Title: Not Exactly Perfect
Author: Haley J. The Bat
Pairing/Character: LoVe, Logan POV
Word Count: 8,813
Rating: R
Summary: Logan hates Veronica, and hate can very easily be turned to lust.
Spoilers/Warnings: AU after An Echolls' Family Christmas
AN: This is a little insignificant, but I mention Veronica having angled bangs. I know she doesn't get them until later in the season, but just play along. And thank you so much to Natasha for reading this and helping me through it. This was the toughest fic I've written in a long time, and I wouldn't have got through it without her. :)

Considering the extent of Aaron Echolls' injury involving an ice pick and a shunned lover, one might have expected his friends and family to huddle in the waiting room of the hospital, anxiously waiting for any word on his condition. Anyone who expected that didn't know Aaron Echolls or his family.

Lynn hugged her middle as she talked to the doctor, a frown in place as she nodded along to whatever he was saying. Logan observed this from his seat on a waiting room chair where he stretched his legs out, impatient to leave the stark room that reporters were already starting to stumble into. He could see them walking in, dumbly looking around, and finally recognizing Lynn. They waited with tapping feet for her to finish talking with the doctor, but for different reasons than Logan's.

Finally Lynn said something to the doctor, nodded one last time, and faced the room with a deep sigh. Logan stood immediately, wanting to rescue her from the prying eyes and ears the reporters were sure to focus on her. Logan placed an arm around her shoulders, and she looked up at him gratefully.

"Let's go home," she said softly, and Logan squeezed her shoulder to show he agreed.

Getting through the reporters in the waiting room was easy. They asked a few questions, but Logan firmly led his mother through them, assuring them they would get a statement in the morning. Nobody was happy, but Logan didn't give a fuck what they felt. Once they got outside the hospital, there were hounds of people, flashing lights, and shouting. Logan and Lynn kept their heads down as they walked slowly through the trudge of paparazzi. This wasn't the first time either of them had to deal with this.

What seemed like a lifetime later, they both were strapped into the car and driving home. Silence settled in the air quickly and chased the air out until Logan felt like he was going to suffocate. Luckily he had just pulled up to the front of the house as it finally became too much.

"All of the guests are gone," Lynn said awkwardly.

"There were a few at the hospital, but I told them to go home." Logan opened the door, and sweet air rushed across his face.

"Thank you." Lynn's comment was soft and light, disappearing a split second after she uttered it.

Logan nodded briefly, pocketed the keys, and left his mom in the car as he walked into the house. Maybe he loved her, but that didn't mean he wanted to be with her after what happened. Logan was no good at offering comfort, and that was what Lynn needed. She could call a girlfriend if she wanted. Or she could go inside and pour herself the ultimate comfort of all.

That's what Logan was planning on doing. He went back into the pool house where he had been playing poker earlier. Everything was scattered across the table, forgotten. Logan went to the bar and pulled a bottle of anything out from underneath the counter. He popped the cork and went to sit at the table, pushing the half empty beer bottles and cards out of his way.

His mind was buzzing with thoughts, so he took a giant swig of the alcohol to remedy that. He figured by the end of the bottle and perhaps the start of a new one, he'd be feeling better. Or he would pass out, which didn't seem like such a bad idea either.

So… Aaron Echolls had been cheating on his wife. Logan took another gulp and smirked to himself. Now who saw that coming? All of America? Wow, gee. How silly Logan felt now that he had wasted his life looking up to ole Daddy Dearest. Who would be his role model now?

Logan swished some more alcohol around in his mouth and swallowed. Long ago he'd lost his gag reflex. Now he could not only appreciate a fine wine; he could also gulp down vodka like nobody's business. It didn't really matter what went down his throat, as long as it burned all the way to his heart. Maybe someday he could destroy himself with alcohol. Wouldn't that be a wonderful way to die? Delirious, dizzy, and numb.

He snickered as he set the bottle down on the table. It was anticlimactic thinking about death when he knew he was never going to kill himself. He liked the world too much to leave it. Despite the smacks of leather against his skin, the echoes of lunatics demanding to know how much he loved his father, and the pain he saw in his mother's eyes… despite all that, Logan had led a pretty good life. He had everything he could ever want. Money, liquor, and popularity. With those three under his belt, he could accomplish anything he wanted. What he wanted right now? To finish this bottle of vodka.

Logan dipped the bottle to his lips, took another long swig, and swallowed so hard that the burn in his throat was almost overwhelming. Like he cared.

Logan looked around the dark pool house and picked up a poker chip to finger in his hands. Too bad. Veronica needed that cash she'd almost won. But he shouldn't feel guilty; she still had food stamps, after all. In fact, this was the one good thing Aaron had ever done in his life, despite what his Golden Globe nominations said: he kept Logan from being utterly humiliated. Because if Veronica Mars had won, she would have been rubbing his face in it for the rest of their high school lives.

Veronica Mars… He took two gulps this time. It helped to be intoxicated while thinking about the little bitch. Who did she think she was, coming in here and figuring them all out? Why did she have to be so fucking smart? It just plain pissed him off. The way she'd walked in here, laughed at his insult, and paraded around the table like she was God's gift. And that self-satisfied smile on her face each time she won a hand had had him gripping his beer bottle tighter than necessary.

How could he have ever been friends with her? Her whole life's purpose now seemed to involve enraging him as much as humanly possible. And with Veronica Mars, a lot was humanly possible.

Man, but she was hot.

Logan choked on the liquid, spitting it out across the table as he fell into a deep coughing fit. Afterwards his throat felt torn, and his head pounded with the movement coughing had required.

Yeah, so she's hot. Logan tried not to shudder at the very admission. There was a time, though, a long time ago, when admitting he thought Veronica was hot had been something to laugh about. Now it made him so mad he wanted to punch something. He settled for slamming the bottle on the table and resting his forehead in his hand. He had promised himself to never think that again.

He remembered when he'd slid a lime slice into her lips and cried out in glee as someone took a salt lick off her neck. Why hadn't he gotten to taste her skin before Duncan the Great came in to interfere? Would it have driven him crazy? Or would he have thrown up? Back then it was different. Back then she'd been naïve and innocent. That was before she became the bitch that roamed Neptune with that little tilt of her head and sway of her hips that drove him crazy.

Logan finally poured the last drop of liquor down his throat and stood up to pace around the room. It was hard when his head was spinning so much, but Logan considered holding his liquor an art form. One that he excelled in.

He'd love to fuck her. He'd love to be alone with her in this room, push her over the table, and sink himself inside of her. Maybe someday he could to it. That was unlikely, but he knew that hate as strong as what ran between them could easily be turned into lust. The only problem was her pretty little mouth. It often got in the way of his wanting her, which is why he'd given up so long ago.

After Lilly died, he wanted to fuck anything that moved, and he pretty much did. Everything looked like Lilly to him, so it had been easy to lose himself in faceless girl after girl. But one night in the heady glow of a party, he'd seen Veronica walking around in a white dress, a glazed look in her eyes as she stumbled onto a lawn chair. Logan had frozen, staring at her as if she were the most beautiful thing to grace the earth. All he wanted in that moment was her. He wanted to have her lips warm to his and her body thrusting up against his. He wanted her so badly that it knocked the air out of him, knocked the sense out of him.

The guys he'd been talking with had followed his gaze and laughed. "I can read your mind, man," they told Logan. "Body shots!"

Logan had snapped out of his daze and laughed along. In the end it had been him exuberantly pouring salt on her neck and cheering along the other guys. He could never let anyone know that for just a moment he'd wanted Veronica Mars, or that that moment was spreading out farther than he liked.

After Duncan's rescue, Logan found another girl at the party to fuck in the back of his car. Only this time he didn't see Lilly's big eyes and red lips. He saw long blonde locks and a brilliant smile.

The next time he saw Veronica, she was an entirely different person. Not only had she chopped her hair off, but she'd also stopped taking his crap. Instead of hurt eyes and shrinking shoulders, she had confidence and a sharp tongue on her side. Logan instantly regretted how she'd made him feel and turned cold towards her. Never again would he want Veronica Mars, he promised himself.

Until this moment, when he was drunk and hurt enough to break his promise.

With a sigh, Logan went to the bar for another bottle of hard liquor. At this point he was too drunk to know what he was drinking. He stumbled out of the pool house and managed to find his way into a guest bedroom. After collapsing backwards on the bed, he cradled his bottle of alcohol against his chest, took a few more sips, and managed to fall asleep before he could drink himself into the hospital.

A week later Logan was playing Halo 2 in his room, biting his lip and concentrating hard on the game, when someone knocked on the door. With an aggravated sigh, Logan paused the game and sat up. "What is it?" he called out, making it clear that he didn't want to talk to anyone right now.

If it was Aaron coming to have a father-son talk, Logan swore to god he would outright kill him.

"Someone is here to see you, Mr. Logan," one of the maids said through the door.

Logan dragged himself off the bed and went to the door unhappily. It was probably Dick coming over to pretend he hadn't been one of the people who put tabloid pictures on his locker. Maybe he would kill him, too. Logan opened the door and gave the woman a stony look. "Who is it?"

"A blonde girl. She didn't tell me her name," the maid said, trembling slightly at the cold look in Logan's eyes.

A wedge of fear made its way into Logan's stomach. No, she wouldn't come here… would she? "What does she look like?" he asked as he reluctantly stepped out in the hallway.

"She's short and very nice," the maid replied quickly. "She's waiting for you in the living room. Would you like me to bring you two anything?"

"Don't worry about it. She won't be staying long," Logan muttered as he stalked through the house to the living room. Sure enough, one Veronica Mars was leaning against the sliding glass doors, looking out at the pool. "Veronica! Thank god you came! I was going into withdrawals."

Veronica started and turned slowly to look at him. "I heard about your fight."

"Those 'Understanding English' courses must really be working out for you, then."

"That's why I insisted on taking them instead of the jackass classes you were so keen on," Veronica said cheerily.

"Now to what do I owe this obvious pleasure?" Logan asked, getting straight to the point as he walked closer to her. "Were you looking to take a dip in my pool? Too much white trash floating around in yours?"

Veronica arched an eyebrow, but ignored him. "I came for my money."

"What?" Logan asked incredulously.

"I won fair and square that night, and I need the money for my dad's Christmas present. I already got my share from everyone else in on the game. Now I want what you owe me."

"I don't owe you anything," Logan defended. "We didn't even finish the game."

"Everyone else seemed pretty willing to pay up. Even Weevil." Veronica smiled. The little bitch knew that mentioning his name was sure to piss him off.

"I'm not giving you any fucking money, Veronica."

For some odd, fucked up Veronica reason, she actually looked pleased. "I was expecting you to say that, so I'm going to offer you a deal. I have four thousand now. I'm willing to play you another round of poker for it. If you win, you get the money and the luxury of being able to brag to your friends about how stupid I am. If I win, which seems unlikely considering how tough and manly you are-" Her eyes glinted mockingly. "-Well, then I'm going home with eight grand."

"You're forgetting, Ronnie Pooh, that I don't need to beat you at poker to tell my friends how stupid you are," Logan said with a grin. "That pretty much comes with the subject."

Veronica flashed him her brilliant smile. "Well, then they'd be ecstatic to know how much I kicked your ass the other night. Besides, Logan, don't tell me you aren't just itching to get back at me for that."

She did have him there. Logan slowly began to smile as he rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Okay. We'll play." There was no way he was going to let her leave with eight thousand bucks, and this was the perfect opportunity to work out his rage towards her and all the other crap cluttering his life up.

"Great!" Veronica cheerily opened the door and started towards the pool house they'd played in before.

Logan watched her for a moment. Why was he always surprised when Veronica did anything? He should remember how unpredictable she is. After shaking his head in a moment of amusement, he followed her into the pool house. It was different being in there in the middle of the day, alone with her.

While he got the cards, poker chips, and drinks out, Veronica settled herself at the table and watched him watching her. He quickly looked down as he set everything on the table, only to look up again as he set a beer in front of her.

Veronica recognized the challenge and smirked at him. "Bottle opener?"

Logan watched closely as he opened the top for her. She thrust her bottle to him in a sort of toast before throwing her head back and taking a gulp. Despite her bravery, he could see the look of disgust on her face when she set it back down and wiped her mouth with her hand.

Shaking his head again, he sat down and began to deal the deck. There was no way he'd give her the opportunity to cheat. When he finished shuffling, he looked up just in time to catch her taking another drink. Suddenly his mind flashed back to that night, after the poker, when he'd been in here alone thinking about her. He saw her leaning against the table while he rammed into her, and he shook at the very thought.

"Are you going to deal, or what?" Veronica's irritated voice interrupted the little video in his mind.

Logan snapped to attention and practically slammed the cards down as he dealt. It was her fucking fault if he got drunk enough to try anything. She shouldn't have come here alone with him wearing a tank top that showed off her soft-looking skin.

From that point onward they were all business in the game. Logan went through four more beers, and Veronica barely touching her second. They were neck to neck in their winnings, and neither of them was too eager to quit playing. Dusk was beginning to settle upon the earth when her phone rang, and he watched her answer it with a bright, happy voice, assuring whomever was on the line that she was fine and would be home in an hour.

Logan's eyes slipped down to her ass as she turned her back to him and leaned against the doorway, looking at the pool again. He wanted her so badly now that he wasn't sure if he would be able to control himself much longer. All throughout the game she kept biting her lip and adjusting her bra strap under her tank top in a way that was driving him wild.

"We've got another hour left. Three more games," Veronica said as she sat down. Her pleasant conversation must have been leaking over into the game, because she was still showing off her pearly whites.

"Only three?" Logan asked in mock disappointment. "I was hoping we could have a sleepover and do each other's hair."

"Sorry to disappoint." Veronica took a small sip of her beer and picked up her hand. "And I was just dying to see you in cornrows."

"Oh, Veronica, you've read my mind." Logan eyed his hand and decided she was going to win this round. That put them head to head, with two games left.

"I also have this super cute pink nail polish that I know would bring out the color of your eyes," Veronica added.

Logan tried not to smile, loathe to admit that he found her the least bit amusing, as he set down his hand. "You effectively beat me, Miss Mars. Now excuse me for a minute while I take a bathroom break."

Veronica set her hand down, a royal flush, and nodded encouragingly at him. "I'll just sit here and think of all the places I can hide cards to cheat in our next game."

Logan gave her a once over. "Good idea. I'll be thinking of those places, too," Logan said with a lecherous wink. The look of shock that came over her face had him laughing all the way into the house.

"Where have you been holed up all afternoon?" Lynn asked as Logan passed through the family room where she was flipping through channels on TV. "Jen told me you have a guest."

"Just me and Veronica Mars playing poker in the pool house," Logan said, smiling at the ridiculous statement.

Lynn just smiled softly. "I always liked Veronica. You haven't had her over in a long time."

"That's because she's a class A bitch now, Mom," Logan explained.

Lynn's smile turned sad. "Oh. Her father is so nice."

"Yeah, yeah. Listen, I've got to go before she starts slipping cards up her sleeves." To make up for his brushing her off, Logan leaned down and kissed his mom on the forehead. "We'll be done in an hour. Want to watch CSI?"

"Sure, honey." Lynn kissed him on the cheek. "Have fun."

Logan went to the bathroom and returned in record time to the table. When he came back, he watched Veronica's back from the doorway for a minute. He told himself it was because he wanted to see if she would cheat, but he knew that wasn't true.

"You do know I can feel your eyes on me, right?" Veronica suddenly interrupted his staring.

Logan stepped forward as she turned around, determined to look indifferent that he'd been caught. "I was thinking back to a few years ago."

Veronica looked at him suspiciously as he went to the fridge for two new beers. "What about it?"

"Just that you used to be so nice." Logan smirked in a way he knew would piss her off. It was amazing how much smiling they did to each other, and yet they never meant any of it.

Veronica straightened in her chair and glared at the bottle he sat in front of her. "I don't want another one. I like my liver pink and healthy, unlike some people."

"Gee. Insulting my liver. That really hurt." Logan picked up the cards and began to deal. "If you don't have anything nice to say, Ronnie, don't say it all."

Veronica's jaw dropped. "Hypocritical much? Logan, you have been the biggest bastard in the world since…" She trailed off then jutted out her chin. "Since Lilly died."

Logan stopped cold. No way. She did not just bring Lilly up, did she?

"Need I remind you of a certain crow bar that you used to smash my headlights with?"

"You planted a bong in my locker!"

Veronica shrugged, conceding. "But still, Logan. You've said… you've said some of the most hurtful things I've ever heard. Every day."

Logan ignored the slight, faint feeling of guilt. "Did you ever think that that was my intention?" Veronica bit her lip, but this time it was anything but sexy. He could see the pain her eyes. "God, Veronica! Don't pretend like you're hurt. My opinion doesn't mean anything to you."

"You're right. It doesn't." Veronica stood up. "Suddenly I'm sick and tired of this. Let's just call it a draw."

"What?" Logan jumped up and grabbed her arm as she started to pick up her bag. "No way, Mars. We're hashing this out. Two more games. I'm not letting you go home with all that money. Would you even know what to do with it?"

Veronica yanked her arm away from him and glared. "I'm going home."

"Jesus Christ, you are irritating. How can you not expect me to act like a bastard towards you?" Logan threw his hands up in the air in defeat. "Sometime during Christmas break last year, a stick must have managed to lodge itself in your ass, because ever since then, you've been unbearable."

Veronica clenched her jaw and swung her bag over her shoulder, choosing silence over yelling. Logan wasn't going to let her go, though. He reached for her shoulder and pulled her back to face him. Veronica didn't hesitate to reach out and slap him hard across the face.

Logan touched his stinging cheek and glared hard at her. He'd been right when he had drunkenly thought that he could easily turn anger into lust, because his rage at the slap turned to arousal when he noticed that she was panting hard, her chest dipping up and down, her lips open in an 'O'.

Without a single thought about how stupid he was, Logan leaned down and kissed her. At first she stiffened, and he expected her to pull away and slap him again. When he tilted his head and bit her lower lip, though, she reacted by thrusting herself against him and wrapping her arms around his neck.

Suddenly they were making out. Logan's tongue tangled with hers and fought for dominance as his hands cupped her ass and lifted her onto the table. They were fighting against each other even as it happened, creating a mess of cards and beer in a matter of seconds. Veronica's hands were under his shirt, and her nails were digging into his back. Logan responded by jerking his hips in between her legs. Instead of pissing her off, it caused her to go limp in his arms. She struggled to hold onto him, and he placed his hands on her back to give her support.

No fucking way. There was no fucking way this was happening.

Logan didn't care though. He didn't care that he had worked hard to hate this girl for a year and a half. He didn't care what anyone would think at school if they found out. He didn't even care if someone walked in on them right now. He was going to go as far as he could with her. He'd wanted her for too long to screw this up. He'd wanted her for even longer than the white dress; if he was honest, he could admit he'd wanted her since the first time he saw her in those little soccer shorts and the knee socks.

Veronica gasped in his ear as he worked his way from her lips down her neck and to the edge of her tank top. He licked carefully, and it was far better than if there had been salt on her neck and a lime in her mouth. This was the real Veronica. The one who could kick him in the legs at any moment now. But she wouldn't. She wanted him just as badly as he wanted her.

He knew as soon as he managed to get her bra unhooked that he should suggest they go some place else, but he also knew that if they stopped for even a second, Veronica would realize what was happening and push him away. There was no way he would risk that. His hands immediately traced around her front and slipped under her loosened bra to cup her breasts in his large hands. They tightened against his palms, and she ripped her mouth away from his. Instead of pushing him away, she let out a long moan that went straight down his spine and to his groin.

Logan pushed her tank top and bra up, revealing her naked breasts. He swayed slightly as he pushed her backwards on the table so that he could comfortably reach her left nipple with his mouth. Her hands went straight into his hair when he sucked quickly and then flicked his tongue across the sensitive pebble her nipple had become.

"Oh, god, Logan," Veronica gasped, sending more pleasure swirling in him than anything else she could have done. The fact that she knew it was him and yet still let him do all this was overwhelmingly sexy.

And he would not feel guilty. Veronica hadn't had enough beer to influence her; she could stop him at any time.

As he thought this, his hand crept up her inner thigh lightly. Finally he pressed his palm against her crotch, and they both moaned. He could feel the heat that he was building, and he paused for just a split second to gather his bearings. Then he kissed down along her stomach.

When his fingers began to fumble with the button on her jeans, he felt her hands on his shoulders, pulling him up her body to meet her lips once more. Logan wanted to groan in frustration, but he understood. Besides, it wasn't exactly torture kissing Veronica. Especially since after a minute of pressing closer and closer, he suddenly felt her tiny hand exploring the crotch of his pants tentatively. Logan thrust against her hand, and she quickly pulled away as if in shock. Logan was nearly losing it. He pulled away from her lips and rested his forehead on her shoulders. Her lips went to his ear and nibbled along the outside.

Logan returned the favor by finding a sensitive spot on her neck and teasing it with his lips and teeth. For some reason they were slowing down. It was a good thing, Logan reflected, because if they moved any faster, they both would burn up inside each other. Just as he thought this, he felt her hands at his ass, pressing him firmly against her. Logan closed his eyes and groaned. He swore he could feel the heat through two layers of jeans, though it was probably only his imagination.

He couldn't wait any longer, and he began to unbutton her jeans. When he got to the zipper, he felt her straighten suddenly, but he pressed on and thrust one finger into her jeans and pressed just… there…

Veronica made a strange noise and suddenly pushed him away harshly. Logan stumbled and blinked a few times to focus on Veronica rocking on the table, looking terrified. "Veronica…?" Logan couldn't hide the concern in his voice, and found that for the first time he wanted Veronica to know that he cared about her. "Veronica, what's wrong?"

She looked up at him sharply and barely met his eyes before jumping off the table and fixing her clothes.

"Veronica!" Logan chased after her, but when he finally realized it was pointless, he slowed down by the pool, confused as hell.

What had just happened? He knew from things Lilly had told him that Veronica was no innocent when it came to these things. But then again, Veronica and Duncan had been dating. Logan and Veronica could barely tolerate each other.

He wanted to be mad at her, but his conscience wouldn't let him. He shouldn't have pushed her that far, even if his body had had a different opinion.

Logan went to sit back down at the table and finish his beer. He wanted to be good and drunk before he realized what he'd just done.

For the next four days, Logan walked through Veronica-less hallways. He knew she was there; he did, after all, see her in newspaper for a few minutes before she managed to leave with a pass. He wanted to be frustrated, but something heavy was weighing down his chest. He knew that when he finally talked to Veronica, something bad was going to happen.

Finally, on Friday, Logan was walking down the hallway alone when she suddenly appeared at his side. "Can I talk to you?"

Logan had a million retorts ready, but they all died on his tongue. He nodded simply, and she pulled him into a classroom and shut the door behind them.

"I left my money at your house," Veronica said, crossing her arms and looking ready to fight him to the death.

That glint in her eyes sparked anger inside of Logan. He straightened immediately and put his most mocking face. "I did find a penny on the deck." He put a hand over his mouth and gasped. "Oh, was that your college fund?"

Veronica's jaw set and her eyes flashed dangerously. "We were tied. I'm willing to just take my half and leave."

It would have been easy to just nod and bring her the money the next day. But Logan despised the easy route. "Take your half and leave? What happened to the all or nothing deal we had?"

"Why am I not surprised?" Veronica sighed. "We'll play one more game. Winner takes all."

"My house after school?" Logan suggested. He leered at her menacingly. "We can, uh, pick up where we left off."

"Fine. I'll drive straight to your house after school. Hopefully I won't waste too much of my time kicking your ass."

"I don't think that will be a problem at all."

"See, that's your problem, Logan." Veronica smiled up at him. "You don't think."

Logan let her win the round. He propped his foot up on the chair of a desk and watched her leave the room, thankfully taking her attitude with her.

He shook his head in anger and didn't know how he was going to be able to contain himself for the rest of the day if he had to imagine what was going to happen at his house later. One part of his brain would be sending him images of her breathless and half-naked on the table. The other part would be sending him images of him drowning her in the pool.

The problem was that both were so appealing, he wasn't quite sure which one he preferred.

Three hours later Logan was sitting across from Veronica at the same table of their two previous games. This time neither of them had a beer. There were just poker chips and cards on the table. Logan glanced up every few seconds to glare at Veronica, and she seemed happy to return the favor.

Whatever he did, Logan did not allow himself to remember how she'd felt pressed up against him on this table. He would take a knife to his throat rather than remember that.

"I've been trying to decide what to do with my money once I win," Veronica said, smugly shifting in her chair.

Logan bit his cheek, trying to decide if he should take her bait or not. After a long pause of hesitancy, he decided not to bother talking at all. "Let's just stick to business, okay?" he grumbled.

"Fine by me," she said quietly as she snapped up a card.

The silence continued for another long while. They were coming to a close with the game, and Logan was getting more and more pissed off at his hand. If he lost, his life was over. Veronica would just love to tell everyone at school. There was only so much his jokes and witty sarcasm could do for him if he lost four thousand dollars to the school's queen of all things trashy.

It finally came down to the final moment of the game, and they still hadn't spoken a word. Logan and Veronica locked eyes, neither one too keen on putting their cards down. Logan looked down at his bad hand in contempt before finally throwing it on the table and standing up to get a drink from the bar.

"The money's in the chip box," he said coldly.

He could hear her moving behind him, but he didn't turn to look. He hated himself for letting her win. He hated her for winning. And he hated both of them for their temporary insanity the day before. Why had they had to screw up a perfectly good, hateful relationship by making out? Now he could barely look at her without remembering what she looked like without a shirt on.


He straightened his spine. "What?" he demanded sharply, wanting Veronica to know that he was more than ready for a confrontation.

"I just…"

Logan finally turned around, knowing that he couldn't keep his back to her forever. "You just what?" he asked mockingly. When he saw the hurt in her eyes, he pounced on it. "You j-just feel so bad for winning against me? Please, Veronica. You should see my trust fund if you think four thousand is going to set me back."

Veronica didn't flare up. Instead she looked even sadder, which was really pissing him off. "I was going to say that I'm sorry about the other day," she said, a bite of annoyance in her words.

"You're sorry about the other day?" he repeated slowly. "Oh… you mean when you almost fucked me on that table. Right. I remember now."

Veronica's lower lip trembled so slightly that he almost didn't catch it. Other than that, she showed no signs that she'd heard what he'd said.

"I thought we just weren't going to mention it again," Logan said conversationally. "You know, because it was such an embarrassing moment." He paused and sneered at her before adding quickly, "For both of us, I mean."

This time her eyes began to shine slightly as if tears were gathering. And he actually felt guilty about it. This was not his problem. He wasn't the one who had run out of the room like a maniac.

"Congratulations, Logan. Every time I start to think that there's a person under there, you rush to prove me wrong." Veronica's lips turned into an empty smile. "I won't be forgetting again anytime soon."

A lump rose in his chest, and he gulped to try and get rid of it. It didn't do any good, and Veronica was still looking at him like he was some kind of monster. He didn't care what she thought. Veronica Mars was hot, but she didn't mean anything to him.

Only maybe she did.

"Veronica…" he let out before he could stop himself. His voice had been soft and apologetic, but he couldn't exactly take that back now.

"I'm leaving," Veronica announced as she leaned over to pick up her back pack. "I'll see you at school on Monday."

"Wait!" Logan shouted louder than was necessary. It worked though because Veronica froze and looked up at him in surprise. "I'm sorry, too, okay?"

"For what?" she asked, looking like she was actually curious rather than just wanting him to say it out loud.

Logan took a swig of beer and moved back around the mini bar. "I'm sorry that I almost fucked you on that table. And I'm sorry… I'm sorry that sometimes I say things that I don't want to mean."

"That you don't want to mean?" she mocked, but he could hear the tears in her voice definitely now.

"I really, really want to hate you." He let out a frustrated noise as he smiled guiltily at her. "You just make it so hard sometimes, y'know?"

"Believe me, I know." And she actually laughed.

Logan bit down on his cheek hard to keep from feeling anything because of that laugh. "I hate the way you make me feel," he informed her in a low, deadly voice.

Veronica stopped laughing abruptly and looked genuinely scared as she backed up a step. "How do I make you feel?" she whispered, her voice broken.

"Crazy," Logan said, going back to his normal voice. He hadn't wanted to scare her. "Crazy fucking insane. I feel like someone should put me in a straight jacket and send me to the loony bin because…" He trailed off, not wanting to complete that thought aloud.

Veronica was biting her lip as she took a single step forward. Their eyes met, and she smiled softly. Then she straightened her shoulders and closed the rest of the space between them. "I know exactly how you feel," she whispered into his ear.

Logan closed his eyes at the feel of her breath and stood there, trying to be mad that she had such power over him – but really, how could he be mad when it felt this good? He slowly opened his eyes and began to speak… but Veronica was gone.

Logan got to the pool just as she was walking into the living room. He supposed he should be shocked or surprised, but he'd finally managed to teach himself to expect anything from Miss Mars.

With a sigh, he went to sit back at the table and nurse his beer.

Man, but she looked hot today in that miniskirt, Logan thought bitterly to himself.

And he took another sip of his beer to numb that thought. Except this time it didn't anger him. Veronica had done as he'd always feared. She'd made him start to like her again.

A few days later at school, Logan was assigned to work with Veronica on an article in journalism. When he'd heard the simply delightful news, he'd looked up sharply to meet Veronica's equally shocked eyes. Then he just shrugged and smirked, because really, how could he be mad? No matter what kind of confrontation he had with Veronica, it was always fun.

After class he knew she was waiting for him, so he purposefully took his time until everyone else had left the classroom. Then he looked up and pretended to be surprised. "Oh, hey, Veronica."

Veronica shifted uncomfortably between her feet. "I could do it all, if you wanted. I'll go to the site and take the pictures and write the story."

Logan just smirked. "And what would I do with my afternoon then, Veronica Mars?"

"Play video games?" she suggested with a cute little shrug and half smile.

Logan walked forward suddenly until he was invading her personal space. He could see the column of her throat quiver as if she were swallowing hard as he got closer. "What would be the fun in that?"

"Why don't you ask the fifty dollars you blew on the game?" Veronica said, her voice off in tone, a little higher than usual.

"I got it on sale for forty five."

"Good for you." Veronica turned away from him and took a deep breath. "So what about it? Are you going to let me do this on my own?"

"No. We're going to take pictures of the building together, and then we're going to write the story together."

"What's with all of the togetherness? Didn't you hate me last week?"

"Who says I don't hate you now?" Logan asked.

"Well, I just… I mean, you want to spend all this time together with me." Veronica bit her lip slowly, and a shot of desire shot through Logan.

He swallowed tightly. "People change. Don't you believe in change?"

"I don't know what I believe," she said softly, and looked at him with a touch of vulnerability. They were just starting to have a moment when she shook her head slightly and moved to the doors. "I'm now late for chem. Thanks."

"I'll see you after school, Ronica! We'll take the Xterra. I've got a CD player and that new BSB CD that's all the rage."

"Maybe I want to take my car."

"Maybe I want to actually get there." Logan gave her a farewell salute and a signature smirk before turning around and heading for class.

Logan had been waiting for about twenty minutes before Veronica opened the passenger seat of the Xterra and hopped inside, a grim, determined look on her face.

She stared straight ahead, and Logan stared straight at her. Then, after a few long moments, she turned to him in rage and snapped, "Well? Does this thing drive or what?"

Logan raised his eyebrows, actually surprised to see the bitch come out, even though he knew he shouldn't be. "I wanted to give you time to prepare yourself. It must be strange being in a car that works."

"Good one." Veronica rolled her eyes and turned to stare out the window.

She remained sullen and withdrawn until they got to the worksite of the new surf shop that Ms. Dent had assigned them. Once they got out of the car, Veronica's face brightened with a smile, and she acted downright cheery as she took pictures and added on to questions Logan was asking the crew. It was an easy in and out – they just needed the pictures and a few quotes to add to information about the surf shop and when it would be open.

Less than half an hour later, they were both back in the car. Logan watched the smile dissipate from Veronica's face, and he rolled his eyes and started the car angrily. Why did she have to treat him like he was the biggest dick on the planet? It wasn't his fault that she was so irritating.

"You're going too fast," Veronica murmured after a few minutes.

Logan turned to give her a cold look. "Am I? Are you sure you're not just confused because you're used to riding in your '20 mile per hour LeBaron'?"

Veronica clenched her jaw and glared at him. "I'm getting pretty sick and tired of the jokes about my car. Can't you come up with some new material? Make fun of my outfit or my hair. You can even slip in a few jabs at my apartment if you want. I won't hold it against you. Just give me something new, so that I'm not bored out of my mind when retaliating."

Logan pulled over on the side of the road and was silent for a moment as he wondered if that meant she actually enjoyed retaliating as long as she had good material. But it was so boring to think about that he smirked at her and said dead pan, "Your clothes don't always match. Your bangs are sideways. And you're poor."

Veronica blinked once, twice, and then burst out laughing. She didn't stop, and soon afterwards, Logan found a smile tugging at his lips. Then he was laughing, too, and it wasn't at all awkward or odd. In fact, as they both came to an end, gasping and wiping the tears at the corner of their eyes, the air inside the car was less suffocating. Could it be? Was Logan actually feeling comfortable in the presence of Veronica Mars? But despite how weird that was, he had no desire to make a snide comment and ruin it. For a split second he felt like he'd gone back in time to before Lilly had died and everything fell apart. Back when he would make snide comments to make Veronica laugh instead of to pierce her straight through the heart.

"When did we become so mean to each other?" Veronica asked softly, as if she had been having the same stream of thoughts.

Logan turned his head to look at her but couldn't decide how to answer her. "I don't know. It's been like this for so long, I can barely remember not hating you."

"I know." Veronica sighed. "You do realize that we've been acting like complete idiots this whole time, right?"

Logan thought back to all of the times he'd said hurtful things to her and compared the look on her face then to the look on her face while she'd been laughing a few minutes ago. "I'm starting to see the picture," he said softly.

Veronica half-smiled. "Just to let you know, my bangs are supposed to be sideways. It's a style."

"Not a very good one," Logan teased even though he kind of liked her sideways bangs.

"What about you with those godawful highlights?" Veronica pointed out, narrowing her eyes playfully. "Did you apply them yourself?"

"Veronica," Logan said testily while glancing in the mirror to make sure his hair still looked cool, as he knew it would, "insulting my hair is something that's going to get you kicked out of my car."

"All right, all right." Veronica held her hands up in peace. "Now can you take me back to the school so I can pick up the LeBaron?"

Logan checked the mirror and patted his hair defiantly. Then he winked at her with a mocking click of his tongue and started the car up.

Veronica played with the dial on the radio on the way home, and he even let her. Normally no one was allowed to mess with the radio in his car.

"What happened to the BSB CD?" Veronica asked, pouting.

"I leant it to Dick."

Veronica tried not to laugh, but he saw the sparkle in her eye as she turned to look out the window. A feeling of pride came up inside of him. He used to love being with Veronica. She would blush at his innuendos – actually blush - and giggle at his jokes. She had made him feel important a long time ago. Logan glanced at her as they pulled up next to her car and wondered if he had ever made her feel important.

"Thanks for the ride." Veronica smiled awkwardly and fumbled for the door handle. "I'll straighten out the pics tonight, and we can write the article tomorrow during class."

"That sounds like a plan," Logan said blandly. She had already shut the door halfway through his sentence. Instead of being offended, he watched her walk around to the driver's side of the car.

With a sudden burst of impulsiveness, Logan jumped out of the car and started Veronica into looking up. He shuffled his foot in mild embarrassment, ducked his head, and looked up at her shyly. "Uh… just so we're clear… do we have some sort of truce now?"

"A truce?"

"Yeah. I won't be a dick. You won't be a bitch. To each other."

"You think I'm a bitch?" Veronica asked, but he heard the laughter in her voice.


"Yeah. We have a truce," Veronica affirmed with a nod and a pleased look.

Logan looked up all the way and straightened. "Good."

Then he followed the path she'd taken to the driver's side. Her eyes grew big as he stepped into her personal space, but they closed when he cupped her cheek in his hand and leaned in to kiss her.

After a few seconds of kissing sweetly, Logan gripped her hips and slammed her tighter against him. She let out a surprised sound, but he swallowed it into his mouth. She responded well, making him moan when she pressed even closer and dug her hands into his hair. He moved to the side of her neck and explored slowly. After trying a few different places, he finally found the spot that made her go slack against him and make a weak noise that was a mixture of a gasp and a moan. He kept his lips there and sucked very lightly. Veronica made the noise again and would have fallen backwards against the car if his hands hadn't been there to catch her. He took pity on her and moved around to the rest of her neck, enjoying the way she shuddered and moved lazily against him, like she was in complete bliss. Like he'd managed to make her forget how her body worked.

When his hand began to creep up her side towards her breasts, she suddenly regained control and gently pulled away. "Uh-uh. For that kind of action, you'll have to take me on an actual date," she admonished.

Logan groaned. "What? You mean what we just did wasn't considered a date? But I drove you and everything…"

Veronica continued to look stern. "I'll need dinner and maybe a movie."

Logan bit his lip, playing along. "And I suppose I'm not allowed to make any malevolent remarks throughout this entire date?"

Veronica tapped her lip thoughtfully. "Hmm… I suppose I can give you three. But any more, and you won't get a kiss goodnight."

Logan nodded. "I suppose that's okay," he murmured as he leaned in to kiss her gently. "But can I kiss you in my car instead of on your front porch?"

"I guess you'll just have to wait and see," Veronica said with a giggle as she slipped out of his arms and headed for the Xterra.

Logan could have watched her and reflected on how much had changed between them in the past week. He could have thought about how beautiful she looked and how lucky he was to have her now. He even could have jumped in the car, called her sugarpuss, and given her a sweet kiss on the cheek before going off to the drive-in.

But Logan didn't really see the point in all of that. So he got into the front seat, started the car, briefly thought about how beautiful she was, and then pondered on how many dates they would go on before she put out.

"You're thinking about sex, aren't you?"

Logan looked up in shock to see Veronica had one eyebrow arched knowingly. He had a slight case of 'deer in the headlights' before he shrugged guiltily and said, "Not that I don't respect you as a person."

"Right," Veronica said, but he could tell by the way she rolled her eyes and resisted to smile that she knew he was only teasing. Then she leaned towards him with a vixen look in place and said silkily, "But just to let you know. Where you take me to dinner does matter."

Logan's eyes widened just a bit, and he jerked back to the road. As he pulled onto the highway heading towards Beverly Hills, Veronica laughed like she'd pulled a delicious prank on him.

He turned to her with the intention of using one of his three passes to make fun of her, but instead he had a little bit of a shock. He realized just how beautiful she was and how lucky he was to have her. Then he began to reflect on how much had changed between them in the past week.

"Why are you looking at me like that?" Veronica asked, brow crinkling in confusion.

Logan just smirked and pressed down on the accelerator. "No reason, sugarpuss."

The End