The 5 times Veronica was there for Logan

A/N: So I don't know about you but I love putting Logan through the wringer and having V be there to comfort him. What can I say I'm a sap

1) What Momma don't know

Veronica watches, with increasing irritation at the scene being played out in front of her. Trina taunting Logan mercilessly being either too vapid or cruel to notice the effect it was having on her already tormented younger brother.

"Dad could have used you there." Aaron's happiness has never been a prime concern for Logan who spends most his waking hours plotting how to simultaneously anger his father and avoid the punishment. This doesn't mean he enjoyed dealing with everything Aaron was 'too distressed' to deal with, organizing the funeral, dealing with the press. When Logan said Aaron could have used Trina there he meant that he, himself, could have used some sisterly affection.

"…Isn't he the big bad wolf." Logan shakes his head and mouths no. He knows Veronica is listening. She's a P.I. eavesdropping is her thing. He certainly doesn't need to give her more ammunition to use in their raging war against each other. "Cigerette burns and broken noses?"

Veronica looks up at that and millions of little pieces simultaneously fall into place and open her eyes up to the hell that is Logan Echolls private life . She thinks back to their time as kids growing up with the Kanes. Although she and Logan had been friends by proxy through dating Duncan and Lilly, they had their own quirky relationship and had spent almost all their time together with or without the Kanes. For all that time she hadn't known? Veronica feels her stomach curl as she thinks of Logan having a lit cigarette pushed in to his skin. He wouldn't cry, even in the beginning he would have been too proud. Does it happen often? How bad does it get? Did Lynn knowingly leave her son to deal with this on his own?

"Maybe I could be the ring girl at one of your bum fights." Logan had taken enough abuse for that already thank you very much. He clenches his jaw at his sister's comment as she set her face hard, spoiling for an Echolls family fight. Obviously he has never hit Trina and Trina had only slapped him when he really deserved it but their verbal sparring matches had sometimes made a physical altercation favorable. He stares at her intently as it all begins to click. Trina is here. That means his mother is dead. There is a video of her jumping, the one credit card he had put all his hope into had been usurped by Trina somehow and Lynn was gone. He barely registers the words between Veronica and Trina or the gentle tug Veronica gives his arm as she tries to get him away from his disaster of a sister.

Logan is barely a few feet away when his face crumples and he doubles over. Veronica stares at him in shock for a moment before placing an awkward hand on his back. It's been so long since they've been emotional with each other she's not even sure how she should react. She rubs efficient circles on his back trying desperately to remember his cruelty and not let her empathy beget false forgiveness. She tries, but all she can see is a broken 17-yr old who lost his mother and his girlfriend and who can't hold it 

together by himself anymore. A boy who has been so shattered by the unfair circumstances of his life that all he knows is cruelty and mistrust.

"Sh-She's gone." The simple phrase is so shattering that it melts away the remaining particles of ice surrounding Veronica's heart. Knowing platitudes will only make the situation worse she simply hushes him softly. His head drifts towards his shoulder looking for a sliver of comfort. She wraps her arm around and holds his head to her chest. As he grips her arm like a life-line, Veronica tries desperately to connect this Logan with the one who broke her headlights and smirked at her evilly in the hallways. She can't do it and, instead, concentrates on holding the Logan who used to be her friend.

"Logan?" His name rolling of her lips reminds him exactly where he is and what exactly he is doing. Awkward doesn't even begin to cover it. He draws the last bit of warmth from her embrace and stands up shakily, silently thanking god there are only a few guests in the lobby all of whom seem to be uninterested in his little melt-down.

"I need a drink." He mutters not looking down at the tiny blonde he wants so badly to hate. It is hard to call her a bitch now and Logan is pretty sure it goes against all rules to paint slut on the locker of a girl who just held you as you cried. Oh god he just cried in front of Veronica Mars.

"C'mon Logan. Let's get you home." He feels his jaw clenching and he reels at the thought that she thinks she has to talk to him in that timid, little, Old Veronica voice like he might eat her alive or totally fall apart if she is too loud. He doesn't respond but stalks of to the Xterra wishing they thought to bring two cars.

"Keys". Veronica demands gently but firmly holding her hand out. Logan knows he is no state to drive. That's not like it's stopped him before though and he really, really doesn't like the fact that she being all calm and gentle and acting like she cares because there is no way she can truly care after all the crap he's put her through. Nevertheless, he dumps his keys into her outstretched palm.

Veronica takes the keys and they drive in contemplative silence. At one point she considers turning on the radio but she looks over to find Logan heavy-lidded and dozing-off slightly. Since she figures it'll be awhile before he sleeps again and she knows she should let him now. For a moment Veronica debates taking him back to her place. That way she'd at least know he wouldn't be getting beat up or drinking himself to death. Then again she doesn't think Logan will appreciate the gesture and will all but slap her if he thinks she pities him. So she reluctantly pulls up to the Echolls gates and shakes his shoulder.

"Logan." He blinks blearily and the peaceful expression he had in sleep turns to apprehension as he stares at his mansion.

"Home sweet home." He mutters miserably and she wants so bad to tell him to get back in the car so she can take him away. Then she remembers they hate each other, or did, or something and gets all tongue-tied and he is half-way up the drive-way before she realizes there is no way she hates him enough to leave him here. His hands are stuffed in his pockets and he is hunched slightly forward like he 

is walking against an intense wind or something equally oppressive. Veronica sighs knowing going after him now is a lost cause and turns her car home.

She is curled on the couch watching the Big Lebowskii when she gets the call.

"Oh Veronica."

"Hi Inga" Veronica responds wondering why Lamb's secretary is calling her at home.

"Veronica your friend is here. He won't let me call anyone to pick him up but I remember you are friends and thought…"

"Which friend?" She already knows. Well, too be fair, it could be Weevil.

"Logan Echolls." The guilt immediately sets in. Even though they 'hate' each other there is no way she should have left him alone, not there.

"'What are the charges?"

"Underage, public drinking." At least it's not something serious, or unexpected. "Deputy D'Amato picked him up and said he'd let him go with a warning but he needs to be taken home now."

"I'll be right there." The benefits of dating a police officer is they tend to not want to arrest your "friends". For some reason Veronica actually hurries to the sheriff's department like she is looking forward to the confrontation. Inga gives her a sympathetic look as she walks in, clad in sweats and a hoodie her hair messily braided in to twin plaits. For a moment she wonders why she cares what she looks like. She is seeing Logan Echolls in a jail cell for Christ's sake. Nevertheless, she brushes a few strands of hair behind her ears as Inga calls Sacks to lead her back.

"You're released Echolls." Logan looks up in alarm from the drunk tank.

"I told you not to call anyone." He is all sorts of pissed, thoughts of his father angrily glaring at him in his pajamas spring to mine and his heart goes a mile a minute.

"I am releasing you to Veronica Mars' care." His jaw drops in disbelief and Veronica thinks it sounds a lot more ridiculous when Sacks says it like that. He looks away angry and embarrassed and she immediately feels another pang of sympathy. Wait, no sympathy is bad. She should just leave him here. Right Mars you learned your lesson the first time.

"I'll be outside." Sacks says unlocking the door. Veronica opens the cell reluctantly and walks over to Logan who is staring determinedly in the corner. She puts a hand on his arm and he immediately flinches. Trying hard not to get angry she crouches down level with him.

"C'mon Logan I'll take you to my place." Veronica prods gently, placing a hand on his shoulder. He still stares in the corner choosing to believe ignoring her will make her go away.

"We have food, a decent cable package and couch with your name on it." She injects some levity in her voice trying to barter him into acceptance. He still doesn't respond and Veronica thinks this is the quietest Logan Echolls has ever been period let alone drunk.

"The best thing of all is there is no Lamb or pesky criminal charges." He reluctantly looks away from his corner and she sees the defeat through the drunken glaze on his eyes. She knows it's her one chance to get through and she gives his shoulder a comradely squeeze "Let's get out of here." Veronica offers a hand up but he refuses and pulls himself up swaying awkwardly. They stumble out to the car and cram into the Le Baron. He still hasn't said a word.

"So how mad would you be if I pucked in the rustbucket."

"Don't you dare puke in my car Echolls. I think you have damaged the fine Le Baron enough." In his drunken state a look of actual guilt flickers over his face.

"Then may I suggest you pull over." Logan says sitting up and covering his face urgently. Veronica immediately swings off to the side of the road, Logan jumps out of the car an immediately starts puking. Without thinking it through she pops out of the car and walks over to his hunched over figure. He starts up again and she gently places a hand on his back. He rakes a shaky hand through his hair and stands unsteadily.

"Are you ok?" Veronica asks softy. Logan just laughs harshly and walks back to the car. The awkwardness doesn't dissipate when they arrive at the apartment and walk, or stumble in Logan's case, to the front door.

"Help yourself to whatever." Veronica grabs a pile of blankets from the closet and starts to make up the couch figuring Logan is too drunk and spoiled to do it himself.

"I can do that." Logan says sheepishly, grabbing clumsily at the sheets.

"It's fine." She says, not noticing the anger and embarrassment flash in his eyes. Logan hates being taken care of and making up a couch, apparently , qualifies.

"You don't have to do this." He says putting a pillowcase on the pillow. "I'm not an invalid I can handle making up a couch." Veronica sighs heavily noticing that most of it was done anyways. Figuring there was limited ways he could screw it up she just throws a quilt at him.

"Fine Logan." Having enough of his stubbornness she walks to her room and pointedly slams the door. She hears tossing and shuffling throughout the whole night and knows that Logan was sleeping as well as she is. She hears the fridge door open and shut then panicked steps as Logan runs for the bathroom and starts heaving again. Veronica stays stubbornly still for a few moments listening to coughing and sputtering. He probably went for the chocolate milk. Stupid idiot. She lasts a whole minute and a half before stumbling out of bed, popping a piece of gum in her mouth and heading for the kitchen. Quickly, she pours him a glass of cold water – noting the open container of chocolate milk, of course - and hurries in to the washroom knocking awkwardly on the doorframe. Logan is leaning against the glass 

door of the shower holding his tired head up with his hand as he recovers from the after effects of his binge drinking. He silently takes the glass of water she holds out to him and drinks deeply.

For some reason she slides down the shower door so she is sitting next to him. He looks over at her, surprised, and takes a swig of water. She's not completely sure why she didn't just leave the room but something in his defeated state, huddled over the toilet moaning, made her think back to the Logan she used to care so much about.

He buries his face in his hands and breathes deeply. Taking the leap she places a hand on his shoulder. There is no urgency this time to make them forget how they are supposed to feel about each other. No break-down to break down their defenses. Veronica is prepared for him to shake her hand off but he doesn't. Ever since Logan came to her door about Lynn she has tried to imagine how she would feel if her mother died instead of ran off. It hurt too badly so she stopped trying. Logan loved Lynn. She wasn't always the most involved mother and there would be times when she'd pick Logan up in a Valium-induced haze and his cheeks would go red and he'd avoid everyone's gazes for a little while. However, there was never any doubt that she cared about Logan and Logan never hesitated to defend his mother.

"Remember when we were kids and your mom threw you a surprise party and baked the cake?" She takes a deep breath realizing she could be totally going about this in the wrong way. Veronica may not have loved Lynn, and she certainly didn't love Lynn like Logan did, but she did know her and liked her. Veronica didn't like Lynn because she was famous or whatever she just liked her because she was the "cool mom". So Veronica's idea at sharing her memory of Lynn was to try to remind Logan there were people out there who would have liked her regardless of her wealth or husband and that she understood Lynn was her own person not just 'that movie stars wife who dived off the Coronado bridge'.

"Yeah" he says with a little smile. "It tasted like sawdust. I haven't been able to eat chocolate cake since." He chuckles fondly at the memory and relief washes over her when she finds all her body parts intact. The silence is slightly more comfortable as they both think about Lynn. While they were growing up Veronica had always found Lynn to be glamorous. She always teased Lilly and Veronica about their boyfriends and told them stories of her young loves and the beginning of her romance with Aaron. The memory turns bitter when Veronica realizes Lynn never told her and Lilly recent stories of Aaron because they involved his adultery or his abuse of Logan. For a moment Veronica debates bringing up the abuse but she can't imagine a scenario which would end well and she doesn't think tonight is the night to heap another emotional burden on Logan.

"I miss her." He says in barely a whisper like he thinks his tough guy, asshole persona doesn't allow him to miss his own mother.

"That's ok Logan." She says placing an awkward arm around him and ignoring the tension that returns to his shoulders. "She's your mother Logan. You love her. It's ok to miss her." Something about the use of present tense and the permission to miss her causes a tear to slip down his cheek. Instinctively, Veronica tightens her grip on his shoulders pulling him in to a half-embrace. He lets out a choked sob and buries his head into her neck. The tears keep coming and she rotates slightly so she can hold him comfortably. 

She makes shushing noises and he grips her tightly as if he is scared she'll float away if he loosens his grip.

"You're going to be ok." Veronica mutters quietly as his sobs begin to subside. "You're going to be ok." She stokes his hair soothingly and his grip relaxes enough for her to be able to pull away and look in to his eyes. Now that he's turned the filter off she sees the pure grief and hurt in his dark eyes. She wipes away the last bit of moisture on his cheeks and heaves him up. The weight of his grief causes him to stumble slightly but he's more sober now than he has ever been and that at least is keeping him upright.

He doesn't protest when she leads him into bed and crawls in after him. She draws his head to her chest and strokes his head and back softly as he drifts off to sleep.

2) Back to School

It's been a month since the break-up. My last memory of Logan is him slamming a lamp of a table and the look of regret in his eyes when my father shoved him against the wall. I never felt guilty about giving Lamb information on his whereabouts the night of Lilly's murder. I trusted him and he had withheld information, vital information. Obviously I hated to see him in pain and the look in eyes that day on the beach will haunt me forever but there was never any actual regret of the act, just the pain it caused. I regret letting my Dad slam him against a wall and kick him out. Logan would never hurt me, physically, and I knew the thought that someone, especially someone he admired as much as my Dad, thought he was capable of striking his girlfriend would sting him more than the break-up itself. When I had started to go after him my father had stopped me, telling me that I shouldn't deal with him when he is in a temper like that. Angrily I told him he wasn't like Aaron and would never harm a hair on my head. Surprised by my conviction and unbridled trust my father let me run out after him only to find skid marks where his car was.

The next weeks I waited, patiently, for him to come to me, to apologize, or get angry, anything. He didn't come. It was in those few weeks that Duncan made his move. Sweet, charming Duncan whose steady nature was now more alluring than Logan's frightening ability to switch from hot to cold in a second. We were dating 3 weeks later. I stopped waiting for Logan's calls and immersed myself fully in Duncan Kane.

"Hey Babe." Duncan leans down and kisses me softly before taking my hand. Things worked themselves out nicely. First day of senior year and things are looking normal. A yellow Xterra pulls into the parking lot and my heart catches in my throat. I feel Duncan tense beside me and I trail a finger down his arm soothingly. Logan and Duncan haven't talked since the Aaron's arrest. This had been the one sticking point in our relationship. Duncan accused me of still having feelings for Logan and I simply stated that I didn't think it was right that Duncan abandoned Logan when he obviously needed him. Duncan asked what the hell I thought I was doing when I stopped talking to Logan myself. We never talked about it again. Duncan and I don't fight, we evade.

I didn't know how the school was going to react to Logan after the news of his father's murdering Lilly along with Logan's own murder accusations regarding Felix. It was either going to turn him into a sudo-

celebrity or he was going to be violently outcast. He emerged in the doorway looking defiantly calm as he forced a casual swagger. The same way he walked into to the courthouse the day he was on trial for murder. You wouldn't know it by looking at him, even his eyes were steadfastly calm, but Logan Echolls was scared. The halls went silent, or as silent as high school halls get, and everyone stared as Logan confidently strode to his locker refusing to acknowledge the gaping stares. I have never been so proud of him.

Then the whispers started. The first ones weren't so bad mostly about his Dad and Lilly, hurtful but overdone. Logan turned his locker combination calmly and Duncan didn't react. Then they started really going off about Lilly. Logan wordlessly took out his books and Duncan only scowled enough to quell the Lilly comments. Then they started on him. Not only the son of a murderer but a murderer himself. How could they let him back here? At least Veronica dumped him before he hurt her you know what they say like father like son. I looked at Duncan expecting him to react at that but the only way I knew he heard the comment was the clenching of his jaw. He didn't agree. Did he? I saw the hurt flicker across Logan's face as he turned and walked down the hallways, alone. Violently outcast it was. Shocked and horrified I turned my face to my locker knowing he would catch my eye and not knowing how I would respond to that.

Logan Echolls was all the gossip was about. Veronica Mars and Logan Echolls had switched places. Logan was back-stabbed, torn apart and ridiculed and I had people coming up with apology after apology. Honestly, I had expected Duncan to stop it. Sure the fact that Logan's father killed Duncan's sister would be something they would need to work through and yeah things might never be the same but I never expected complete apathy from my boyfriend on his best friend's torture.

Logan didn't act like it was torture though. He snarked at anyone who dared whisper loud enough to hear and glared indifferently at the gawking freshmen. He sat alone at lunch plaintively reading a tabloid with himself on the cover as a fuck you to anyone who dared to think he was affected by the gossip. Of course he was. No 18 year old kid, Logan Echolls or not, does not care when his friends turn on him, backstab him and call him a murderer to his face. I know Logan. He acted like he was above high school drama but he would have felt every betrayal like a punch to the gut. Duncan, Dick and Beaver, he would have felt them like a knife through the side. Most people didn't see that he cared. It was carefully veiled, only shown in the way his hands shook slightly when people accosted him at his locker or the way he didn't look straight at Duncan or I. I went home that day feeling like I was about to vomit.

The PCHers tape him to a flagpole. I should have seen it coming but I didn't. MURDERER is scrawled on his chest in ugly red letters and the whole school stands around laughing because there is nothing anyone loves more than the fall of a King. He smirks while he's taped up there. Snarks a little asking a googly-eyes, pretty freshman if she likes the view. She blushes and runs away, literally runs. Logan's leers have always been interpreted as harmless jokes. Girls were usually flattered, whether they showed it or not, but they were never scared of him. He looks at me for a moment full-blown smirk in place before looking away. He looks down for a second and I see a profound sadness in his expression before he turns back to the crowd glaring proudly. I get my switchblade out and am about to walk towards him when Duncan comes up behind me.

"Just leave it be Veronica." He says in my ear and I turn around in shock. Surely MY Duncan Kane, who has always protected Logan even when he didn't need it, is not suggesting I leave him be when he clearly needs help.

"Are you serious?" Maybe he wants to do it himself a sort-of male, apology.

"You don't want to get involved in all this." My boyfriend is leaving his best friend taped to a pole because he doesn't want to 'get involved'. Is this how it went with me? He just didn't want to get involved so he let people ridicule me. Is he that much of a wimp? I think about the night with Logan when the PCHers blasted a shotgun through the window of his Xterra. There was not a moment's hesitation when he flung himself on top of me using his arms to cover my head leaving his neck exposed to a rain of glass. It was a sheer miracle he made it through with only cuts. Would Duncan have simply jumped out of the way not wanting to get involved? The pro-Duncan part of my screams that Duncan would never try to take on a biker gang who thought he murdered their second in command. A larger part of me raises 3 valid points 1) Logan almost died saving me and, given the same situation would probably still react the same way, 2) No matter how much Logan hated Duncan he would never let him remain taped to a flagpole in front of the whole school with murderer etched across his chest and 3) Duncan is, frankly, a really selfish person.

"We're done." I say with disgust not bothering to look back at his shocked face as I walk towards the pole. Logan looks a little surprised when he sees me approach and that hurts me more than his father trying to burn me. Well, maybe not, but did he seriously expect me to leave him to die of humiliation on a flagpole as freshman girls ogle his man-parts. I am the only one allowed to ogle his man-parts. Wow did that thought just actually cross my mind because that is so wrong on so many levels. My prime emotion should not be jealousy in this situation.

People murmur with awe at that fact that I am cutting him down. Apparently I am meant to have some sort of unparalleled hatred for him since his father is a dick. I want to tell him all that Logan suffered more at the hands of his father than any of us can imagine but then Logan really would never talk to me again. That and my unparalleled hatred for Logan is so last year.

"Hey" I say in his ear cutting through the duct tape.

"I thought you were going to pull a Duncan and leave me up here." I don't miss the hurt in his words as his eyes follow Duncan's retreating form. "He's was here for about 10 minutes before you came. I was starting to think the reason you guys had bad sex was because he was gay." Right I could just leave him up here.

"Logan do you want to stay up here? I could relocate this pole up your ass if so. We could make this Logan-show like a permanent thing."

"Wouldn't the women of America love that?" Logan is the only guy I know who would snark while taped naked to a flagpole in front of an audience. I scowl at the said audience threateningly and they get the message that the show is over. Well that and the bell rings, but I like to think it was my stare.

"But seriously folks, where are your clothes?"Logan winces a little as I remove a piece of tape.

"They mentioned something about a garbage can or maybe a garbarater. I was more focused on their fists ." I notice the purple bruises forming over his ribs and his face reminding me of the night he came drunk and broken to my doorstep. Trying not to aggravate them bruises more I let my fingers whisper over his ribs as I check for anything out of place. Logan's eye darken slightly when our eyes meet .

"Veronica Mars is this like a hobby for you." Oh thank god. I smile down at Wallace who is handing me a shirt to wrap around Logan's waist and looking at Logan with pity. "Careful dude, it chaffes." Logan looks down and groans. I cut of the sides so he can step away from the pole and avert my eyes as he takes the shirt.

"Believe it or not I know a secret that will make it not chaffe as bad." Wallace looks horrified.

"You didn't share this knowledge with me."

"I wasn't sure you didn't deserve that taping up yet." I say sticking my tongue out at Wallace who mocks offense and stomps away

"And I didn't." Logan says with a smirk but I can read the uncertainty in his eyes.

"No Echolls." He smiles a little then tries in vain to read his abdomen.

"What lovely words did the ESL kids use to describe me?" Oh god he doesn't know.

"It doesn't matter." If I tell him right there he is going to lose it, very publicly in a masking tape Speedo. Between the tape still clinging to a painful part of his anatomy and the beatings he walks slowly and unsteadily, hesitantly I wrap an arm around his waist. He lets me take a bit of his weight and his lack of refusal lets me know just how bad he hurts.

"The entire school was staring at it for a good few minutes. It matters." I lead him to the Xterra glad he doesn't think to check in the side mirrors.

"You'll see at home." I can't say the words. It is impossible for my mind to connect Logan Echolls and murderer. I drive him to his place so he can grab fresh clothes. I'm in the middle of drawing him a bath when I spot him staring at the word murderer splayed across his chest. He doesn't even try to keep the hurt and despair out of his eyes as he runs his fingers over it. I quickly wet a washcloth with the warm, running water, knowing above all else, that word needs to come off his body. Softly I push him back to a chair and start gently wiping away the words. The paint is tough and clings to his body fiercely, the soft circles I'm rubbing with soap and water are working slowly and I can still see traces of the M.

"Just get it off." He says tearfully and I can hear the urgency in his voice as he tenses underneath me.

"Use a brill pad or something." Ok first of how the hell does Logan know what a brill pad is? Second of all, does he have any idea how much that would hurt? He's looking at the fading word in the mirror still clinging tightly to his body.

"Get it off." He says tightly and I can hear his breaths quicken as he puts a hand to his tightening chest. He's having a panic attack. He tries to get up confused, distressed and upset. I immediately pull him to the couch facing away from the offending mirror and gently shove his head between his knees.

"It's just a panic attack." I say softly rubbing his back as his breathing quickens even more.

"It's ok. Breathe with me." I press my forehead to his clammy one and breathe a slow, steady rhythm rubbing his shoulder as he tries to follow suit. His wild eyes connect with mine and I try to keep my gaze as calm and as reassuring as possible as I bring a hand up to his face. "Just breathe" I whisper rocking him slightly back and forth as his breaths even out to a normal pattern. The panic leaves his eyes and, without thinking, I plant a kiss on his forehead and hold him close.

"Those damn ESL kids were never good with adjectives." I say gently, Logan laughs weakly, amused at my ESL comment when he knows my loyalty to Weevil and my hatred of Logan's habitual stereotyping.

"I'm not going to use a brill pad, I'm assuming you still want skin." I say with a little laugh petting his hair as he still leans into my shoulder. "I'll get it off ok?" Although I have never had murderer written on me I do understand his feeling of need to get 'it' off. After Shelley's party I stayed under a piping hot shower until the hot water gave out. I scrubbed my skin raw with aluffa, cut my nails to the quick, washed my hair so many times there wasn't a drop of natural oil left. Murderer is as much of a word to Logan now as rape was to me then. He may not feel used and violated but I have no doubt he feels hurt and betrayed. I talk to him steadily about senseless topics as I untangle the paint from his skin. He tells me stories of Trina and Mrs. James botched attempts at counseling and sometimes we actually laugh. It doesn't distract him completely but it's enough to make him stop staring at his stomach to see if it's less red. Eventually there is no trace of the word and I tenderly run my hands over the raw flesh which is starting to dot with blood.

"It's gone" I say softly and he nods approvingly after looking in the mirror. "I can't say the same for your Tarzan underpants." Logan smirks. I tell him to soak in the bath I've drawn him before peeling it off hoping the water will quell some of the adhesiveness. The pained squeals I hear through the door tell me that the tape didn't exactly fall off. While he gets the last of it off I run to his room and get him a pair of soft flannel boxers and pajama pants and well-worn cotton t-shirt. These days you take your comfort where you can get it. It's weird being in his room again. A couple pictures sit in frames beside the one of him and his mother that was the sole decoration for the room before. There is one of him and Lilly, all four of us at Homecoming, a younger him and Duncan holding a soccer trophy smiling gap-tooth smiles and one of him and I. Wallace had taken it one of the times he had come over with Jackie to hang around the Echolls pool. I am smiling at the camera pinned from behind by Logan who is looking down at me with complete adoration. Duncan never looked at me like that, like he couldn't take his eyes off me. I turn around blinking back tears as I knock on the door.

"Logan? Are you alright?" I hear a disgruntled yes in response. "I got you clothes, real ones not made of duct tape." He laughs hollowly then sticks his hand out the door to accept them. Seconds later I hear the bath draining and he is limping towards me looking miserable. The bruises and cuts around his face are 

worse than I initially thought and I immediately berate myself for not icing them. "Here lie down." I say gently and he seems slightly taken aback by the soft tone.

"I am going to kill Weevil." He grumbles than pales when he realizes what he says.

"No." I say lifting his shirt and soothingly rub ointment on the mess of flesh that once spelled murderer. "You let me deal with Weevil." Something I should have done long ago.

"What are you going to stop him with. Your tazor?" He says sarcastically.

"No, my feminine whiles." Or my tazor. Logan smiles a bit at that and I find myself weaving my fingers through his hair wishing I could take away the hurtful things everyone said to him. Logan suddenly bristles at the contact and looks away from my eyes.

"How's Duncan?" I get the abrupt change in tone but keep my fingers in his hair anyways.

"We broke up." I say meaningfully and his expression doesn't soften.

"So that makes me your rebound guy." He says sitting up not minding the pain in his ribs. Expecting to hear that at some point today, I slip a pillow behind his back so he can lean up without aggravating his stomach and look him in the eye.

"You know you're not the rebound guy." He swallows a lump at the honesty of my statement and looks away.

"I'm sorry." I say firmly intertwining. His eyes brim with tears and he still petulantly glares at the corner.

"Look at me Logan." Never one to turn down a challenge he swirls around to look me dead in the eyes.

"I am sorry for reacting how I did, for not running after you after the whole thing with my father." He mutely blinks back tears and I take a deep breath willing myself to go on.

"I was scared Logan." He looks horrified at this and I quickly amend myself before he shuts me out completely. "Not of you but of what someone might do to you. I thought that maybe if I left you then you'd realize how bad it was getting and stop. Then Duncan was just so…easy. He wasn't fighting he wasn't hurting but he also wasn't dealing and I mistook that for getting past it." I brush a fallen tear and look back at him taking a deep breaths.


"No." I feel like the wind has been knocked out of me and the tears are about to spill over when Logan lands a passionate kiss on my lips. I relax into his embrace and fling my leg over so I am straddling him. Everything is normal again.

3) PCH beating

"Logan if this is a booty call you're so dead." I say smiling into the phone. Ever since the flagpole incident Logan and I have been closer than ever. Mid-night phone calls were frequent on both ends as we both suffered from nightmares thanks to his father.

"N-Not exactly." I don't miss the shaking in his voice.

"What's going on?" I ask softly waiting to hear the horribly vivid dream of Aaron beating Logan. It was my secret that his nightmares gave me nightmares. I wanted him to have someone to talk to even if it lost me a few hours sleep.

"I need you to pick me up." This must be really bad if he needs me to come get him.

"Ok I'll be at your place in 10." He lets out a pained squeal as he seems to slide down something he has tried to climb. Did Aaron get bail? Is Logan hurt? I grab my keys without bothering to change out of pajamas or do anything civilized like lock the door behind me.

"No…I'm on the PCH by old crater." Huh? Drunken excursion gone wrong?

"What happened?" I ask again mostly to keep him talking. Ok fine, I ask because I am nosey but keeping him talking is good too. It's a win-win.

"I'll tell you when you get here ok. Just please hurry." Logan saying please? This is not good. My momentary rise in spirits at thinking he had a drunken adventure that left him cold and stranded is again crushed.

"Logan, are you hurt?" My foot is like lead on the accelerator at the thought and I show down after passing the fourth car thinking figuring getting myself and/or someone else killed or getting pulled over and getting my license revoked would not do anyone any good including Logan.

"Damnit Veronica can you please…" He doesn't deny being hurt and I'm immediately thinking of paralysis, and deadly bleeding and comas. It's the realization that thinking my currently conscious, coherent boyfriend is in a coma, may be being overdramatic that causes me to slow down.

"Logan, I'm halfway there ok." I hear him sigh in relief and race up the PCH again breaking the speed limit 20 times over. I pull a way to fast illegal U-turn when I see him sitting on a median, bloodied and bruised. Panicked, I park the car in front of him and run to his side.

"Logan. Did someone hurt you? Are you alright?"I gently place a hand on his unbruised cheek and he shakes his head negatively. He's shivering like a leaf and the fear shining in his eyes tells me it is more than the cold night. Physically, he's not as bad as I imagined but there is something very, very wrong.

"C'mon let's go home." I say with faux-confidence as I pull him up. He favors his right side gingerly as I lead him to the car. Noting his shivering hasn't subsided; I grab the emergency blanket from the trunk and wrap it around his shivering shoulders before interlocking our fingers. His palm is clammy and cold against mine and his larger fingers hold mine in a vice grip. Wanting him to get him away from the place where whatever happened, happened I speed off towards my apartment. The further we get the more 

relaxed he becomes and his normal skin tone as almost returned from a stark white by the time we get in to the apartment.

I lead him to the couch and Back-up comes over and licks Logan's face concerned. Logan pets the dog's head placidly but Back-up isn't fooled and whines urgently before slobbering all over Logan's face again and placing his head by Logan's neck. Logan doesn't flinch at all and I get a little smile knowing how few people would willingly let Back-up that close to his/her neck. When the tea is boiled I cover Logan with a thick blanket, grab a bag of peas and push Back-up out of the way. Logan rests his head on my lap and I alternately force-feed him tea and hold the ice pack to his face trying to decide whether his nerves or his broken blood vessels need more attention. Logan doesn't get scared. Well, he gets scared but he doesn't show it, not like this.

"What happened Logan?" I ask again after he finishes the tea. Even with the tea and the blanket his shivering has barely subsided and I'm this close to throwing him into a hot bath. He just shakes his head and buries his face into my stomach throwing an arm around my waist. I don't push it. He dozes off soon and I watch him nervously as he shakes and mumbles in his sleep. Whatever it was, it was bad. Did they find his mother's body? Unless they beat him with it afterwards that doesn't make sense. Was it Weevil and the PCHers? I highly doubt anything Weevil would allow them to pull off would scare Logan like this. He wasn't even like this after the gunshot threw the window and there isn't a whole lot more you could do to rattle someone's nerves. The light above the couch is bright and garish allowing me to study his face carefully. Even in sleep his expression hasn't calmed much. There are a couple fresh, painful shiners and I wonder if I should be waking him in case he has a concussion. Careful not to hurt him, I feel through his hair for any fresh lumps or blood. He moans a little in his sleep I immediately place his head back on my lap and run a calming hand over his chest. I let my hand linger there and a moment later he wraps my hand in his. I smile a little at the thought he can find my hand even when he is freaked out and sleeping. I kiss his forehead and my eyes droop as I continuously watch him. Considering the Logan-Echolls-sleeping movie is kind of boring I am asleep within minutes.

"No! No!" He shouts and I all but hit the roof in surprise as Logan thrashes around nearly slapping me.

"Logan. LOGAN" His eyes spring wide with fright. "You're ok. It's just a dream." I stroke his cheek lightly as he trembles. The detective in me can't take the suspense and the girlfriend in me can't take the pain my boyfriend is in.

"Baby, what happened?" The gentle whisper combined with the reassuring touch of my hand causes Logan to look up. Resigned he chokes out the story of being thrown in a vehicle, strapped to a dirty mattress and then being shot at. He speaks in halting half-sentences, still shook up from the night's encounters. My eyes close in pain as I imagine the feeling of dread shooting through him when he saw the gun, the sheer panic when the trigger was pulled. He finishes his story shaking slightly less as if in realization that the horror was over.

I tug his hand up and lead him off the couch to my bed. If he is confused at my lack of speech, he doesn't show it. When he's tucked in I make him another cup of Chamomile tea with a melatonin tablet crushed 

into is and he asks me if I think he is an old lady. I smile at the snark happy to have my boyfriend back. Despite his protests, he drinks the warm tea gratefully, his eyes heavy with sleep.

"I'm sorry you had a rough night." He smiles a little at the understatement and I kiss his bruise lightly. "I feel like you are in a constant state of beating and being beaten." He smiles drowsily and his lids droop the drugs taking hold of him immediatly. "Get some sleep. You're safe now" I say softly kissing his sleepy lips. He grabs my wrist when I get up to leave and looks at me imploringly.

"I'll be right back." I promise planting a kiss on his forehead. He nods and is asleep before I have even left the room. I suddenly understand Logan's behavior over the summer. The anger he felt when someone threatened him and the unfiltered rage when someone threatened me. Quickly I dial I press speed dial.

"V…this better be a booty call." Weevil says groggily

"You have no idea the hell you just brought on yourself." I growl into the phone before flipping it shut and heading back to the room to hold my boyfriend.

4) Trial

The trial has dragged on for days to get to this point. Both Logan Echolls and Aaron Echolls are testifying today in what's sure to be the make or break moment prosecution's case. Veronica skims the headlines at her computer not wanting to wake Logan until absolutely necessary. Paparazzi has been camped out at the Echolls estate since the trial began and Keith has reluctantly allowed Logan to stay here until the frenzy was over. Not that Keith would admit it but he has gotten used to having the snarky teenager around. They talked baseball, university plans and the case and Logan slowly grew on Keith making him see a boy who loved his daughter completely rather than an angry tempered rich kid. At Veronica's urging Logan had reluctantly told Keith about the abuse asking, in a low, nervous voice, if that information would help the case against his father. Keith and the DA both knew exactly how powerful having Logan testify about the abuse would be and began collecting the forgotten medical records and even finding a Doctor to testify as an expert witness. Veronica was the only one with reservations and Logan nearly doubled over with surprise when she softly told him that testifying about his abuse will make it public domain and that she understood if he wouldn't or couldn't stating that his happiness was more important to her than seeing Aaron fry. This was "I love you" from Veronica, putting his feelings before justice and though the gesture will forever be stamped on Logan's heart, nothing was more important to him than watching his father go down.

"How's he doing?" Keith asked his daughter as he started the coffee. Veronica looked up from her toast and newspaper with a sad smile on her face.

"Sleeping. I figure the less of this day he has to live through the better." Keith nodded and grabbed an extra coffee mug down for Logan. Reluctantly Veronica went back to her room taking in her prone boyfriend sleeping peacefully with an almost smile on his face. Sorry. She thought to herself as she climbed on top of him. She kissed his face trailing up to his ear as he groaned and shifted in protest.

"Good morning." She said softly.
"Not exactly." He grumbled putting his arms around her. Veronica hesitated for a second then spoke quickly.
"I love you." Logan was the only in their relationship who had said those words. The first time Veronica froze in shock and he simply brushed her hair behind her ear and told her she didn't have to say it back until she was ready but he thought she should know how he felt. That was a month ago. For the past month Logan would tell her he loved her and she'd joke or avoid or say something lame like 'yeah' but would never say it back. Veronica blushed as Logan looked at her intently a small smile on his lips.
"What did you just say?" Veronica smiled, gaining confidence from the look of joy on his face.
"I. Love. You." He kissed her hard and pulled away with a slightly goofy smile on his face.
"I love you too." When Logan Echolls decides to be tender and open it is the most amazing thing in the world. Veronica could barely believe her boyfriend, who had been let down so much by people who claimed to love him, still had the capacity to open himself up. At first Veronica thought that he could say it easier because it meant less to him. The words had been said as a lie so many times to him that maybe instead of a declaration of deep feelings it was just something to say after a certain point in a relationship. Then she began to notice the way he looked at her, made an effort with her Dad and tried to slowly intertwine their lives. She realized then that love meant a lot to Logan and he wasn't being flippant he truly cared for her in a forever kind of way.
"I just didn't want to say it before I knew that I meant it." Veronica said softly. "You've been let down so much by people who claimed to love you and I didn't want to be another one. That and I didn't want to blurt it out in a fight or in the middle of sex or something awkward like that." Logan smiled and brushed a strand of hair away from her face.
"It's ok I get it." He said with a little laugh and a smile. "Come on let's get this show on the road." Veronica kissed him again and handed him his suit.
"I'll be waiting outside."

Getting dressed for court felt like getting ready for battle. Veronica, having already testified, was dressed in semi-casual khakis and a sweater. Logan, wanting to look like a gentleman and scholar when he took the stand, was dressed in a coat and tie.

"You kids ready?" Logan nodded tightly and grabbed Veronica's hand carrying the little three words she had said to him the whole way to the courthouse. I love you. The cameras flashed the moment they pulled up. Veronica gritted her teeth and Logan donned his sunglasses struggling not to ostracize the members of the press who's sympathy they would need before the verdict came out. Logan protectively placed a hand on Veronica's back leading her through the angry mob of fans decked out with free Aaron signs and proclamations of innocence. They called Veronica a manipulative whore and Logan an ungrateful brat. The only reason the nay-sayers didn't have their faces beat in was Veronica's grabbing of the hand that was previously on her back as she pulled Logan through the crowd.

"Well that was fun." Logan said sarcastically. After a reassuring kiss from Veronica, Logan went the witness holding area repeating her proclamation of love over and over again in his head to stop from going crazy. Nervous didn't even begin to describe him. He was about to let the world know that his father beat him, brutally and repeatedly for over 10 years. Shutting his eyes he imagined the looks he'd 

get at school. Some would feel pity and look at him like a China doll ready to crack. Others would look at him with disbelief. Logan always tried to convince himself he didn't care what the masses said or the newspapers printed but the truth was that every word registered with him. He had no problem putting on the mask of indifference. It took him years to perfect as a child and he used it every day to deal with his now exile at Neptune High. Some days though, when Duncan didn't meet his eye and Dick threw a punch at him, he would turn up at Veronica's and hold her tight releasing shaky breaths as she raked her fingers through her hair and convinced him the ones who turned their back on him weren't worth his time.

"The Prosecution calls Logan Echolls to the stand." Logan took a deep breath slipped his mask on and looked pointedly at his father when he swore to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. He took satisfaction in the slight glimmer of fear his father's eyes held.

The Prosecution's questions weren't too bad. They asked about Lilly and his father and made him out to be the heartbroken son which would usually piss him off but he knew it was necessary.

"On to your father Logan." The lawyer said, giving him a slightly apologetic look. "Did your father ever physically abuse you?" He looked briefly at his father whose eyes shined with warning daring him to defy the Echolls family vow of silence. The murderous gleam in his eyes was almost enough to make him say no. Veronica and Keith both looked up at him with empathy and Keith urged him on with a little smile. Logan thought of Lilly's laugh, the skin grafts on Keith's hand and the silver scar Veronica got from trying to get out of a burning freezer. He took a deep breath.

"Yes." Cameras flashed, reporter's whispered and his father glared as his lawyers looked a little nervous. He looked at the jury whose mouths were twisting in shock.

"For how long?" For a moment Logan thought back to the first time his father strapped him. He screamed in agony and his father laughed saying that would only make it worse. His mother cleaned his cuts later crying almost as hard as Logan was. The belt became almost ritualistic after that.

"10 years." Veronica held his eye contact intently trying to subconsciously give him strength. After the first few questions it wasn't so bad. The DA made the questions clinical and detached and so Logan answered them like he was talking about something else. Although it would have helped the case to poke at his emotions and make him relive all the dark, scary hurts all parties knew full well that the defense was going to do that. Veronica felt her jaw tighten as the defense lawyer got up knowing the agony Logan was about to go through. Currently undergoing treatment for an STD. Keith put a calming hand on her knee and they both turned their attention back to Logan.

Lavoie asked for an example. Knowing some people consider strapping an acceptable form of discipline Logan indifferently told the story of the time his father threw him down the stairs and broke his nose after Logan had spilled a milkshake in his father's Beamer. Then they went after his mother. Why didn't she report it? What kind of mother stays with a man who hits her son? Where were the records? Why did he hate his father enough to lie about this? Surprisingly, Logan stayed calm stating he didn't know for sure why it wasn't reported but he was sure his father had threatened his mother. He smirked at the 

records questions simply stating "Oh there are records" knowing full well the DA intended to make Aaron tie his own nose by trying to explain the records. Lavoie's smile faded and Logan was dismissed. He smiled at the jury who all smiled back sympathetically then took a seat beside Veronica. She gently took his hand and turned his head towards her.

"You were amazing." She whispered resting her head on his shoulder.
"I'm proud of you son." Keith said clapping Logan's back awkwardly over Veronica's shoulders. Logan flushed with pride winding down from the adrenaline rush. Logan had always looked up to Keith knowing he was a great father and a loving husband. He was the kind of man Logan hoped to be someday and his praise almost calmed him as much as Veronica's I love you.

"The Defense calls to the stand Aaron Echolls." Veronica flinched as he walked to the stand throwing a creepy look at both her and Logan. Logan squeezed her hand and Keith patted her knee and she instantly felt safe between her two protective men. The questions about Lilly weren't too bad. He denied having slept with her but admits to fooling around and Veronica knows that is going to give the jury reasonable doubt on statutory rape. He told the world Veronica propositioned him which upset Keith and Logan more than Veronica who just scoffed and rolled her eyes. Aaron insisted it was Keith who started the fight and that the fire was an accident. Logan shook his head and kissed the scar on Veronica's palm. She smiled at him lovingly, gently running a thumb over a raised scar on his hand, no doubt caused by Aaron as well.

"Your son alleges that you beat him. What is your response to that?" Aaron shook his head and exhaled dramatically.
"I love my son. I would never hurt him." He sighed and Logan stiffened immediately. "His mother on the other hand was occasionally violent." Logan's jaw dropped and it was all he could do to not vomit in the aisle. Veronica lowered her head in disgust Logan's now trembling hand gripped firmly between hers.

"Really? Why would Logan accuse you if it was his mother who beat him?" Aaron looked at Logan with a sad expression and shook his head like a tired, disappointed father.

"Well I think he is reasonably upset about my relationship with Lilly and is trying for payback." Logan just had a blank expression on his face as he imagined himself far away from his father. Even on trial for murder Aaron still found a way to make his son look evil. Veronica ran her fingers up and down Logan's arm soothingly as he seethed. The DA continued to grill Aaron about Lynn's "abuse" and Aaron weaved a convincing alternate universe. According to Aaron, Lynn was a violent drunk who strapped Logan for the littlest things. Her guilt over the abuse was what eventually led to her suicide. Logan couldn't help but note that the D.A. looked exceptionally smug and he hoped to God that he had something up his sleeve to defend one of the few people who had loved him.

"Aaron, you say that Lynn was the abuser?" Aaron gave a pained nod. The lawyer pulled out of thick file.
"It seems like Lynn was getting ready to leave you Aaron."
"Our marriage had…problems." Aaron said theatrically. The lawyer gives an understanding nod and submits the file as evidence.
"Well it seems she got Logan's back privately photographed by a member of the sheriff's department on 

numerous occasions." Aaron looks a little surprised but just nods along cooperatively. Logan and Veronica both stare at Keith in shock. Keith had known about Logan's abuse this entire time? Logan recalled his mother giving him painkillers telling him we couldn't go to the hospital until the pictures were taken. He had passed out in her lap and had figured it was all a dream. Never once did he wonder how is tiny mother had been able to carry his 13 yr old form to the limo."I guess my question is why would she turn evidence into the sheriff's department if she was the one doing it."
"I don't know" Aaron said shaking his head. "I'm guessing so she could garner sympathy for a large divorce settlement."
"I suppose that is a possibility." The lawyer said coolly as he looked at the jury disbelievingly. "My second question. If Lynn was, in fact, abusing Logan how were a bulk of her cases documented while she was on location?" Logan smirked at the look of panic on his father's face.
"I-I guess she made them up to through the police of her trail." The lawyer clicked a projector on and images of Logan's back came on the screen. Logan looked down, obviously upset and Veronica inhaled sharply at the images. A shot of Logan's spiral fractured wrist flashed across the screen and the disapproving whispers shot through the crowd. Veronica started to rub Logan's arm again.
"It's almost over." She whispered in his ear. He nodded then lifted his head to glare at his father.
"Call me crazy but Lynn Echolls was what 5'2, 120 lbs? Logan was probably about 5'9 150-160 pounds then?" He said glancing back at Logan who nodded in confirmation. "I think Logan would have been able to defend himself. Aaron, you, on the other hand are stronger than your son wouldn't you say. Or at least you were then"
"Yes.." The lawyer nodded then pointed back to the photo of the spiral fracture. "Strong enough to break his wrist with your bare hands?" Aaron chuckled looking a little taken aback.
"I wouldn't know I've never tried."
"I guess so."
"Right and do you think a woman the size of Lynn Echolls could?"
"Apparently she tried and succeeded." Aaron said throwing a distressed look at the picture.
"Actually she was filming in New Zealand when Mrs. Navarro brought Logan to the hospital." Anger flashed across Aaron's face and both Logan and Veronica knew it was only a matter of time before the lawyer made him crack.
"What is your question?" Aaron snarled.
"How did your wife manage to break Logan's wrist and be in New Zealand at the same time?"
"The broken wrist was probably caused by something unrelated he is a teenage boy."
" The thing about spiral fractures Aaron is they are caused by a person's hands. They are a tell-tale sign of abuse. So why did you do it Aaron? Why did you break a 14 year old's wrist?" The defense called out an objection but it was overruled but a judge who was currently staring at Aaron like he was something disgusting on the bottom of his shoe.
"That spoiled brat is trying to ruin me." Aaron yelled a vein popping out of his head. "What drives you more crazy huh Logan?" Logan stiffened and Veronica placed a protective hand on his leg as the judge demanded he speak to the lawyers. "The fact that I was a better fuck than you? Sweet little Lilly wanted it so bad. I guess you weren't enough man for her son. You can probably handle the fridgid bitch you're with now. You're a pussy Logan you always have been. A spoiled little pampered pussy you deserve 

every strike you've ever gotten." The judge banged her gavel in outrage and the defense looked like they were going to throw up. Logan simply got out of his seat and walked away flexing and unflexing his hands. "Run away you worthless piece of shit. You always were too chicken to face me like a man. You go all high and mighty now Logan but just you wait son, it's all in the genes " Veronica threw the dirtiest look she had at Aaron then ran after Logan leaving the mess of a courtroom behind.

Veronica found Logan in a witness holding room slumped on a couch. She approached him slowly and sat down beside him. His head was in his hands, elbows on his knees as he relived the painful courtroom scene. Immediately, he looked up when the door opened and sighed with relief when he saw Veronica instead of a reporter or a random. His eyes were pained from holding backs tears and he didn't resist when Veronica sat down beside him and threaded her fingers through his. After a few moments of companionable silence a tear trailed down Logan's face followed quickly by another.
"Sh. It's over." Veronica said pulling him towards her. "It's over now." Logan thought about the sentencing trail, the newspapers and his classmates and knew it was far from over. Sobs took over him as he thought of his Dad and Lilly, his Dad beating him, his Dad in general. The hand that wasn't cradling Logan's head to Veronica's chest was under his shirt slowly working its way up and down Logan's bare back. She could feel each scar and slowly ran her fingers over the ridge of each one, knowing without a doubt the worst hurts were not visible. It took awhile for his sobs to even out to tears and then sniffles then silence as he soaked in the comfort of Veronica's firm embrace and soothing mumbles of pride and love.
"I don't want to be like Aaron." He choked out. Veronica's face softened further and she took his head in her hands.
"Sweetheart, you are nothing like your father. You never will be." Veronica generally stayed away from endearments but she needed to somehow break through the bubble of distress. "You are funny, kind, smart ." She was surprised at her show of emotion as she trailed her hand over Logan's face battling her own tears. "What you did today. Telling the story of your abuse to get Lilly justice when she treated you the way she did proves you are nothing like Aaron. Do you believe me?" Logan nodded mutely stunned by Veronica's speech. "Say it."
"Say I am not, nor will ever be, my father." She commanded. Logan looked down a few tears still leaking out of his eyes. Veronica raised his head gently with her fingers and said softer. "Say it Logan."
"I am not, nor will ever be, my father." Logan mumbled looking down.
"Again, like you mean it." Logan looked at her incredulously and sucked in a deep breath.
"I am not, nor will ever be, my father." He said with a bit more strength looking at her the whole time. She kissed him hard and pulled away.
"I love you Logan Echolls." She said softly, wiping away the last of his tears. "Let's go hear your father get convicted." For the first time since his father took the stand, Logan smiled.

5) Charlie

Logan's face falls when Veronica delivers the news.

"Norman Phipps. Reporter for Vanity Fair." Logan immediately thinks back to the water. The stories he told him about his father. A Logan Echolls exclusive on his abuse. He punches the reporter in the face and stomps away causing Veronica to jump with fear.

"Hi Larry." Logan says tightly into the phone. "I've changed my mind I'll be on your show tonight." Larry blabs on in excitement and finally Logan gets him off the phone and sits on the beach. He was so quick to open up to him. To tell him stories of his beatings because hey he actually had a decent relative.

The interview is quick and fairly painless. He talks of his father's guilt, a bit about Lilly, tries to leave Veronica out of but answers a few obligatory questions. He comes home to find Veronica asleep on his bed a look of worry creasing her brow even in her dreams. Quickly he changes in a pair of pajamas and carefully takes her jeans off not wanting her to wake up sore. He pulls a pair of overly large sweatpants on her and he can't help but think how cute she looks in his clothes. With the first smile he had all day he crawls in beside her and pulls a blanket over them.

"Logan?" She mumbles sleepily intertwining their fingers.
"Hey babe." She smiles groggily and opens her eyes.
"How are you?" Logan puts his face in her hair and she waits patiently for his answer
"I have officially lost all romantic notions of my family." Her eyes crease sympathetically as she turns around to look at him. She smells like toothpaste and a mix of her perfume and his cologne for a brief second Logan forgets how much today sucked as he inhales her scent.
"We don't know for sure if your brother is to blame."
"How else would you explain it?" Logan almost hopes she has an answer but, for once, Veronica just shrugs helplessly and nestles further into Logan's chest.
"Let's go to sleep." Logan says softly noting his girlfriend is already half-way there. Veronica's breathing evens out and Logan just holds her close trying to forget the day and sleep.
"Logan?" Veronica whispers. Logan grunts like was half-asleep and he can see her cheeks raise in a smile. "I love you." Logan smiles to himself and kisses the crown of her head.
"I love you too bobcat." Moments later they both drift off.

The next day Logan asks her to track down Norman Phipps so he can get back his grandfather's pocket watch. She agrees and doesn't bug him as much about skipping classes and he thinks this is her going easy on him. He decided long ago that she's allowed to go easy on him if she wants. He used to rebuff her efforts proudly shrugging them off as pity. Somewhere in 2+ years of on and off dating she convinced him that she really did genuinely care.

A few hours later Veronica hands Logan the watch and leans her chin on his shoulder she gently explains that his brother didn't sell him out. Veronica knows how much it hurts him that his family life sucks and how he wishes there was one good example to draw from. Realizing he just pushed away his last potential chance at normal he tries in vain to apologize on a message after Veronica leaves.

Logan tells her the next day that Charlie is screening his calls and he has officially ostracized him. If it wasn't for the pained look in his eye Veronica may have not interfered but here she is, standing outside Charlie Stone's classroom wondering if Logan would kill her if he knew.

"Hi Mr. Stone? She says with uncharacteristic meekness. For Logan's sake she can't screw this up. He smiles at her and she sees a brief flash of Logan in him. "I'm Veronica Mars, Logan Echolls girlfriend." His smile fades and he looks away angrily. This isn't going to be an easy sell.

"What can I do for you?" He asks tightly and I take a deep breath.
"You can give Logan a chance." He shakes his head and laughs bitterly.
"Papers have been all over me asking for interviews. They tracked down my mother and hounded her making her out to be some whore who banged Aaron Echolls in an alley." He says angrily. "They've photographed my 2 year old son and placed his picture in the newspaper it's chaos." Veronica smiles a little in spite of the situation.
"Logan has a nephew?" She says softly. Two family members who aren't murders, druggies or Trina. Charlie seems slightly taken aback by her referring to Logan as his son's uncle but doesn't say anything. "Sorry, I'm sorry about the press and Logan's contacts are working to stop them." Charlie seems surprised at this. Logan's ability to dodge the media is unparalleled. He gives exclusives to magazines that are either semi-respectable or have something to do with quilting or dogs or something else random and just need a famous face to sell their papers. Logan's one stipulation is that they have to prevent the seedier tabloid's from getting to him or getting any information. Since most semi-respectable media hate the tabloids anyways, Logan Echolls face may occasionally appear on your Vanity Fair but never on your Star. "Did you hear the whole story?" Veronica asks with a little sigh. Charlie shakes his head and seems a little interested.
"A reporter pretended to be you. Met Logan, made himself seem like he was this great guy and got Logan to talk about some really personal stuff." Charlie's face softens a little at this and he keeps listening. She figures that's a good sign and continues. "The reporter told Logan that it was you who sold him out."
"I didn't!" Says Charlie exasperated and he brushes his hand through his hair the way Logan does.
"I know." Veronica says placating him. "I know. But he thought you did. He was mad and hurt and had just lost hope of having a normal family member." She says with a sigh knowing Logan would hate her talking, to basically a stranger, about the depths of his disappointment. "The point was to hurt you. If he knew you were a decent human being he would have never outed you like that. If he could take it back he would. He feels horrible." Charlie nods seemingly less angry. "I know it would mean a lot to him if you would give him a second chance. It would mean a lot to me too." They sit in silence for a moment and finally Charlie nods.
"Fine." Veronica almost hugs him but then restrains herself. A goofy smile splashes across her face and Charlie smiles at her expression.
"Are you free right now?" Charlie raises his eyebrows in surprise but nods.

Meet me at Suzie's café in 20. Veronica texts to Logan knowing he doesn't have class. Charlie follows behind her bringing his own car in case the need for a quick getaway. As she drives towards the café Veronica thinks fondly of Charlie, Logan, Veronica, Keith and his Logan's little nephew forming a little quasi-family. A real one with bickering and Christmas presents and unconditional love all the Lifetime movie crap. She realizes for a moment that she has painted herself into that dynamic and that more and 

more of her future plans include Logan. Veronica pulls up to the café before she has time to figure out what that means.

Charlie and Veronica are both sitting calmly making small talk when Logan comes in. His stomach drops as he realizes the man's uncanny resemblance to him. Veronica smiles up from her chair.
"Logan Echolls meet Charlie Stone. You're real brother." Charlie stands up and they awkwardly shake hands. Charlie and Logan spend the first few minutes of the conversation sizing each other up as Veronica carries on most of the dialogue. Subtly she tries to start a conversation amongst the two men both who seem a little nervous.
"So Charlie you're an English teacher right?" Charlie nods. "In high school Logan wrapped his English teacher's car around the pole." Charlie bursts out laughing spraying his coffee a little bit.
"What?!" He says looking at Logan with more interest.
"I wouldn't say wrapped so much as stuck the pole in the middle of it." Logan smirks, a little bit of his initial stage fright seeping away.
"What did the teacher do?" Charlie asks clearly amused by this story.
"Tried to expel the guy who helped me." And the real reason I opened with this story. It displays the soft-side of Logan Echolls.
"Try?" Logan goes a little red and I've never seen him this nervous before. It's endearing.
"Yeah someone ratted him out I guess and they were going to expel him but it's Neptune, money talks." Logan says with a little smile. "They, uh, wanted these boots Aaron wore in Hair Trigger so I bargained with him and we both just got detention."
"Nice." Charlie says the start of something resembling respect in his eyes. "I had a student fill all my drawers with crickets."
"Crickets?" Logan says with a smirk
"I made the mistake of telling the sophomore English class that I was deathly afraid of crickets."
"You're afraid of crickets?" Logan says indignantly smiling a little in spite of himself. Veronica excuses herself to the washroom and returns to find them laughing and talking. She pulls up a chair at the coffee bar and grabs a newspaper watching her boyfriend's animated face with joy. Logan knows what she's doing the second she walks off to the bathroom. He can feel her eyes on him as she watches happily from the coffee bar so caught up in his delight at having a real conversation with the real Charlie.

"So, uh, how did she drag you down here?" Logan asks Charlie with a smirk.
"Your girlfriend's tenacious." Charlie says and Logan is happy to hear fondness there. "She told me you deserved a second chance. Where is she anyways?"
"Watching us bond from the coffee bar." Logan replies without hesitation. He turns around and gives her a little wave. She simply smiles and returns to her newspaper.
"You got a good one there." Charlie comments sipping the third drink he's ordered. "She was ready to go to the mat for you when she came and saw me. I figured I might as well come out of my own free will or she'd drag me here by my hair."
"That's my girl." Logan quips without hesitation. "So do you regret her brow-beating?" Years of practice has made him able to hide the nervousness in his voice but he can't help but glance up at Charlie with a little apprehension. It would be nice to have a brother, a real sibling who cared about him in that weird 

way siblings do. Charlie smiles at him.
"No. I think she was right about you." The warm fuzzies or something else equally cheesy burst through Logan's system and he grins back with a nod. A while later Charlie leaves mentioning papers to mark and telling Logan to call him to set up lunch or whatever. Logan waves goodbye and turns back to Veronica who is watching him with a soft, contented smile. He walks over to her thinking he's lucky a guy tried to kidnap her at the Camelot because he has no idea where he would be without her.

"Looks like that went well." She says wrapping her arms around Logan who is staring down at her with glaring intensity no other man in the world can match.
"You know you're amazing right?" She pretends to think for a moment
"Ah…yes. Yes I do." He leans in for another kiss and she obliges happily. It's moments like these where he thinks she's the next Mrs. Echolls.
"But seriously folks, thank you." She pulls back a little and nods.
"Anything for my man." She coos stroking his face. "You deserve this Logan. You deserve to have good people in your life."