Title: Lovers and Fighters
Author: chichuri
Pairing/Character: Veronica, Piz, L/V, D/V

Word Count: 989
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Veronica considers her relationships with Logan and Duncan

Spoilers: 3.1

Disclaimer: Characters not mine, of course.

Lovers and Fighters

When Piz asks her if the guy from last night is her boyfriend, she assumes it's a rhetorical question. The automatic quip in response to the casually hopeful inquiry is no, I suck face with total strangers at random intervals, but Piz might be dense enough to miss the sarcasm. Veronica can't believe she had failed to see that Wallace's roommate was crushing on her, and can almost hear Logan's dryly amused snark on her detective skills lacking in certain areas. She is used to the insular world of high school, where everyone had either known she was taken or known she was scary. That someone might simply look at her and think she was hot, without any idea of the baggage? Strange and somehow liberating that college, even college in Neptune, afforded her some measure of anonymity.

She remembers Piz's comment from last night, and is now embarrassed to realize she had completely missed its significance. "I'm a lover, not a fighter," he had said, questioning which type of man college girls preferred. She's sampled both, and found that there is less to be said for the lover than her youthful dreams might have suggested.

The lover had dumped her without a word then stood by while she had been tormented. The lover had refused to stand by his best friend after the revelation that the former's sister had been murdered by the latter's father. The lover hadn't bothered to tell his parents about the relationship because it was easier to avoid the inevitable conflict. The lover had refused to see that the past would always have an effect on the present. The lover had never seen that the mask of innocence she had tried to resume didn't fit quite as well as it should.

She had spent two years convincing herself that everything Duncan had done had been just and fair, that his behavior had been due to grief or antidepressants or anything other than his own flaws. After they had started going out for the second time, she had convinced herself that all she wanted was 'normal', and that Duncan fulfilled that requirement. She realizes now that her definition of normal was skewed.

Logan may have made her life a living hell for over a year, but he had hardly been the only friend who had turned on her. Once he had given up his anger and entangled himself in her life, he had been willing to challenge anyone and everyone that might hurt her and didn't care who knew about it. He had done his best to stand by Duncan, even when his best friend had given him the cold shoulder. And now, in a situation analogous to Duncan's the previous summer, he fought to stand by the friend whose brother had killed a busload of classmates and attempted to kill both Logan and Veronica. Logan tried to be the friend to Dick that Duncan had not been to him.

Her hand slips into her pocket and she fingers the keycard, still sticky from the bow that had decorated it. Last night Logan had laughingly insisted that she break in the gift, pausing his kiss to watch with glowing eyes while she fumbled in her jeans for the card and unlocked his suite with a flourish. The bow is now a cheerful red patch on her dresser mirror, a visual reminder of milestones achieved.

She remembers that other boy and another keycard. Duncan had never made a production of giving her the card, but had put it in her hand her with a sweet smile and the assumption that their relationship warranted the gesture. Still embroiled in forced visions of happily ever after, she had never questioned his certainty. The boy is long gone, escaped to destinations unknown with his beloved and contested daughter. The keycard was quietly returned to the hotel not long after she engineered their disappearance. Happily ever after has been consigned to the realms of fairy tales where it properly belongs.

Logan never assumes. His own scars, both the ones she gave him and the ones outside her control, have changed him. He is less likely to jump in than he used to be, more likely to wait a moment and assess the situation. He may not always verbalize his questions, but she can feel him study her reactions to words both said and unsaid for cues to her emotional state. Her boy has grown up, and this newly mature Logan continues to touch her heart in surprising and dangerous ways.

And yet, this new maturity has not diluted the essential Logan, only changed his methods. Logan has always been a fighter. In the past he threw himself into the fray with fists and fury, leaving thought for afterwards. Last night, the Logan of two years ago would have bloodied his fists giving Dick's attacker a beatdown and would have taken his own share of the damage. Instead, in a display of mutual understanding that still unnerves her, Logan had grabbed the taser from the bag she tossed him and cleanly eliminated the threat.

Veronica realizes she wants the fighter. She wants the one who is willing to take a side, however unpopular, and defend it to the bitter end. She wants the one who sees and accepts her for who she is, not who he imagines her to be. She wants the one will have her back while she fights her own battles. She wants Logan, and the sheer intensity with which she wants him terrifies her.

But despite her fear, she will hold on this time. For all she tried to pretend, she's a fighter too. And this time she'll fight to keep Logan by her side.

She turns to Piz, who still stares at her hopefully through the bangs that try to hide his eyes. "Oh, yes," she says with conviction and a small smile, "he's my boyfriend."