A.N. Sorry it has been so long. Again, I promise no story of mine will ever be abandoned.

I want to remind everyone that when this story takes place, there has not been a year long war between Logan and Veronica. This is the beginning of December which means at the most, it's maybe been a month and a half. I'm not excusing Logan's action and I promise you that there is talking that needs to be done, I'm only reminding you that there hasn't been anywhere near the damage done as there is when the show starts.

Also, reminder that I changed a few things in my story. Logan did not bring ANY drugs to the party. And not everything (i.e. the salt lick) is what you think it is. You will have to wait for time to reveal what that means but keep that in mind as you read this story.

Finally, I need to add a huge thank you to VMarsTrek for taking on the daunting task of beta'ing this story for me and making it better for all of you.

TW: Sexual Assault Discussion and Aftermath

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Chapter Three: Have A Little Faith In Me

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Veronica's hand grips Logan's. Her body shakes while they wait in the private room. After an eternity, a nurse calls her name and leads them to an exam room, where the waiting starts again. Finally, they hear a soft knock on the door and both their heads jerk upward. A beautiful statuesque woman with ebony skin, kind eyes and dark hair pulled into a bun enters. She's wearing a white coat over a dark blue dress and her lips turn upward in a gentle, comforting smile.

"Hello, I'm Doctor Holiday. You must be Veronica." Although her voice is soothing and quiet, Veronica leans more into his side. It's all he can do not to put his arm around her. The doctor draws out the stool from beneath the desk before rolling it over to where the two of them sit. "Veronica, would you like Logan to stay for this?"

"Uh-" she tightens her grip on his hand. "Yes, please. I don't want to be alone and he'll prot- he's my friend."

His heart wants to leap with joy when she says that, but Logan tempers it. He isn't sure if she means the words or if they come from a place of fear. If she needs someone familiar to stay with her, even if it is the jackass who tormented her these last two months. And he hates that the words are necessary, that they come because somebody hurt Veronica.

The doctor nods. "Okay, it's important for you to understand that you can change your mind any time. I'm sure that Logan won't mind stepping outside the room if you want him to." She glances over to him. Her dark eyes are warm and she gives him a brief smile before turning her attention back to Veronica.

"Hey." Logan squeezes Veronica's hand more tightly and waits until she turns to look at him. "I'll stay for whatever you want me to. If you need me to go outside because it's too uncomfortable, that's okay too, Ronica. You tell us what you need, you're the one in charge."

Veronica lets out a slow breath and nods, not letting go of his hand while she turns her attention back to the doctor.

"Veronica, can you tell me what happened? What brings you in here to see me today?"

Logan watches while her breaths grow shorter and louder. The color drains from her already pale face and he worries about her passing out. His heart leaps to his throat when her trembling almost shakes the chair she's sitting in. Logan's stomach churns, and he wishes to wrap his arms around her and never let her out of them. I will protect her for the rest of my life with everything that I am. I will never let anyone hurt her again. I'll show her it's okay to trust me and prove it to her every day.

Doctor Holiday's voice pulls him from his inner thoughts. "How about we start with some yes or no questions? That way you can answer or shake or nod your head, okay? No matter what you say in this room, this is where it will stay. You have a right to medical privacy. That means whatever you tell me, stays between us. And Logan here won't tell anyone either. Right, Logan?"

His head moves up and down in a vehement motion at her words, willing Veronica to believe them. To let the doctor help her. After a long pause, Veronica nods in agreement.

"Alright, when your friend made the appointment, he said you needed to do a health check, including a STD panel and pregnancy test. Is this correct?"

Veronica's head drops, chin touching her chest. A shudder runs through her body and a tiny broken sound, like a wounded animal would make, comes from her throat before she lifts her head again. Logan bites his tongue to stop from gasping, the pain in his chest sharp, watching her suffer.

"Logan also mentioned there are some injuries to your body that I need to examine. Is this correct?"

"Yea- yes." Veronica's whisper breaks with a sob, a tear sliding down her cheek. Logan fishes in his pocket for the Kleenex he stuffed there and presses it into her hand. She gives him a small smile in return, wiping at the tear.

In a cautious voice the doctor asks, "Veronica, did someone hurt you against your will?"

A choked whimper breaks free from Veronica. "Yes... yes. I- I was so stupid. It's my fault." She pulls away from his side and wraps her arms around herself. Veronica's head drops again, and she squeezes her eyes tightly shut, as if she can shut out the world this way.

Logan's lets her pull away and his other hand clenches into a fist. He wants to pull her close, to swathe her in the protection of his arms. He is hesitant though, terrified that doing so will send Veronica into a panic attack. Instead, Logan brings a light hand up to stroke her hair, and forces his voice to come out steady, strong but soft, "No, no Ronnie. It's not your fault. This isn't your fault."

His heart is cracking, Logan can feel it in his chest. Breaking for Veronica. Bleeding out for the girl he cares for.

Another sob breaks from Veronica, but this one sounds like a dark, bitter laugh. "I went to the party. You think I wasn't well aware that nobody wanted me there? I knew people hated me for what my father did. But no, I just had to show up to prove to them they couldn't keep me down."

Logan winces. His mind races, thinking of how his actions caused others to act toward the person who didn't deserve it. All because he was too angry to deal with things and needed someone to blame.

"Veronica." The doctor's voice breaks in, and she places her hand cautiously on Veronica's knee. "It doesn't matter that you went somewhere where people didn't like you. Nor does it matter if you had something to drink that night. And it doesn't matter what you might have been wearing. Nobody had the right to assault you. Nobody had the right to take away your power and abuse your body. No matter what. This isn't your fault; this is on the person who hurt you and only them."

In his mind, Logan disagrees. He knows this is also on him. But it isn't the time to argue semantics. Now is the time to help Veronica. She's all that matters.

When Veronica presses tightly to his side, Logan takes a deep breath and slowly wraps an arm around her, watching her face for any reaction. When she presses closer to him, he holds her to his side, hand moving up and down her arm, being careful to keep his touch soft and light. Logan makes sure she can always see him so he won't startle her. He treats her the way he would a scared animal and knows she would hate it if she realized it.

"Can you continue, Veronica? The more you can tell me, the more I can help you." Doctor Holiday presses with caution, keeping her voice soft and gentle.

Veronica struggles to get herself under control and gasps for breaths, but nods. "I went to this party. It was so stupid, but I wanted to prove this point that they couldn't beat me." Her blond head shakes from side to side and her blue eyes close for a moment before she opens them again.

"Such a dumb, irresponsible move. I- I drank a coke but I don't remember who gave it to me. I didn't even drink alcohol. I didn't- think. Another stupid move. My dad taught me better than that. Never take a drink unless you know who poured it, I- I don't know, I wasn't using my brain."

Tears stream down her cheeks. "Someone laced the drink with something. It might have been GHB. From the little research I've done, it fits. I remember feeling light, like I was going to float away. I was dancing and spinning, looking up at the stars, and then I was so tired. I went to the pool, laid down on a lounger, thinking I would rest for a bit. That's the last thing I remember."

Veronica's voice drops so low, both the doctor and Logan have to strain to hear her. It takes everything inside of him to stay next to her. All his strength to focus on her and help her. Because he wants to run and vomit, Logan wants to scream until his voice gives out. The pulsing anger inside demands he track down every person at that party and find out who did it. He needs to find out who gave her the drugs and who hurt her. And then Logan wants to kill them. There will be time for that later, though. Ronica needs him, and she is the number one priority.

"I woke up the next morning in a strange bedroom. Naked in a bed, with my dress ripped and panties on the floor, and I had all these bruises." A sob retches from Veronica's throat and Logan feels like dropping to his knees with the pain of it. It sounds like someone reached in and pulled it from her soul. She pulls away from Logan and curls herself into a ball on the chair. Her knees draw up tight against her chest and trembling arms wrap around them.

Veronica's slight body rocks back and forth. "I don't know who did this! I don't know who hurt me! And now I have to do these tests, and what if they gave me a disease? What if I am pregnant because of this? I can't handle this, it's too much!"

Doctor Holiday glances at Logan. Her soft eyes are glassy, and she holds a hand against her chest. After a long moment, she swallows and speaks in a soft voice, "Logan, perhaps it would be a good time for you to wait outside."

"NO!" Veronica's head whips up, face blotchy and tear stained. Body twisting while her hand reaches out and grasps Logan's again. "No, I need him here with me, please." The words come in gulping gasps, blue eyes wild and wide. Like she cannot focus on any one thing.

"Okay, Veronica. He doesn't have to leave. Logan can stay if you want him too. It was only a suggestion. I want you to be comfortable enough to tell me all you can."

His thumb is tender as it strokes over the hand grasping his, "I'll only leave if you want me too, Ronica. But I'll be near the door, so I'll be near if you need me. Okay?"

She calms a little, and her gaze locks onto his. Logan brushes this thumb across her knuckles. "I know how scary this is and how much you hurt. I'm so proud of you, Ronica. You're the strongest person I know."

"We're going to take care of you, I promise. I wish I could make it so it didn't happen. I would take your place if I could. But the doctor and me, we're going to take care of you now." Logan struggles to keep his voice calm and sure, knowing it was what she needs from him. His own tears threaten to fall, but he holds them back. Veronica is the only thing that matters.

He watches while Veronica's breathing evens out more, her gaze staying on his. When he realizes how close she is watching him, Logan takes exaggerated deep breaths. Sure enough, she takes the same deeper breaths herself.

Ten minutes later, Veronica is calm enough to keep going. She turns back to the doctor, but her hand never leaves Logan's.

"That's all I know." Veronica slowly lowers her head. Her gaze falls to the floor and cheeks turn red. Slight shoulders turn inward toward her body and then she brings her hand to her face, burying it so she can't be seen. Logan recognizes the shame she is exhibiting. He sees it every day when he looks in the mirror.

Logan's thumb keeps circling on the back of her hand. He leans in a little, but not too close to frighten her. He needs to make sure she will hear him whisper. "It's not your fault. This is not your fault. No matter what, nobody had a right to hurt you. Not in any way."

A sniffle escapes, but Veronica's head comes back up and Doctor Holiday gives her a gentle smile. "Logan is right, Veronica. And I promise I'm not asking you to tell me to hurt you more. I'm asking so I can make sure I give you all the medical care you need. I don't want to hurt you. Okay?"

Veronica's head moves slow, up and down while she nods. She lets out a shaky breath. "I know."

"Good. Can you tell me how long ago this happened?"

She opens her mouth and then closes it, a shudder running through her and Logan steps in, at least being able to help this way. "A day and a half ago. It was the night of the 6th that someone gave her the drugs."

Again, the doctor nods. "I'm going to order additional tests along with the other regular ones we do as a routine. If you decide to report it, it will be good evidence. It will also be helpful to know if GHB is what they gave you. It can help me tell you what to do to recover in the healthiest way."

"I thought you couldn't test for it unless it was right away." Veronica's eyebrows furrow and her head tilts. Logan glances from her back to the doctor.

"That used to be true, but it's not anymore. While some tests may come back negative because of the time lapse, others will show positive. There are now tests for urine, blood, saliva and hair. Whatever they gave you, there is a good chance we can find out what it was."

Veronica's fingers squeeze Logan's, "Information is good." The words come out more of a mumble as she's nodding.

Logan isn't sure if she's talking to herself or them. He stays quiet and holds her hand, offering comfort in the only way he knows how.

The doctor nods before going on. "We'll also do a full ten-panel STD screening. And with your permission, I will take some other samples to test."

Taking a breath, Doctor Holiday continues. "I need to look at the bruises and make sure there isn't damage that needs to be medically treated. Generally, we can only let time heal bruises, but I can recommend a cream that will help with the pain and healing process."

"I would like to do a gynecological examination, Veronica. I know that sounds daunting after what you've just been through, but it's important. I need to make sure that there isn't internal damage that needs attention."

Veronica brings a shaky hand to her throat and nods. "And what about pregnancy?"

A kind smile crosses the doctor's face. "I would like to administer the Plan B pill here in the office, with your permission. That will prevent any pregnancy from happening."

Veronica sags against Logan, and another sob works its way out of her mouth. Her hand moves from throat to cover her mouth while tears start streaking down her cheeks again. "Yes, yes. Oh, thank you doctor, thank you. I just- I can't."

Doctor Holiday places a hand back on her knee, watching for any discomfort. "You shouldn't have to. Your body, your choice."

Logan wraps his arm around Veronica again, holding her carefully. "It's going to be okay, Ronnie. I know I can't make it go away, but I can make sure you get taken care of. We can make sure you don't have to go through anything more physically. I'm so sorry this happened to you Ronica."

In that moment Logan wishes he could curl himself up in a ball and cry, sob the way he's never been allowed to because he couldn't show weakness. He wishes he could make Aaron take a belt to his back or do it himself. Maybe I can get Weevil to kick my ass. He would have no problem doing it and would do it right.

Both women turn to him, but Veronica beats the doctor to the punch. Grasping his other hand and holding it between both of hers, blue eyes catch his gaze, imploring "Logan. Lo, no, this isn't your fault either. You didn't do this."

With a tilted head, brown eyes narrowed, the doctor observed the scene. When she speaks, her voice comes out with some sharpness. "I'm sorry, I need to ask. Logan did you-"

She doesn't finish the question before Veronica's head whips back to face her. Her voice is vehement while she shakes her head hard. "No. Stop there. He had nothing to do with this!" The words snarl out of her.

Veronica's chin lifts and she meets the doctor's gaze evenly, "Look, Logan and I have things to work out and that is all I will say because it's private. But Logan did not do this to me, he is not responsible for what happened to me. He wasn't even at the party when this happened. There will be no more questioning him, understand? I know you needed to ask and I appreciate that you're concerned, but Lo had nothing to do with this."

Gaze fixed on her, Logan knows his mouth is slightly open, but he can't think enough to close it. Logan can't believe she's defending him like this, doesn't know what to do with the warm feeling that fills him, battling with his heavy guilt.

There's a pregnant pause in which none of them move, and only the sound of breathing is heard. Finally, Doctor Holiday finally nods. "Okay, I apologize, Veronica, and to you Logan." Both of them let out a breath and relax a little.

Logan draws a breath and turns back toward the doctor, wanting to get things back on track. "What does the panel test for?"

The doctor clears her throat, focusing back on task. "The tests are for chlamydia, gonorrhea, Hepatitis A, B and C, Syphilis, Herpes one and two, and HIV one Ab, and one Ag"

Logan processes this. "And is there any other testing she needs?"

"No, this is the most complete test there is." The doctor reassures both of them, meeting first Veronica's eyes and then his.

"Can I also get tested?"

Both women's eyes blink wide, then Doctor Holiday nods. Logan's cheeks grow heated. "I- I haven't been with as many girls as people think and I've used protection, but a screening won't hurt, right?"

Veronica's hand clutches his and she looks from him to the doctor, waiting for her to answer him. "You are correct. If you're sexually active and have had more than one partner, then it's a good idea to get periodic testing. This is especially true if you don't know their sexual histories."

Logan nods again and brushes his thumb against Veronica's hand absently. "I want to be cautious." He drops his gaze to the floor. "I've done some stupid stuff in the last few months and I want to make sure I'm safe. I plan to stop being so stupid, but it would be good to make sure nothing is wrong."

Veronica grips his hand tighter to grab his attention, and he lifts his head to look at her. "That's a good idea, Lo. It will make me feel better knowing everything is okay with you too." A tentative smile crosses her lips.

Logan gives her a soft smile and brings his forehead to hers. "You don't need to worry about me right now, Ronica. Let me worry about you."

Her eyes seem to search his, and then her voice comes in a soft whisper. "You're my friend, Logan. That makes you mine to worry about whether you like it or not." A gentle and brief smile takes his breath away. I need to do everything in my power to make sure she smiles as often as possible.

"That makes you mine to worry about too." His voice is a little choked, and he has to push it past the lump in his throat.

Pink fills Veronica's cheeks, but she tilts her head a little in concession before breathing out. Giving his hand a gentle squeeze, she breaks eye contact and turns toward the other person in the room. "Okay Doctor, I'm willing to do everything you suggest. Where do we begin?"

"I'm going to leave the room for a moment and let you get changed into a gown. Then I'll come back in with a female nurse who needs to be in the room with me while I examine you, Veronica. But like me, she will never share your medical history. The only person who can share that is you." Dr. Holiday moves over to Logan and a sympathetic smile crosses her face once more. "This would probably be that good time for you to wait outside. It's going to be a difficult examination for her."

Logan's throat feels like it closes and he struggles to swallow while nodding his head. His stomach knots tightly and breakfast threatens to reappear. Shifting, he moves to face Veronica, wanting to reassure her he'll be right outside the door. The sting of her nails digging into his palm stops him and his eyes fly to her face.

She's white as a sheet and her breathing is irregular and too shallow. The instinct inside of him screams to help her, to take care of her, to take her into his arms and hide her. Protect her from anything that ever might come close to hurting her. But the words from the internet stop him, knowing that will scare her more. He brings his other hand to cover hers, holding Veronica's soft hand in both of his larger ones.

"Pl- please." Veronica gasps, breaths ragging and rasping in and out. "I need him. Can't he stay with me? Please? I don't want to be alone!"

"Veronica, Veronica." Doctor Holiday's voice becomes urgent. "I need you to calm down and take deep breaths like Logan is going to take okay? If you want him to stay, he can stay. He doesn't have to leave, I thought you might be more comfortable. I clearly misread the situation and I'm sorry. I should have asked you what you wanted, not assumed. It's okay. Look at how Logan is breathing, nice and deep, can you copy him?"

Exaggerating, he draws in deep breaths through his nose and lets them out through his mouth. Studying him, Veronica struggles to do the same. "You're doing good, V, just like that." He takes the hand that grips his and brings it to his chest, letting her feel the breaths. "Like this, you got this. It's okay. I won't leave you if you don't want me to. I promise."

Blue eyes search his and after a few minutes her breaths even out. "Okay, don't leave."

"Never, never again." Logan shakes his head back and forth. "You'll be so sick of me you'll be pushing me away."

A soft laugh huffs out of her and the tension drains from his tight shoulders, letting them slump down. The doctor also seems to relax, judging by the long breath he hears. Her voice did not break the eye contact between Veronica and himself. "Okay, I'm going to step out for a few minutes while you change. The bathroom is right there and you'll find gowns inside."

Veronica nods and they hear the door click close. She turns her eyes on him then, "Thank you." The whisper is barely audible, but Logan hears it clear as day.

He responds with the only word that comes to mind, his whisper is just as soft. "Always."

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Have A Little Faith In Me

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After changing into a gown, Logan helps Veronica up onto the examination table. He keeps his eyes locked on her, not wanting her to feel any more exposed than she already does. Once she's settled, he locates a blanket in a cupboard and drapes one over her shivering shoulders and another over her legs.

"I need you here but- but I don't know how I'm going to do this with you here." Tears well up in cerulean blue eyes and a piercing pain in his chest has him struggling not to double over.

Instead, he swallows and gathers up his courage and strength for his Ronica. "What are you afraid of? What is it you're struggling with the most?" Logan keeps his voice quiet and calm despite the storm of emotion that rage inside of him.

"You- you'll see me. I'm... I was a vir-" Her body trembles again, and he rubs his thumb along the back of her hand like he had earlier.

"What about," His teeth bite into his lip, mind casting around for a solution. "How about if I face you the entire time, with my back to the doctor? And I stay up near your head? That way I'll only be able to see your face and the wall behind you, nothing else. And, I can hold your hand all you want me too." Logan studies her face, hoping to see some relief there.

"That sounds good." She graces him with a tiny smile. Veronica starts to say more, but they're interrupted by a knock on the door. It opens with caution before a nurse slips into the room.

"Hi, I'm Krysten, Doctor Holiday's nurse. I need to set some things up and then we'll be ready for you. How are you doing, Veronica? Can I get you anything? Another blanket or some water?"

"No thanks, I'm okay. I want to get this over with."

Krysten gives her an empathetic nod before moving about the room. She gathers the instruments needed and places them on a rolling tray. Putting on gloves, she explains each to Veronica while opening them from their sterilized packages. Logan pays attention and grimaces several times, happy to be a male. But he appreciates the nurse preparing Veronica for what will happen and what the doctor will do.

About five minutes later Doctor Holiday re-enters and smiles softly. "Ready?"

"As I'm ever going to be." Veronica murmurs while a shudder runs through her. When the doctor gently instructs Veronica to lie down, Logan helps her, supporting her back and trying to ease the movements as much as he can. Then he turns to face the other way, retaking the hand she holds up for him.

With as much of a smile as he can muster, he affixes his gaze firmly on hers. "Squeeze as tight as you need to, okay?"

"What if I hurt you?"

"Pshaw, you can't hurt me. I've been working out! Plus, how many times did you almost bite my fingers off trying to take food? You haven't hurt me yet, Veronica Mars."

"I never bit your fingers off." Her eyes narrow before rolling.

"Really? Remember that time I took the last cheesecake egg roll the night Lilly made us watch Legally Blonde?"

"That never happened, and you have no proof. And even if it did, you would have deserved it for taking the last cheesecake egg roll. Everyone knows the last one always belongs to me, Logan Echolls. It's been that way since the beginning of time and will be that way until the end of time." Veronica sniffs and lifts her chin. Logan bites the inside of his cheek, trying not to laugh.

It changes in a second, when Veronica grips his hand and whimpers. Doctor Holiday's voice floats toward them in a quiet tone. "I'm sorry, Veronica. I know this is uncomfortable. I'll do this as quickly as possible, but I need to be thorough."

Something flashes in her blue eyes and she grits her teeth before nodding. Gripping his hand again, another quiet sound escapes her throat, and she glances away. Logan rubs his thumb along her knuckles and brings his other hand to her cheek furthest away from him.

Using the most tender touch he can, he turns her head back toward him. "Keep looking at me, Ronica. Keep talking to me. Yell at me if you want. Rage if you want. We'll get through this together. I'm here and I'm not going anywhere, baby. I wish I could take this away for you. I'm so sorry."

Tears fill her blue eyes and stream down her cheeks without a sound. She keeps her gaze on his though, gripping his hand like he's her lifeline. Nothing matters to Logan right now but her, giving Veronica everything he can. He wills his strength to her, hoping it can flow through their clasped hands.

"Ta — talk to me, pl — please." Veronica gasps and stutters, struggling to get the words out between her teeth. "Distract me, talk to me."

Logan's mind spins in a wild fashion. He searches for some subject, something he could say to divert Veronica's mind. "Did I ever tell you about the time Dick tased himself because he wanted to know what it would feel like?"

Her eyes grow wide for a second, mouth drops open, and she shakes her head.

"So, we were sitting around his house one night. I don't remember who all was there. I know Duncan and John, and I'm almost sure Casey was there. We had been drinking and daring each other to general dumbass stuff like normal. We went inside and we were watching one of those live cop shows or whatever and the subject of tasers got brought up."

Logan rolls his eyes. "Turns out that Big Dick had one. It was one like you have, not like the cops carry. Even so, it was still a taser. So Dick talks about how he wants to know what it feels like. Someone dares Beaver of all people to do it. Dick goes and gets the taser and gives it to his brother."

"V'ronica, none of us thought he would actually pull the trigger, but he did. He tased Dick for like ten seconds. The dumbass laughed through it! He said something about it tickling, but yeah- clearly it affected him because he couldn't walk for about an hour. He looked like a newborn animal trying to walk!" Logan can't help the chuckle that escapes at the memory.

"I don't know if I should laugh that he tased himself or feel horrified! What were you guys thinking? You could have hurt yourselves!" Logan's neck relaxes from its stiff position as her voice comes out stronger, that familiar scolding tone. A smile threatening to spread while she chides him.

"I was a mixture of both, to tell the truth. Cassidy felt so upset with himself and we had to calm him down. He felt so bad about what he had done, even though Dick kept telling him to."

Veronica lets out a breath and starts to give him a small nod when Doctor Holiday's voice interrupts again. "Veronica, you have a lot of internal bruising and a couple of cuts. There is one that requires a couple of stitches. I'm going to do that now, okay? Then this part will be over. You've done amazing." Logan gives her hand an encouraging squeeze.

After drawing in a deep breath, her gaze meets his and she nods. "Alright, I'm ready."

Logan changes his hold on her hand, letting their fingers link, almost making a fist. "You've got this." He managed a brief smile. "So what would you like to do after this is over?" He tries to distract her again.

A gasp escapes Veronica and her body trembles. Logan takes deep breaths, guiding her to do the same, brushing her hair back from her face with his free hand. She finally answers, voice high and tight like she's forcing the words out. "I was thinking about lunch. Then, there is something I would like to do if you will take me."

"Anywhere, what do you want?" He brings their linked hands up and kisses her knuckles, gazing intently at her.

"I want to cut my hair."

This is the last thing Logan expects her to say and the words come out before he can stop them, "Why? Are you sure?"

Breathing out through the pain in a controlled manner, her voice is more steady this time. "I am, I've thought about it for a long time. It's time for a change. I want to change my wardrobe too. But that will have to wait for another day, I think lunch and the haircut is all I'll have energy for." Veronica winces again and holds her breath.

"Breathe, Ronica. Breathe with me. Come on, you've got this. You're doing so good, you're so strong." She breathes with him again. For a moment, all they hear is the sound of the doctor working and their breathing.

Logan tries to distract again. "Okay, if you're sure, I'll take you. And as soon as you feel ready, we'll go get you a new wardrobe. I'm paying." He stopped her oncoming protest with a look. "Let me do this." He softens his voice. "Please, let me do this for you?"

Veronica swallows, and then her head moves up and down. "Thank you, Lo."

A genuine smile crosses his face. "Always, Sugarpuss." Veronica rolls her eyes.

The doctor's voice breaks into the bubble. "Okay, we're finished with that part. You did great, Veronica. I'm going to clean you up a little and then let you sit up. We'll talk for a minute before moving on, okay?"

"Yes, thank you." Her voice is small again and his heart cracks.

Logan kisses her forehead and says in a quiet voice, wanting to make sure she hears him. "I'm so proud of you, Ronica. You are so strong."

Her cheeks pinken, but she squeezes his hand in reply.

Five minutes later she is sitting up, a blanket covering her again. Logan has turned around for the moment, but they still hold hands as they face the doctor.

"There is obvious evidence of trauma, Veronica." Doctor Holiday's voice is gentle. Her hand moves with caution to touch Veronica's knee. "It will take time to heal. I had to stitch the one laceration with three stitches which will dissolve on their own. But I would like to have you come back in three weeks to see me so I can do another exam to check on the healing process."

"It will be less painful, I promise you. To begin with, you will be most of the way, if not completely healed. And, I won't take any samples like I took today. So it will only be a little uncomfortable at most, like a regular exam."

Veronica hesitated, "I uh- I don't…"

His voice is gentle but firm when Logan breaks in. He tugs on her hand so she looks at him. "Don't worry about the cost. Remember what I said? Please let me do this? I want to make sure everything is okay for you."

Something passes between the two of them. A silent moment full of a tangible heaviness Logan can feel both feel but can't identify. Finally, Veronica draws in a deep breath. "Okay, but I'll find a way to pay you back."

He gives her a soft smile and turns his attention back to the doctor who is watching them. Her eyes appear curious and she looks like Veronica when she's working a case and trying to figure out a clue.

Seeing both of their attention on her again, she shakes her head and clears her throat. "I took samples but didn't find evidence of semen. I'll know more when I get the results back, but I am almost positive what I took samples of was lubricant. While I can't tell you with one hundred percent, and I still recommend that you take Plan B, it's good news. This is a good indication that whoever did this to you wore a condom."

Veronica's shoulders drop, and a sob escapes her. Logan wraps an arm around her shoulder and she turns to throw her arms around him. Holding her with care, knowing that any affection could trigger her or hurt her, he rubs her back. Logan lets her get her tears out, not caring they are soaking into his t-shirt. He rubs her shoulders and murmurs that he is here for her. Whispers that this is such good news. Reasserts she is so strong and how proud he is of her.

The storm passes and though she still trembles, Veronica wipes the last of the tears from her eyes. She pulls back, turning her attention back to the doctor but stays leaning into Logan.

"When was your last period, Veronica?" Doctor Holiday pats her knee.

"I finished it three days before- before this happened."

"I hate to use the phrase that's good but, for this purpose it is. This, combined with how soon after you'll be taking the pill, means you will have the most effective results with it."

"Ca- can you explain it a little better to me? Does it make me- uh-"

The doctor seems to understand what she is trying to ask. "No. This is like being on birth control. This will prevent any eggs from fertilizing should there be one there. While this isn't permanent birth control, in an emergency, it's an excellent substitute."

Veronica nodded. "I would like to take it, I don't want to become pregnant. I know that I wouldn't be able to handle that. I'm too young and I'm not ready."

The doctor pats her knee again, "And that is okay, those feelings are normal, Veronica. You don't need to feel any shame over them. Please remember this. This is not your fault. None of this is. I know I keep saying this over and over, but you need to hear it until you believe it in your heart. I wish I had a magic pill I could give you that would do that. Unfortunately, only time and processing the event will allow that to happen."

Logan bobs his head in agreement. His thumb making circles on her shoulder. He leans in and kisses the crown of her head. He has kissed her like this since they were twelve years old. When he pulls back, he wants to kick himself. She's traumatized, not ready for touch, and he didn't think. Stupid, stupid Logan!

With tenderness, he slides his arm from around her and takes her hand again. Determination straightens his spine. He will be here for her and give her all the support she needs, but she needs to tell him what is okay and what is not. He's grateful that so far she hasn't reacted in a way that isn't positive to his comfort. Logan reminds himself to be careful with her.

Doctor Holiday's voice breaks into his maudlin thoughts. She's speaking to Veronica in a gentle tone, like she's afraid to scare her too. "Now, will you allow me to look at the bruises hidden by your gown? I can see the ones on your arms and legs, but I would like to examine all the others. They look pretty painful." Logan glances at the doctor, but all he sees is compassion in her eyes while she focuses on her patient. Tilting his head, Logan decides he likes her and is glad she is who he brought his Ronica too.

Face turning a dark pink, Veronica nods and looks up at Logan. "Will you uh, turn around again." She adds in a hasty voice. "Please."

He gives her a wobbly smile and does as she asks, hearing the gown slipping down her body. Logan closes his eyes. Giving Veronica her privacy. But also because her bruised, battered body sends sharp pains shooting through his chest.

Some unknown person hurt her in the worst way and rage bubbles in his soul. Red tinges the edges of his vision even through closed eyes. Drawing in a deep breath, he pushes it down for later.

He isn't sure who is comforting who while he clutches her hand. Forcing his breaths to stay deep and even, struggling to remain strong for Veronica.

Doctor Holiday clucks her tongue. Every time a gasp or soft cry escapes Veronica, she apologizes in a soft voice. Each one another dagger to Logan's heart. He doesn't think she could clench his hand any tighter. Distract her again.

He opens his mouth and says the first thing that comes to mind. "Hey Ronica, this summer you should let me teach you how to surf. You would be amazing on a surfboard and I know you can do it. Let me show you why I love it so much.

This time a disbelieving scoff that comes from Veronica. Peeking open his eyes, Logan sees her glaring at him. "I've already attempted that once, remember? And the results were horrible." Her nose wrinkles.

He rolls his eyes. "That was with Donut. He couldn't teach someone to make their way out of a paper bag. I can teach you and we'll take it slow. We can work on the basics on dry land and get you strong with those until it's warmer. I know you won't want to hit the cold water, even in a wetsuit. By the time you're ready to get wet, the motions will be natural. Then we'll only have to focus on the new stuff the ocean adds."

She's silent for a minute. The only indication of pain is a wince and then a squeeze of his hand. Finally, Veronica narrows her eyes and smiles a little. "I'll let you teach me to surf if I get to teach you how to bake."

Logan checks to see if she's serious and sees Veronica smirking at him. Her eyes glint. She's daring him. Believing that he won't do it and he'll let this go if she makes it into a quid pro qo.

"Deal." Logan gives her his best smirk, keeping the jackass part out of it. He doesn't want to give her any reminders of how he's acted lately.

Her blue eyes open wide. "Wait, are you serious?"

A chuckle rumbles from Logan's chest. "Yes, I'm serious. And, I have two witnesses that you agreed so no take backs." He can't resist sticking his tongue out at her.

She sticks her tongue back out at him but doesn't look displeased. Warmth curls in his belly at the sight. At least until she winces and cries out again. Tears fill her eyes and Logan fervently wishes he could take the pain away.

"I'm sorry, Veronica. That was the last one, I'm done examining you." Doctor Holiday's voice is calm, but Logan thinks he hears a note tremor in it.

When she's finished, he shuts his eyes again while the doctor helps her get her gown back in place.

"I'm going to give you a moment to get dressed again. I'll take these samples to the lab and be back for us to talk for a bit. Then we need to get some blood drawn for both of you and mouth swabs and I'll administer the pill and you're done."

Her breath is audible when she lets it out, and Veronica closes her eyes. Her shoulders drop, back relaxing from its tight, straight posture. "Okay, that sounds good. Thank you."

Once the doctor and nurse leave the room, Logan helps Veronica off the table and to the restroom. Then, he sits back down on the chair he sat in to wait the first time. He can hear Veronica struggling a little to dress and wants to offer to help, but thinks that would offend her.

An agonizing time later, Veronica joins him, taking his hand again. The warmth Logan felt earlier returns. It fills his entire body, and he links their fingers together.

Before either can say anything, a knock sounds on the door. Doctor Holiday re-enters, taking the stool and bringing it back over to the pair.

She gives them both a kind smile and then focuses on Veronica. "You have two types of bruising, subcutaneous and intramuscular. Subcutaneous are the bruises that are only skin deep. Intramuscular are one that are bruising the muscle."

"I wish I had something I could give you to heal these, but all that will work is time. There are some things you can do to help, though. Icing the bruises for ten to twenty minutes at a time can help. Though with the amount of bruising you have, this will probably be difficult. And there isn't a way to ice internal bruises."

"What I would recommend instead is heat. Warm baths to be more specific. Not only will this help free the trapped blood in the bruises, it will also help the tight muscles. And should give you some relief from the pain."

In his mind, Logan takes mental notes while the doctor speaks. Determined that Veronica will get the best care possible. Nobody is ever there to help him when Aaron hurts him. Instead, he pretends the bruises weren't there. He suffers through Dick's back slaps and grits his teeth instead of wincing. Stories get made up to explain the occasional bruises that show. But not for Ronica. Logan will take care of her and make sure she takes care of herself. He can't make this better, but he can support and help her while she heals.

Doctor Holiday continues, "Rest is important. If you feel like sleeping, then sleep. Your body will tell you what it needs, and it's important to listen to it."

When Veronica inclines her head that she understands, the doctor moves on. "There are some foods that can help promote your body in healing bruises. I'll make sure you get a list. But to name a few: pineapple, apples, and citrus fruits are good. As are leafy green veggies and lean proteins, and food rich in vitamin K and zinc. They aren't magic, but they help give your body what's necessary for it to heal itself. I'll also prescribe a low dose muscle relaxer and pain medication to take if you need them. It's critical you are careful with these medications and best if you have someone there when you take them." She glances up at Logan, "They can make you drowsy or light-headed."

"There are some topical creams that also may help and you can find in your local pharmacy. I'll make sure you have a list of those too."

Veronica's voice is small, and her head hangs down. "Okay."

Doctor Holiday places a hand on her knee again. "I'll say it again. This isn't your fault, Veronica. You did not cause this, and it's not fair that you have to deal with not only the event but also the aftermath. I hope you'll consider talking to a therapist, one specializing in trauma therapy. There is no shame in asking for help when we need it. You are a strong young woman, anyone who meets you can see this, but even the strongest of us need to reach out sometimes." A gentle smile crossed the doctor's lips. "I'll let you in on a secret, even I have to."

Logan's heart is in his throat and he stops breathing, watching the back and forth between the women.

Her head flies up and Veronica gazes at the doctor with wide eyes. The doctor nods, affirming what she said. "It's true. I have had things happen I needed help to deal with, and I reached out for help. I still reach out because life can be pretty demanding and ask a lot of us. It's important for us to have support."

Logan squeezes Veronica's hand with care. He hopes she'll listen and consider what Doctor Holiday is saying. The internet already told him that this would be a good idea. Logan has been trying to think of a way to bring up a therapist to Veronica. The doctor may have made the job ten times easier. His eyes study her face and he bites his lip. Praying to whoever is in charge she says yes. ready Letting out a silent sigh of relief when he sees she is listening and considering it.

After a long pause, she nodded her head. "Yeah- yes, that might be a good idea." Her beautiful blue eyes close and a few tears slip down her cheeks while she clutches Logan's hand tighter. "Thank you, doctor."

"You're most welcome, my dear, most welcome. Now, if it's okay, I need to borrow Logan for a few minutes. I have to get some swabs from him like I did you, for testing, and we'll get urine samples from both of you. Then together, we'll do the saliva and blood tests, give you that pill and spring you from this place. We'll have the results of your tests in twenty-four to seventy-two hours. I will call you when we have all your results and give them to you."

Inclining her head again, Veronica lets go of Logan's hand, and he stands up. Leaning down, he stops himself before kissing the top of her head. But she closes her eyes and lifts her face with an expectant expression, and Logan takes it as permission. Placing a tender kiss on her forehead and whispering, "I'll be right back. Think about what you want to teach me to bake first, okay?"

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Have A Little Faith In Me

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Logan opens the passenger door and helps Veronica into the passenger seat, giving her a smile. "Lunch, haircut and then ice cream?"

A gentle smile flashes across Veronica's face while she nodded. Logan can see the sadness deep in her eyes, though. The way she struggles, even in brief moments of respite. "That sounds perfect."

"What sounds good today, Miss Mars?"

"Italian, of course." A grin spread across her face and this time her blue eyes light up for a moment at the thought of her favorite food. Having an appetite is a good sign. It's the first time she's wanted to eat and I haven't had to push her into it.

"Of course m'lady, Luigi's it is." He closes her door and makes his way around to the driver's side, the grip on his heart loosening a little.

He turns the key in his beautiful yellow baby, stroking over the steering wheel. Logan catches Veronica rolling her eyes at him and a grin spreads on his face. Turning onto main street, he heads toward the Italian restaurant. It's a quick five-minute drive and they grab a table, ordering without looking at the menu. They both know by heart. Once their salads arrive, they dig in. Even Veronica, who complains about so-called rabbit food, munches with gusto. With each bite she eats, the vice on Logan's ribs loosens a bit more.

They don't speak until their main courses arrive. Manicotti for Veronica and ravioli for Logan. His lips twitch in a smile at the sounds she makes. After tasting their food, Logan looks over at Veronica. "I was thinking while you were getting your haircut, I could run over and get your prescriptions filled. I could look for some of that cream the doctor recommended, too. That way we won't have to do that after you're done. We can even grab our Amy's to-go, so you can get home to rest."

Veronica swallows the bite of food in her mouth. "That sounds great, thank you, Logan. You've been ama- thank you for everything you've done. I wouldn't have made it through this so far without you to help me." She doesn't meet his eyes and takes another bit of food, but Logan understands. He can't imagine what it would feel like if someone helped him after one of Aaron's rages. And what she's suffered is so much worse. Taking a drink of water, Veronica's voice is quiet. "I want to take a bath and then a nap once we get home."

Nodding his head in agreement, Logan focuses on his food for a moment. A ringing sound brings them both out of their contented state.

Veronica pulled out her cell phone. "It's my dad." Her eyes go wide and her hand trembles. He reaches across the table to take her free one while she answers.

"Hey dad, catch the bad guy?"

"Oh? Okay, yeah, sure. No, no, you know I'm fine. I have Backup with me." She glances up at Logan. "I'm okay dad, don't worry. Yep, love you too. See you in a week."

A heavy sigh falls from her as she disconnects the call, and Logan can't decipher what it means. A moment later, she gives him a brief smile. "My dad, he caught the one guy, but there's another one he needs to go after. This one's further away, so he'll be away longer. At least this will give most of my bruises a chance to heal and I won't have to worry about trying to hide or explain them."

"Ronica, are you sure you shouldn't-"

Her eyes spark, turning a navy blue. "No, Logan. We are not telling my dad about this." She draws in a deep breath and lets it out through pursed lips. "I'm sorry I yelled. Please Logan, you promised. I will do everything the doctor wants me to do. I'm even willing to give a therapist a shot. I can tell my dad I want to talk to one about- about…"

"About Lilly?" He supplies and she nods.

"Yeah- about Lilly. But all telling my dad will do is make him mad and send him on a mission to find out whoever did this to kill them. I don't want my dad in jail and he's had his life ruined enough. So please, don't bring it up again."

"Okay, Ronica." The choked whisper doesn't sound like him, but Logan knows it is.

Deep in his belly, a rage simmers that grows stronger each time he looks into her hurt blue eyes. If she doesn't want to tell Keith to protect him, that's her call. Veronica needs her dad, he finally understands that. He is going to take care of Veronica, and then Logan will kill the bastard who hurt her.

What would it matter if his life was over? It's not like he had any future to look forward to, not like she does. So he's going to make sure she has the future she dreams of, if it was the last thing he does. I need to find someone who can help me put the money into an account for her college. Veronica will never have to worry about having the money to go wherever she wants to go.

Neither speak after this, and they finish their meal in silence. It isn't a comfortable silence of friends, nor is it the uncomfortable silence of being with an enemy. Logan's thinking on how he can make life better for Veronica. He knows she will only accept so much help, so he has to be careful. But there must be a way to set up funds that can't trace back to him that will help the Mars family.

He recognizes that making true amends isn't about throwing money at a problem. The two of them need to talk about so much, but not yet. Veronica is still fragile, whether she's acknowledging it. The watchwords are patience and care right now.

After Logan pays the bill, he helps her up and out to his truck, again assisting her into the passenger seat. It doesn't escape his notice that she's moving stiffly, like she's in more pain. He closes the door, wondering if he can convince her to postpone the haircut until tomorrow when a sound catches his attention. He turns to find Dick Casablancas, Madison Sinclair, Pam Johnson, John Enbom, Meg Manning and Duncan Kane staring at him agog.

Madison is the first to recover. "Logan Echolls! What are you doing? Why are you with her?"

His eyes narrow, first glancing at Dick and then over at them all. "Did you not hear that Veronica Mars is off limits? And I'll spend my time with whom I like, Madison. That's not up for you to decide or question."

Everyone but Madison and Duncan nod. Madison's eyes narrow further. "Why would you want to spend time with that slu-"

Voice ice cold and hard, Logan stops her. "If I were you Madison, I would shut your mouth before the rest of that word crosses your lips. If I catch you spreading rumors about Veronica, hurting her, or calling her names, I'll make you sorry. I'll make it so you'll have no choice but to transfer to some private school or Pan High."

The tall blond's mouth drops open in shock before she glares at Dick. Clearing his throat, Dick steps forward, his hands out in a placating manner. "Hey, we get it. But you can see why we're a little confused, can't you? Three days ago she was enemy number one."

Logan runs his hands through his hair, scratching his neck, and sighs. "Yeah, I get it. Listen, all of you, and spread the word. I was wrong. I'm an asshole. Pissed off about Lilly, I didn't know how to handle it. What Mr. Mars did made me furious. But I shouldn't have taken it out on Veronica. Can you imagine what Lilly would do to us if she could right now for the way we've treated her? It's not right or fair, and I'm putting a stop to it."

Murmurs go through the small crowd, most nodding. Madison steps forward in defiance and stomps her foot. "I will not let her back into this group. She never belonged with us!"

"Madison, if you have an issue with Veronica, leave. Evaporate or something. And that goes for anyone who has an issue with her, so tell everyone. If you have a problem with Veronica, you have a problem with me. I will allow no one to hurt her anymore."

Logan glances over at the one person in the group who has remained quiet through all this. His eyes zeroing in on his best friend, he's taken aback.

Duncan has a deep scowl on his face, hands stuffed in his pockets. His beady eyes aren't focused on Logan, though. They're focused on Veronica cowering in the front seat. With his own scowl, Logan steps to the side, blocking Duncan's view. The boy glances at Logan with narrowed eyes, says nothing, and turns on his heel, walking away. The others look back and forth between the two and then shrug. Everyone used to Duncan's moods by now.

"See you around, Logan." John nods and Logan inclines his head back. Several other goodbye's follow until only Dick and Madison remain. Huffing, the blond turns on her heel and stomps away. Dick gives his friend a grin and a "what can you do" shrug of his shoulders before heading away too.

Logan hurries around to the driver's side and slides in. Veronica huddles in the passenger's seat. She has tears streaming down her face and her body shakes with violent shudders.

His eyes widen, and he reacts, wrapping his arms around her. Being careful, he brings her over the console and to his lap, rocking them in his seat. "Hey, hey, it's okay, Ronica. Shh, what has you so upset?"

"Your friends- they're.. Maybe this isn't a good-"

He knew where she was heading and cut her off. "This is a good idea. They'll adjust. You know what a fickle bunch we rich kids are. It's going to be fine, don't worry."

"But D-Duncan and Madison."

"Since when have you cared what Madison Sinclair thought. Lilly taught you better than that." He smiles at her, thumbs brushing away tears on her soft cheeks, and then sighs. "Don't worry about Duncan, he's well- a zombie. I don't even think he's capable of getting upset anymore."

Veronica curls as much into a ball as she is able. He keeps his arms around her, continuing to rock and talk in soft tones until the shaking subsided.

Bringing his hand up. Logan smoothes back her hair. "Still want to get a haircut today?"

Her hands wipe away the last traces of tears and Veronica nods her head. "Yeah, I do. Thanks, Logan. For everything." The last part causes her cheeks to turn pink, and her gaze only darts to his for a second. "I'm okay now."

As much as he doesn't want to, his arms release her, and she crawls over to the passenger seat again. Wincing now that she isn't so upset that it drowns out the pain. Logan watches, mind whirling when it stumbles on an idea. He pulls out his cell and dials, waiting for the person to pick up.

"Hey mom, how is the trip going? Yeah? That's good. Uh- I was wondering if you could do me a favor? Well, Veronica has decided it's time to shake things up a bit and wants to cut her hair. I don't think any regular stylist should touch it. Mmm-hmm, no, I completely agree. You will? Thanks so much. Great, I'll wait for your call back. Thanks mom."

Her head tilts and her eyes watch him with interest. He grins as he hangs up. "We need to wait a couple of minutes, my mom is putting a call in to her salon to get you in."

"Oh! She doesn't have to do that, Logan! We can go to the Cost Cutters-"

"V'ronica, if you want to cut your hair, I will support you. It's your hair and you should do what you want with it. But, if you're going to cut it, then I have to insist it be by someone who knows what they are doing and won't mangle the job. Besides, my mom is so excited and said she can't wait to see your new look when she gets back from her trip."

Her eyes narrow, "You know, I've been letting you get your way an awful lot these last couple of days."

"It's usually the best thing to do. Otherwise I get cranky and you know what a cranky me can get up to." Logan keeps a straight face, giving a solemn nod.

"Don't think this is going to continue, mister! I'll do this, but you can't keep spending money on me like this."

"Why not? It's not like I don't have plenty of it and Ronica, you have never once asked me for a single thing. I know you have never been my friend because of who my parents are or the money. That's why I love being able to do things like this for you." He turns his so-called puppy dog gaze on her and watches as she swallows several times.

"Well, I guess this is okay, but this is a unique circumstance, Logan, understand? Our friendship has never and will never be because of money."

He nods, managing to hold back his smirk, which would ruin the entire effect.

The phone rings, breaking the spell, and he picks it up. Lynn relays Julian will be happy to take care of Veronica. And he has an opening in fifteen minutes if they can make it. Logan assures her they can and they disconnect.

"Alright Rapunzel, let's go cut off your locks!" He turns the key, starting his truck.

"Logan?"

"Yeah?" Logan glances over at her.

She smiles. "You're ridiculous, you know that, right?"

"But it's cute." He bats his eyelashes obnoxiously at her.

Veronica presses her lips together, and he thinks she's holding in a smile. Her eyes roll in a way that would put Lilly's eye rolls to shame. "Mmm… okay, keep telling yourself that."

"Don't worry, I do. Every day and twice on Sundays!" He throws her a wink before taking a right at the corner.

"Geez, you're incorrigible!"

Keeping his left on the wheel, he presses his right hand to his chest. "Is that your nice way of calling me a jackass?"

Her laughter fills the car and Logan's heart sings with the sound. This banter is familiar. It was the way they were before everything went to hell.

Hope blooms and some weight slips from Logan's shoulders. Things will always be different, but different doesn't have to be bad. What if they find a new way? A new friendship?

If he can get her to have a little faith in him again, he'll show her it's deserved. Then he'll earn even more until that little bit grows into a lot. A little bit of faith, that's all it will take. Veronica seems to still have some left in or she wouldn't let him do this. She wouldn't let him stay, wouldn't trust him with what happened, and to take care of her. Yes, a little faith still exists. As they drive, Veronica switches it over to a classic rock station and Joe Cocker's Have A Little Faith In Me comes on. Logan turns the music up and sings at the top of his lungs.

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A.N. The title for this chapter comes from the song Have A Little Faith In Me by Joe Cocker. It's a beautiful song if you've never heard it.

Dr. Holiday's name actually comes from Billie Holiday, not because of the season.

The taser story is a true story. Not that I was ever dumb enough to do it, but someone close to me did.