Logan sits stiffly in the leather armchair across from the older man he's spent months processing some of his most private memories and thoughts with. Logan takes a deep breath, about to attempt…something. How does he even describe what Veronica is to him? Ex-girlfriend? Nemesis? Friend? Love of his life?
"Veronica's gone," is what he goes with.
The man nods for Logan to continue.
"We've spent so much time apart, I should feel like an idiot missing her. Waiting for her to come back."
"How does she feel about you?"
"She…loves me." Logan relaxes into the comfortable seat a bit. He'd spent so much time doubting if she ever really did. Cared? Yes. But loved him? It wasn't until this month that she'd said the words herself—him asking freshman year had hardly assured him. Closing his eyes, Logan tilts his head into the seatback. "She loves me," Logan relaxes fully into the words.
The two men sit there in the comfortable silence Logan has become accustom to in this space. That is a large part of why Logan has become so open here. No one wants anything from him. Not money, not a story or even the morbid sense of glamour a connection to the scandalous Echolls name might bring someone. After a bit, Logan feels the gentle nudge of the college's therapy dog on his leg. Petting the friendly dog, they begin talking.
After class on Monday, Mac calls Mars Investigation and makes an appointment for Tuesday afternoon to see Keith Mars. She leaves the details as vague as possible to irritate the unbearable woman on the other side of the line.
Mac quietly relishes the forced professionalism she's greeted with when she arrives the next day. Clearly, the boss's presence provides a minimal leash on the unagreeable attitude.
"Good afternoon Mac," Keith greets her as the snarky receptionist closes the door.
"Hey," Mac responds.
"So, what did you want to see me for?" The faint redness around Keith's eyes showing he hadn't been sleeping well. Mac wonders how many details he has about Veronica's case.
"I…uh…had to find your cell number when Veronica was…" she trails off. Keith nods. "I had to get it off your files." That seems to pull a small smile from the older man.
"How much did she tell you?" Keith asks, smile gone from his face.
"Some. Probably more than she meant to." Mac glances down.
"What did you need today, Mac?" Keith moves on without acknowledgement or blame.
"When I was looking for your number, I wasn't the only one hunting through the network." Mac's more comfortable shifting into tech savant mode. "I kicked them out and strengthened the firewalls, but I don't know what all they accessed first."
Keith's eyebrows raise subtly.
"If you'd like," Mac continues, "I can check what files were opened that day. I know what I looked at, so we could discount those ones."
"I'll have your check at reception when you send over the list," Keith agrees.
Mac grabs her bag and opens the door.
"And Mac?" She looks back. "Thanks for trying to call me." Mac nods before heading out quickly.
Dick was starting to grow restless standing outside of Mac's Environmental Data Analysis class, flowers in hand. She has been ignoring him all week. Not answering the door, keeping the shades drawn whenever he was on the balcony. Clearly, girlfriends don't respond well to having perilous secrets kept from them. Veronica Mars had been his downfall after all. Rich guy kryptonite in more ways that anticipated.
The door begins pouring out students. There's no sign of Mac but he spots her old roommate, Parker. He has no memory of hitting on her early freshman year.
"Hey Parkland!" he calls out, making his way to her.
One glance at the expensive flowers in his hands has the blonde rolling her eyes. As if those would sway Mac. "Mac's not here, Dick."
"I just want to see her for two minutes. I just want a chance to say I'm sorry," he pleads.
"No, Mac's with Veronica," Parker states.
"So that's why she hasn't been talking to me all week," Dick relaxes slightly.
"Oh no, she left this morning. She's still pissed at you," Parker states sternly. Seeing Dick's miserable expression melts her a bit though. "Look, when she comes back, I'll feel the situation out for you."
Dick's face brightens immediately.
"But you better have something more thought through than flowers and a lame 'I'm sorry' planned," Parker finishes before walking off.
Mac walks into a bare conference room at the FBI regional office. Veronica is staring wistfully at the surfers out the tinted window. She turns at the sound of her friend's voice.
"I'm not gonna lie, Bond," Mac voices with a straight face, "having a trench-coated spy pick me up from campus may have upped my cool factor too high. The other computer science majors may worship me soon."
"That's always the aim, Q." Veronica smiles.
"So…all this?" Mac subtly gestures around them.
Veronica takes a deep breath. "I was approached at the end of my internship with an offer…"
Veronica lays out the storyline as Mac listens intently.
Mac gives only a measured nod.
"I, uh, was able to keep knowledge of your and Weevil's involvement in last spring limited," the young detective states, "If…that was a concern."
"How were you able to keep Dick from saying anything?" Mac asks about the only part that doesn't make sense to her. "I mean, I know why the rest of us didn't tell each other anything. But Dick…Dick doesn't have the same Mars' code of silence."
"Oh," Veronica says, surprised. "I told him it wouldn't be safe for you."
"And he took your word for it?"
"I may have told him about Weevil in the hospital." Veronica grimaces at the memory of her uncharacteristic vulnerability. "I told him that they would hurt you if you knew. They did burn down Lilith House to get rid of Nish's remaining evidence after all."
Mac feels a large percentage of her anger at Dick evaporating. Not completely but only a manageable portion remains.
The stars are beginning to freckle the sky by the time Mac gets home that night. Too tired to cook, she orders a portabella burger and Cajun sweet potato fries before heading out to the patio beneath the balcony. Settling into a low beach recliner, she sighs and allows her eyes to close. The ocean breeze breathes the remaining tension away. It had been a long day. Long couple of weeks.
A familiar snore interrupts her new-found peace. Mac's eyes shoot to the nearby hammock. A couple quiet steps reveal a tangle of tanned limps and a blond hair sleeping. Mac notes the scribble filled page on Dick's stomach. Reading over the edge, it looks like the beginning to a heartfelt apology that moves into an overly wordy speech on love. A small smile forms on Mac's face. Dick's own attempt at an 'epic speech'.
Her exhale brushes Dick's hair. He wakes to her soft face over him. "Mackie," he starts, gripping the unfinished page.
"Can we not be epic, please?" Mac interrupts, "I don't, I don't want the pain."
Dick's face falls. He reaches his hand out and lightly holds Mac's wrist.
"I just want you," she surprises him.
Dick excitedly tugs her into a joyful kiss. "Anything you want, Mackie." He smiles, pulling her into the hammock with him. It quickly spins and dumps them out onto the sand. Laughter, kisses and takeout fill the rest of their evening.
Friday feels like a victory to Logan. No drinking, classes attended all week and no wallowing. Well, minimal wallowing anyway. Logan smirks a bit.
"Yo, pretty boy," comes a familiar voice. Logan looks up, eyes connecting with his former rival. Logan tilts his head down in acknowledgement. Weevil sits down across from him. "See the headlines today or are you just the creepy guy who smiles to himself?"
Ignoring the latter part, Logan quirks his brows. Weevil snatches a leftover paper from a nearby table. 'HEARST SECRET SOCIETY CHARGED IN FEDERAL COURT'. A brief perusal of the article gives broad strokes of the FBI's multi-year investigation. No mention of Veronica but he can read see her in the edges. Multiple male celebrities, politicians and tycoon types are named as being arrested. Notably absent is the name of Jake Kane. Logan's disbelieving smirk appears. Nothing could be more Neptune.
"I hear our girl is being sequestered until after her testimony next month," Weevil relays once Logan finishes reading.
"I'm sure she's being a perfectly behaved witness," Logan says with a laugh.
"That head tilt of hers is far to effective," Weevil voices, "those marshals don't stand a chance."
"Why Weevs, I believe this may be the start of a beautiful friendship." The two men stand. Weevil rolls his eyes before walking off in the opposite direction of Logan.
It is not so simple for Jake Kane after all. Wiedman's connection—loyalty—has saved him from federal charges but Jake was forced to step down from Kane Software. The company he nurtured from a startup will not be long without a Kane male at the helm though. A quiet deal had been made for a certain errant son wanting to return home before The Castle's exposure. But that is all to come out later. For now, Neptune's grit and grime is being held at bay by hope and young love. Neptune is not known for being benevolent to either. But just maybe, maybe our friends have a chance.
Thank you to everyone who commented on the last two chapters! Really to everyone who has stuck with me through the learning process of my first fanfiction and to everyone else who jumped in along the way! I hope this was a satisfactory ending. I like it best when things are still in process but clearly heading in a direction. I may write a sequel someday or not. Let me know your thoughts and feelings on this ending and possible sequel.