Once a Year

Veronica slides the disk into the player and then stands up to return to the couch.

Logan puts an arm around her shoulders. They settle back and Veronica hits play on the remote. Right on cue, the soft acoustic guitar bubbles up and for the tenth time in her life, Veronica watches the now familiar slide of images drift blissfully across the screen: a young girl with bright blonde hair and bright blue eyes and a bright smile staring up at the camera in a cotton blue dress, riding a pony, at a play rehearsal. The bittersweet scenes make the corners of Veronica's mouth lift in recognition. But the best part is yet to come.

The electric guitar riff kicks the accoustic's ass straight out the window.

Breathy laughs escape from their lungs. Veronica reaches for Logan's hand without taking her eyes from the screen, and squeezes tight. He grips back.

"Hello America. You wanted Lilly? You've got her."

"Now sit back, and enjoy the ride."

I can put your pieces back together… Lilly and Veronica laughing… While I take the rest of you apart... Lilly sticking her ass out of the fucking limo window. ...When the lines of the past have been blurred... Lilly and Duncan. Lilly and Logan. Lilly, Lilly, Lilly.

It's scientific fact that each time you remember a moment, when the brain reaches for a memory, what you really see in your mind's eye is the memory of the last time it was replayed in your head. You're not really remembering at all.

When the lines of the past have been blurred

it gets much easier to tell those around

to let go…

But God, it never fails. It feels so real, watching her up there on screen. It never fails to put both of them right back there in that moment, if not in necessarily a better time, but a simpler time. A time of Lily.

"I know you love me."

But now is the time when we find out

what's really happening

How was the ride of your life?...

Her golden hair flows back out behind her face, the screen stills, and the music fades.

Logan lets out another choked laugh and does what Logan Echolls does best: cracks a joke. Although if there is such a thing as a heartfelt jape, then he is the master.

"Can't you just picture Lilly's face," he says, accenting the assumed mockery with flourished hands, "if she were watching us now? I mean, ten years, and still, how sappy can you get?"

" 'I mean, Veronica Mars, please, ' " Veronica dishes out in a dead on Lilly Kane imitation, " 'you can't seriously be sobbing over your man's ex. It's not healthy. Do you want to never get laid again?' "

Both grinned like idiots.

Letting out a breath, Veronica pats Logan's knee. "Bedtime. Exhausted." Her bravado is at least partially faked. She is after all, Veronica Mars: you wouldn't ever know she was a marshmallow from just seeing the outside.

"Yeah, same here," Logan agreed, while squeezing her hand. He gets it.

Before letting herself float off to sleep, tucked warmly under the covers, and Logan's heavy arm, Veronica had two last thoughts on the tenth anniversary of Lily Kane's death.

Saps? Give us a break, Lil.

We love you.