.

AN: Well ok, my bad, this took forever considering It was for the most part written when I realised part one. Sorry, my final year is a horrible thing, full of homework and motivational seminars.

Anyway it occurred to me (headdesk) that Lilly was actually a year above the rest of the fab four, and that in this story she is still in her senior year. My fault, consider that an AU element, not a screw up. Thank you all for all the nice things you said about part one, and I hope you enjoy its conclusion.

--

Veronica walked down John Enbom's 09'er street (a little tentatively, she was wearing high heels after all), trying not to roll her eyes as she guided her already inebriated best friend. Lilly had decided to start the party on a high, by taking three or four vodka shots. This induced tipsiness made Lilly very chatty, sadly for Veronica, on the very subject she hoped she could avoid tonight.

"I mean she's so out of his league it is not even a laughing matter Veronica." Lilly slurred emphatically. "It's not that I'm sad he's moved on, it's just that- why did he have to move on to her."

Privately Veronica agreed.

She had attempted to swindle herself out of this party with her sharpest and most persuasive cunning, but Lilly wouldn't budge. It wasn't like Veronica could actually tell her why she didn't want to go to John's, or more specifically why she so desperately did not want to see Logan. Lilly would never know about this newfound… infatuation, this dangerous ugly thing that had planted its barbs into her heart. Lilly would never realise how much power Veronica now had to disrupt their lives, to break the Fab Four apart utterly and permanently.

So she loved Logan Echolls? So what? She would not hurt him in an effort to indulge her selfish delusion, she would not take him away from the women (girl) he loved, even if she could. She would not hurt Duncan, Lilly, Hannah, Logan and most definitely herself, not for the off chance he felt the same way.

"I see the way he looks at her." Lilly sighed, leaning against Veronica's shoulder. "He used to look at me like that."

Veronica looked resolutely down the dark street; her eyes focused on the explosion of lights, which made her pupils contract and blinded her in the darkness.

"I wish someone would look at me like that again." Lilly said softly. Under a veneer of glitter and Rodeo Drive accessories, Lilly suddenly sounded very small.

"Me too Lils…" Veronica murmured. "Me too."

The house loomed above them, and the roar of teenagers drowned out their solemn. conversation. Lilly looked at the house contemplatively for a moment, her face lit up beautifully with the tacky pinks and greens of the party lights. She grinned, her moment of regret gone. She barely paused to wave at Veronica as she disappeared into the oblivion of strobe lit dancers, singing songs at the top their longs in a euphoric roar.

Veronica sighed, disappointed at being alone again at another 09'er party where she didn't really belong. In a moment of uncharacteristic spontaneity, Veronica dipped a red cup into the heavily spiked punch and took a sip. The burn of the alcohol felt, in equal doses, awful and wonderful as it slipped down her throat. Veronica winced as she swallowed, blinking tears of shock out of her eyes.

"Hey Veronica!" Casey Grant yelled over the din, bold with intoxication. Veronica waved back half heartedly.

"Aw, come on Veronica." Casey grinned, appearing at her side. "It's a party. Come dance with me."

Veronica cocked her head, plastering a sickly smile over her face.

"Dance? What is this 'dance' you speak of?"

Casey planted a hand on her hip.

"I'll show you."

Veronica looked at Casey seriously for a moment. He was a good-looking boy, rich (unfortunately, all too aware of it), a sense of humour, intelligent, even kind when he wanted to be. She could like him if she tried, she did like Casey. He was in fact one of the few 09'ers she did like sincerely. She could flirt with him, she would kiss him, she could fake infatuation and eventually she could sleep with him. She could do it, but she knew she could never make it real, make it love. Somehow with out her realising it, she had been screwed by kismet and her heart (betrayer) had pledged undying love to her best friend.

"Maybe later." She breathed, wiggling out of his hold.

Casey merely shrugged, he was a good guy he wasn't going to force anything, but if Veronica came back later in the night he would still probably be there.

A good guy.

But not Logan, and apparently that made all the difference.

Veronica sculled the rest of her cup and deftly refilled, ignoring the slight protest her stomach made against this invading force. Shrugging apologetically at Casey, Veronica edged away from the table, rejoining the crowd of people who filled the room. She looked around the room, hoping to run into Wallace or Lilly. Instead, over the heads of her happily dancing peers, Veronica's blue eyes met with the chocolate brown eyes of the very person she had been avoiding. Logan's eyebrows rose when he saw her, unsurprisingly, considering her attempts at avoiding him the past few days had been… less then subtle. She froze as he cut easily through the thick crowd, his minions parting as their king walked through. Too late Veronica regained control of her mental facilities; Logan was already feet away from her, making any kind of evasion unlikely.

He stopped, standing obstinately in front of her. His crafted forearms crossed defensively across his torso.

"So…" He asked. "Fun party, huh?"
Veronica smiled ironically and mimed toasting him with her paper cup.

"I guess you're not just going to tell me why you've been avoiding me?"

"Nope." Veronica replied quickly. "Is Hannah here?"

Logan's eyes narrowed suspiciously and Veronica smiled back at him innocently.

"Yeah. Somewhere."

"Oh, I guess I'll see her later tonight."

"I'd hurry up." Logan said mildly, the sharpness of his expression contradictory with his tone. "She's only staying for another hour. Mr Griffin doesn't like Hannah being out too late…"

Logan's lips pursed as he added, as if an after thought. "With me."

"Shocker." Veronica sniped automatically, regretting her words almost automatically at Logan's fierce expression. "Sorry… That was mean."

Logan looked at her intently, and Veronica knew that's she was hurting him, even now, by distancing herself. The deepness of the expression of which Logan looked at her made Veronica heart burn with a strangely pleasant fire, and she had to resist discovering the softness of his lips, the curvatures of his torso because her throwing herself at him in this moment would be a very bad idea.

"Whatever Veronica Mars." He said finally, and she winced at the coldness in the way he spoke to her.

She stopped him as he turned to leave, her hand squeezing his forearm.

"Logan…" She bit her lip. "I'm sorry."

She dropped his arm quickly and Logan looked at her curiously.

"Its ok Veronica."

Somewhere he must have understood that she apologizing for something more then her doubt and her distrust. Perhaps he even understood that this was her forfeit, her surrender of him to the rival army. If he did, he did not acknowledge it and Logan allowed her to walk away, only his gaze burning into her back.

Veronica tipped her head back, and once again the cup was empty.

--

"My God Veronica, you're drunk."

Veronica tried to locate the source of the voice urging her to get up. She was drunk, so drunk. Through slitted eyes she glanced up and around, wincing as the world span. She felt carpet under her bare feet and remembered that she was in John Enbom's guest suite. Lying, oh so classily, on the floor. Manicured hands tugged at her arm.

"Erk…" She murmured sluggishly.

"How long has it been since you were this drunk Veronica?" A blonde blur asked with good humour.

A very, very (very) long time, Veronica mused silently, years even. Something must have happened, she deduced clumsily, and yet she could not remember what.

The music of the party still blared in the background, the slow track someone had slipped to the DJ, to pass a quick grope as a slow dance.

"Some one to die for/ Some one to fall into when the world goes dark." The stereo system crooned tinnily.

Superimposed over the songs for the persistent night-time lovers, Veronica distantly registered the sound of raised voices arguing somewhere deeper in the house. Her curiosity was not peaked; she focused instead on staying conscious. Her Good Samaritan took her hand and wrenched her onto her feet. Veronica groaned, hugging the wall as she resisted the urge to throw up onto her feet. She could remember waving goodbye to Lilly as she disappeared into the fray, turning away from Logan as he-

Oh.

Veronica moaned and swerved erratically, bumping into her helper. The alcohol in her stomach dulled the sharp, potent pain, but it could not extinguish the sting of heartbreak all together.

"Oh shit." She muttered to herself.

She almost fell, but helpful hands steadied her, murmuring sympathetically. They guided her along a few feet of wall, and onto the counter of the kitchenette that adorned Enbom's guest suite. Veronica leaned against it, slowly easing her bottom on top of it until she was steady enough to sit up unaided and accept a cup of water. She took a sip, relieving her parched throat and sat shakily for a few silent minutes.

"So… What's up?"

Veronica started.

"You would know." She told the voice sulkily. "You told me."

"Oh." Meg sighed wearily, leaning back against her forearms. "So I guess you had a moment of clarity."

"Brilliant." Veronica snapped, not particularly at Meg at all. "Just brilliant. I'm in love with my best friend. Of course this would happen, of course it would happen to me."

"Are you going to talk to him about it?" Meg asked.

Veronica shook her head emphatically, and looked appealing up at the ceiling.

"No."

"You should."
Meg's cornflower blue eyes were deadly serious.

"I can't. He loves her, Meg."

"You don't know that." Meg said, leaning forward and speaking in a harsh whisper as if telling a terrible secret. "He deserves to know Veronica."

Veronica frowned at her, biting back the drunken impulse to pull her hair, or kick her in the shins or something.

"What are you even doing here?" Veronica asked Meg in the same brittle whisper. "You have a date with Duncan tonight."

Meg huffed and leaned back, her bottom lip plumping in a pout.

"We finished and Duncan wanted to drop by the party for a while." She said, hiding her irritation badly.

Veronica raised an eyebrow sardonically. The arguing voices rose angrily, the bubbling of aggression about to boil over. Meg glanced over her shoulder in the direction that the voices came from, and sighed.

"You think you have the biggest Logan issues?" She said dryly. "Apparently you are wrong because Duncan, still, has failed to just build a bridge. At least you have a healthy understanding of your issues."

Veronica shook her head quickly, regretting the movement almost immediately as the room spun and she almost lost her seating.

"It's complicated Meg."

Meg scowled at her and Veronica did a double take. She had never, ever seen saccharine Meg Manning scowl. Ever.

"Explain it to me Veronica." She said coolly. "Explain to me why my boyfriend has been able to focus on nothing for the last week except his best friend and his new girl friend. Explain to me why I had to cut my dinner short so Duncan could race here and play fisticuffs with Logan. Explain that to me Veronica Mars."

Veronica raised a hand to her forehead, wincing, and she felt Meg deflate. She looked up and tried to maintain eye contact with Meg's baby blues.

"A year ago Logan would have called Duncan five minutes after meeting Hannah, he would have called me; hell he would have even called Lilly. A year ago the four of us were unbroken, impenetrable. We laughed at other people because they didn't know what friendship was, they didn't know what it was to be friends with Logan Echolls or Duncan or Lilly Kane or Veronica Mars." Veronica inhaled. "I suppose that… although we have all, for better or worse, lost a lot this year, none of us expected to loose that. This Hannah thing… it just reminds us."

The expression of hurt on Meg's face made Veronica flinch. It was unfair to ask her to be sensitive while drunk, but Veronica suddenly felt very stupid as she re-evaluated her last statement.

"Meg I didn't mean…"

"Veronica…" Meg said softly. "Did it ever occur to you that maybe, just perhaps, the disillusionment of the fabulous four was meant to be… that it was even a good thing?"

Veronica bit her lip, and fell graceless to her feet.

"Meg…"

There was a roar from the other room and Meg rolled her eyes.

"Whatever Veronica..."

Veronica followed Meg clumsily down the hall as Meg walked quickly towards Duncan and Logan. It didn't occur to her that she had been avoiding Logan; the only thing that occurred to her was that she didn't want to be left alone, again. She tripped and slumped into Meg, the blonde caught her and sighed wearily, bracing Veronica against her side. Veronica buried her face into Meg's shoulder.

"I'm sorry Meg." She slurred softly. "I messed up tonight."

"Its ok to do that." Meg told her, propping her up. "You don't have to be superwoman all the time Veronica."

But I do, Veronica opened her mouth to point out. Logan and Duncan burst out through the doors of Enbom's guest room. Duncan was red with anger, his fists clenched painfully. His mouth twisted, transforming his face in resentment for a moment and his eyes sparkled with barely contained fury. Logan's face, usually so emotive, was blank. Only the curl of his lip into a sneer and his pallid complexion betrayed emotion.

"-Say that this doesn't have anything to do with her…" He spat at Duncan.

Duncan opened his mouth to reply, but as he turned to see the two girls, his face went blank. Logan turned to see when his friend was looking at and curiously his angry expression disappeared as well.

Veronica's watched Meg's eyes narrow slightly; perhaps she was imagining the slight tension around the other blonde's mouth.

"Duncan." Meg said. "I want to go home."

"Meg…" Duncan looked at his girlfriend irritably. "Not now."

"Fine." Meg replied icily. "I'll ask Cole to drop me home."

Duncan flinched, and for a moment he looked indecisively between his friend and his girlfriend. Veronica wondered if perhaps his eyes flickered to her for a moment.

"Sure Meg." He ground out finally. "Let's go."

'See you Veronica." Meg said, before shooting a dark look at Duncan and stalking away. Duncan followed with a sigh.

Veronica looked at Logan, who was looking back at her with strange curiosity. She made to step closer to him, but her limbs would not co-operate and she felt gravity lurch her forward. With a thump she landed less then gracefully against Logan's arm, he steadied her automatically, although he too wobbled a little.

"Are you drunk." He asked her surprised. "How very junior high of you."

"Shh..." Veronica slurred irritably. "So are you."

"I'm constantly drunk." Logan told her tartly, his movements just a bit exaggerated. "Haven't you heard?"

Veronica giggled and slumped against his arm, Logan squeezed her shoulder sociably.

"So?" Veronica asked curiously. "Why were you arguing with Duncan?"

Logan's mouth twisted suspiciously and he turned his face away from her. Veronica frowned as he detangled himself from her shoulder and took a few steps away.

"I can't tell you."

He said sullenly.

Veronica glanced around and, taking Logan by the hand, dragged him into the guest bedroom. She fell back onto the bed; the bed lurched as she felt Logan sit reluctantly beside her. It took a moment to regain her bearings, her less then graceful decline had befuzzled her already befuzzled head, when she sat up she realised that she was inches from Logan's too serious face.

"You used to tell me things."

"I can't tell you this…" He breathed.

Veronica scowled. Logan's head ducked.

"Please?"

Logan sighed. For a few long seconds he said nothing, staring blankly at the wall adjacent to him.

"Do you really want to know what Duncan and I were talking about?"

He said finally. Veronica nodded.

"Blondes."

She blinked.

"Blondes?"

Logan leapt up, his movements quick and angry.

"Yeah, Blondes. Blonde sisters, Blondes who are ignoring me, Blondes who I like and Blondes who I love." He punctuated his words with jerks of his hands. There was something in his eyes that informed Veronica that he was drunker then she had originally guessed. "I should never have added another blonde into my life. I have too many. Adding another blonde was a mistake."

He paused, his expression pained.

"Hannah was a mistake."

Veronica paused, unsure how to react.

"But…" Her voice cracked. "You love her."

Logan smiled sardonically.

"Really? How do you figure that?"

Veronica couldn't remember. Had it been something Meg had said? No. It was Lilly. Lilly was never wrong.

"L-Lilly."

"You need to stop listening to Lilly." Logan said spitefully. "I'm going to break her heart."

"Lilly?"

"No!" Logan sounded frustrated. "Hannah. She's going to figure it out sooner or later, and I'm going to break her heart. I can't love Hannah."

"Wha-Why?" Veronica was really confused. She was wa-ay too drunk for this.

"Silly Veronica." Logan slurred, sitting back down beside her. "You can't love more then one person. Not the way I do."

Her heart plummeted.

"You're in love with some one else? Who?"

Logan seemed to be closing the gap between them, suddenly another flash of clarity hit her and Veronica realised what he was doing, he was leaning in to kiss her.

"I don't know Veronica." He purred. "Who could I possibly be in love with?"

Veronica had always hated that prom queen, Nicolas Sparks, chick flick fairytale were the pretty female protagonist kissed the well built, handsome love interest and fireworks exploded, fire coursed through her body and high above the sweet, blonde things head, birds sung in a chorus of ecstasy. Yet even her cynicism couldn't deny the something that spread through her when Logan's lips took possession of hers, it was indescribable, incomparable and she knew that it was going to change everything. She pulled away reluctantly, looking into his dark eyes.

"Uh oh." She whispered.

"Yeah." Logan agreed shortly. "I know."

Their breathing quivered in rhythm, like two synched heartbeats. Logan kissed Veronica again, pressing her body against hers, her breasts pressed tight against his chest, so she felt hints of muscle through t-shirt. Veronica ignored the acidic taste of alcohol on Logan's breath, just as she knew he ignored it on hers, and allowed his hand to snake its way up her thigh. Slowly and deliberately she felt him lower her down onto Enbom's guest bed, one hand lying casually between the opening of her thighs and the other pushing up her dress so that it barely maintained decency. As his lips battled with her own, Veronica couldn't stop herself responding, not with the fervour that she did. Her legs fell open more as they attempted diminish any, tiny, square centimetre of space between them, and Logan large, soft hand rubbed the white skin of her inner thigh.

"God Veronica." He breathed, his voice husky with want.

Veronica, so desperate to be wanted by him in any capacity, pressed her crotch against his growing erection. Logan groaned. They were beyond morality now, beyond consequences, beyond the point of return; they were slaves now to the churning cocktail of despair, lust, frustration and loneliness.

"I love you." She sobbed quietly into his ear. Her fingers, which traced the regal slop of his nose, felt the wetness of Logan's own tears.

He groaned, responding as she dry humped him, rocking her self against the outline of his cock. His exploring digits pushed her flimsy underwear aside (that Lilly had brought her, the thought disappeared as quickly as it had come) and he entered two long fingers into her weeping labia. Veronica bucked against the intrusion, a helpless moan of arousal escaping her parted lips. As he worked her skilfully, his fingers teasing her sensitive bundle of nerves, another hand worked her zipper, carefully peeling her dress off her perspiring skin. She shrugged it over her shoulders, inconsiderate of her near nakedness.

"Fuck…" Logan swore nervously as he looked at her, and Veronica blushed. She pulled at his own t-shirt, pulling it over his head. Logan quickly discarded his pants and, Veronica's throat tightened, her breath becoming ragged, his boxers.

He fingered her with a renewed ferociousness, his face a mask of barely contained animal lust. Veronica pulled Logan's weight on top of her, sighing as his excess hand massaged her breast through her bra, thumbing the hardening peaked flesh of her nipple. She ground into his fingers, pressed her lips against his neck, and then arched her back as she came with a flush of intense pleasure. He smirked and bent his neck to suck on the curve between her shoulder and neck, breaking the blood vessels under her skin and no doubt giving her a hickey. Veronica raised an eyebrow and smirked back, the challenge ripe in both sets of eyes. Casually she let her hand stroke the length of Logan's erection, enjoying the cease of his breathing as her nibble fingers traced his contours. Keeping her eyes locked with his muddy brown ones, she palmed his shaft in long, deliberate motions, traced the shape of his bulbous tip, smearing a drop of pre cum with her thumb.

"V-Veronica…" He murmured. "That feels- Fuck!"

He bucked as she squeezed him experimentally.

His hand caught her by the back of her neck and dragged her lips upon hers forcefully, she groaned against them as he sucked hard on her flushed bottom lip.

If they had kissed with the tenderness of lovers, it would have broken Veronica's heart.

Instead she responded greedily to the angry frustration within Logan's kiss, revelling in the bruises of his fingers that would appear on her pale skin in the morning. Proof that he had been here, that they had been closer then they had ever been before. A line crossed, a thread broken.

The eye contact returned, and Logan raised one finger to Veronica's face. She had stopped trying to decipher his expressions, but the one he gave her now set a shiver down her spine.

"Veronica…"

She stopped him, her kiss angry. She felt the weight of his hesitation, and moved away from his lips, kissing away the salty residue of his tears.

"I want you." She whispered wanton into his ear.

"Do you love me?" He asked, his voice small.

Veronica looked at him; she clenched his face between her hands.

"I said I did, didn't I?"

"You did."

"Then…" He let her kiss him softly, pliable under her hands. "It must be true."

Logan shifted his body so his torso and face hovered inches from hers, and so his groin was placed firmly against her damp core. Veronica shivered as his fingers brushed tentatively at her hips, before allowing him to remove his final barrier.

"Are you-"

She wouldn't let him ask that question. She bucked her hips against his, his dick pressing against her outer lips, and Logan let out a heady groan. Forgetting his question, Logan positioned himself against her, and with one decisive thrust he entered her.

Veronica gasped at the intrusion of her, if not virgin, mostly unused passage, her nails dug into the soft skin of Logan's forearms. Gently Logan retracted his cock, before easing it back in. He kissed away the tears that had managed to escape. His tender movements traded her discomfort for pleasure, and soon Logan was heightening his momentum and Veronica was responding with equal fervour.

The alcohol on their tongues mixed with their desperate kisses, the bodies perspiring as they contorted on their sheets. Veronica's body almost hummed, the sharp pleasure of Logan's movements contrasting with the slight numbness, or perhaps giddiness, of intoxication. And yet deep within her self, like lava that bubbled and hissed under changing landscape, she still felt her love for him, her need for him, strengthened and undiminished.

The sounds of their combined grunts and groans hovered in the otherwise silent room, and Veronica stiffened with a hiss as she felt her climax approach.

"Come for me Veronica." Logan whispered into her ear.

He flipped her so that she rode him from on top. The change of position applied a very welcomed, but new, pressure to her arousal and as Logan ground her into him, she came loudly. Determined to introduce Logan to the same high, Veronica quickened their tempo and too fast she felt Logan stiffen, and his seed empty it self inside her.

They paused, both panting slightly. Veronica looked down, suddenly painfully unsure, and his brown eyes looked back at her with conviction she craved for herself. He slipped out of her, and moved her so that she lay beside him, tucked companionably under his arm.

His tender kiss, on the very tip of her nose (like a boyfriend would do, like a friend), broke her. Her tenacity bore very little resistance when Veronica Mars finally fell from her carefully constructed pedestal and cried. But she had Logan to hold her as she sobbed, Logan's stolen body to fall asleep against when finally her cries faded.

--

All she could comprehend as she woke was sunlight and pain. As far as she could tell the sunlight was actually provoking the stabbing in her head, so Veronica turned over and buried her face in the warm, soft body next to her.

Better.

Uh oh.

Despite the disapproval of her body Veronica sat up with a start, the events of the night before trickling slowly, like honey onto bread, back into her consciousness. There had been alcohol, too much alcohol, avoiding Logan, Meg, Duncan and Logan arguing in loud voices, Duncan leaving, her asking Logan what was wrong, Logan's lips, Logan's hands…

Opps.

Slowly Veronica looked at the sleeping boy beside her, her eyes dry now after having shed two or three years worth of tears. This entire time she had been waiting for somebody to crush Hannah's tiny bird bones and break her heart, somebody terrible, somebody corrupt… How ironic, in one foul swoop she was going to break Hannah Griffin more efficiently then Madison Sinclair or Lilly Kane could ever hope too. She was a bitch, she was dirt.

Slowly she moved her aching legs over the side of the bed, slipping onto bare feet and ignoring the telling feeling between her legs that informed her that something had been between them last night. Her head complained bitterly as she gathered her clothing, slipping into her party dress and pulling on her discarded underwear.

She moved to the door but with too perfect timing, Logan's voice stopped her.

"Where are you going?"

Veronica tried not to stare at Logan's revealed torso, or contemplate on the bittersweet nature of this situation.

"I'm not sure." She replied stiffly. "I'm sorry Logan…"

"No!" Realisation entered Logan's emotive features quickly. He leapt up, apparently not hindered by a hangover as Veronica was, the sheet slipped away from his body and Logan strode towards her in full, ahem, glory. "Do not fucking leave, Veronica."

Veronica stepped back slightly, her face drooping unhappily.

"Logan…"

"Veronica we slept together."

"Yes." Veronica said thickly. "We did."

"You…" He swallowed. "We said we loved each other."

"I know…"

"I meant it." Logan said softly, the doubt in his voice caused a hairline fracture in her heart to widen painfully.

"I did too." Veronica replied softly. "But you have a girlfriend."

Logan paused and looked at her strangely.

"Hannah? This is because of Hannah?"

"It's not just because of Hannah…"

One of Logan's large hands landed on her shoulder, slowly caressing the curve of her neck. He peered down at her with tenderness that shook Veronica's resolve.

"Veronica, Hannah… She…"

"She makes you happy." Veronica whispered. Logan didn't know it yet, but that was more for herself then for him.

"I love you. I'll break up with Hannah, I'll go now."

"No!" Veronica tore her arm away with a feral cry. She knew that he could see the frustration, the anger, in her eyes, but to her distain she also knew he could see the pleading. "Don't make me into that person Logan. Can't you see this is killing me, I'm meant to be better then this.

"Better then me." Logan said dully.

Veronica bit her lip; she could not salve his wounds without indulging perilous emotions. Couldn't Logan (who knew her best of all) tell how much this was hurting her, destroying her, having to hurt him, to give him up.

"Do you think we could be happy?" She tried to be reasonable, but her voice broke. "With Lilly and Duncan and other nasty history breathing down our necks. How long would we last? Then that would be it for us… There's no coming back from that."

Logan's top lip curled in a sneer, his status quo defence mechanisms clunked into action, too fluid and practiced with use.

"Ok Veronica. I'll forget this ever happened. I'll forget that I ever loved you and I'll pretend I do love Hannah and I'll go back to my perfect life with my perfect girlfriend and all we'll be is the best-est buds, just like it used to be. We'll all live happily ever after and nothing will ever be complicated or tangled again. Is that what you want?"

Logan looked triumphant for a moment until Veronica looked up at him with hard eyes, his expression fell.

"That is what you want, isn't it?"

"I won't cross this line." Veronica told him distantly, tugging, suddenly self-conscious, on the neckline of her dress. "I won't be that girl."

Logan went very pale, and Veronica sighed, waiting for his anger to explode. He needed this, and she wouldn't be able to let it happen again. She deserved it.

"I have news for you Veronica." Logan hissed, his tone almost cruel. "You are that girl now."

Veronica flinched, she looked away from him, unable to block out his words but able to resist the hateful look in his eyes.

"And you know what, this perfect idea you have of Lilly and Duncan and you and I being the 'Fab Four'-" Veronica winced at the way he spat the old nickname. "It's not going to happen. You really think we were so happy Veronica?"

Veronica's mouth fell open an inch, she swallowed nervously.

"We were happy." She said with conviction.

Logan shook his head slowly and deliberately with a cool laugh.

"No we weren't." He told her with equal conviction, his voice low. "Lilly fucked around, my dad was still a arsehole and you… you didn't even know what happy was. I'm happy now, even when things are fucking up, because at least now we can be truly honest."

Brown eyes looked at her sadly.

"I think…" He picked his words carefully. "If you really thought about it, you could admit to yourself that you too are happier now. Pastel never really was your colour, Veronica Mars."

He was dangerously close to her, his tall body curved intimately around her small one, his lips positioned a few inches closer to her lips then appropriate. His kiss was searching, and Veronica returned it, forgetting for a moment her past promises.

"I really do love you." She said against his lips. He seemed to nod. 'But you're Hannah's…"

She pushed him away firmly, her palm flat on his chest. His eyes flashed but he stepped back all the same.

"And I'm not going to be who takes you away from her."

Veronica used all her strength to turn around, and just that bit more to walk out the door. She felt Logan's eyes on her back, felt, with out his words telling her, the challenge in them. She left now, knowing that she might never be able to come back to him.

--

Sleep had not come to her for three entire days and Veronica felt flimsy and unsubstantial against the vivid neons of the school.

Head in arms, she hid at the fringes of the courtyard, blonde hair casting a veil across her face. She hadn't spoken a word to Lilly since the party, had not caught a glimpse of Hannah Griffin, and except for a few awkward occasions in which she was totally ignored, had not seen Logan either.

Spotting Logan on the far side of the yard, she watched him stride purposefully across the courtyard from under half closed lids She ignored the irrational pang of betrayal she felt when he refused to look at her.

"Veronica Mars!"

Veronica winced at the shrill tone of Lilly's voice as Lilly ascended upon her, blonde hair swinging in time with the smooth sway of her hips. Lilly looked luminescent in the afternoon sun, above petty sleeplessness and heartbreak, Veronica felt her own haggard appearance thrown into harsh relief.

"God Veronica…" Lilly drawled as she parked herself onto a seat, uncapping a bottle of water and bringing it to her lips. "Hangovers don't last this long."

Veronica shrugged. She did not feel like explaining her insomnia to Lilly, and it wasn't like she could tell her friend about Logan.

Suddenly Veronica's stomach felt tight, she had never kept a secret from her best friend before, especially not one of this implication and enormity.

"I'm fine." She supplied shortly. "Just a little tired."

"You look like crap." Lilly answered honestly, propping her legs up on the bench. "But I have something that will cheer you up."

She leaned forward, wickedness glinting in her eyes.

'I have a secret Veronica." She sang. "A good one."

Veronica raised an eyebrow; out of the corner of her eye she watched Logan laugh at Dick Casablancas, his head back and carefree.

"He told me I wasn't allowed to tell you for a while but A. Lilly is allowed to do anything she damn well wants and B.-" Veronica wondered if she saw a spark of something dangerous and spiteful in Lilly's gaze. "As if I could ever keep a secret from you."

Veronica was as much aware that that statement was a lie, as Lilly herself. Lilly kept secrets all the time, she loved them, thriving off the adrenaline of knowing what others did not.

It didn't stop Veronica shifting slightly with guilt.

"Who?" She asked quickly, covering up her flinch.

"Logan." Lilly continued blithely. "Duh. He broke up with his pep squad pus-"

"Excuse me?!"

Both Veronica and Lilly were surprised buy the strength of her own reaction, Lilly, for once at a loss for words, blinked at her in shock.

Veronica said nothing, absorbing Lilly's news, dealing with intense feelings of rage, and irrefutably, relief. If Lilly had slapped her, her astonishment would not have been more profound. Logan had broken up with Hannah. Hannah had been dumped by Logan. Logan, despite Veronica telling him otherwise, had broken up with his girlfriend Hannah. Veronica could barely conceive the full significance of this fact, that her sacrifice had been for nothing, that she had broken both her heart and Logan's and not one of them, not Logan or Hannah or herself, were going to be happy.

"Why?" She managed to ask, her voice breathy.

"You tell me."

Her head snapped to face Lilly, who looked back at her placidly, expression steely. She didn't look mad, disappointed perhaps or resigned, but not the wild fury Veronica expected from Lilly Kane.

"I'm not stupid Veronica." Lilly told her calmly. "Everybody's talking about how you disappeared at the end of the night…"

"I went home." Veronica said defensively, hearing the panic in her own voice.

"Meg said when she left, you had gone off to look after Logan."

"So." Her anger was harsh and unjustified, but she could stop it spewing from her mouth. "He's my friend."

"Veronica…" Lilly's full lips twisted into half smile. "I see the way he looks at you."

Veronica opened her mouth, and then as suddenly as it had come her anger dissipated and she closed it again. She leant her face down into her hands, too tired to fight or to cry.

"I'm sorry." She said finally. "I'm really sorry Lils'"

Lilly's answer surprised her.

"Why?"

Veronica stared at her, wondering what had happened to Lilly Kane and who this mellow tempered impostor was.

"You realise I slept with Logan right? Your ex-boyfriend, Logan Echolls."

"Thanks Veronica." Lilly said tartly. "I've read Tropic of Cancer."

Lilly wiggled her blonde eyebrows and stuck her tongue out. Then she sobered.

"You know Vee, that 'Belongs To Lilly Kane' sign I stamped onto Logan's forehead isn't in permanent ink."

"But-" Veronica frowned. "I betrayed you."

She hissed the word, finally releasing them from her system. To hear it made it true, cemented the wrongness of what she had done.

Lilly looked at her for a long moment, blue eyes calculating, then she shrugged.

"I forgive you."

Veronica gaped at her, not even sure how to reply to this girl-who-was-not-Lilly. From across the courtyard Veronica noticed Logan's head turn and his face crinkled into an inscrutable frown as his eyes fell upon them.

"What?"

"This once." Lilly bit her lip. "You and Logan… I think you're going to be really amazing and to be honest I've been expecting you and the obnoxious one to bump uglies for a while; but Veronica Mars if you ever, ever keep a secret from me again…"

Veronica's mouth quirked.

"I won't." There was a moment of silence before Veronica added. "I doubt Duncan will be so forgiving."

Lilly snorted.

"He'll get over it."

Veronica shook her head in wry amusement. The pain of loss, of regret, was still prominent but she no longer carried the burden of keeping a secret from Lilly. She felt lighter, even under her sadness.

"I messed up." She sighed. "I freaked out."

Lilly waved her sentiment away with her hand. With a disdainful flick she flipped her hair over her shoulder.

"So what?"

"I did something really horrible. I'm horrible."

"Like I said Veronica…" Lilly told her sharply. "So what? So you're horrible. Are you any less horrible resisting the urge to sex Logan up? You made a mistake Veronica; you are allowed to do that once in a while. Life goes on."

"I said…" Veronica swallowed. "When I woke up next to Logan I said some unfair things. I don't know if he would be able to forgive me."

Lilly laughed, her head back.

"You forget that Logan dated me, anything you do now will be pale in comparison."

Veronica pursed her lips.

"I'm not Lilly Kane." She said softly. Lilly sniffed.

"So you won't fuck it up. Logan will forgive you."

The two girls straightened as Logan rose from his table and began to stride towards the school building in long angry steps. Lilly's eyebrow quirked.

"But not if you never muster up the courage to say you messed up."

Veronica looked at Lilly, then she looked at Logan's disappearing back, her back stiffened and her jaw tilted. She was Veronica Mars and no one, not even herself, was going to get in her way.

"You're right."

Lilly yawned and picked off a dead end.

"Always have been."

--

Although later she would realise the thought was on the wrong side of obscure, it occurred to Veronica as she tried to relocate Logan, that her father would deeply disapprove of what she was doing.

Not that Keith Mars didn't like Logan, but Logan was wild. The Neptune population, in many attempts to describe Logan Echolls to curious or gossiping friends, had thrown around many adjectives; wild, psychotic, arrogant, selfish, nihilistic… Just to describe a few.

Yet, as Veronica's eyes met Logan's solid form, propped up against his yellow X Terra she was reminded of the words she had always used to describe Logan to those who thought they knew better: vivid, dramatic, exhilarating, confusing.

Logan was every thing that was colourful and exciting about her life; he was the cigarettes Lilly had sneaked out of her mothers purse and shared with a nervous Veronica, he was the salt water as the four of them swam beside each other in the dark night, he was the secrets shared between best friends and the summer days soaked into all of their skins.

The epiphany struck her as the afternoon sun struck Logan, half silhouetting his body in a quite impressively dynamic way. The best days of their cosy foursome were over, they had all moved on to other and larger loves. Yet perhaps this left Veronica with an opportunity to discover something equally beautiful, equally life affirming, an equal truth on which to base her life.

She walked over to him slowly, making sure he had time to watch the space close between them. She stopped short, and ignoring the sudden wave of nervousness that had flushed her, she waved sheepishly.

"Hey."

"Hey." He replied quietly, there was the same fatigue and rawness in his sad brown eyes as in her blue ones. "Are you here to yell at me?"

Veronica frowned and shook her head. Impulsively she grabbed at one of Logan's large hands, entwining it with her small one.

"I'm sorry." She croaked, the words falling haphazardly out of her mouth like a foreign dialect. In her mouth they sounded wrong and suspicious, but she meant them and she knew she had to say them. "You were right."

More foreign words.

"I was wrong."

More. She really must love him.

"And I love you."

Those were easy, she already felt like she had whispered them a thousand times, they came from her heart. Logan looked at her for a moment with his steady, calculating gaze.

"Ok."

His eye contact never broke with hers and she felt the soft pressure of a warm arm snaking around her waist. He pulled her languidly towards him, a slow smirk pulling at his lips.

"And for the record, I knew you were going to come crawling back."

Veronica snorted and opened her mouth to retort; unfortunately Logan chose that moment to cover her mouth with his. He pulled her taut against his chest and Veronica forgot how to speak, she forgot that they were in the very public car park; she forgot that the day existed beyond the reassuring warmth of his body and the gentle pressure of Logan's lips against hers.

He pulled away reluctantly.

"I love you." He stroked her nose tenderly. "Always have, always will."

Veronica smiled radiantly and sat down next to him on the bonnet of his beloved yellow beast. She leaned against his arm, revelling in its solidness in comparison to her smallness.

"You know…" She said thoughtfully. "That was our first kiss."

Logan chortled.

"Honeybunch, we did a lot more then just kiss at John Enbom's party."

Veronica bumped his shoulder.

"We were drunk. Doesn't count."

Logan nibbled his bottom lip in contemplation.

"Do those years of Spin The Bottle and Truth and Dare count?"

"No."

There was a hunger in Logan's expression that Veronica remembered longing for with Duncan, apart from the soft, sentimentality of infatuation, something like lust, like possession. He lowered his face towards hers.

"It was a good kiss wasn't it?"

Veronica swallowed at the velvety desire in his muttered croon.

"Very good."

"I wonder if we'll continue to improve?"

They, apparently, would. Their next kiss was heated, the frustration of the last few days poured into it. They clutched at each other, cementing their bond and knowing that it would always remain, in some way, some form. Veronica leaned her forehead against Logan's.

"You broke up with Hannah, after I told you not to."

Logan's lips pursed.

"Are you kidding me Mars?"

Veronica shook her head.

"I'm not complaining, trust me. You were right, I was wrong, oh hail the mighty Logan Echolls, all knowing, but-"

She licked her lips.

"You liked her?"

"Yeah." Logan's voice was sad.

"You were happy with her?"

"Yes, I was."

"Why did you break up with her then?" Logan's expression hovered between anger and unwilling amusement. "-and don't say you knew I would come crawling back because I know you didn't."

Logan looked away from her, muscles bunching between his eyebrows.

"Hannah deserves better then a guy who feels some obligation to love her." He turned back and kissed Veronica lightly on the forehead. "It would have been sick to pretend. Sometimes even a kind lie is cruel."

"I don't know if Hannah would agree."

"If it makes you feel better, I doubt she loved me either."

Veronica tried to remember the exact emotion in Hannah's eyes when she had announced her love for Logan. Rationally she knew that Hannah probably hadn't really loved Logan; Logan was easy to be infatuated with but really, not so easy to love. That was poor comfort to Veronica though, as she realised that even if Hannah hadn't really loved Logan, she had definitely believed she did.

Logan obviously believed that their conversation had reached a point of tedium, and in an obvious attempt to halt Veronica's train of thought; he began quite determinedly to kiss her again. Veronica considered breaking away and making Logan concentrate, but the sensation of his lips and grasping palms were too pleasant and Veronica felt herself, for the first time all day, relax.

The bell chimed rudely.

"So I think we have two choices." Logan said seriously, although his eyes shone impishly. "One: We go to class and act as if everything is normal. I don't actually believe that will work, because Veronica Mars and Logan Echolls just made out in a public place and I can practically hear the whirring of a hundred lower classmen PDA's."

"What's our second option. Oh wise one."

Logan cocked his head thoughtfully. "It's hot when you call me that." Veronica pinched his bicep irritably.

"Oh-ouch!" Logan grinned at her. "Second option, tiny, blonde one, you will not enjoy but I think is the better alternative."

"What?"

"I shall walk you down the hallway, through the masses of our peers, like my girlfriend, hand in hand."

Veronica thought about it for a moment, and although the concept was humiliating, lacking in subtly and just a little bit too John Hughes for her liking she extended her hand and allowed it to be taken by her boyfriends.

--

Two o'clock found Logan Echolls walking down the hall of Neptune High, hand in hand with his new senior girlfriend for the first time, under the scrutinizing gazes of their peers. Both Veronica Mars and Logan Echolls seemed oblivious to the stares and sniggers of the Neptune teen public. They strode beside each other, their arms entwined, speaking with easy familiarity and humour. They paused outside Veronica's Journalism class and Logan bent down to lightly place his lips upon hers.

If they walked the walk of controversy once they'd walked it a million times. They may as well do it together.

--

Six Months Later.

After Graduation they all silently descended upon the beach, diplomas and gowns still in hand. The crash of waves and call of birds provided the only soundtrack to the last moments of the Fab Four.

"Wow." Duncan exclaimed, sinking onto the white sand. "I can't believe high school is over. Does that make us grown ups now?"

"Not me." Lilly said sleepily, sliding down beside him and resting her head against her brother's shoulder. "I'm never growing up."

She was going to Vassar University though, and Duncan to Yale, Logan was heading to DeVry on the merit of his surprisingly good SAT scores and (yes) his father's dime, and Veronica, she was going to Stanford.

Just like she had always wanted, right?

They sat with out speaking, leaning against each other. They hadn't done this for a while, and they might not do this again, but it was nice to be reminded that whatever came between them, friendship still remained and that the integrity of moments like this would live forever.

Veronica had been right, Duncan had not taken Logan and her relationship particularly well. A precious month had been waisted in a 'cold war' and another month fixing what had been broken. Veronica didn't flatter herself pretending it was because of residue feelings, but because Duncan had held onto them with perhaps an even more binding strength then Veronica herself. He was the best friend, the brother, the boy friend and he felt the ripples of change more potently then any other member of their foursome, knowing that in some ways it had been he who had thrown the pebble which changed them.

"Haven't you even considered the consequence to what you're doing?" He had screamed at them both.

"Of course." Veronica had answer reasonably.

'Oh have you?" He sneered back. "How about me? What happens if you two break up? What, I have to choose between my two best friends? How about Lilly?"

"Duh." Lilly had replied, not even lifting her eyes from her copy of Cosmopolitan. "I choose Veronica."

Eventually however, life had returned to a lull. Duncan, and Neptune, acclimatized to the now irrefutable fact of Veronica and Logan. Veronica had dealt with her feelings of guilt and had learnt to lower her walls of defence to let Logan in. Logan had curbed his erratica, or at least had restrained it enough so that he no longer had a weekly date with the Neptune County Sheriff's department and his girlfriend's daddy. Lilly had continued prancing through an endless conga line of boys and fabulousness.

Life was, fleetingly but also enduringly, good.

They watched the blue water churn and regurgitate on the shores, absolute peace flooding them all. They still had the summer for laughter and parties, and undying friendship, one last hurrah.

"Well…" Veronica announced suddenly, clutching at Logan's hand and pulling him up with her. "Let's go to the after party. Everyone will be waiting for the fabulous four to make an appearance."

Lilly giggled.

"Meg is waiting for me…" Duncan admitted, pulling himself up too before offering his hand to his sprawling sister.

Their laughter broke the hot summer air as they ran back, running and jumping and calling out dares. Behind them the water winked and sparkled, a tantalizing proposition in the baking summer, but in front of them an equally tantalizing proposition arose.

Their futures spreading out in front of them, so real they could almost reach out and pull them to their chests. Long, convoluted, full of heartbreak and triumph, the possibility of who they could be and the life they could live.

And the promise of return, lying snug in their hearts. Lilly, Duncan, Veronica and Logan. Lovers, fighters and best friends.