For the Sins of Others
Pairing/Characters: Logan/Veronica, ensemble
Word Count: 4,624
Disclaimer: RT is the master of all things Veronica Mars. I'll put everyone back when I'm done, so please don't sue.
Spoilers: 1.22 "Leave it to Beaver"
Summary: AU from the events of 1.05 "You Think You Know Somebody." Veronica asks Logan for the details of the Tijuana trip and snark ensues.
Author's Note: If you hate when authors butcher canon for their own personal gain, don't read this, 'cause I've been cleaning my knife for weeks. BIG thanks to LJ user erin2326 for putting up with me and for her marvelous beta skills.
Logan laid on his stomach on the king size mattress in the pool house studying the minute fissures in the wall where it met with the baseboards. It was sad the way the expensive home was already crumbling around their ears. It looked quite spectacular to most people in the neighborhood, even to the equally wealthy. But, since Logan knew where to look, he could see the subtle erosion around him.
The mattress was just big enough to support his six foot frame if he laid diagonally across it. The red damask comforter was soft on the narrow strip of abdomen that was exposed when he laid gingerly across it. Of course, his father insisted that the linens be changed on a weekly basis, so their frequent tumble in the wash had made them pliable. However, even they weren't soft enough for him to roll over onto his back.
The moonlight spilled through the French doors, occasionally disappearing as a cloud drifted by. Rain would sound nice,Logan thought idly. He liked it when the weather matched his mood. It was terrible to be in a foul mood when the sun shone, or to be giddy during a dull grey shower. Not that he had much reason to be giddy.
He heard his phone buzz from where he'd dropped it on the floor. It was simply too much of a bother to answer. But, what about my adoring fans. Can't leave them out of touch, can I? came another thought. It sounded peculiarly like the voice he used to bait his father. Gently, he eased back onto his knees on the bed; he'd learned long ago how to hold his torso so that fresh wounds wouldn't reopen. He maneuvered himself to the floor slowly. Facing the double doors and the moonlit wash of tile leading to the pool, gingerly holding himself away from the bed, he picked up the phone.
The display simply read, 'Mars.' That could be one of two people, but since he rarely had occasion to talk to the former Sheriff, it meant only one thing: damnably annoying Veronica. It vibrated once more against his palm before voicemail picked up. What was the quote of the day? Logan wondered, trying to remember back to this morning. Ah yes. "There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. Elie Wiesel," he said aloud, his tone mocking. "I must be precognitive today," he finished dryly.
His phone burred once more and flashed red to indicate that he had a message waiting in his inbox. He stared at the device for a beat before pressing the button to take him to voicemail.
"Logan, it's Veronica. Call me back."
"Brevity is the soul of wit. William Shakespeare," Logan said into the darkness as he deleted the message with a keystroke. He stared at the ground outside the glass doors and grinned as a big raindrop spattered against one of the Spanish tiles.
He scrolled through his phone book and landed once more on Mars. As the rain began to come down harder, he pressed 'Send.' Logan watched puddles form as he listened to the phone ring.
As he anticipated, she answered it immediately. She didn't even let him say hello before she launched into her interrogation.
"Well, if you really want to know, there was this great bar where this girl and this donkey..." Logan began. He was interrupted by the voice on the other end who obviously didn't want to hear the highlights of his little Mexican tour. "Really, Veronica? Well, why don't you just ask me what you want to ask me. How am I supposed to know you're not just planning a vacation?" He paused as she retorted sharply and he grinned. "Drugs? Why, V, why didn't you just say so in the first place? What is it that your scrawny ass is mainlining these days? I could get you the name..." he broke off as she cut in once more. His grin faded slightly. "Fine, whatever. Tomorrow. I'll be there with bells on," he finished darkly before ending the conversation with the push of a button.
He stared at the phone for a moment listening to the steady tap-tap-tap of the rain hitting the French doors. Why does rain sound hard sometimes and soft other times? The thought came unbidden. He answered himself out loud, "Because you're a jackass, Logan. That's why." He turned the phone off so that he could sleep peacefully without it buzzing late into the evening as it was wont to do when one of his friends was on a bender. He couldn't even spare the energy required to save Dick from certain peril that night.
He had an appointment with Veronica Mars, Investigatory Bitch from Hell, in the morning. And he knew better than to miss it.
He had expected her to accost him in the parking lot before classes that morning. When she didn't show then, he expected her to pop up to annoy him between classes at his locker. Finally, just when he started to think she wasn't going to appear at all, he was blindsided and shoved into the first floor girl's restroom. He quirked an eyebrow at the aqua tiles and turned; his captor was none other than Veronica Mars.
He smirked down at her. "If this is all you wanted, you could have just come over last night. It's much less public and desperate."
"I just want you to try to remember the events of that night when you, Troy, and Luke were in TJ. Without the sexual harassment, if you can help it," Veronica retorted smartly. When the door threatened to swing in, she threw her slight weight against it and wedged the stop under it to keep her "office" from further interruption. Logan bit back a laugh.
"But harassing you, sexually or otherwise is what Logan's do best. T-T-F-N, Mars," he deadpanned, moving to push past her. She grabbed his arm to stay him and he leered down at her fingers curled around his bicep. "Now who's sexually harassing who?"
"Whom," she automatically corrected before adding, "And Tigger? Really? You're much more, oh, I don't know, Scar from The Lion King." She hauled him away from the door as best she could, and he finally relented.
"And who does that make you? Simba, the heroic cub who saves the day?"
"No, it makes me Veronica, the sleuth with frayed patience, who is also carrying a Taser. Tijuana. Go."
Logan rolled his eyes. "Fine. We went to the Caballo where I met this stacked mamasita who promised me whatever virginity she still had. And, between her bouncing around on my midsection and the quart of rotgut tequila, my memory is hazy. I couldn't even be sure Troy and Luke were even there."
"You don't remember anything else?"
"The tequila had a worm in it. I ate it," Logan boasted. At her glare, he moved past her and studied his reflection in the mirror over the sinks. "Look, what are you after? I don't remember much until I saw you and that toy car of yours roll up the next morning. I was tanked."
"Do you remember if Troy or Luke left at any time?"
Logan glanced at her in the mirror and watched her standing there, her arms folded across her chest and her lips pressed into a thin line. "Maybe I remember something about it. What do I get for helping?"
"My gratitude. And that doesn't last beyond this threshold," she bit back.
He lifted himself to sit on the vanity and studied her imperiously. "Hmmm. Well, Ronnie, it seems we're in a bind. I have information that could possibly lead to you getting the bad guy and you're sniping at me." Logan tapped his fingertip to his lips. "Whatever shall I do?"
Veronica unfolded her arms and exhaled loudly, indicating both her willingness to cooperate and her annoyance. Logan grinned.
"What do you want?" she asked, exasperated.
"I want you to talk to your boy Weevil and get him and his boys off of my back about our little meeting back at the beach. You can do that, can't you? I mean, the pool boy i is /i wrapped around your little finger, right?"
"Our 'little meeting'?" she hissed back. "You mean the one where you smashed my car's headlights in with a crowbar? Oh, gee golly, Logan, I'd be delighted," she mocked. "Just forget it," she added before whirling around and starting toward the door. She was about to toe the wedge from beneath the door when he spoke again.
"Luke went looking for a souvenir before we left. He was gone for about twenty minutes or so. And your boy Troy went to the bathroom while we were eating after we crossed back into the States," he offered. She turned back to look at him quizzically as he scooted off the vanity and made toward the door.
"Why did you bother with that, after all this wasted time?" she asked.
"Gift horse? Mouth?" he asked, faking hurt. He smirked as he kicked the wedge away. "Maybe I just want it to rain a little in Veronica Land today. I can see that it's overcast already." Logan pushed the door open and exited into the empty hallway before she could answer. She'd made him late for seventh period. Logan grinned. Now I have a reason to leave early, he thought as he pushed through the double doors leading to the parking lot.
A few days later, Logan saw Veronica sitting alone in the courtyard behind the school. She was staring at an open book in her lap and rolling a red apple around in her palm, but he could tell she wasn't really reading or thinking about the apple. He surveyed the area for her overprotective shadow before approaching.
"Hey. I heard about Troy. Way to go, Simba," he quipped, aware that his shadow fell over her face. "Perhaps I shouldn't stand too close, hmm? People from my zip don't seem to last long in your immediate reach."
She glanced up at him, an amused smile across her face. He was shocked that it wasn't a sneer but tried his best not to show it. "Have you asked your good friend Luke about services rendered? He's still standing, after all."
"No, but I spoke to Duncan about your 'services' and he said, and this is a quote, 'Nothing that Rosy couldn't do for me.'"
"Rosy? Why, I think you know her quite well too, don't you, Logan? I mean, it's all Caitlin ever talked about. And, with you being quite unable to fulfill her, it must be an epidemic among your lunch crowd," she threw back.
He swallowed a hard breath and tightened his jaw. "You're a bitch, Mars. You'll always be a bitch. And I look forward to seeing you living alone one day, surrounded by a thousand cats."
She rolled her eyes, "Ouch. Do you have a Band-Aid? 'Cause you really hurt me there." She looked back down at the book, dismissing him.
He walked away, straight back to his car. After driving around aimlessly and drowning out Veronica's words with a few well-placed curses and too many sharp turns, he found himself parked at the beach, once again missing his seventh period class.
He stared out at the crashing waves. The sky had gone grey and the horizon beyond was too hazy to make out against the similarly-hued sea. Not many surfers were braving the waves, and most of the people who had been trying to enjoy the afternoon sun were packing up.
As he flopped down on the ground his thoughts turned back to Veronica. What is i it about her that does this to you?
It wasn't like he'd never thought about Veronica. Hell, when the two of them had been the Kane's better halves, he thought about her often. Most guys he knew did back then. There wasn't one man who was immune to that long blonde hair, those pure blue eyes, and her blush. Then she'd changed; she'd cut her hair, the purity was gone, and she'd stopped blushing altogether. And she still managed to wriggle her skinny ass into his brain.
Logan rolled into a sitting position and sprawled his legs out in front of him. He was just starting to dispel the last wayward fantasy about Veronica asking more of him during their last bathroom visit when he felt sand kicked onto his wrist.
He looked up, irritation turning into surprise when he saw Veronica standing there, holding a bouquet of flowers.
Logan smirked and touched his hand to his chest. "For me? How sweet. You could have just had them delivered, you know."
Veronica's stormy expression didn't soften and she hurled them down into his lap. "Did you put these in my car?" Her voice was shrill, edging away from panic and towards anger. But he still caught the fear there.
"As much as I enjoy our little chats, I don't usually send flowers to my enemies." He glanced down at the bouquet. More than a dozen long stemmed white flowers. Lilies. He looked back up at her, startled by the rigid set of her jaw and the way her throat was working. Veronica Mars looked ready to cry. Bitchy, he could handle. Cold, well, that was even easier. But tears? No, they had to be stopped before he started to worry about her. He stood.
He got to his feet to face her. "Come on, Mars. What happened? You break another rich boy's heart? You must've moved on to Pan High guys, 'cause none of my friends are about to go near you." He tried for cruel but was disappointed that his voice sounded a little frayed.
Still, she responded the way he'd hoped. She sneered up at him. "No. I'm staying away from anything with more money than brain cells these days."
"Ah, moved on to Weevil finally? Good choice. He's angry. Probably likes it rough, like you."
Veronica grinned archly. "Oh, yes. You know us petite blondes. We get so tired of the spoiled little rich boy routine and have to move on to muscle bound Latinos." With that, she turned on her heel in the sand and walked off, leaving the lilies in a heap at Logan's feet.
He debated for a moment whether or not to catch up to her and continue their argument. He decided against it, saving up all the evil things he wanted to say for future reference. He glanced down at the ruined flowers once more and saw that a card had fluttered loose of the arrangement. He stooped to look at it.
I have my eyes on you.
A cold chill ran across Logan's spine. That was not exactly a secret admirer sort of card. It was more of a "I like to watch you while you sleep" sort of a card. Had Veronica really thought him capable of that level of creepy? Had she even read the card?
He pressed his fingers to the bridge of his nose. A headache was blooming behind his eyes. It was a Veronica headache and there was only one way to get rid of it. He jogged to catch up to her.
She was cranking the ignition on her rust-bucket LeBaron by the time he saw her in the narrow beach parking lot. She was only visible from her waist down beneath the hood when he reached her car. He leaned in close to her ear and asked, "Car trouble, miss?"
Veronica started and smacked her head off of the inside of the hood. Logan laughed and backed away, fearful that she might shove a spark plug into his eye.
"What in the Hell, Logan? I accuse you of stalking me, you say it wasn't you, and not five minutes later, here you are. You're not good at this."
Logan shrugged, "Which is the number one fact acquitting me of this crime. And, I'd like to present further evidence." He proffered the small white card. "I'm not a freak."
Veronica eyes him as she snatched the card. "I beg to differ." She scanned the card and Logan watched her cheeks pale. She met his eyes again. "Where did you get this?"
"It fell out of the flowers. I take it you didn't check for a card before you came storming after me. What, Mars? You so hot for me, you just hoped they were from me?"
Veronica arched her eyebrow. "I did check the flowers. Did you just write this?"
"Yeah, brilliant work, detective. I always carry around cards from Manny's Flower Hut in my pocket for just such an occasion." Logan spread his arms and before he could stop himself, added, "You want to search me?"
Veronica didn't seem to notice his offer. She'd turned the card over and noted the florist's address. She turned to look at Logan and shifted her gaze from her car to him.
Logan lifted his palms to ward him off. "Oh no. I'm not playing chauffeur to the great mouse detective. I have plans."
"I just wanted a jump."
Logan lifted his eyebrows lasciviously, but before he could retort, she hurried on, "My battery is dead."
"Fine. Hold on a second."
As he walked back to the Xterra to bring it closer to her convertible, he chastised himself for being disappointed that she didn't need a ride.
Logan kept finding himself surreptitiously surveying Veronica's locker the following day. He wasn't sure if he was looking for her or for her nameless stalker... hell, he didn't even want to admit that he kept taking the long way around the halls to check it out.
Mostly, he found things normal. Twice, she'd been there, gathering books and laughing with that basketball player friend of hers. On the last pass, as he approached his elusive seventh period class, Veronica wasn't there. But there was a note shoved into the top slot.
Logan stopped and a puny freshman ran into him. As the kid brushed past him, Logan felt his heart rate speed up and his blood run a little cold. Should he look at the note? Should he try to... help? He'd nearly reached his decision when Veronica stopped in front of him.
"You know, for someone not stalking me, you're doing a spot-on job of acting like it," she tossed at him, her expression unreadable.
Logan smirked, but even he could tell it lacked veracity. "Just hoping to catch someone in the act so I can shake his hand."
Veronica ducked her head. "Well, it looks like you're not going to get the chance. Whoever is doing it isn't likely to be skulking around here."
"You know who it is already?"
"Yeah. Not that it's any of your business."
"You keep making it my business."
Veronica turned away from him, her lips pressed into an irritated frown. Logan watched her pluck the note from the slot in her locker and unfold it. Her frown deepened and he saw something like fear flash across her features. It wasn't much more than a brief swallow and her tough-as-nails expression slipped for an instant. She closed her eyes before shoving the note into her bag.
The bell chimed once more and Logan turned away, determined to make it to class at least once during the week. Veronica entered after him and took her usual seat as far from his as possible, cutting off any attempts to goad her into revealing what the note said. And, to make matters worse, Duncan was shooting glares in his direction.
Logan shrugged at him as Ms. Dent started to hand out assignments for the next issue of The Navigator. Duncan leaned across his own desk to scribble something on Logan's book.
Logan shrugged again and Duncan pointed at the computer. With an exaggerated eye roll, Logan Googled the phrase and saw that the first hit had his last name in the summary. He winced when he opened the page. He'd been caught on film hosting a little "charity" boxing match and he knew that if The Smoking Gun knew, his father knew.
Suddenly, he had more to worry about than Veronica Mars and her mystery lover. Why did all the blondes in his life always run in the same pattern as Lilly Kane?
"Does the name Karen Bay ring any bells with you?"
Logan winced as he turned to look up at the annoying blonde interrogating him once again. The flesh on his back was still open in several places and having to crouch to reach his locker had hurt. And now, he had to twist to see someone six inches shorter than himself. The fates were not aligning in his favor today. It was bad enough that he already had to serve detention with the pool boy later, but now he had to face down Veronica Mars on top of everything else. Great.
"Not readily. I haven't gone through my little black book lately. Why don't you just tell me how I supposedly know her." He stood and faced her squarely.
"She's married to Jason Bay."
Logan smacked his forehead and began walking. "Oh, right! Him! Didn't he play for the Padres?"
Veronica kept pace with him, which was impressive considering how much shorter she was. "No, Jason Bay, your dad's business manager."
Logan stopped at the mention of Aaron and turned to face Veronica once more. "Yeah? So? What do you win for playing Six Degrees of Who Gives a Fuck?"
Veronica folded her arms across her chest in a way that drew Logan's gaze directly south of her chin. He brought his focus promptly back up, promising himself he'd get laid soon, come Hell or high water. Maybe it was time for the good old Black Book. Or even another TJ trip.
He shook himself into reality when he realized Veronica was staring him down, her face shining with angry impatience. "Well?"
"Well, what? I'm not in the mood for you're little mind fuck game today. Could you just cut to the chase?"
"Karen Bay purchased a bouquet of lilies from Manny's one week ago."
"So, are congrats in order? You've finally come out. What do people normally send on such an occasion? My guess is dinner for two at The Seventh Veil?"
Veronica sighed. "Isn't it obvious? Someone had her buy those flowers and plant them. Maybe she didn't even plant them."
Logan started walking. "As interesting as all of this is, I don't care."
Veronica grabbed his arm again to stop him and he winced. Her thumb dug into a wound from where the belt had missed its intended mark. Concern flashed across her face momentarily before she dropped her hand.
He stopped and waited for her to continue, trying the mentally numb the wound that he couldn't just reach up and touch while praying she wouldn't ask about it.
She didn't. Instead, she pressed on, "I think you should care. My stalker is working for the Kanes."
Despite the pain still buzzing through his brain, Logan snorted a laugh. "Wow, Mars. I don't know how you do it. Is there anything they aren't guilty of? I hear they never caught that Zodiac Killer. Maybe it was Jake. Or, more likely, Celeste."
Veronica shoved her hand into her bag and withdrew a folder which she shoved into Logan's hand. He noticed that she was trembling slightly and oddly enough, he wasn't glad he'd caused it. He opened the file to see a black and white photo of Veronica in profile. She was wearing sunglasses and seated in her car, one hand gripping the steering wheel, the other holding her cell to her ear. Her face was framed by a gun sight. Logan's heart dropped a few centimeters in his chest. "Veronica, where...?"
"A safety deposit box in my mom's name. I traced them back to one Clarence Wiedman, head of security at Kane Software. "
Logan nodded, flipping through the photos. They were different shots of Veronica, but they were all eerily similar with that red gun sight framing her. He closed the folder and handed it back, pushing his hand through his hair. "So, did you need something from me?" he asked, the edge completely gone from his voice.
Veronica tucked the folder away. "Yeah, this Bay guy. Just see what you find out about him for me. Maybe he deals with Kane Software, too?"
He nodded before asking, "What was in that note, Veronica?"
Veronica frowned quizzically up at him. "What note?"
Logan lifted an eyebrow and turned his head. "The note that was sticking out of your locker yesterday. Remember?"
Logan noticed the flush creeping up her neck and threatening to stain her cheeks, and he surmised that the note had been from an actual admirer. He pressed his lips into a tight grin and stood up to his full height. "I'll take 'Secret Love Letters from Former Flames' for a thousand, Alex."
When she didn't answer, he knew he'd guessed right. Duncan. He nodded sharply and popped her a quick salute. "Well, you got it. I'll try to get something on Bay. Report back to you around oh-nine-hundred tomorrow, Sarge." He turned on his heel and headed off in the opposite direction. That Veronica was getting notes from Duncan was not his problem. It was hers.
Of course, when he saw Duncan at lunch, he made it his problem. "Dude, Mars again? I think you need to find a new obsession."
Duncan looked stricken and glanced around the table to make sure no one else had heard. He nodded his head away from the table and stood. Logan rolled his eyes before following.
"I just talked to her about the election, okay? It's no big deal. How'd you even know?"
He answered before he could even think. "Maybe Ronnie and I are closer than you think."
Duncan's worried expression quickly turned into anger. His jaw ticked and he clenched his fists. "What're you saying, man?"
Logan cocked his head to the left, curling his fists at his sides, just in case. "I think you know what I mean." He had no idea why he was saying these things. Duncan looked ready to kill him, and if Veronica found out, she'd kill him twice more. Well, at least he wouldn't have to serve his detention.
Duncan shook his head and clenched his jaw. "This is not somewhere you want to go, Echolls."
Once Duncan used his last name, common sense started to take over from his groin. He sighed. "Seriously, man, I'm just worried about you. Don't you remember what she said about your dad?"
Duncan backed off and nodded. "I know." He shook his head and met Logan's eyes. "I just miss her, you know. It's stupid and every part of me knows I should leave it alone. I just.." He finished with a shrug.
Logan felt foolish for having even initiated this conversation but if the Kanes were indeed after Veronica, he just wanted to... to what? Save her? Protect her? As he walked back to the table, the bell sounded. He hadn't even gotten to eat his third slice of pizza. This was turning out to be a pretty shitty day.
And he still had detention and poking around his father's study to look forward to.
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