Title: In The End
Word Count: 6033
Characters: Veronica, Logan. (The POV shifts, and I hope it doesn't confuse anyone. I think it should be quite clear whose point of view it is.)
Summary: "Everyone loved Lilly and just put up with you, and that killed you, didn't it?" Lamb finds a new suspect to pin Lilly's murder on.
Warnings: Some dark themes. It's not a happy fic.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
Spoilers: Once again, this is a pre-series fic. The time-line is played with a little. The show itself contradicts itself with the dates of when Keith was kicked out of office and Lianne left, so this fic takes place after Lamb becomes sheriff, Lianne is gone and it's before Shelly's party. I don't think it's even possible to have that in canon, because Lianne was still there for the party, but please go with it!
Thanks: Thanks so much to rindee for all her help with the legal aspects, and lj user"skk670" for helping me work out the plot. Massive thanks to semby, rindee and suivreletoile for the beta work.
Veronica's head rested against the glass pane of her window, listening to the steady droplets of rain outside, with her arms wrapped tightly around her knees. The cold seeped through the thin glass, chilling her skin. She could hear the sound of a baseball game coming from the living room where her dad was watching TV. Veronica couldn't understand how he could concentrate on something so trivial, with their world falling apart around them.
From where he was stationed on her bed, Backup let out a whimper, and she looked down at him before reaching out to stroke his head. Glancing around, she shook her head slightly. She and Keith had spent the day arranging her furniture in the new room, but it still didn't feel right. She decided if she moved her desk over to the window, swapping it with her bed, it might make it feel more spacious.
A sharp knock sounded, interrupting her thoughts, and Backup scrambled to his feet and bounded out of the room, barking. Veronica frowned; they didn't get many visitors these days, but when they did, they weren't exactly bringing well wishers. She waited a second until she heard her dad's voice rise in anger. She quickly got up and went to see what was going on. Her eyes widened to see the newly-appointed Sheriff and one of the deputies standing in her living room. Her dad's face was reddened, his hand restraining Backup as he snapped, "She's been through enough!"
"Who's been through enough?" she queried, and all eyes turned to her. She flushed under their scrutiny, knowing she looked like shit with her hair in a scruffy pony tail, and some plain pyjamas.
"Could you get dressed? We want to take you in for questioning," Sheriff Lamb said.
Her eyebrow rose. "Questioning for what?"
"Honey, they just want to ask you some questions about the day Lilly died," Keith said gently.
Her expression turned to one of confusion. "But I told you all I know," she pointed out.
"You've got five minutes," Lamb said, his tone leaving no room for argument.
"Where were you the day Lilly died?" Lamb asked, leaning back in his chair, his arms folded across his chest.
He looked weird in the sheriff's uniform, Veronica decided. It belonged to her dad. The interview room was clinical, and the temperature was low, probably to make the suspects uncomfortable. Veronica shivered slightly, pulling the sweater she'd put on around her tighter.
"I already told my dad this," Veronica pointed out again. Shouldn't they be out looking for actual suspects instead of wasting their time on her?
"Just answer his questions, Veronica," Cliff McCormack put in. She'd never even met him before, but her dad had called and asked him to meet them at the station as a favour. Apparently, Keith had got to know him well, as Cliff had a tendency to work with the more tawdry people in Neptune.
Veronica sighed. "I was at pep squad. It started at eleven. The car wash, but I'm sure you know this already."
"What time did Lilly leave?" Lamb prompted.
"About two-forty-five. It officially finished at half past three. Dad didn't finish work until five-thirty, so I went for a walk along the beach."
"I was on my own. I walked probably as far as the marina, and back again."
"Did anyone see you?" Lamb asked, leaning forward.
Veronica shook her head. "The beach was deserted; I don't think I saw anyone. I got back in time to meet dad, and we went for some food at Denny's, then as we left…" she trailed off, tears pricking her eyes as she swallowed hard, remembering with a sickened feeling exactly what had happened.
"Lilly Kane was killed at four p.m.," Lamb pointed out. "So here's what I think. She goes home, and you leave forty-five minutes later, and walk to the Kanes' house, which is what –- twenty minutes from the car wash?"
Veronica's mouth dropped open a little in surprise, realisation beginning to dawn on her.
"You find Lilly sunbathing outside. What happened next, Veronica? Did you argue? Did you surprise her?"
She stared at him in stunned shock. He was actually accusing her of murdering her best friend.
"Lamb, this is complete nonsense – you have no evidence to suggest this," Cliff pointed out calmly.
"You've always been jealous of Lilly Kane, haven't you?" Lamb asked, his voice changing to a more understanding tone.
Veronica shook her head, "No."
"She had everything, didn't she? The looks, the wealth, the popularity. The Kanes are beloved."
"Her father was hardly the town tramp," Cliff pointed out.
"But Lilly was always the special one, right, Veronica?" Lamb prodded.
"No!" Veronica shouted. "I mean, yeah, she was, but it wasn't like that. I wasn't jealous. I loved Lilly, I wouldn't hurt her!"
"Your boyfriend had just broken up with you, hadn't he?" Veronica gave a short nod. "He didn't even tell you why."
"How do you know that?" Veronica asked in confusion, before she shook her head. "Never mind, what has that got to do with anything?"
"You must have been very upset with the Kanes afterwards," Lamb said.
"Lilly and Duncan aren't the same person," Veronica pointed out in annoyance.
"But what would hurt Duncan more than taking away his treasured sister?"
"Sheriff Lamb! That's enough. Are you going to ask my client any more of these pointless questions, or can we call this sham of an investigation to a close?"
Lamb smirked. "You're free to go. For now."
"Are you okay?" Keith asked, pouncing on her the second he saw her coming out of the interview room with Cliff. He put his arm around her slender shoulders, hugging her to him.
"I'm fine," she said quietly. "I just want to go home."
"They haven't got anything yet," Cliff assured.
"Yet?" Veronica repeated incredulously. "You think I killed my best friend?"
"I didn't mean that…" Cliff began, putting his hands up in protest.
"I'll meet you at the car," Veronica said, turning to Keith before she took off towards the station door. When she reached the basic sedan Keith had purchased after he'd had to give up his Sheriff's Department patrol car, she was shaking and struggling to breathe. She leaned forward, taking a gasp for air as her long hair slid in front of her face. All that she could see was Lilly's body sprawled by the pool, her dead eyes staring at nothing.
She had managed to calm herself down by the time Keith arrived. He gave her a concerned look before asking, "Want to stop for some ice-cream on the way?"
Veronica shook her head. "I just want to go home."
"You know, it's just normal investigational procedure, Veronica. It doesn't mean they suspect you. Remember I interviewed many of Lilly's friends…"
Veronica nodded. "Dad, please…" she said helplessly.
Keith unlocked the car and let her climb in. "Home it is."
Logan yawned before shoving a mouthful of cereal into his mouth. Lynn happened to glance up at the same time, and gave him a disapproving look from over the newspaper she was reading.
He finished the last spoonful and slid the bowl across the sparklingly clean countertop, towards the sink. The door banged open and Aaron strolled through, dressed in a tracksuit due to the latest fad of running in the mornings. His father headed straight to the fridge and pulled out a bottle of water before he gulped it down. Logan jumped down from the stool and began to head towards his bedroom.
"Do you know who they have in for questioning?" Aaron said, still facing the fridge with the bottle clutched in his hand.
Logan stopped dead. "For Lilly?"
Aaron gave a single sharp nod, turning to face Logan. "Veronica Mars."
Logan sucked a breath in. "Veronica? But…" he trailed off, confusion marring his face.
"How do you know that?" Lynn queried. "Isn't she a minor?"
"My running buddy – Mal, his wife was at the station last night, complaining about some bikers driving along here in the middle of the night." Aaron shook his head. "They should really do something about that; it's so dangerous, and it brings the community right down."
"Dad, on topic… they actually think Veronica killed Lilly?" Logan asked incredulously.
Aaron looked thoughtful for a second. "You know, now that I think about it, I remember seeing a blonde-haired girl running away from the Kane estate not long after four, when I was driving home. I remember because of the clothes -- is it the cheerleading uniform?"
"Pep squad," Logan offered.
"It definitely wasn't Lilly. I'm pretty sure it was Veronica. This just reminded me about it again."
Lynn sighed sadly. "Perhaps you should tell the police, honey. I don't think Veronica could have ever done something like that, but it might turn out to be helpful."
Aaron put the bottle away and nodded. "You know, I think I will."
"Are you hungry?" Keith asked. "I've made some lasagne from my secret recipe with salad, your favourite."
"Sorry, but I'm not hungry," Veronica replied, from her stomach-down position on her bed. A book was open in front of her, but she hadn't read a word. She had stayed home, unable to face school that day. The hateful stares and whispers would have cut just a little too deeply.
"Well, I'll leave it out here; you can heat it up if you get hungry later."
"Thanks," she said quietly. "Maybe later."
He looked hesitant before he said, "If you want to talk to me about this, you know I'm here. I realise things have been really difficult lately, what with Lilly, and your mom leaving. I also know you didn't want to move, did it anyway, without even complaining. I've been so proud of you, Veronica. So remember, I am always here."
Veronica managed a weak smile. "Thanks, Dad. But I'm fine."
Keith nodded understandingly. As he turned to leave, there was a knock at the door. Veronica's heart shuddered in fear; Keith gave her a look that said it would be okay. He vanished to answer it while Veronica moved to the edge of the bed to wait. She didn't have to wait long for Lamb to walk into her bedroom and shoot her a smug look.
"Veronica Mars, I'm arresting you for the murder of Lilly Kane. You have the right to remain silent…"
The rest of his words dimmed to a rush that sounded like a freight train passing by. His lips moved, his eyes staring at her with a mixture of satisfaction and cold uncaring. She couldn't understand when exactly Lamb started to dislike her. He'd always been perfectly polite to her while her father was Sheriff, even joining in the card games she played with the other deputies.
She calmly let him put on the handcuffs, while Deputy Sacks stood by awkwardly and Keith protested angrily.
"We've had two witnesses come forward today," Lamb said, after they were settled back in the interview room, Cliff at her side. "One of them was at the car wash with you both. The witness alleges she saw you and Lilly Kane arguing, shortly before she left."
Veronica shook her head. "That's not true." She frowned. "Oh, wait, we had a silly joking argument." She gave a small smile as she remembered. "Over shoes. It's something we do -- did, but it doesn't mean anything. We both know we're joking."
"It's your word against the witnesses'," Lamb pointed out.
Veronica's forehead wrinkled as she tried to remember which other girls had been there. "I assume you won't tell me who's said this?"
Lamb shook his head. "The second witness places you running from the Kane estate after four p.m. on October 3rd. Interesting, right?"
"That's ridiculous," Veronica immediately said. "And if that were true – why have they only just come forward? Why didn't they before?"
"That's a very good question," Cliff said, raising his eyebrow.
"Maybe their memories got jogged. The point is, they've come forward now. This gives me two witnesses against you, one giving you a motive and no alibi." He swung back in his chair, his eyes laughing at her. "Sucks to be you."
"Very professional, Lamb," Cliff commented. "This so called evidence is circumstantial at best."
"You go up in front of a judge in a few hours," Lamb said as he stood up.
"We'll argue that the evidence is weak, and you pose no flight risk, or danger to the citizens of Neptune," Cliff said as the door closed behind Lamb.
"But what about the rest of America?" Veronica joked weakly, before she sighed, bone-cold weariness setting in deeply. "Do you think I'll be able to go home?"
"I think it's tilted in your favour," Cliff told her. "Just… be prepared, Vee."
After they had been before the judge, Keith said, "It's the best way it could have gone," as he sat next to Veronica, her small hand clasped in his as Sacks finished up strapping and locking the ankle bracelet on to her.
The second Sacks stood up, Veronica yanked her jeans down further, covering it completely.
"So I'm free to go now?" Veronica snapped. Much to Veronica's gratitude, the station was blissfully quiet for once.
Sacks nodded. "I'd suggest getting a good lawyer."
"Can I… still go to school?" Veronica asked hesitantly.
"Let's discuss this at home, Veronica," Keith said. "There are other options."
She let Keith pull her to her feet and guide her out to the car. The crisp evening air did something to thaw her, but she didn't think it would ever again be possible to feel warm and safe.
"We'll get through this," Keith assured her. "We'll put a case together, a strong one. I'll go back through the old case files and see what I can dig up."
"Okay," Veronica said in faux-brightness, wishing she could believe it.
Logan ran into his bedroom, slamming the door behind him. He stopped in the middle of the room, his muscles tense, breathing heavily through gritted teeth. He spotted a picture he still hadn't taken off his shelf; it was of the four of them on the night of the homecoming dance, and he picked it up.
Veronica had given it to him for his birthday, putting it in a simply patterned silver frame.
He stared at the blonde-haired girl pressed against Lilly, both with playful smiles on their glossy pink lips. Veronica's blue eyes sparkled.
When the suggestion had first come up, there wasn't a part of him that believed that Veronica Mars, innocent and naive to the core, could have possibly have done anything to hurt Lilly. But then he'd heard Madison talking, telling everyone who would listen that she had seen Veronica arguing with Lilly the day she died, and adding with a vicious flair that she'd always thought there was something wrong with that girl.
Furious, Logan had pulled her to the side and demanded to know the truth. Madison had repeated what she'd been telling everyone, and swore on her parents' life it was the truth. He'd been at the car wash that day, and hadn't seen anything, but Madison told him the argument had happened at two-thirty, twenty minutes after he'd left.
Finally, when he heard Veronica had been arrested, the evidence seemingly mounting against her, the rage had begun to build, pushing away the last flickers of doubt. He'd known Veronica hadn't quite been the person he thought she was –- she'd been disloyal to her friends when they needed her support the most, but this?
He yanked the photo out, and threw the frame with all his strength at the wall. The glass shattered into pieces, but the silver frame remained stubbornly intact. Logan turned his attention back to the photo. Betrayal and white hot fury rose in the pit of his stomach as he tore the photo in two, never wanting to look at it again. He thought of Lilly, who had arranged a surprise trip to Magic Mountain for his thirteenth birthday, the same girl that was always an enigma to him, soft but wild; beautiful but broken. And then there was Veronica, who had ripped Lilly from their lives, leaving nothing but carnage and damage. He threw himself at his bed, angry sobs wracking his body.
"What are you doing dressed so early?" Keith said with a frown as he put some bacon and eggs on a plate.
"I'm going to school," Veronica said firmly.
"Veronica…" Keith began to protest.
"Dad, I'm going. I'm innocent, and staying away will make me look like I'm ashamed – or guilty," Veronica told him. She began to gather her books together, putting them carefully in her backpack. That morning, she'd stood in front of her closet for what seemed like an eternity, trying to decide what to wear. Her usual pastel colours seemed like they were trying too hard to say she was innocent. Anything white was laughable. Red and black seemed too harsh, too strong, so she'd finally settled on a brown and cream striped turtleneck sweater, with blue jeans. Neutral colours that would blend with the crowd. She walked over to Keith and pressed a soft kiss against his cheek.
"Do you want me to drive you?" he asked, worry shining from his brown eyes.
"I'll be fine," she said. "I'll see you later."
The drive to school was awful. She felt like she was going to throw up any second, panic threading through her veins. It will be okay, she repeated to herself like a mantra. She figured if she just got through the day, it wouldn't be so bad.
People began to whisper and stare at her as she walked across the parking lot, her face kept as neutral as she could manage. She'd just about reached the school when she heard a gasp.
"You have some nerve," Madison's shrill outraged voice said. "Showing up here like Miss High and Mighty after what you've done!"
"I didn't do anything," Veronica responded calmly. "I would have never hurt Lilly." By then, a small group had formed to listen.
"Yeah, that's why you're going on trial for her murder. Everyone loved Lilly and just put up with you, and that killed you, didn't it?"
"Well, it killed Lilly," Sean standing in the crowd, put in. Veronica shot him a hurt look, trying to keep the tears that longed to spill down her cheeks at bay. She pushed past Madison, who exaggeratedly stumbled backwards as if Veronica had shoved her, and rushed into the school. There wasn't a single friendly face in the crowds she walked past, all staring at her with venom. The whispers rose into one loud voice, questioning how she had dared to come to school, saying she deserved all she got. She finally spotted Logan up ahead, standing by his locker. His nose was buried in what looked like his History workbook.
She knew he was mad at her for standing by her father, probably even still mad about telling Lilly that he'd kissed Yolanda, but this was Logan. The guy who shared her passion for South Park and mixing flavours of ice-cream that Lilly and Duncan found disgusting. He'd spent an entire summer teaching her to surf, and had been one of her closest friends since she was twelve years old. There was no way he'd think she was capable of anything like that, right?
Gathering up what little strength she had left, she called his name. He stiffened, and a gnawing doubt began to rise quickly. He turned to face her, his eyes sparkling with pure unadulterated loathing. She sucked in a breath, her stomach churning as she dived into the nearest classroom, slamming the door behind her. Her eyes clenched shut, she took big, gasping breaths as she pressed her hand over her mouth, trying to keep herself from screaming.
"Are you okay?" a soft voice asked, and she jumped, her eyes snapping open. For the first time, she noticed she was in one of the computer labs, and a girl was sitting in the corner. A bright strip of green decorated her hair, and she was dressed in dark colours.
Veronica shook her head, tears beginning to pool in her eyes. The girl stood up, and motioned for Veronica to sit in one of the empty chairs.
"Do you want a drink? I have some water in my bag."
"No, thanks. I'll be okay in a second," Veronica managed, burying her face in her hands.
There was no talking for a long time, the soft hum of the computers the only noise keeping the room from being completely silent.
"I think you're really brave, you know," the girl said softly.
Veronica looked up in surprise. "You know who I am?"
"Everyone knows who you are," she replied dryly.
Veronica contemplated what she had said for a moment, before she said, "You don't think I did it then?"
The girl shrugged. "You don't seem like the murderous type to me."
Veronica let out a small laugh. "Thanks." She stood up and began to walk towards the door. "I better get to homeroom," she explained and the girl nodded. "What's your name?"
"I'm Mac," she replied and Veronica smiled, drawing strength from her words. At least someone other than her dad believed her.
"It's nice to meet you."
Logan sat quietly, as the 09ers ate their lunch. Duncan sat next to him, completely silent. He hadn't said a word regarding his ex-girlfriend, and while Logan would have normally needled it out of him, he just didn't have the energy.
"I just can't believe her," Madison said loudly letting everyone know her opinions, as usual. "I mean what is this school thinking, allowing a murderer in our classes?"
"Alleged," Meg piped up. "She's innocent until proven guilty."
"Are you doubting the word of Aaron Echolls -– right in front of Logan? God, Meg," Madison sneered. "Why are you standing up for her anyway? She turned her back against you too."
Meg fell silent again, picking at her lunch. From where Logan was sitting, it looked like pasta salad.
"I'll be letting my mom know about this," Sabrina Fuller said, flipping her dark hair over her shoulder. "She won't be happy Veronica's here, proven guilty or not."
Logan glanced around before he said, "Maybe we should make it clear she's not welcome here." Nods and murmurs of approval rose, their minds already ticking to action.
Veronica headed back into the locker room, feeling battered and bruised after a particularly heated game of field hockey where the sticks seemed to connect with her shins more often than the ball. After showering and getting changed, she shoved her foot into the nearest shoe and let out a gasp of pain, yanking it back out. Blood dripped down from her torn skin, as she tilted the shoe and let the chunks of glass fall onto the ground.
"Go and see the nurse," the coach said as she walked through the locker room, watching as Veronica yanked a large shard out of her foot with a hiss.
"That's it?" Veronica gritted out, waves of pain searing through her foot. "You aren't going to try to find out who did this?"
"Are you telling me how to do my job?" the coach asked, her eyes flashing.
"I wouldn't dream of it," Veronica replied sarcastically, grabbing her bag and limping out the door.
After getting her foot bandaged up, she headed to her locker and winced when she found pictures of Lilly plastered across it, and 'murderer' sprayed in bright red large letters. She took a deep breath, resolving herself to ignore it, and twisted her combination in. As she opened her locker, a strong vile smell hit her, and she retched, stumbling backwards, staring in horror at what looked like feces spread across her books and belongings.
Logan walked across the neatly clipped grass, approaching Lilly's grave. The Kanes had picked a particularly nice spot in the cemetery, amongst some sweeping willow trees and colourful flowers. Lilly would have been totally horrified, wanting some big dramatic gesture made, not calm niceness.
He rounded the corner and came to a horrified halt when he spotted Veronica huddled in front of the white marble gravestone. She was crying softly and he could see the way she was trembling from where he stood. Rage flared up instantly.
"Guilt getting to you?" he said coldly, and she jumped before clambering to her feet. "Isn't it ironic -- your father accuses Jake of murdering his own daughter, and it turns out to be his own little princess."
She shook her head defiantly. "I didn't do anything wrong."
"Yeah? Last time I checked, you've been accused of first degree murder."
"Oh, get real, Logan! Have we met?" He'd never seen her look so furious, even her fists were clenched -- like she wanted to punch him.
"The evidence is against you," Logan pointed out.
"I loved Lilly," she screamed. "I would never have hurt her. Stop blaming me for everything!"
He had never felt so much hatred for someone as he did just then. His deepest fear was ending up like his father, but he'd never wanted to hurt someone as much as he did at that moment.
"You're a lying little bitch," he sneered. "And you'll get what's coming to you."
She stared at him, her eyes shimmering with pathetic crocodile tears before she took off.
Veronica walked slowly across the beach, her arms wrapped tightly around her stomach. The waves were crashing violently on the shore, riled by the recent bad weather. Her foot still throbbed from the glass, and her head spun from her recent confrontation with Logan.
She wondered idly what Duncan thought of the situation. Did he believe, like so many others, she'd cold bloodedly killed his sister? He had been her boyfriend and her confidant for so long, she hoped he didn't, but after he'd just dropped her without a word of explanation, she hadn't been able to read him at all.
The sun was beginning to set, and she figured she better head home soon. Her dad would probably already be frantic with worry, expecting her home straight from school.
She turned and began to walk up the beach, until she reached the parking lot that stretched alongside the sand. Just then, she heard a noise behind her. She stiffened, beginning to turn, when something suddenly swung towards her, smacking her across her head. She stumbled and fell, face down, on the concrete. Just as blissful darkness overtook, she heard more footsteps approaching, and a male voice laughing.
It turned out that as much as he tried, Logan couldn't actually beat his frustrations out using a video game. He sighed, throwing the controller down on the ground. His stomach rumbled with hunger and he got up, deciding a sandwich would be the next course of action.
He'd got half-way down the stairs when his phone rang. He pulled it out of his pocket and seeing it was Dick, punched the accept button.
"We gave that bitch a lesson she'll never forget," Dick said greeting.
Logan let out a small laugh. "Oh yeah, what did you do? The dog crap was a great idea, by the way."
"Let's just say, it was the best revenge you coulda asked for," Dick replied. "See you tomorrow, man."
He hung up before Logan could say anything else. Frowning, Logan shoved the phone in his pocket and carried on towards the kitchen.
The first thing that Veronica thought, as she slowly regained consciousness, was that her head hurt like a bitch and she was cold. Her eyes blinked open and she realised night had fallen. Her dad was going to kill her. She tried to move, but a sharp pain shot through her body. She grimaced as she slowly tried again, but stopped dead when she realised she wasn't wearing anything, but her black ankle-bracelet. Vast dread began to uncoil in her stomach as she pushed herself up further, the truth of the situation setting in when she realised that most of the pain was coming from between her legs.
She glanced around and spotted her clothes in a heap nearby. Pushing herself onto her knees, she crawled over to them and started to put them on with shaking fingers. Dark bruises covered her ribcage and she felt like she'd been kicked repeatedly. She reached up and ran her fingers tentatively across her head, and realised it was caked in blood. As she pulled her underwear up, she found with sickened horror that her thighs were coated with blood.
Her stomach finally rebelled and she propelled herself forward as she threw up the contents of her stomach, gasping back choked sobs.
"Veronica?" Keith shouted the second she opened the door. "Where the hell have you been? Do you know how worried I've been?" He came stormed towards her but he suddenly stopped. "Oh, god."
"Dad, it's okay," she assured as she closed the door behind her with a soft click. She longed to fall in his arms, crying her eyes out. She wanted her daddy to tell her it was going to be okay, and they'd all be punished. But she knew what she had to do.
"Have you been to the hospital? I'm going to call the station. Who did this, honey? Where does it hurt?" he shot out one after the other, helping her sit down on the couch.
"It's not as bad as it looks, I'm sure," she said with a weak smile, before her face fell. "There is no point calling the police. I didn't see anyone."
Keith gave her a disbelieving look. "You must have seen something."
"No, Dad. I got hit from behind. But I'm fine, really. They just wanted to ruffle me up."
"They didn't…" he began, looking at her through eyes that had seen too much from years on the force.
"No," she said firmly, the lies spilling off her tongue making her feel sick to the core. "I'm going to shower and clean up. I'll be fine, really."
"But they can't get away with it!" he burst out.
Veronica shook her head sadly, remembering Lamb's laughter ringing in her ears as she tried to seek justice. "There's no evidence. You know what that means, Dad."
She pushed herself up from the sofa and began to limp towards the bathroom, relieved when she could shut the door behind her, away from her dad's piercing eyes. She twisted the handle to full power, and slowly pulled her clothes off before stepping under the hot spray. As the water circled her feet in a crimson spiral, washing away all the blood and whatever else was on her body, she finally let herself cry.
He half expected her not to show up to school the next day, but of course she was Veronica Mars, and of course she would. He recognised something was different about her a second later. Squinting from across the lot, he could make out a white patch across her forehead. What was even weirder was she was dressed all in black, and as he got closer, he noticed she even had a black choker on. He snorted back a laugh, Veronica Mars - rock chick. She'd parked right by the road, almost as if she could make a quick getaway if she had to.
She suddenly looked up, catching his eye, and he saw she had a black eye, and the white patch was a bandage. What he noticed even more were her eyes burning into him. They stared at him, utterly void. He started in shock.
"You did this," she said. Her voice was flat, like she just didn't care anymore.
"Did what?" he asked brightly.
"You threaten me, and that same night this happens? Come on, Logan…" She shook her head.
"I don't know what you're talking about." He glanced around, suddenly feeling like he needed to get away from the conversation and fast. He spotted Dick loping towards them, a grin on his face.
"Hey, Ronnie," Dick greeted. "You're not looking so hot."
She just stared at him in response.
"Come on, man, let's go," Logan said uncomfortably.
"You're right," Dick said agreeably. "We shouldn't be talking to a whore like her."
As he said the words, the colour drained from Veronica's face and she stepped backwards. Sickened realisation filled Logan as he glanced disbelievingly at Dick. What had he done?
"Go to hell," she shrieked. "Both of you." She almost staggered backwards before she tripped down the curb, causing her to go flying into the road. Logan was completely helpless as the loud screaming of breaks being slammed filled the air, just before the horrifying thud of a car slamming into Veronica's small body.
"Holy fuck," Dick screeched. "Oh my god…"
Logan stumbled into school, after trying desperately to numb his grief with a bottle of vodka, almost bumping to Meg. "Sorry," he slurred.
"Logan? Should you be here?" Meg asked, her red eyes sympathetic. She looked like she'd been crying.
"And why shouldn't I?" he asked, trying to focus on her for more than a second.
"You haven't heard the news, have you?" Meg said. He frowned in confusion. "Come on, let's go in another room." He allowed the blonde cheerleader to take him into an empty classroom, and push him into a seat.
"Have you brought me here to have your wicked way with me?" he asked with a leering grin. "I always knew that virgin thing…"
"Logan!" she said sharply. "Veronica didn't kill Lilly."
"What?" he asked, beginning to quickly sober up.
"It was on the news this morning; it's in all the papers. It said a receptionist was going through speeding tickets at the station, when she discovered one that was Lilly's."
"So? She was always speeding…" Logan pointed out.
"It was from the day she died, Logan. At 6:02 p.m. It means that her time of death was completely wrong, and Veronica has an alibi." She seemed to bite back a sob, her breath hitching. "She was in a restaurant with her dad from five-forty until six-forty-five. There were dozens of witnesses and they were caught on security camera."
Logan's mouth dropped open as he stared into Meg's saddened eyes.
"Oh god," he murmured.
"All those pranks the 09ers pulled on her…" Meg continued softly, "The way she was treated and then she died without her name being cleared…"
Logan jumped up, grabbing hold of Meg's knitted sweater. Perspiration trickled down his forehead.
"Logan," she said, "are you okay?"
"You don't know the half of it, Meg," he said desperately, before he took off out the door. He ran straight into Duncan.
"Did you hear?" he shouted. "She didn't do anything, Duncan, she didn't do anything."
Duncan looked shocked at Logan's reaction as Logan slid to the floor, still clinging to Duncan as people turned to look at the scene he was causing.
"She was innocent…" he sobbed as Duncan awkwardly tried to pull him up.
"You lied," Logan spat, shoving his father up against the wall. "You fucking lied." Aaron looked shocked, before anger crossed his features.
"Get off me, Logan. I know you're upset…"
"Upset?" Logan screamed. "You don't know the fucking meaning of the word you bastard!" He lifted his fist up and slammed it into Aaron's face with a crunch. "Why? Why'd you do it?"
Aaron shoved him off, his strength winning over Logan's anger.
"You don't get to treat me like that," Aaron spat out. "Go and get a belt."
The doorbell suddenly rang, and Logan laughed. "You know who that is, don't you?" he said tauntingly. "Why would you lie, Aaron, unless you had something to hide?"
Aaron glared at him furiously, before he smoothed down his shirt and headed to the door to let Lamb in.