A/N: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone. Here's a belated present for you. Again, it's been forever. It took a while to figure out how to how to end this thing, as massive as it is. But here it is, after all the sweat and tears and horrible names slung at me from every direction (and yes, I know that I deserved every one). I hope you've enjoyed reading half as much as I've enjoyed writing it.
Weevil cursed himself as he lunged forward, just in time to catch her arm but not her head as it hit the cement. She could have rolled right off the roof, collapsing like she did right there on the edge, but he held tight to that arm until he was sure she'd stay put. Beaver went off the roof, landed on some suit's company car with a stomach-churning splat that stuck in Weevil's head even after the car alarm started.
He'd done it all wrong, and if the kid had wanted to kill Mac, she would have been dead. Weevil would have gotten there seconds too late, and it would have haunted him for the rest of his life.
First off, he'd taken precious seconds to do the smart thing (the useless thing) and call the cops. They'd kept him tied up, asking his name and location and stupid little details that didn't matter to anyone. That was mistake one.
Stroke of genius number two was passing that stupid ladder half a dozen times before actually seeing it. He'd crept down the walkways, searching for a door cracked open or a car being hotwired out back. Seconds had been lost to stealth while they'd been sitting not ten feet above his head, having a freaking conversation. Any other psycho white boy and she'd have been dead two minutes ago.
It was only their voices—just loud enough to hear when he'd stopped to collect himself—that had tipped him off, and by then he'd had just enough time to keep her from falling off the damn roof.
She was out cold, didn't stir a bit when he picked her up. She wasn't bleeding where her head hit, but it would probably bruise. Surprisingly, it was the only sign of violence he could find on her. He figured he could move her, get her down off that roof before she woke up and started screaming.
It took some maneuvering to get her down the ladder, but he managed, and by the time they hit the ground floor the ambulance was pulling into the lot. He declined riding in the bus with her because Ophelia would still be wanting pancakes in five and a half hours, but he memorized the paramedics' faces scrupulously and told them to take care of her. They seemed to understand that he'd find out if they didn't.
The ride home was quiet save the quick call to Logan and, once there, he had no trouble collapsing into sleep.
Veronica woke up crying, not sure exactly why. She couldn't remember the dream she'd been having or why she was so sad, so scared, so hopeless. Then she noticed the heart monitor's steady monotone next to her and remembered what was going on.
"Mac," she whispered to the empty room, wondering how long she'd been asleep and how much she'd missed. Stupid Logan had taken her phone.
It seemed like forever since this whole thing had started, since Lucky had shot Wallace and grabbed her at Neptune High. Or even further back—the bus crash that had tripped the series of events. She'd been searching for the truth for so long, and now it was putting everyone in danger. Her best friends. Her father. Logan and Weevil. They had all been pulled into her dangerous endeavors. And now Mac was—
Logan's voice surprised her so much as her door slammed open that she almost didn't catch what he'd said.
"Wait, what? What happened? What's going on?"
"She's safe," he repeated, throwing himself into the chair next to her. "Weevil found them, and now Mac is headed to the hospital in Neptune, but it's nothing. She just fainted and hit her head. They don't think Beaver didn't hurt her."
She let out a long, relieved breath, swallowing tears. "Okay. Okay, that's…really good news." Another breath. A chuckle to release the tension in her chest. "So the police got Beaver? They know he set up the bus crash and everything?"
Logan was silent, a shadow crossing over his eyes, but it wasn't the anger or disgust he'd seen before when they'd figured out Cassidy's secret. His frown was too deep, his eyes too glossy. Something was very wrong.
He forced a small, ironic smile that didn't fit the mood. "Beaver…shot himself…on the roof of the Camelot. He's dead."
Veronica's first reaction was relief. He'd murdered a bus full of classmates. He'd kidnapped Mac. Obviously he was a dangerous man. But the look on Logan's face was enough to remind her that they'd been friends, Beaver and Logan. He'd lost a friend tonight—which, thankfully, was one more than she had.
"I'm sorry, Logan."
He shook his head, that smile tightening painfully. "I know that he did a lot of horrible things, but he wasn't a horrible person. I mean…what Woody did to him…I can hate Lucky for what he did to you, but…"
"It's okay to not hate him," Veronica sighed, putting a hand over his.
The fingers he ran through his hair shook like a junkie's. "I should have seen it, you know? A good friend would have noticed, right? I mean, friends don't let friends go psycho."
"No one noticed." Though, on closer inspection, that wasn't really comforting. "What I mean is, he hid it pretty well."
"Yeah." Logan pushed that same painful smile, stroking her arm as he stood to kiss her forehead. "You rest now, honey, okay? Everyone's safe, everything's solved, there's nothing left to worry about."
Veronica chuckled disbelievingly. "Oh, Logan, don't jinx us. The universe will find something."
He smiled a real smile, kissing her again on the mouth. "You're right. I said nothing. Now go back to sleep."
She closed her eyes, feeling a peace that could only come from a solved case and a lot of morphine. It settled over her like a fog, wrapping her in a warm blanket of resolution as the events of the past 12 hours spun through her head.
"Lucky!" she screamed, standing. She wasn't sure what compelled her out of her hiding place, shouting a madman's name, but Wallace's blood was beginning to pool and Lucky wasn't going to let him be saved without a substitution. "Lucky!"
"Does that sound like something a sane person would do?" His voice when he spoke was quiet, childlike, and it made her shiver. "Sanity wasn't made for lost little boys."
"So far Lucky hasn't hurt me, but he has a gun and I'm scared. Please come find me."
A familiar lime green Impala, trailed by three bikes, drove by in the opposite direction and Veronica wanted so much to scream to them. She wanted to wave her hands and make him see her, but he wouldn't hear over the bikes and he was already fading into the distance.
"Missing You, VeronicaMars."
The blood drying on her hands was sticky and acrid. She tried once again to wipe it on her pants but it didn't come off. Somehow she thought it would never wash off..
"I love you, Veronica," he blurted out instead. "I just needed you to know that."
Without thinking about it, she pressed her finger against the mirror, leaving a burnt red fingerprint behind. Now she had a mark there too.
The sound floated through the silence and she laughed at it. Laughed at herself. She didn't even know she was crying until she was sobbing. "When I get out of this," she whispered to the phone in her bra, "please don't hold this moment of weakness against me."
Logan was quiet again, and she ached to hear his voice, to talk of normal things like school and friends and love. But school was where Lucky had taken her and her friend was why she had let him. Love seemed too complicated for phone lines, though she'd let herself be simple for desperation's sake.
"I love you," she repeated, keeping her voice light. "See, now it couldn't have been the last time." His sigh came through as static, a rush of air half-laughter, half-heartbreak. "I love you, too. Even if you are crazy."
"I should never have kept you a secret."
And then the phone beeped.
"I love you," he whispered in her ear, and then repeated it until he shook with sobs she wished she hadn't caused. She buried her head in his neck and let him be her rock again. It seemed like so long. So long.
"Daddy?" she whispered as Logan jumped headlong into the water. Her eyes were fixed on the spot where he'd been. "Daddy!"
"Does that make you feel in control, Lucky?" She sighed a disgusted chuckle, staring straight back into his empty eyes. "It make you feel like a man to kick the shit out of a teenaged girl? To hold a gun and pull the trigger watch someone else bleed?"
"It's okay, baby. Just open your eyes."
"We found you, Veronica."
She reached an arm out, and he grasped her hand. It wasn't much, but it was enough. "I'm here, honey."
"You get your unsinkable ass back to Neptune and I'll believe you."
He smiled his little amused half-smile. "Yeah, well, let's just say we're even on favors for a while." "Ha. You can't fool me. Come on, Weevil. Embrace your inner marshmallow."
"Aw, honey, you're never useless." He leaned down and she placed a quick, placating kiss on his cheek. "You can always just stand there and look pretty."
"What the hell took you so long? I swear, the next time you get yourself kidnapped, I have dibs on your computer."
"He's going to kill her! What are you doing? I have to call her! I have to call someone! He's going to kill her!"
"You rest now, honey, okay? Everyone's safe, everything's solved, there's nothing left to worry about."
She let the memories come and go as she began to drifted away, feeling like she was closing a book or listening to the last bars of a tragic song.
"I thought our story was epic, you know? You and me."
"Spanning years and continents. Lives ruined, bloodshed . . . epic."
"Come on. Ruined lives, bloodshed? You really think a relationship should be that hard?"
Halfway between asleep and awake, she smiled.
"No one writes songs about the ones that come easy."
A/N: There it is. I thought that with a story dependent so much on flashbacks should end with one, and that with such a long, emotional story, you guys might like a summary. But then again, it's your opinion that counts. Love it, hate it, whatever, I want to know.
Anyway, thanks so much for reading. I enjoyed each and every bit of feedback, good and bad. Happy holidays, and God bless.