Summary: AU. But thinking only makes her feel, and feeling is not an option anymore. Oneshot.
Disclaimer: No, I don't own them.
A/N: So … one line got into my head and I had to run with it because I loved it so much. Reviews are love.
Her ex-boyfriend has no life left in his eyes. She notices it the morning before the funeral, when they're both at school and pretending they're okay, but he's not she's not they're not and the fearsome foursome is dead.
Funny how the death of one inadvertently led to the death of them all.
She holds Logan's hand at the funeral and it makes her feel dirty (safe) angry (okay) sad (sad) broken (dead) gone. He squeezes her hand at random throughout the eulogies of the Kanes and he pulls her into a protective hug when they lower the casket into the ground.
Her throat constricts until she can't breathe and he holds her closer while she tries not to hyperventilate. Sticky, salty tears etch maps into his newly-pressed designer suit and she wishes they led to something important, some sort of salvation.
Unfortunately for her, salvation's not an option. She hasn't committed enough sins to need it and she's not about to start that mission now. If Lilly were here (which she's not, not now) she'd encourage the sinning.
Come on, Ronica; just have a little fun for once.
Too bad Lilly's voice is all she can hear anymore.
Logan tightens his grip on her and she sinks into him as they stand by a pile of freshly-dug dirt. Wet soil scents the air and Veronica chokes out another sob as she grinds her nails into his back.
Celeste Kane forbids her son from talking to any member of the Mars family. Including Veronica, only Veronica, never Veronica; the phrasing doesn't matter but the message definitely does.
So Duncan avoids her, and Logan follows his lead.
The factor they don't bother to multiply is that Veronica Mars won't give up that easily. She still sits with them, still talks to them when she can, remains persistent in her quest for a normal life.
Not that normal can exist anymore, but she wants to try and try she will.
Eventually Logan comes around again, and the two spend more time together than they ever did before murders and betrayals and warnings from rich bitch mothers with nothing better to do.
The morning her mother leaves, her best friend is sitting on the end of her bed. She has a magazine in her hands and a bored expression on her face, trails of crimson all along her cheek but she doesn't seem to notice.
"God, Veronica, could you be any more dramatic?"
She clenches her fists and stares down at the music box that's still playing from inside the trash can. The sound is tinnier and echoes off the purple-painted aluminum walls, but she can't seem to make herself care about that, and when she turns around to leave her room Lilly is gone but her reflection is in the bathroom mirror.
Keith greets his daughter with a tight hug and a remorseful sigh against the golden blonde locks of her hair, his voice leaving imprints in her mind as he tells her it's going to be okay.
Veronica doesn't believe him, but she doesn't bother to argue with him either.
Sunlight shines on the sheets that are crumpled underneath her and it's too bright too much too early too soon. Her thighs are burning and she clenches her eyes shut, knowing and hoping and lying to herself. With a turn of her head she notices the broken strap of her (virginal, in Logan's words) white dress and her stomach catapults into her throat.
Her underwear hangs loosely from clenched fingertips and she swallows back her bile-drenched heart. She shoves them into her purse and grabs her shoes as she walks slowly out of the guest room, pink-painted toenails gripping carpet, tile, gravel.
White paint, slut, keys, drive.
The sheriff doesn't want to help, mocks her when she cries, and there's a jackass yellow car waiting for her when she walks out of the station. He doesn't say anything when she climbs into the front seat, but he notices her wince and she cries silently on the way to her house.
Apartment, actually. They no longer have a house.
Sucks, Ronica. Want me to kick his ass for you?
She ignores the sound (ghost) and focuses (stares) out the window again. Logan idly grabs her hand when they're waiting at a stop light and her breath hitches painfully in her throat. Her lungs burn from the lack of oxygen, but she gets it back before he can blink.
Not hot enough, but her skin is red. Splotchy, stinging, sore; she wishes it was scalding. Her skin should melt off, peel like a rattle snake's. She wants it gone and away, scrubbed raw until it bleeds.
It's her sophomore year in high school; this should not be her after-party fun. This is broken, fucked up, molested little girls and porcelain dolls with the eyes shattered out. It's violation, penetration, anything and everything it isn't supposed to be.
She wants to think it over, analyze it, get it out of her system and move on.
But thinking only makes her feel, and feeling is not an option anymore.
He lets out a sigh when she walks into her room, hair twisted over her shoulder and bathrobe wrapped tightly around her skin. She ignores him, skirting around the bed, compulsively cleaning everything she can.
"Do you know who it was?"
Veronica drops a stack of homework on her desk and shakes her head solemnly, idly snapping scissors open and shut as she starts throwing things away. Pictures, papers, books, anything that makes a sound when it hits the bottom of the can.
She runs a small strip of hair across the scissor blades and contemplates closing the metal around the blonde. Logan puts his hand on her shoulder and she drops the scissors with a resounding clatter, watching as they vibrate across the desk from the impact.
They skitter on to the floor and she gasps to catch her breath.
Her father shakes his head when she walks out of the bathroom, a bundle of blonde hair in her hand. She smiles shakily at him and he takes the hair from her, dumping it in the trash and then pulling her into a hug.
"You look beautiful, honey."
Veronica nods against his chest and lets him comfort her despite the fact that she can't tell him why, and when Logan shows up for dinner his eyes almost pop out of his head.
She swears it's like electric shock the first time they touch as more than friends. Duncan turns his back at the lunch table one day and Logan presses his mouth to hers when she's in the middle of a conversation with Cassidy. It startles her and she pulls away from him only a second later, blue eyes wide as she stares at him.
"You looked cute," he shrugs. Veronica opens her mouth to respond and he kisses her again, laughing against her mouth when she gasps into his.
Incest. Jake, Lianne, something about an affair. She doesn't know, doesn't want to, and Keith almost cries when she tells him what she knows. She wishes Duncan had stayed away, listened to Celeste, let her be alone with the horrors of the year.
Horrors that are thanks to the Kane family.
Lilly is dead (six feet under), Duncan is gone (catatonic), Lianne is who-knows-where (drunk and drugged), and Jake might be her father thanks to old flames that refuse to die out. It makes her sick to think about, makes her heart clench like it's losing control, and this time she scrubs until it bleeds.
Brown eyes harden when she tells him about her night, and he settles his hands on her knees as she sits in front of him with them pulled up to her chest.
"I guess it wasn't really…" she takes a deep breath and turns her head as her bottom lip starts to quiver, unable to make the word fall off her tongue no matter how hard she tries. Logan sighs and grips her hands in his, tugging until she crawls into his lap.
"Yeah," he nods and presses kisses to her shoulder, rubbing her back in careful circles. Veronica stiffens against the touch and he stops the movement, suddenly very aware of the raw, dry feeling of her skin.
He opens his mouth to say something about it and she shakes her head sharply. "Don't," she whispers. He sets his jaw but nods anyway, burying his face in her shoulder as she wipes away her tears.
She rests her forehead in between his shoulder blades while he pulls books out of his locker and closes her eyes tightly. He pauses what he's doing to intertwine his fingers with the hand that's resting on his stomach and she smiles against the material of his shirt.
"My dad got a paternity test," she tells him. Logan swings her in front of him and presses her against his locker gently, resting his hands on her hips as he stares at her expectantly. "Jake isn't my father."
"Good," he nods and gives her a small smile as he tucks a choppy lock of hair behind her ear. Veronica nods her agreement and wraps her arms around him tightly when he kisses her (because she can).
She bats at the air around her and snuggles further into the couch, unwilling to put herself through another conversation with a dead girl. Lilly giggles in her ear and the hair stands up on the back of her neck as she opens her eyes and looks around the room. She glimpses a flash of blonde and crimson hair and her eyes glue themselves to her dead best friend.
"I don't know why you like his protective streak so much. That used to drive me crazy," Lilly grins from her position on the kitchen counter and Veronica frowns.
"I'm glad he doesn't stand idly by," Veronica responds quietly. Lilly raises an eyebrow and smiles slowly.
"Aww," she sticks out her bottom lip, "Veronica's in love."
"He misses you."
"Of course he does! I mean, honestly, who wouldn't?"
"I miss you, Lilly," Veronica swallows thickly and sits up on the couch, pulling her knees to her chest and resting her chin on top of them. Lilly nods.
"Miss you too, Ronica."
She runs her hands up his back and gasps against his neck when he tickles her sides.
"Not nice," she mutters. Logan laughs above her and presses a kiss to her mouth, pushing her hair out of her face as he runs his tongue along her bottom lip. Veronica continues to run her hands along his skin, vaguely aware of the ridges and valleys, wishing she could draw a map to guide herself through them.
He can, but he won't. She won't even ask.
Lilly sits in the corner of the room painting her nails and Veronica rolls her eyes toward the ceiling when she sees her there. Logan trails his hand up her leg, thigh, higher, cotton, oh.
And Lilly giggles like it's the best thing she's ever seen.
The phone rings and she answers it groggily, burying her face in her pillow as she tries to focus on the call. Her father's lawyer informs her that she needs to get down to the hospital and her heart jumpstarts so that she's fully awake and in panic mode.
"Aaron Echolls killed Lilly Kane," Cliff sighs. Veronica stops searching for a clean pair of pants and almost drops the phone.
"Keith went after the bastard tonight and things got a little out of hand. Doctors say he's going to be fine," Cliff continues.
"I'll be there in a minute," she murmurs.
Denim (hers), sweatshirt (Logan's), cell phone (hers), speed dial (Logan).
She sinks against the wall and wipes tears out of her eyes forcefully, ready to strangle the next doctor that tells her to wait until her father wakes up. Logan sighs and leans against the wall opposite her, eyes bloodshot and black in the fluorescent light of the hospital.
"Fucked me over," Logan nods. "Again," he adds after a pause. Veronica swallows hard, nods shortly, pushes herself off the wall and leans against him while he hugs her closer.
This time it's blue-eyed, fucked up, sex-crazed teenage girls and heroic fathers with their skin burned off. Almost like a carousel ride that shoots bullets on every rotation. She thinks she's tired of following this routine, and her stomach feels like it's about to explode from the pressure of the night.
But at least she can feel the pain this time around.