Chapter 4: Induced Happiness

"she's gone…she's gone." He repeated through tears…

…He held on to her for dear life. He never wanted her to let go, for all of it to be real.

Veronica had wanted to help Logan more, but after he had calmed a bit he couldn't even look at her. He had mumbled something like a 'thank you', but before she could speak he had turned on his heel and had driven away in his car. Veronica was left outside the hotel, staring at his tail lights peel off onto the main road.

She had already had too much on her plate with all the cases and while she knew that Logan could take care of himself…she still felt for him. It's not like his dad would be that much comfort. Especially, with the new information Trina had revealed to her unintentionally. Whether Logan's family believed it to not be true…she knew Mr. Echolls had beaten Logan. Veronica could recall countless times that suddenly had explanations, but she had to wonder if this "punishment" still continued.

In all honesty, she didn't want to know. Weeks before Logan was her enemy. Now she was falling back into the same mindset she had when Lily was still alive. Although things seemed simpler when Lily was alive, Veronica didn't really understand the in's and out's of the world around her. Sure, she'd become a bit tough around the edges, but maybe that was why people like Logan looked to her for help, because they didn't expect a shoulder to cry on or that hand to guide them. Veronica couldn't offer them those things, unless they wanted it and she felt they deserved it.

Now she was losing her mind in thoughts about Logan Echolls and she knew that those thoughts never accomplished anything. So she drove home, changed into more comfortable clothes, and draped a blanket over her dad because he was sound asleep on the couch.

"goodnight sweetie" he mumbled as she walked towards her room.

She plopped down on her bed and fell into a fast sleep.

"veronica!" Lily was walking a little ahead of Veronica on the Neptune road.

"Lily? Where are we going?"

"where do you think mars? It is the first days of good weather and I am going to enjoy life by getting some sun." She removed her tank top, to reveal a bikini top and then spun around for emphasis.

"Lily…Logan will love you if you're pale or not."

"yeah…I know, but I can always try to tan right?" Lily ran back to grab Veronica's arm and she linked their elbows.

A few men walked past, staring at Lily's chest. Veronica laughed at her friend.

"maybe you should keep your shirt on until we reach the beach?" Veronica asked.

"maybe…you should take yours off and give those Neptune boys a look at Veronica Mars!" Lily eyed her smiling.

"you know what…I'd prefer only ONE boy to look at me."

"aww not Duncan again…why DO you like my brother Veronica? He's such a dork…I mean I secretly had thought he was gay cus he's always talking about 80's movies and flowers…I mean seriously, what guy knows the name of any flower other than a rose?"

"I think it's cute!"

"I'm sure you do!" Lily laughed. A few more men whistled and this time it came in the direction of a few PCH bikers on the edge of the beach. Lily paid no mind, but Veronica looked at Weevil. He wasn't whistling or hooting like the others. As Veronica caught his eye, he just followed them with a look. Veronica tried to avoid looking at him, but she couldn't help but notice it.

Veronica woke up with a rough start, nearly falling off the couch. Her memories had found their way into her dreams lately. She could blame a certain Echolls boy, but she knew that it wasn't just Logan who was making her think about the past. It seemed like everyone was changing around Veronica and she wasn't sure if it was for the better. Sure, she should be skeptical considering the last time things "changed" she wound up being the school's outsider. There is nothing wrong with that position, but Veronica would have never expected that she'd be here. Where exactly was here anyways?

In the past few months Veronica had managed to become friends with Duncan only to learn her mother may have left because Duncan and Veronica could be siblings. She had befriended Meg who was an '09er on the outside, but a good person on the inside. Even though Meg was nice, Veronica kept waiting for the curtain to open and to find out that Meg was only friends with her to help on cases or to be part of some big joke. The newfound "bond" between Logan Echolls and Veronica Mars wasn't bound to last she thought. After he didn't need her help he'd most likely go back to torturing her again. Maybe that was how it was meant to be.

While her father had trapped some bad guys Veronica had managed to drift off on the couch. Now it was nearly 7 and Veronica heard a knock at her door. As she swung her legs to push off the couch her mind wandered to the possibilities of who could be at the door. Was it the sheriff telling her that her dad was killed on a case? Could it be Duncan coming to tell her that he wanted to be the perfect 'big brother' now that Lily was gone he was feeling lonely? Was it Wallace coming to join her for an evening of bad 90's comedies? Or maybe Logan…for…for what?

Before she could finish her thoughts she had already opened the door to reveal a blonde head of hair twisting down to reveal a bright pink dress. So, no Logan or Wallace or anyone she had suspected. If this person was in fact Sheriff Lamb he had done an awesome job at capturing his feminine side.

"Hey!" a bubbly voice caused Veronica to continue the waking up process.

"hey Meg." Veronica said in a sort of daze. Once she realized that Meg was holding what appeared to be a heavy bag of clothes she remembered why Meg was standing at her door on a Friday night decked out in Molly Ringwald gear.

"Meg, I am so sorry. " Veronica started.

"what for?" Meg asked innocently.

"I told you I was gonna find your secret admirer before the dance and I haven't come through, I… it's just been a million other things I've been working on…"

Meg laughed a little. "Forget it, forget it. I don't even care anymore." While Veronica stepped aside Meg came in and put the corsage in her hand down on the kitchen surface and dropped her bag to look directly at Veronica.

"Oh, here." She hand the corsage to veronica. "You can have it. It's the flowers he sent me. Supposed to be our signal tonight or something."

Veronica stared at Meg, whose reactions were hard to read. If I'm truly a girl shouldn't I be able to decipher Meg's body language. Scratch that she thought. If I'm truly the daughter of Keith Mars shouldn't this be normal.

"Thought you were excited about it," Veronica inquired.

Meg shifted her body weight. "Truth is, I'm not sure I wanna go out with Caz. And Martin's nice but not… I just don't want to hurt his feelings."

Veronica could agree with that statement. "Hmm. How come you're all dolled up?"

Meg stood taller. "Now who says I need a date to go to the dance?"

Veronica smiled at that. "Oh. Right. You… go girl." There was a pause and then Veronica's eyes met Megs.

"I'm taking you," Meg said while pointing and grinning.

40 minutes later Veronica Mars was tasting bad hairspray and wishing that she hadn't agreed to accompany meg to the dance. Standing in an outfit that Lily would have surely approved of, Veronica smiled at Meg trying to fake her excitement.

As they started to leave she saw the fax machine was printing something.

Flipping the page around her breath caught as she finally knew the true identity of Meg's secret admirer. None other than Duncan Kane.

Veronica looked at Meg and contemplated telling her new '09er friend that her new lover boy was Veronica's ex.

As they entered the dance they heard "One Thing Leads To Another" by the Fixx blaring out of the school's speakers. Standing amongst the decked out students, Veronica saw Meg's face falter when she saw Caz dancing with a girl and Martin talking it up with some people at the punch bowl.

Veronica saw how much Meg was in distress so she attempted to make a few jokes.

"aren't you totally stoked to go to this thing!?"

"oh for sure." Meg said with a fake grin.

"What is wrong my blonde haired friend? Let me be your Duckie for now and tell me what's up." Veronica gave Meg a knowing look.

"I just didn't know the dance would be such a major couple o-rama. All the girl power stuff aside… reality has set in. Forgive me gal pal, but what can I say… I'm weak" Meg was thoroughly looking depressed now. Veronica hid her own sad smile as she saw Duncan approaching the dance hall. Veronica reached into her purse and pulled out the flowers.

After explaining to Meg that she would eventually thank Veronica, she left seeing Meg's prince charming begin to dance with her. Running for the parking lot she began to sob in her car.

Realizing that her life had been reduced to confusion. Confusing thoughts about an ex-boyfriend who could very well be her brother and then having similar confusion about a bad boy turned broken, Veronica let it all out until a tap on her window made her realize that she was in fact still at school.

Leo had been kind to her and she needed him right at that moment. Taking her back into the dance she smiled as he began to dance with her. Ignoring the crowd all she could think about was dancing with Leo.

That is until Logan decided to pull his usual.

"Come on everyone! Let's wang chung tonight!"

It was obvious that Logan was drunk and no one wanted to play along with the pantless boy.

"Wang Chung or I'll kick your ass!" after another guy tried to stop Logan he ended up stumbling toward the punch table.

Leo took notice to Veronica's eyes watching Logan.

"every class has one."

She sighed, "I can not escape Tom Cruise."

Watching Logan try and talk to girls at the punch table was a disaster and Veronica excused herself from Leo though he did not understand at first. He watched Veronica go over to the punch table and drag Logan out of the dance hall and into the school corridor.

Still pulling his sleeve she stopped to look back at him.

"Logan, what do you think you are doing? Getting drunk and coming to the dance is not going to solve anything."

"Yeah well Ronnie, gotta do something with my nights right." And he giggled after that.

Veronica had him trapped in a doorway now when Leo came over.

"Logan just give me your keys." He was twisting out of her searching hands.

"Leo can you follow us in your car?" Logan stopped and then pointed at Leo.

"No, no no! (giggling) no cus tonight…we're going to party like it's 1999!"

"Logan…" Veronica tried again but was cut off when Logan pointed at Leo again.

His voice suddenly serious, "Hey, who's this dude?"

"This is the friendly officer of the law who is going to overlook your underage public drunkenness." Veronica was struggling to keep her cool.

Logan looked at Veronica and then back at Leo, "Crockett or Tubbs?"

Veronica sighed and Leo was getting frustrated. Luckily they heard a voice come out of nowhere.

"Logan when did you stop wearing pants?" Trina was standing in the hall with an annoyed look on her face.

Suddenly Logan's face fell and he looked at Trina directly, "What are you doing here?"

"My first night back and some nice officer calls up the house to tell me Logan is wasted and I need to come get him. It's like I never left."

Trina then spots Veronica eying her brother and giving an apologetic look to Leo.

"You must be the nice officer. You sounded sexy on the phone, but up close in personal I see it's all true."

Leo looked uncomfortable and Veronica was too shocked to say anything.

Logan walked towards Veronica and smiled. Then he pointed in Leo's face.

"Watch out for that one."

Veronica wasn't sure if Logan meant that Leo should look out for Trina or herself.

Trina started pulling Logan away, but he glanced back at Veronica. She met his black sunglasses with a worried look.

"A promising man." Leo laughed a little. After a few seconds he leaned in a bit. Veronica knew she should have expected this, but she was stilled a bit shocked.

"Are you going to kiss me?"

he smiled, "I was thinking about it."

They both leant in to kiss. He held her waist and smiled into the kiss. She knew that she liked Leo and that this kiss was great, but somehow she still felt a little saddened and she didn't know why.

A/N: Sooo finally a long awaited update. I figured if I was going to start 4 different stories I should at least complete a few. After reading my old fics I realized that I'm not that great of a writer, so maybe I can be a little bit proud of this one. I've learned a bit more; however I did end up rewriting literal VM scenes. In the next chapter it will go off AU a bit.