This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper. – T.S. Eliot

Logan's POV

She's gone. Yet another person to leave me in a long line of those who have left. Some I wanted to leave, others I wanted to hold onto. It doesn't matter now, because she's gone. She didn't even think I merited being told which I guess doesn't surprise me. But it sure as hell hurts.

I waited for her. I waited for her to come to me, to tell me that she wasn't angry anymore, that I wasn't out of her life. Finally, after months of waiting, I went looking for her. She wasn't anywhere to be found, not at the library where she worked, not her dad's apartment or the Mars Investigations office.

When I couldn't find her, I thought about asking Keith or Wallace, but I just knew that they wouldn't tell me anything. Neither one of them liked me. I was the bad boy who hurt her, again and again. They weren't wrong, but still it hurt. Just another piece of her that I never could be a part of.

I went to Mac. She seemed to at least tolerate me, possibly even consider me a friend. Although that was before Parker. When I knocked on her door, I steeled myself for seeing my other ex-girlfriend, the one I used to get over the one who mattered most. Thankfully, the woman who opened the door wasn't a tall blonde with a bubbly personality, but a petite brunette who looked surprised to see me.

"Logan, what are you doing here?" Her eyes darted everywhere but my eyes. She was hiding something. Whether that something was Parker or Veronica, I didn't know. I just wanted to know one thing.

"Where is she?" I asked, not even saying who I was looking for. I knew that Mac, with her quiet intensity, saw more than most. She knew it wasn't Parker I was looking for, that Parker was so far in my rearview mirror that it wasn't even funny, that she probably had been before we even dated.

"Gone. She left." Mac says, not adding any details cause, really, what does it matter where she's gone. We both know why she left. Me, Neptune, vengeance, lives ruined, bloodshed. I couldn't even be mad at her for wanting to leave. Hell, I wanted to leave too, but I wanted to leave with her, not because of her. The fact that she wanted to leave because of me just took me to a whole new level of pain. I thought it couldn't get any worse, but in that moment, with Mac looking at me with something akin to pity, I could feel every piece of me breaking apart.

"Logan?" Mac's voice is laced with concern, but it seems to be coming from really far away. Vaguely I register a hand on my arm, but it's not hers. I'm alone, all alone now. I can hear a strange whimpering, but I have no idea where it's coming from. It's annoying, a weak sounding noise like the person making it doesn't even have the strength to properly voice their pain.

I can feel the darkness enveloping me. A tunnel of light with a petite blonde at the end, the smell of marshmallows and promises all around me. I sink into it, welcoming the oblivion.

Something is trying to disturb what little peace I've found. I've been hiding in my dreams because there, she's with me. She hasn't left me, I'm the man she wants, not this pathetic fuck up who isn't worth anything. I just want to stay there with her, but something or someone keeps interrupting my dream.

"Logan, Logan. Can you hear me Logan?" I make a strangled noise trying to tell the voice to fuck off, leave me alone. There's no reason to return, she's gone.

I can hear voices above me, but I just want to go back to my dream of her. There I'm safe, no one can hurt us there, not even us.

State of catatonia, non-responsive, psychotic break. Not sure what to do. The voices blend together. I try to block it all out until one of them says "Should we tell her?" No, she can't see me like this. Even if I'm out of her life forever, even if she's left me, I know this would hurt her; that she would blame herself. I can't allow that.

"No." I croak.

"Logan?" A voice calls my name. I don't want to come back, but I won't let them hurt her, not again. She's mine to protect no matter what.

"Don't tell her." I manage to get out before returning to my dreams of her.

I float in that darkness with the dream of her. It's okay now.

Mac's POV

I always knew that Logan loved Veronica. It was obvious even before they started in on their cycle of on and off again dating. Even when he was tormenting her, he watched her. He needed to be near her. The opposite of love is not hate, its indifference and when Logan couldn't love her, he hated her.

I knew when he asked out Parker. I just knew it was going to be a mistake, but I didn't think it was my place to say anything, not to him, to Parker, or to Veronica. Instead I just watched the train wreck happen.

I tried to pick up the pieces of Parker in the aftermath because I felt like she was the victim, caught in the crossfire of LoVe. Still, I can't say that I was all that supportive. I mean it was obvious and I have little to no patience for stupidity.

Same with Piz, although I had even less sympathy for him than I did for Parker. At least she didn't try to get between them; she got swept up in it, with too little information to really make an informed decision before starting up with Logan. Piz, though, he knew what he was doing. I saw him moving in, I saw Logan getting irritated by Veronica's obliviousness. I still should have said something to Wallace, told him to tell his boy to back off. He knew as well as I did that it wouldn't end well.

When it comes to Logan and Veronica, you just don't get in between. Whether they're together or not, they're together. To mess with one, is to incur the wrath of the other.

It is more than their shared history, the love of a girl who got herself killed. They are simply meant to be. They have the kind of love that most of us would kill to have, but they are both so stupid. Instead of embracing that love, the uniqueness that is them, they fight against it.

Understanding that Logan loved Veronica was easy. He wore it in the open, in everything he did and said. Veronica was harder, she was the master at hiding her emotions, but if you got to know her, you saw it. It was there in the way she looked at him, how she couldn't leave him alone no matter how nasty he was to her.

It was there, but she's stubborn and she refused to acknowledge it coming up with excuse after excuse to say he wasn't it for her. And now she's left because if she stayed she couldn't keep denying the truth. She's gone and Logan is broken. She's my best friend but leaving me to be the one to tell him, the one who had to witness the devastation she wrought, I kind of hate her too.

Logan didn't even say anything when I told him that she was gone. He just crumpled, falling to my feet, lost inside of himself. I don't know what horrors he saw, but I never want to see terror like that on someone's face ever again. If that's what a broken heart looks like I'm going to guard mine very closely.

When I couldn't get him to respond to me, I called 911. Then I called the one person who has always been there for him, Dick. When he rushed into the emergency room, he didn't have to ask what had happened. He knew, like I did, only one thing, person, could possibly break Logan. This was a guy who had survived years of abuse, a life lived in fear, unloved, lost his mother but kept going despite it all. Yet one tiny blonde woman could reduce him to a catatonic state, broken only by screams. It was terrifying to witness and I didn't push Dick away when he took my hand as we watched the doctors try to reach Logan, sedating him when he grew violent.

"Should we tell her?" I asked Dick, thinking she was the only one who was going to be able to bring him back. Dick didn't answer though because Logan did.

"No." he whispers, his eyes not focused, barely even there.

"Logan?" Dick says his name, trying to get his friend to see him.

"Don't tell her." More forcefully this time and Dick agrees. Logan sighs, her name a whisper on his lips, before he slips back into that blank state that we can't reach him. A small smile is on his face now and I can't help but wonder what he's seeing. Probably Veronica.

"I'm calling her." I tell Dick and he shakes his head.

"No, he said not to." Dick is adamant.

I've stood by for too long. Someone needs to help these two before they completely destroy each other. I'm not an aggressive person. I prefer to lurk in the background, observe rather than get involved. It's why I love my computers so much. I can be a part of something without having to be a part of it. But, now is not the time so I summon up my courage and I stand up to Dick.

"Look at him. He's barely holding on. Even if he comes out of this, what do you think he's going to do? Can you be there to watch him all the time because I don't think he's going to make it if we don't get them to fix this. And if something happens to him, she won't survive it. She may have left to get away from him, but he's still who she loves."

"She doesn't love him. She left. He's better off without her." Dick practically yells at me.

"How is this better? How? He needs her." I try to stay calm.

"No. He said no. I won't let her get near him." Dick continues to shake his head.

Another voice joins us.

"It's not your choice Dick." Veronica says from the doorway. She is looking down at the floor, refusing to look up.

"What are you doing here? Trying to finish the job, Ronnie?" Dick is a wall of rage, standing between her and Logan.

"I'm his in case of emergency." She says simply. Finally she looks up, sees Logan, pale, eyes closed, that small smile on his face. Her breath hitches, eyes swimming in tears, but she pulls herself together, refusing to show anything.

That shell, that's what's caused all of this. I'm suddenly furious with my friend.

"No." I tell her and she looks at me in surprise. "If you're here then be here. You can't keep hiding. We can't get to him, but if you're just going to hide behind your armor, then just go. He doesn't deserve your one foot in crap. If you can't own up to this, then just fucking leave."

"I, I don't understand." She lies to me. That's such bullshit, she knows what I'm talking about. She came because he needed her, but she's not really here, not ready to give him what he needs. I can't keep watching this rollercoaster.

"Yes you do." Dick growls at her. "Logan loves you, being apart from him physically hurts him. He's been through enough. Either love him or don't but don't keep yanking his chain. If he sees you now, he'll think you're here for good and it will devastate him all over when you leave. So decide Ronnie. Do you love him or not? Can you stay with him, love him?"

I can see the indecision on her face, but I have no sympathy for her. Logan has been through too much. Her leaving is just the straw that broke the camel's back. He needs help, but it can't be from her if she won't just own up to her part of all of this.

For a second, I think she's going to retreat completely behind that shell, turn around and leave him, but she looks at him again and something breaks in her. Or maybe something fixes itself.

"I love him." She says firmly. "I love him." She looks shocked by her own admission. If there's one thing about Veronica though, is once she makes a decision, she sticks with it. Dick moves out of her way and she walks to Logan.

Watching her reach her hand out to his face, caressing is one of the most intimate things I've ever seen. Dick grabs my hand and pulls me out of the room, leaving them alone.

Veronica's POV

I had to leave. Everything was such a mess and I knew if I stayed I would destroy us all. I was the problem. The hero is the one who stays. I was no hero. I had to finally admit that to myself. I knew it was cowardly, but I couldn't face Logan to tell him that I was leaving. I knew if I saw him, I would never be able to leave and we would destroy each other. I told myself that I was doing this for him as much for me.

We weren't even talking. I convinced myself that he wouldn't even care or notice that I was gone. It wasn't like he had tried to talk to me in months. Proof yet again that while he can say that he loves me, he will never fight for us. He will always let me walk away.

I spent the weeks since I left in a fog, wanting to call him, hear his voice. I missed him with every fiber of my being. I felt like an addict, strung out, wanting another hit. I wanted him so much. I didn't want to want him. I didn't want to need someone else, especially not him. I had been hurt too much. We were too young to feel this deeply.

I had a million excuses for why it would never work between us and I was going to stay away. Until I got a call.

"Ms. Mars?" A disembodied voice asks.

"Speaking. How can I help you?" I ask cautiously. Random phone calls never seem to go well for me.

"You are listed as the emergency contact for a Mr. Logan Echolls. He's been admitted to Neptune General" The voice keeps going, but I can't hear anything it says. Logan, oh, Logan, what has happened to you? My mind goes through a million scenarios, each one worse than the last.

"I'll be there." I say into the phone, cutting off the voice, my hands already reaching for my keys and bag. Nothing is more important than getting to him. I can't lose him.

When I got to the hospital, I asked for his room and suddenly, I was so very tired. I got to his room, hearing shouting from inside, but none of the voices were his. Fearing the worst, I couldn't' bring myself to look up even when I heard Dick say he wouldn't let me near him.

Fighting with Dick is normal. What wasn't normal was Mac yelling at me. She's not that person. As I stood there trying to keep it together even though I was falling apart piece by piece just seeing him there, so close yet so far. My eyes catalogued everything about him. He didn't look hurt, but there was something unnatural about the way he laid there. Maybe they had him drugged.

When Dick asked me if I loved Logan, I almost didn't answer. I've avoided admitting it even to myself except in my darkest moments. Loving Logan meant allowing him to break me, but honestly wasn't I already breaking by not being with him? Hadn't I been barely holding on for months, going through the motions, a pod version of myself? Saying the words wasn't as hard I thought. The world didn't end, everything looked the same as it had a few minutes previously. The only difference was now there was a clear path to Logan; a path I couldn't have stopped myself from walking if my life depended on it. Because my life did depend on it. I had no life without him.

When I touched his cheek, it felt like it does when I suddenly solve a case, that moment of clarity where I can see it all. With Logan I could see it all, how our lives would go. The push and pull of two passionate natures. Fighting and loving. I couldn't speak, I was so overwhelmed.

"Veronica." Logan breathed, eyes still closed. I leaned down and kissed the corner of his mouth.

"I'm here." I told him, taking one of his hands in mine, his dwarfing mine. I felt him squeeze lightly, but his eyes were still closed. "I'm here Logan. I won't leave again."

I stay like that for what seems like hours before he finally opens his eyes. He stares at me, unsure.

"Logan?" I ask, not sure if he's really awake.

"You're here." It isn't a question but I answer yes all the same. "You left."

The despair in those two words is more than I can take and tears stream down my face as I stare at him.

"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I couldn't, I didn't. I love you." I babble, crying. His free hand reaches up and wipes tears from my face.

"Don't do it again." He says smiling slightly.

"Never." I kiss him.

It's never going to be easy, but I'd rather imperfect with him than perfect anywhere else.