Big, huge thanks to KMD0107 for being a fantastic beta...without her this would have not been posted. Thanks,'re a lifesaver.

Veronica steps off the plane, onto the tarmac and feels better than she's felt in years, five of them to be exact. She left after her freshman year of college. It was leave or watch those she loved be ruined by her thirst for vengeance. Wallace wore a shock collar, Mac broke into the college IT room, Piz (well she didn't love him) got the beating of a lifetime, her dad lost the election, and Logan was on his way to being destroyed by her and the Russian mafia. She thinks she may actually have been the worst of the two, at least you see the Russian mob coming, but with her it was a sneak attack and then running away. Condescending tones of "This is it, Logan, this is the moment," or, "You had to know what your being with her would do to me," make her cringe. 'That version of yourself is behind you,' Veronica tells herself as she makes her way to baggage claim.

She's discovered a lot about herself during the past five years. It's not easy coming to the realization that you don't like yourself very much. She's here to make amends, to make it right. She misses everyone. She may have told herself that she left for the betterment of those around her, but that's another lie on top of the many she's told herself over the years. She actually left because she thought she deserved better, that she would be happier away from her dad, her friends, and Logan. So she left, she worked towards her degree, tirelessly. She became that older version of herself, the one who dated the mild mannered boys, similar versions of Duncan and Piz, another eggplant.

Sure she made friends at Stanford, but not like those she left behind. Now she lives in an apartment worse than the Sunset Cliffs, she's studying for the LSAT, working at a coffee house to make ends meet. It's familiar, the most familiar thing she's done since moving North. The coffee house is similar to Java the Hut, but the customers are more pretentious than entitled, and somehow that's worse. Maybe because when realization hits it hits hard and realizing she was one of them, a pretentious asshole who thought she knew everything and what was best for everyone was like a punch in the gut.

It's while she's working that she has her epiphany. One glance at a rag mag with a picture of Logan, and BOOM! Just like that, years of carefully constructed walls and masks break down. She breathes in and out, remembering how she had it great for a while and hopes she can have that again. Seeing him in the tabloids after not seeing him for so many years was shocking, but she was so damn proud when she saw why he was pictured. He's opened a group home for victims of abuse. Kids, moms, dads, whomever is in need. He's graduated with a BS in Psychology and he's continuing his education so that he can counsel abuse victims. Her heart swells just thinking about it. He's always been the only one to make her feel this way.

Veronica has been home for a week and it's obvious that she and her dad can no longer live together. They've grown too independent of one another, and the small apartment they once shared doesn't give them the space it once did. Here she is, signing her lease on a unit at Sunset Cliffs, she may have a degree from Stanford, but that and five bucks will barely get her coffee at Java the Hut. Her long term plan is law school so that she can expand the family business to include clients they can defend as well as do the investigation to clear them. Surprisingly, her dad is on board. An even bigger surprise is how on board Keith is with her seeking out Logan. She thinks that may have something to do with how proud Keith is to see what Logan's done with Aaron's money. Plus, Logan has hired Keith from time to time because he insists parents be under extensive investigation prior to putting a child back into a family home. She's left Logan a couple of voicemails, but he hasn't returned her calls. He's aware she's back since they've had one awkward encounter at Mars Investigations. She was sitting at the receptionists' desk when Logan walked in, did a double take, and, in typical Logan speak, asked, "Did I walk through a wormhole while climbing the stairs?"

For just a moment, with her response of, "Well, I know I still look like a teenager," and his returned smirk, she thought it could really be that simple, one volley and return and they'd be them again. Then the smirk fell, he asked for Keith and left as soon as he learned Keith was on a stake-out, asking her to have Keith give him a call.

Two weeks later and she's amazed at how forgiving everyone has been. Her dad had forgiven her years ago, but she still avoided home. Now she's sitting here with Wallace & Mac sipping coffee at Java the Hut. They both thought she was silly avoiding them for so long. They swear they knew what they were getting into with her. It's all smiles and hugs and it's fucking fantastic to be with them again.

Now she just has to work up the nerve to call Logan again. Their encounter at Mars investigations gave her hope, even if it was only the smallest amount with how he'd left. And then she sees him, right here at Java the Hut picking up coffee. It was definitely shock on his face, but he recovered quickly, gave her a short nod and a "Veronica" while walking past her and out the door. Even knowing she was back he was clearly caught off guard.

Logan has been out surfing and, as always, that's just what he needed to clear his mind from all the static. He can't believe SHE's back. No doubt Veronica has learned that Duncan is trying to clear his name and return to Neptune. 'She's Veronica Mars. Of course she knows. She knows everything!'

Logan doesn't know if he can stay here when they reunite. 'It's so fucking unfair, too,' he thinks because he's made a good life here, he's settled. He's finally okay with the quiet. No more drinking until you black-out. No more fucking to forget. He's not celibate, but there are definitely no more Madison or Kendall's in is life now.

Walking in from the waves he stops cold, there she is. If he weren't so devastated he'd laugh. It's just his fucking luck, of all the beaches in all the world…'Stop it,' he tells himself.

Just because Logan hasn't been returning her calls doesn't mean he doesn't want to see her, from a distance, just not close up. He knew Veronica would show up here, it is Dog Beach and she does have a dog. He's been making sure he doesn't run into her by avoiding most places, but he knew—of course he did—that she'd show up here eventually. He can tell the second she realizes that it's him. She looks up and her pace is hesitant as if she can't decide if she should move forward or retreat. Uh oh, forward it is. 'Walls up, Logan.' He can't let her see how she still affects him. That he's still so fucking crazy in love with her that it's killing him to see her. To see her and not touch her, his fingers itch to touch her face, to chase the wisps away and push them behind her ears. He can't breathe for loving her still. So as she proceeds, he retreats. He's not ready.

A week later and she finds herself on a mission for her father: papers to be dropped off at the front desk of the Neptune Grand. That's gonna be a tough one, especially with Logan avoiding her. There are way too many memories for this to be a happy skip down memory lane. At least she knows Logan doesn't live there any longer. Her dad did tell her that much.

Veronica had been trying to get in touch with Logan for the past few weeks, it didn't take a former detective to figure out he was avoiding her. Other than Java the Hut and Mars Investigations, she had one more run-in at the beach. That encounter made it perfectly clear he has no interest in 'really' talking to her. Their roles are reversed now: she's chasing and he's running. To be honest, it's only fair. She's treated him so unfairly and he has no idea of why she's back. She'll find him; she'll make him see.

As she walks into The Grand she can feel all the memories getting ready to rain down on her. She needs to get in and out quickly. If she stays here one-second too long she'll breakdown. But she hasn't changed that much, she won't do that here, breakdowns are for in the shower. She's off to the fifth floor to hand over the pictures and get the hell out.

Paper delivery a success, she steps in and hits the button for the lobby. As the elevator opens and she steps off she looks up and there he is: Logan. It's as if she's brought him here merely with the force of her memories.

He steps past her and onto the elevator, giving her a nod and his curt, "Veronica."

And it's the moment; she's officially had enough. She's done. No more of him hiding from her, no more of this whatever it is that's between them now. 'We're talking now, whether he likes it or not,' she decides. So as the doors are almost closed, she does a side-step, jump and she's in.

"What are the chances?" Logan snarks, his discomfort painfully obvious.

Veronica taps her chin with her forefinger, "Well, I've been leaving messages and hanging out at a few of your favorite places. So I'd say, thems some good chances there, buddy."

"You were looking for lil' old me? Why, I never," he replies in his best southern drawl.

"Logan, as much as I love the banter—and you know I do— can we talk? I've wanted to talk to you since I returned home."

Logan can feel the moment his palms begin to sweat, 'I'm not ready for this,' so he smirks, his jackass persona sliding perfectly into place, "Golly, Veronica, it's not like I didn't have a clue you were trying to track me down, with all of our friends informing me of such, but," he says while snapping, "try to keep up! Follow the bouncing ball: NOT. MY. PROBLEM."

And, of course, because the Universe hates him, the elevator picks that moment to come to a shuddering halt…between floors. They're stuck—together—on a broken elevator. 'This cannot go anywhere but downhill and fast,' Logan thinks working to keep his mask up.

Veronica, on the other hand is ecstatic. 'This is the moment.' She can tell him why she's back; she can tell him that he's it for her. 'He has no choice but to listen—we're trapped on this elevator.' He's angry—or pretending to be—but she can deal with that. She's trying not to look too smug as she asks, "Can we talk?"

Logan's eyes roll, "Do I have a choice?"

"Well, no, but if you really don't want to talk to me we can just wait for maintenance or movement."

Logan responds, "It's okay, Veronica," He can see she's hurt by his not wanting to talk to her. That's his kryptonite, seeing Veronica hurt, so, he'll let her talk. 'I'll keep my shields up—I won't let her know how much her reuniting with Duncan will destroy me.' He feels his despair flare and tamps it down. "I know that you want to talk about Duncan and his eminent homecoming. And if you're here for my blessing, I wouldn't hold my breath. Wait, no do. Do hold your breath."

"Duncan? Why would I want to talk to you about Duncan?" she asks with her nose scrunched up, looking as though she's stepped in something slimy. "And what do you mean your blessing? Blessing for what?"

"He's the love of your life, right? The one who got away. The sweet prince of your youth?" Logan says, leaning back against the wall, arms crossed defensively.

"Duncan? Uh no, Logan, not Duncan. If we're talking about the one who got away, that's all you."

Logan is stunned, 'Is it at all possible that she's missed me half as much as I've missed her?' his heart is beating so loud that he's certain she must hear it.

Veronica watches his face; his emotions have always been obvious, at least to her. She sees uncertainty and something else, 'confusion maybe?' she wonders. Then his eyes darken and she sees a look that she's been longing for, the look from freshman year of college that meant she was going to find herself naked and pressed against the nearest surface screaming his name. A chill runs up her spine at the thought and she involuntarily licks her lips.

Logan can feel his body reacting to her. 'Fuck! She knows what I'm thinking. Mask back up, Logan. You can't make this too easy for her. You've been waiting years to hear her feelings. You deserve to hear this.'

Veronica smiles that crooked smile, and her eyes light up as they only do when she's with Logan. She's pretty sure he's in shock, and she'd laugh if it didn't hurt her heart knowing she's helped make him this way. Her. Lilly. Lynn. They're the ones who made him feel as if he wasn't worthy of love. Christ, she's never even said it to him. She may have implied it, but even that is stretching it a bit. 'I have to say it—out loud—I have to let him know,' she tells herself trying to bolster her confidence. 'I can say it, I will—I'll get it right this time. He'll know I love him and he'll love me again.I'll do whatever it takes.'

Logan is closely watching her, trying to read the emotions on her face. He used to be able to read her so clearly, but it's confusing now…he sees happiness, hope, sadness, guilt, hurt, and nervousness. She's always had such an excellent poker face, and he was so proud of being able to see past it, to see her. Despite seeing the range of her emotions he holds as closely as possible to his own.

Veronica takes a deep breath in, closes her eyes, breathes out, opens her eyes and says…nothing. She can see it in his face, 'he doesn't believe me. How can I change this? How can I make him see?' Veronica knows she has to say something now or this is all over.

"You know, at one time, I did believe that Duncan was who I should be with. I believed that he was this perfect prince and being with him would make me a pretty pink princess. Then suddenly I'm ignored and my 'prince' won't speak to me, won't look me in the eye, and basically ignored my existence. So, what do I do? I turned to my best friend—his sister—who assures me all will be well. What does she come back with? Lilly told me I was better off and should move on."

Logan remembers that time, when 'pink!Veronica' fit so perfectly with Duncan. As he leans against the elevator—hands in pockets—he remembers Homecoming and Veronica in all her perfect pink glory. He remembers how lucky he felt to have Lilly beside him, and how he had the real thing while Duncan was still in the 'puppy love' phase. If only he knew how much that perfect pink princess would mean to him one day. He loved her then, but he wasn't in love with her. He thought she and Duncan would live happily ever after. Somewhere inside he still believes that—that's why he can't engage—why he has to keep his fists clenched inside his pocket, to stay behind his walls.

Veronica finally looks up to Logan's face. Seeing that she has his full attention—if not a better read on his feelings—she takes another deep breath and continues, "Then my best friend is dead, the one friend I thought I had left starts treating me like shit, and since he's the 'King' all of his idiotic subjects follow his lead."

Veronica feels her next words lodge in her throat and her hands turn clammy, 'It's been years, you can say it Veronica. He needs to know, he needs to hear the words.' She continues, "To add on to the shit pile that became my life, I attend a party where I'm drugged, used as a salt lick, used as a marionette to entertain Dick & his pals, and then raped…not once, but twice. Granted, one of my violators was drugged but he was still conscious enough to know it was wrong on so many levels, least being that I might be his sister. So, yes, I have a hard time conveying my emotions."

Logan nods his head in understanding. If there was one thing he could do over, it would be Shelly's party and giving his dose to Duncan. He suspects that even if there hadn't been drugs the night most likely would have ended the same. The guilt he carries from that night will be with him forever, no matter how many times she says she's past it and that she's forgiven him.

"After all of that how can it be Duncan?" her eyes fill with tears.

"Then how in the fuck could you ever go back to him, Veronica? Because you did, you went back to him. Hell, you ran back to him. You dumped me so fast you left tread marks," his lip curls into a sneer as he spits out the rest, "we had been broken up for like two seconds. That's why I think it's Duncan, that it will always be Duncan." Logan knows he's defeated—he feels it in his bones—that this will send her running. It always did in the past.

Veronica knows he's right. She knows the only way to get through this is to share even more of herself with him. Damn her and her walls. It's not like she isn't aware she has them. But Logan is the only one she's ever wanted to tear them down for, he has to know that. If she can't make him see then what's next? They get off of this fucking elevator and she goes back to her shitty apartment, and her shitty life, without him?

"Logan, listen to me, please? You know how I am, you know how hard this is for me, but you need to hear the rest. Will you listen?"

Logan rolls his eyes, because it's Veronica, and they're trapped in an eight-by-ten box… "Of course."

"It was you Logan. You were the reason I went back to him." She feels sick just thinking about it, but she has to continue, swallowing her nausea, she continues, "the thought of you getting yourself killed, it made me sick. I was constantly worried, constantly nauseated, and you were doing nothing to stop the madness. Hell, you were making it worse by telling me you were falling in love with me one minute and burning down pools the next. Which made me feel so fucking stupid for believing you when you know I would NEVER approve of you setting that fire! How the fuck was that going to hurt Weevil's gang? They didn't use that pool, kids did. And you weren't going to stop. You were going to get yourself killed. I loved you so much and you were fucking ruining it!"

"I ruined it? What the fuck Veronica!?" Logan can't believe this shit, "Goddammit Veronica, they fucking shot at you. At you!"

Veronica holds her hand up in a stop motion, "Yes Logan, you were ruining it. Duncan and all his normalcy seemed safe. I just thought maybe if I closed my eyes, I could go back. Back to the girl I was, back to the prince who would make me his princess, who would protect me. What an idiot! The prince turned out to be another lying liar who lied. When I think of poor Meg I just want to knock the shit out of him."

For one quick second Logan feels the breath knocked out of him because she's saying all the right things, and then before he can mask it, the hurt is back as he asks, "Then why Veronica, why did you stay with him?"

"BECAUSE YOU WERE FUCKING KENDALL!" she shouts, her rage at the memories second only to her feeling of falling apart. She tries to hold herself together by grabbing her middle with both arms. "You and Kendall disgusted me. You knew it and you loved it! Don't deny it, you know you loved how much it hurt me."

"THE SAME WAY YOU LOVED HOW BEING WITH DUNCAN HURT ME, VERONICA! You can't deny it either, you loved rubbing him in my face. Walking the halls holding hands, being in the suite and snuggling up together." Logan can feel his heart breaking all over again as he remembers walking in on the two of them watching 'The Big Lebowski', something that he thought was theirs. "God, I just wanted to vomit every time I fucking ran into the two of you. You made me sick with your lovey-dovey couplings. Gah! The thought of you two together—having sex—it killed me. So, YES, I flaunted Kendall. I had to make it seem as if my heart wasn't broken and she was perfect for making you squirm."

"Great, THANKS Logan. Thanks for making it clear how much you disliked me then. I wanted to help you, I wanted to clear your name. And you just kept pushing and pushing...with Kendall, with Weevil, with the Fitzpatrick's, and then Hannah and her idiot father. It's like you had a death wish and every day was torture just waiting to hear you were gone—dead. I was so done with Duncan. But what did I have if I didn't have him? I would have been all alone."

Logan is pretty sure that his eyes have popped out of his skull. "That is such BULLSHIT! You wouldn't have been alone, Veronica. One word from you and I would have dumped everything and everyone to be with you." Logan begins pacing and realizes this fucking elevator is too fucking small. He has to move, he has to keep from grabbing her and making it clear, she's all he's ever wanted. "I only wanted you, you should know that by now. You had your dad and Wallace. You even had Mac. I was the one who was alone. Duncan took me in, but that was it. We never got our friendship back."

"You're right. I did have dad, Wallace, Mac, and Duncan. But YOU were all I wanted. Being with you made me happy; something I had forgotten how to be. Then you fucking ruined it," she takes a step forward and hits him the chest, again and again, "YOU did that. YOU burned down the pool. YOU broke that lamp. YOU fucked Kendall. YOU. YOU. YOU."

Logan grabs her hands and holds them to his chest, "Yeah, well YOUR precious Duncan was jealous of me being with Kendall. Did you know that?" he asks as he drops her hands. "He had everything I wanted—that still wasn't enough for him—he wanted her too. I could see it every single time she was in the suite," he smirks, "I bet you could see it, too."

"I'm not an idiot, Logan. Of course I saw it! I just didn't care." Veronica remembers the exact moment she knew he had cheated and how she knew, right then, it was over. "I know he fucked her. I was so ready to be rid of him that I was happy he had to leave town with little Lilly," she'll never forget the relief, it was physical, "The thought of him touching me again—" she shudders, "—it made me sick."

Veronica takes a deep breath and with all of her heart says, "It should have been you. You were who I wanted. Coming out of his room that night I knew I made a mistake—and there you were—walking out of that fucking hotel room, fresh from banging Kendall. I truly hated you in that moment."

Logan collapses onto the floor of the elevator, the air knocked out of him. She's never used the word hate in conjunction with how she feels about him. The thought of her hating him brings him to his knees.

Veronica kneels on the floor before him, she wants to be eye level with him. She needs him to see that she's being completely honest. "We both went through so much that year. We were constantly hurting one another; I didn't know how to stop. Then you gave me your 'EPIC' speech and I thought all was not lost. That we could still get it back. Well, you know what followed. You watched me get on that elevator and you knew—as far as I was concerned—we were done. Yet you still came through for me. You saved me. On the roof, the night when we both thought I'd lost my dad, when I learned…" she couldn't finish, "Then in the parking lot at Hearst, you beat up Piz, and you beat up Gory. You were always saving me or defending me. Even when I didn't want you to, when I didn't deserve it. Maybe even especially then."

"Well, somebody's got to," Logan quipped.

"I love you, Logan. It's always been you."

Logan's heart races with her words. He feels lighter than has in years.

Suddenly Veronica is spinning. It takes her a moment to realize that Logan has lifted her up and is spinning her round and round. Then his mouth is on hers and all is right with the world.

"I love you, Veronica. Just you. You're it for me. You're mine. You said it—out loud—finally. You love me!"

And there he is, her Logan. The one she's missed, the one she hasn't seen for five years. The one she came back for. He's there, head bent, looking up at her through those dark lashes and she's home. It was always so easy with him, love and forgiveness. He loved her and he forgave her. For once she was all in, she was done running.