Author's Note: This was written for vm_santa as a final gift for jacedesbff, who wanted "L/V fluff of any kind." I'm not usually a fluffy kind of person, but I tried my best. I hope you like it! Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

Three days until Christmas and the Neptune mall was as busy as ever. And so gaudily decorated. Blankets of cotton were draped over the rafters, and lights wrapped around anything that could support them. There were ornaments hanging from the palm trees that were planted all around the food court (particularly tacky, Logan thought) and those damn Christmas carols blaring from the speakers. Not to mention the construction paper snowflakes taped to the walls, courtesy of the elementary schools, with a child's name messily written on each one in the most illegible of cursive.

He remembered making those all the way up until the sixth grade. They made snowflakes and gingerbread men and ugly ornaments with their school photo as the centerpiece. All gifts for your parents, the teacher would say. Logan also remembered bringing all of those things home, and the way Aaron would nod dismissively and Lynn would smile sweetly but they only ever trimmed their tree with the most expensive of designer decorations, thanks anyway, honey.

Bah humbug.

The only reason Logan was anywhere near the mall during this time of year was because of his damn roommate. How the hell was he supposed to know that they would exchange presents? But there it was, a store wrapped gift box with his name on it, stashed in the back of Dick's closet next to the ski goggles that he borrowed from Logan but never returned.

And so now Logan was navigating through the crowds, trying desperately to get to the sporting goods store before they closed. He figured he would buy Dick his own goggles so he could quit borrowing his. Merry Christmas, dude.

They were both leaving for Aspen the next night and Logan planned on being thoroughly smashed and stoned until at least New Year's Day. This was a time of year he tried to avoid; really, he couldn't even remember the last time he had a marginally decent Christmas.

He thought he would get to spend this holiday with Veronica, but that was a bust. Hell, he hadn't even talked to her since the night of the frat party. His knuckles were still bruised from his little encounter with Mercer, but they would heal. The soul eviscerating wounds from a broken heart? Those lasted a lifetime.

Logan groaned in disgust when he saw the lines bleeding out from the stores. He would be here for at least another hour just waiting to pay. That damn Dick. He'd buy him the biggest, pinkest dildo they had at Spencer's Gifts if he didn't think the dumbass would get a kick out of it.

Logan turned on his heel to bypass the sporting goods store. Maybe he could find some nice ski goggles at Macy's, which was at the other end of the mall. And maybe it wouldn't be so crowded there.

It was on his way to that store that Logan took his time to admire the giving tree, which was probably the only piece of decoration that didn't test his gag reflex. The tree, over forty feet tall and adorned with thousands of bright white lights, was a Neptune tradition. It stood in the center of the mall, and it was so large that the top peaked up and over the railings that surrounded the second story of the shopping center. Little kids would always stare at it in wide-eyed awe as they rode up the escalators. Even at 18-years-old, Logan would sometimes find himself doing the same thing.

It really was an awesome tree. The bottom-most part, the only section within reach, was decorated with wish lists. The wish lists were slips of paper hanging from ribbons tied to the branches, and each paper listed the name, age, and wish of a young child whose parents couldn't afford gifts. Good Samaritans would pick a wish, buy the gift at the mall and then drop it off in the large toy box near the main exit.

Logan had a lot of not-so-proud moments following Lilly's death, and he inwardly cringed when he thought about the time he teased Weevil about his cousins' names being on the tree. Logan didn't give a rat's ass about Weevil, and he could take or leave Letty, who worked for his parents for years but never said a word anytime Aaron lifted his hand or belt. But the little kids hadn't deserved that. They still had years before they would grow up to be assholes.

The sooner he got out of there, he decided, the better off he would be. He picked up pace to try and dodge some other shoppers, and he was about twenty feet away from his destination when he saw it: that pale blonde hair, the silky tresses he would know anywhere. It was almost sad that he could recognize her immediately from the back of her head. Veronica Mars.

Of all of the shopping malls in all of the world, he thought bitterly. She was with Mac and Mac's roommate…the one they went bowling with. Parker. Veronica, Mac and Parker, all at the mall at the very worst time. Veronica looked adorable as always, still bundled up in her winter coat even though the crowded mall was sweltering. Parker was trying to pull Mac into Victoria's Secret and Mac was pleading with Veronica, grabbing at her jacket as if to say, "If I have to, so do you."

Trying to remain unnoticed, Logan walked backwards, away from Macy's and closer to the giant Christmas tree. He had no idea what he would say if she saw him, but he couldn't take his eyes off of her. Man, he missed her so damn much, was absolutely miserable without her.

Now Parker was successfully dragging Mac closer and closer to the lingerie store and Veronica was laughing at her friend's distress. Logan couldn't help but smile at her smile and the way her eyes lit up, carefree. Mac yelled, "Veronica!" in warning, and Veronica rolled her eyes before following them into the store and out of Logan's sight.

Logan sighed, feeling alone once again. He was about to head back toward Macy's when he decided to grab a wish off the tree. So he was going to have another miserable Christmas. Didn't mean someone else had to have one, too.

Friday, December 21st, 2007

"What do you like better? The Velvet Tuberose or Japanese Cherry Blossom?" Veronica was holding out two different bottles of lotion for Logan to sniff. He leaned in and inhaled each one before pointing to the cherry blossom. "Me too," she agreed, putting the other one away.

"Okay, Maggie's done," she noted, tucking the lotion under her arm. "Now I just have to stop at Radio Shack to pick up something for Mac."

"Why don't you just give her cash?" Logan asked, wearily eyeing the other store. They had been at the mall for almost two hours now and he was starving. "Cash is a great gift."

"We'll eat as soon as I'm done," she promised, moving toward the checkout line.
"Go wait by the fountain if you're getting restless."

Logan didn't argue with that, turning to bolt out of Bath & Body Works. Every store was so jam packed with people he was starting to feel claustrophobic.

He walked a few feet away, not wanting to get too far from Veronica in case they lost each other in the sea of shoppers. The giving tree was a little further down the mall. Logan looked back through the glass to see Veronica standing in line, at least five people in front of her. He figured he could go and grab a wish and be back before the saleslady had even finished ringing everything up.

When he finally made it to the tree, he grabbed for the nearest wish and quickly read over it.

Name: David
Age: 6
Wish: Transformers action figure

Ah, a boy after his own heart. Now all he had to do was decide between Bumblebee and Optimus Prime.

"Whatcha doin'?"

Logan spun around to find Veronica peering up at him, her packages gathered in her arms.

"Nothing," Logan replied innocently.

"You're granting a wish?" she asked, moving around him to examine the tree. She grabbed a list for herself and held it up in front of him. "I'll do one, too."

He read her wish over her shoulder and then laughed heartily. "Yeah, good luck finding that Barbie four days before Christmas."

"What makes you say that?"

"Know your hot ticket items, Mars."

She smiled at that, folding the wish list and shoving it into her pocket. How she loved a challenge. "Don't worry about me, I'll track it down."

"I'm sure you will," he admitted as he followed her to the toy store.

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

It took four days and seven different stores, but Logan finally found that Star Wars Legos set. Now he just had to pick up a puzzle and he'd be all done. It wasn't the giving or the receiving; it was the getting out of the stores.

He was on his way to the game shop when he saw Veronica sitting in the food court, slurping on an Orange Julius and dressed as an elf. Wait, dressed as an elf? Oh this was too good to be true.

They were on another off, but the last breakup hadn't been nearly as bad as some of the others. And, well, 'twas the season to be merry. He started marching towards her with purpose, and she rolled her eyes when she spotted him.

"Does Santa know you escaped?" he asked, pulling up a chair to sit beside her.

"Santa knows I'm on break," she told him, tossing her now empty drink into the trash can behind her.

"Break? Ah, so he's not the slave driver they claim."

"Hardly," she replied, grabbing at his shopping bag to examine the goods. "Ohh, Star Wars. Just what I wanted."

"What's the deal with the outfit?"

She sighed, pushing his bags back toward him. "I'm the photographer for the mall Santa. Fifteen bucks an hour."

"For you to wear that outfit, I would have paid you twenty."

She snapped her fingers in disappointment at the missed opportunity. "Maybe next year."

"So tell me, am I on the naughty or nice list?"

"You even have to ask?" she smirked, eyebrow raised.

Logan leaned in close to her, his elbows resting on the table. "I hope he brings me a pony!"

"You done shopping?" she asked, taking a break from their banter.

"Almost. I just have to hit a couple more stores."

"Hey?" she questioned, reaching over for her messenger bag and grabbing a piece of paper from the front compartment. "Could you do me a really big favor and try to find this? I don't get off for another three hours and it needs to be dropped off by tonight."

Logan examined the wish list and then nodded. "No problem."

"I'll pay you back tomorrow."

He smiled at her, reaching over to tweak her prosthetic elf ear. "My treat." He then dipped his head to peek under the table and examine her elf shoes, bells and all. "I'd say you already paid your dues to society."

She glared at him as she pushed back her seat and started gathering her things, but it didn't break his grin.

"Merry Christmas, Logan."

"Merry Christmas, Veronica." He watched her happily as she walked away, thinking to himself that no elf should look so good.

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

The gaggle of six year-olds almost knocked him over as they made their way to Santa, but Logan and his armfuls of bags made it out unscathed. It was the last night to drop off presents to the toy box, and Logan had purposefully procrastinated so he could see Veronica at work. She was an elf again this year, still taking pictures of terrified toddlers screaming their heads off as their mothers tried to settle them on Santa's lap.

She played her role well, he thought, watching as she used every ounce of her self-control to remain patient. But her grin was forced, teeth clenched, and he knew she was probably counting down the minutes until she was off.

Only twenty seven more to go, he thought as he checked his watch. Sure it made him seem a little desperate, but he felt a little desperate tonight. Earlier in the afternoon, Logan had received a call from his advisor. He had done it- he'd actually been accepted into Berkeley for their Masters program in sociology.

And he was proud of himself. It was the second best graduate school in his field, and he had a place there while most of his classmates were still thinking about where to apply. Logan Echolls: fuck-up was going to be Logan Echolls: grad student. Maybe he would stay in school for years, getting degrees in everything he could imagine. The Buster Bluth of Berkeley.

He was proud of himself but he didn't have anyone he could share it with. No parents to congratulate him, no real family. Dick was on the Hearst eight year program, so he probably didn't want to hear about Logan's hard work paying off. He wasn't close enough to anyone else for a phone call now to seem like anything but bragging.

He finally had good news to share and nobody to share it with. The only person he really did want to tell, whose approval he still longed for in spite of himself, was currently dressed in head-to-toe green and fighting with a nine-year-old over a candy cane.

Logan decided to drop off the presents, maybe stop by the food court for something to drink, and then wait near the tree for Veronica to finish up with work.

And so half an hour later, Logan found himself back near the 'North Pole,' waiting patiently for Veronica to exit from the ladies room, where she was probably changing out of her uniform. What a shame.

She emerged ten minutes later, dressed in a more appropriate jeans and black sweater with white snowflakes combo. Her hair was pulled back in a high pony-tail, accentuating her long and slender neck. How he loved her neck. Her skin was so damn soft, and she always smelled so good. He could still remember exactly how it felt to kiss her there, to feel her silky hair tickling his face as his lips worked over her pulse point.

He was so far gone it was almost disgusting. Nearly two years and countless girls later and he was still madly in love with her.


She froze when she heard his voice, turning back to face him. "Logan! Hey."

"Bad timing?" he asked, worried that she was annoyed with him.

"Oh, no. I just got off work." She held up her gym bag for emphasis.

"Oh. I didn't know you were an elf again this year." Lie, lie. Total lie.

"Yeah, well, the office is kind of slow around the holidays. Something about the spirit of Christmas, I guess. Makes people less likely to cheat and steal."

"Opposite effect on me," he stated, his eyes scanning the mall. "A couple of minutes earlier I tripped a small child just for funsies."

"I hope it was the one in the green ski cap. That brat kicked me in the shin earlier."

He smiled at her and reached out to tug at the sleeve of her sweater. "Do you have a couple of minutes? Want to go get some coffee?"

"Okay," she agreed uncertainly, following beside him. "Is everything okay?"

He nodded, suddenly feeling nervous about his news. Maybe she wouldn't care, or she'd assume that he bought his way in.

"I got a call from Dr. Peterson earlier, about my application to Berkeley."

She stopped walking, her mouth dropping open in surprise. "I didn't know you applied to Berkeley."

"Yeah, it was his idea. He's good friends with the sociology chair. I think he probably pulled some strings for me…"

"You got in?" she grinned, bouncing on her heels. "Logan!" And suddenly her arms were around him, hugging him tightly as she squealed. He didn't hesitate to pull her even tighter against him. It'd been so long since he had touched her like this.

They stayed like that for a long moment before she pulled away from him. He felt shy then, almost embarrassed. "I'm probably going to have donate a new wing to one of the buildings," he joked, his eyes downcast as he ran his hand through his hair. But she wasn't having his self-deprecation, shaking her head at his words. She then tried to break the tension from their hug with an awkward arm punch, but he just looked at her like she was crazy, his eyes searching her face.

"I'm…I'm really proud of you, Logan." She smiled up at him, the genuineness of her words hitting him like a brick wall. It was his undoing.

He reached for her elbow, using it to propel her forward against his chest, and then his lips were on hers. She breathed into his mouth, passion soon replacing surprise, and returned the kiss with equal fervor.

He broke away from her after a minute, both of them breathing heavily, but his eyes remained firmly locked with hers.

"Help me make this a great Christmas, Veronica," he whispered, reaching out to run his hand down along her pony-tail. She bit her lip, thinking, and then seemed to come to a solid conclusion. "Let's get out of here," she answered, stretching on her tippy-toes to kiss the side of his mouth.

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

"Mm, you smell good." Logan's nose was against her hair, inhaling the scent of her vanilla shampoo. He was standing much too close, his hands at her waist and his chest against her back. "Stop it," she growled, elbowing him in the ribs.

They were in the middle of the toy store, dozens of families milling around them. Not exactly a prime location for PDAs.

"But I've missed you," he mumbled against her ear. "Let's go makeout behind the toy train."

"Logan," she warned, moving away from him. "The mall closes in an hour."

"Fine." He pulled himself off of her and made his way to a display of G.I Joes. He picked up one of the action figures and pretended to examine it closely, but he kept peering down at her from behind the box.

"Would you stop it," she yelled, stomping her foot. He was making it impossible to concentrate. It wasn't like she didn't want to be back at his hotel room, in the warm bed, kissing and touching and making up for lost time…

"I'm getting this one," he announced, holding up Desert Storm Hero. "Can we leave now?"

He acted like they never saw each other. Sure, he was at Berkeley, working non-stop on his thesis, and she was at Stanford, still getting started on hers. But they were only an hour's drive away from each other, and they never went more than a couple of days being apart.

"I need to find this Bratz doll," she announced, looking over her wish list again.

He led her down the next aisle, near the Barbie display, and pointed at the dolls she was looking for.

"Why is she wearing hot pants and a parka?" Veronica asked, her lips curled in distaste as she examined the doll.

Logan picked up a different doll, one wearing all leather and holding a tiny stuffed dog. "Well, Veronica, she's a whore. And that's just what whores do."

"I cannot in good conscious buy this for a seven-year-old," she told him, putting it back on the shelf. She looked over her other options, squealing in delight when she found a Nancy Drew doll. "I can get her this! Look, she even has a magnifying glass. And she's not dressed like a hooker!"

"No," he told her, yanking the package away from her. "C'mon, it's Christmas. Get her what she wants."

Veronica sighed and reached once again for the Bratz doll. "How about I get her both? Then she can decide what she likes."

"If you're getting two presents, then I'm getting two presents," he said, making his way back toward the G.I Joes.

"It's not a competition!"

He grinned at her, pulling another action figure off of the display. "I never said it was, dear."

Saturday, December 21st, 2019

"What the HELL?" he yelled, standing in the now bare spot where the giving tree once stood so proudly.

Veronica was speechless. That tree had been a part of Neptune Christmases for well over twenty years.

"Maybe they didn't put it up yet?" she reasoned, not even believing that herself.

"The deadline is two days away, and it's always up right after Thanksgiving." Logan sighed in frustration. "Well at least they kept the paper mache nutcrackers!" he exclaimed, pointing at the decorations standing near the bottom of the escalators. "I was really worried about those."

Veronica reached for his hand, gently pulling him toward the main entrance. "Come on, let's go ask someone about it." They were tired and cranky after the drive from Stanford, both of them stressed from the rigors of finals. But Logan had just got word that he was up for tenure, so they decided to come back and celebrate in Neptune with an old tradition.

"What are we going to do now?" he asked sadly, looking back at the spot the tree once occupied.

"We'll figure it out," she replied, snuggling up against his arm. "Hey, don't you still have to shop for me?" She batted her eyelashes innocently.

He grinned, his eyes alight with mischief. "Oh, I've already got your present right here," he answered, patting the front pocket of his jeans.

Veronica rolled her eyes, breaking away from him to walk ahead. "Spare me."

Logan kept smiling. She really had no idea. He reached into his pocket to feel the velvet lined box, his hand just a little shaky. He had been a good boy this year. Maybe Santa noticed.

Tuesday, December 21st, 2027

"Okay, Em, pick one." Logan held up the little girl so she could reach for one of the wishes. "Or three," he said when her tiny hand grabbed for multiple lists. She smiled, a toothy, triumphant grin, and held up the pieces of paper.

"What'd you pick good?" Veronica questioned, holding out her arms for her daughter.

"These!" Emily showed her the wishes, and Veronica smiled encouragingly. "Ohh, good ones!"

Their daughter was five now, an age where she was starting to understand the tradition. And she was never one to pass up a chance to go shopping.

"You ready to go see Santa now?" Logan asked her, taking her from Veronica and then hoisting her up onto his shoulders. Emily laughed in delight, loving the way she now towered over her mother. "Yep," she answered, her hands playing in Logan's hair.

As they made their way to the North Pole, Veronica reached for Logan's free hand, entwining her fingers with his. He looked down at their joined hands and smiled, his laugh lines a little more pronounced now with age.

"Merry Christmas," she mouthed, eyes bright.

He squeezed her hand, his growing grin one of the best presents she could get. "Merry Christmas."