Title: Searching For Life - Prologue
Rating: R (or will be later)
Word Count: 1857
Characters/Pairings: Logan/Veronica, Logan/OFC, Keith, various others.
Summary: Sometimes finding what you've been searching for is harder than not finding it at all. Letting it go is even harder. This is a LoVe story that spans years, three-quarters of a continent and maybe a little bloodshed. They wouldn't be epic without it.
Spoilers: Goes AU during 3x13 (Post-Game Mortem)
A/N: This is my vm_santa gift over on livejournal for the most awesome, lovely and talented vanessagalore. Writing for a woman of her talent was a tall order and I only hope that I can do it .
A/N2: A million thank-yous to Maria who is the quickest and most gracious fic helper/beta ever!! And also, to my friend and greatest cheerleader Sabrina. I wouldn't have half the words without her constant support! You both deserve lots of cookies (or Logan) whichever you prefer ; ) But you'll probably have to settle for my undying gratitude, which hey, is pretty much the same… right? ; )
A/N3: This will be a WIP because as usual I have to make everything into this big production instead of sticking to a one-shot like I had planned. Also because I wanted to get at least part of it posted so Vanessa would know I hadn't forgot about her. But no worries, since this is a gift, it is on the top of my priorities. And of course, all mistakes are mine.
Also, I have not forgotten about Fractured Dreams. It is still being worked on and I will not abandon it, I promise. Thank you to all the people who have PM'd me and to those who still have an interest in it. You have no idea how much it means to me : )
The crisp morning breeze filtered in through the open windows and permeated his senses. Logan never tired of waking up to the roar of the big blue ocean or the scent it brought into his beachside bungalow. When he'd been looking for a new place, there had never even been a question in his mind. He wanted to be on the Pacific- where many an artist thought the splendor of day's end soothed their trouble souls.
It was still early, nary a cloud to be seen and he thought the southern California sky had never looked more beautiful. Logan couldn't wait to get out into the surf and breathe along with the crest and troughs. He wanted to live amongst the waves if only for a little while.
On a usual morning it would be hard to get him to relinquish his surfboard but this day was special. Cliché or not, this day would be the first day of the rest of his life. He was finally beginning to believe that.
Logan had worked so hard over the years to make something of himself, wanted to be someone that Veronica and Keith would be proud of. They were the only ones who knew the boy from which he came. His work helping families whose loved ones were missing or had run away was his life's calling. Most days it helped him far more than he thought it helped his clients. It always brought them comfort, though, that he had a personal story to call his own.
Sometimes he thought about the past, wondered about all the what-ifs and the like. But most of his days were spent looking forward, blazing through to a hopefully bright future with the girl he loved. Today was only the beginning of many happy days ahead. He would ask where all his optimism had come from but he already knew the answer.
A sudden knock on the door brought him out of his reverie and he smiled with the thought of both the answer to his question and one person who would visit him this early. He thought she'd stay away today of all days but his girl was nothing if not spontaneous. It was one of the things he loved so much about her.
The door was flung open with the expectation of a small frame bursting in with coffee as she did on so many occasions. Coffee was her spice of life she'd always said- second only to him. God, he loved his girl.
But instead of slight and sassy, he was greeted by the sight of an older man whose face showed even more aging than his fifty-five years. Ten plus years of stress would do that to a man. He should know.
"Keith, what a nice surprise. Please, come in," he told him, gesturing inside his home.
"Logan," he started, struggling with his words.
"What is it Keith?" he asked nervously. "Is it about Veronica? Please, just tell me."
"I think we've found her. Alive," Keith replied, the hope clearly present.
Logan felt as though the breath was being sucked out of him, a giant weight pressing down making it impossible for him to drag any air back in. His slipper clad feet shuffled awkwardly backward until he met the couch where he dropped ungracefully.
"Logan, I know this isn't the time and I'm sorry, but I thought you would want to know."
"Are you sure?"
"The tip-line got a call. Seems someone spotted her at a diner in a town in Alabama. She's a waitress there. He emailed me the cell picture he took. It not a great picture, it's pretty fuzzy but Logan- I really think it's her," Keith told him, unable to keep the excitement out of his voice.
Logan jumped upped, furious. "That's it?! A rotten blurry cell phone picture?! You want me to cancel my wedding for a tip on a hot-line that is ten years old?! They just re-ran that damned Tinseltown Diaries story on me, Keith. I mean how do we know this guy isn't a nut job just looking for the reward?!" Logan paused his tirade before continuing in a softer tone. "I won't do that to Sarah, Keith. I love her." Looking down on the floor, he swallowed hard, running his right hand through his already tousled hair. "It took me so long to put what happened to Veronica past me. I never thought I could be happy with anyone. I can't just drop everything, Keith, and it's unfair for you to expect me to."
"I never," Keith started before he was cut off.
"You didn't?! Then why did you come here barely five hours before I'm supposed to say 'I Do?' I loved Veronica. I loved her more than any man should ever love any woman. And when she," he choked, "when she disappeared I didn't think I was going to survive. The search for her was the only thing that kept me going. But then after seven years when they declared her legally dead I had to make the hard decision. I needed to face things. I tried to move on but I felt dead inside- and I probably was."
He paused before beginning again, softly. "But then I met Sarah and everything changed. She made me happy again. I didn't want to be, thought it was selfish of me to leave Veronica behind. But Keith, I had to accept that she wasn't coming back and I know this is hard to hear, but you have to too. Veronica wouldn't have wanted this for you. She would have wanted you to move on, to try and be happy. You know she would have."
"I'm sorry Logan. I didn't come here to upset you. I just thought you'd want to know. Clearly I was wrong," he said, bitterness in his voice. "I will never give up hope even if that means chasing every crazy-assed lead half-way across the world and back. I just can't- not if there is still a chance."
Logan replied, deflated. "You do what you need to, Keith, but I can't go with you. Not this time- not again. I've made my peace and I'm about to start a new life. Please, just let me have that."
Keith nodded sadly. "You do deserve it, Logan. I know you haven't always been my biggest fan nor have I been yours but I don't want there to be any hard feelings between us. I wish you all the happiness. I mean it."
"Thanks Keith," he told him, wondering if it would be the last time he saw the man. All at once everything seemed so final.
With a quick nod, Keith turned and left, shutting the door behind him.
Despite all the bravado in the world Logan couldn't keep the hope from nagging a little part of his conscience. Every time either he or Keith were sure they'd found Veronica alive his heart leapt at the possibilities. But every single time it was a let down; every single time it was losing her all over again. He had to keep the hope out for his own sanity.
The sound of his ringtone kept Logan from sinking any further into Veronica - induced memories. He grabbed the nearby device and looked at the display. Her timing was impeccable. She was exactly who he needed to talk to.
"Hello, sunshine," he answered with a smile.
"Hey, handsome. Got a minute?" Sarah asked warmly.
"I don't know, I'm supposed to get married today and my fiancée has been pretty much Atilla the Hun when it comes to the wedding. I can't be late for fear of death by the miraculous sword of Mars," he teased.
Tears threatened when he'd realized what he'd said. Damn Keith for showing up today of all days, bringing up memories and feelings he'd long suppressed.
Sarah immediately noticed the change in him and became concerned.
"Logan, are you alright?"
"Yeah," he sighed, dejected. "Keith came by."
"Why do I get the feeling that it was just more than a well-wishes visit?"
"He had some information on Veronica. Some guy called the hotline- claimed to have spotted her in some greasy spoon in Alabama."
"Oh, Logan," she replied, the empathy evident in her voice. "What are you going to do?"
Logan laughed bitterly. "What am I going to do? Nothing. I'm getting married today. To you. Or did you forget," he told her, harsher than he intended.
"Look. I know this is hard but you don't have to take it out on me. I love you, remember?"
"I know," he breathed out, deflated. "I'm sorry. It's just I don't know why he had to come here and tell me. He knows I've moved on and I can't keep following his pipe dreams of finding Veronica alive and well."
"It's ok you know," Sarah started in a soft soothing tone. "It's ok to have faith. She meant a lot to you. I'll understand if you hope that it's true."
"It's not true, Sarah. She's dead- a fact I've come to terms with. I love you and want to marry you. I can't let Keith drag me back in."
"But what if she were? What if she were alive? What would you do?" she asked, the insecurity starting to slip in.
"It wouldn't change things between us if that's what you're asking. I love you with everything I have to give. Even if Veronica turned up alive I'd still marry you," he told her, not sure exactly who he was trying to convince.
"I just want you to know that I understand if you need time to think about things and I'm here if you need me," she paused, "I'll wait for you, Logan."
"No, Sarah. I don't need time. I need you and we're getting married. Today."
"Ok then," she said, a smile gracing her face, "See you at the altar. I'll be the one in white."
"Yeah, about that," he said laughing. "Just kidding. I can't wait."
"I love you."
"I love you, too."
He ended the phone call thinking again about how lucky he was. Sarah was wonderful. Her own past made her sympathetic by nature but she never hesitated to call him on his shit when it was necessary. She and Veronica were alike in so many ways yet so different. He did want Veronica to be alive and well somewhere; he hoped that she was happy if she was. But sadly he didn't believe that to be the case anymore. He just wished Keith could accept it like he had.
Logan didn't want things to be like that between he and the elder Mars but he'd meant what he'd said. He had a chance to have a future with a wonderful, beautiful woman and he couldn't pass it up- not for chasing dreams that would never be. He'd long ago accepted that Veronica was dead; nothing would change that. But Sarah had healed a little part of him that had died right along with her. His searching was done.
To be continued….
Reviews would be very nice : )