The Truth Shall So Totally Not Set You Free
by Trickster-jz

Pairing/Characters: Lilly Kane, Veronica Mars, Logan Echolls, Duncan Kane, Aaron Echolls, Lilly/Logan, Lilly/Weevil, Lilly/Aaron, Veronica/Duncan, possible Logan/Veronica
Rating: M
Genre(s): AU, angst, mystery
Summary: Events took a wide left turn a few months before Lilly canonically died. In her stead, Veronica Mars is murdered in her "pink" stage. While most of Neptune moves on, Lilly searches for the truth.
Spoilers: Any and all of S1 is fair game. Nothing else should spoil you unless you already know about it.
Warnings: Rating is for language and situations (though there is nothing explicit).
Disclaimer: I own nothing; it belongs to Rob Thomas. I am making no profit from this.
Author's Note: This is the sequel to The Fabulous Life Of and The Mansion You Remember. I advise reading both before this one.


The coroner changed his story, which is more than a little fishy, you think. On the second day, he told Keith—and indirectly you, because Keith told Lianne who told Jake who you overheard talking about it with Celeste—that Veronica suffered some kind of head trauma. Not serious enough to kill her, but at least enough to stun her, stop her fighting, maybe knock her out. Then someone cut her up and let her bleed.

Now he's privately—but not very quietly—saying that it's very possible that she used the scissors on her pale—unmarked—skin and then fell back and hit her head all on her own. He even tries to insinuate away the signs of struggle in Veronica's room. He is on your List—for later.

If he changed his mind, he was either paid off or "persuaded" so the murderer's either rich or powerful or both and suddenly that list of people you've fucked/are fucking, well, that might come in handy for getting information.

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Weevil tells you that it's over (again) for good (again). You tell him to have fun jerking off to the memory of your pussy, and you don't miss him at all, not one bit. He was getting as predictable as the old Logan and you've never been hot for that but he was okay for a while especially when you were weak after Veronica. Eli can be replaced for someone else, easy, and you keep an eye out for your next rough-and-tough boy who thinks he's a man who will make you go ooh fuck me harder ahh when you tell him to. Until then, Thumper's arrogance is amusing because you know you'll crush him later. Felix's "I'm pining for my Moliet but I'm addicted to you" is hilarious and you're going to make him eat you outside the River Stix and maybe Molly will conveniently show up and make it funnier. Aaron's still all too willing to play games and leave scratches and bruises…all over you.

And, of course, there's always Logan. Maybe Veronica did that on purpose; maybe she never left you at all.

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You actually see Veronica's ghost—not the spectre you created—for the first time four months after her death. It's just getting dark out on the pool but you haven't gone in quite yet. Logan left a little while ago, prickly and restless and spoiling for a fight that'll leave him bloody but not beaten. You swear, he must have been, like, a poet—a drunk one, but a poet—in his last life, the way he's all masochistic and pretending that makes him a man. That, or he's still hoping Veronica will, like, come back from the grave and—

You sit up suddenly and, "Veronica?" because she's sprawled out on the pool chair next to you and oh god oh god you know she's not real and it's probably the last hallucination of the drugs you and Logan took but she looks so real you want to reach out and touch her and hug her and never let her leave you ever ever again. "Veronica?"

"I love this time of day," she tells you, dreamily looking up at the sky. "It's always so pretty, with the sunset fading over the water. I don't get to see it much anymore."

"Oh my god," you say and maybe your voice is broken but—Veronica.

"You shouldn't be out here in just your bikini, though," she adds suddenly and looks back at you with that worried, affectionate look.

You didn't realize you were desperate to see that look again until now, didn't realize you were addicted while she was alive or that you've been in withdrawal ever since, until it lights you up.

"I don't care," you respond vehemently. You don't add that if Veronica is haunting this place you might want to stay forever.

And then you think, haunting, and wonder, if this is real— "Who did it, Veronica? Why did they—who killed—?"

She smiles sadly, though, and shrugs apologetically. "Colonel Mustard in the library with the rope? I'm not allowed to say," she clarifies.

You turn on your seat and lean closer and say, "Please, just give me a hint, I'll find them and make them pay—"

But Veronica Mars was (is?) the good one and her eyes widen and she touches a spot on her head with her fingers and she's flinching just a little and looks so scared. "Lilly, be careful," she pleads, begs, like she has a thousand times before but this time she really means it. "Promise—be so careful when you go digging, they're dangerous, I don't want you to—"

And you realize that part of her is reliving her death, and you hate that she still looks so scared but you haven't been careful a day of your life and Veronica Mars knows that.

Of course she does, so she says, "Then just—don't let it get around, that you're investigating, don't tell the people you don't trust, Lilly—"

For a second, her face says, Lilly, it hurt so much to die and now it's dark and cold and I can't help anyone I care about and everyone's splintering cracking breaking and I don't understand any of it but I can't be here for you

And then you wake up, and it's dark out, and no one's there.

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She told you to be careful, but that just makes you more determined. You aren't playing around with Aaron much anymore, because the thrill is starting to leave and you're better than him anyway. You think about spilling all to E!, but you want to be able to completely devote yourself to the press and you can't do that when you're racing recklessly into the mystery of your best friend's death. Besides, Logan's so…god, he's so broken—all sharp edges and brittle heart and a huge wall that only you can punch your way through because you've always held all the keys to Logan Echolls. People call you a bitch—maybe you are a bitch, maybe you slept with the dad Logan doesn't like, maybe you've cheated on him more times than anyone can count and maybe you sometimes throw that in his face—but Veronica's still there, she's still watching. You don't need a celebrity to make you fabulous or famous.

Aaron pretends not to care, but when you start brushing him off he starts sneering at you as if he's, like, disgusted with you. What-the-hell-ever.

You let Felix go, too, because he really doesn't appreciate what he has and it was fun to make him addicted to you and watch him spiral into self-hatred but now it's just old, old, old and pathetic.

This is it, you tell yourself. Your shining (high school) moment: No distractions, no faulty lighting, no comments from the peanut gallery. You're going to spellbind everyone until you spin spin spin into the truth.

You're Lilly Kane, and you're on a mission to find your best friend's killer.

And you have no idea where to start.

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Here is what you know:

Strapless Red Satin (a.k.a. Veronica Mars) participated in the pep squad car wash from 10 AM to 2 PM right beside you. You wanted to tell her about Aaron but your needs-to-get-laid-and-quick pep leader kept interrupting and after the carwash Veronica was all "grr must get to Logan's" for some reason she wouldn't explain.

Around, like, four-ish Veronica supposedly called you but your cell phone was somewhere under your bed and you were painting your nails and Deputy Lamb confiscated it for evidence when they found your number on her cell. You don't know if that means she left a message or not but you won't know until Deputy Snarky Do Nothing gets off his ass and returns it to you. When he does, maybe you'll make him eat you out while he tells you everything he knows….

Except, not in this life because unless you want to make him your bitch he doesn't deserve to touch you. Like, ew. Seriously, someone dropped him as a kid; who cares about how some of those stupid girls twitter about his pecs?

Luckily you are, like, way too resourceful to need him. You have a plan.

Veronica didn't use her laptop for much more than the internet, her photos, and a couple poems (all relatively non-suicidal, as far as anyone's seen) so no one really looked at it more than once except maybe Keith. But you keep seeing Veronica click-click-clicking her way around that computer as she stared at the screen, and the way she'd jump and minimize her window every time someone tried to look. At the time you thought she was just being normal shy Veronica; now you think maybe all your best clues are in that laptop. So you…borrow…it while Keith's at work and Lianne's her usual drunk-off-her-ass self. They'll never miss it.

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Eventually, Keith would have found what you do. But just eventually because he lost his unbelievably-loved daughter and at least half-believed his coworkers who told him that they completely searched Veronica's laptop for any clues.

And really, who expected Veronica Mars—the girl who died a virgin, who was buried in pink, who was her Daddy's princess, and who didn't realize her mom was sleeping with the father of her ex—could or would be sneaky?

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Her internet bookmarks are boring. Ask Jeeves, a scholarship site (she always was an early planner), an online journal she either locked or never updated, school help sites, and blah, boring, blah. Her documents are neatly organized with sub-headings like "School," "Poetry" and everything that is squeaky clean.

Innocent, right?

Sure, innocent, except that hidden under things like "Budget\2001\Extra" and "School\English\Assignments\Old," named with folder-appropriate but very misleading titles, there are documents full of links and e-mails, and there are photo-files without previews and oh my god oh my god oh my fucking god.

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The links:

You copy and paste all of the links in "Personal Responses to 'Lord of the Flies'" into the address bar, one after another and wait (extremely im)patiently for them to load and god is the computer's lack of recent used-ness making each site take so long? You could swear Veronica always just kept flying through webpages, and none of your family's computers ever get this slow.

Two sites are on physical abuse—the signs, frequent traits found in abused and abuser, prevention, emotional traumas, and psychologists' advice to victims and those who find out. Whatever you were expecting, it was not this.

The next is a long URL, going on forever, so Veronica wanted something specific. It's an advice column, but they must have purged it, because all you get is 404 FORBIDDEN. How often do they get rid of this stuff, anyway? You hate when they do this.

And how long ago did all this start?

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The e-mails:

With a bottle of booze ready for gulping and your door locked so Mommy Dearest can't come in, you read a bunch of really long e-mails (called "biolab1023") between Veronica, "Concerned for a Friend's Future," and some social worker-type-person. There are a whole bunch of words you're too lazy to look up—legal terms and shrinks' mumbo-jumbo. You know Veronica was smart but you're starting to feel defensive about all the times she explained something Keith was doing.

Veronica wrote about a friend being abused at home by his influential dad because she was worried the case would be dismissed really quick—like you know it would because, duh, Neptune. She wanted to know how to build a solid case.

Well, fuck, you think. This is starting to explain a lot.

It sounds like someone you know is going to be a half-orphan, when you're through.

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The pictures:

Veronica loved photography. You know this. She bought some fancy-schmancy lots-of-buttons-and-adjustors camera when she was thirteen and it practically never left her side after that. She was good at it, too.

So it's pretty clear what these pictures are of, once you open the no-preview PDF files hiding under the "Extra" folder hidden in her "budget" (what kind of high-schooler has a budget? Veronica Mars, apparently—to think, only a few years and she might have realized she could just sue your daddy for denied paternal affection, or something).

Violence. Belts. Blood. Blood on belts. Bruises—lots of those—and welts. Blood-covered bandages. X-rays. A familiar-looking alcohol cabinet, and lots of pills.

And lots and lots of women, some in the same room, but a few in a crap room at the Camelot. A man is always with these women and his face, if not always those of the women, is always very clear. Even when he's pounding into the women in the way that makes your pussy throb and start to weep from your recent relative self-control.

The last pictures are: a well-welted back in a pool house you know; and an all-too-familiar face with a black eye.

You should see the other guy, he always told you.

You're throwing up in the waste basket long before you let yourself realize the truth.

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It's the horrible understanding—the choking ohmygodohmygodohmygod—the icy epiphany you never could have dreamed up, that you've never been high or drunk or twisted enough to entertain. You want more alcohol—the hard stuff, vodka, maybe even some pills to go with it—think it might be the only way to cope (like that's possible) with tonight and tomorrow and the day after that after that after that but your bottle of Daddy's vintage champagne disappeared hours ago. You think you'll be sick again—

No—you're heaving and doubling over and retching—

You are sick. All over the floor. A lot. Still, even hours after you saw Logan staring back at you. And even though you've always said you're fabulous this totally isn't awesome because you're just the dirty guilty slut and you think maybe Celeste made you a goddamned self-fulfilling prophecy when you said you were evil and you should have gone far far away and

And Aaron Echolls killed your best friend. He killed Veronica Mars.

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Lillian Jane Kane, you are a slut

who fucked her best friend's murderer

the night (he threw her against her bed and watched as) she died (because he held her down when she struggled and he slit her wrists and waited while the blood gushed and sprayed and spilled all over her white bedspread and pink carpet).

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When Aaron Echolls was still considered just a mediocre dime-in-a-dozen boy actor, he made a movie called "Destruct-O Boy" about a child star grown up who spirals into drugs and fucking cheap whores and booze and who eventually kills himself.

He slit his wrists length-wise after being told by some drugged-up doctor that you bled faster that way.

The critics loved it, bad script and weird lighting and god-awful music and all. Everyone said he should have won an Oscar for it, like he'd done something special when it really wasn't that great, just dark to be "deep." Aaron built a goddamned shrine to that movie and loved to throw in quotes whenever it was "tasteful" enough.

Veronica stands in front of the TV when movie-Aaron uses the knife while you watch. But she stares when the ambulance pulls Mr. Echolls away and she smiles just a little in a way that isn't very Veronica-like when the paramedics call him DOA and pull the sheet over Aaron's bad eighties hair.

She tells you, "Be careful, Lilly, and Lilly—tell Logan—"

But then you wake up and she still isn't there, and you wonder how she could stand even being in one of your dreams.

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You're the one who fucked your boyfriend's dad and the town's gang leader and more than a few guys whose names you don't know in every place you could think of and some of them just because they hurt more.

It should have been you.

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Because it seems like the right thing to do—and you are falling way short of Santa's "Nice" list, even for you—you call Logan who's in Mexico for the weekend.

It's probably, you think, for the best that he'll be a couple hours away from his dad when he finds out.

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"Logan," you say.

"Hey, Lils, you wouldn't believe—"

You don't mean to blurt it all out, because you still want to do this right even when your mouth still tastes like vomit even though you brushed your teeth. You find yourself blurting, anyway. "Your dad killed Veronica because she was building a case against him and I just found out because I was looking at her laptop and oh my god Logan I didn't even know—"

Logan manages to stutter out, "What?"

But you don't stop because you can't stop, you won't ever be able to stop now that you've started: "—he must've found out because he knew about slitting her wrists the long way and her laptop, god Logan it was all there and he killed her."

You have never found Logan without words before because he's always the one snapping out something sarcastic or stupid or both even when he's hurt, and even when Veronica died he cried and whimpered her name but now

There is just silence.

No words. No sarcasm, no crying, no whimpering.

Just silence.

Logan?

Logan, I told him to fuck me until I bled while he still had Veronica's blood under his nails and now it's in me and I don't think I can do this oh my god, Logan I've been fucking my best friend's murder this whole time and and and

You don't want to say it out loud but you can't hold the words back and you thought you might be sick all over the phone but the confession comes out instead of puke.

And Logan is still listening.

There is more silence before you realize it.

And then there is a dial tone.

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I've got a secret. A good one.

A traitor's secret and a whore's promise. Later.

And you were so proud.

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You give the DVD to Keith and write "the suicide scene—do you see what I see?" on a sticky so when he comes back from work he'll know where to look. Lianne is…god, who knows where she is. A bar, or the Camelot with your dad, whatever. You go to Veronica's room.

She had tapes. Of all his whores.

Did she know about—?

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Veronica left you Logan because he loves you, Lilly, you shouldn't be so mean to him.

When she died, she let you keep Logan because she always knew you needed him. You knew he'd never leave you after—after—because where would he go with Veronica Mars gone? You're all he has—no, had—left.

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This is how you lose Logan.

This is when you understand all over again that your best friend is gone, dead, always and forever gone, never coming back ever ever again.

This is when there is nothing left, you think.

Except revenge.


Comments are love.

-Tjz