A/N: Hello everyone! I'm so sorry it's been so long since I've updated! But wait no more! Here is the final chapter of this story! (See end for more notes.)
Disclaimer: I still don't own it.
Veronica absently taps her pen against the wood of her desk, her eyes slightly glazed over as she stares out of the window at the clear blue sky. The last few weeks have been slow for MI, steady with work for the most part, but with normal cases that have left Veronica and Keith with more paperwork than anything else.
Logan's most recent email is up on her screen and she reads the words again.
I don't want you to worry babe, but it looks like I'm going up for another mission before this tour is over. We shouldn't be delayed in coming home, thank god, but I'll be flying soon and probably out of reach for a few days. I'm going to be careful and I'm going to come home to you.
I am expecting a full report on what is happening with Mac when I can finally get online again. It still seems rather odd that she's seeing Butters. She knows she can do better than him right? Cause Mac can totally do better than him.
Love you Sugarpuss. See you in fifteen days. Two weeks babe.
She had been quick and short in her reply, hoping to get something to him before he was out on his mission. She isn't sure she was successful and she can't help but keep her eyes peeled on her inbox every chance she gets.
She closes her laptop quickly and goes to stand in the door between the lobby and her and Keith's office. Mac is sitting at her desk, typing furiously.
"Let's deck out of here early," Veronica suggests with a smirk, "grab some lunch and hit the mall."
"I've got plans for lunch today, sorry."
Mac doesn't even look up as she speaks and Veronica frowns. "Lunch plans with Vincent again?"
"You are dating Vincent Clemmons. Can I help it if it's weird?"
"We're just friends," Mac insists, "I'm helping him with something. We are not dating."
"This is like the fifth day in almost as many days."
"Not a date. A lunch."
"Not really," Mac assures her with a shake of her head. "Seriously Veronica, drop it. I am not dating Vincent. I'm simply being a good friend to someone who asked for my help with a project. Nothing more."
"He has been crushing on you for years."
Mac groans, "He had a crush on me in high school, yes. But I seriously doubt he's harbored those feelings for ten years when I've seen him less than a handful of times since then."
"Until this week."
"God Veronica, I know you need a new project or whatever but you can leave me out of it."
Veronica recoils slightly and apology already on her lips when Mac stops and turns looking slightly sheepish. "Sorry V. It's just…"
Veronica waves her off, "No, I'm sorry Q. I shouldn't have teased so much…"
Mac nods, "Still…"
Veronica chuckles a little bit, "I won't tease you about Vincent anymore. But if he hurts you…"
"You'll do something dreadful to him," Mac finishes with a smile. "I know. But it doesn't matter because we aren't dating, really. He's been nothing but friendly and not in the flirty, I-want-to-get-into-your-pants kind of way. Just in the I'll-pay-you-money-to-help-me-with-something kind of way."
"Now I'm late for the meeting so I have to go," Mac says motioning towards the door. "Why don't we do dinner out tonight? See if Sarah wants to join since Wallace is out of town."
"Yeah," Veronica agrees, "That would be fun. We could maybe head to San Diego if Wallace is free tonight and hang out there. I'll call him."
It doesn't take long for Veronica to iron out plans with Wallace, who luckily has the evening free from any sort of coaching or camp duties and Sarah, who quickly agreed to an outing that included seeing her boyfriend a few days earlier than what she had expected that week.
On a whim she called Dick as well.
"Ronnie!" Dick greets excitedly, "To what do I owe the pleasure of this unexpected phone call? Are you lonely and missing Logan and need a distraction? Cause I could-"
"I don't think you want to finish that sentence Dick."
Dick laughs, "What's up?"
"Sarah, Mac and I are going to go to San Diego tonight to hang out with Wallace…I figured if you weren't doing anything…"
"Sure," Dick answers quickly interrupting Veronica's invitation. "Why not. I don't need to be at the 09ER tonight. What time do you want to head that way? I'll call my driver…"
"We can drive Dick, you don't have to…"
"Who is going to be the DD?"
"See this is why it's easier to have a driver," Dick insists, "Problem solved."
"That wasn't so hard, was it?"
"I'm hanging up now Dick."
"Pick you and the Macster up at seven?"
"See you then Ronnie."
Veronica tosses her phone onto her desk and sighs. A few minutes later she picks it up again and starts to type.
Hey Lisa, it's Veronica, from the bar exam…anyways some friends and I are going to be in San Diego tonight and I was wondering if you'd want to join us? Bring the fiancé too.
Veronica sets her phone aside and refocuses her attention back on her paperwork when her phone beeps to let her know there is a new text message.
Sounds like fun! I need a fun night out, fiancé can't make it…camp. But I'm in, just let me know when and where.
Veronica smiles at the message and resumes her paperwork again, happy to let the friendship with Lisa grow beyond the few days of the bar exam. Old Veronica couldn't make friends easily; she shied away from it, Wallace and Mac being the only exceptions to the rule. New Veronica, Stanford Veronica had struggled with it at first, allowing people in, but she had managed. She didn't let her walls down fully with anyone, besides Logan – and even that was iffy sometimes, but she tried harder to make friends.
It was a part of the New Veronica that she wanted to keep around.
So I'm trying not to worry but it isn't easy. Normal though, from what I understand, so that makes me feel better I guess. Hope you are flying straight. It's amazing to me that these six months is almost over. We've nearly made it. I knew the moment you told me you were deploying that this was going to be one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do…but I feel good about it.
I feel good with what we've been able to do with it.
I don't know if any of this is making sense to you…but it makes sense to me, so there's that I guess.
I miss you. And I hope you're being safe. Please email as soon as you can and let me know you're all right.
P.S. Mac is insisting her and Butters only have a working relationship…though she isn't telling me what they're working on. I still think there is something going on there. I'm going out with her, Dick and Sarah tonight. We are going to meet up with Wallace in San Diego. If I get her tipsy enough maybe she'll share? I guess we'll see. I'll keep you updated on my findings.
P.P.S. 13 days and counting mister. 13 long days.
"No way," Dick insists with a grin, "There is just no way."
"I swear to you…"
"I don't believe it."
"Of course you don't," Veronica answers with a grin, "But it's true."
"It's true," Wallace adds after taking a gulp of his beer. "Swear."
"You two are shitting me."
"Would we do that?" Veronica asks, her voice laced with innocence and all four heads at the table look at each other before answering together.
"Well yeah, but that doesn't mean you are now."
"I'm only agreeing because in this instance I have first hand knowledge of the whole thing."
Dick looks between the best friends, his face still clouded with doubt. "Is there anyone you didn't bug in high school?"
Veronica shrugs, "I had to do what I had to do."
Sarah smirks, "The stories that are getting told just keep getting better and better. Someone needs to make a movie about your life."
"Forget the movie," Wallace says with a laugh, "It would have to be a TV show in order to get everything in."
"I wonder who they could get to play me," Dick wonders aloud. "It would have to be someone sexy."
Veronica laughs, "No one is making a TV about my life so don't worry about picking some poor celebrity to play you Dick."
"Hey! They'd be lucky to play someone as cool as me."
The rest of the table laughs and Dick feigns a look of indignation.
"Hey V," Mac says, "Didn't you say you invited someone else? They still coming?"
Veronica nods, "Lisa. We meet during the bar exam. She said she would come though she said she might be late or will meet us at the bar after dinner."
"Veronica Mars making friends," Dick says with a grin, "Who would have thunk it."
"I'm not that bad."
Wallace shares a look with Dick before turning back towards Veronica, "You might not be horrible at it, but…"
"Oh shut it," she interrupts, "I made friends with you didn't I?"
Wallace chuckles before the topic is dropped and Mac breaks the conversation lull.
"How are things at this basketball camp going Wallace?" she asks. "Do you like it?"
He grins brightly, "I love it. It has been everything I could have ever thought it would be. The kids are great and they really want to learn which makes it so much easier. Plus the natural talent in them already is killer. This one kid, Kellan is incredible. He's so eager to learn and he's got amazing talent. He's ten and I know as a teacher or coach you aren't supposed to have favorites, but he is my favorite."
He tells them some stories about the shenanigans the campers have gotten in to since they've been at the camp. There are about three-quarters of the campers that stay on campus, while the others are from the San Diego area.
Lisa joins them about halfway through dinner, apologizing for her lateness and with a quick round of introductions from Veronica she fits quickly into conversation with the rest of them.
Veronica smiles happily around the table and knows that the only thing that could possibly make this more perfect would be if her handsome Naval Aviator were sitting beside her.
Mission is over and our deployment missions are over. We're heading back now. We'll probably have to make one more stop in port somewhere, but other than that…I'm done for this round. Which means I'm that much closer to seeing you and holding you and kissing you.
And believe you me…that is something I'm aching to do Sugarpuss.
10 days until I'm going to be with you again. God I can't wait.
I've got a debriefing soon so I should go. I might be able to call while we're in port in a few days. I'll email you before to let you know for sure.
I love you.
P.S. Any more clues to what Mac is up to?
I'm so happy to know you're safe and the mission is over. And yes, these next 10 days are going to crawl until you're here. Email often, okay? I miss you like crazy.
And no more info on Mac yet. She didn't drink enough the other night for me to get any dish from her. And she's been strategically avoiding talking to me about anything other than MI work since. Also I'm trying to not push her too much.
See you soon sailor.
Mac collapses onto her couch and Veronica looks at her with a grin and asks, "Long day?"
Mac sighs, "Yes. God yes. Did you get that stuff I left on your desk?"
"I did," Veronica assures her with a smile. "Thanks. Wasn't too much trouble was it?"
"Nope. Easiest thing I worked on today actually."
"Trouble with Vincent?"
"With the program we're working on," Mac admits with a sigh. "Just having some issues getting the coding right. He wants it to do a lot so…yeah."
"Still not telling you."
Veronica laughs, "Okay, okay. I'll let it go for now."
"We'll see," Mac answers with a grin, "So how was your day?"
"It was okay," Veronica tells her with a laugh. "Normal stuff, new client meeting this afternoon so I've got a stakeout tonight. All routine though."
"Hear from Logan yet?"
"Not since Monday," Veronica says, "But I should soon. It's been a few days and they should be close soon."
"How many more days?"
"Seven. One more week."
Mac eyes her with a wide grin, "You look so happy V. I'm happy for you."
"Thanks Mac," Veronica says. "Hey thanks again for all your help with the house last week. It's all ready now."
"Glad I can help," she replies, "But I'm sad to be losing my roommate."
Veronica's eyebrows furrow, "What do you mean? You're not losing me as a roommate yet."
Mac raises her eyebrows, "Sure. Maybe not right now but soon."
"I don't know…"
"You can't seriously believe you won't be living with him full time within the month."
"Not that soon."
"You're supposed to be one of my best friends," Veronica complains with a smirk, "But here you are…"
Mac laughs with a shake of her head. "Oh there might be a wager or something…"
"Seriously who is betting on us?"
"I will not reveal…"
"So Dick and Wallace for sure," Veronica answers, "And…Sarah?"
"I'm not saying another word."
"I'll find out."
"Sure you will," Mac says with a shake of her head. "I'm heading to bed. Night roomie."
"Just tell me!"
Veronica huffs and turns her attention back towards the book in her lap. She glances at her phone willing for a message from him but none come and she finally gives up and heads to bed.
Six days babe. Are you as excited as I am? Actually I'm pretty sure you can't be as excited as I am?
The house is done and ready for you. I can't wait to see you in there…
I'm being such a girl tonight. But I miss you and I just can't wait for you to come home.
"So Ronnie did you want to host the big shindig at your new place or should I do the honors at mine?"
Veronica looks up from the pile of paperwork on her desk in confusion at Dick standing in the doorway. "What are you talking about?"
"Logan's welcome home party."
"Oh," she answers and sets her pen down. "I guess I hadn't really thought about it yet."
"I've hosted one with his other deployments," Dick tells her, "So I can totally take it on again."
"Sure Dick that would be great."
"Awesome! Plan on being at Casa De Casablancas at eight."
Veronica nods and turns her attention back towards her paperwork, "Okay great Dick. What day?"
"Saturday," Dick says, his nose crinkling in confusion, "Isn't that the day he'll be back?"
Veronica narrows her eyes at him, "This Saturday? You want to have his welcome home party on the day he gets back."
"When else would I have it?"
"Not the day he gets back."
Veronica sighs, "I really appreciate you wanting to do this for him Dick. And I know he values your friendship and so do I." Veronica pauses and folds her hands in front of her as she turns her attention towards Dick. "But you have to be crazy if you think for a second I'm sharing him with anyone for at least forty-eight hours after his plane touches down in San Diego."
Dick frowns, "But…"
"Not a fucking chance Dick."
"So you're saying you'll share him after that?" His eyes are laced with a lewdness and playfulness that makes Veronica roll her eyes at him. "Cause if that's the case…"
"You don't have to hide your attraction to him Dick," she answers breezily, "I already know. Too bad for you…"
"Not what I meant."
Veronica smirks, "Yes he'll get in on Saturday Dick. But if you plan the party for that day your guest of honor will not be attending. I'd recommended giving his girlfriend a few days with him before springing a Neptune elite party on them."
"So the following Friday then," Dick relents and Veronica nods. "Done deal. God Ronnie, you're keeping him on the leash even before he's back…"
"Watch it Dick," Veronica warns with a smile that is a little too wide, "I'm starting to like you, but if you keep shit up like that…"
"I'll be reverted to the shit list and should watch my back?"
"You're not as dumb as you make yourself seem, are you Dick?"
"All part of the game Ronnie," Dick answers with a shrug, "All part of the game."
Dick exits her office almost as quickly as he entered and she curses giving Mac the afternoon off. Not having anyone to run interference was cumbersome sometimes. Especially if that meant she had to deal with the Dick that she remembers from high school and college.
In case Dick has already complained to you, yes I told him he was not to throw you a Welcome Home party on the day you actually get back. I told him that day…and probably a few after…were just for us.
I want you all to myself for as long as possible. Got it mister?
P.S. Still six days? Are they seriously going to be going this slow now?
Your message was just a few minutes later than Dick's. But I agree whole-heartedly with you. And told Dick as much. I have no desire to see anyone's face but yours for a solid twenty-four hours my dear. Dick will get over playing second fiddle to you. No matter how much he whines I won't give in. That's a promise.
Five days Veronica. Five long days and then we'll be able to start that epic reunion again.
Your pass is all set at the base. I have the email confirmation and everything that I'll forward to you. You'll just have to go to the gate and present your I.D. for your visitors pass. I'd recommend getting there a little early; the lines can get backed up on homecoming days. You'll be able to meet me at the flight line with the other pilot wives and families.
Five days Bobcat.
P.S. Should be able to call you later…I hope. Keep your phone on you.
Mac drops her bag right inside the door of their apartment and Veronica looks at her friend expectantly.
"I think we're finally done." Mac breathes out and drops onto the couch. "Finally."
"Now can you tell me what you've been doing with Vincent Clemmons for the past few weeks?"
Mac laughs and shakes her head, "Nope. Not yet. He wants to test it a few more times and present it to his boss before letting anyone else know about it."
Veronica sticks her lip out in a pout, "Please Mackie?"
Mac glares at her, "You really don't want to know if you're calling me Mackie."
Veronica laughs, "Come on!"
"Nope. You can wait."
"This is torture for me."
"You'll get over it."
Veronica sighs, "Fine. Wanna watch a movie or something?"
"Paperwork isn't distracting you anymore?"
Veronica shakes her head, "Not really. I'm hoping that since he couldn't call yesterday he'll call tonight. Either way I need a distraction. I just want to see him and it's only four days away and I just can't wait."
"Not even four days really," Mac offers with a shrug, "since it's evening now and you'll be seeing him in the morning."
"True, but still."
"Are you having dinner with your dad and Alicia tomorrow?"
Veronica shakes her head, "Nope. They postponed until Friday since Wallace is planning on coming home for the weekend. I'll hang with them Friday night and then head to the base first thing Saturday morning."
"What time will he get in?"
Veronica shrugs, "Like nine or ten I think. He's supposed to let me know for sure when he calls."
The words are barely out of her mouth when her phone lights up and Logan's face flashes across the screen.
Mac grins, "Speaking of. I'll give you some privacy. Chinese for dinner?"
Veronica nods her answer to Mac as she presses her phone to her ear, "Hey sailor."
"God it's good to hear your voice."
"Sorry I couldn't call yesterday," Logan tells her with a sigh, "I thought we'd be in range with the shore to get a decent cell signal, but no dice."
"And I was worried you were calling your other girlfriend."
"Dick doesn't get first call ever."
Veronica lets out a deep laugh, "Glad to know I rank in front of Dick."
"You rank in front of everyone."
His voice is low when he speaks and it sends a rush of desire coursing through her. She clears her throat and sighs.
"So I'll be seeing you soon Bobcat."
"You have to go already?"
"Oh, okay good."
"I just wanted to let you know what Saturday will look like."
"I'm guessing it isn't as simple as you flying in and me being able to drag you home to have my way with you."
Logan laughs and the sound fills Veronica with longing. "Not quite that simple. There are a few steps in-between that."
"Well damn it."
"We'll get in a few hours before the boat does," Logan says with a sigh, "We'll be able to debrief mostly during that time so that when the boat does arrive all we'll have to do is grab our stuff from the bunks, change into our whites and head out. Should be nothing more than a few hours on base."
"What do I do in the meantime?"
"It's easiest if you stay on base once you get there in the morning," Logan answers honestly, "Technically you could leave and come back but security doesn't like that too much. Usually some of the families who live on base throw a welcome home barbeque kind of thing. Lets the families mingle until we're good to go. Plus quite a few live on base…"
"Okay, I can do that. I can mingle."
"We'll be on our way home as soon as I'm done Veronica, I promise."
"And I've warned Dick not to try to surprise us at the house."
"He better not," Veronica replies. "Besides, he doesn't have a key."
"That was probably a good idea."
"I thought so."
"I miss you Sugarpuss."
"Miss you too."
"See you in a few days."
"Four. I'll see you in four days buddy."
"Right back at ya."
She's standing a bit apart from the rest of crowd of people mingling in the early morning sunlight. There are kids running around, waving flags, the younger ones wearing protective headphones and they are all careful not to cross the thick white line separating them from the airstrip.
Veronica can't help but watch those around her with a curiosity that fuels her PI mind. She wonders how many times these families have gone through these separations and how many are there for their first time like her. She nearly cringes when she notices that she's caught the eye of a group of young women near her and pastes a smile on her face as one of them approaches her tentatively.
"Hi," the redhead greets, "I'm Alexis. I don't mean to be intrusive…"
"It's my first time here yes," Veronica answers before the question can even be asked. "Is it always this…?"
"Chaotic? Yes," Alexis finishes with a laugh. "And welcome. First deployment for your guy?"
Veronica shakes her head, "No, just first since we've been back together."
"Never are," Alexis replies with a shrug and then she turns as something catches her eye. "Myles! Stay out of the dirt young man!"
"Yup, he's five."
"How long has your…"
"Husband," Alexis offers, "Eight years. Five deployments. I wish I could tell you it gets easier with time but I'd be lying."
Another woman joins their conversation and she's balancing a toddler on her hip that is dressed in a miniature version of a flight suit and Veronica's heart clinches. She's speaking and Veronica only catches the last half of her sentence. "…Should be about twenty more minutes. They'll do a fly over and then land in two or three rotations. First one should be taking off soon."
"Thanks for letting us know Kelsey," Alexis says and then turns to Veronica, "Kelsey this is…"
"Veronica," Alexis continues. "It's her first deployment."
Kelsey nods in understanding. "Happy Homecoming Day. The only good day of deployment."
Veronica nods and before she can turn them down she's being offered a cup of coffee and introductions into the rest of their circle. She wonders if Emilia recognizes her name when she's introduced and it only takes a moment of eye contact with the woman for Veronica to realize she does. She smiles at her Emilia makes her way over to Veronica quickly and pulls her into a hug.
"I've been anxious to meet you!" Emilia greets warmly. "I've heard so many things about you."
"Good I hope."
Emilia's eyebrows crinkle in confusion before a bright smile crosses her lips again. "Oh you were joking! Logan has always spoken so highly of you Veronica. I feel like I know you already."
This time it is Veronica who shows her confusion. "Logan talked about me, like before. Before everything happened."
"Of course he did," Emilia answers. "He was always telling us stories of how you would get him out of trouble. Of course we never thought he'd need to use your help again but we are so glad he had you…"
Veronica only nods.
Suddenly there are four arms around Emilia's legs and Veronica is being introduced to the twins. Their attention is focused on her long enough for them to put it together that she is waiting for their Uncle Logan before they're running off again to play with some of the other children waiting for their parents.
"How do you do it?" Veronica breathes out the question before she can stop herself. "I mean…I don't know if I could."
"You can," Emilia responds with a shrug, "Anyone can with the right support system. My parent's live in Newport Beach so they aren't too far and we spend a lot of weekends while Steve's gone with them. Plus we have a support group for the families on the base here and it really helps seeing them and knowing they are dealing with the same issues I am. There are some days it is really hard but I roll out of bed and go on."
Veronica looks around, "I…I was thinking about joining one of the support groups. I never did…but…"
"You're always welcome," Emilia assures her. "I'll make sure you have my number and anytime you want to come let me know. We only meet every other week when they're back and every week on deployment."
"Thanks Emilia," Veronica tells the woman sincerely, "I'll keep that in mind."
Their attention is drawn to the skies as a cheer goes up amongst the crowd around them and Veronica sees a formation of jets flying towards them. They whoosh overhead before making a U-turn just slightly before losing them from sight and they are coming back towards them at a slower speed already.
Just knowing that one of those jets could hold Logan has her heart beating faster. When the first set of jets hit the tarmac the next set is flying overhead and Veronica and Emilia work their way into the crowd. The twins are at Emilia's side and Veronica can feel the buzz of excitement that is flowing through the group there.
Her eyes search the airstrip for any sign of Logan as they've been given the clear to meet their family members and she can hear the shouts and exclamations of reuniting loved ones.
Her eyes are only for Logan though and she recognizes his walk before she can really see his face. She can tell the moment he spots her though because that classic Logan smile breaks out over his face and his walk speeds up.
She's barely keeping herself from running to him when he starts to jog towards her leaving his copilot behind. They stop about a foot apart, smiling dumbly at each other and it's him who breaks their stalemate.
And it's his voice that breaks the temporary spell her body has been placed under and then she launches herself into his arms.
A/N: I never thought when I started this that it would turn into something like this. But I'm so thankful for all the support you've given me during this story! This is the end for now. I'm working on the sequel now and the plan is to have the first chapter posted by June 23rd. Big changes are in the works for the Mars/Fennel/Echolls/Casablancas/Mackenzie families! Hope to see you in the sequel!