1Title: Stuck in a Barb Wire Snare
Series: Veronica Mars
Characters: Logan, Aaron, Trina
Summary: Daddy issues? Logan? Never.
Rating: PG-13 -- child abuse and harsh language. Also, mentions of thrill stealing, for what it's worth.
Feedback: I'm probably the biggest review whore you'll ever encounter.
Dedication: To my brother for being there, and to LOSE IT ALL, the author of An Echolls Family Truth, who was the reason I stayed up so late the other night and why I scribbled this out in third period yesterday.
Disclaimer: I don't own it.
Notes: Logan's fourteen here, and the title is from a line in Sylvia Plath's poem "Daddy". Italics indicate flashbacks.

Stuck in a Barbed Wire Snare
Neko Kuroban

You discover the action figure in the clearance bin.

It makes you laugh at first, seeing your old man's likeness from Space Battles, his campy 1980s cult hit that still has conventions every year, on sale for a dollar ninety-nine at K. B. Toyworks. You seize the plastic and cardboard box on a whim, tossing it onto the broad counter alongside your only other purchase: a package of exactly two double A batteries -- Energizer because Duracell is crap, according to your sister, and you're not in the mood to argue with her over something so pointless.

Again.

You pay with Trina's American Express card

(another caprice of your father's)

because she stole the batteries from your Discman for her remote. You replaced those with the batteries from your ageing Game Boy -- you had an Advanced the day it came out, and you'll probably get an SP come March -- but now you need batteries for that before Dad drags you and the sister to L. A. to see the set of his latest crapstorm.

The clerk -- some bland blonde with a nose job and less realistic breasts -- is eyeing you as if she recognizes you from somewhere. Her examination makes you look down your nose at her, difficult since she's taller. You like to think that your glare is haughty, but you know that it's just sullen and ineffectual. Artificial.

X X X X X X

When 'Daddy' came in at three in the morning, you pretended to be asleep on the living room couch. He never caught on that you were shamming, and some part of you was grateful for that. He perched on the edge of the leather sofa, barely a foot away from the crown of your head, and you could smell the drink and cigarette smoke clinging to his clothes. His large hand lingered on your then-long hair -- a gesture that annoyed you enough when you were awake. You couldn't jerk away, as you would normally, because it was late-or-early and you were supposedly fast asleep.

You cracked open an eyelid to peer at your father from under a fringe of long, soot-colored lashes. He looks old, you realize suddenly. The word craggy sprang, unbidden, to your mind.

He pulled your head into his lap, just as if you were still the spoiled little kid who used to idolize him.

(You never were, you try to convince yourself, lying to yourself that it was Trina who had done all of the hero worship where Daddy was concerned.)

He brushed his lips to your forehead -- something he hadn't done in years -- and whispered that he loved you. He pulled away, rising from the sofa, and sauntered out. He paused to glance fondly over his shoulder.

Didn't you see a scene just like that in one of his movies?

X X X X X X

You go to a drug store that has a twig of a branch in the mall. You've been stealing shit from them for a long time. The people there seem to almost implicitly trust you based on your appearance: a preppy-looking white kid who can never seem to make his wallet fit in his back pocket.

You don't know why you steal things. You'd joke that you were a klepto, but really... it's because you can. Lilly explained it to you that way, demonstrating by slipping a bottle of purple nail polish into her bag. It was because you could afford it, but you wanted the thrill. You needed to get away with something, right?

X X X X X X

You got caught stealing once. Not at this crap C. V. S. or Rite Aide or whatever, but at Hollister. It was just a CD, you argued to Dad; it wasn't like you tried to stroll out of the store wearing a pair of overpriced jeans that were already tattered. (Well, actually, you had, but you had actually paid for those.) You tried to charm the manager, but she had no idea who you were and called mall security.

"Trust me, I'm terrified." Caustic as ever, you sneered to rival your best friend's mom.

The mall's Rent-a-Cops were thrilled to take a break from their usual "coffee and jelly donuts" circle-jerk (or so you assumed) and were brimming with self-righteous posturing. Like that holier-than-thou priest who flung an eraser at you when you tried to sleep in second-grade religion class.

"We're going to have to call your father, young man." The burly one threw you a fierce, disapproving glance that spoke volumes. A walking stereotype. Cute.

You snorted a laugh. "Yeah, good luck with that."

Your father? The man who looked at your four-oh and told you that you could do better? Yeah, he's really got the time. Or gives a damn.

That night, when your entire backside felt like it was on fire, all you could think was fuck you, Logan Echolls, fuck off and die for the benediction you gave them.

X X X X X X

You take a lighter and a can of fluid, slipping both discreetly -- or so you think -- into the pocket of your fitted jeans. Someone else is standing in the aisle; he steps in your way when you turn to go.

"Guess you forgot to pay for that." It's some kid from school. You recognize him faintly, but you can't quite place the name without the familiar dull backdrop of Neptune Junior High behind him. Not important then.

"Yeah," you say slowly, like the kid's some sped. "Guess I did."

And you walk out the store.

X X X X X X

'Daddy' never hit you until you were twelve. Well, seriously hit you. Before then, he hadn't had any problems delivering a single slap, twisting your ear, or pulling you over his knee. After twelve -- after his life got worse (ironically, perhaps) -- his threats were no longer threats but promises, and every little thing you did could set him off.

X X X X X X

By the time you get home, Trina's already stoned. "Hey, little brother," she greets with a titter. She lays on her back; her eyes are wide and veiled with a glass-like glaze and you suspect them of moving separately. You would know for certain, if they didn't continue to skip and jump around the pool house like a frightened animal.

"Hey, princess." You smirk. How much more pathetic can she be?

She rolls onto her abdomen, her gaze ceasing movement. You suspect that it's just so she can stare at you with her huge, luminous eyes. "Where were you?"

"Out." Like you would tell her anything.

Her mascara-laden eyelashes part suddenly, dramatically. "Didn't Daddy say you were grounded?"

"Uh, no?" You hazard and she accepts it like it's the fucking Gospel. (So much for marijuana making you paranoid when you were high.) For a moment, you feel vaguely guilty, but dismiss it. What is this anyway? Seventh Heaven?

X X X X X X

"Logan, what's on your arm?" He asked while driving you to school. His brow was furrowed in annoyance, and you wondered if it was because of the spilled coffee or the fact that both of them are now late.

"Marker," you replied as dryly as you could, secretly hoping he would press. You'd probably die of shock if Daddy decided to try to be a parent for once.

"Oh my God, Logan, you're soooo hardcore." Trina had gushed sarcastically just the night prior, her mouth twisting in that way that never failed to piss you off. "Cutting for Daddy's attention. Poor little rich boy. He gives you everything, and you don't even care. Get over yourself." She slapped you, dimpling when it rang out. Her smile became even more innocent when Mrs. Navarro came waddling in, and told the dumpy woman that it sounded worse than it was.

Bitch.

The sting in your cheek ebbs like the receding tide and your thin cuts heal without any scarring, and you do "get over yourself"

(not enough)

and you start to wonder when the next time Dad's going to send you to choose a belt will be.

(Sitting in your first period class, your back itches in anticipation of the purple-black welts.)

And all the while, Trina's words play in your head.

Poor little rich boy, indeed.

X X X X X X

You're melting the plastic figure over your lighter, half-hoping that you're somehow an ancient voodoo master. You watch the face melt - dripping, dripping, dripping - onto your shiny new Zippo lighter. You should've started with the little boots, you realize, because the shirt Dad's action figure is wearing was red and now it's mingling with the melted face.

You can't help but imagine dear old dad looking at you with blood staining his vision. On reflex, you reach to touch your temple, the exact same spot he had once laid open with his fists. He had been drunk and once the blood flowed from where his ring tore, he crushed you to his chest, and God, Logan, he was sorry, he'd make it up to you, it would never happen again... at least until the next time.

You melt the insipid toy over the open flame -- you've rigged it so that it dangles from a noose of string over your bed -- and you wish that it really was your father because you hate, hate, HATE him more than anyone else you've ever loathed and you hate that you hate him and you can't stand that you're only fourteen and you still need him, damn it.

A liquid drop of crimson plastic falls onto the smooth skin of your cheek. It burns as much as any solid smack. Tears sting your eyes, but you don't let them fall.

Not leaving feedback makes the flying spaghetti monster sad, and we don't want that.