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Entropy

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Prologue

Veronica rubbed at her eyes, yawning openly. She crossed her arms over her chest, the dimly-lit interrogation room just a bit too chilly for her taste. Officers passed by the door, several looking in her direction as if she were a dangerous criminal. Yes, it was definitely something she was used to, but not by the new employees of Neptune’s police precinct.

Not in the best of moods, Veronica intended to make it known to anyone who came her way. Being startled by the loud knocking of Lamb and three of his officers was not her preferable method of being roused from her deep sleep.

Add on to the fact that Logan was not in bed with her when she awoke, and she was just downright pissy.

Finally, Lamb entered the room, files and recorder in hand, shutting the door behind him. She straightened up, clenching her jaw defiantly as he slid into the seat across from her. They stared at each other, Veronica coldly and Lamb more than amused.

He nodded to his left, his smile growing. “Wanna say hi to daddy before we begin?”

Veronica glanced at the two-way mirror, hoping she was staring directly at her father before facing Lamb again, determination in her eyes. “Where’s Logan?”

Lamb brushed the question off with a wave of his hand, giving her a smirk. “Don’t worry about him.”

“I’m not answering any questions until you tell me where my boyfriend is.”

“Stop being a hard-ass, Veronica. We have business to attend to.”

Veronica shrugged, leaning back in her seat and slouching down. “Then I guess you don’t want my cooperation, now, do you?”

There was an audible click, and then there was Keith’s voice, loud and clear and terse, echoing in the room. “Knock it off, Veronica- just answer his questions.”

Veronica straightened up at the sound of her father’s voice, her eyes narrowing as Lamb smirked beside her. She uncrossed her arms, resting her fingertips on the edge of the table. “Go ahead.”

His arm moved forward, pressing the ‘play’ button on the small black recorder between them, clearly and loudly dictating the date and time. “There has been a series of rapes around Neptune since August 13th of last year.” He cleared his throat, giving Veronica his best game face. “Are you and Logan Echolls having problems, Veronica?”

“Everyone has problems.”

“In your relationship?”

She lowered her gaze for only a moment, that mere gesture enough to get a flash of glee in Lamb’s eyes. “Every couple has problems. What does this have to do with the rapes?”

“Just trying to get inside a sociopath’s mind, or at least his girlfriend’s. Are you aware Logan frequents a strip club called the Wildcat nearly every Friday?”

“Logan is not a sociopath. And yes, I’m aware.” A long pause. “So what? A lot of guys go there.”

Lamb leaned forward, brow furrowing in mock confusion. “If he has a pretty little girlfriend at home, why the hell is he going to a strip club? Do you think he’s unhappy? Screwing around?”

Veronica’s jaw clenched as she inhaled sharply. She couldn’t tell him, the case would be ruined. No mention of it at all, no mention of why he was there, why they never fully recovered from the Aaron Echolls trial, why Logan was so very close to moving out, Jackie, Jackie, Jackie. “I trust him.”

“Really?”

“I had no idea we were analyzing my love life, Dr. Phil- what does this have to do with me being brought in at four in the morning?”

“Another girl was raped tonight, this time, she was also murdered. Killed in the community bathroom at the Wildcat.” He glanced at his notes. “No one even heard Lindsey Morgan scream, no one heard a struggle, nothing. All visible evidence points to there being sexual intercourse before she was strangled, with her own stocking. The intercourse seemed to be forceful at first...” Lamb trailed off, shrugging.

“What does this have to do with me?”

Now, the smile grew, and excitement glinted in Lamb’s eyes. “Your boyfriend’s DNA was found on the scene.”

Her eyes narrowed, and despite herself, she found her breath catching in her throat. “What kind of DNA?”

“Fingerprints.”

“That's not DNA, you're slacking, Lamb." She paused. "Where? Where were his fingerprints?”

“On her arm.”

Veronica breathed a sigh of relief, shaking her head. “There you go. He probably touched her when he was leaving the club, BEFORE she was murdered.” She shrugged slightly. “It’s a busy club- how many other fingerprints did she have on her?”

Lamb didn’t answer, glancing down at Veronica’s wrists. Faint abrasions decorated the skin, greenish bruises resembling fingers just below her palm. “Logan’s rough, isn’t he?”

Veronica quickly covered her wrists with her sleeves, glancing at the two-way mirror nervously. This conversation had immediately gone in a direction she didn’t want it to go, not because of the damning circumstances, but because Lamb was clearly enjoying this dig into her private life. “Sometimes.”

“Did he ever force you into intercourse?”

Her eyes locked on Lamb’s coldly, hating him for doing this in front of her father. “Never.”

“Ever hit you?”

“Never.”

“Are you sure?”

“I would dump him if he did.”

“Sure, you would- did he ever hit anything else in anger? A wall, maybe?”

“Yes.”

“But not you?”

“No.”

“He has a temper...”

“Never touched me in anger.”

“He grabbed you pretty hard there.”

Now, Veronica was angry, and her voice rose, echoing in the room. “During sex! He’s never, ever hit me!”

“And you say he didn’t force you?”

“He didn’t! He’s not like that.”

“It looks like he forced your arms down-”

“Maybe I liked it.”

“Maybe you didn’t?”

She raised an eyebrow, her pause causing a dent in their rapid fire exchange. She took a moment to cool down, angry at herself for becoming affected so quickly by Lamb’s clear attempt to rile her up. “I always like it.” She said firmly. “He wouldn’t do it if I didn’t.”

Lamb nodded, jotting down notes on a piece of paper in his file. “All right...you’re awfully protective of him.”

“I know him. I trust him.”

His head lifted, that damn smirk appearing on his face yet again. “Have you ever heard of Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo, Veronica?”

Veronica’s eyes narrowed. “Yes.”

“You know, you kind of remind me of Karla-”

“If you’re implying that Logan raped all these girls and I helped him, you’re sadly mistaken.” She interrupted curtly. “Kidnaping and raping girls isn’t Logan’s thing. Neither is murder.” She smirked slightly. “He’s more of my partner in not-illegal crime, and I know just how much you love that.”

Lamb’s dry smile grew slowly. “Bonnie and her Clyde. Match made in hell...”

“Except without, you know, the actual twenty-to-life crime.”

Lamb glanced at the two-way mirror, shrugging. “I don’t get it either, Keith.” He turned back to Veronica, grinning at her scowl. “Logan’s DNA was found on Lindsey Morgan- that’s pretty damning, Veronica.”

She leaned forward, giving Lamb an icy glare. At this point, she was willing to accept a couple of weeks of awkwardness from her father in order to clear Logan’s name. “Logan likes to use his mouth...there was no DNA on these other girls. At all.” She rested her hands on the table, getting closer to the recorder. “He likes to bite, lick, everything- these girls had nothing. Logan didn’t do it.”

“DNA was found on this one, Mars.”

“No, fingerprints were found, just like you said. He could’ve brushed past her on his way out. End of story.” She stood, picking up her jacket. “Let’s never do this again, Lamb.”

He jumped to his feet. “We’re not done, Veronica.”

“Yes, we are.” She said sharply, walking around the table and heading for the door. “You can’t prove Logan did a damn thing, and you definitely can’t prove I did. You’re just wasting our time and I want to go back to sleep.”

Veronica exited the room, walking out into the lobby. Only then did she allow hers shoulders to slouch, and she let out a huff of breath, exhausted. Keith was immediately at her side, hugging her briefly. She hugged him back, burying her face in his neck. “I’m sorry.” She whispered.

“For what?” He murmured. “You didn’t do anything wrong.” She pulled away, staring up at him, and he had to smile at the slight embarrassment in her eyes. “Honey, I’ve come to terms with the fact that you’re probably having sex with the guy you’ve been living with.” He glanced at her hand, shaking his head. “I’m not exactly thrilled with the bruises, though.”

She jabbed a warning finger in his direction. “You were nineteen, once.”

“True. But it doesn’t mean I can’t stay in denial...”

She shook her head, grinning wearily. “Why did you let Lamb question me without a lawyer?”

“Because you had nothing to hide. Right now, I am your representative.”

“And Logan?”

“His, too. You two are innocent, I know it, and Don definitely knows it.” As if on cue, Veronica and Keith turned, catching Logan standing off to the side, doing his best to appear disinterested. His brown leather jacket nearly hung off one shoulder, his black sweater wrinkled, and his eyes coldly followed anyone who walked past. “You know, for as good of an actor as you claim he is, he’s not trying very hard to appear innocent.”

Lamb walked out of the room, eyeing the three as they stayed, frozen, watching each other. “Have a wonderful night!” He called with a grin, waving at Logan.

Then, defiantly, Veronica grabbed her father’s hand, leading him across the crowed lobby to Logan. Logan glanced at Keith, then Veronica, a certain dullness in his eyes. “I didn’t do it.” He muttered.

“We know.” Veronica held out her hand, fingers spread apart, and Logan gazed down at her open hand, slight surprise in his eyes. Slowly, he took her hand, entwining his fingers with hers, his eyes lifting and locking on hers.

Keith nodded to himself as his daughter and Logan stared at each other. “I’m going to start the car, kids.” He muttered, moving past them toward the door.

Veronica stared into Logan’s eyes, seeing all their issues and all the pain and the trouble and the struggle; but also seeing all the love and affection, and trust. The duality of a single gaze, the complexity, Logan in a nutshell. Their relationship in a nutshell. Love and hate. Never a middle ground. Constantly fighting and loving, that was their way.

It was a battle she was willingly fighting, and she couldn’t say she hated it.

“Come on.” She said quietly, giving Logan’s hand a squeeze.

“We need to talk.” He whispered shakily, his eyes on her hand.

“I know.” She looked over her shoulder, giving Lamb a hard look before walking out of the precinct with Logan.

She knew how this story would go- they would all drive home in silence, Keith would go to his place, they would go to theirs, and Logan would go to his side of the bed, and she to hers. He would kiss her on the cheek briefly- they hadn’t even touched each other sexually for weeks- and that would be that.

The Happy Couple facade remained intact, and they could keep all their problems behind closed doors.

This was a battle Veronica was fighting by herself now, Logan had long since given up, and she had to admit that she hated it.

Sometimes, she hated him, too...and she knew he hated her.

Late at night, Veronica still wondered how they got to this point. Sex becoming nothing but a way to find release, conversation becoming nothing but quick moments of politeness, touches and glances becoming nothing but glimpses to what they once had. Then, she allows herself to cry, but only when she’s sure that he’s asleep.

After the whole Jackie thing, however, Veronica didn’t let herself cry. She, instead, decided to get angry.

Luckily, Logan was there to be her punching bag.