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The Long Way Home

Chapter Text

The reassurances start in the cab as news of Carrie's murder breaks.

Piz keeps staring at her in that way and talking to her in that tone and it's a tad annoying but reasonable, she thinks. His confidence had grown in their eight years apart but there was still some of the old Piz in there and that was okay. He has nothing to worry about. A quick trip back home, hang with her dad, help Logan, go back to New York. Easy breezy.

He never asks in the year they were together why she would shut down when he tried to talk about certain things, or why she had her phone locked with a password when he tried to use it to call for a cab during a kinda-sorta drunken night out, what she was trying to hide. And yet she wishes he would ask. She wishes he would challenge her more, it's become boring holding the reins all the time. She wants him to snatch them out of her hands but he never does. Even when she gives him room to take control, something as simple as “what should we do about the heater situation?” becomes a considerate, lulling discussion. Veronica doesn't want to waste time, so she tells Piz she's going back to Neptune. Not “what do you think” or “what should I do” but “I am going.”

As Piz goes off to pay the bill for their dinner, her eyes drift down to her phone, lingers on Logan's name and number there at the top of her recent calls list. It sits heavy and it feels like his name is bolder than the others. As always, his presence looms in her mind even if he's nowhere to be found. It's just concern, surely. Like all the other times, it's concern for him, always a worry.

The conversation on the phone had been awkward and tense, spoken like complete strangers, which she supposed they were after nine years.

He sounded so composed on the phone but she could hear the faint shake of his voice, that didn't slip by her. The racing of her heart at the sound of his voice didn't slip by her either, in fact, she was surprised by it. And yet, not as surprised as she was when Mac texted her with guess who I just saw Top Gunning it @ Java? all those years ago.

It doesn't matter, though. None of it matters- she'll be going to Neptune out of the goodness of her heart, to help an old friend. Piz understands, it's not like she's going on vacation. This was all just a big pain in the ass, really.

She's not that nervous.

* * * * *

She makes the first move to hug and that's totally not weird. He spent forty-nine dollars on a plane ticket just so he could meet her at the gate. Also not weird.

The two girls who nearly cooed at the sight of Logan carrying her bag as they walked past...that wasn't so weird. The older men giving Logan respectful nods or straight up saluting him...that was weird. The quiet smiles and nods he gives back are also foreign to her, the control and almost bashfulness of it.

Logan Echolls is notably calmer, his posture perfect. He doesn't fidget like he used to and he stares at her directly when he speaks. He no longer pulls his sleeves over his hands or has a nervous fight-or-flight energy buzzing about him. He walks slower and with more confidence. His voice is softer and dare she say gentler. This is what throws her out of kilter.

He seems

She notices him glancing at her every so often and she wonders if he's thinking the same about her. What is he thinking about her? Is he also marveling over how adult and confident she is? Or is it more superficial and he's noticing her hair or new look? She feels stupid for even wondering, none of it matters, she's here for business, not to play catch up.

While she's putting on her seat belt, he speaks with a fond tenderness, “You look good, Veronica.”

She doesn't respond but the smile plays on her lips. A compliment from Logan Echolls always made her smile, and surprisingly, it was no different now.

* * * * *

He mentions Carrie during the car ride to her father's office, only when they came upon one of her songs playing on the radio. The previous conversation had been kept light and distant. He talked about his path to military work, she about the road toward law, and she suspected they were both avoiding the elephant in the room.

“Y'know what she said, the first time she saw me in my dress whites?” A sad smile slowly graces his features. “Logan Echolls, you punk-ass bitch.”

She grins tightly, shaking her head. “Modern love.”

“Yeah. It was,” his sharp intake of breath is like a cut in the silence. “No one knew how funny she was. She had to get to know you but when she did...” he trails off, shaking his head as he passes a semi and ignores their blaring horn.

“You miss her.”

“Well, when you have a grand total of two friends, the absence is noticeable,” he sighs when Veronica doesn't respond. “I miss the woman who was my friend. I miss the woman I fell in love with. She wasn't that woman for a long time, though,” he pauses, chewing on the inside of his cheek. “They didn't let me go to the funeral, you know.”


“If you're going to repeat a Sympathy for Dummies one-liner, don't.”

She sighs, finally turning her head to look at him. He's not looking at her and perhaps the unawareness allows the sorrow to sit on his features and in the sunset, he looks sadder and more tired than she had noticed in the airport. She doesn't know how to respond to any of this and maybe they should have just stuck with the friendly small talk but here they were. It was time to extend the friend branch. “Look, if you need to talk or something, about Carrie or the case or whatever, I'm here-”

He grins at her, a smile that doesn't quite reach his eyes. “So how about them Dodgers?”

* * * * *

The text comes about ten minutes after he dropped her off at her dad's office as her father rushes to close up.

Hope you enjoyed the outfit. Next time...a cowboy!

She smiles and wonders why exactly she had avoided him for nine years. This wasn't so bad at all.

* * * * *

He spends a good chunk of the parade of hungry lawyers glancing at her. Questioning looks, annoyed stares, anxious flits, completely lost and blank gazes. Those are the ones that alarm her. And yet, before she could get too concerned, he seems to sense her worry and pops back into the performance- a cold grin or a roll of his eyes at the more horrible and soulless attorneys, politeness and handshakes toward the ones that at least pretended to give a shit.

He offers to buy her a drink and she accepts. She feels a bit shy, and it's silly. But this isn't weird. This is normal. This is what adults do, there's nothing weird here. They are friends.

This time, she gives him a smile when she catches him glancing at her as he buckles his seatbelt. He winks back and she can't help the faint...rush?

* * * * *

Logan considers Carrie and Bonnie DeVille to be two separate people. Bonnie DeVille's biggest fan hid in Carrie's closet. Carrie hated Bonnie's second #1 single. Bonnie wore the boots Logan bought Carrie in one of her last music videos.

It's only odd for about five minutes until she realizes Logan needs to separate the two since Carrie was simply playing a role. She could relate, sometimes she felt like she was playing a role. Veronica Mars: the ambitious attorney. She doesn't tell Logan, though, because it probably wasn't the time. It definitely wasn't the time.

She lets Logan vent in the parking lot of the karaoke bar because he needs it, he really does.

“So Carrie's been fucked up for weeks, right? I say enough and she goes off with Sean and his fucking lackeys and she's papped on Melrose at three in the morning, coke on her nose. Couple of weeks later, Carrie's calling saying she's been clean for two weeks, she's proud, wants me to come home. I tell her I need some time, but to stay clean, right? Parker comes into town for business and I take her out to dinner- she's a PR rep for HBO now, by the way.”

He's tapping the steering wheel with his fingers now, an anxious drumming. “Parker and I get our photo put up on TMZ, they got me kissing her cheek next to her cab but they got it at an angle so it looks like we're making out, right? Lt. Echolls and the Mystery Woman. Carrie calls Dick, screaming and wanting to know where I am. Dick calls me, Carrie's going ballistic. I call her and she's screaming and crying, why am I doing this to her, you prick, you asshole, I'm going to off myself.”

Logan's eyes follow a group of men walking to their car before returning his gaze to the steering wheel. “I'm not really sure if she's being serious or not so I go over. She's yelling at me for embarrassing her, I'm telling her Parker is just my friend, we're friends on fucking Facebook, for fuck's sake. We're arguing and I'm looking at her and it slowly dawns on me...Carrie is on something. She's fucking off her head.”

He pauses then, swallowing hard and his hands are clenched in his lap. The cars zoom past them, filling the silence and he doesn't look at Veronica and she realizes just how worn he really is.

“I fucking lose it, Veronica. She's still yelling at me and I start looking in her kitchen cabinets, sugar bowls, I'm looking for the drugs, you know? She's not seeing what I'm doing and I'm ignoring her because insulting my dad's not exactly the best way to get at me, right? I move past her, running up the stairs and she's after me and grabbing my legs but I'm faster than her and I'm going into her bedroom and by now, I'm pissed off and yanking her drawers out and dumping them. I go to her dresser and she's fucking whaling on me, Veronica. Hitting and scratching me and I finally just push her on the bed to get her the fuck away from me and there's the coke, right in plain sight next to a picture of me and her.”

Veronica inhales sharply and tries to recover, tries to keep her expression blank, like a lawyer would.

“She told me she was clean for two weeks and it was a lie. Like...I'm standing there, holding this coke and I'm scratched up and my lip's busted up and she's just laying on the bed like...I knew it was over, I knew it wasn't going to change, she wasn't Carrie, I don't know who the fuck that was. And I fucking hated her.”

“Don't tell that to your counsel.”

“I'm not stupid, Veronica. I open the bag, dump the coke on her and walk out. She's up and following me, screaming and cursing me out, trying to hit me again. I leave and Dick sees me and he says...” a wry smile comes on his lips but it's not genuine and it's more of a grimace. “Shit, man, you better say you got in a bar fight.”

“Next week, it's in the Enquirer and People that Carrie and I got into a shouting match at her place. She calls me a few days later, saying bygones and could we go hang at the beach...” he trails off, letting out a shuddering breath and finally looking at Veronica. “Carrie died a long time before she actually did. I just feel like I failed. Like I killed her by not trying harder.”

She doesn't know what to say, what is there to say? She wants to lie to him and say it would be okay but it won't because someone is dead. She wants to hug him but it's not her place. She wants to go back to her father's and crawl into bed and let what he's saying cloak her in its misery. She doesn't know what to say so she reiterates, “D-Don't tell that to your counsel.”

Logan lets out a sharp laugh, shaking his head. “Christ. I get it, Veronica.”

“We should keep driving, it's late,” she reaches for her bag, eager to change the subject. “Tell me more about the e-mails Single White Female sent you.”

* * * * *

She feels electricity through her fingers as she pulls out her taser, her fake IDs, her camera. Each item brings about mixed emotions but more than painful memories, there's almost a euphoria at handling her weapons. It's not sex but power, that feeling. She hadn't felt that in a long time, it was like something in her had just roused, and she didn't feel giddy or even happy but she felt powerful.

It was all things she couldn't explain in words to anyone. Not when she sees the looks her father keeps giving her, the way Wallace glanced at her when she mentioned Logan's case. At least Mac had the decency to stay neutral.

A quick phone call to Piz telling him it's going to be a couple of more days turns into some more reassurance, a soft tone to quell the sudden urge to snap at him for sounding just slightly irritated. She didn't know what he expected- she came down to work. It was only supposed to be a day but things change when the issue gets more serious. It would be the same when she started taking cases as a bona fide lawyer. She wishes he could just understand. Actually, she wishes they would all understand.

She just wants to help a friend. It's not like she's going to stick around.

* * * * *

“You should only wear this.”

There's a rush.

He gazes at her fondly as she walks down the steps and he looks almost pleased as he gives her the once-over. It was definitely a once-over. Flirting...was this flirting? Or was this just the Echolls charm? She definitely wasn't getting butterflies, that's for sure.

She can feel the almost business-like walls they had both surely and unconsciously put up between them crumble as she gets closer and his smile is a pleased one and she can't help but smile back. It's a smile she can feel curving into something naughtier and full of insinuation like they used to and she's almost ashamed for a moment. Almost.

God, he looks so good. It's okay to admit that, isn't it? That's not weird. She's in a relationship but she's not dead. It's okay to acknowledge another man's desirability. It was just a look, a smile. It means nothing.

You should only wear this.

There's definitely a rush.

* * * * *

She's just slightly mortified to find herself arrested. The mortification fades away to a slight pride and surprising amusement when she texts Logan about the recent developments and his response is a simple well, the bar isn't going to like that, mars.

Let's see how quippy he is after she tells him about the deal she made with Della.

Her father's stern look wipes the smile off her face and she quickly lowers her head, hiding her face behind her hair as she quickly texts back a haha, just wait. Thankfully, her father hasn't asked whom she was texting, although she figures he's already guessed.

A part of her is disappointed at her father's irritation over her predicament. It was a risk she would have to take if she was investigating, and it's not like she'll be doing this forever. It was just a setback, and no one got hurt. She still has a case to solve.

* * * * *

Logan chats and dances a bit too easy with Della- actually, Ruby. She watches as he flirts gamely, letting Ruby smile adoringly at him and touch his knee and she wonders if it was this easy when he was talking to her, when they were alone and he was smirking at her in that way that always give her butterflies.

No. This wasn't the time to be insecure because none of this mattered. She was on a case and he was playing a part. Like Carrie played a part. Like she played a part, sometimes.

There was no jealousy. Not from her end. None at all.

With a firm swipe of the screen, she ignores the incoming call from Piz. Not while she's busy, she'll text him later. He'll understand.

* * * * *

We should take the long way home.

Playing a game of chicken can be fun, sometimes. The idea that Logan isn't exactly playing along intrigues her even more. The glances, the silences, it's all just a game.

There are things she can't control like the way her breath catches when he looks at her. Sometimes even with a glance, her breathing dips. She can't control the way her body just responds to him, even when she tries to will it not to. The sudden thirst for it, she can't explain but she likes the tension. She had missed that tension.

Dipping a toe in the water.

She gives him her own looks too, wonders if he catches them. It's like an adult game of peekaboo, really. Can you see the real me before I hide again?

Playing with fire.

How easy it would be to cheat. She would never, she doesn't think, but it would be so easy. She might even allow it to happen, maybe. Fall right into it. Tilt and fall. To feel alive and like herself, the real her, for just a moment. She wonders if he's thought about it, if he would. No. She would never. Ever.

A challenge of self-control and endurance. She's winning.

She's almost smug now as he glances at her and she holds his stare before looking away. Before, that would have been all she needed before she was sliding across the seat and opening her mouth to the bare skin of his neck. Before, that would have been it before his lips lifted into a naughty smirk as his hand was slipping between her thighs. Neither of them make a move but she can feel the tension, the electricity, there. It sits, waiting. She doesn't move, and neither does he. She's winning.

It's just a game. It's all harmless.

* * * * *

She's surprised at the anger that suddenly hits her. Not the anger from seeing Logan falsely accused and the assumptions made about him when she knew better. No, this was anger from the assumptions being made about her, the ideals being pushed on her, as they have been for years. Every time she begins to feel comfortable, someone has to jerk her back.

The judgment is annoying her. From her father, Piz, Wallace, she's just over it. She can see it on their faces, hear it in their voices. They mean well, she knows this, but she wants to finish this case. It's hard enough as it is trying to get information out of people like Dick without her own side stepping in the way.

Her father keeps giving her looks. The stern, use-your-head look. And then there's the look of disappointment that shames her and she wishes he would stop giving her before she went back to New York out of pure guilt. She has things to do. She doesn't want to disappoint her father but she has things to do.

She ignores the call from Truman-Mann.

Mac actually warned her about Piz being inside at the reunion, like she had been doing something wrong talking to Logan. Like anyone would be able to stop her from talking to Logan or doing anything she wanted to. They all mean well. She just wants to finish the case.

It's about the case, really. Weevil is now wrapped in the corruption of the police department, she was already getting the itch to investigate that as well. She had to clear Weevil, look into what the hell was going on with the Neptune police. None of this was right and she could fix it or at least strike some fear into those assholes. That would keep her happy for at least a month.

On a whim that afternoon, she invites Logan over that night to talk about the case when he drops her off. And dinner. It was about the case, but he's got to eat and she doubts Dick is taking care of him. It'll be good, her dad could give his input, Logan could feel at ease, and they could all move forward and solve this case. It'll be good.

* * * * *

That's it. The job offer is off the table. Piz is done with her. She didn't have to even end any of it herself, it was done for her. She knows she should feel something more than what she was...upset? Culpable? Angry at herself? She manages a few tears in the bathroom, mostly out of guilt. She feels like a horrible person but the grief over her new found freedom doesn't last as long as she thought it would. Not at all, actually. She just feels guilt, and then overwhelming relief. What is that?

Her father's anger and disappointment shakes her more than the actual removal of her lost prospects. She never wanted to let him down ever and here they were. He had asked her why she had just given up, for what, and she had started to answer him, finds her words catching in her throat as she struggles to find just the right words for his question and she just can't get it out.

For what?

* * * * *

Her worst nightmare is happening.

Everything is happening in flashes. She remembers screaming and it doesn't even sound like herself. She remembers Logan staying calm and checking for her father's pulse and his hand was firm on her forearm as he tried to loosen her grip when the emergency workers had to do their jobs. She remembers being in Logan's car, following the ambulance. She remembers pushing her hair back with both hands, gripping the roots as she cried and she felt Logan's hand on her knee and heard him saying her father was still breathing, he was stabilized, it was all going to be all right. It all sounds empty to her screaming panic.

The nurses won't let her follow as they rush her father in. She finds herself rapidly turning and pacing in a helpless panic until Logan pulls her to him, embracing her tightly and she lets him. They stand there in the hallway for a long while, him holding her as she quietly cries against his chest, his thumb rubbing against her shoulder gently. He holds her until she doesn't want to be held anymore, and then he walks silently with her down the hallway, and then back up again, and down once more.

The severity of it all hits her on their third walk-around. Her father could have been killed. Logan could have been killed. She could have lost both of them tonight if Logan hadn't been fast enough. He looks surprised but doesn't say a thing when she wordlessly hugs him.

They separate and start to walk again and she's appreciative when he starts a story about one of his deployments, it was a pretty fucking boring story but it was enough to hold her attention and to keep her from not breaking down over her father once more. They lean against a wall and she crosses her arms over her chest as she tells him about the job offer that fell through. He doesn't say a word, just lets her talk as she admits she's not exactly upset over it. He has no reaction at all, no judgment and no disappointment and just polite condolences and support and she's grateful.

Logan's awkwardness is evident when he haltingly asks if she wants to call Piz to tell him about what's going on. She shakes her head, tightening her arms over her chest and she's thankful when he doesn't press on.

The doctor's update is good but still devastating, her father is okay but he's in critical condition and poor Sacks is dead. Another casualty of Neptune and even as she turns back to Logan, letting him embrace her, she can feel the anger in her growing, the need for justice and revenge bubbling in her. She doesn't know what to do with it but she welcomes it like an old friend.

* * * * *

Veronica is slightly disappointed to not find Logan in bed with her when her eyes open. She had felt him lay her down and then drift away and she had fallen back asleep, thinking he would climb in. She had expected it, had hoped for it, wanted the comfort he brought and had kept to her all night.

Comfort. The same comfort that had come from falling asleep next to him and Duncan and Lilly during movie nights, from falling asleep in his arms after crying over the exploding plane, from the feel of his fingers as they drifted off to sleep after a night of studying and laughing and making out. The same comfort that came from him just smiling at her, those brief interludes warm on her bones. For nine years, she knew that support and that comfort was there, even if the battle scars of his- their- instabilities lingered, and she had ignored it, took it for granted, and she craved it now.

Her father was in ICU, not awake and she was scared but Logan was there. She didn't need him to be strong but she wanted the comfort of his presence. There wasn't a need to wake and worry Wallace or Mac, she would leave them be because Logan was there and she hoped he wasn't thinking of sleeping on the couch, they were adults, it was silly. She just wanted him there. They didn't need to talk, just the comfort of his arm as she rests her head on it would be enough.

She climbs out of the bed, freezing as she hears the refrigerator close. He's still there, and it takes her a moment to realize he's putting away the food her father had set out. This touches her, there's a tenderness to it which she hasn't quite gotten used to.

She changes into a t-shirt, throwing her clothes on a nearby chair and it's more out of routine but she could already hear his teasing tone, “oh, you were tired enough for me to carry you but...”

With a weary sigh, she reaches for her shorts and stops when she hears his footsteps, not getting closer but fading. A panic slams into her chest, the shock of it almost knocking the wind out of her. He's leaving. He's leaving. He can't leave. She can't let him. He's leaving. Out of all the loss and threats of loss that has happened today, Logan leaving was the final one she couldn't allow and the only one she could actually control in the here and now.

And so she does.

* * * * *

She doesn't know what she's thinking.

Wait, don't go.

'Don't go,' what, exactly? What was she expecting of him? She was running on pure impulse. She wanted to kiss him, so she did. She wanted him against her and she was grateful when he kissed her back and picked her up. She was thankful when he pressed her flush against that wall, when he met her halfway. When he lets her undo his pants and touch him as he touched her. When he moved inside her and continued what she started.

Her own drive startles her. She is scared of the influx of emotions coming in waves through her, the complexity of them stunning her and even more overwhelming, the arousal. The want for him. She's scared and shaking but demanding, wanting his mouth on hers and he keeps pulling back and staring at her, making her work for it and enjoying her impatience before relenting and giving her what she wants, just like old times.

Falling right back into old rhythms, indeed.

She knew why she was there. Want of comfort. Fear. No desire to see him leave. Not wanting to be alone. Lust. Longing. Curiosity. Selfishness.

But why was he there?

Maybe they were using each other.

He dips his head, his open mouth closing on the skin right beneath her ear and he sucks as her mouth drops, thrusting deep as he does so. All in one movement, smooth and graceful like she remembered. His fingers curl into her thighs as her hips roll and- oh.


* * * * *


He's always said her name that way since their first kiss years ago, a breathless promise of hope and love seeping through the heavy coating of passion and lust, which was always somehow thicker when he was angry at her but that was always how they worked, wasn't it? Complicated, even when it was all so very obvious.

She pushes him down on her bed and he drops to a seated position, eyes following as she removes her underwear before straddling him and unbuttoning the last of his shirt that she hadn't ripped open. Her hands slide over his chest and up to his neck, her head tilting and her mouth opening on his neck. She could feel his head fall back just slightly and her eyes close as she applies pressure.

Her body was still vibrating from her orgasm several minutes earlier. No longer coursing through her was the blind fear she had beforehand. Fear over being rejected, fear over making the wrong decision, fear over what would happen after. Those fears were brushed aside as soon as they had found their rhythm, erased when he didn't run off right after. When she didn't run off.

Aside from a couple of moans and heavy breathing, they were both relatively quiet when it happened and had stayed silent as they recovered against each other and when he set her down. Their eyes stayed locked as she took his hand and on shaky legs, led him to her bedroom. There was nothing said as they cleaned themselves up in the bathroom or when she led him to the bed and they just stared at each other, waiting. There was nothing said until-


God, just her name on his tongue made her want him again. The way he said it. She could hear something in the depth of it. Always genuine but always something darker lingering. She felt a solidarity with that darkness. She didn't have to pretend when he said her name with that something.

His hands slide over her bare thighs, watching as she slowly lifted her shirt off her body and he tries again, surely shakier than he intended as his eyes travel down her now nude body. “Veronica. We don't have to-”

Her eyes narrow at his attempt at gentlemanly behavior and she's almost amused because now wasn't the time to be bashful, especially not after what they had done against that wall in what felt like a lifetime and an alternate world ago. With a firm resolve, she takes his hands and places them on her breasts, inhaling deeply when his thumbs run over her nipples immediately. She didn't need him to be a gentleman, she knew they both wanted this.

“Everything we're doing, I want to do,” she says softly, pulling his shirt off his shoulders. She ignores the very faint trembling of his fingers on her skin because she knew hers felt the same as they ran down his stomach. This was still so very new. They had done this before- had just done it- and still, it was new. They were strangers, still. Somewhat, still. Even after her nails had buried themselves in his skin, still. Even in the familiarity, there was the lingering unknown there. She wanted to explore it.

He swallows hard, trying again. “Veronica-”

“Logan,” she let her mouth brush over his, almost shuddering in anticipation when his mouth opened for her almost instinctively. Her name coming from his mouth is both uncertainty and lust and she wants to wipe the uncertainty away, she won't regret any of this, not when this was something she had wanted since she saw him at the airport. She's willing to admit that now. “Do I look ruffled?”

The slight confusion in his eyes gives way to only lust as her hands slide lower and soon, he's hers again.

* * * * *

Veronica Mars, always the addict.

Veronica Mars, always out to get the bad guys.

Veronica Mars, always the one to make Logan Echolls beg for mercy.

She rides him hard, the way she knows he likes it.

The first time was pure impulse and emotion. This time is about want. Need. Sex.

He's with her, his hands sliding and gripping and clutching and rubbing and stroking in all the right ways. His mouth on her breasts, her shoulder, her neck, her mouth. His hand fists her hair tight as she rolls her hips relentlessly, crying out when he lets out a growl of a moan and lifts his own hips to help her along.

This is what she had been missing. The ability to turn her brain off for a bit, to allow her body to do the talking, to stop pretending and to just be. She just lets it flow, lets the moans and cries to come from her lips as her hips jerk out and her thighs tighten and her nails dig into skin. His shoulders lift off the mattress as his fingers stretch over her ass and squeeze hard, moving her faster. Her stomach clenches as she inhales sharply, her mouth dropping from the extra sensation shooting through her body.

He tries to sit up and she keeps her hands on his chest, holding him down. He doesn't seem annoyed but rolls with it, making use of his limited position. She always loved that about him, always making the most out of everything, even fucking. Especially fucking. God, she had missed fucking him. She missed being fucked.

Selfish. She was selfish and she couldn't find the shame for it. Not now.

Her hand falls on the mattress, gasping when he lifts his shoulders, his mouth on her neck. She clutches the back of his hair with her free hand, meeting his thrusts and panting as he groans beneath her. His hand moves from her ass to her back, holding her against his chest and her hand moves from his hair to the back of his neck, pushing his head and forcing her mouth on his. They kiss hungrily, nine years worth.

When she comes, she comes staggeringly hard, so hard her fingers curl into his flesh and she buckles with a sharp cry. She keeps going, jerking her hips, riding that brutal and consuming wave of pleasure, over and over. Her forehead presses against Logan's and she opens her eyes, wanting to see the exact moment he breaks apart.

* * * * *

A smile comes on Veronica's face briefly when Logan slides behind her and kisses her neck, accepting the half-drunk mug of coffee she hands him over her shoulder. She turns to face him and she can't help the smirk as she eyes his half-buttoned shirt. The other buttons are probably on the floor somewhere.

He notices, glancing down at his shirt. “Yeah, we need to stop by Dick's,” there was a pause. “Do we...” he trails off, coughing and giving her a crooked, almost abashed grin. “Do we need to...go to the drugstore or-”

“I'm on the Pill,” she interrupts, lowering her head as an equally embarrassed smile plays on her lips. She gives herself a moment before lifting her head, another moment before standing on her toes and kissing him firmly and she was relieved when he kissed her back. “Last night was great, I don't regret it, and now I'm ready to get to work,” she laughs slightly. “Are we done being awkward?”

Logan allows the smile to finally grow and he nods, taking a long sip of coffee. “Absolutely.”

“Good,” she grabs her bag and heads for the door. “Let's finish this.”

* * * * *

Cobb is down.

Gia is dead.

Veronica's alive.

She watches with satisfaction as Cobb is arrested and she gives her statement and phone number to the police department, as well as making the requisite calls to Wallace and Mac to assure them of her safety. Logan shows up and he looks alarmed but she gives him a smile and it seems to calm him. He stares down Cobb as the police escort him past them and Veronica hopes Cobb can feel the burn from both pairs of eyes trained on him, hopes their stares burn into his skin.

Her heart is pumping but she feels content. It's a good kind of rush, she feels free.

Logan drops her off at the hospital with a gentle order to call when she's ready to leave, no matter the time. She knows she's not going to call, she can handle herself and she knows he needs some sleep and she tells him so. He repeats his request and she nods even though they both know she's not going to listen.

Visiting hours are over but she leaves a note with the front desk just in case her father wakes saying she'll be back when visiting hours begin at 9am even though she would have stayed all night had they allowed her.

She takes a cab to Dick's at nearly midnight, knocking on Logan's room window. The entire house is dark and she's relieved when his curtain moves and there he is. He lets her in and he's in a t-shirt and his boxers but he wasn't sleeping as she knew he wouldn't. At that moment, she feels a sharp pang of guilt because he was probably worrying about her but he doesn't say a word, just hugs her and she's grateful because that's exactly what she needed. He takes a moment to pull away and silently inspect her face, pushing aside her hair with such care, she wants to close her eyes and melt into it.

And melt she does, allowing Logan to take her behind the curtain that separates his 'room' from Dick's living room. He actually sits on his bed and looks away as she pulls off her shirt and shoes and pants, and his show of respect is surprisingly endearing and oddly touching. He sits as she folds her clothes, waiting until she's only in her underwear to pull her to his bed and cover them both with his blanket.

They lay there silently, her on her side and Logan pressed against her back, holding her firmly to his chest and she falls into the first peaceful sleep she has had in nearly ten years.