Beta read by starxdsparrow, genius girl.
In the end, when they fell apart again, it was no one's fault. It was just the way things were.
When Logan and Veronica came back together at the start of another summer, he finally felt that everything was falling into place, and that it didn't matter that he was just a replacement for the one that had left. She was with him again, and he could finally, finally breathe again.
When she didn't trust him (again) he took a deep breath, and forgave her (again). Looking back, he wondered when he'd become the sort of person that just let people walk right over him without a second thought. When had he let the people he loved (hardly anyone, really) take advantage of him? Was it because he had so few people in his life that he was desperate to keep the ones who were there?
When she'd said, "I can't ask for help," he felt like he'd been punched in the gut, but he just said he loved her, and listened to her say "yeah" in return. In his mind, he glossed over the fact that she never said what he needed to hear and pulled her close.
But when he'd watched her ignore his call that day in the food court, after hearing her state that they were "okay," his heart fell into the pit of his stomach, and he knew. The end was looming too close, and one way or another, there was no coming back from it, not this time.
So he ended it on a sunny day, with people celebrating around them. He'd had worse experiences in his life. But he'd had better ones, too.
When he saw her at a party too soon after the break up, he forced the issue of helping her (too adamantly. If he'd listened to her, he would have been there.)
After he found out that his friend was a rapist (God, why couldn't he ever have someone in his life that wasn't either hurting him or someone he loved?) all he could think about was getting to that person and making him hurt. Buying a baseball bat was the cheapest form of therapy he'd ever paid for.
After he was bailed out by his old stand-by, Cliff, he didn't go see her. He spent weeks avoiding her, only to be stymied when they ran into each other in the Hearst library, of all places (he had a report due). She didn't say anything, she just walked up to him and put her hand on his cheek for a moment before walking away.
He spent his nights at the Neptune Grand listening to a CD Lilly had put together years and years ago, titled "Break-up Music." She'd given it to him during one of their "on" phases in preparation for the "off" phase that was sure to come.
He waited for the bitterness to come, the anger, but it never did. In the story that was his life, he decided he would call this chapter, "No One's Fault." No one's fault that Veronica couldn't change. No one's fault that he had changed, and that he couldn't be the person she so desperately wanted him to be. No one's fault that their lives just couldn't mesh. No one's fault.
He found that his favorite place in the world was his balcony at sunset, where he could watch the sun slowly dip down into the horizon and pretend that just for a moment, life was okay. Sometimes he fooled himself into believing it.
He played video games with Dick, and they didn't talk about anything that mattered. The word Beaver was forbidden to them, and the name Veronica joined the List of Important Things They Would Not Discuss.
Christmas came and went, even lonelier this year, because Duncan wasn't there to call. Sometimes Logan sat on his balcony and tried to imagine where Duncan was in the world. He would dream up imaginary futures where they would run into each other, years from now, and life would finally return to normal. As if that normal was possible when Lilly was in the ground, a rotting corpse where once had been a beautiful girl.
When it rained, he visited her grave. He refused to go when it was sunny, it just seemed so wrong to go when the sun was shining. He sat by her headstone and told her all the things that were going on in his life. Never the bad things, only the good. Sometimes it was limited to the fact that he got a B on his paper in Economics, but nothing bad would ever pass his lips when he was with her. Sometimes he just sat at her grave in silence, remembering their life together, when things were good, when things were right. There were days when he wondered if anything would ever be right again.
When he heard from Wallace that Veronica had a date with his annoying roommate, he took it in stride and walked away, his heart breaking. Everyone moved on. No one's fault.
When he saw them together, he walked as quickly as he could in the opposite direction and threw up in the nearest bathroom.
A girl in his English Comp class asked him out. She had long dark hair and reminded him of Kendall Casablancas. He said yes, because he couldn't think of a reason to say no.
When they had sex (it wasn't making love, he never made love with anyone, not anymore) he tried to shut out Veronica's voice in his ear, whispering of betrayal and broken hearts.
In his dreams, he screamed at her when she broke his heart over and over and over, and it was his turn. But when she saw him and the "new girl" together, she just laughed and introduced herself as an "old friend" before walking off to her new, pain-free relationship, leaving him to try and pick up the pieces that remained of his heart.
In his mind it became a game between the two of them. A game of who could have the healthiest relationship. Veronica was winning. She always won. He buried his fingers in dark hair, and pretended that it didn't matter.
Because it didn't matter. Not anymore, not ever again. He was turning into a blank slate, starting over, no memory of pain, of blonde girls who ripped him to shreds, of people never trusting him, even when he was trying so hard to be the man they needed him to be.
His life became a routine of dark hair, dark balconies, dark dreams that tormented him. He refused to seek the answers that were alluding him in the bottles of the past; he'd done that too many times in his life and the answers never came.
When his "healthy relationship" ended, he figured that was the way of things. Healthy was only good for so long.
When he told Veronica that he was single, she just gave a wry smile and said she was meeting her boyfriend.
Friends. Logan thought that was the most painful word in the dictionary. He should have screamed at her when they broke up, then there wouldn't be this torturous exchanging of information on each other's life when they met.
He saw her father at the grocery store when he was stocking up on soda and water, and they exchanged pleasantries. Her dad said he was impressed by the man Logan had become, and Logan thought, it hasn't done me any good. But he just said "Thank you," because it did mean something to him that someone who had hated him for so long was proud of him.
He looked forward to the end of college, figuring that maybe then his life could really start anew. He considered transferring to another college, to another state, even to another country. He dismissed those thoughts though, deciding it was too much trouble.
He saw Veronica every day walking on campus. Sometimes with someone else (he refused to even think the name) and sometimes alone. They exchanged waves but rarely spoke.
He found that living quietly suited him, and he learned to enjoy solitude. Once upon a time he may have surrounded himself with as many people as possible, but he finally realized that being alone wasn't so bad when the only person you really had was yourself.
And every night he sat on his balcony and watched the sun dip down into the horizon.
Sometimes he wondered if this was how his life would be, an endless loop of pain and recovery. He found that the answers he sought were always just out of his reach, and the sunsets became too much to watch when he realized that they represented his life, always getting dark before the light.
He wished for a change. A change in direction, a change in character, a change that would make him whole again. But he was just Logan Echolls, a broken man, trapped in a past that would never be right.
And it was no one's fault. It was just the way things were.