swung his backpack off his shoulders and made his way to his car. Another day done, another day closer to summer vacation.

    “Did you do that to my locker?” A small but angry voice behind Logan made him smile and turn around to her.

    “Why would I? I know better than anyone- excepting maybe Duncan - that you definitely aren’t the number to call for a good time.” With his head tilted down at her just so, Veronica could almost imagine Logan was still her friend. He looked like her old friend, but Veronica knew looks were deceiving in Neptune.

   Her defiant eyeroll surprised him- dimming his smile a few dozen watts.

   “The whole school has my number and people are calling me, sending me messages, and-” Veronica cut herself off when Logan yawned big and dramatically, making a show of how he wasn’t listening, and wasn’t interested. “Couldn’t you just tell them to leave me alone? ” Veronica squeaked out the exasperated question she’d been wanting to hurl at him for weeks; him and Duncan. Even when they weren’t actively messing with her, they were giving the rest of the school implicit approval to be terrible to her. They were mad at her, fine, she was mad at them, too. She wasn’t making their lives hell.

    “Is that what you came after me to say?” Eyebrows up, Logan got a dark look in his eyes, “You came to patch things up, be old friends, and let bygones be bygones?” He laughed coldly, shaking his head at her.

   Folding her arms over her chest, Veronica sighed, “I wanted to talk to you to tell you to stop writing on my locker,” she ground out, with hot, embarrassed tears burning at the corners of her eyes as she watched him climb into his car. “I want you to pass the message along, too,” she nodded, reassuring herself, “to Dick, and Duncan, and the rest of the backstreet-boy howler-monkeys. Leave me alone.” Her voice shook, but she said her piece, and she met his eyes to make sure he was listening.

   “Or what, you’ll accuse my father of murder?” Rolling the window down, Logan saw tears starting to breach her lashes, and exhaled a laugh. “See ya, Ronnie.”

   “Don’t you even care who killed Lilly?” Veronica yelled too late, he’d already pulled away.

   But in his rearview, Logan looked back. Veronica Mars always looked small, but fussing with her long, blonde hair and fighting tears in the parking lot where he left her standing, Logan remembers later that it’s one of the last times she looks truly tiny.

Chapter Text

  Brushing his teeth, Logan let water and toothpaste burn the cut on his lip as he rinsed and spit into the sink. Looking back up at the mirror, he smiled at himself. Falsely, but he smiled,anyway. It was an age-old question, the one he was pondering while running his fingers through his shower-wet hair; did he deserve the shit he was dealt because of how he was? Who he was? Because Logan knew he could be careless,  cruel, a touch of selfish when the mood struck him. But had he become cruel in response to cruelty? Had he acted carelessly because no one truly cared about him?

    Or would he have always been that fucked up, even if no one did it to him? Was he something so terrible to begin with, that belts, and cigarette burns, and split lips, were the only ways to reach him? Was he even being reached by them, anymore?

    Running his tongue over the cut still stung, and Logan let it sting, knowing the swelling would be gone by the morning. Sometimes the sting stayed; whether it was his lip, his knuckles, his back. Smiling in the mirror again, a different smile this time, watery and less full of bravado, he shook his head looking down at the sink.

    Before he was even tall enough to properly reach the band-aids in the medicine cabinet, Logan remembered seeing just his eyes, his eyebrows, his spiky hair, in the mirror, asking himself the same questions. Was it him, that brought himself trouble, or was he just caught up in it?

    Little Column A, little Column B?

   He asked himself with a silent tick of his eyebrow in the mirror, and flicked the bathroom light off. His bed was calling, and he’d have some other time to consider if the egg was born rotten on its own, or if the chicken made it so.

Chapter Text

   Veronica tried to take another panicky breath, and fought another cough, with her vision going spotty on her. She thought she could hear her dad, somewhere, fighting for her, fighting to save her, fighting to come through for her, again. But she felt her eyes closing, her chest burning, she thought she felt the world slipping away.

    Her jury was still out on the afterlife, but as time slowed down, Veronica thought about her life. However short it was apparently going to be, Veronica figured she had love; her dad, first of all, her mom in her own way, Lilly, of course, had loved her. Lilly. Veronica wondered if there was an afterlife, if she’d get to see Lilly.

   Coughing again, Veronica fought her eyes open, sure she heard her dad’s voice, calling her this time. She thought about all the stuff she hadn’t gotten to have, to do,  in her life. She hadn’t gotten to become a high-powered anything, she hadn’t gotten to see her best friend graduate high school, she hadn’t gotten to see her dead best friend’s killer go to jail. She hadn’t gotten to travel. She wanted to see New York, she wanted to see Paris. She wanted to see tropical places, and legally order alcoholic beverages with tiny, little umbrellas.

    Screaming for her dad, Veronica felt her chest burn, and knew she was still alive, that she was going to get to do all of those things, see all of those places. She was going to see Aaron Echolls stand trial, she was going meet some guy and seriously consider marrying him, she was going to graduate high school and college, she was going to talk to her mother again, she was going to live- and when Keith pulled Veronica out, she coughed for air, and knew she was going to be okay.

Chapter Text

    “Lilly?” Veronica called across the beach, letting Back Up pull her weight in Lilly’s direction. Lilly’s, Logan’s, Duncan’s. Dick was setting on a cooler a little ways away from the makeshift firepit Lilly was kneeling next to, licking sticky smores off her fingers.

    “You’re late, Mars,” Logan smiled, pulling Lilly into his lap as she swatted him.

    “I didn’t get the invite,” Veronica blinked, pretty sure no one gave her the message about Saturday smores at the beach. “No surfing this morning?” Addressing Duncan in vain, Veronica turned her attention to Logan when Duncan abruptly got up and went towards Dick, like he hadn’t heard her at all.

    “Water’s too calm today, no fun,” Logan munched a mangled smore from Lilly’s hand, laughing when she smeared marshmallowy goodness across his lips.

    “Too calm,” Veronica repeated, looking out at the ocean, still feeling off, like she was missing something.

   “You know what they say, ‘Ronica,” Lilly pressed a sticky kiss to Veronica’s cheek, “the calm usually comes before the worst of the storm.” Letting loose fresh peals of laughter, Lilly darted across the beach to go for the cooler with Dick and Duncan.

   “What was that about?” Veronica asked Logan, watching the way his eyes followed Lilly away.

    “You’re her best friend, Ronnica, if anyone should know, it’s you, right?” Logan’s face went too serious, Veronica---

      Woke with a start to her cellphone’s blaring ringtone, and groaned, reaching for the noisemaker on her nightstand.

   “Lilly?” Veronica answered the phone, and fell back against her pillow,  “I just had the weirdest dream about you,” chewing a thumbnail, Veronica let her mind multi-task, listening to Lilly’s latest Logan problem, and wondering what that dream was supposed to mean.

Chapter Text

    Smoothing blonde hair behind her ear, Logan’s fingers followed the curve of her jaw, pulling her closer, deeper, into his kiss. Swallowing an empty crack about how Caitlyn and Veronica’s taste in makeout session locales differed wildly, Logan kept his lips gentle to Veronica’s, thinking about how comparing the blondes was like comparing apples to oranges.

     The girl’s bathroom wasn’t exactly the Ritz, they both knew that, and Veronica shivered to think that worse things than them happened on that sink. Kissing his way to Veronica’s collarbone, Logan chuckled against the soft skin of her neck at the way she was gasping for breath, at the way he was making her gasp for breath. After months of Veronica Mars’ impenetrable icy glare, and quick vengeance, Logan kissed her cheek to see his new impact. The second to think, also made Logan remember why he’d tugged her into the bathroom in the first place.

    “Are we ever just gonna talk when we haveta talk?” Voice barely above a whisper in her ear, his words tickled against her neck.

   She remembered something about them supposed-to-be talking, he’d pulled in the bathroom to talk about oh, right.

    “Ah, yes. You want to… what do the kids call it? Define the relationship?” Veronica’s fingers were still gripping Logan’s shirt collar, with maybe too much force; but he liked that. She wanted him, even if neither of them could explain it. Well, even if neither of them had.

    “Would that be terrible? Here, I’ll make it easy; I’ll list some keywords, and you stop me when something jumps out at you as an appealing title. Let’s see,” pressing a kiss to the corner of her mouth, Logan pulled back, as Veronica loosened her grip on his shirt.

    Her lips, slightly swollen, slightly parted, she was still slightly breathless, and Logan chided himself for not predicting that she’d be amazing this way; for not expecting that kissing Veronica Mars, this Veronica Mars, would be incredible. Breathless, backed up against the bathroom mirror with her legs around his waist, Logan wanted the memory of her like this, to last. He wanted the experience of her like this to last.

    “Bathroom companions?” Logan tried, brushing the tip of his nose against her’s, as she pulled a face. “Uh… closet makeout buddies?” Nipping at her bottom lip earned him a smile, but Veronica still shook her head.

    “Girl Dynamite and her sidekick, Face Punch Man,” Veronica didn’t dignify the conversation with any serious sentiment, and pulled Logan closer by the shirt collar, kissing up at him.

    If she stopped to think, to examine the moment, Veronica was sure it’d slip like sand through her fingers. Maybe she’d just been too young, to feel this with Duncan. The heat in her cheeks, the want that kept Logan pressed too close to her- she’d never felt that with Duncan. And she still cringed at the memory of flinching in the face of Troy’s first kiss attempt. It’s different, with Logan, but Veronica didn’t want to ruin the whole thing with any complicated thoughts, she didn’t want to tear the whole thing to shreds under a microscope.

    “You joke, but that could actually work for me. Is there an outfit involved? Something with tights?” Logan laughed against her cheek, giving them both another second to breathe. “If Bathroom Companion’s too explicit a title for you, we also have something in the girlfriend variety,” he whispered, and felt her tense in his arms. “Well, are we friends?” Letting an uneasy laugh escape, Logan heard his own ridiculous question and kissed her cheek, unsure of the answer all the same.

     Friends. They’d been friends once, a long time ago. Ages ago. A lifetime ago. But his question, pressed so softly to her cheek, almost made Veronica smile, despite the whole big, bad history between them once being friends, and her current situation pressed up against the bathroom mirror.

    “I know I haven’t been a very good friend, lately,” Logan whispered again, and breathed easier when Veronica’s smile broke through, finally. And he kissed it, only breaking when someone tried to open the bathroom door.

    “We’re at least friends,” she admitted to both of them, and had to look away from the uncharacteristic hope in Logan’s smirk.

Chapter Text

     Tapping his fingers against his knees in the hospital waiting room, Logan only looked up from the beige linoleum floor when black, butch boots entered his view.

   “Lemme guess, ghost of Christmas past?” His own way of asking why she was there, Logan wondered just how many low points of his life did Veronica Mars intend to hover near? “Not really in an entertaining mood, Ronnie.” Face all glower and glare, Logan kept pouting when she sat in the chair across from his.

   “My dad’s helping your parents with the police reports,” Veronica explained, with a glance down the hall. “Apparently there’s a lot of red tape involved in getting stabbed,” she exhaled a sigh, leaning back in the uncomfortably rigid waiting room chair.

  “I’ll be sure to remember that.” Logan nodded, sardonic smile at the ready, meeting her eyes. He hadn’t been asking why she was in the hospital; he didn’t care why she was there. Whether she was there to visit his dad, or get her weekly chlamydia treatment, Logan didn’t care. He was asking why she was there, sitting five feet from him like it was still a year ago and they were still friends. Especially when Duncan was missing again and all he got from Dick was a text with lots of awkward ‘bitches be crazy’ and  ‘lol’s. Veronica Mars always had time to linger on his bad days.

    “World War I had a Christmas ceasefire, you know,” she commented like she was telling him the weather, and moved on. “Can I, I don’t know, get you anything?” Veronica tried, shaking her head at herself. Helping Logan solve the missing poker money case for her own benefit, and actually trying to be civil to him, were two different things. She just figured, with his dad gutted, his mom flying into hysterics every few minutes...She’d seen him sitting alone in the waiting room and then all of a sudden found herself joining him.

    “Got any aliases handy? I could use a break from the Echolls’ name,” he answered, dryly, flexing in his seat. “You’re not too bad, at the Nancy Drew thing, I guess.” He offered, unsure why she was making the effort but decided to follow her lead anyway. “You thought I didn’t take the money based off a few overturned couch cushions, when even Duncan thought I did.” Not an evil-doer, she’d said; he remembered, he was planning on making her take it back, later. “Like, a one-day ceasefire, right?” He coughed, looking down the hall at where his mother and her father were still talking. “In World War I,” Logan looked to her.

    “Absolutely. The Allies got right back to kicking the Germans’ butts right after Christmas.” Veronica said, with a tentative smile. “ Speaking of Christmas, I forgot that I actually come bearing a gift.” Reaching in her bag, Veronica pulled out the Fabergé egg Weevil had taken in retaliation for the poker game debacle. Leaning over to push it into his hands, Veronica smiled, “No recovery fee on this one; I’m feeling the holiday spirit.”

    “Certainly short enough to be an elf,” Logan teased, not remembering Veronica for being a big Christmas fan. Lilly had loved Christmas, the presents and the lights and the fancy family parties. “Do they teach poker tricks at elf school?” He asked, turning the egg over in his hands.

    “You’re too tall, if I told you I’d have to kill you.” With a chuckle, Veronica saw her dad coming down the hall, apparently done with Echolls’ drama for the night, and ready to go. “Well, I’ll see ya. Tell your dad…” Veronica trailed off, with a shrug.

    “To avoid scorning women? Not sure that advice’ll stick, but hey, I’ll try it,” Logan mustered a spiteful smile, pulled back into the drama of his family, his father, and reminded of every unpleasant thing that was probably to come. “This was the one-day wasn’t it?” He asked after her, once she started walking away.

    “Tomorrow you move right back into my probably-did-it column.” Sweeping bangs from her eyes, Veronica met her dad and put every aspect of the Echolls’ family soap opera behind her for the night, Logan included.

Chapter Text

     Leaning over the engine bay of her lebaron, rubbing grease on the thighs of her jeans once she was too frustrated to keep fussing with her car, Veronica smiled when she heard a motorcycle pull up next to her where she was stranded at the beach. Keeping your hopes riding on a the leader of a biker gang? Amateur move, Veronica. Weevil was always the right arm’s length away, he was always too shifty, too cagey with the right things to really be an ally, but he usually came through when he said he would. It was better than most other people she knew, and it was good enough for her.

    “Bikes are cheaper for maintenance, you know, especially when you know a guy with access to a lot of cheap parts.” Weevil came around to the front of the car, arms folded across his chest. Even though she was stranded with a car that wouldn’t move, he always felt like he needed Veronica’s permission to help her. He always liked to be asked, to be called. This time, she’d called him.

    “Oh, and you’d be a guy wouldn’t you?” Veronica was sure access to cheap parts was putting the PR-spin on having an uncle with a shadey chop shop, but it made her smile that he came, anyway.

    “I could be your guy,” he bluffed and came closer, looking over the engine at the cracked air-intake tube she’d called about. “Definitely your problem,” Weevil could slide two fingers through the tear in the tube. “Someone from the shop’ll come and get it, fix it, and drive it home to you,” closing the car’s hood, Weevil eyed the dirty hand prints on her baby blue jeans. “You wear ‘em like that to school and the boys’ll start to understand why I do you so many favors,” he tilted his head at her jeans, nudged her shoulder when she glared with half-force.

    “It’s not so many favors, don’t be dramatic.” Rolling her eyes, Veronica grabbed her bag from her car and met him back at his bike.

    “You realize, this puts me in the black, right?” Tossing her the motorcycle helmet, he always wanted to laugh at her once she had it on. She had that skinny little body, skinny little neck, with a big, black helmet on it, it just made him smile to see it. “My uncle takes care of your car, I give you a lift home, and you officially owe me one,” he figured why not push his luck, she was stranded after all.

    “Yeah, yeah, you’re in the black, I owe you one, Weevil. Thank you. Maybe the next favor I do for you could involve something like providing you with baked goods, instead of averting jail time?” She climbed on the back of the bike after he did, rolling her eyes.

    “Yeah, maybe.” Weevil started the motorcycle and peeled away from Veronica’s beat her. “Probably not, though, V,” he laughed, and thought he could feel her shaking her head behind him.

Chapter Text

    Shoving a whole slice of cheese in her mouth at once, Veronica stuck her tongue out at her mother and father, both of them, in the same kitchen, at the same time. Clarence Weidman was dealt with, her father was her father, and Veronica didn’t want to jinx it but she wanted so badly to feel her world clicking a little back into place. She let herself breathe easier, fixing a Saturday afternoon lunch with her mother like they might’ve done years ago. Slapping two more slices of bread down on the fancy plastic china plates, Veronica cranked the radio and dancing-in-socks-on-tile-spun her way to the fridge for a Skist.

   Caught by her dad’s hand and his propensity for singing along to Queen and David Bowie, Veronica let the grooves of Under Pressure and her father’s off-beat swaying swing her around the living room with an easy laugh.

    Over his daughter’s shoulder, Keith saw his estranged wife back in the kitchen, struggling to hold the mayonnaise knife steady against the white bread, and nodded to himself.

    It isn’t a crime for adult persons to take a break from their lives, and responsibilities, Veronica,  he’d said to his daughter once, during one of the first hard nights without Lianne; during one of Veronica’s first inquiries into why he wasn’t hard at work tracking his wife down.

    Eyeing the shake in the knife in his wife’s hand, Keith almost wished it was a crime. He wished there was some explicit amount of time served that his wife could write off and come back atoned, clean-slated, and forgiven. As hard as Veronica was trying, to be all-forgiving and ever-understanding, Keith tried harder. It was easy to remember why he’d fallen in love with Lianne in the first place, it was easy to want what could make his daughter happy, even for a little. But seeing the cracks in the Mars’ family foundation was easier than spreading mayonnaise on white bread, and Keith forced himself to watch his wife reach for the water bottle she always kept near her now, and knew he’d be making his own sandwiches again soon, for better or worse.  

     Under pressure, that burns a building down, splits a family in two, puts people on streets... Pressure on the people, people on the streets...

Chapter Text

    “I’m not saying I don’t get it, because hello, look at me, I get it,” Lilly made a duh face at Veronica in the passenger seat and turned her head back to the road. “But just because I’m fabulous, doesn’t mean I’m looking for some big gesture of commitment from him. I mean, he’s going off talking about the rest of our lives, and I swear I’m just sitting there, like who bodysnatched you?” Winning a giggle from Veronica, Lilly laughed, too.

    “He loves you, and you know you love him,” Veronica pointed out, choosing to ignore the very yellow light Lilly had just driven through. Heart still fresh off the pain of Duncan's delete-and-avoid break up, Veronica wasn't sure she saw Logan wanting to get serious with Lilly for the problem Lilly saw it as. But they were young, and Veronica knew Lilly liked her breathing room.

    “Just ‘cause we’re in love, we haveta march down to a chapel and pledge each other droll monogamy ‘til we die? Or at least until my ass gets fat and he stops coming straight home from the office.” A dig at her parents’ marriage, Lilly rolled her eyes. “You know, sometimes I don’t even think we’re right for each other, I think he’s just stubborn.” Chewing a polished fingernail, Lilly made driving-and-multitasking an art, changing the radio station with her other hand.

    “Ten and two, Ms. Pre-suspended-license,” Veronica teased a sigh out of Lilly. “And you’re both stubborn,” she added. There was a reason they’d gotten back together everytime they broke up, Veronica figured, and from where she was sitting, safely in the third-wheel seat, it didn’t look like Logan’s stubborness was all to blame.

    “I’m not even saying not ever,  though. I’m just saying, maybe Logan could be my… you know, second or third husband.” Lilly laughed when Veronica’s mouth dropped open in shock and amusement. “I mean, I’m still working on my college plans, and you know what’s at a lot of colleges?”

    “College boys?” Veronica took a shot in the dark, and laughed when Lilly nodded enthusiastically.
    “And girls,” Lilly added, with a snicker. “Look, tomorrow, I might wake up and wanna get on the back of some motorcycle with a guy who says my name like he’s praying, or get my hands on an A-list movie star I’m too young for, or maybe you’ll finally sleep with me, and I’m supposed to what put all that possibility aside, for Logan? I love him, but I’m gonna love other people, and he’s gonna love other girls, too, and he should.” They pulled up to the Kane’s house, and Lilly grabbed her backpack from the backseat with another hefty sigh. “I think some people are born like, stars, and some people, maybe aren’t. I mean, all this charisma, beauty, and charm's gotta be for something," Lilly laughed. "And if I’m gonna be a star, Veronica Mars, I wanna burn out way before I fade, you know? And… me and Logan... the rest of our lives,” she winced, “we’d both fade, I just know it."

    “You’d probably both kill each other, I don’t know if that counts as burning out.” Veronica grabbed her bag, too, and the boys-free weekend sleepover officially commenced.

Chapter Text

    “Well, have you ever thought about reaching out? Taking a trip, even?”

    Forcibly relaxing his grip on the chair’s armrest, Logan shifted in his seat. At some point, the court-ordered therapy had just become therapy, and like every other time Logan stayed away too long, he found himself back in the chair, wondering why he hadn’t stayed away longer. The office, all grays and beiges, was bland enough to be non-threatening, but Logan still tensed up once in awhile.

   “Since you know where she is, I mean,” Stacey-- Dr. Nole-- prompted again. Logan liked her because she was persistent, but the quality did have its drawbacks. Paying someone to pick at your scabs, Logan smiled to himself; not all of his best masochism was behind him.

    As one of the closest eye-witnesses to the first worst moments of Logan’s life- Logan understood why Veronica was of a certain interest to Stacey. As one of his life’s most open-ended-but-certainly-closed chapters, Logan allowed himself his reservations when Veronica came up in conversation. He didn’t even mean to mention it in this session, they were talking about things that had changed since their last meeting, and Logan realized he’d finally found out where Veronica ended up.

    “It’s my understanding that New York is a  big city, with a pretty sizable population. Plus, you don’t know this but, Veronica’s what I’d call vertically-challenged; probably hard to find her in a crowd of multi-millions, you know,” Logan re-crossed his legs in the opposite direction. Five years of counseling through defensiveness and bitchiness, Logan wasn’t sure he was paying Stacey enough to sit through some of his sessions. But they ususally went better. Sometimes, they just talked about his substance issues and how it felt when his mother jumped off a bridge. He was pretty sure Stacey liked him anyway, defesiveness and bitchiness and everything. “So I actually don’t know where she is, I heard it from a friend, who heard it from a friend. I’m glad she’s doing okay, if she’s doing okay.”

    Did he ever think about dialing her old number? Did he ever pay too much attention to blondes across clubs? Did he ever picture himself turning up on her doorstep after years of radio silence?

    The timer on Stacey’s desk played it’s soft beep, and Logan smiled softly.

    “Gotta run, Stacey, good session.” Shaking her hand as he got up, Logan figured he meant it.


    “I know, I know, Dr. Stacey,” with a wave, he left the office and all it’s beige tones, and knew he was due for a surf.  

Chapter Text

   “So how is it?” Veronica eyed the plain silver band on Weevil’s beer-hand ring-finger. “Married life?”

     He was only out of the hospital a couple of weeks, Veronica wasn’t even sure he should be drinking if he was still on certain painkillers. But she’d been lonely, and he’d been around, and hadn’t they always been friends, anyways? Now they were just legally allowed to drink.

    “Honestly, it’s not half-bad, V. Your tragic taste in men not-with-standing, maybe you wanna give it a try one day. Now that I’m off-the-market and stuff, I’m sure there’s someone else out there you could stand to settle for who’s dangerous and combative enough for you, long-term.” Weevil nudged her with his good shoulder, and sipped from his beer again.

    “Dangerous and combative?” Veronica laughed into her own beer, shaking her head. “I’ve seen you get a manicure from your four-year-old, you’re gonna haveta bare your teeth a little longer to convince me you still bite. Besides, you were the one with the highschool crush on me, vato. Not the other way around.” Head-tilt in half swing, grinning at him almost like she used to, Veronica blinked expectedly.

    “Oh, is that so?” Weevil shook his head. In between the murders, and the wars-of-allegiance and the ill-fated-pair-of-delinquents they would’ve made, Weevil didn’t have to squint hard to see it. “You had two modes with me in high school, cute-little-bad-ass with taser accessories, and damsel-in-distress not too tough to blackmail help out of me.” Laughing, Weevil got ready to settle the tab.

    “You’re gonna make me blush,” Veronica swatted his hand away to pick up the bar tab.

Chapter Text

    Logan put the X-Terra in park and saw Duncan carrying Veronica’s bookbag up ahead, Veronica in tow. With a callous grin, Logan remembered the last first day of school; teasing Veronica lamely, with Duncan in his passenger seat. She made him pay for those comments back then, he remembered. Her hair was longer now, less the punchline it’d been a year ago, but less the weaponized statement it’d been. Logan didn’t look away, as Veronica slipped her hand into Duncan’s, and drew the crowd’s eyes to them, too. Maybe she was still punishing him.

    “You coming, man?” Dick yelled from the pavement, and had Logan laughing at himself.

    Of course, punishing him would mean that Veronica thought about him at all, and all present indicators pointed towards no, Veronica wasn’t thinking about him. Their summer romance hadn’t fizzled from where Logan was sitting, but she was holding his best friend’s hand, and it was fall, so maybe he shouldn’t have been thinking about her, either. Or maybe he just had to do something to deserve her wrath.
     Grabbing his backpack, Logan headed to class, figuring he’d decide what to do on the way.
     Watching the two of them stride into school together, Logan took a deep breath. Veronica-with-Duncan was as lunch-losing-de-ja-vu-inducing as he expected it to be. But he had bigger things to worry about. He had a whole class war to win, Veronica or no Veronica. It was his senior year, there was fresh debauchery to incite, and the whole alluring promise of an epic senior prank. He didn't need Veronica, or even Duncan, to cause trouble. Hadn't he proven that last fall?

     Brushing past the whispers about Veronica-and-Duncan and Veronica-and-Logan and Logan-and-Duncan, Logan was reminded that high school was still every bit the petty carnival of gossip they'd left it as in the spring. Smiling, Logan knew that Veronica finding herself the center of a new controversy, of new derision and scandal, would sit appropriately with her. He would have to do something drastic to register a blip on her deserves-punishment-meter with the rumor mill around her going constantly. But maybe he could play a card of subtlely; wait in the wings, with only low-level skin-irritating maneuvers to... well, get under her skin. Closing his locker with a slam, Logan watched Veronica rush past him without a glance, and when the bell rang on cue, he promised himself he was only pouting about being back in school. 

Chapter Text

    As the hallways cleared for the day, Logan dawdled at his locker, stealing occasional glances across the hall at a certain blonde. Eyeing the blue jeans hugging her hips, and her tight little jacket probably packed like Batman’s utility belt, Logan knew he paying too much attention to her when she stared back unblinkingly. Crossing the hall to him, Veronica smoothed her lips together mindlessly, like that could erase what they’d done just a few periods ago.

    When Logan looked hard at Veronica’s neck, he was sure he could make out the outline of a pinkish, o-shaped tell-tale mark. That, and the happy little sparkle he swore he wasn’t imagining in her eyes, were the only visible signs of proof Logan could find that he hadn’t wildly hallucinated their sacred yet palpably unholy tryst in the girls' bathroom.

    “Coming to leave a love note in my locker?” Logan asked, and the playful edge Veronica always brought out in his voice was less edgy than a few weeks ago.

    “Hardly,” Veronica looked up through her lashes at him, biting back an involuntary smile, “just thought you should know, I think the girl’s bathroom is going to be out of order tomorrow… maybe in between third and fourth?” Rolling her eyes at the smug look on his face, Veronica started remembering why this whole thing was a bad idea. Her feet didn’t move though, and she couldn’t take her eyes from his.

    “Maybe in between fourth and fifth?” Squinting at her hopefully, Logan laughed when Veronica offered him the tiniest nod. With a small sweep of his thumb, Logan pushed hair behind her ear, with a soft smile. “It’s just I usually get my best evil plotting done between third and fourth, if you’re gonna start cutting into-” Side-stepping the subsequent swat of her hand, Logan leaned back against the lockers, clearing his throat when another student walked past them.

    Looking back at her once the other kid left them alone again, Logan saw how she tensed up, how she’d stepped back from him, how she probably had excuses handy for spending alone-time with him.

    “Do we need to go kick that guy’s ass? Take care of the witnesses?” He joked, and relaxed a little when she did, and Logan smiled when she shook her head.

    “Who’d believe him if he told anyone he saw us together, anyway?” Chuckling, Veronica leaned in closer to him, shaking her head.

    “Ah yes, 09er king meets outcast princess? Practically star-crossed, you know,” nipping down at her top lip, Logan rested his forehead against hers when she didn’t pull back from him.

    “You were the one who outcast me!” Veronica laughed against his lips, trying to keep an ear out for any other lingering classmates but having a hard time focusing on anything but the way Logan was tracing her collarbone with his thumb. It was ridiculous, this thing between them, the idea that they would even be-

    “I remember it a little differently…” Shaking his head, Logan stole another quick kiss at her cheek.

    “Bite me,” she whispered, and shook her head when she heard the innuendo in her voice just a little too late.

    “I’d say all you had to do was ask, but it looks like someone beat me to it…” Running his thumb over the almost-completely-faded love bite on her neck, Logan smiled a kiss against it.

Chapter Text

     “So in your examinations of my evil, do I measure up?” Pinned against his own locker, Logan was happier for it, and kissed Veronica, again.

    “Hey, Logan, I saw your car still in the-” Dick stormed towards Logan’s locker, and saw his best bro backed against the lockers, with a blonde in his arms. “Oh, gotcha, right, obviously you’re busy here so I’ll just-”

    Slowly, Veronica shook herself out of shock, and willed the mortification down in her chest.

    “Nope,” Veronica turned to Dick with a pat at Logan’s chest, “We’re about done, here,” she ground out.

    “Ronnie… ” Dick nodded, with a hair flip and wave, “How’s uh… how’s it going?”

    “Do I need to explicitly state all the terrible, horrible things that will happen to you if you open your burrito receptacle about this?” She asked, no humor in her voice.

    “Really more of a taco guy, hard shell, you know…” With a shrug, Dick tried a quick laugh that quieted when Veronica set her glare harder. “Dude…”

    “I’d listen to her, man,” Logan smoothed his hand down Veronica’s back and saw her soften, if only a little. “We still on for tomorrow?” He whispered just to Veronica, and thought he saw her give him just a tiny nod.

    “Time for me to go? Survey says yes,” Veronica looked back at Logan with a small smile, and zipped her sweatshirt as she started walking away from him.

    “Veronica, wait,” calling her back, Logan fished an umbrella from his locker, and held it out to her. “It’s raining out there,” he smiled, “wouldn’t want you to get all wet for no reason.” Feigning an innocent smile, Logan leaned into her subsequent slap on his arm, and savored the glare he earned.

    “You get lonely working the girl’s bathroom all by yourself, you make sure and call Dick,” she teased back, trying to keep her smile under wraps with Dick still standing there looking dumbfounded. “See ya,” she waved herself out, taking his umbrella with her.

    “You and Ronnie?” Dick laughed when she was gone, and Logan closed his locker with a satisfied sigh. “I mean it figures I guess, but…”

Chapter Text

    “What, no holiday spirit?” Weevil rang her doorbell and grinned at Veronica already in her pajamas.

    “Oh, and you’re celebrating?” Eyeing his regular moto-jacket, white t-shirt, and jeans, Veronica looked doubtful. The tiny little Minnie Mouse at his side smiled when Veronica handed her candy. “I see you are celebrating, Minnie,” with a small smile, Veronica looked back up at Weevil.

    “I’m James Dean, what, you don’t see the resemblance?” Arms out at his sides, Weevil feigned offense. “I’m taking Ofelia around this neighborhood,” he shrugged, “better candy than ours.”

    With a nod, Veronica dumped another fistful of snack-size chocolates into Ofelia’s candy bag. “In case Eli here gets up to any of his usual tricks, ” she shared another smile with the little girl, who just giggled.

    “Baby, you wish you saw my tricks,” Weevil laughed, with a wink for Veronica, and started pulling Ofelia away, to the next apartment.

    “Happy Halloween, James Dean and Minnie Mouse,” Veronica called after them, shaking her head at a group of kids she could see coming. Two Scream masks, and a plastic-looking wolfman. They don’t know that sometimes the monsters are real, Veronica sighed, handing them candy, “Happy Halloween,” she called after them, too.