Spoilers: Through 1.22

Summary: Yet another finale aftermath fic.

A/N: Ok, folks. This is it. This is the absolute, last chapter of this fic. I'm done. It's done. This chapter is dedicated to lex83 and forcedmovement, the best muses a girl could have. Without them, this story would have been awful, and probably never would have gotten finished. As always, italicas are VMVO and feedback is mucly appreciated. :)

"Logan, wait." Veronica called after him. He gradually slowed to a stop, as if he was debating whether he should talk to her or not. She rushed up next to him. "You knew I was going to the press conference. What's your problem?" She demanded.

"I don't have a problem." Logan finally answered.

"Then what was that back there?" Veronica asked.

"I wanted to apologize to your dad." He replied, looking down at her.

"I appreciate it, but you said that...that maybe..." Her voice was hopeful.

"I shouldn't have said that." Logan told her. "I meant what I said this morning, you should be with someone other than me."

"What, like Duncan?" Veronica threw at him.

"Yes, like Duncan." He hissed. "He's the perfect boyfriend with the perfect family to fit your need for the perfect life."

"Clearly you're delusional." Veronica snapped. "Mom musta hit you with that bottle a little too hard."

"Oh, don't tell me that you wouldn't go crawling back to him, Veronica." Logan nearly shouted. "If you didn't feel anything for him, the other night would never have happened." She shook her head frantically.

"I explained that to you." She said, her voice shaking with emotion. "I won't defend myself anymore. It was a mistake and I'm sorry. I'm sorry for everything." Veronica got more and more upset with every word.

"I'm sorry too." Logan spat out. "I'm sorry that I ever got you mixed up in my life, and my mess."

"You stupid boy." Veronica countered, wiping her eyes. "Whether you and I had gotten together, I still would've been in 'your life and your mess'. She quoted. "I was still determined to find Lilly's killer, no matter what our relationship was." Logan stared at her, open mouthed. "Don't you get it, Logan?"

"Get what?" He managed to get out.

"I love you, you idiot." Before he could move, she was standing on her tiptoes and touching her lips gently to his. They were interrupted by a meek female voice.

"Excuse me, Mr. Echolls?" The nurse spoke up. Logan pulled away from Veronica reluctantly.

"Yeah?" Logan glanced at her from where he stood, arms around Veronica.

"I've got your discharge papers, and further care instructions." She said. Logan sighed.

"Let me go take care of this." He told her, meeting her breathless smile. "I'll meet you back at your dad's room, ok?" She nodded. Logan pressed his forehead to her gently, kissed her quickly and followed the nurse. Veronica stared after him for a moment.

Damn. Just...damn.

Grinning like the Cheshire Cat, she set off for her father's room.

She paused in the doorway, noting that Cliff was gone. Her father looked tired.

"Veronica, I'm glad you came back." Keith said, gesturing for her to come in. "There's something I need to tell you."

"Should I sit down?" She asked, feeling some slight trepidation. Keith nodded. She sat slowly, and her dad leaned forward to take her hand.

"I wanted you to be the first to know." He began. "I'm going to ask Alicia to marry me." Thousands of thoughts flooded through her brain, all of them passing over her face as her father awaited a reaction.

"Wow...Dad..." She said, shocked. Her face broke out into a small smile. "That's great. Alicia's great. I'm sure she'll say yes."

"I tried to work it out with your mom, but it just wasn't right." Keith started to explain. "With Alicia..." He trailed off.

"It's right." She answered for him. He nodded.

"As soon as I get out of here." Keith told her. Veronica leaned up and hugged her father gently.

"I'm happy for you." Veronica said.

"You're sure?" He double checked. She nodded.

"I'm sure."

"Dad?" He looked at her. "Mom took the money." Veronica nearly whispered. Confusion crossed his face, and realization dawned. He patted her hand.

"We'll figured it out." He promised.

"Hey." Logan popped his head in from the doorway. "Think I could kidnap your daughter for a walk on the beach?" He asked Keith. Keith looked from his daughter to the boy in the door way, and realized that they had made up.

"Don't keep her out all night." Keith warned. "You two still have a few weeks of school to finish." Logan saluted her dad, and held out his hand toward Veronica. She took it, following him out the door with a wave to her father.

Her cell phone rang while they were driving, and Veronica gave Logan an apologetic glance as she answered it.

"Hello?" She said into the phone.

"Veroinca...it's Dunca." The male voice replied, hesitant.

"What do you want?" She nearly snapped.

"To apologize...you were right, and I was wrong." Duncan answered.

"Look, Duncan." Veronica began. Logan gave her a look out of the corner of his eye.

"I know you're mad...but when you're ready...I'd like to be friends. I just wanted you to know." He told her.

"Stranger things have happened." She said. "Give Celeste Hell for me." Veronica snapped her phone shut before he could reply.

"Well?" Logan asked, and Veronica knew that this would be the first step in rebuilding everything they'd knocked down.

"Duncan. He wants to be friends." Veronica gave him a smile. "We'll see."

I used to think that if I solved Lilly's murder, everything would go back to the way it was before she died. My friends would be my friends again, Duncan and I would get back together, and my mom would come home.

I was a fool

I caught Lilly's killer, and nearly lost my dad and myself in the process. I nearly alienated Logan, who I had started to develop real feelings for. My mom did come home, all right, but just to use us, abuse us and and rob us blind. Duncan and I are barely speaking.

Sometimes I long for the innocent Veronica who believed without a doubt that if she figured it out, that if Lilly's death wasn't this gaping eyesore in her life, that everything would return to normal. Sometimes I long for the happy ending I'll never have.

But right now, with my dad alive, and happy and getting ready to propose to Alicia? With Wallace as my b.f.f. And a new little brother to tease? Right now, while walking with Logan under the stars?

Happy or not, it's the only ending I need.