Titel: The Hero Is the One That Stays
Author: tinkabell007
Pairing/Character: Veronica, Duncan, LoVe
Rating: T
Summary: You think you know someone – until he snaps!
Spoilers: Up to One Angry Veronica
A/N: First of all, I don't read spoilers – so this is just based on my imagination (I don't even know if they will break up!) But according to Veronica's "attitude" this season, she won't be the one breaking up with Duncan, I think he'll end things. And let me tell you, it's not going to be pretty! But read for yourself.

Disclaimer: RT, you're the man… everything belongs to him.

Thank you Dina for helping me with this:-)

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The Hero Is the One That Stays

It was lunch break at Neptune High and the court was filled with students - 09ers and 02ers perfectly separated at different tables. Within the last two years, Veronica had been sitting on both sides. She knew that there was an invisible line – a tacit rule.

She scanned the crowd, looking for someone in particular. There was Wallace. Since he finally came back on New Years Eve, they'd spent nearly every minute together. Now, he was catching up with his basketball buddies and Veronica didn't want to interrupt. Anyway, he wasn't the one she was looking for.

Her eyes kept wandering and she spotted Logan. She wondered if he had spent the holidays in his hotel room, all by himself – with his old friend Jack. Or if he'd had some special get-together with the bimbo under the mistletoe. Veronica shuddered slightly at this thought and turned her gaze away.

And yet, there he was. Just one table next to Logan, she found her 'special someone' she had been looking for.

Duncan.

Since he came back from Napa, he'd never called her, never visited her. She'd tried to call him a couple of times, but all her calls went straight to his voice mail. After all her attempts of contacting him had failed, she got annoyed by his attitude. She needed to talk to him, especially after Meg's sudden death. But finally, after a couple of sleepless nights, realisation kicked in, and she knew that he needed some time alone. So, she decided to wait for the first school day.

Slowly, she made her way towards Duncan.

It was strange. The court was overfilled with students, but his table remained empty – no one was sitting with him. She wondered why Logan sat at a table next to him and was not having lunch with his best friend. She shot Logan a single look and their eyes locked. He had been watching her the whole time, but his face was emotionless. She didn't know what to think of it. Quickly, she turned her eyes away from Logan and focused her gaze on Duncan. As she finally reached his table, she put her tray next to his.

"The seats are taken," Duncan snapped at her, not even looking up.

Veronica immediately registered his cold voice and watched his body tense.

"Hi," She said in a low voice and looked down at him.

Still, Duncan didn't look up. He focused on the plate in front of him. "Sit down," he uttered.

She took the seat next to him. Mentally, she thanked the fact that she was sitting with her back to Logan. She really didn't need him staring at her, while she was having the talk about her boyfriend's baby.

Veronica waited for Duncan to say something – anything! But he remained silent. "So… how've you been?" She tried to start a conversation. She really needed to talk to him. But it seemed that Duncan was not in a sharing mood today.

"What do you think, Veronica?" His voice was harsh.

Veronica pressed her lips together. She knew he was devastated, but she was the last person who deserved his harsh treatment. She hadn't been the one who had lied and kept secrets.

Veronica searched his face. She wanted to read his emotions, but failed at his blank expression. So, she considered her options.

Should I try again or let it go?

Truthfully, she already knew the answer to her question. After all, she wasn't a person who just shuts up and accepts the reality in front of her. Veronica opened her mouth again but Duncan was faster.

"I'm leaving," he said.

It took a few seconds for Veronica to realise what he'd just said. Slowly, the words were sinking in. "You're leaving?" She asked while looking at him in disbelief.

He just nooded.

"Like leaving-town leaving?" She repeated the question for clarification.

"I'm going to move to Napa. I just came back to make the last few arrangements."

Veronica just stared at him with wide eyes. She was completely puzzled. He never mentioned anything about this. But then again, he'd never talked to her during the holidays. Veronica didn't know what to say. Was this the end of their relationship? Was this his way of telling her that they were over? 'I'm leaving town… ps… I can't date you anymore.'

Is this history repeating itself?

"So…" she tried to form words. "Does this mean… it's over?" She bit her lower lip. Somehow, she feared Duncan's answer.

He just shrugged his shoulders. Still, he refused to look at her.

Damn you, Duncan! You're doing it all again. Breaking up without telling me?

As if he had read her mind, he said "I just can't stay here any longer. Not after…" He stopped. She knew he was talking about Meg and his baby.

Suddenly, she felt sorry for him. Should she comfort him? Did he deserve her comfort? "You know, it'll get better. It just needs time." Her voice regained warmth and softness. She remembered how she had felt after Lilly's death. True, it's not the same situation, but she understood exactly the feeling of loss.

What are you doing? He just implied breaking up with you and you're still trying to make him feel better?

"Of course, Veronica." He laughed without humor. "Everything is just simple and easy and is going to be alright," he snapped back at her. His voice was louder and forceful. "Well, I'm not you. I can't turn off my feelings whenever I wish to."

See? Told you not to try to make him feel better! And where was that coming from anyway?

She gasped at his harsh words. "What?" She asked in disbelief. There was no way he could be serious. She never had turned off her feelings. And that was exactly her problem last year.

"You heard me." He confirmed his statement "I'm not you. So don't 'it'll get better' me."

Okay, he was serious.

"What the fuck, Duncan? Where the hell is that coming from? I just wanted to make you feel better. I wanted to help you." She defented herself to his unreasonable words.

He laughed. "Wanted to make me feel better?" He imitated her. His tone grew louder with every sentence he spat at her. Some people around them started to look surreptitiously at their table.

Finally, Duncan looked at her. His eyes were wild and furious.

She was shocked by the expression displayed on his face. "Duncan, calm down, okay? I know it's not easy, but we…" She tried to bring the volume of their conversation to a quieter level. After all, she really didn't want a whole school as her audience.

"We?" He yelled at her with a questioning voice. "I'm nothing like you! I just can't stop my feelings and keep going as if nothing had happened."

Yes, this definitely hadn't drawn any attention to our conversation. Maybe, the people on the other side of the town didn't hear that.

"What…?" She started to get pissed off. "And I do? You think that I don't care that Meg's dead?" She studied his face. "Come on, Duncan, is that what you're trying to say here?" Despite her anger, her voice was a little shaky.

He jerked his head away from her and didn't respond.

Damn you, audience, this is going to be a hell of a show.

"Oh, don't indicate something like that and then stop. We're just getting to the 'good part' here. So, if you have finally something to say, I'm right here." Yes, she was very pissed off and her voice grew louder with every word. "I called and tried to help you, even…" Her voice trailed off. Mentioning Meg's baby seemed not a good idea at this point. "During the holidays – and even before - you were the one who shut me out!"

Duncan's breath pitched to a higher level. His hands were balled up to fists and the knuckles grew whiter with every second.

"Well?" She crossed her arms over her chest and waited for him to respond. Her eyes were wide open and the color of her face turned light red.

"The woman I loved is dead, Veronica!" He hissed at her. "And she shouldn't be, she shouldn't have been…" He stopped his words, but Veronica knew what he was going to say.

"…on the bus." She ended the sentence for him. Cold shivers ran up and down her spine. Her voice was calm, but definite. "This is what you're trying to say, isn't it?" She pressed her lips tightly together as it dawned on her.

He refused to look at Veronica.

"Isn't it?" She asked again, her voice even more forceful.

Still, he remained silent.

"Dammit, Duncan! For just one fucking moment be a man!" Her calm voice was completely gone again and she yelled angrily at him. She pushed him further. "I know you want to say it! So just…"

"Fuck you, Veronica. She's dead… and it's your fucking fault. You told me that the bus crash was meant for you. She wasn't supposed to die!" He screamed at her, his face bloodred with anger.

Excuse me?

Veronica gasped. She felt like all the air had just been sucked away from her. The sudden lump in her throat tried to strangle her. She felt tears swelling behind her eyes.

So, he's really blaming me for Meg's death.

She tried to maintain her composure. However, all eyes around were magnetically attracted to their angry voices. She even could hear people whispering around them. She bit her lower lip as the control over her tears crumbled for a second, one single tear flowed down her cheek.

"Oh and now the tears start to roll again." He snapped at her with a harsh voice. "Sorry, Veronica, but sometimes tears just don't work."

Yes, right after she'd learned that the bus crash was meant for her, she had visited him for support. She'd cried in his arms and seeked his comfort.

'It's not your fault' Those were his words…

She thought she could count on him. She trusted him. But now, she could see what a big mistake that was. Finally, she had opened up and she got stabbed in the back in return – again!

"I can't believe…" Her voice broke away as her heart shattered into a million pieces.

"What? That finally someone tells you the truth? Oh, come on, Veronica. The truth is your favorite subject, isn't it? You're always searching for it. Maybe you should be thankful that finally someone gives it to you without you investigating his whole private life." Duncan gritted his teeth, referring to the last year and her files on him.

Veronica couldn't believe that Duncan was doing this to her – in front of all these people she hated so much. They just desperately waited for something like this, ate it up with a spoon.

This thought was finally the last drop of fuel for the hardened Veronica to reach the surface again - the Veronica she had become after Lilly's death. With every unreasonable word Duncan had spat at her, she grew angrier. Finally, she had enough.

You get tough, you get even.

"So, it's my fault that the love of your life is dead?" She yelled at him. Angry tears were still sparkling in her eyes.

"You said it yourself." His eyes shot furiously at her.

"Then maybe you shouldn't have broken up with her!" Her whole body was shivering, but she refused to give in. "Why are you doing this?" she added, with a shakier voice. "I loved you… I trusted you." The last words were only a whisper, her last attempt to break through and reach the Duncan she used to know.

"Oh, did you? Or did you just love the idea of becoming a normal girl again and the fact that I was part of your normal life made it easier for you? Hey, maybe you even just wanted to fit in again, no matter what."

"Fit in?" She just shook her head in disbelief and breathed heavily.

Come on, Duncan! Do you even know me at all?

He continued, ignoring the fact that she was close to breaking down. "Well, I bet it was just like that. I mean, after you dumped Logan, you jumped right into a new relationship with me…"

She interrupted him, knowing what he was trying to do. Her voice was angry and beseeching. "Stop it! This had…" she said, then paused. "This has nothing to do with… my other relationships. What about a reality check, Duncan? I never wanted to be in the so called IN-

crowd. Screw you for even suggesting something like that! You really think that after the last year I wanted to be friends with them?" Now it was her turn to laugh. But again, there was no humor in it.

"Is that right?" He snapped at her. "Then you're just really fast!"

Her hand connected with his face. She slapped him, hard. She heard gasps around them, but she ignored them completely.

Duncan rubbed his cheek where she'd slapped him and shook his head. He continued with a lower voice, but she could still hear the coldness. "I don't love you, Veronica. I thought I did. But I was mistaken. You are not the same person I fell in love with. You're not even near her."

"Sorry that I've moved on with my life." She shouted at him. "What did you expect, Duncan? That I stay this innocent and naïve girl who'd been waiting by the phone for your call?"

He locked his gaze with hers, but he said nothing.

She exhaled heavily and hesitated. "Well… now that you have the certainty that I'm not your sister, the thrill of fucking me is all gone?" She heard the whispers around them increasing as she dropped the word 'sister'. Veronica didn't care. She was beyond caring. Her focus was just on Duncan.

She watched him as his jaw tightened. He gritted his teeth again as he stood up and looked down at her.

Good work, Veronica. You struck a nerve.

For a second, Veronica thought he would slap her. She saw his arms tightening and she could swear that his fingernails drew blood from his palms.

Finally, Duncan swept the tray off the table. She flinched at his vicious movement. She remembered Logan's and Meg's stories about Duncan's 'other side' but she'd never witnessed it.

Veronica, meet his "Mr. Hyde"

She didn't know what to say. How do you respond to such an inequity on his part? Hurt was written all over her face.

He glared at her for a few seconds and finally stomped away. He never looked back. He was done with her.

Veronica just sat there while everyone looked on. She could hear laughter and whispers around her.

'Way to go, Duncan!' She heard someone cheering him on.

Her hands were resting on her lap. She was shaking and the urge to just cry her eyes out became nearly unbearable.

No, that's not me. I refuse to break down in front of them.

She focused all her willpower on standing up. She had to leave the courtyard – as fast as her legs could carry her. She grabbed her bag and lifted it on her shoulder.

Every single eye around her was glued to her body.

Veronica took a deep breath and turned. And there he was, staring at her. She had totally forgotten that Logan was sitting just at the table next to them.

You just loved it, didn't you?

Veronica said nothing. She just swallowed hard and forced the tears of humiliation back. She took a deep breath and turned her eyes away from him. She couldn't deal with his jeering, not right now.

She started to walk. Slowly, but steadily.

One step at a time, Veronica.

Her pace grew faster with every single step. As she reached the parking lot, she was running. Finally, she made it to her car and fumbled in her bag for the keys.

Still, she couldn't believe what just happened. How could Duncan treat her like this?

She opened the door and slid in her car.

Save haven… or at least better than the school

Just in time, the tears started to roll. She crossed her arms over the steering wheel and laid her head on them. She had trusted someone and she got fooled again. It was her curse. This was her whole life. Her tiny body was shaking heavily as the tears poured down her cheeks. Unstoppable – uncontrollable.

She didn't even hear him. She didn't even feel the slight shifting of the car and the soft closing of the passenger door.

Suddenly, a hand was placed gently on her back and stroked it softly. She looked up. Her eyes were puffy and red-rimmed and her gaze all blurry.

The figure just started at her. There was no spoken word – nothing. Just his touch. A touch that said more than a thousand words.

She knew exactly who it was and she wanted to throw him out of her save haven.

Why didn't I lock the doors?

He wasn't supposed to see her breaking down – no one was supposed to see her breaking down. But something deep inside stopped her from doing that. Her breath was still heavy as he rubbed her back in small circles. So tender, so soft.

She didn't understand why he'd followed her. As soon as she'd noticed him sitting next to her she'd prepared herself for some harsh words.

But they never came.

Was this a smile?

It wasn't a mocking smile. It was full of sympathy and comfort. A warm smile.

She pressed her lips together as another flood of tears started to roll down her cheeks.

Logan just sat with her, never letting go of her back, never losing the connection with her body.

She knew that this didn't mean that they were friends again – or whatever they were these days. But she also knew she needed it.

Was this him returning the favor from last year?

She didn't understand why he was sitting with her – not mocking her. But right now, she couldn't care less. All her anger and fear, sadness and desperation were transformed into tears.

Despite betrayal and distrust, fights and breakups… In the very end, was it really that simple? And now, there was only one thought floating through her mind.

The hero is the one that stays, and the villain is the one that splits…

fin

Thank you for reading. :-) I hope you enjoyed it!