TW: Suicidal Thoughts and Attempt
TW: Canon Sexual Assault (No graphic account of it)
Please make sure you look and pay attention to the warnings for this story. While my intention is to completely turn Veronica Mars on it's head going back and starting with season one, it has a dark beginning because we will deal with things. They aren't going to just push aside things in my story but dealt with, the upside to this is healthy relationships, LoVe, LoVe, LoVe, and a major change throughout the whole universe. This story goes canon divergent from the beginning. We're starting from the morning after Shelly Pomeroy's party.
I'm not just rehashing everything though. While Lilly's murder is still the arc of this first story, not all the little mysteries will stay the same. I have new mysteries and when I do use ones from the show, there will be twists and different endings to things. With all this said, I hope that you'll enjoy this journey with me as I flip Veronica Mars upside down and fix the things I think need fixing and giving our favorite couple a happier, healthier journey in LoVe.
It's also incredibly important to remember, especially in these earlier chapters, that when you are reading from Veronica's point of view, she has the thoughts and feelings of a sexual assault victim. And unfortunately and heartbreakingly, many victims feel shame and responsibility. I want to stress that there is NOTHING to be ashamed of, NOTHING and it's not their fault. But if I'm doing this realistically, then I need to give you the insight of what victims go through and think. With Logan, you're seeing and hearing the results of a victim of years of abuse. Again, there is nothing to be ASHAMED of, nor is it their fault but that isn't how they think.
Many many thanks and much love to my beta Saoirse Konstantin for her encouragement and work in helping me get this chapter ready to post. Love you sister of mine.
Chapter 1: Full of Grace
December 7, 2003
Someone inside her brain was hitting a snare drum repeatedly, her tongue was huge and like sandpaper, stomach rolling and dropping makes Veronica moan while heavy eyes struggle to open. With an urgent push, rolling onto her side to dry-heaving over the side of the bed. A confused mind tries to process what is happening and where she is. A violent shudder, bile rises, stomach clenches and releases with an attempt to get something- anything out, but there is nothing to expel. Heart pounds, and breaths come hard. Things settle a little, though her body protests being awake. Eyes glimpse around the unfamiliar bedroom, now streaming with too bright sunlight. Confused and jumbled thoughts. Nothing coherent or strung together, only flashes like puzzle pieces.
Shelly's party last night.
A drink handed to her and deciding some liquid courage would help. Downing the rum and coke.
The stares of hatred. Whispers everywhere.
Tired and sick, dizzy, like she would float away.
The pool lounger, hoping a rest for a bit would make things better.
Desire to go home. Words that begged to go home.
Stomach twists and clenches tight again. A low whimper escapes while pain grips from the inside. 'Get out of here. Get home. Home is safe.' The petite teenager's battered body protests when pushing herself up to sit. More so, when trying to adjust to move feet onto the floor. It's then that her brain comprehends she's nude. Horrified, the evidence comes into eyesight. The beautiful white dress bought with pride and excitement. The one she thought was pretty in while looking in the mirror, lay crumpled near the foot of the bed. Skirt stained with spots of blood, shoulder straps ripped. Eyes sting making it a challenge to see and even more difficult to take stock as limbs tremble. To catalog the bruises that litter the pale skin of arms and thighs and ankles. More aware now of the ache between her legs, spotting traces of blood on the inner thighs. Breaths grow faster, gasping. Unable to bring air into lungs or expel it. Light-headed, black spots sprinkling her vision. Things don't appear altogether real. Heart pounds so loud- the only sound heard; so hard she thinks it might break ribs. Unable to stop staring at the evidence. Ripped panties, torn from her body, on the floor. A low howl breaks free, followed by dry hard continuous cries.
Hot, shameful tears fall in an unbroken stream while she struggles to stifle the loud cries before someone hears. Veronica moves, limbs agitated and clumsy. Lips curl, eyes narrow and a low sound comes out while putting the soiled dress back on. With broken straps it doesn't stay up, so she ties the torn pieces of fabric halter style. Eyes scan the room before spotting the hoodie hanging on a chair. Hands shake grabbing the piece of clothing, trying not to fumble while pulling it on fast and zipping it up all the way before tugging on the hood, pulling the material over her head. With slow swings back and forth, Veronica scans for her shoes but can't find them. Unable to stay here any longer to look. Mind screaming to 'GET OUT!, LEAVE!'
Teeth gnaw on a bottom lip until the taste of blood floods her mouth, gaze swings to look at the door and back to the window. The room is on the first floor. There will be people outside the door. People she doesn't want to see. The same people who hate her. The person who did this might still be out there. A split moment and she decides, throwing up the windowpane. With slow, deliberate movements, swinging one leg over the sill, followed by the other before dropping to the grass. A bite to her raw bottom lip to keep silent when she wants to scream and pain racks her body. Once clear of the house, running to the Le Baron, not processing the " SLUT " and " Abel, it should have been her " written on it. The thing the mind remembers is that she doesn't have her purse or keys. Feet run along the pavement, no sense of irritation, no care about the danger of running barefoot. Brain shrieking to get home and telling no one what has happened. Despite what her father instilled while growing up, going to the police would do nothing. Lamb hates the Mars family as much as anyone in this town. He'd laugh her out of the office or worse yet, tell Keith.
An hour later, panting and struggling to stand, Veronica uses the spare key hidden in a rock to let herself into the house. Home for another two weeks, then her and dad are supposed to move into the small two-bedroom apartment. Grateful her father is out chasing a bail jumper and isn't due home for at least two more days, she closes the door, throwing the deadbolt. Hard breaths have her drifting through the house, weaving around packed boxes, to make the way to the bedroom she grew up in. Once the door is closed, she strips off the hoodie and dress and leaves the offending clothing in a pile to deal with later. Veronica grabs the soft pink robe and with slow steps, makes her way to the bathroom turning the water on in the shower as hot as possible.
Turns to hang the robe up before stepping into the spray and it doesn't register that the water is burning delicate skin. The water needs to be scalding to scrub this away. A dirty, tangible perception that covers the entirety of her body, and possibly her heart and soul too. Hands snatch the sponge and squeeze half a bottle of body wash onto it before scrubbing until skin is raw to the touch. Normal skin that is pale now, bright pink, almost bordering on red. Tears fall like rain, broken sobs claw out from her throat. Time stops, loses meaning while in the shower. By the time reality breaks through again, Veronica finds that she is curled in the fetal position shaking from the shower-head's icy water pouring down.
Hands struggle to reach up and turn the dial off. Legs like Jell-O, bracing hands on the wall to stand, and then pulling herself out of the shower. Even the plushness of the robe abrasive to skin when putting it on. Body stumbles back into the bedroom, finding the strength to pull on a pair of underwear, sweats and the largest sweatshirt in the closet. In the kitchen she grabs a garbage bag to stuff the dress and hoodie into. Once that chore is complete, Veronica goes back to the bedroom and falls into bed. Like a six-years-old, pulling the covers over her head and curling up small despite the pain it causes, muscles screaming in protest, skin throbbing. Lungs ache as cries burst forth and she remembers being little and having nightmares; protecting herself from the monsters hiding in the room by disappearing under the blankets, But today- there can be no protection from the monsters. They invaded her body and mind, broke her spirit, and Veronica weeps for her lost innocence. This person stole away the bit of world that remained after Lilly died. The exhaustion is crushing. She loses consciousness and falls into a deep sleep.
When awakening, a hopeful moment, 'What a horrible nightmare!' Soon, reality breaks through the sleepiness and she realizes that it wasn't a nightmare, but a true event. The blankness making up last night is haunting. Not sure she wants to remember, but not knowing is worse. For a moment she floats above, looking down on the bed, at the shaking mound of blankets. One moment where she's filled with compassion for this poor broken soul before being slammed back into her body. Horror flooding her mind, the realization that she is the broken soul. Loud, hysterical sobs echo in the room, muffled only by the blankets. For hours the sound echoes through the house. Tears stream to make tracks down cheeks, soaking into the collar of the sweatshirt.
Night has taken over when she finally emerges from beneath the covers. Blackness, hollowness, hopelessness, emptiness make up her world. 'Would it help to tell someone? NO!' She won't report it. Nobody would accept the story anyway and on the chance they did, any evidence there may have been, she destroyed hours ago in the shower. She can't tell her dad, it would be too much for him, and there's nothing he can do. Veronica doesn't want Keith to end up in jail. Eyes look up at the ceiling, thoughts of school emerge. Images of having to walk down the hallways passing by this rapist. 'Was there one or were there more? I get that they hate me, but enough to do this?' Would she have to interact, to talk with her rapist? Would he attack again?'
Arms wrap around a pillow, like a child holding a stuffed animal. Tears fall through puffy eyes. Voice harsh and hoarse, "Lilly, why aren't you here? Especially when you're needed so badly right now. I'm lost without you. I- I'm not strong enough, Lilly, you know I can't do this. The town turning on Dad and me. Logan turning on me. That was bad, but I thought I could get through it. But last night they proved how much they hate us, hate me. How do I stay, knowing how much they hate us- hate me? I'm so alone, please come back. Why did you leave?"
The heartbroken young woman cries until tears run dry again. Unable to breathe through the stuffed nose and eyes appearing blackened and swollen almost shut. Who cares about looks? The only thought running on repeat is that she doesn't want to be here. Doesn't want to exist anymore. She wishes to go to sleep, not wake up again. Doesn't want this pain, both physical and emotional. Only wants her best friend because if Lilly were here, things would be okay. These thoughts lead deeper and deeper into that rabbit hole until she's drowning, chest heaving while oxygen struggles to make its way in and out of the lungs.
All at once- she sees it. A way to fix this. To end this. To be with Lilly. It's so simple she can't understand why the solution was so hidden before. She doesn't have to stay where she's not wanted, where people want to hurt her. She can go be with Lilly, be in that safe place with her best friend.
Hands swipe away remaining tears. Veronica sits up, releases an unsteady breath and gathering some courage gets out of bed. With slow movements, Veronica makes it to the desk and sits down, opening a notebook and grabbing a pen. There is knowledge this will hurt Keith, and she hates that. But, with nothing tying him to Neptune, he can be free. Go somewhere new. Start over. It will be best for them both…
This will shock and hurt you and I'm sorry for that. I've thought about it and this is best for both of us. We both need to be free. You can go anywhere now. Start over, put all of this pain behind you. Dad, you deserved none of this. Not what Jake Kane, or the town, did to you. I have faith and if you say that the official story isn't what happened; I believe it.
I'm sorry, this decision will hurt you but you'll heal and move forward. You'll move on to better things. Mom isn't coming back, that's obvious now, and I don't want to be a burden to you anymore, something holding you back. You should know that nothing you have done led me to this. You have always been an amazing father and the best daddy any girl could ask for. Thank you for loving me, and for being the one that stayed to take care of me, for being the hero. I'll be okay, I will be with Lilly and will watch over you like your own guardian angel.
I love you always, please forgive me.
Fingers trembling, the petite blond sets the pen down and reads over the letter, knowing there is nothing more to add, leaves it on the desk where her father will find it. A look at the alarm clock on the nightstand reveals the time to be 4:00 AM; she'll wait until 5:00 to see the hint of the sunrise at the end. A sore back protests while getting up from the desk chair but once standing she makes her way around the room tidying, wanting it to be neat and clean. It's a struggle to make the bed, but the task gets finished. A shaky breath rattles her frame. Eyes take one last look around the room, nodding in satisfaction, she heads to the kitchen.
Tremors run along her spine, from fear or because of something else Veronica isn't sure but, having now decided on how to proceed, having a plan, there is comfort. A step stool aids in getting to the cabinet above the refrigerator where what little liquor in the house is located. Fingers just able to reach a bottle of unopened Jack Daniels, pulling it forward and out before getting down. A few steps lead to the door and she slips her shoes on. She makes sure the door is locked behind her and begins the walk to the Beach.
Body quivering from the early morning cold, even in the heavy sweats, Veronica sits down in the sand and opens the bottle. Not wanting to get drunk per se, just wants to make sure she's not in a condition for her body to fight for survival. This is the solution. With a tilting back of her head, she chugs the liquid quickly, knowing that the alcohol will hit fast. Coughing when Jack Daniels burns down her throat. So focused and determined to carry out this plan, she doesn't notice the other person sitting further along the beach, a surfboard in the sand. Nor does she spot the young man watching while she finishes half the bottle of whiskey before slamming the bottle down into the sand. Lost in a world of trouble waiting for the alcohol to hit.
When her body begins to rock side to side, mind growing dull, she knows it's time. The weight from the sweats will help when water soaks into the thick cotton, but she wonders if she should have collected rocks too. Doesn't matter. All she has to do is get deep enough. The ocean will do the rest.
"I'm coming Lilly!" Voice raspy and thick shouted into the morning air. Veronica rises unsteadily, leaving the bottle in the sand and walking toward the ocean. A bite of a lip to hold back the hiss as the cold water soaks through tennis shoes. Not enough to stop or sober the persistent girl; she keeps going. Tears fall while the sweatpants become soaked and what fills a tormented and confused mind is the promise of the sweet release of freedom. To be able to hug Lilly, laughing with Lilly, escaping Neptune. Deeper, wading into the ocean until just able to keep her face above water. One last breath, releasing it before letting the ocean sweep over now, eyes closing, ready to sleep and not wake up ever again.
While sitting on the beach, knees bent, feet flat on the sand, arms wrapped around legs, Logan's forehead rests down against the knees. A surfboard sticks in the sand nearby. Too early for the dawn surf but unable to sleep, he hoped the waves might help calm the twisting of his gut and the chaos that makes up his brain at the moment. While he had left the party with that blond freshman last night, nothing happened. That hadn't been the initial plan, but after Veronica Mars showed up at Shelly's and what he had done, there was no desire to follow through with the freshman. This was nagging and pissing him off.
'That bitch betrayed our friendship and the Kanes. How dare she show up? Deserved to be a salt lick… didn't she? Why can't I just hate the two-faced snake? Why do I have to miss- No, don't think about that. That's preposterous, you're not missing Veronica Mars!' The discussion continues in his brain, 'At least that GHB got left at home last night. That could have made for an even worse night had that shit got brought to the party.'
Something catches the tired boy's attention, he lifts his head, looking around. There is a tiny figure down the beach. Wide eyes watch when she sits down and opens a bottle of something. With a head tilt, the female figure downs the liquid as if at a party. His body leans forward, as if this will bring more clarity when his mind jolts. 'There's only one person who is that small. What the hell is Veronica Mars doing here on the beach at this hour? What and why is she drinking? Mars doesn't drink like that, she barely drinks. That can't be Veronica, can it? Is it not possible to escape Veronica fucking Mars for one fucking minute?'
Despite not wanting to watch, the scene mesmerizes the stunned young man. Veronica continues to drink from the bottle. The sound of coughing carries on the wind while the small blond appears to choke down the liquid. Light pierces the sky as the sun bursts over the horizon, a hand lifts to shade wide eyes. Frozen and watching the enemy- (friend?) shout something then stand and start stumbling to the ocean. 'What the hell?'
Brown eyes narrow, stomach drops and heart pounds while observing the girl walk deeper into the water. Logan doesn't realize he's standing or then running to the cold water. Still dressed while quickly realizing that his enemy-friend can't keep her head above water. When Veronica goes under, the tall framed boy's body shakes and moves quickly into the waves. Heart pounds against ribs, shouting when she doesn't come up. In an instant, diving into the icy water. Body slicing through the water in smooth strokes from years of surfing and battling the waves, able to reach the petite blond in a scant time. With a plunge under the water, hands flair around for something, anything that might be Veronica but come up empty. Lung burning, he's sure they'll explode and has to come up for air.
A scream breaks into the early morning, "NO- No! I can't lose someone else! 'Ronica? Veronica!" Logan dives under the water again, hands grabbing while eyes struggle to see through the murky water. Fingertips suddenly grasp some kind of material and pull, yanking a small body to his and then pushing up toward the surface. With a harsh gasp he breaks the water surface, panting for breath, bringing Veronica with. The blond's blue eyes are closed and there isn't a sign of breathing, body limp in his grasp. With the last ounce of strength Logan makes his way to shallower waters, to the shore.
Once feet can find purchase, he stands, arms swooping to carrying Veronica to the shore. With all the gentleness he has, he lays the small woman down and tilts her head back like he learned in a surfing class long ago. A deep breath, placing large hands to a small chest and interlocking fingers to begin thirty compressions, hearing a slight crack that makes him wince and moan. The same moan let out when he can't take anymore from the belt Aaron is swinging. After the compressions are complete, his mouth fits over hers while two breaths get pushed breath into the petite body then beginning thirty compressing again. "Come on Ronnie, come on!" On the fifteenth compression, something finally happens.
Logan wants to weep, to shout when Veronica takes a breath. She sputters and begins coughing. With care, he rolls Veronica on her side while she vomits water and alcohol; hand moving on her back in circles, holding back hair and whispering with encouraging words. The ragged and painful sounding breath is hard to listen to but the most beautiful thing he's ever heard. The sound means she's alive. After what seems like hours, Veronica wrenches away. As they both stand. Logan's shoulders slumping, lips dropping in a frown and head hanging low. Then brown eyes widen and he is taking a step back, hands coming up while she's flying toward him to pummel against his chest with small fists.
"Why did you do that? Why did you save me? I want to be with Lilly? Can't you let me be? I'll disappear and you won't have to deal with me anymore, just let me die! Isn't that what you want, anyway?" Veronica's shrill and harsh voice hurts his ears. The words, however, are like Aaron's punches to the solar plexus and a hand moves to cover there, expecting tenderness and pain.
"You- what? You were trying to-" His body folds into itself, shoulders coming together similar to a standing version of the fetal position while he struggles to comprehend the words while also trying to prevent any more hits. Logan was sure he had broken when Lilly died, but no. Something deep inside, the part allowing him to hold himself together these past couple months snaps, he can feel it, a thread finally breaking, the final thread holding him together and he sobs, screaming back. "No, no- Veronica no, you can't die. I need you! Please don't do this! Why would you want to die?"
The girl goes silent with wide eyes, stops her attack and stills. When she speaks again, the voice is monotone. "What do you mean why? How many more times should I let you hurt me? The names, the rumors, the pranks. Wasn't rape enough? I get it now, I won't fight you anymore. I understand how much you hate me. Please, let me die, let me be with Lilly."
If Veronica admitting she had been trying to take her life was bad, it was nothing compared to this. Logan's body goes stiff, eyes widen, mouth hanging open. Only able to stare at the girl he considered his enemy only a half an hour ago in disbelief. "What? What did you say?" Logan's voice shakes. There's a struggle to swallow, a lump in the throat that won't move, stomach rolling in nausea. He turns away fast to vomit onto the sand, falling on his hands and knees.
Both teenagers shiver in soaked clothes. Cold water clings stubbornly to skin and wind whips around, kicking up sand and surf. The only sounds are of Logan emptying a twisting, painful stomach and Veronica's sharp, harsh crying. When Logan's stomach finishes, he stands and wipes his mouth with the back of a hand, wishing for a bottle of water to rinse his mouth with. There is one by where the surfboard stands, only a few yards away, but he can't leave Veronica. Too terrified that she'll try again. Just wanting to wrap his arms around the frail, shivering girl and never let go. Thoughts run through his brain like a locomotive as the entire world flips upside down again, feelings ignored now demand attention.
'A jackass, a bastard, an asshole who treated her like a punching bag and for what reason? Do I hate her? Veronica used to be my best friend. If I'm honest, I want that back. I miss it, our friendship, so much it aches. My fault, oh, fuck- my fault. I made it okay to hurt her, but never meant… would never be okay with… hurting anyone like this.'
Words spill out, running together while he purges a broken heart, hands gesturing wildly and tries to fix what he broke. "Oh God, Ronnie, no, please! I'm so sorry. I've been such an asshole. Please, I didn't do this! Would never- but it's my fault because I declared open season. Couldn't imagine that anyone would- could do this." The tall boy doubles over retching again, stomach heaving, trying to bring up what isn't there. "I've been so stupid! How could I do this? How did this get so fucked up? When did this all go so wrong?"
The words spoken from the shaking blond minutes ago wrought with desperation and anger despite the fact they were spoken in monotone hang in the air. She stares with enormous eyes, a hand covering her mouth. The cold water dripping from long blond hair down, soaking through the already wet clothes and shivering while listening to Logan's words. He turns away, trembling, red faced and hunching over, wrapping arms around a broad chest, unable to keep her gaze.
A soft voice as if coaxing a scared animal carries on the wind. "Logan, come back to my house. Take a hot shower and change out of those wet clothes. You'll get sick if you stay like this." Trembling hand reaches out and touches his shoulder and then snatches back. "There's still a change of clothes in the X-terra, right? I mean- or you can go home but you can't stay here on the beach like this."
Logan turns, brown eyes gazing into blue, before dropping to the sand, tears running down tanned cheeks. "So sorry, 'Ronica. I don't deserve kindness."
A blond head shakes from side to side slowly, "Not- Not you. Shouldn't have said that, I need to learn to think first, speak second sometimes. Saw you leave with that girl, you weren't there when… unless you came back, but I've never seen that before. And you wouldn't do that to a girl. Never be okay- Even with the way you've been acting, that isn't your character. Please, let me help. I don't want you to get sick. Lilly wouldn't want us to fight."
The sweet, soft voice breaks through, but the words don't all register. Only that she knows Logan isn't the bastard that had committed this heinous act. The heart beating in his chest is heavy, as if the thing weighs a thousand pounds with guilt and remorse. While he didn't commit the act, the battle Logan waged gave the asshole a sense of entitlement to commit the crime. Logan's chest is painfully tight, it's difficult to remember to breathe, he's pushing words out and she'll believe him. "I'm sorry for so much more than that, V'ronica. For turning on you. I tried to make... god it's your family how could you not choose… I was wrong, fuck, so wrong. Been such a jackass. I miss you so much, I miss my best friend. I'm so sorry for treating you the way I have. And now, I've ruined the best thing I'll ever have because I'm because I'm too stupid to do anything else!"
Veronica hugs herself gently, "Logan, I forgive you, it's okay. I mean, it's not okay. What you did isn't okay but- I get it. Believe it or not, I understand the anger and pain. I don't hate you and you're not stupid, don't say that. That's Aaron Echolls talking, never listen to that idiot."
Logan stares, body numb and stuck to the spot, mind unable to wrap around the words. Then before thought catches up with the action he takes the two steps to close the distance Wrapping strong arms around her in a tight hug, the hug he's missed giving every day of this stupid war he started. Veronica squirms, fighting to get away even though his arms release immediately. Eyes sting and blink away tears, watching her struggling. 'Afraid of him?' The delicate body sways and she's breathing fast- too fast. Teeth biting his bottom lip, mind whirls, trying to come up with a plan for if she faints. Touch is not an option. Tries to recall how his mom copes with panic attacks, words babbling forth, desperate to help Veronica.
"It's okay. You're safe. This is a panic attack. Breathe, Ronnie. Look at me, breathe like I am." Logan takes exaggerated breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth. Veronica struggles to copy, body fighting for oxygen. "'Ronica, I won't hurt you, never again. Nobody will, I won't let anyone hurt you ever again; you're safe. Just like before all of this, I'll keep you safe, I swear."
Veronica's breaths regulate, though the petite body continues to sway. Logan wraps an arm around small shoulders gently, ready to pull back the moment there is a sign of discomfort or fear. Strength seems to have fled and left the small woman shaking so hard, teeth rattling. She sags against him. The realization that he needs to get her warm is instantaneous. "Come on, Veronica, let's go home, okay?"
Veronica nods as if on automatic, voice flat. "Yes, I need to go there. Logan, you need to take a hot shower and warm up, change clothes. Something hot to eat to warm up the inside too." While continuing to talk, it's mumbling now, and he strains to hear over the ocean. "Take care of Logan. Then finish the plan. Go join Lilly. Lilly would want me to take care of Logan first."
Logan bites his bottom lip again, eyes stinging with unshed tears. 'At least she agreed and won't put up a fight. Get her home, warmed up, and help her. Can't let her do this. Need her here, she doesn't belong with Lilly, belongs with me.' Keeping an arm around blond's shoulders, guiding her to the X-terra and helping her up into the passenger seat before closing the truck door. He makes a run quickly back to the beach to grab his board, bringing it back and strapping to the roof before making his way around to the driver's side. A quiet sigh escapes as he climbs in and starts the truck, turning up the heat to high before making the brief drive to the Mars residence.
Once there, there's a quick grab of the duffel bag holding a change of clothes kept for when surfing before helping Veronica out of the car. Logan gives an arm for her to hold on to, tries to offer support in case she passes out while walking to the front door. A heaviness in the pit of his stomach, an urge to move, to tap fingers, bounce a leg is overwhelming. "Um- is the sheriff here?"
Veronica shakes her head, voice quiet, "Not the sheriff anymore and no, out chasing a bail jumper, won't be back for a few days. Logan, it's all right. Please come in and get warmed up." Those beautiful blue eyes usually full of life and a hint of mischief, lack any sparkle and are flat when her gaze finds his briefly. Logan's heart aches, missing the warmth he always found in there.
"Okay, I was just checking."
She nods in return and tries to unlock the door, hands shaking so hard the key keeps missing until Logan wraps a larger, steadier hand around the more soft, delicate one to guide it. With the help, the door opens quickly. The house is cold and empty as the teenagers step inside. Both are glad for the latter. Veronica guides Logan back toward the bathroom in the hall, but he can't miss all the packing boxes. Without a word, she gets a large fluffy towel, setting it on the bathroom counter and making sure he has everything needed before leaving the bathroom with instruction to shower. After trying to argue that she should shower first and losing, Logan resolves to take a quick shower.
The tall brunette showers in record time, standing under the water long enough to rinse off and wash his hair. While drying off and shivering, he finds that he's glad for the pair of sweats in the duffel bag along with the hoodie. Dresses in a hurry before exiting the bathroom. The house is silent, and a chill runs down his spine. 'Had Veronica done something while he was in the shower?' Heart clenching, voice breaking, "Veronica?"
"In here" a small, quiet voice comes from the bedroom and he quickens his steps to find her. She's sitting at the desk in her bedroom, staring at a picture of the fab four, the night of the limo party. With a look up, "Finished? I'll make something hot to eat before you head home, okay? Need to warm up the insides too."
'Before he heads home? Does she imagine that he'll leave after what has happened? Assume he isn't aware that she is still contemplating other ways to-?' Logan takes and lets out a shaky breath slowly, unable to complete the thought. Won't do to start a fight. This requires treading with careful footing. "Something hot to eat sounds great. Should I order something while you shower? Pizza or Luigi's? Chinese? Whatever you want, Ronnie."
Veronica shakes her head, "No, won't be the same as something homey. Won't warm you up the same way. Like when you're sick and only something your mom cooks can make it better."
Logan nods that concept isn't something he's ever experienced. Nannies when he was little or the housekeeper when older were the ones that prepared his food. If sick, he stays in bed until better, nobody bothers to check on him. However, Veronica seems determined so he won't fight her. This will buy some time, maybe get her talking. Get her to accept him being here. "That would be nice, thanks. How about taking a shower first so we're both nice and warm? It would make me more comfortable, at ease." With effort, trying to use what he hopes is a coaxing but not patronizing voice, keeping it low.
Veronica sighs and concedes, "Okay, if it will give you peace of mind, I'll shower first. You get under the blankets, get warm." With a hand gesture toward the made bed to emphasize the words. "Fall asleep if you want. Be back soon," A quiet groan escapes her lips when she stands and collects clothing from drawers before heading to the bathroom.
Logan hears the water start and sighs in relief. After a few moments, he takes her up on the offer, shivers running through his body and his limbs are so heavy. With a sigh, sliding under the warm blankets and lying down, closing drowsy eyes while Veronica's scent floats and wraps around him. 'So stupid to turn on his 'Ronica. Has to make it up to her, repair the damage done. No matter what, not leaving tonight or tomorrow and won't leave until it's safe to do so. She's his to protect. She always has been. How had he forgotten that? Duncan had some protective instincts back in the age of the golden couple, but it was always Logan that had done the protecting. Time to remember and protect again, should have never stopped. Time to help her. Find the son of a bitch who did this. Make sure he pays. Still pissed at Lilly, but won't take it out on Veronica anymore.' Thoughts drifting, sweet sleep calling to him he starts to succumb. With a sudden jerk back to reality, he hears the shower turn off.
The silence has him scrambling to sit up on the bed and wait while contemplating what else they can do tonight. Options that won't lead to him being pushed out the door. Movies? A movie marathon could work, she'll fall asleep two movies in like normal. And he can watch over and protect her, make sure she doesn't wake up and do anything harmful. A heavy sigh escapes with the thought he should call someone, but who? Aaron and his mom are useless and all the other parents are just as incompetent. The police are pointless. Also, calling the cops will piss Veronica off. Who knows what she will do if that happens. This isn't his secret to tell, it's hers, so the police aren't a viable option, anyway. Mr. Mars seems like the logical choice, even though that thought causes his stomach to cramp painfully. 'How much has Veronica told her dad about what I've done, we've done, these last couple months?' There didn't seem to be any numbers to reach him in the other rooms earlier. After Veronica falls asleep, there will be time to look around more.
The gruesome sound of retching comes from the bathroom and Logan cringes, stomach twisting in sympathy, knowing what that experience is like. Yes, his body might hold liquor better, but it didn't mean he doesn't go beyond the limits all the time. The half-empty handle of Jack hadn't escaped his notice on the beach as well as the understanding of why she had drunk the liquor. She didn't want her body to be capable of, or want to survive when the waves started taking her under. Didn't want the survival instinct to kick in or, should it, be able to kick in with full force. Hands come up to swipe with force at the tears dripping. The other words said on the beach come back to haunt him. "... Wasn't raping me enough?" 'Who could have done this sick and twisted act?' Fists clench and release on repeat. Never would have he been okay hurting a girl- or any person like that! Someone will pay and with his own hands, he'll kill them for this!' Red tints his vision while he ruminates on his Veronica being violated like this.
"Your Veronica? That's rich coming from you! Haven't you been the one tormenting her, leading the pack, making up the most outlandish and disgusting rumors and passing them around school?" Lilly's voice taunts these questions, tone dripping with disappointment and contempt. Logan is certain now that he's deserved every punishment Aaron has ever given him. Contemplates that he should go do something guaranteed to get Aaron's wrath. Another lashing of the belt. But even that won't ever be enough to atone for his sins.
A suspicion invades his mind, his chest tightens and body fighting for the oxygen, 'Veronica had been a virgin.' Logan is positive that she and Duncan had never even gotten to third base. Not only that, he knew without a doubt that she hadn't been with a guy since Duncan. Face tingling, lungs struggling for air but the hard lump in his throat is too big to swallow around, tears stream down his cheeks but he can't even sob. Everything seems very far away, like looking through a pinhole.
"Logan? Oh, Logan, come on, it's okay. Breathe Lo', please breathe" The voice sounds tinny. Veronica helps him to sit up and pushes his head down between his knees, rubbing his back. "Whatever it is, it will be okay. But you have to breathe." She takes exaggerated breaths in and out so he could hear them. The small hand moves up and down along his spine. Logan mimics her, first with scant breaths but then with longer ones until they even out. The tinny voice now sounds normal, soft and warm but hoarse and dry. The room comes back into focus.
What he wants to do is wrap his arms around his friend-former enemy and reassure himself that she's here for real. But knows that Ronnie might react negatively to touch like before. Unsure how she will react to touch like that given what has happened and also because of the treatment of these last couple months. Part of him wants to ask her to confirm his belief, but doesn't need to. Already knows the answer. They had taken her innocence in an act of violence. A part wants to ask more questions, uncover something to find this bastard. But again realizes this is not the time. Veronica is already on edge and determined to go through with her plan for the time being.
"Better?" The soft, sweet voice startles him out of these deliberations and he gives a nod, sitting back up straight.
Voice gravelly and unsteady, "Yes, thanks. Sorry about that."
"There's nothing to be sorry about. Do you want to talk about it?" A shake of his head and she continues, "Okay, I'll go make something to eat to warm up before you head for home, okay?" So he was right, she's planning on getting him out of here and continuing with the plans. 'That won't be happening.'
"Food- food sounds excellent." Food is the last thing he wants, but it'll buy some time, and he can bring up the movie marathon. Once she falls asleep, he'll find Mr. Mars' phone number. Logan has no intention of leaving, but the more help, the better.
"Why don't you- splash some water on your face and meet me in the kitchen." Veronica steps away, wrapping her arms around her small body before turning and hurrying off.
Logan rises from the bed at a snail's pace and heads to the bathroom when he notices a letter of some sort on Veronica's desk. With trepidation he sidesteps and touches the paper with trembling hands while he reads the words written. There's a splintering in his chest, he hears the crack of his heart shattering at Veronica's words. Eyes close against the pain, but it does nothing. Breathes are shaky or is his body that is shaking? The boy forces feet to move one in front of the other, following the sounds from the kitchen. 'She can't leave. I'll make it better, I'll figure out how to make this better for her. I swear I will.'
He slides onto one stool and watches Veronica prepare grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. A slight smile crosses his lips as he remembers how she would always make this for him when he was having a sad day. She might have been Lilly's best friend, but she was also his. When Lilly would orchestrate a break-up, Veronica would show up the next day to watch movies and play video games with him. A declaration that they needed comfort food would follow and she would make this same meal. Too shy, he never told her how much that meant to him and how this simple meal would make him feel warm and loved by someone. Brown eyes blink back to reality by a plate and bowl being set on the counter.
"Where's yours?" he furrows his eyebrows, not seeing food in front of her.
"Not hungry," the small voice is quiet and sounding as if it's weighed down by the world. "You need to get warm on the inside, Logan, so eat."
A shake of his head. "You need to get warm too. You were in the same water, in fact, you were in longer than I was and I'm used to being in the icy water for surfing."
Blue eyes shift to the floor, and she moves weight from one foot to the other. "I'm okay"
He gets from the stool and walks around the counter, touching her shoulder with a light touch. "How about we share?" The smile he gives tentative when she looks up.
"You won't give up on this are you?"
"Nope," Logan pops the 'P,'. "Come on 'Ronica, share the food with me."
Veronica sighs, "Okay."
Logan watches as Veronica walks around and gets on the stool beside the one he was sitting on. Can't help but notice the slow gait, the limp, and arm wrapped around her ribs. The beach had had little light, and she had been wearing sweats. Now wearing pink and black plaid pajama pants and a long-sleeved black t-shirt; he wonders how much bruising is hiding beneath the clothes. A soft sigh escapes, and he tries to take this one thing at a time. First, getting some food into her to help with any alcohol left and to get her warmed up. Tremors are continuing to run through her small body at intervals.
"Do your ribs hurt? I- I thought I might have hurt you when I did CPR earlier."
The blond nods, "I don't think it's anything to worry about though. I mean, I'm sure nothing is broken. Uh- thanks for that. I'm sorry I screamed at you."
He sits again, splitting the sandwich in half and handing her part of it. Pushes the soup bowl between in the middle so they can dunk the cheesy goodness in the warm liquid. While he eats, he watches as Veronica nibbles a bit at a time until the half of the sandwich disappears. With a gentle push of the bowl back to Logan, showing she doesn't want anymore. While he would have liked to get more into her, at least it was something. He picks up his spoon and swirls it around the bowl before swallowing some creamy goodness. "You're welcome, V'ronica and I deserved to have you scream at me for the way I've treated you. So, after this, movie marathon?"
Veronica's eyes widen to the size of saucers, hands fumble in her lap. "Oh- uh- well it's getting kind of late and you have plans for tonight I'm sure."
"No, no plans other than starting to mend the relationship with you. Please say you'll let me. I don't expect to have you trust me the way you used to…" Logan drops the spoon into the bowl and pushes it away, "How could you after what I've done? But, I want to earn that trust back, to show you I mean what I said. Please let me."
"I- ah- I believe you Logan but it's getting kind of late and-"
Logan presses his luck, words tumbling out, "You said the Sheriff's gone and won't be back for a few days. Let's have an overnight movie night like we used to do. I'll even let you pick the first movie. Even South Park. I'll let you pick South Park or Spice World or Ten Things I Hate About You."
Veronica stands and stumbles to the living room. Beelines to the big stuffed black-and-white striped chair. Slow movements have her bringing her knees up to chest and then wrapping her arms around them, laying her cheek against the drawn-up knees. Worried he has blown the opportunity, Logan follows and sits down on the couch, staying silent and hoping for some indication of what's going through her mind.
Silence stretches and Logan finds it hard to stay still. He hasn't ever been able to stay still, always has to be in motion, has been since the day he was born but he tries, not wanting to spook Veronica. When a broken whisper pierces the quiet, it's like a crack of thunder breaking through a peaceful night.
"What are we doing, Logan? You hate me. I mean I heard what you said on the beach but- you hate me now. It's- it's better this way, you have every reason to hate me. You should go home or go find your friends or whatever."
The brunette head rocks from side to side and tries to reach for her hand before pulling it back when Veronica shrinks away, eyes widening and body beginning to tremble again. That looks sets alarm bells off, he knows that look, has seen it in the mirror. But he has never seen that look directed at him. He logically knows that it's the touch because of the assault, though he has to admit that she might be afraid of him. Logan has never hurt her, would never hurt her, wasn't Aaron for fuck's sake, but the fact remained that someone had hurt her in the worst way. And it's likely that it had happened because the person perceived that it was okay to hurt her because he took away the protection afforded as his friend. With Lilly gone and Duncan and her broken up, there wasn't any protection from the 09ers. Logan has an overwhelming urge to scream. It builds inside like a wave rushing to the shore or what a volcano must go through before explosion.
"I don't hate you, Veronica. Fuck- you were and still are my best friend after Duncan. I've been so angry, so confused, and that doesn't excuse the things I've done. I chose you as my target. God, I was so wrong. It hurts sometimes to see you, walking down the hall, long blond hair so much like hers and for a second, I think it's Lilly. And you were her best friend, Ronnie, and that brought up memories and I am so- so pissed the fuck off at her! We may have been over, but I didn't want her dead. We should have been friends again."
The blond stares, eyes wide, jaw dropping. Then she nods. "I miss her and I'm furious with her at the same time."
Logan swallows and forces the next words. "Ronnie- This never should have happened. If I hadn't turned on you, it wouldn't have. This is my fault, I wasn't there to protect you."
A drop of her forehead to press it to her knees and speaking into the space created, "You didn't tell anyone to do this. You- it's not your fault. But please. Please go now so I can-"
"No! No, I won't go, Veronica. You can't leave, please. Don't do this! I'll help you, I'll protect you. I won't let anyone hurt you ever again! You're hurting and I can't say that I understand what you're going through. I- I can't imagine but please, please don't do what you're considering. The sheriff needs you. I need you in my world. I need my V'ronica back and you need your Logan."
Veronica laughs darkly, " My Logan? You've never been my Logan, Lilly's Logan is more accurate. I was the annoying sister you never wanted."
"Is that what you think? That I only hung around with you because of Lilly and Duncan? That's not true! You are my friend because we get each other. We have so many things in common. Can talk for hours about things that the Kane siblings will never understand. You're my friend because you like me for me, not because of who my parents are or what the Echolls name might get you. I want you as my friend because you're amazing, Veronica, and you make my life better by being in it. I'm an idiot for forgetting that. I haven't shown it, but I have missed you." His whisper ends with a soft sob.
"I- oh Logan, I don't…" A helpless hand gesture follows, and he isn't sure what she's trying to say. "Sorry, I need to take another shower!" Veronica jumps up and flees before Logan can respond.
Veronica stands under the spray and tries to scrub off the dirt. Dirt that is invisible but everywhere, mind whirling so fast she can't grab onto a single thought for long. She still wants to- Well, it isn't so much that she wants to die. More like doesn't want to be here anymore. Wishes she didn't exist. Wants Lilly even if she's angry like Logan is. Veronica even wants her mom. But knows that neither will be coming. Lianne is a lost cause, but it is possible to go to Lilly.
"Veronica Mars." The petite blond jumps and peeks around the shower curtain. Not entirely surprised to find Lilly is here, she's visited Veronica at least once a week, but still Veronica stares.
"Lilly?" Voice low, aware that Logan is in the apartment and doesn't want him to overhear her talking to his dead girlfriend that he just admitted to being pissed off at. "Oh Lilly, you're here. Thank god you're here."
The older blond's smile is softer, kinder than the normal mischievous one seen. "I'll be in your bedroom, okay? Tell Logan you want to lie down and we'll talk. But Veronica, promise him you'll only lie down for a rest."
The younger blond nods. At that moment the water chooses to give out, quickly bringing her out of her state of shock. With a shrill shriek, she twists the knobs to turn the shower off. A gentle knock sounds on the door.
"Veronica? Are you okay in there?"
"Uh- yeah, sorry. The water gave out, and the cold water was a surprise. I'll be out in a second."
"Okay," Logan's gentle tenor comes through the door.
A few deep breaths against the pain before she steps out of the shower and grabs a towel. With hurried movements she dries off, hissing at the tenderness of skin against material. Once that's completed, she dresses in pajamas again before going to the living room, finding Logan sitting there on the couch staring out the window.
"Logan?" Head quickly turns toward her, brown eyes soft and full of concern. "Uh- I need to lie down, okay?" Those beautiful brown eyes grow gigantic and his right leg bounces up and down. "I promise you that's all I'm doing. I- I- ah- hurt right now." She stumbles over how to say her body is aching. "I want to take a little rest. Try to get some perspective when I'm not so overloaded. That's all I'm doing, I swear."
Logan releases an audible breath, nodding his head up and down. "Yeah, get some rest. I'll stay here, maybe take a little nap on the couch or watch t.v. When you wake up, I can order us some food."
Stomach twisting at the mention of food. "Yeah, okay." Not able to deal with the food issue, it's easy to push aside. Veronica already knows that he isn't leaving so she doesn't argue. "I'll see you when I wake up. There are pillows and blankets in the closet if you want them."
"Veronica? Can you- please not lock the bedroom door?" There is a tremble in the tall boy's voice.
A slight smile, wanting to give him some kind of comfort, then turning she makes her way to her room. A soft click when she closes the door but doesn't lock it before crawling in bed, wincing and moving bruised, stiff muscles. With careful maneuvering, gets her body to a comfortable position on her side and finds Lilly there, also on her side facing her.
"I wish I could hug you." Lilly's eyes glisten. "I wish I was still here. This would have never happened. I'm sorry, Veronica, this should never have happened."
"It's not your fault, Lils. I miss you so much. I wish you could hug me too." Tears well up in blue eyes and spill down. "What do I do?. I want to be with you."
"Oh, I know, V'ronica. But that isn't what should happen. Sweetie, you don't belong with me, you belong here." Veronica had never heard Lilly's voice so gentle and can almost feel it when the hand reaches up to pet over her hair. "It doesn't seem like it now, but you'll make it through this. You shouldn't have to, but it's done and now you have to decide what you'll do with it. But the one thing you shouldn't do is push it down, push it away and not deal with it. If you do that- you'll carry this for the rest of your life and it will keep tearing at you from the insides."
Veronica sniffles softly at Lilly's words. The older blond's voice is soothing to her. Veronica wants to push it all away, not deal with it. If she has to live, she doesn't want to deal with this. Put up walls. Get tough.
"Veronica, please listen to me." The younger blue eyes meet her best friend's green gaze. "It's okay to get tough, let out that red satin I always said you were but don't do it to the point of harming yourself and others."
"What do you mean, Lils?"
Lilly Kane takes a breath, looking upward before looking back at her friend and speaking again. "Don't do it to the point you lose who you are to it. Believe it or not, I love pink Veronica as much as I will adore red satin Veronica. You need not kill one to access the other. Blend the two, find balance. Don't build up walls and push everyone away, you still need friends, especially Logan. It's okay to take that slow and mend what has cracked. What he said is true, he's not angry at you, doesn't hate you. He's mad at your dad for going after mine because there are things he doesn't know, information you don't have yet. There are things you need to find out together rather than apart. He loves you Veronica, the same as you love him so please don't push him away."
Veronica nods and things seem a little more clear now talking with Lilly. The feelings are all still there but she trusts Lilly and if she says that Veronica has to be here, she'll listen. Unsure how to go about mending her relationship with Logan after what has happened, but Lilly is right about that too; she loves him, and has missed him. So, starting slow, rebuilding from there, sounds like a good plan.
"Lilly, you said there is information we don't have yet-" a tremor runs up her spine and her chest tightens. "Did your dad- was he the one?"
"I can't answer that, not allowed to say. I'm not saying he is, but well- your dad wasn't wrong when he told my dad he knew that he was hiding things. Things that will all come out soon. I need you to find my killer, Veronica. But not now. Right now you need to focus on healing. I have to go. Can I ask one thing?"
"Anything Lils, anything at all!"
"I know how much I made fun of it when Celeste made me go but go see a therapist, it helps. It's scary and I know you don't want to talk about this but it will help. And- talk to Logan as much as you can. He won't desert you again, I promise." Lilly Kane leans in and kisses Veronica on the cheek; the younger blond closes her eyes and for a moment, they both feel it.
When she opens her eyes again, her best friend is no longer there. But there is a lingering scent in the air of her perfume. Veronica draws the covers over a tired body and curls up, eyes heavy and closing while she drifts to sleep. Dreams of lazy days by the pool with three others, days where everything was perfect and there was no pain in sight. Laughing as Logan cannonballs into the pool, getting water everywhere with the force. Lilly scolds the now grinning boy for getting both the magazine and her bikini wet. Duncan high-fiving him and laughing, going to take his own turn on the diving board. As the girl sleeps, the drawn, haggard look slips away and a soft smile curves her lips, body relaxing, her mind drawing deeper back to a happier time, allowing some healing that she needs.
In the living room of Mars' household, while the small blond sleeps, a tall boy, full of his own pain and who carries his own scars is being awoken by Lilly Kane. It's time for the second talk of the night. Lilly isn't sure how he will respond to seeing her, but they need to talk. Logan needs and deserves closure between them and she needs to make sure that he will take care of her Veronica. One thing cool about being dead? The ability to see the future. 'She was blind to ignore how perfect these two are together? How was she so selfish to get between them?' Even though Logan had loved her, he had been in love with Veronica since the day they met. Had pined for her without knowing about it. Lilly had turned his head with sex out of jealousy for attention and found it funny to manipulate things, knowing it would hurt him as she pushed Veronica and Duncan together. Duncan liked Veronica, that was true, but Lilly was aware from the beginning that Veronica had liked Logan. Also certain that her friend would never go against her, she staked her claim on the tall, handsome brunette and pushed Veronica onto Donut as a consolation prize. That's not to say that Vee didn't care for Duncan, but it had been puppy love. Deep down, Veronica has always pined for Logan too. And worse? Lilly had been complicit in helping Duncan suppress Veronica's spirit and personality as he tried to make her conform to his perfect image. Had pushed Veronica towards Duncan hoping that his attention would shift to her instead and it had partly worked but in doing so, she had also place Veronica in danger. She needs to fix things, needs to find a way to warn them.
Lilly sighs as brown eyes open. This would not be a fun conversation. She had a lot of apologizing to do.
Startled, Logan sat up and pressed back against the couch in disbelief, "Lilly?"