Disclaimer: The characters in this story do not belong to me, they belong to Rob Thomas.

A/N: So I have done a lot of writing in my time, but this is my first ever Veronica Mars story, and I hope that it doesn't suck too bad. It takes place in between when Veronica lets Logan and Wallace go find Kim Kaiser and when Logan beats up the police car. Just a what could happen type of story.

Leave a review and let me know how it turned out, I invite people to be brutal, so if you want, go right ahead. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy. :)

He once said that she was the only person in the world that he cared about. Maybe to everyone else he seemed like a jackass who only cared about himself, but what he said that day was the truth. She was the only person in the world that he cared about. He had proved that the night he stood on the Coronado Bridge and thought about stepping over that ledge and joining his mother in parts unknown. He cared about Veronica Mars, and he loved Veronica Mars.

He only wished that she could return the favor.

But that wasn't what was at hand right now. Upon finding the Kim Kaiser lead only led them to her sister, he came upon a scene that he never wanted to see again. A vulnerable and drugged Veronica being taken to the hospital to be checked out. He stood there as Wallace went running up to check on his best friend, Logan's ex-girlfriend. He found himself rooted to his spot and unable to move as the guilt started to creep up through his feet, unwilling though it was.

He should've been here, he should've been here to help her, to not let her get into these situations. It was the one thing he feared when he had put that bodyguard on duty to tail her. He had been so afraid the night he found her almost unconscious in the parking lot, holding her limp body against his, finding that part of her head was shaved, it had scared him more than any beating his father had given him as a child. It was a fear that went right through his heart, and his need to protect her had grown ten-fold.

But she was Veronica Mars, and by her own account, she never needed anybody or anything. He knew that not to be true, he knew that she was vulnerable. Hadn't it been just this past summer that he was saving her on a rooftop from Cassidy? He had been there then, to save her, to take that gun from her hand and convince her that she wasn't a murderer, that she wasn't going to shoot that gun. He was there that night.

He should've been there for her tonight, when she needed him the most.

He didn't know the details, only knew that Veronica had caught him, and the rapist had almost caught her first, and the things that did to his stomach was making him nauseous, and yet as much as his body wanted to be willed forward to see her, touch her, make sure that she was alright, his mind wouldn't allow him to move because it was starting to believe that this was his fault. If he hadn't broken up with her, she might've allowed him to come with her to investigate whatever she was investigating. Oh, who was he kidding, Veronica didn't need him, she was who she was, right?

Wallace came jogging over and he looked at the dazed Logan, "Hey man, she's going to be okay, she just looks to be beat up, but man, I wish I could've been there to catch the dude that did this to her so I could kick his ass."

"Who was it?" Logan finally managed to sputter. "Who's the guy?"

"Uh, that guy, Mercer," Wallace said, glancing back at where they were checking Veronica as she sat in the ambulance. "He almost got her, she stabbed him with a unicorn, that's my girl, he drugged her, and I don't know if he tried to rape her, just looked like he wanted to beat her up. If I could get my hands on him, dude wouldn't wake up tomorrow…"

Logan had tuned out everything Wallace said as soon as he had said who the rapist was. He had considered Mercer a friend, and the guy who he had covered up for was a rapist? Had tried to hurt his girlfriend? Logan's mind was focused on this and this alone. He could feel his adrenaline kicking in and he wanted to beat the hell out of something…or someone.

"Where's Mercer?" Logan asked through gritted teeth.

"He took off," Wallace shrugged, "had an accomplice too, the damn RA of my hall. Can you believe that? I'm going to go check up on V, you cool here, you want to come over with me?"

"Uh…no, she probably wouldn't want to see me," Logan said dejectedly. "She's probably--"

"Oh come on, she'd see you," Wallace told him, but Logan shook his head and Wallace tilted his head and shrugged as he went back over to check on his best friend, regretting the fact that he hadn't been there for her.

But Logan was regretting it even more. It was like he had let her into the lion's den, as it was him that introduced her to Mercer. Could he have set the wheels in motion for this? He felt that guilt again, taking over for the anger at his former friend. If Mercer were standing in front of him right now, he would've been a dead man. But he wasn't and instead, Logan walked back to his car and kicked the tire in frustration, kicking and kicking and kicking like Mercer was in front of him, broken, beaten, bloody like Mercer had left the woman he loved.

Yes, he had told her once that she was the only person in the world that he cared about.

And he had let her down. He punched the door for that. He hadn't protected her like he wanted. He hit the hood for that one. He got inside the car and banged the steering wheel, that was for not arriving here fast enough. The one time she let him help, the one time she had conceded, let him part of her investigation and he had screwed it up and left her for the wolves to get her. For that one he wanted to drive off a cliff. The only person he cared about in the world was sitting in an ambulance, half-conscious and beaten up. He needed to get out of here, he needed to try and escape the guilt that came with not being there to save Veronica. Once you became accustomed to saving her, being the one who let her down made you feel the lowest of lows.

He slept fitfully that night, never really falling asleep, but just being unconscious enough to not be aware of the world around him. He would've loved to have said he saw his mother telling him it would be okay, or Lilly laughing at him for being such a dork, but nothing came that night, no revelations, no spirits to comfort him. Just Logan, in a rather impersonal suite at the Neptune Grand, no more a home than a fancy hotel room. When Veronica was around, she made it bearable, and now that she wasn't, it was like he was living this life in some kind of pretty place with no substance. He had no substance anymore, finding that being all alone was the last place in the world he wanted to be.

This time, though, there were no thoughts of going out to that Coronado Bridge with alcohol and the loss of a will to live. There wouldn't be him going out onto his balcony and tiptoeing the edge like Jenny in Forrest Gump, wondering if the ground below would be as hard as he thought if he just let go. No, because even though the one person he cared about wasn't his anymore, he was thankful that she was just here, still here, not like his mother or Lilly who had evaporated into nothingness and left him alone here. If Veronica had become one of them, one of the spirits, then, and only then would the cold, hard smack of concrete before he blacked out for good, be a comforting thought.

You haven't been by to see her…

It nagged at him the next morning. It nagged at him that he hadn't gone to see her, but a part of him didn't even know if she'd want to see him. He had let her down after all. He hadn't been the savior that he wanted to be, to come riding in on some white chariot and whisk her away to where she'd be forever safe. Veronica Mars had too many enemies to ever be completely safe, no matter how crafty she was, and she was definitely crafty.

Little did he know that across town, in her apartment, Veronica was relaying her story to Wallace, Mac, and Piz, about the rape, about Mercer and Moe, telling the interesting tidbits, the details, the discoveries she had made. Mac asked if Logan had been by, and Veronica hadn't seen him that morning, and she didn't know if they would come. The three of them wanted to stay with Veronica, Wallace especially, just to make sure that she was really okay. But she insisted that she would be, and wanted them to get going and let her rest. She hadn't really slept last night, the incident kept replaying in her mind and until her father had captured Mercer and Moe from their hiding place. After that, she was able to sleep a little better, but it wasn't the sleep of champions, that was for sure. She woke up seemingly more tired than before. Recognizing that she was tired, and the other three not having had a great night's sleep either, left her alone with the promise that she would deadbolt the door and not answer for strangers. She complied with a roll of her eyes and went to her bedroom to lie on the bed.

She was just dozing when there was a knock on her door.

She got out of bed and went to the door, peeking out to see Logan standing there, shifting his weight from foot to foot. He gave her a half wave as he stood there and she opened the door for him. He rubbed the back of his neck and looked at her sheepishly. "I just wanted to drop by."

"You're late," she told him with a smirk.

"Sorry?" he asked, confused.

"Well, I know we aren't…together," she hesitated, "but I didn't think it would take you this long to come see me, or am I being too vain?"

"Oh," he said, giving her a small smile. "I was just unsure if you'd want to see me…you know, after what happened."

"Thanks for checking up on me, and if you even so much as utter an 'I told you so,' I'll have Backup sic you," she said, trying to make the mood lighter because by the look of Logan's face, the slight bags under his eyes, the fact they were bloodshot, she knew he hadn't gotten much sleep, but none of them had.

"No, none of that, I just wanted to apologize," Logan told her. "I wanted to protect you and keep you safe and I didn't realize I should've been keeping you safe from someone I considered my friend."

"I'm okay," she said, gesturing towards her body. "I'm a little worse for the wear, but those are the breaks." She turned serious, "I'm going to be okay."

"I should've protected you, it's my fault, I introduced you to him, I'm the jackass who brought him into your life," Logan berated himself.

"Yes, because you were the one slipping the drugs into the girl's drinks," Veronica said sarcastically. "You couldn't have known, and if you did know, I really hope you would've told me. It's okay, Logan, you don't have to blame--"

"I wasn't there to protect you. I go on an on about protecting you, and the first thing I do is screw up and go to the wrong girl's apartment while you're fighting off the bad guy. I should've been there with you to make sure that you were safe, I shouldn't have left you alone. I wanted you to be safe and I'm the reason you weren't."

"No, you're not," Veronica said. "Don't for one second think this is your fault. It's Mercer's fault, not yours. He's the rapist, he's the one who ordered me to have part of my head shaved, as a warning. You did nothing wrong, you were trying to help."

"A lot of good that did me," Logan said. "I didn't save you, and I didn't protect you, but what should I expect? Logan Echolls, eternal failure, as a son, as a boyfriend, you name it, I'm bad at it."

"Oh come on, I happen to know you're one of the best at playing video volleyball," she told him, smiling. "Okay, too soon, I get it, no time for joking. Look, Logan, you were helping me out last night, you did what I asked, you helped."

"But I didn't save you."

Veronica's mood dampened a little as she stepped up to him. She took his face in her hands and made him look at her. "You've saved me enough times to cancel this one time out. Don't beat yourself up over it, Logan. Don't change who you are for anyone."

"So this is the retroactive apology for trying to get me to change."

"You are who you are," she told him softly, regurgitating something she had said earlier. "You're just the obligatory psychotic jackass in the tale of my life. I shouldn't have expected you to change, not when I'm so unwilling to do any changing myself."

"So what are you saying?" he asked hopefully. This couldn't be happening. She couldn't be…

"You might have been the teensy, tiniest bit right, miniscule," she said, holding up her thumb and index finger indicating how small a space. "Barely even seeing. And you were wrong, you were wrong when you said I didn't need anything, that I never needed anything."

"So you do always have to be right," he joked with her. "Are you saying you need me?"

"That and some cherries for the ice cream sundae that I want."

"I love you," he told her emphatically, and he didn't expect her to say back. She hadn't before, the times he had said it, he didn't expect it now. Instead though, she said something even better, something that meant more to him than love.

"And I trust you."

Logan kissed her, smiling against her lips, but careful of her bruised face. She deepened the kiss, and when he pulled away, his eyes focused on the bruise on her face, the way it was a sickening purple and yellow, a bruise. Mercer had done this to her, had punched her like she was a punching bag, disregarding that she was a woman. But he had disregarded all the women that he had raped. Logan's anger was rising again.

"Where are you going?" Veronica asked as Logan pulled away and headed towards the door. Logan walked back over and gave her another kiss, a little more than a peck.

"I'm going to jail," Logan told her.

She was, after all, the only person in the world he cared about.