One Step Forward
Veronica/Logan with V/D and L/L
For: maisfeeka as part of the bubbleficathon on lj
Water Prompt: hot tub
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: through 1x20 to be safe
Summary: Logan has always unsettled Veronica.
A/N: Thanks mingsmommy for helping me get this on track.


Veronica took two deep breaths and eased back against the mirror. The chill of the glass seeped through her shirt and helped cool her burning body. Her pulse raced, her hands shook, and her legs dangled uselessly over the edge of the counter. Logan's scent lingered in the air, darker than the classic Old Spice she associated with her father, something that whispered of safety and danger entwined. She licked her aching lips, teasing herself with hints of his taste. It was a heady flavor and a part of her wondered why she'd never known it before.

Immediately she tried to slam the door on that line of thought, but she wasn't quite fast enough. Even half-formed thoughts of Lilly were enough to shut down the happy humming of her body with a wave of nausea. Bracing her elbows on her knees and dropping her head into her suddenly clammy palms, Veronica pushed through the memories. Lilly had died for screwing Logan's father. There was nothing wrong in what she was doing. No reason to feel that with every stolen moment she was betraying her best friend or the promises she'd made to herself after Shelly Pomroy's party. After all, they'd been friends for longer than they'd been enemies and before she would have trusted him with anything.

The pain of betrayal and abandonment had torn them farther apart than Lilly had ever brought them together, but things had been better recently with the tentative truce they'd reached after Lynn's disappearance. However, their moment at the Camelot had blown the idea of renewing a simple, passing friendship out of the water. There was nothing simple about the spark of attraction that had flared to life with their kiss. It wasn't an entirely new feeling, but once acknowledged it was that much harder to push away now that the rest of their world has fallen apart around them. Back when it had felt like the four of them would rule the world forever she'd had Duncan, and Lilly's claim, to distract her.

Veronica sighed and tipped her head back, closing her eyes to block out the harsh fluorescent lights of the empty bathroom. Lilly would never have chosen to leave them the way she did, but given what Veronica had learned since her best friend's death some type of departure had always been inevitable. The new, cynical part of her psyche had started to think that perhaps her best friend had been planning for such an eventuality. Had Lilly, skilled as she was at manipulating those around her, tried to make sure the void she left would be covered? Had she chosen to befriend a quiet bookworm of a girl because she'd recognized in Veronica a softer version of herself and the possibility of shaping a successor? There'd been moments even back then when Veronica had wondered what Lilly intended. Things that had puzzled her about one of her last memories from before her world had started to crumble now clicked into place.

vmVMvmVMvm

It was the middle of a heat wave. Too hot during the sunlit hours to even sit comfortably beside the pool, they'd spent the whole day, since pep squad practice early in the morning, inside. Even with a mansion full of distractions Lilly was restless. In an effort to stave off the problems that inevitably resulted from such a situation, Veronica had called Duncan and asked him to stop hiding at Logan's. He'd brought Logan back with him and the tension that had started slithering across the back of Veronica's neck had eased.

Then after dinner when the last of the sun's rays had faded from the sky and the temperature had started to dip into the 70s, Lilly herded them out onto the pool deck. Veronica was slightly uncomfortable in her borrowed bikini. It seemed that every time she became accustomed to the amount of skin she was showing Lilly found something even skimpier that Veronica simply had to wear. But she settled herself on the lounge chair next to Lilly's without complaint.

The boys headed straight for the water, splashing about for a few minutes before coming to stand directly over Veronica. It was part of their routine and normally she put up a token show of resistance before allowing Logan and Duncan to haul her up and toss her into the pool. This time, a sharp shove from behind sent Logan sprawling on top of Veronica as she squirmed. His head ended up dangerously close to Duncan's crotch and Lilly laughed uproariously as Duncan stumbled backwards over the next lounge chair. Logan fumbled to get his hands placed so that he could push himself upright. Veronica froze. Her chest was tight, her face flushed, and the feel of Logan's palm sliding over her upper thigh as he tried to right himself sent sparks through her body. As soon as her path to the pool was clear Veronica levered herself out of the lounge chair and jumped in. Despite having been heated by the sun all day, the water felt cool against her flaming skin. While Lilly might share many things, from her clothes to herself, Logan was not one of them and any evidence of interest Veronica might have felt would not be appreciated.

A couple hours later they moved to the hot tub. As they all laughed at Logan's impression of his father's newest co-star, Lilly shifted to sprawl across Logan's lap. Veronica breathed a sigh of relief at her continued normalcy and decided that any earlier reactions seemed to have gone unnoticed. She leaned back against the tub wall and floated her legs towards Duncan. He wrapped a hand around her ankle and started rubbing small circles into the soles of her feet. Veronica relaxed, tilted her head back to look up at the stars and let her friends' conversation wash over her.

"I hope I have Mr. Rooks this year. Neptune needs to hire more hot teachers like him."

"Ugh, Lilly. I don't need to think about you macking on our teachers." Duncan's fingers paused for a moment as he scolded his sister.

Lilly's laugh rang through the night. "Well, then go get me another drink, Donut. If Logan doesn't mind then why should you?"

"Just remember I'm the only one who gets to touch," grumbled Logan.

Duncan shifted Veronica's feet to the side, leaned over and placed a quick kiss on her cheek before lifting himself out of the hot tub. "Any other requests?" When he got no response he headed into the house.

"Aren't they so cute and sweet?" commented Lilly.

Veronica lifted her head to glare at her best friend. Lilly giggled and turned into Logan, shifting to straddle him. She murmured something into his ear and Logan's eyes shifted over her shoulder. Veronica felt her body tighten and a blush creep up her cheeks as Logan's gaze darkened and focused on her while Lilly continued to whisper to him as she placed teasing kisses over his neck and shoulder. It was a rather tame show given the tales Lilly had regaled Veronica with in the past, but the searing emotion holding her attention on Logan felt shockingly intimate. When Logan's eyes slammed shut as his hands convulsed on Lilly's hips pulling her tighter against him, Veronica decided it was time for her to disappear. She tried to move silently, but Lilly was still firmly in control.

"Oh, come on, V. Just because Donut has the sex appeal of a concrete slab and hasn't tried to get in your pants yet, doesn't mean the rest of us have to live by your standards. But I'll be good now, promise."

Veronica sighed and turned back towards the tub. Lilly had shifted off Logan's lap and sported an impish smile while Logan was studiously avoiding her eyes. Duncan shouldered his way out of the house carrying a cooler and the moment was broken. Lilly bounced out of the pool and over to her brother. As the siblings teased each other, Logan finally glanced up at Veronica. His look was apologetic and a faint blush stained his cheeks. It was a look that should have eased the tension curling in Veronica's stomach, but instead it pulled her closer. She started to speak, but Duncan cut her off.

"I've only got sodas. Dad was sitting by the hard stuff."

"Whatever man, just give it here."

Duncan handed over the can and settled back into the hot tub. Veronica hovered and debated leaving for a moment but decided to stay when Duncan reached out a hand to help her back in.

vmVMvmVMvm

The bathroom door slammed open startling Veronica from her memories. She'd never learned what Lilly had been saying to turn Logan on with such little effort. Maybe it was time to ask.

Veronica slipped off the counter and splashed some water on her face. Logan was Duncan's opposite in so many things. Duncan had been safe, comfortable, but Lilly had been right; he really hadn't done much for her physically. In the past it had been enough, but she was no longer that person. She was looking forward to figuring out how the new Veronica Mars best matched up with Logan Echolls.

Right after she aced her pop quiz in English.