A/N 1: I promised to get this chapter out before the airing of the season finale. Well, and here it is! I also want to thank chaotic4life for helping me with the beta! Without her, this baby wouldn't have gone online any time soon! So, thank you Stef! You ROCK! hugz
Chapter 9 – (Final chapter)
Forty minutes, an uncomfortable ambulance ride and a phone call from Weevil later, Veronica was sitting in a waiting room of the Neptune Memorial Hospital – again. Memories flashing through her mind - the night her father and she were nearly killed. Once again, history had the nasty habit to repeat itself.
Veronica sighed and closed her eyes as she pulled the jacket tighter around herself. She was beyond tired, eyes burning and head aching and it seemed like an eternity while the 'angels in white' were working on her father.
Logan, who was sitting quietly next to her, eyed her warily. Since he'd arrived in the waiting room earlier, they hadn't talked at all. Veronica had asked him to take the Le Baron and bring it over to the hospital while she had grabbed the ambulance ride with her father. About ten minutes after she had settled herself in the waiting room, Logan strolled in, quietly taking the seat beside her. Since then, no one had spoken a word.
The silence, only interrupted by the typical hospital noises, slowly became a little awkward and Logan felt the urge to say something – anything! But for the life of it, he couldn't think of a smart line to say. Snarky comment? Not very appropriate. Telling her again that everything's going to be fine? Maybe an approach - but he also recalled how he had felt when people were telling him the same thing over and over again. At some point it just felt less comforting and more annoying. So, he tried option three.
"You ok?" His voice was small and hesitant, still carefully taking in every emotion on her face.
Slowly, Veronica opened her eyes but held her gaze straight ahead. Another sigh escaped her mouth before she collected her voice and ignored his question. "What's taking them so long? Shouldn't they be finished by now?" Again, she glanced at her watch and noticed that barely two minutes had passed since she last checked. "The doctor said that it's nothing serious. So why the hell is it taking them so long?"
Logan pressed his lips together, not failing to catch the worry and desperation in her voice. He couldn't even begin to imagine how she must have felt after the attack by Aaron. Was she also sitting here? Outside the examination room, all by herself? Not sure if her dad would make it or not? But this time she at least had the certainty that his wound wasn't lethal. And this time she wasn't alone either. He was well aware, that he was possibly the last person she wanted to be with right now, but sure as hell he was not going to let her go through this alone. Not again.
"Veronica…" His voice was soft and comforting as he spoke. "Give them time, they know what they're doing."
She didn't reply because she knew she was unreasonable and he was right. But admitting it out loud? Not really an option. She had just closed her eyes again as she heard footsteps coming towards them. Rising from her seat, she noticed the doctor to whom she had spoken to as they had arrived at the hospital.
"Miss Mars," The doctor started but was immediately interrupted by the tiny blond.
"Is he okay?" Voice still shaky, but it nearly had lost every sign of impatience.
The doctor flashed her a smile. "We got the bullet out without any complications. It's very unlikely that he could participate in a baseball game any time soon, but he's going to be fine."
Veronica smiled, relieved. "Can I see him?" She asked hopefully.
"Sure, but make it quick. He needs to rest," The doctor answered, turning around and heading towards the nurses' room.
"I'll just wait out here," Logan said, settling himself back in the chair.
"You don't," she responded with hesitation in her voice. "You know, you don't have to wait for me."
"I said, I'll wait for you," he stated, smirking. "Besides, you have your car, and I should just what? Grab a cap? Not really a tempting option for me. Streets in Neptune are not really safe when it's dark outside." He gave her another of his trademark smiles while pointing at the bruise on his cheek.
Veronica just rolled her eyes but smiled. Somehow she was relieved not being left alone this time. Turning away from him, she slowly made her way to her dad's room.
Logan waited until she pushed the door behind her shut, then fished some dollar bills out of his hip pocket and strolled to the vending machine.
"Dad?" Veronica whispered as she entered the room. His face was pale and eyes bloodshot but as soon as he had heard the slight push of the door and Veronica's hesitant voice, a smile crept on his face and his head turned towards her.
"Veronica," he caught out, voice flat but happy.
"Dad!" She repeated, tears thickening her voice as she closed the gap between them. Carefully, not to cause him anymore pain, she wrapped her arms around him, her forehead touching his.
"I'm so glad you're okay," she whispered as tears of joy paved their way down her cheeks.
Keith lifted his right arm and rubbed her back slightly, very well aware of the similarity of his last hospital stay.
Finally, he loosened his grip and she reluctantly pulled away, rubbing her eyes with her palms. As her vision was clearing up again, her gaze went back to her father and then wandered off to his shoulder. Her eyes grew wide as she took in the sight of the fresh bandage and suddenly, all the events of the night rushed back to her. First, the uncertainty if her father was alright, then Greenblatt's threat to kill her and finally Keith lying on the ground while the medics were working on him. Fear, cold and ugly fear, had consumed her body completely. Nothing seemed real, nothing was feeling right. She felt as if she was in some sort of bubble, gazing out to the world wrapped around her, but not really having the feeling of being a part of it. She remembered telling Logan to take her car to the hospital and she also remembered him not arguing about it. Although she had expected some snarky comment about his pride and that he didn't want to be seen in her rust bucket, he had grabbed the keys without another word.
Keith noticed the absently stare of his daughter and was aware of her thoughts. "Honey?" He asked gently.
Veronica's eyes snapped back to reality and she settled her focus on her father; before giving him a smile. "You saved my life," she breathed out heavily.
"Yeah, I guess that's what dads are supposed to do!"
"You really have to stop doing this," she answered in the same soft tone and drew her lips into a small line.
"What? Saving your life?" He joked, trying to laugh, but stopped as another wave of pain, caused by the rocking of his laughter, shot through his shoulder.
Veronica rolled her eyes at him but laughed too. "No," she said matter-of-factly. "But getting hurt in the process."
"Yeah, tell that to the bad guys. Somehow, they never listen," he teased with a faked enraged voice. "But hey, next time? I'll try."
Veronica smiled again, before yawing widely. "Weevil called."
"Is he alright?" Keith asked, concerned.
"Yeah, he didn't go into detail though, but it seemed that Thumper and Hector were working both sides," she said, pulling a chair to his bed and seated herself in it. "They worked for Greenblatt, in order to… well, kill me and somehow to get back to Logan and they were also working for the Fitzpatrick's to bring Logan down."
"What's with the good old loyalty to just one big bad boss?" Keith joked, but motioned Veronica to keep going.
"Logan's little gun party tonight was not just a little party at all. From Weevil, they had received the order to just pump him for information, but the Fitzpatrick's gave a direct-to-kill order. Not to mention Greenblatt, where I still don't get the full connection quite yet." Veronica drew in another heavy breath. "Yeah, I know, a little confusing." She sighed again. "Well, but let me tell you: the Fitzpatrick's were not very amused about Logan still walking and talking after the kidnapping."
"How did they find out?"
"No idea, but Weevil told me that the two of them tried to recruit other gang members, but fortunately somehow the others were still loyal to Weevil." She smiled at Keith and teased "See, there is still some loyalty amongst the bad boys."
Keith rolled his eyes. "Yeah, let's make this our new town motto. Anyway, did they find them?"
Veronica sucked in her lower lip and bit on it. "Yeah, they found parts of them."
"Parts?" Keith asked, eyebrows quirking up. "Do I wanna know this?"
Veronica just shook her head. "Nope, not really." Leaning back into the chair, she closed her eyes and stifled another yawn.
A short silence fell over the room just to be finally interrupted by Keith's voice.
"Where's Logan, honey?"
Veronica opened her eyes again and met his, surprise lying in her gaze. "He's waiting outside?" Her voice was more an unasked question than a statement.
"Can you get him in here?" He said, watching Veronica's reaction. As he saw the question mark on her face, he continued. "I need to talk to him."
"Veronica, please. Just go and get him."
Still, Veronica's face was colored by surprise, but without another word, she strolled out to the waiting room.
As soon as Logan saw her turning around the corner, he rushed up from his seat, cautiously not to pour the coffee over his jeans. Reaching down to the small table next to his chair, he grabbed another cup of coffee and went towards her. "Is he okay?" He questioned, holding the cup out in front of her.
Veronica smiled thankfully and took the cup. "Yeah," she said, releasing a sigh. "He wants to see you."
Logan's eyebrows rose in surprise. "Me?"
Veronica just nodded, taking a sip of the coffee.
"Well, I guess the 'we'll talk later' moment came a little sooner than expected, after all." he replied, drowning the rest of his coffee and throwing the empty cup into the next trash can.
Moments later, both entered the room silently and Veronica immediately noticed that her father carefully sat up on the bed.
"Logan," Keith said, as soon as he saw the boy entering the room.
"Mister Mars," he answered, making his way over to the ex-sheriff, but keeping a healthy gap between them. His face was almost expressionless, except for uncertainty about the demand of his presence.
Veronica's eyes wandered to her father, then to Logan and back to her dad. She recognized the fatherly expression on his face. It wasn't anger or disappointment and most definitely not hatred. It was… concern and warmth?
"I need you to do something for me," Keith continued, looking straight into Logan's eyes to punctuate his statement even more.
"Sure," Logan answered without hesitation. "Whatever you need."
For the split of a second, Keith's eyes went to his daughter, then settled quickly back on Logan. "Take Veronica home and stay with her. I don't want her to be alone and unprotected. Not again."
"Dad! I can take care of myself, just…" Veronica intervened but swallowed the rest of the sentence. Her tone was sharp, but there was no disappointment about her father's decision in it.
Both ignored her and again, without any hesitation or a 'I need to think about that' silence, Logan answered him right away. "Of course. She'll be safe, you have my word."
Keith nodded and turned back to his daughter. "Honey, you should go, get some rest. I know you're beyond tired."
"Dad, I don't wanna go home, I wanna stay here," she protested, making two steps towards his bed.
"To do what exactly? There is nothing for you to do here, honey. I'm going to be fine. You really need some sleep." Before she could shrug his suggestion off again, he added "And so do I."
Veronica realized that he was right. She was tired, like 'taking a nap while she was standing' tired. "But what about Lamb? Doesn't he want some statements?"
"Tomorrow honey, tomorrow." Keith reached forward and grabbed her hand, squeezing it softly.
Veronica sighed but smiled down at him. "Alright." She leaned forward and placed a gentle kiss on her father's forehead. "Love you."
"Me too." Keith smiled as he released her hand and watched her turning away and heading towards the door. He looked at Logan who gave him a small nod and took off after Veronica.
As the both of them had left the room, Keith closed his eyes as relief washed over him. Relief, that his daughter was unharmed and that this time, she wasn't alone at home, all by herself. Although he still had mixed feelings about Logan and his 'attitude' he also knew that he would make sure that she would be safe. And right know, this was the most important thing for him.
"I want my keys back," Veronica stated as the both of them wandered through the half-empty parking lot of the hospital.
"And what do you wanna do with them exactly?" Logan asked, uninterested.
Veronica rolled her eyes "Hm, let me think about that." She taped a finger to her mouth, pretending to be in deep thoughts. Then, she snaped her fingers as fake realization hit her "Uh, I guess for driving the car?"
"Well, yeah," Logan glanced down at her. "Not going to happen."
"Logan…" She started warningly.
"Look, you had a rough night and you're tired. So, you think I want you to wrap the car around the next tree with me inside?" The corners of his mouth curled up and his eyes glittered challenging. "Hm, as much as I adore your emancipation and as tempting as the idea sounds to me, I guess, I'll just pass."
"What? And you are all morning sunshine?" She snapped back but didn't look at him.
"Never said that, but since we left your dads room you've yawned nine times"
"You counted that?"
Logan simply nodded his head and licked his lips. "Had nothing better to do."
"Logan, I think…" She tried again, but he cut her off.
"Nine times!" He repeated sneeringly, flipping the keys in his hand as they reached the Le Baron.
"Fine, whatever." Veronica finally gave in and threw her hands in the air. "But when I find one scratch you are so going to pay for it."
"Yeah, yeah, like one more scratch would even make a difference." Logan felt the urge to remind her of him driving the car earlier that night but ultimately voted against it. It would remind her why he had to take her car to the hospital in the first place.
She dropped herself in the passenger seat and growled at him as he threw the door behind her shut. While he jogged around the car she kept her eyes on Logan, monitoring his every move. A small smile appeared on her lips as her mind wandered back to their last conversation just seconds ago. They finally were back at the light snark and sarcasm. No hurtful insults, no too harsh words. Just the way they were, before… well before their first kiss at the Camelot. How such a dangerous night and the fear of being killed can change two people completely again? It was unbelievable.
"What are you smiling at?" Logan asked, already seated in the driver's seat and his hands fumbling with the ignition.
Veronica shot him a look before she buckled her seatbelt. "Nothing, just nothing."
He just shook his head. "Alright, the Casa de Mars it is," he announced joyfully as he started the car and pulled out of the parking lot.
"You know that we are not going to my apartment, right?"
"Do I?" He asked, glancing at her from the corners of his eyes.
Veronica just gave him a meaningful look and Logan rolled his eyes before saying "Yeah, I figured. The Neptune Grand it is, then."
Satisfied, Veronica smirked before leaning her head to the window and once again closing her eyes. Since Logan didn't throw in another comment, she allowed herself to drift back into the land of thoughts.
Ten minutes had passed since they had left the hospital. A discomforting silence was stretched painfully in the car.
Veronica was still in the same position, head to the window and hands neatly folded in her lap, as she broke through her train of thought and opened her eyes. "You noticed that the streets are as good as empty, right?" She asked in a low voice.
"Comes with the driving to notice that," Logan smirked, pleased that the silence had passed.
"Then why are you driving so slow?"
"Uh, Miss Mars is encouraging me to break the law now? Shouldn't you be accusing me of doing something wrong? " He noticed his harsh voice – his little too harsh voice - and before their conversation could irrupt into another fight, he relented promptly.
"Look, I'm tired too. I just wanted to be on the safe side here. And besides, the letter of your precious boyfriend's not a James Bond thingy, you know, with the self-destruction and all. So relax, we'll get there soon."
He nearly bit his tongue by mentioning Duncan. Now, that Veronica and he finally got all the shit out of their systems, he knew that there was a tiny chance of being friends again. But was this really all he wanted? Was this really all he could be with her? Friends? I call you and you call me whenever we want to gush about our girlfriends and boyfriends? He had to be honest with himself. They never where friends like that. First, they hung out because of Duncan and Lilly. Then, they hated each other and fought with everything they had. After that, slight romance started to grow between them just before they were thrown back to the hatred… or at least dislike. And now? There was a whole new level they were starting to get to. Sure, back on the boat, there were a few moments where he just wanted to grab Veronica and kiss her senseless. And he also had the sense, that she had felt these moments too, or at least he was hoping it. But now, these moments had passed and they were thrown back into reality. A reality Duncan was a fair part of.
Logan shot her another look before focusing back on the streets. Besides all the earlier confessions , there was something else burning its way through his mind. He suddenly looked down at the steering wheel and gripped it tightly. "Veronica?"
"Hm?" She grunted sleeply.
Logan took a deep breath before he continued. "You mentioned something to Greenblatt."
"I mentioned a lot." She lifted her head and folded her arms over her chest, eyes full of expectation, focused on his face.
"It's… it's about the rat," he stumbled. According to her inquisitive raised eyebrow and the lack of an answer, he elaborated with a heavy voice. "I planted it."
For a few seconds, Veronica fell silent, processing his words. Her stare drifted from his face to the street and back to him. She tilted her head slightly to the left and some of her blond locks fell into her sight. Hurriedly, she pushed them away. "Okay…" she finally managed to say, stretching the word with a surprised voice. "Why?"
Logan sighed heavily as he drew his eyes for the split of a second in her direction and then adjusted his look quickly back on the road. He could see her mind wraping around the new information as her eyes were burning wholes into his face. "I was angry at you and Duncan and I just, you know, thought it would be a funny prank. You guys having to drive in a stinky bus all day."
She let out a breath, shaking her head. Her weariness was nearly gone and her mind was completely focused on the topic. "You know, for the last few month, even ever since I have learned about the stupid rat, I thought it was a message for me. Some mysterious puzzle piece why the bus went over the cliff and I tried so hard to figure out why I'm a rat that someone wanted to be dead."
"No, let me finish." She lifted a hand and gestured him to hold his tongue before she continued with a thin tone. "And now I learn it really was a message for me, but not out of the motives I had expected them to be. You and your stupid pranks had urged me to break it up with you last summer. " She laughed out absurdly, suddenly amused by the irony lying beneath it all. "You know what? In the end, after all, your prank saved a lot of people's lives, including mine."
Logan gulped heavily and bit his lower lip. His gaze was still straight ahead. He would have expected her to be angrier, to be more old, hard Veronica-like. But her voice was a little too soft and her tone was a little too… what? Friendly? Even tender? "You know, " he started, his voice nothing more than a breathy whisper. "I never thought about that." A corner of his mouth curled up, indicating a smile.
Her eyes were still focused on Logan. Sure, she should be more pissed about the fact, that he wanted to sabotage the field trip just to get back to Duncan and her. But for the life of it, she couldn't.Unintentionally, or at least unknowingly, he had saved her again. In the end, was it really that simple? Was he really some sort of knight in shining armour to her? Well, at least a part-time knight in shining armour, because half the other times he was the one bringing her down into the danger and mess.
Logan's other corner of his mouth curled up and a wide smirk was spread around his face. "You're welcome." His voice had regained its strength and now the 'oh so typical' smartass tone was back in full force.
Again, Veronica shook her head, not in a annoyed way but more amused. She smiled at him just before she drew her head back and gazed out the window.
They passed the rest of the ride in peaceful silence.
Barely after 6 a.m. the door to the presidential suite flew open. Logan, who still was holding the key card in his hand, waved Veronica past him. He knew, ever since they had left the hospital, she was eager to find out what was in Duncan's letter. And most importantly, he was too. If he hadn't been pressured by time the previous evening, he totally would have peaked. Screw all the privacy crap.
After Veronica had entered the room, he swung the door close and watched her hasting over to the couch table. "Young love," he singsang. watching her grabbing the letter.
Veronica barely shot him a glare and ripped the envelope open, pulling out a small and neatly folded pink paper. 'Nice color' she thought to herself and rolled her eyes.
Logan made a few steps towards her into the room, yet still keeping his distance. She would tell him what was in the letter, right? After that night and their new found friendship, they would share such information, right? The longer he observed her reading the small paper in her hands, the more doubt crawled up into his stomach. She did get the memo of the new found friendship, right? Absently, his gaze wandered through the quiet suite taking in the silence of… paper being crinkled?
He drew his eyes back just in time to see her throwing the paper over her shoulder and onto the white leather couch. Dumbfounded would have been the right term to describe his face this exact moment.
After that, everything happened so quickly. Veronica rushed towards him and just stopped right before crashing into his chest. Logan stared down at her, his eyes darkening at the sight of the look on her face. Suddenly, he knew something just had happened, something significant. Something, that would maybe change both of them forever.
Her breath was heavy and her eyes hesitant. If he didn't know better, he assumed that she would just kiss...
Veronica's hands shot up to his face, tenderly cupping both of his cheeks. He could feel a burning warmth spreading from her soft skin touching his face right into his heart. This was the way it has always been with her. They fought, they annoyed each other, but as soon as their skins connected, everything was forgotten, nothing mattered anymore. It seemed like the world around them lost its existence.
She pulled his face down and before Logan could - not that he would – protest or say another syllable, her mouth descended on his, her lips brushing slighty against him.
He found himself momentarily frozen. Just a few minutes ago he had mused about her getting the friendship memo. And now? Maybe he was the one who got the wrong memo all along? He instantly shook of his reservation. His arm shot up and circled behind her back, pulling her small frame closer to his body.
Veronica took that as an invitation and wrapped both of her hands behind his neck, deepening the kiss. Their lips literally burned against each other, her tongue teasing the corners of his mouth, fighting for access.
This kiss even outshined their first kiss on the Camelot balcony and their bathroom make out session combined. It couldn't even compete with the kiss the night he had confessed his love to her. This kiss was about something else. It was passionate and it was devouring, but most importantly, it was filled with need and trust.
Logan groaned, still grasping Veronica in his hold, pulling her even closer, if that was even possible. His other hand was travelling up her spine and stopped just as it reached her blond locks. Taking in the sent of her he had missed so much, he opened his mouth and their tongues met in another ferocious kiss.
Finally - Veronica drew back, breathing heavily as the much needed air rushed down into her lungs. Her eyes glittered with passion and lust and were mirrored in his own expression.
"Veronica," Logan panted.
Another painful silence was wrapped around them before Veronica finally spoke. "I'm not ready."
Her voice was just above a whisper so that Logan wasn't sure if he had heard her right. Maybe he had misunderstood her, maybe it was just all in his head. But then, logic slapped him hard in the face. It was neither a misunderstanding nor a trick of his mind. It was Veronica and her typical way of handeling situations like this. Never admit your feelings, that was and ever would be her life policy. And boy, wasn't she just a pro in it?
Immediately noticing his confused look and his hardening expression, she shook her head and stepped closer to him. "Remember your question on the boat? When you asked me if I was ready to lose everything?"
Unable to respond, he just stared back at her, a slight spark of hope burning behind his eyes.
"I'm not ready, Logan. I'm not ready to lose everything. That's why I bugged your watch, that's why I rushed to your rescue tonight and that's why ever since we broke up I never stopped looking out for you. Even if you've never been aware of it." Veronica breathed out and licked her lips. "You wanna know why?" A slight laughter escaped her mouth before she reached up with one hand to cup his cheek again."Because every single minute I wasn't with you, I just wished I was. And I'm not ready to give up everything – not ready to give up on you."
"And Duncan?" Logan finally found his voice, still shell-shocked about the words he so desperately had wanted to hear, but most of all, desperately needed to hear.
"Duncan's gone. It was over a long time before tonight, before his letter," she answered honestly, taking in every single twitching of his muscles.
Logan stepped closer, framing her face in his large palms. He leand down and rested his forehead sofly on hers. "You have no idea what that means to me," he whispered as she leaned in towards him.
Drawing away from her forehead, their gaze crossed paths again. Veronica smiled up at him before her lips met his in another passionate kiss.
Forgotten was the fear of losing him, of showing her real feelings. The past couple of months she had tried so hard to be the girl she used to be two years ago. But finally it dawned on her and realizion in form of a kiss and a simple touch kicked in. She's not going to be normal. She never was and she'll never be normal. And that's okay, because now she had something – someone else in her life, who was also extraordinary. They match, and that was the only thing that really mattered.
She was finally ready to give up something but most definetely not everything. And anyway, what's the point of having a normal life, when you could have everything else?
A/N: Yes people, that's a wrap! Thank you so much for sticking with this story and always giving me such great feebacks! I love you for that! And I also really hope you enjoyed this story as much as I loved writing it. :)