Author's Note: It's been just under ten years since I've been out of the FanFiction writing game, almost as long as Veronica Mars had been out of our lives, but with the movie and the book out there, I was feeling inspired. Not to mention that my shipper heart was not quite content enough to not sit down and start typing with all this new canon swirling around. This is post-film & "Million Dollar Tan Line," so beware of spoilers.
Disclaimer: Characters are owned by Rob Thomas & his merry band of misfits.
They had passed far more slowly than Veronica would have liked. An inbox flooded with e-mails and short, technically challenged Skype dates did not a relationship make and she was looking forward to leaving the computer screen behind and seeing Logan again in the flesh. And, of course, there were things that the pair needed to talk about. Even though she had been driving his car around for the last six months and unconsciously calling him her boyfriend, they had yet to have a real conversation about what they were doing, what this whole thing meant.
Wasn't that the MO of their relationship though? Dive in headfirst, think later. Then again, your relationship status wasn't something that you really discussed when your boyfriend was approximately 8, 000 miles away flying potentially dangerous missions for the Navy. Or in the two blissful weeks you had together before he left either, apparently.
After nine years of radio silence and a couple of near death experiences, you could hardly blame them for not trying to define things immediately. From the minute Veronica had stepped off the plane from New York and found him standing there in his Navy whites, she had felt that magnetic pull on her heart. The one that reminded her why she had ran from Neptune all those years ago. The one she had been denying the existence of for longer than she cared to admit. So, when she finally gave in, it was hard to stop. And talking was never what Logan and I did best, anyway.
Anxiously, Veronica tapped the tip of her pen against the notepad on her desk. She had absently been staring at the time on her laptop screen rather than do any real work. Not that she was worried about it. It was an open and closed case, one that she could do in her sleep. Her father had originally insisted on taking it, keen to do something other than office paperwork, but she was still trying to get him home by dinner every night and not taking photos outside of the seedy Camelot motel. Which, if she thought about it, sounded a lot like what her dad used to do when she was back in high school and supposed to only be helping him out around the office.
"Logan coming home today?" Keith Mars asked, dragging his daughter back into reality.
Her father was walking without the aid of the metal cane that he had had to rely on in the months following his devastating car accident. The same car accident that had taken the life of one Deputy Jerry Sacks. The same car accident that would have taken Keith's life had Logan not pulled him from the wreckage before a truck had slammed into it for a second time. Keith still didn't talk much about it with Veronica, but she knew that he suspected the accident had to do with his investigation into the corruption at the Sheriff's Department.
"At 1800. I'm supposed to pick him up later."
It was already four in the afternoon, just another two hours and she would be back in his arms again. The thought sent a wave of excitement down Veronica's spine, a faint smile tugging at the corners of her lips. She had missed him.
"Just remember," Keith warned his daughter as he made his way around behind her desk to kiss the top of her head and rub her shoulder gently, "You have a perfectly good bed of your own."
"I'll be home by curfew pops, I swear," she laughed and held one hand to her heart and one hand in the air. Even when you were 28, there were some things that never changed when it came to living at home with your over-protective former sheriff father.
"Yeah, you better be." Keith Mars' face betrayed his amusement as he took a seat across from his daughter's desk now. "Hey, I've been thinking…"
"Uh-oh, that's never a good idea, old man."
"With Logan coming back to town, you're going to need a new set of wheels," her father pointed out.
It was true, her days of driving the midnight blue BMW convertible were drawing to an end. Not that the sleek car had ever really been good for blending in the more grimy parts of Neptune on cases.
"Buy me a pony?" She grinned sweetly at him, batting her eyelashes the same way she had done all her life. Despite all that had happened over the past twelve years, a part of her would always be that girl. A daddy's girl. The apple of Keith Mars' eyes. Though the last time she had asked for a pony, he had gotten her a gun instead.
"I was thinking of something a little more sensible."
"Well I can try and talk to Weevil tomorrow. He has his own shop, I think maybe he can help me dig up something affordable, safe and stylish for me. Or maybe I'll buy a motorcycle and get a few tattoos, I think he might know a guy for that, too."
The phone rang now long after and for the next hour, both members of Mars Investigations were back to being hard at work. Since the Dewalt-Scott case all those months ago, things had definitely picked up slightly for them. At least enough so that they could keep up with their rent and pay Mac her well-earned salary. They had even been able to put food on the table.
Before she knew it, an hour had blown by and Veronica was grabbing her keys and running out the door, waving behind her to her best friend and her father. The anticipation of seeing Logan had grown too great and had rendered her useless when it came to casework. Besides, she wanted to leave now so that she could still arrive early if she managed to hit any evening traffic.
Her radio was turned up loud to some soft rock song as she drove, the wind blew through her hair and the sun warmed her face. In this single moment, Veronica was able to forget all about the corruption, the class war and everything else that was wrong in this small town she had grown up in. The town that seemed to pull her back into its dark pit every chance it got and consistently tried to tear her family, her life apart. Because in all its darkness, Neptune did have a beacon of light.
Their relationship had never been perfect, but somehow Logan Echolls had always served as a reminder to Veronica that there was still some good in Neptune. As screwed up as he might be, hell as screwed up as they both were, she felt safe when he was around. At home. And no matter how many other people didn't believe it, Veronica knew that he was a good person. That all he ever tried to do was protect the people in his life that he cared about. Or protect himself from getting hurt, Veronica reminded herself. That obligatory psychotic jackass routine of Logan's was a shield to keep the pain at bay.
"Excuse me, miss," a voice suddenly interrupted her thoughts. She had been standing outside the parked car for the last ten minutes or so, distracted by text messages on her phone. "I was wondering if you've seen my girlfriend. She's about ye high, blonde, cute as a button?"
Looking up, Veronica's face immediately broke into a grin. Her blue eyes met his brown for the first time in 180 days and all she felt was electricity. And he called me his girlfriend. A fact that had only made her smile grow a little wider as she slipped her phone back into her pocket and stood up a little straighter.
"I haven't seen anyone like that," she shook her head with a wry little smile, "But it just so happens that I'm the best private investigator this side of the country, I can help you track her down like that if you're willing to pay, Lieutenant." To accentuate her point, Veronica snapped her fingers.
"Oh really? You think you could?"
"Are you kidding, missing person case? That's cake. Facile."
The large duffle bag that Logan had been holding up until that moment fell onto the concrete by her feet as he moved in closer to her. One thing that hadn't changed at all nine years or even six months of him being away was that he was still a good foot taller than her so that Veronica had to crane her neck a little to look up at him. Long, thin fingers traced the line of her hips, drawing her in closer to his body. There was an intensity to the way the he looked at her with those big brown eyes, the way that he had always looked at her. A faint smile tugged at the corners of his lips, always amused by her in some small way.
Slowly, Veronica lifted herself onto the tips of her toes. The feel of him so close to her after all this time, his hands on her hips in this way, had set every cell in her body on fire. There had never been anyone Veronica had felt this underlying, undeniable need for the way she did Logan.
She didn't realize that she was holding her breath until his lips pressed gently against hers. A familiar feeling of warmth washed over her. 180 days had been too long. She'd be damned if she was going to let him go again. Not a chance in hell. They'd just have to go on the run. Of course, she knew that wasn't possible and understood why Logan had signed up for the Navy in the first place. It was admirable and probably much healthier than her super sleuthing.
"How about we go get you out of this effity white uniform and you can show me how much you missed me," she raised a suggestive eyebrow and held the car keys out in front of her.
After six months of deployment, Logan did not need her to say any more. Laughing quietly and giving her a little salute, he kissed the tip of her nose. "Yes m'am." Throwing his large bag into the trunk of the BMW, he hopped into the driver's seat.
The sun had set a few hours later, the room glowed a deep blue color that poured in from the large windows in Logan's room that looked out onto the beach. Clothes had been scattered around the perfectly kept room and the young, reunited couple lay in a tangle of sheets and limbs.
Already, they had caught up once or twice. Three times at most since they had gotten back.
Veronica's head rested on his bare shoulder. Even after all this time, she seemed to fit just perfectly against him. Logan's arm was curled under her, his fingers gently playied with the ends of her blonde hair. His lips pressed softly against her forehead.
For the first time since Logan had left, Veronica felt at peace.
"Man, it's good to be home," Logan let out a long, deep sigh, "I missed you."
"I'm going to miss that sweet ride," she teased, poking him in the ribs, "I was getting used to a certain standard of living, driving around Neptune in that thing. I felt like I was a young Petra Landros. Except the polar opposite of her in almost every way."
"I'd much rather have a 12-month Veronica Mars calendar anyway. The Many Sexy Faces Of edition." His hand motioned in the air above them, accentuating dramatically the title he had decided on. There were times that it was hard to forget that Logan Echolls was the son of two actors. "That 2004 Victoria Secret calendar has seen better days."
"Maybe we can arrange that before your next tour of duty."
There was an immediate feeling of sadness, thinking that she'd have to say goodbye to him again, but she pushed it away. They had plenty of time before Logan would have to go anywhere and instead of dwelling on what was to come, she wanted to take full advantage of having him here with her now. Especially when they were both lying naked in bed together and he was looking at he like that.
Rolling over onto her stomach, she rested her chin on his chest. "I missed you, too."
"Finally, finally, she admits it!"
And before either of them knew it, they were on to catching up for the fourth time.
When Logan woke up, Veronica was gone. Her side of the bed still warm, but there was no sign of the pixie sized blonde as he rolled himself up onto his elbows and looked around the room. It was dark outside and Logan estimated that it must be around midnight judging by the reflection of the moon on the ocean surface outside of his windows.
Pushing himself out of bed and pulling on the pair of boxers that they had carelessly discarded of earlier when they had been incapable of keeping their hands off each other, Logan shuffled out of the room in search of her. There was a part of Logan that worried she might have taken off on him. It was strange how whenever he was around Veronica, those old insecurities he had not thought of in years could resurface so easily.
He didn't have to search too far for her. She was sitting at the small table in the kitchen wearing one of his shirts, blonde hair pulled back into a messy ponytail as she ate a bowl of cereal. Their eyes met, he grinned at her.
"Dick's gonna be pissed if you finished his cocoa puffs."
"Don't worry, I'll destroy all the evidence."
Moving around the table, Logan lifted her up slightly so that he could sit down. As Veronica settled on his lap, his arms wrapped around her tightly and he placed a chaste kiss on her temple. After so much time spent apart, he had an overwhelming urge to just be touching her all the time. It was as though for the last 6 months, the last nine years of his life where he hadn't been able to hold her, feel her in his arms, Logan hadn't been able to breathe. He hadn't been able to breathe not being near her. That much had been clear to Logan as soon as she had stepped off the plane from New York.
It had taken more time than he had banked on for her to come back to him, to forgive him for all the wrong he had done. For just a minute, he had almost given up on them, too. Moved on, forgotten about their love being epic. Forgotten about how it had only ever been her he wanted. Then as soon as he had needed her, there she was as if no time had passed at all. Veronica Mars.
How unfair had it been that when he had finally gotten what he had been waiting for these past nine years, he had had to walk away from it. Only 180 days, he had told her, it was nothing for them. Honestly, he was sure that he had been trying to convince himself as she batted those eyes at him and claimed that if she could get him off murder charges, she could beat an AWOL rap.
"I should go home though, my dad has not started worrying any less about me in his old age. I mean, really, how much trouble can I get into?" Her words seem to come out of nowhere, but that could have just been because Logan had been lost in his own thoughts for the last minute or so.
"I believe they did a survey in Time magazine on that very subject. The top three choices were piss off a suspected murderer, piss off a suspected rapist, or piss off the leader of a crime syndicate." As he recited his list, he held up a finger one at a time.
Logan could not ever really blame Keith for worrying about his daughter, even now that she was all grown up. In just the short week that she had been back in Neptune to help him out, she had found herself trying to take down a murderous Cobb on her own. He knew that there were other things, too, that had happened in his absence. Things that Veronica was hiding from him.
"I thought that was why he was making me carry a gun, now I just whip 'em out and knock 'em dead." Her fingers formed fake guns that she pretended to shoot in front of them before blowing the imaginary smoke away off each.
"The thought of you walking around with a gun. It's scary."
"And kind of sexy right?" Her head tilted to the side, her eyebrow arched upwards carefully and there was a devious smirk on her face that Logan could not resist.
"Incredibly sexy," he whispered with a nod of his head as he kissed the tip of her nose and then her lips, softly brushing back loose strands of blonde hair from her face.
In truth, Logan knew how much carrying the gun that Keith had given her bothered Veronica. They'd exchanged a short conversation about it on Skype and a few brief e-mails. It made Logan feel a little easier though, knowing that she could protect herself if she needed to with more than some mace and a stun gun. One thing that hadn't changed about Veronica Mars at all in the last nine years was her penchant for heading straight into trouble without bringing back-up.
"Do you want me to bring you home?"
"No." She leaned her head back so that she could look at him. There was a softness to her eyes and to her tone of voice that Logan had heard a million times. It left a warm, familiar feeling in his heart. It was a look that she had always reserved solely for him.
Gathering her up in his arms, he pulled her even tighter against his body, kissing her harder than he had before. More forcefully. That look, it did things to him.
"What are we doing?" she laughed against his lips and the words echoed back to their junior year of high school when they stood outside of the Echolls mansion and kissed under the cover of darkness. It almost felt like after all these years, they had come full circle again.
"I'm taking you back to my bed," he mumbled between kisses, "And getting you out of those clothes."
They'd have plenty of time to talk later.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry."
Veronica rushed into the office of Mars Investigations late and wearing the same clothes that she had been the day before. Given how her father was a skilled and experienced detective, she didn't expect him to miss that fact. Which was possibly why she had convinced Logan to stop for some coffee and donuts on the drive over. Good old fashioned bribery, dad will see right through it, but he'll still appreciate it.
"Veronica…" Keith Mars had stepped out of the office that the partners shared holding his 'World's Greatest Dad' mug in his hands and wearing a look of discontent.
"I know, I'm late, but this is why we have the delightful Mac manning the phones," she smiled widely and motioned to her best friend sitting at the desk in the lobby. The computer whiz was wearing her own look of unhappiness as she held the phone to her ear and seemed to be in the middle of an argument with a potential client who may or may not be seeking help elsewhere by the end.
"You didn't come home last night."
"And you didn't take out the trash this morning," she pointed at the over-stuffed bin by Mac's desk, "Let's just call it even. Donut?"
Her father let out a long and exasperated sigh before reaching out and grabbing a donut from the box, "And how is Logan?"
"Logan who?" Veronica furrowed her brows together, feigning confusion, "I met a very nice sailor down at the pier last night. He romanced me with cheap wine and tales of the open sea. His name is Bubba and we're running away together this weekend before his grandchildren put him in a home."
"Well I'll have to meet this guy first."
"Don't worry dad, he'll have a wonderful dowry of fresh fish and my name tattooed on his arm for you."
Keith rolled his eyes and grabbed another donut before strolling back into the office. Instead of following suite, Veronica plopped herself down on the couch in the lobby and waited for Mac to get off the phone. It had been a slow week and nothing pressing was forcing her to work right away.
"And for about the millionth time," Mac started as she tossed the phone down, "You really should hire someone with more people skills."
"I overlook your anti-social nature based purely on your physical appearance. I'm shallow."
"Speaking of, how's Logan?"
Veronica narrowed her eyes playfully at the brunette computer genius sitting behind the desk across from her and pointed her finger, "Now, play nice. He promised to bring by some lunch later."
"I was thinking of holding out for something bigger. Maybe a new computer."
Their banter was interrupted by the front door opening. Both women turned their heads and Veronica smiled before she even realized that she was doing it. "Speak of the devil."
"And the devil doth appear," Logan spread his arms out and took a little bow. He was wearing jeans and a green crew neck. Green had always been a good color on him. "You forgot this in the car, m'lady." In the palm of his hand sat Veronica's phone which he leaned forward to hand to her now.
"It must have fell out of my pocket!" With a burst of aggressive energy, Veronica snatched it out of his hand and immediately began to see if she had missed anything important in the five minutes since she had last checked it before getting out of Logan's car.
"Thank you Logan. What would I do without you, Logan?"
With big, innocent blue eyes, Veronica looked up and smiled at him, "Thank you, Logan." She lifted her chin slightly, welcoming a peck on the lips from him.
"Nice to see you, too. I'm doing great, thank you for asking." Mac piped up from behind her desk, waving sarcastically at them with a hint of mocking.
"Is that Logan?" her father then called out room from his office apparently having heard the commotion outside and Veronica groaned inwardly. She had been hoping to avoid this reunion between her father and Logan now until the pair of them had gotten the chance to talk about what it was they were doing. What this thing between them was officially.
"Hey Mac, Mr. Mars," Logan nodded to them both as her father reappeared the room again.
"Welcome home," Keith held up his cup to Logan. Veronica realized then that her chest felt just a little constricted, she'd been holding her breath since her father had realized that Logan was there. It eased up a little when she saw the look on her father's face, he wasn't looking to give anyone a hard time. Yet.
"Thank you, sir. It's good to be back."
Watching Logan's body language, Veronica could tell that he was just as nervous as she was. His history with Keith had always been strained, at best. Which mainly had to do with the tumultuous relationship that she had shared with him. Keith Mars was extremely protective of his only daughter and in the past, he had warned Logan to stay away from Veronica more than once. Add to the fact that he was the reason that she had returned to Neptune instead of becoming big shot lawyer in New York all these years later, she did not at all blame Logan for feeling nervous about this reunion too.
Throughout all of this, what none of them had noticed was that Mac's attention had now completely shifted to something that had appeared on her computer screen. The girl's mouth hung open slightly as she glanced up over her monitor rapidly. "Uh, guys, you might want to see this."
As Veronica rounded the corner of the desk to see what her friend had discovered, her heart stopped in her chest. The awkward reunion would have to wait.