Right, here we are: one rather long chapeter four. I hope you enjoy it. It flicks around quite a lot but that's how my mind works, it seems. You know the drill: review and you'll get another chapter quicker, 'cause I'll write some more. Thanks to the twenty or so people who reviewed last chapter. I logged into hotmail this morning and saw them all in my inbox. You made this writer a very happy writer. big grin
Disclaimer: i own nothing. which is unfortunate.

Chapter Four

It had been years since Veronica had been called Ronnie, and even longer since she had been called Ronnie with the same undertones of hatred and betrayal. She turned around, half surprised to see him, even though she had known she was only at this horrific display of wealth to see him.

"Logan," she practically breathed his name.
"You remember my name? I thought you'd probably have forgotten after you left without a word," the words came out even angrier than he meant them.
"It's not as if I owed you an explanation, Logan," she protested, simultaneously wondering how this man always managed to get a reaction of some kind out of her.
"You could never owe me a thing, Veronica. Mainly because you wouldn't let me close to you," he accused, rashly.
"…you broke up with me, Logan, not the other way round!"
"Oh, right. And you think that was going to be a permanent thing?"
"You know, after a couple of months, I was beginning to think it was, yeah," she stared at her feet, the agonising pain she had felt during the months after their break up returning to taunt her. Logan didn't miss the sorrowful glance, and immediately felt a mixture of remorse and guilt wave through him.
"Veronica," he whispered, "I loved you. I always had, it was never going to be permanently over for us. But now, that's all changed," he brushed her cheek and forced her to look at him, and the regret inside his eyes.
"I know. I heard you got married, is she here?" She lied, in an attempt to find out if he had brought a date.
"Me, married? Hell no, Mars. You evidently suck at the spy thing in your old age," he held up his left hand, "See? No ring," he paused. "What about you? Did you bring anyone with you?" The question returned Veronica to her motherly instincts immediately.
"Oh, shit! I abandoned her. I'll… see you later?" she asked somewhat hopefully.
"Yeah. Unless you do another runner," He responded without missing a beat. Veronica looked guilty about her departure sixteen years ago, until Logan put her at ease. "Relax, Ronnie. I was kidding."
Veronica smiled at Logan before leaving him in the relative peace, making her way back to the house.

"Superfly? Is it really you?" Lilly Mars looked at the guy jogging towards her.
"Do I… know you?" she asked, completely confused.
"Do you know me? You know you do, Vee. You're kidding, right? How could you forget your BFF?!" He waved his hands in front of her face, trying to get a reaction.
"Vee? I'm Lilly. And I have no idea who you are. Go away and leave me alone, or I'll have to uh…get my little friend out…" she surreptitiously slipped her hand into her bag and pulled out her thirteenth birthday present. A taser.
"Well, shit me! Superfly had a daughter?" Wallace laughed when he saw the taser, "Yo, where's your mom?"
"Outside. She should be here any minute…" Lilly contemplated putting her taser away for a minute, but felt rather uncomfortable being questioned by this man who claimed to know her mother. She held it tightly, her hand on the trigger.
"Can I sit and chat with you until she comes back?" he grinned, bright white teeth shining at her.
"Um. I guess. Who are you, again?"
"Wallace Fennel. Your mom ever mention me?" he looked hopeful.
"Nah. I don't really know anything about what she was like at high school," she flashed an apologetic smile, "it's nothing personal, I'm sure. I mean, I only heard about her friend Lilly yesterday. Turns out I'm named after her," Lilly shrugged.
"Yeah, your mom always was kinda secretive. She didn't even tell me what she'd done when she'd put a bong in Logan's locker; she just made me watch the results," he laughed at the memory.
"My mom knows what a bong is? That's actually quite scarring. Tell me more about her," she demanded, grateful that this guy seemed to know what he was talking about when it came to her mother.
"She was the toughest girl in school. Not physically, mentally. After everything she'd been through, then what her friends put her through… but out of everyone in that school, she was the nicest to me. This is another story completely, but my first day at Neptune High, I started off taped, naked, to a flag pole. Every one took pictures, laughed, y'know what high school is like. I saw this one tiny blonde girl walk up to me, take a knife outta her pocket and suddenly, I was free. A bunch of people booed at her, she just smiled and goes, "Go Pirates!"" he exclaimed, putting on a voice more like Veronica's. Lilly laughed; even now she could imagine her mother doing this exact thing. She felt a hand on her shoulder, and her mother's voice speak from behind her.
"Wallace, you appear to have met my daughter. Lilly, this is Wallace…your grandpa dated his mom," she beamed at them both. They replied simultaneously,
"Grandpa dated?! Ew!"
"Ugh, did you have to remind me?"
Veronica laughed, "You know I did, Papa Bear. And yes, Lilly. Your grandpa dated. A very long time ago. It was… hideous," she laughed again.
"Yeah, if you hadn't have brought it up, I woulda done," Wallace cracked a grin. "Anyway, we have more important things to discuss… Like the fact that you didn't tell me you had a daughter!"
"Ah, yeah… Um, sorry," Veronica managed to get in before Wallace started ranting.
"Now, I'm guessing this must've happened… fifteen years ago, give or take, which means that we were still in college. Which means you probably decided that Hearst wasn't such a great place to raise a kid. But what about us, Vee? I mean… we woulda helped, y'know? We could've done it."
"Fennel, I love you but can I have this lecture later?" Veronica pleaded, knowing that Madison's party was really not the place for this conversation, especially not in front of everyone.
Wallace sniffed, "Yeah, alright. But you know, the second Mac finds out about Lilly… you're gonna be in trouble, Superfly," he smiled a superficial smile. "Lilly, how old are you?"
"Sixteen years, three weeks and two days," she said, barely pausing to work it out exactly.
"Veronica Mars, you've made me miss out on sixteen years, three weeks and two days of being 'Uncle Wallace'! How cruel!" he exclaimed, melodramatically. A sullen voice interrupted their conversation.
"Ronnie's always been cruel, haven't you? Usually she keeps people at arm's length. Or she'll let you in for a week, then push you away again. She'll have you thinking she loves you, that you have a chance… then she'll disappear," he clicked his fingers together, "Snap. And she's gone."
"Logan…" Veronica started, expecting World War III to break out. Instead, he turned his gaze to her, then to Lilly, then back again.
"Shit, I didn't realize I'd had that much to drink… I'm seeing double. Wait… you're wearing different clothes. Ronnie, when did you get a twin?" His slurring declared his inebriation, a fact that Veronica hoped to use to her advantage.
"Logan, this is Lilly. My daughter," she winced as she said the words, half wishing she'd been able to see, "our daughter".
"Good one! I know you said you weren't married, and Mr Mars would never let you have a kid without you marrying the father first," he said laughing. Veronica and Lilly laughed along with him, before he stopped abruptly.
"Logan, can I get you a drink?" Veronica offered, hoping it would distract him.
"Yeah, uhhh… double vodka cranberry," he smiled. Veronica quickly ordered for him, without mentioning the 'double' and a screwdriver for herself. When she turned around, Logan was busy talking at Wallace and her daughter looked bored.
"Sweetie, can you chat to Logan whilst I talk to Wallace briefly? I want my lecture over as quickly as possible," Veronica smiled optimistically.
"Yeah. You were right about him, he's hot," Lilly grinned back, "Oh, and I take it that if he asks, I'm your cousin?"
"You got it. Thanks, sweetie," Veronica then turned her attention back to Logan and Wallace. "Logan, Logan. Can I steal Wallace from you for a few minutes? I know I'm stealing the person you're talking with, but Lilly's bored… feel free to entertain her."

Veronica dragged Wallace to an empty bedroom and sat down on the king sized bed that sprawled in front of her.
"Should I, uh, get Mac for this little… harangue?" He asked her immediately.
"Oooh, goody! Both of you are gonna shout at me, not just one of you?" Veronica retorted, sarcastically.
"What, you thought we'd just accept you back here immediately, with no word from you for well over sixteen years? You were being delusional when you thought that, Vee." His response inspired a well thought-out sigh.
"If you're getting Mac… you might as well get Duncan, too," she informed him. He looked puzzled so she clarified, "Duncan Kane? The one who came to see me on Wednesday?"
"Yeah, yeah, I know who he is… you want him here, too? What for?"
"He was the one who came to Seattle. I forgot to mention Lilly… he's going to torture me for it, too," she explained.

"So, Lilly. Lilly, Lilly, Lilly," Logan began, wondering what to say.
"How do you know Veronica?" She asked, having observed Logan's longing look as her mother had left them.
"We, uh… dated. A long time ago. She uh, broke my heart," he said, stammering. It was rare for him to address the mess that Veronica had left him as, and usually he was drunk and ended up in tears.
"Did she? I'm sorry, that's harsh. What did she do?"
"After we broke up, she just disappeared. Never said a word."
"Jeeze. She broke up with you and then just left?"
"Not exactly. I uh, broke up with her. Then she vanished two months later," he nearly started sobbing into his drink at the very thought of it.
"So, how'd she break your heart?" Lilly asked, bemused. The drunken man made no sense.
"I guess… I never saw the break up as a permanent thing. I knew that I'd always love her, and it would never fade. I've always said our love would be epic."
"Yeah. Spanning years and continents; lives ruined and blood shed epic," he smiled, "I know, it was stupid, looking back it was one of my stupidest beliefs that I've stuck with. I mean, she went and had a kid, for Christ sakes." He watched her reaction to his surprisingly coherent speech.
"Do you need another drink?" Lilly offered as Logan seemed to have sobered up, way too fast.
"Nah, I'm good. I knew there was something – or someone – in here when I met Duncan outside, trying to stop me coming in. Then I saw you sitting next to Ronica, and put two and two together: DK tried to stop me seeing you, because you're her daughter and he didn't want me to react badly. I figured that she'd try to placate me, even if I wasn't angry, and tell me anything to make me go away. So, I decided if she thought I was drunk, she'd leave me with you, and hope I believed that you're her cousin," he smiled at her, "I may have nearly flunked my Weightlifting class at college, but I'm not stupid." Lilly laughed.
"There's an actual weightlifting class? I'm assuming it's really just a dating organization for athletes?" she checked.
"Yeah. Athletes, rich kids. Either, really," he smiled, "Your mom always laughed at me for having it in my schedule, too."
"Why'd you break up with her, Logan?" she asked, curiosity getting the better of her.
"Honestly? It was an attempt to get her to stop investigating the Hearst rapist. I thought it was too dangerous, she was stubborn and felt some kind of duty. She wouldn't let me get involved, then she accused one of my closest friends…" he began, before Lilly cut him off.
"She thought one of your friends was a rapist? Didn't she trust your judgement?" Lilly was inexplicably outraged.
"That's what I thought. I just ended up feeling so… out of the loop. I remember the only time she let on that she loved me… we were in my hotel room; we'd just had a row. I asked her if she even loved me. She couldn't even look at me, hesitated then says "yeah," in the most non-committal way. That's when I knew it was over, I think. The next day, we broke up," he shrugged, hoping that the nonchalant action would somehow make him seem unaffected by the events.
"Did she stop investigating the rapes?" Lilly asked, though she knew the answer. Logan laughed.
"Hell no. She threw herself into it further. She ended up being dosed with GHB, and nearly raped. But she caught him," Logan was unable to hide the pride in his voice.
"Did she apologise for wrongly accusing your friend?" Lilly inquired, genuinely concerned about her mother's manners.
"Nah. I forced her into proving his innocence, and he ended up having done it all, he tried to rape her, he beat the shit out of her…" Logan began.
"Ah. She's not the easiest person to be around when she's proved right, is she?" she smiled.
"Um… we never actually spoke again," he observed the look on Lilly's face, "Yeah, I know. I just didn't know what to say… there was nothing I could say to make her feel better. It's my fault that the whole thing happened."
"She's made mistakes, too; she'd have forgiven you, Logan. I guess it doesn't really matter anymore, anyway," she sighed.
"Nah. Anyway, what I'm more interested in right this moment is you. How old are you, where've you been living, where's your dad? The whole nine yards," he demanded, glad that he had the chance to ask about her.

"So, Veronica, do you have any valid excuses as to why you ran away, not telling us you were pregnant, not saying goodbye, even?" Mac started, spurring Wallace to start talking, too.
"Yeah, Vee. I thought we were tight. I know we have other friends now, too, but what the heck happened to us being BFF? I know we had the whole don't ask-don't tell thing goin' but… it did not apply to you doing a runner just cause you didn't want us to find out about you being pregnant." There was a brief pause before Duncan joined in.
"Ronica, what were you thinking? You left without telling anyone where you were, they were worried sick," Veronica cut him off.
"No, Duncan, you can't lecture me. You weren't there, which I know isn't you fault, but you can't berate me for that. Wallace… I know, we told each other the important stuff. And Mac, I'm sorry. But it's not like I was any fun anyway! I didn't want to ruin your time at college just because I was stupid enough to get pregnant," she sighed, knowing that shortly she'd have to address the issue of her daughter's father.
"Oh no, you can't just hide behind excuses like that. You weren't doing it to save us from the burden. You did it for you, no one else, like you always do," Wallace accused.
"Did you even tell Logan, Veronica? He deserved to know he was going to be a father," the three thought they knew the answer, but nothing prepared them for what came out of Veronica's mouth.
"You know I didn't tell him… and Lilly might not be his," she winced, waiting for the looks of horror from her old friends.
"You cheated on Logan? How could you, Veronica?" Mac was the first to speak, the only one able to process what she'd just heard.
"Logan broke up with me, remember? I didn't cheat, I could never do that to him," she confirmed.
"Okay, you had a rebound hook-up… With who? Does he know?" the interrogator became Wallace once more.
"It's not important who it was with, okay? And no. He doesn't know either," Veronica stared at her feet, panicking. For sixteen years, she had kept her secret; she never wanted to change that.
"Veronica, I for one am not letting you leave this room until you tell us. We're your friends, Veronica, despite the fact that you pulled that disappearing stunt. Okay?" Duncan moved so that he had blocked the door.
"Why didn't you do a blood test, V? You have the connections, surely? You coulda sneakily stolen some of this other guy's blood, pretended you were into some sorta kinky shit. Hell, you coulda tried it on Logan, too," Wallace tried to reason with her, to no avail.
"You're right. I could've done. But I didn't want to know, in case she wasn't Logan's," Veronica admitted.
"It's not like you'd loved her any less if she wasn't Logan's, Vee. I never loved Meg, I only had eyes for you. But that doesn't stop me loving my Lilly, does it?" Tears rolled down Veronica's cheeks; she was going to have to come clean.
"Mercer," she whispered the name, her reflex reaction causing her to shudder; she could feel his hands on her, him penetrating her, him making her more damaged, more tainted. They stared at her in stunned silence, Mac and Wallace wondering why she had never told them, Duncan wondering who Mercer was and what exactly he had done.
"You never told us, you never told the sheriff… did you even tell your dad, Superfly?" Wallace didn't really know why he'd used the nickname, he put it down to his wanting to put her at ease.
"Yeah, he knew. Why'd you think Logan is still living? I don't think I could deal with knowing that she is definitely his. But… I have some hope that she's Logan's, and that's good enough for me. At the time, if I had asked him for a paternity test… that would be the end, one way or the other. He'd try and put himself back in jail to kill Mercer for raping me, or decide he couldn't deal with being a father – and he'd just broken up with me… then after I'd left… well, I couldn't just come back and demand a test then, could I?" Her thoughts, her insecurities of her relationship with Logan prevented all three from berating her further. Instead, Mac picked herself up from one corner of the bed, and held Veronica in a tight hug.

"There's not a lot to tell. I have no history befriending rapists, or any encounters at the nearby motel to retell. Basically, I'm Lilly Lianne Mars, I turned sixteen three weeks ago. I've always lived with my mom; I've never met my father – so far that's worked out pretty well for us. This is my first trip to Neptune, mom showed me around the key "sights" earlier," Logan pretty much stopped listening after he heard her age. She was sixteen, just. His high-school level math told him that it was likely that he was staring his daughter in the face.
"What do you know about encounters at the motel?" His eyes narrowed; he could only remember one real encounter with her mother at the motel: a kiss, a meeting of passion, a momentary thing… and then it was gone. It was hardly a newsworthy event.
"I don't actually know what happened, don't worry. My mom showed me the Camelot… she got the clichéd far off look in her eyes, like the one you got just then… she said it involved you. She also said you were hot, which by the way, you totally are," she smiled, charisma oozing from her perfectly white teeth.
"I can tell why she called you Lilly," he smiled – the perfect, the cheekiness and the sweet talk had been a Lilly trademark. "But yeah, I know when she was thinking of… what are you doing tomorrow, Miss Mars? I don't really do much so you can have a real tour of Neptune."
"I'm not doing anything… that'd be nice, thanks. Can my mom come, too?" she asked with confidence that he would agree. He laughed.
"Whenever she reappears, I'll ask… I need to speak with her about… the past," he said, looking forward to his conversation with Veronica.
"Why, you gonna try and resolve all the issues you've carried with you since she left?" she laughed.
"Yeah, actually," he smiled, amazed that Lilly had not yet put two and two together.

Veronica returned, observing her daughter laughing and talking happily with Logan. "Just how it should've been, Veronica," she told herself. She noticed Logan look up when she got closer, and saw the un-glassy look in his eye, immediately realising she had been duped. She remained sauntering towards them, regardless and greeted them both. The faux-drunk Logan hugged her sloppily, and whispered quietly into her ear.
"We need to talk about my daughter."
"'Kay," she replied meekly, after sixteen years, she still did not trust herself around Logan Echolls.
"I'm gonna need another drink for this, so I'll meet you outside in a few minutes," he told her, deliberately not checking whether or not this suited her; she'd had over sixteen years to pick a day to tell him, but she hadn't.
"Sure. Hey, Logan… get me a screwdriver?" her request left him looking at her quizzically. "The drink," she clarified.
She walked outside, towards the far end of the yard, covered by trees. There, confident that she wasn't going to be overheard she began to rehearse what she was going to say to Logan.
"So, here's the thing. I didn't tell you that I was pregnant because you'd broken up with me and she might not actually be yours. I didn't want to inconvenience for no reason… no, no. Hey, Logan, I know you just said she's your daughter, but to be honest I'm not sure that she is. Hmm. Perhaps not… Logan, I know that you're angry and you think she's your daughter, but it's possible she's not. I'm not saying that I want you to have a blood test to prove you are, and then you can be let into her life. Logistically, we live in Seattle and you live here… I don't want my daughter having really high hopes about getting a dad only for you not to be her father, or for you to realise that you live too far away for it to be practical."

Veronica stopped abruptly as soon as she saw Logan walking in her direction, two drinks in his hands. His brow was creased into a tight frown; to most observers, it would seem that he was concentrating on not spilling his drinks. Veronica knew better, he was organising his argument and planning what he was going to say. Finally, he joined her and handed her the drink in his left hand. He watched incredulously as she pulled a drinks tester out of her bag, dip it in her drink and then check for any colour change. Satisfied, she thanked the man standing opposite her, who stared, mouth agape.
"Please tell me that's not one of those things from that college party?" Veronica laughed at the suggestion.
"No, of course not. I borrowed one from my daughter especially for this little get-together."
"You make your daughter use these? God, how over-protective are you? She's in high school, who would spike her drink?!" he nearly shouted, worrying about his daughter being classified a loser because of Veronica's paranoia.
"Hmmm. Good point, what would make someone do that, especially in high school? I know, let's ask guilty party number one: Logan Echolls," she glared at him, angry because he had criticised her parenting skills and because he had forgotten what high school was like for popular kids.
"That was a long time ago, Veronica. I'm sorry that Beaver… y'know. If he hadn't jumped that night, I would've ended up seriously hurting him for doing that to you, y'know," Logan assured her, darkly.
"I know. All I'm saying is that so far, my little girl hasn't been raped. I don't know whether she uses them or not, I'd just… like to think that if I can protect her," Veronica blushed, her devotion to her daughter temporarily embarrassing her.
"Had you thought of just giving her a taser?" Logan joked.
"Oh, she didn't introduce you to Mr Sparky?" Veronica retorted quickly.
"You gave my daughter a taser?!"
"Your daughter? No no no. My daughter, Logan. Up until half an hour ago, you didn't know she existed," Veronica glared as she spat the words.
"Oh right, and that's my fault, I guess?" he asked, "You deliberately hid my daughter from me, then object when I call her mine because I had no idea she even existed. God, Veronica, do you even hear yourself?"
"The problem is, Logan… she might not be your daughter." At first, Logan thought he had misheard, but the words echoed around his brain making them undeniably clear.
"You screwed someone else behind my back? I don't believe this, you traced my cell phone because you were being paranoid and then you fuck around whilst we were together! Who was it?" he demanded.
"I didn't cheat. It happened after you broke up with me," she declared, defiantly.
"That's your defence? Seriously, Veronica… After everything, I can't believe you did that to me."
"Did you even hear what I said?"
"Yeah. You had a cheap rebound fuck one night and then fled because you realised how hypocritical you'd been about not trusting me. I guess I was right about you in high school. You really are a whore." Every word dripped with venom, and Veronica could feel her eyes welling up with tears as she watched Logan turn to saunter back inside.

"Logan… I'm sorry," she called after him. His knee-jerk reaction whenever the tiny blonde creature called his name was to give her his full attention. This was no exception. He turned around, and she carried on speaking, "I know that you need an explanation for both me leaving and for turning up sixteen years later, with a daughter. I know that, okay? But right now… I can't say all the words you want me to hear. I'll be around tomorrow, so come over and we'll talk."
"Okay, fine. I'll ask Lilly where you're staying, though. I may have only met her today, but I already trust her more than I trust you, Ronnie," he turned away again, despair and contempt rippling over him simultaneously.

okay, so no cliffhanger-y ending. Sorry about that, I didn't really manage to end the chapter in my mind before I ran out of time before I had to get off the computer etc.