I thought I'd give a new fandom a try. Spoilers for "Weapons of Class Destruction", gets a little AU after that. Rated for language.
It was a stupid fucking thing to do. The whole afternoon was a series of stupid fucking things to do. He doesn't know what's wrong with him, maybe his jackass of a father hit him a little too hard last time, and some kind of bone jarred loose and jammed up into his brain, effectively killing the neural function that allows him to be fucking sane.
She doesn't kiss like Lilly.
What the fuck, Echolls? The girl's got files on everybody. She's worse than her father. The Sheriff just suspected Jake Kane; Veronica would suspect the dog if Molly hadn't run away so many years ago. Fuck, she probably suspects Logan, too.
She's probably never kissed Duncan like that.
Fuck. Duncan. Logan can't even begin to think how he's going to explain to his best friend that he just kissed the guy's ex-girlfriend.
Well, the little slut started it.
Oh, come on now, he doesn't really believe all of the whore crap that everyone's spouting --that he's spouting-- now, does he? He knows perfectly well that Veronica never stalked Duncan after they broke up. He knows that she's the most obnoxiously virginal person he's ever met, and she definitely changed after Lil--after, but she didn't change that much.
She doesn't kiss the way he would expect Veronica Mars to kiss.
He pounds his fist into his pillow so hard and so often that it's a lumpy mess when he's done, and he can't sleep on it at all. Which is fine, because he couldn't sleep much, anyway.
He must have drifted off at some point, because he wakes up the next morning with a crick in his neck, sprawled on top of his still-made bed, his pillow on the floor. He sniffles, and knows instantly that it's a cold. He wonders if he got it from Veronica. He wonders if he gave it to Veronica. He wonders why he blames her first.
He downs some meds, dry, but he wishes he hadn't. Not because his throat wasn't properly lubricated, and one of the pills got lodged on the way down, and he choked and spluttered for a few minutes.
No, he doesn't want to feel better, is the thing. He's quite satisfied by feeling like shit. It's punishment. Nothing he does goes unpunished. Trashing Veronica's car; skid row boxing; that little half-a-mil stunt; car around the flagpole...nothing he does goes uncaught, unpunished. He is Logan Echolls, son of Aaron fucking Echolls, and yet for some reason, he can't catch a break. He can beat the system for stupid, trivial shit, but never when it counts.
What the fuck was he thinking. Calling her. Telling her. Warning her. Like some damn...he doesn't even know. His head is jumbled all to hell. From the various pills to cure his various ailments, shit he shouldn't mix, but does anyway, now all he needs is to get good and drunk on top of it, and then all the chemicals in his body will combine and conquer. That'd be nice. He's beginning to think that unconsciousness might be a super idea.
Well, probably the best idea that he's had in the past few hours, now that he thinks about it.
He still remembers touching her.
Fuck it all to hell. What happens now, he wonders? He doesn't love her. A good chunk of the time, he doesn't even like her. Is he her new sidekick now? They go and solve cases together, camp out in her living room like junior private eyes, giggling and passing popcorn and reading Harriet the Spy?
For breakfast, there is Rice Krispies. When he was fourteen, his dad did a voiceover for some big animated movie, and that damn grinning face, some beaver or something, 'a bright new direction for an action superstar', had been plastered across the fruit snack aisle. Trina, of course, had milked it for all it was worth, cramming down Fruit Roll-Ups and forcing them on her friends. Dearest Dad probably had a couple extra boxes in his 'den' --or as Logan and Lilly and Duncan had joked, 'The Shrine to All Things Me'-- petrified, put in those special display cases and splayed on the wall. Logan, on the other hand, had vowed to never again eat anything made by General Mills, and if that meant having to adapt to the blandness of Snap, Crackle, and Pop, and listen to the gunshot echoes of their marketing gimmick in his addled brain, then so be it.
"Logan, just embrace it." Lilly was braiding Veronica's shoelaces at the lunch table. "This is your ticket into a ton of girls' pants. I mean, I, for one, have seen Death Fist twenty-seven times. It's why I'm dating you."
Veronica giggled. Lilly knotted the end of the braid, and gave him a smile. A Lilly smile. Was she serious, or joking, he didn't know, he never knew, it rarely mattered.
He chokes down the rest of his cereal, dumps the bowl in the sink. Someone else will clean it up. Someone else always cleans it up, the little things, the things he is already capable of handling. He wonders if he washes the bowl and puts it back himself, whether the staff will return the favor and tidy up his life.
At least she said thank you. Unconventionally, to be sure, but she cared and she appreciated his efforts. It's been a long time since anyone actually valued his concern. If ever.
"I don't want you worrying about your father, Logan. I can take care of myself," she said, and sipped her drink.
Who was he to judge Lianne Mars, when his mother was no better. Drinking to cope with the shithole of her life. Her method of taking care of herself was throwing herself off a bridge.
"I wish you'd just give up this whole annoying Prince Charming deal," she said. "God, Logan. News flash: you are not a knight in shining armor, you have a crappy Jeep and not a white horse, and I am not some kind of damsel in distress. Let them check me out. I can handle them. I am more than capable of taking care of myself."
His car starts on the first try. The radio is on from the last time he drove it, driving home from the Camelot, trying to drown out his thoughts with the local metal station. Now he's being assaulted by Papa Roach or whoever, and it's only aggravating his headache. He knows there's a flask somewhere under the front seat. It calls to him, sweet burning release, showing up to first period completely shitfaced, brushing off Veronica Mars and making out with the first cheerleader he sees. But he's had too many pills, and he can already picture the headlines. "Echolls Tragedy: Like Mother, Like Son."
He was hungover. The pillow was soft, but the phone was too loud. He swore, but his parents were off getting their picture in People, and the hotel staff was under strict instructions --his instructions-- to not bother the suite all morning.
"Fuck off, Duncan," he spat, because only Duncan would have the balls to call this early in the day, on a morning when he just knew that Logan would be hungover as hell.
Something in his brain sobered a tiny bit. The little virgin had never called him before. He didn't even know she had his number. Out of it as he is, he's still curious. "What's up."
"Logan, I...she..." Veronica swallowed, the pause deafening, as Logan sat up. "Turn on the news."
He doesn't know how he got to school, since he wasn't paying attention to the road at all. He's sitting in his car, in the parking lot, the radio off and the engine settling.
He'd tried. God, he tried to protect the people he cared about. If Aaron was going after Logan, he wouldn't go after Mom or Trina. And Lilly, she was bright and vivacious, but she lived in her own crazy world, and didn't think with her head. Some people could take advantage of that. He was just looking out for them. But they didn't care, they didn't want him to. Maybe they thought he couldn't.
Maybe he really couldn't after all.
They're both gone, aren't they?
Veronica had never told him that she could take care of herself. It was implied, to be sure, but she'd never once said those goddamn words.
She'd wanted backup. She had been hoping, he knew, that Logan would still be on the line, and hear that she was in trouble, and get the FBI or something. She hadn't just needed his help, she wanted it.
The door opens, and he can't help it, he looks up again. Ricky York. Logan swears under his breath, and then swears again, for catching himself swearing about it. He's been monitoring the progress of the door ever since he got here. He's like a puppy dog, waiting for his master to come home so he can get a treat, maybe go for walkies. Christ. Is this his life now? He tells himself it has nothing to do with what's-her-face. He's just waiting for Duncan to show. So they can...what? Gossip? Read Teen People cover to cover?
For reasons he can't understand, father being who he is, Logan's never been stellar at lying. Particularly not to himself. He knows damn well who he's waiting for, he just doesn't know why.
Besides, Duncan's kind of the last person he wants to look in the face now.
The door opens, and boom, there she is, stopping dead when she sees him, the hint of a smile she'd been wearing dropping off. And he's worse than she is, the color draining from his face slightly. Fuck. He's staring. He looks back down at--what was it he was working on, again? He doesn't even realizes he's back to staring at her until Stafford starts talking, her grating voice bringing him back to reality.
Ah, look, witness his utter lack of surprise, because there's Veronica Mars, ruining yet another life in her quest for "the truth". Second teacher she helped get rid of this year. At this rate, they'll have a brand-new staff just in time for graduation.
Veronica's up at the front of the room, all blond hair and perky smile, doling out assignments as if there's a single serious journalist in the room. Lilly would laugh her ass off if she knew where Logan was now. "The only thing you've ever wanted to investigate is what was under my skirt," she'd snort. But then she'd plop herself in his lap and call him Dan Rather while they made out, much to Duncan and Veronica's increasing chagrin. Duncan would be laughing about it, and Veronica would be complaining that she could never again watch the nightly news. Lilly would spank herself and cry out gleefully, "Oh, hit that, Mr. Rather!"
Everyone's busy now, everyone but him. Veronica's hovering at his shoulder. He doesn't know what she wants, but he knows he doesn't want to talk about it. What he will never understand is why girls feel the need to talk out every little fucking thing. They kissed. End of story. Maybe a footnote about him punching out a fed.
"We're not going to prom together," he snaps when he finally meets her gaze.
"I'll cancel the limo reservation then," she answers without missing a beat. A quick glance around the room, and her voice is lower when she adds, "Duncan's gone."
'"Gone'?" he echoes. "What's your deal? This isn't Watergate, Veronica. Duncan's probably just out with the little woman."
"No, I talked to Meg last night, when he didn't show for the meeting." The meeting last night, as in the last-minute cram session for today's edition. Which he'd skipped, so that he might toss and turn. "He's gone as in missing. As in he withdrew several thousand dollars in cash from his account. Do you know anything?" she presses. "Did he maybe mention it?"
"Was this before or after he and I were painting our nails?" he snipes. "You saw him last, Veronica. You tell me."
She flinches, just a little bit, for a fraction of a second, but it's there, and he feels guilty, more than just a little bit, for more than a fraction of a second. "He didn't say anything. I haven't seen him since yesterday."
"When you told him about the file," she says flatly.
"Yeah. When I told him about the file." He wonders now who's responsible for Duncan disappearing. He wants to blame Veronica, it was the file that put Duncan over the edge, but Duncan never would've known if Logan hadn't told him. They're equally guilty in this.
Guilty, guilty, guilty. Suddenly, he's not thinking about that damn file anymore.
"We have to talk," she says, and he nods his head without thinking. He's been so lost in thought that she could have said any number of things, and he would have just agreed without so much as a blink. He wants to figure this whole ridiculous mess out.
She was...softer than he was expecting. It's like a toasted marshmallow. Really hot, but with a crusty, harsh exterior. But get it just right, and it melts all over . He's thinking in metaphors, which is the ultimate bad sign. What the fuck is his life anymore?
"My office," she says, and she's yanking on his arm and leading him out of the room. No one, oddly enough, even notices their departure. She really is keeping them busy.
The girls' bathroom that doubles as Veronica's makeshift HQ is awash in an undersea tiling theme that pokes a fork at his already squibbly insides --a mess of medication and soggy cereal and annoyingly junior high-ish nerves-- and stirs liberally. She checks to make sure they're alone.
His brain is on fire, thinking about that, thinking about where and why and how and when can he do it again. Fuck! No. He doesn't want to do it again. He never wanted to do it in the first place. He was just jazzed from beating the hell out of Jump Street--or rather, being stopped right before he got to beat the hell out of him. He had been bursting with raw energy, and it had needed to go somewhere, and Veronica Mars was just the nearest outlet.
They're in here alone, and he can't stop thinking about it, and he wonders if that's why they're in here alone. He's stepping closer, ready, when she says, "I need to know exactly what you told him."
"Told who about what?" he says, caught off-guard. He stops, tries to pretend like he wasn't just moving in to kiss her again. Maybe she didn't notice. He doubts that. There's very little that gets past her.
"What did you tell Duncan about the file?"
That fucking file. "Just that you were keeping the investigation open, and you had a file on him about it. I never read the file itself."
"And what did he say?" She sounds almost desperate, it's a tone he hasn't heard from her in awhile, and he wonders if she still has feelings for him. But that ship has long since sailed. They've both moved on. Duncan and Shelley, Veronica and Troy, Duncan and Meg, Veronica and that cop that Duncan said took her out to dinner the other night.
Shit...Veronica's taken. He'd forgotten that. She's dating a fucking cop, and that means that Logan's ass is grass. But he can't think about that.
He remembers. They were all friends once. Now, he didn't know what they were. Duncan was an apathetic statue, Veronica was some punk-rock PI, and Logan was fucking up more and worse than ever. They could all be easily headed for suspension, if they played their cards wrong. Lilly would be proud of her newfound truants. Moreso if they were kicked out for public indecency. "What did he say? He didn't say anything. He just sat there."
"Sounds like Duncan," she says, rolling her eyes. The expression she's wearing...maybe she still carries a torch for Duncan, and maybe she doesn't, but it's obvious she misses him. Misses who Duncan used to be. Logan misses that, too.
"I want to help," he blurts.
She stares. "What?"
He doesn't know what the fuck he's saying. "I want to help you find him."
Veronica shakes her head, blond hair bouncing slightly off her shoulders. It's getting long again. She'll look like the old Veronica again, in enough time. She'll look like Lilly again. "No. This is my case."
"Screw that. He's my best friend, and it's just as much my fault that he's missing."
She looks surprised that he'd own up to that. He's just as surprised as she is. "I'm not sure what it is you could do," she hedges.
"Muscle. Cash flow." For the first time, his bank account and his desire to beat the living crap out of people could be considered assets.
She seems to agree. "You could come in handy," she says, not looking at him. "Fine. But you follow my lead." When she finally meets his eyes again, hers are cold, no-nonsense. "None of this 'taking matters into your own hands' crap again. It could get you in trouble."
He's already in too much trouble. "Fine." If they were normal people, they might shake hands. Business transaction, sealing the deal, signing the contract. But they're not normal. That, and Logan doesn't know what would happen if he touched her again. For any reason. He doesn't want to know.
Veronica stares at him for another second, and he can't read her face like he could once. She brushes past him, the door slamming behind her and leaving him in this sea-green hell with that headache returning. He doesn't know what the fuck it is he's just done.
He should probably go find himself a copy of Harriet the Spy now.