Rating: R (just to be safe: some sex stuff, some cursing)
Summary: Logan and Veronica take their time admitting things to each other.
Spoilers: Through "Ruskie Business."
Disclaimer: Veronica Mars, characters and situations belong to Rob Thomas, UPN, et. al. No profit is being made. No copyright infringement is intended.
Author's Note: Feedback would be incredible. Please let me know what you think. This is my first Veronica Mars fic, and so I hope I did the show justice. If you'd like to archive this, please just ask first. Otherwise the story can be found at my homepage.
They don't tell the reporters about the other times. Let the paparazzi figure it out for themselves he tells her, and she would have said the same thing if she hadn't been half asleep. He grins at her, watching her nod off beside him. He pokes her playfully in the ribs, but she just bats his hand away and groans, not even opening her eyes. His grin stays right where it is.
"You're no good to me asleep, Ronnie."
She smiles but keeps her eyes shut. For a while he's content to just watch her fall back asleep in the middle of his bed. He runs his fingers down the bits of her shoulders and arms and back that's exposed. He hopes she stays longer than a couple of days this time.
What the reporters don't know about them could fill the Grand Canyon. What they do know about them makes for a great read. She picks up a copy of the most recent tabloid while sipping her venti mocha. Just because she's curious. There's a bit in the corner of the front page about a rumored love affair between the still famous movie stars' son and an up-and-coming no name photographer. She scoffs that they didn't make the full cover.
If she's honest with herself, she kind of fell for him when his mom "died." But won't admit to any feelings prior to the next school year when he'd shown up on her doorstep (what was it with him and doing that?) bleeding from the head.
She suspects that he fell for her when they were 12 and she stepped outside in her soccer uniform.
"Come back to bed." He mumbles from beneath the blankets.
She knows better and continues dressing in the dim morning light.
After a long moment without a response and without her back in bed, he looks up and blinks, his eyes filled with sleep. "What are you doing?"
She sighs. "I have to get back. I've got work."
His expression turns immediately dark because he knows they're about to have an argument and he knows he won't win. "Skip work."
She doesn't even respond to this. Just finishes tying her other shoe, then stands up and stares at him. She doesn't want to end on a fight. It feels like they're always ending these things on a fight. She goes over to him and leans down. She kisses him on the lips, then pulls back a little and smiles sweetly.
"I'll see you."
And she leaves.
If he'd known how often he'd actually end up on that girl's doorstep in the middle of the night, he never would have done it that first time. He swears to this, but knows it isn't true.
He did it the second time, just one week later, because he couldn't sleep. A whole week had passed and all they had on the whereabouts of his mother was blurry footage of something falling off that fucking bridge and a text message about one of her credit cards that Little Miss Junior Detective said she'd investigate in the morning but "don't get your hopes up."
Well how the hell was a man supposed to get any sleep waiting on something like that?
"You're not paying me for slumber parties are you?" She answered the door in her pajamas, hair tousled, and if he'd been in any state of mind other than the one he was in, he would have been a little turned on. A petite half naked blond who'd just rolled out of bed would not usually be lost on him, no matter what her name was.
"I know you said that you wouldn't be able to find anything out until-"
"Logan, it's one in the morning on a school night. What exactly am I supposed to find out right now?"
"Nothing. Nothing, it's just… fuck. I couldn't sleep. And I thought maybe there was something I could do to help. Research or something. Whatever it is you do."
Veronica's expression softened. She stared at him and it seemed to take every ounce of her not to swallow him up in some sort of motherly embrace. "Wait here a second." She said instead, and then returned moments later, somewhat more dressed and with a jacket. She shut the door behind her.
"Where are we going?" He asked.
"Beach." She said simply, letting him follow her to his own car.
She shrugged. "Nothing else is open this late. Unless you're a closet Denny's fan."
They went to the beach and she stayed up with him for as long as she could. She let him argue with her, and argued back, but he suspected only to try and keep his mind off of other things. She finally started nodding off around three thirty, sitting on the sand with her knees drawn up to her chest. He was pacing around in front of her when he noticed, and was upset at first. She brings him out to the beach at this time of night just to fall asleep on him?
But he understood that she was doing him a favor at the moment- if an odd favor and for reasons he couldn't quite come up with- and so it was hard to stay mad over something so ridiculous. He watched her for longer than he would ever admit to. Longer than she would ever want him to admit to.
After a little while he nudged her. She started to wake up, but slowly. So he helped her up and led her to his car, and then drove her back home where, since she'd fallen asleep again on the drive, he just parked the thing and let the two of them get some shuteye. He fell asleep more easily than he had in awhile. He woke to the sunrise and the sound of the passenger side door closing. She gave him a small smile through the window, then hurried into her apartment.
Logan's used to the reporters. He ignores paparazzi like he ignores white noise. Veronica only got her first taste of them that second time she'd skipped out of town for the weekend to see him. Heading out of the hotel lobby, she saw them and didn't think anything of it. The idea that they would be interested in her didn't even occur to her. But suddenly they were all over her. Camera's flashing, video recording, a dozen people shouting out questions like "who paid for the room?" and "is this the first time?" And, of course, the one that hit home: "Does his wife know?"
Back when they were in high school and somehow friends again, she didn't ask about his life of living in the shadow of his parents' stardom. She didn't think about it much either. It was something he dealt with, just like she dealt with flashbacks of that night she "lost" her virginity. Yeah, they sucked, but what could you do?
And then he had become famous in his own right. Sort of. He chalked most of it up to banking on his parents' name. She told him he had some talent. He told her that it wasn't fair to only start humoring him now. But his books sold. And so did his screenplays. And that first short story in Harper's was proof enough for Veronica that he could actually do something with himself.
"What happened to you?" She asked him as he stood in her doorway. It was their senior year and yes they'd been tentative friends for a few months now, but just how many times was he going to wake her up in the middle of the night and Jesus that was a lot of blood.
Logan, the stupid ass, just shrugged, blood spilling over half his face. Veronica grabbed him and pulled him inside.
He sat on her toilet seat while she cleaned his cuts. They were quiet for the most part before he finally started to explain himself. There was this guy, you see, one of Weevil's homeboys or whatever, and he'd started trouble-
"So, your Dad?" She asked quietly. He didn't look at her and so she knew.
Whenever he asks her, this is the moment she tells him that she first started to feel something for him.
He scoffs. "What was so great about that moment?"
She doesn't know what to tell him. Doesn't know how to explain that she's lying through her teeth because she'd first really felt something for him a year before that when he'd shown up at her place for the first time. And also doesn't know how to explain that the fact that he had come to her that night, for some reason, meant something to her. And the fact that he had let her help him meant even more.
"You remember how the rest of that night went, Ronnie?" He asks her while lying in bed. His voice is low, even though there's no need. His arms are around her and he's resting his cheek against her neck.
She turns her head and kisses him in response. She remembers that night more clearly than most other nights in her life.
She bandaged the worst of the cuts, hoping he didn't need stitches. She wanted to make him go to the hospital, but knew he'd argue and really didn't want a fight between them right then. So she ran her hand over the bandage and the bruise around it, checking it, letting her hand stay there a moment longer then necessary. He noticed and stared at her.
"I'm fine." He said gruffly. As if her hesitancy was just concern over him and she should get over it.
"Than why'd you come over here?"
She had a point. He couldn't find the words to answer her though, and that's when she knew. Knew that he felt something for her.
Before she could think about it, she leaned forward and kissed him. Before he could think about it (though he could've thought about it for hours and still would have done the exact same thing) he kissed her back, and wouldn't let her pull away.
She doesn't like to stay with him long. He drives into the city from the small town he's set up shop in and rents a hotel room for a week, knowing he'll only be able to get her to stay a day, maybe two. That's just how it works. Every time the same.
If the press knew how many times it's been, they'd have that full page story, she thinks. But as far as any of them know it's all just rumor and speculation and only maybe happened twice.
His wife suspects a third and fourth time. She questions him about it when she's feeling bold, which is whenever the house servants forget to keep an eye out and she raids the liquor cabinet.
But Marjorie is used to living beside the spotlight. And so she's usually able to pretend that nothing's wrong. Everything is fine. Normal. The daughter of every romantic comedy's leading man and woman and sister to a runway star in Paris, she knows how to behave about the things she finds in People magazine. She also knows he loves her in his own way. Which is less than the other woman. She should be the "other woman," really, she thinks. The only thing keeping her from the title is the ring on her finger. It's all that stops her from thinking that she's his side project, and not the blonde that sometimes comes around.
So they've met a couple of times. The wife and the other woman.
Back in high school when Logan and Veronica first talked about their plans for after graduation- plans that lead in entirely different directions- and then fought like the mortal enemies they were supposed to be because of it, she'd called him up, furious at how pigheaded he was being. "We can't just stop being friends over this."
After a lot of yelling and a week to mull it over, he'd finally conceded her point. Whatever happened with the rest of their lives, wherever they might end up: what other friends did they have left, really, who'd been there since the beginning? Duncan had graduated early and gone away to university in Boston, and they both knew why he didn't write or call. They'd both been expecting as much.
When Veronica found out about Logan and Marjorie's engagement, she refused to see him. They fought as passionately as they used to when they were teenagers, and he half expected her to come over and bash in his headlights. Finally he'd yelled at her across the miles of phone lines in the middle of the night, "We can't just stop being friends over this!"
She was silent after that. And she attended the wedding with a congratulatory smile plastered on her face and Eli Navarro in tow.
Logan has always been the jealous type.
For the most part they don't tell each other about their other lovers. Boyfriends and girlfriends and relationships that would have been perfectly normal if not for this running gag that is their inability to stay away from one another.
"See me this weekend." He says the words into the pillow while she sits up over him. She runs her fingers over every scar that she can find. She starts with his back, then moves to the rest of him. There's a lot of space to cover.
"I can't." She says. He growls and rolls over, not letting her finish her study of his painful history. "Don't start." She warns. And there's an implied threat in those words. Really she means: "don't start, or else you won't see me at all." And that stings a little even though he's certain she doesn't mean it.
He's also certain that he hates whoever her newest boyfriend is with every cell in his body. He will never not hate her boyfriends.
The night after graduation he knocked on her door. They'd gone a week not speaking and just being generally angry with one another. And he was tired of it. It'd been one of the loneliest weeks of his life. So he'd sat in his car across the street from her apartment that night and waited until he saw Keith drive off.
"You can't come in." Veronica answered the door and glared at him, obviously still upset.
He smirked, then had the presence of mind to look somewhat apologetic. She waited for him to say something, and he finally sighed and looked down at his hands. "You're… right." He said.
Two little words. But when coming out of his mouth they were better than the three little words they both silently swore they'd never say aloud. Never would an "I love you" pass between them.
"You're right that we can't just… not be friends anymore over something this stupid." He continued.
Her expression softened. She'd missed him that week as well. Missed her friend. Missed just knowing that he was alright. That was the big thing. She found, even years later, that mostly all she needed from Logan was to know that he was okay. To know that he was alive and where exactly he was. She couldn't stand losing any one else.
She let him inside and he stayed there the entire night. Lying in her bed hours later, he asked her if she wasn't more upset about this- the two of them going off to schools on opposite ends of the country- than she was letting on.
"Of course I am." She answered, staring into the darkness, his arms wrapped around her from behind.
There was a long silence. Then, from behind her: "Fuck geography."
She smiled a little.
Her dad found them together the next morning. And the only thing that saved Logan from yet another in a long series of beatings he'd receive in his lifetime was Veronica threatening never to phone home again once she left for college. Keith took in several angry breaths and calmed himself at the threat. Then he looked the sleep-tousled Echolls boy up and down, in either defeat or acceptance, though probably both, and sighed. "How do you take your coffee, Logan?"
He's still the same screwed up kid he always was. Reporters don't do him justice, and she tells him so. He tells her that she gives his psyche too much credit.
They try not to dwell on the "who's more fucked up?" contest too often or too long, though. Mostly because she always wins and the fact drives them both nuts. But when it comes right down to it, he has more of an excuse to be how he is. Supposedly brooding writer, cheating husband, tabloid darling. At least through all of it he's able to admit what he couldn't so many years ago and she still can't:
"I love-" He breathes, and it would have been romantic if she hadn't interrupted him.
"Don't. Don't you dare."
He wants to yell at her. But she silences that urge as well with her mouth on his.
College did not fly by, as they both had promised the other it would.
It seemed like his entire life, the only two things he'd ever have were the two things he didn't want: money and time. But for those four years he tried to use them to his advantage, flying out to see her as often as he could get away with. She never says so, but his visits were what kept her sane until graduation.
She never says a lot of things
He catches her reading about them once.
"All lies." He says with a smirk and a teasing glint in his eyes. She looks up from the magazine, embarrassed.
"I wanted to see if they caught my good side." She quips, lamely.
He rolls his eyes, but then keeps an eye out for the rags forever afterwards. In her apartment a month later, he notices for the first time all the back issues of US Weekly and Star stuffed in the bottom of her closet. He grins. He's found her out.
Maybe it's not much. But when you only see the love of your life (the one who didn't die, anyway) a couple of times a year, you start to hunt down evidence that it's all worth it. Half the time he's with her he spends searching for clues to what she's not telling him.
"How many secrets do you get to keep if you already know all mine?" He asked her once, as seriously as he ever dared to get. They'd been seeing each other as more than friends for a little over a month, but hadn't had sex yet. The fact drove him up the wall every time they were together, but so did so many other things about her that it was hard to keep track of which one was worse at any given moment.
Veronica shifted her weight against him as they lay together in her bed lazily, and yep, the sex thing was definitely the more frustrating. He shut his eyes and sent a silent "down boy" toward the general area of his dick. Veronica, for all her keen observational skills, seemed completely oblivious to his quickly eroding willpower.
When she was silent for too long, Logan opened his eyes and realized something was up. "We've both got walls, Ronnie." He shrugged, trying to make light of the topic. "I'm just saying… you know an awful lot of the reasons behind mine and I don't have a fucking clue why you-"
She kissed him to keep him from saying anymore. She would do this a lot over the years. The kiss deepened and continued, and after awhile they weren't just lazily lying in her bed on a Sunday afternoon, they were lying in her bed half naked, trying to catch their breaths and barely noticing that the sun was setting.
Logan pulled away briefly, something he would never in a million years be able to explain to himself. But he did it anyway. And, breathing hard against her bare shoulder, he asked the obvious question before going further. "Have you ever done this before?"
She pulled away from him a little further and stared into his eyes. It was her silence and this stare that did it. He knew the answer was "yes," and also knew the answer was somehow "no" as well. He pushed away from her suddenly and sat up, still breathing heavily but now the breaths had to do with his anger rather than his passion.
"Who?" He asked, his voice raised. Thank God for Keith's late nights on the job.
Veronica sat up as well. "I don't know." She said numbly. Like she didn't even care.
Logan went nuts. "You don't know? What the fuck do you mean you don't know? How the hell can you-"
"I don't know!" She yelled. "Some one slipped me something in my drink. I woke up the next morning and… fuck." Tears started to fall around her words. All he could do was stare at her. "You don't think I haven't tried to figure it out?"
They sat frozen for a long while, not touching. Tears kept falling down Veronica's cheeks, but she kept herself from breaking down completely.
Logan wanted more than anything to go out and kick some one's ass. He'd beat the shit out of the entire student body if he had to. But some part of him that still had a little sense kept him where he was. And after a while he reached a hand out and wiped away a couple of tears roughly, not used to dealing with crying women.
He took in a shaky breath, then grabbed her hand in his and brought it to his bare shoulder. He placed her fingers on the long line in the skin there, from when he was ten and hadn't yet figured out which belt of his father's did the least damage.
He made her fingers trace the scar gently. "Mine are visible." He said. "Just because yours aren't, doesn't mean… Doesn't mean you can ignore them any better than I can. Fuck. I bet you can match every scar on my body with one of your own. Physical or otherwise."
"Probably." She said quietly, and swallowed. It had been awhile since he'd seen her look that defeated and it kind of scared him. But then she stared down at where her hand was on his shoulder, and at the scar beneath it, and she began to trace it of her own volition. When she finished, she found another long scar on his upper arm and began to outline it as well.
She glanced up at him almost hesitantly. "This one is that night." She whispered. His jaw clenched as he tried to ignore the violent urge to go hunt down the bastard who'd been responsible for "that night," and instead focused on the feeling of her hand on his bare skin.
She continued to find scars on his body. "This is my mother."
"This is Lilly."
"This is Jake Kane."
She continued on until she'd covered almost all of his body and then he stopped her from going any further by pulling the same trick she always did: covering her mouth with his. They had sex ("finally") beneath the tangled sheets and against the wall that lined the side of her bed.
He does the unthinkable when she's not looking. He seeks the press out.
"What the fuck, Logan?" She corners him in his own home one weekend when, thank God, Marjorie's in Paris. Not that he doesn't imagine how it would go if she were home. Not that he doesn't sometimes even hope that Veronica will some day just barge into his too big house and give Marjorie an excuse to leave him. Give him an excuse to leave her.
He looks up from his latest novella, surprised to see her. Her gaze is intense, but it always is. What catches his attention is the paper in her hands. He swallows when he sees it. "We made the cover." He says.
She glares at him. "Yeah. We made the cover."
He has the decency to look guilty, but can't help it when the smile that wants to burst out through the whole fight at last overcomes in.
"What the hell are you smiling about? This is… People will see this. People will believe this." She yells, desperate.
His smile disappears at this. He stands up and glares right back. "So what if they do?" He challenges.
"So what about your wife?" She spits back, not missing a beat. "What about Marjorie, huh? What about Alexander-"
"Don't say his name."
"Oh, so you're allowed to remain happily married but I can't even date?" This has been a point of contention for years. But he still can't bring himself to admitting that she sees other people when she's not seeing him. And most of the time they just don't talk about it. There is so much in their lives that they don't talk about. Secretly, they both hate the fact. When they were seniors in high school and then on into college, they were the only people in one another's' lives that they could open up to.
It seems to him like the moment he got her to open up, he lost her all over again. To school and life and her fucking walls that just wouldn't ever go away. It seems to her like the moment she got him to open up, it took every ounce of willpower to keep him from getting too close.
"How did this happen? Did you do this?" She holds up the paper. There's a picture of the two of them ducking out the back of a hotel. They look good together, he thinks. And in all honesty she thought the same thing when she first saw it over her morning coffee, but won't ever admit to it.
"No." He will always have trouble lying to her. And it's not just 'cause she's spent the better part of her life sniffing out crooks for her father.
She opens her mouth to speak, but is too angry for words at this point. Instead she throws the paper on the floor, turns on her heel and marches right out of his office, furious.
"We can't just stop being friends over this!" He yells after her. She stops short. Stares at the door ahead of her.
For the longest time she thinks about how easy it would be to just keep walking and leave like most of her wants to. But then he's standing right behind her and he puts his chin down in the space where her shoulder meets her neck. He breathes softly on the skin there.
"Don't." She interrupts with an angry whisper. She can feel him frown against her. She can feel his muscles tighten and maybe he wants to hit her. She wouldn't put it past him. After all this time, she wonders when his violent tendencies will finally rear their ugly head in her direction.
Instead he pulls her closer to him and makes sure she can't get away.
"I love you." He says before she can do anything about it.
She closes her eyes.
That morning with her father and Logan in the same room was one of the better mornings in her life. The fact still surprises the hell out of her, but there it is.
"So what are your plans, Logan? Now that you've graduated." Keith bit into his toast and it was obvious he was trying not to sound like the kind of father who'd threaten his daughter's suitors with shotguns and arsenic. Which he was.
"Uh." Logan practically choked on his coffee. Veronica sat between the two most important men in her life and bit her tongue. Whether any one believed it or not, she knew when to keep her mouth shut. "I'm going to school in New York. Columbia. The creative writing program is supposed to be decent."
"So you're a writer."
"He's a good writer. You should read some of his stuff." Veronica couldn't help but speak up at this.
Keith gave her a look, then turned his attention back to Logan. "I have read some of your pieces in the local paper."
Logan nodded. "I've been interning there for a couple of months."
"They weren't bad. You have potential." Keith sipped his coffee.
Even Logan knew enough to see this comment as the good omen that it was. A peace offering of sorts. Yes you slept with my only daughter, Keith seemed to say, but if you're good maybe I won't kill you and dump the body across the border.
Half an hour later, as Veronica got dressed and ready for the day, Keith stared down the Echolls boy in the living room and practically dared him to fuck up. Say the wrong thing. Please. Give me an excuse to hate you.
But Logan was quiet.
After a while, Keith took in a breath. "You treat her well?" He asked.
"Yes, Sir." Logan said.
Keith nodded. "You love her?"
Logan paused. He hadn't dared to ask himself this question. But then he thought about the previous night, and how Veronica had managed to cover every wound his body had ever been subject to and still have room in her for more. And he knew.
"Yes, Sir." He said quietly.
Keith stared at him for a long time. At last he spoke. "Allright then. Just keep that up. She'll…." He paused, looking off into the distance at the closed door to his daughter's room. "She'll come around."
Fifteen years later, Veronica turns in Logan's arms to face him. Her eyes challenge everything he's just admitted. Everything he's finally been allowed to say and mean.
"I know you do, too." He says. She glares at him, trying to summon up that anger again.
"You don't." She says.
"Than why did you come over here?"
He has a point. She can't find the words to answer him though, and that's when he knows for sure.
"Don't you dare fucking die on me." He said it into her breast as she held him close that first time she kissed him in her hall bath. The blood still seeped from beneath the bandage she had just placed on the side of his head. Neither could stop panting from the long and involved first embrace they'd just been party too.
She pulled back just enough to look him in the eyes. "Logan…" She began, but didn't know where to go from there. She couldn't promise him that she'd always be there. No one could promise that. She couldn't tell him that she wouldn't die.
"Please." He said, looking up at her, his eyes full of unshed tears.
She nodded her head, her own eyes suddenly filling with their own tears. "Don't you dare fucking die on me either." She whispered.
He just kissed her in response.
She turns to face him now in his and his wife's house. She thinks of all the hotel rooms they've made their own, because life wouldn't let them do otherwise. She thinks of their picture on all the magazine covers and what picking one up feels like. What it's like to hold in her hands physical proof that the rest of the world knows what they're doing and how they feel about each other. A part of her enjoys the thought. A part of her is terrified by it.
"Don't keep secrets from me, Ronnie." He says. His voice is hesitant. As if he fully expects her to runaway at the slightest misstep. "It isn't fair. You already know all mine."
He probably has a whole speech planned. Something he's been saving for just this moment. But she kisses him before he can say any more, and tries to tell him with her tongue and her hands and her lips what she can't in words.
They don't tell the reporters about the divorce. Or about how long this has been going on: him and her. Let the paparazzi figure it out for themselves, he tells her. And she would have said the same thing if she hadn't been half asleep beside him. In their bed. In their home. Somehow it feels completely different than every hotel bed they've ever shared. It feels like high school and like that first time.
She traces his scars and names them. Lilly. Jake. Mom. That night. There are more names now, but the old ones don't exactly lose any of their luster. She traces his visible scars while counting her invisible ones, and she whispers while she thinks he's sleeping: "I love you. Please don't go anywhere."
They both spend the hours apart from each other thinking of those nights he'd show up on her doorstep. Even before he knew it, he was waiting for her to open up.