Author's Notes: This was written for a VM Ficathon, with the requests of the following elements: Logan interacting with a character he doesn't get much airtime with, and a jar of pennies. Written between Season 2 and Season 3.
Disclaimer: I don't own Veronica Mars. If I did, Season 3 would have gone very differently!
Pairing/Character: Logan, Mac (non-romantic), implied Logan/Veronica

What It Is To Burn
c. 2006/disparate

i. what sets you apart

In the aftermath of disaster, there is peace; remnants of calm; moments of reflection and then as the torrents of your silent tears seep in, you reminiscence. You think you know all the world's sufferings, but it is only then you realize you really don't. And what possibly pains you the most is that you don't have the power to do anything.

She looks just like the little girl who has lost her favorite doll, but right now you don't think much. You're just glad everybody – mostly everybody, minus the one who just sent himself reeling down the rooftop of the Neptune Grand (you're definitely not talking about aftermaths here) – is fine. You know this night could – should, would – haunt many. But you're just glad for the little glimmer of hope that perhaps someday, somehow, everything will be all right.

It's just a matter of time now. And time is the essence of every-fucking-thing that happens around Neptune. It's like a silent bomb, ticking and biding its time.

But you don't care.

ii. put yourself in my place

One coin for each day you get through without thinking about all the Fucking Serious Things That Have Happened To You. Unfortunately that jar of pennies is empty, but whatever. You're in no mood to validate what has happened, what's happening, and what happens. Things will happen no matter what you do and how you do them, so why bother?

You let your breath out slowly and hope no one notices.

She's here almost every other day. Sometimes she's quiet, and once you likened it to be the calm before the storm, but so far that theory hasn't been proven right. Other times, she goes back to her usual way, joking about things – every single thing except for the one that burns the most, that's left the deepest imprint – with your girlfriend, and you know she's just pretending.

You know, because you are, too.

You don't talk to her because you don't know what to say to the girl who is – was – your best friend's brother's girlfriend. Wow, talk about convoluted, because you sure can relate.

Right now she's your girlfriend's best friend, and that makes things a tad easier, but still you don't find the right words to say. "I'm sorry your boyfriend threw himself off and landed un-prettily. Quite a sight, huh"? Or maybe "We've all got our psycho exes"?

Nothing is appropriate anymore and you don't know what you can say to make the situation even fucking bearable. It's a warfield out there, and you're but a soldier.

iii. and as the vision fades

One day, just another normal day after your classes, you're at your girlfriend's dorm room when she has to go talk to Wallace and that new guy for a bit, and you're alone in her room with the decidedly cheery girl today. And then so you're just looking at her when suddenly you're blurting out and mumbling about the Beav and all the things he's done before he turned fucking psycho and it's almost as if things are normal again. She laughs a little, smiles at all the little things she tells you about the times she was with him, and then the two of you start talking about everything and anything under the sun and finding each sentence funnier than the last. Some time during the course of the night, your girlfriend comes back to her room to find two people laughing their heads off and snorting oh so elegantly, almost rolling on the floor with all of the euphoria.

It's like a release.

iv. not alone in this story's pictures

You find an email in your inbox the next day.

'Thank you.'

Just two words, but your heart is appeased, and you're strangely jubilant. In a spur of the moment you walk briskly down to her dorm room, knock on the door twice and as it swings open, you look into her eyes and suddenly, amidst the confused brown you have no fucking idea what you can say. So all you do is nod and then open your mouth and tell her thank you, too.

v. let's take it back to the start

The next time you see her with her friends (and yours too, you think), she gives you a big smile. You feel the corners of your mouth turning up, and as you grip your girlfriend's hand tighter and Veronica just looks at you quizzically, you keep that smile on your face.

Everything's going to be okay.

Maybe that jar of pennies might be full one day, after all.