Title: Time and A Place
Word count: 1543
Summary: Yes, it's another fic after 2.20. I haven't written anything for awhile, and I didn't know what to write, and it was suggested I give this a try, so I did. Because I'm a lemming. Veronica waits to be called in at Aaron's trial.
Thanks: Thank you very much to veniveniveni for all her help and for the beta. She rocks, muchly.
Veronica had never been so aware of noises before. Every time someone cleared their throat or coughed it felt like fingernails on a chalkboard, grating on her very last nerve. She narrowed her eyes at a man in a blue suit, deciding he should have given up smoking a good few years ago if his annoying chest rattle was anything to go by. She had just begun to debate the merits of tasering him, when a door opened, and he was ushered into a room further down the hallway, much to Veronica's relief.
The hallway once again fell into silence, the remaining few people obviously lost in the thoughts swirling around in their heads. Veronica sighed, smoothing down the edge of her crisp shirt. Her dad had been in the room for over half an hour now, and the prosecution attorney had warned over that the cross-examination could take hours. There was a good chance she wouldn't even be called to testify that day, but she had to sit outside anyway, her stomach twisting painfully and a knot in her throat.
Veronica heard the footsteps before she saw him and she just knew who would appear around from around the corner. He was dressed casually, in jeans and an olive t-shirt, but his hair was gelled neatly, unlike the last time she had seen it, tousled and fresh from a romp in the hay with Kendall. His stride didn't slow down as her icy gaze flickered to him briefly, before she looked away in controlled disinterest. She felt a glimmer of anger at his presumptuousness and confidence when he planted himself in the seat next to her and held out one of the paper cups he had in his hand.
"Hot chocolate," he announced. "Extra cream and I added some sugar. Just how you like."
Veronica had to fight herself from licking her dry lips at his words, and keep her eyes trained on the floor. She saw his arm falter, before he leaned forward and placed the cup on the ground next to her. He popped the lid from his drink and the bitter smell of coffee was released into the air as her nostrils flared at the strong scent.
"I don't think you'll be called in today," he said quietly. "I listened in through the backdoor and they were still talking about the tapes."
Her annoyance rose from angry to livid in three seconds flat, but she took a calming breath before she said coldly, "Ah yes, the tapes. Whatever could have happened to them, Logan? I mean, we wouldn't be spending hours hashing out their contents if they hadn't mysteriously disappeared."
Logan swallowed heavily and had the decency to look ashamed. She knew she was just picking an argument with him for the sake of it. But at least it gave her a cause to direct the heated emotions swirling inside of her.
"I know you won't understand…" Logan began.
"Don't patronise me," she snapped. "I know why you did it, it just would have been nice not to go through a life and death situation for nothing."
"It wasn't for nothing," Logan protested. "We both saw what was on the tapes; we can tell them what we saw…"
"What did we see?" Veronica interrupted in a barely controlled whisper. Her eyes darted around cautiously; making sure no one could hear them. "We can't prove they were having sex, and without the visual evidence, the whole thing is pretty much useless." There was a heavy pause before Veronica added, "Why did you watch them anyway, you masochistic bastard?" Logan winced and Veronica gritted her teeth as she forced herself not to feel a shred of remorse at her words. Her eyes flickered shut for the briefest of seconds, the image of Kendall slipping her arms around his waist as she stared at them in disbelief and devastation. Her eyes snapped open. This was why she knew she looked like a wreck, with dark rings under her eyes. She hadn't been sleeping. Every time she closed her eyes the image seemed to be burned into the back
"I had to see," Logan replied hoarsely. He turned to look at her, catching her eyes before she could look away. "I'm sorry," he said simply, his voice breaking slightly at the words.
"Well, it's too late to be sorry about the tapes now, isn't it?" Veronica pointed out, looking down and studying her unvarnished nails.
"Not the tapes… well, yes, those too, but for getting drunk, for forgetting… For Kendall." His voice raised an octave in desperation as he hurried to get his words out, to sound sincere, to show he really meant it. Veronica shrugged, an image of nonchalance as Logan ran his hand through his hair. "I can't justify it, any of it. I don't know why I got so drunk, I don't know what I said to you… I don't know if I called Kendall, or if she just showed up. I can't even tell you if I slept with her or not."
"You don't need to tell me this, Logan. I don't care who you're sleeping with. Although fucking Liam Fitzpatrick's partner in crime probably adds to that little death wish you have," Veronica told him sharply.
"She's…" Logan began in surprise, before he stopped and shook his head. "Never mind. I'm just trying to explain how sorry I am."
"Well if you're just looking for me to tell you it doesn't matter, I'm not going to."
"I'm not, I'm not," Logan quickly protested, holding his hands up. "I just wanted you to know how much I regret it. If I could do it over…"
"Yeah, whatever." Her tone was final and unforgiving. "I've heard it all before. I was just stupid enough to bel- " This time her voice broke, and she leaned forward, putting her head on her hands.
His hand slipped on to her back, warm and steady. She flinched, but didn't move.
"I don't know what I can say to make this better," Logan admitted after they were both silent for a few minutes.
"It doesn't matter anyway. We're graduating in two weeks, and it will all be over."
"Don't say that," Logan whispered. "You said… You said you wanted to still see me after graduation. I know I royally fucked up, but we still could."
"I don't think so."
"I know I'm a bastard for what happened, but we could still try, just hang out a few times?"
Veronica shook her head. "I don't think it's a good idea."
"Just drop it, Logan," Veronica interjected tiredly.
"Look, Veronica, I know I messed up okay, but…"
"Just shut up, Logan," she practically shouted. "Why did you say all that if it meant nothing to you what-so-ever? Just the drink talking, right? Was it just a laugh?"
"No it wasn't a laugh," Logan bit back.
"How do you know? It's not like you remember."
"Maybe if you hadn't left, as usual…"
"I explained why I left," Veronica spat. "I needed space."
"It seems I'm not entirely to blame though," Logan pointed out. "I probably said whatever, you ran out on me and I probably thought that was it."
"So you called her. I mean, god, of all people."
"She means nothing," Logan insisted. "You run off when you can't deal. I... I call Kendall and don't deal."
They sat in tense silence, both breathing heavily. Veronica slowly scrapped away the varnish coating the arm of the wooden chair she was sitting on. Sitting outside a court room waiting for twelve people to decide the fate of the man who murdered her best friend was hardly the time to be discussing relationship issues, Veronica realised.
"D-do you think the case is entirely useless without the tapes?" Logan finally asked hesitantly, obviously having come to the same conclusion about there being a time and a place for these things – and his father's trial wasn't one of them.
"Not entirely, no," Veronica replied, her voice gentler that it was before. "They have us, my dad, the guy he knocked out, not to mention testimonies from Mrs Navarro and other members of staff that came forward."
"And what if it is all useless? What if he gets away with it?" His tone was sad, desperate and Veronica looked up, noting how much he looked like a lost little boy with his sleeve wrapped around the hand that wasn't still on her back.
"If he does, you'll be okay, Logan. You're eighteen and emancipated. You can leave town, travel the world. You have enough money to escape, get away from him." She leant forward and picked up the hot chocolate, to try and hide the tear that escaped and rolled down her cheek.
Logan slowly reached over and placed his fingers on top of her hand. "I wouldn't do that to you," he replied adamantly. "You're strong, but I'd never let you face him by yourself again."
Veronica took a deep breath as she leaned back against the wooden bench, her hand twisting under his until they were palm to palm, before she clasped her fingers in-between his.
Feedback very, very appreciated. Thanks!