Title: Spiral
Author: chichuri

Pairing/Character: Logan, Logan/Veronica

Word Count: 1068
Rating: R for minor adult language
Summary: The hole carved out of his soul will be the price he has paid to love her.

Spoilers: 3.6 to be safe

Disclaimer: Characters not mine, of course

Author's note: Logan's memories of a previous conversation are in italics. Much thanks to for the dialogue.

Spiral

"I kept thinking that if I just stuck by you . . ."

Every time Logan closes his eyes, he sees her. Blood stains the pale honey of her hair and trails down her forehead, spreading to halo her in red. Vacant blue eyes, normally full of sparkling life, stare into oblivion and her body sprawls, loose-limbed, on the cold grey slate. But this nightmare isn't the crime scene clip he had tormented himself with again and again, watching the streaming video on the flickering monitor until the burning in his eyes had hurt more than the churning in his stomach. The pose is the same, but the body is smaller and more delicate, slight figure belying the force of personality that should be inhabiting her cold flesh.

Veronica-as-Lilly is not the only vision that torments him, just the most frequent. Sometimes in his mind's eye Veronica is reenacting a darker spin on actual realities and he sees her roasting as her futile scrabbles at the door of a fire-wrapped freezer grow weaker, clawing at the hands of a psychotic mick drug lord as he slowly squeezes the breath from her lungs, or bleeding out from bullet holes that have torn deadly paths through her torso. Other times it's Veronica-as-his mother in a swan dive off of the Coronado Bridge or Veronica-as-Beaver stepping off of the Neptune Grand. The consistent theme is the love of his life ending up on a cold slab in the morgue.

Losing Lilly had broken him, but if he loses Veronica? He doesn't think there will be enough left of him to rebuild.

". . . you'd get past this . . . this phase and you'd be you again."

Veronica pushes at trouble in the hope that trouble will push back and she'll have an excuse to lash out. Logan doesn't think she even knows she's doing it. It's like she started fighting against anyone and everyone after Lilly's death and never figured out how to stop. Each passing year has piled on more death and tragedy for which she insists on assuming responsibility; each new burden has left jagged new lacerations on her soul. The pain she suppresses clouds her judgment and the irrational aggression spills over to everyone she meets.

To say that Veronica is not a people person is an understatement of epic proportions. She picks fights where she should be making friends, and separates herself from friends when she should be leaning on them. Not many people manage to burrow their way through her prickly defensive walls to see the girl she keeps hidden. Only those few are allowed to know she's anything other than the cold, cynical bitch facade she wears with such aplomb.

He's terrified that the day will come when she forgets it's just a mask and tries to wall herself off from those who still care.

"Someone's gonna get killed, Logan."

The problem is that Veronica just doesn't know when to back down anymore, or even when to try a different approach. Once upon a time, before the first death set into motion the chaos that overturned their world, she knew the definition of moderation. Now, the only setting she has is full on go and the only method she knows is the arrogant attack. The knowledge that it will lead her to a bad end haunts him every time he closes his eyes.

At the increasing frequency with which she bulls her way through any obstacle in her path, that end is coming sooner rather than later. She keeps daring anyone to call her on her shit then acts all surprised when someone actually does. Someday she'll go too far and no one will be there to save her. One of the fights she's been courting in her hack and slash mystery solving will blow up in her face, and her opponents won't just use words to settle the score. When it happens the hole carved out of his soul will be the price he has paid to love her.

Logan hopes he is wrong, but if there's one thing that his life has taught him, it is the inevitability of disaster.

"And, the thing that I can't stand is that . . . I'm pretty sure there's a part of you that's having fun with all of this."

The worst part of it all? She's so fucking beautiful when she's going after her target du jour, so gloriously vibrant and glowing. The passion and obvious enjoyment she brings to the fight, be it verbal sparring or devious planning, are among the very reasons he loves her. He doesn't care if it's called spunk, bitchiness, backbone, or toughness of spirit. Whatever the name, that quality makes Veronica Mars a formidable opponent and the woman he adores. Rip it away from her, and she wouldn't be her, but just an empty shell that goes through the motions of life.

Sometimes Logan wishes he could surround her with pointed and poisoned words and make himself the target for her fury once again. If she has a constant outlet for her anger, maybe she won't bait everyone else and will be able to lower her defenses. He would be willing to bear the agony of her hatred if only he could be assured she will loosen her grip on the past and finally find peace.

Knowing she is healthy and happy would be worth never touching her again.

"Are you breaking up with me?"

The beach is deserted, only the sand crumbling underneath their feet and the ocean reaching for the shore privy to this conversation. She's so damned beautiful in the moonlight, soft light and shadows hiding the wary cynicism that rarely leaves her eyes, reminding him of the trusting young girl she once had been and of the peace he hopes she can one day achieve. Logan watches her, hoping that when they are done she will still let him in and dreading that she won't.

As antagonistic as she has become, any attempts to confront her about her actions will be a gamble, but he doesn't have a choice. After all, he may lose her no matter what he does. He will never forgive himself if he doesn't make every attempt to save her. Whatever the cost, he has to protect her.

Whatever the cost.

"Veronica . . . we need to talk."