TITLE: All Things Left Unsaid
AUTHOR: EmpireX
DISCLAIMER: Do I own Veronica Mars? Why no, I don't. That honor belongs to Rob Thomas and Warner Brothers. Don't sue, mmkay?
RATING: M for langage, drug use, and (future) sexual situations.

SUMMARY: It came in waves: blessed numbness, followed by grief so acute, so physically painful, it felt as though her chest were being crushed. But then the pain would recede and she would feel nothing... In the aftermath of a senseless tragedy, someone unexpected returns. While Veronica struggles to put her shattered life back together, Logan fumbles towards redemption, but will Veronica allow herself to open up to him again? A portrait of grief, forgiveness, salvation, and moving forward. An AU/Future fic.

*****

He would never have seen Veronica Mars again if he hadn't done something completely out of character.

On a Tuesday morning in November, Logan Echolls actually read the newspaper that was dropped on his doorstep.

To be honest, he was only scoping out the review for his newest restaurant-slash-club, Meshi Odori. They were glowing, of course. He knew they would be. The cute Food and Wine reporter that The Chronicle sent over was more interested in him than sampling the latest exiting Japanese cuisine from Chef Rocky Mizumoto.

Was he planning on attending Sundance again this year? Yes, because attending the premier of his sister's latest indie (a kinder word for B-movie) flick and playing nice in public gave him less of a headache than letting Trina run off at the mouth unsupervised and then reading about it the next week in Entertainment Weekly. Oh, those pesky reporters. They still loved to bring up his murderous father and suicidal mother at every opportunity. And Trina did so love to play the tragic ingénue.

Was he still dating that Russian supermodel? Not for long. But Nadia didn't know that yet, so he deftly side-stepped that question and charmingly shoved a piece of sushi between Summer-the-reporter's glossy lips.

In his defense, supermodelswere hard to break up with. All the traveling, along with never answering her cell, had led to a month-long game of phone tag. He decided to give her a few more days, then it was sayonara. Breaking up with your girlfriend via voicemail may be in bad taste, but so was finding out from a supermarket tabloid that said girlfriend was seen doing blow and canoodling with Colin Farrell in a London club.

His first thought in response to that had been, Well, fair is fair. He'd screwed Colin's last girlfriend while she and the actor were on a "break." His second thought had been, Out with the old, in with the new, and he wondered if that up-and-coming actress his attorney was trying to hook him up with was still available.

So there he was, in a decidedly cheerful mood, paging through The San Francisco Chronicle, when a byline on A-4 caught his eye.

Prominent Plastic Surgeon Killed in Domestic Dispute

Initially, it made him chuckle, just imagining some hapless Botox pusher getting axed for messing up a mobster's wife's implants. Or maybe he was messing with the mobster's wife?

But then the guy's name caught his eye: Dr. Tom Kelley. Why did that name sound so familiar?

Logan squinted at the cropped black and white photo of the man - impeccably styled hair, well dressed, perfect smile. He drummed his fingers on his thigh, scanning the article for clues.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA. --San Francisco Police are investigating a domestic dispute that turned deadly on the city's west side. Just before 6:00 pm Tuesday, police responded to a 911 call at a Farmer's Market grocery store parking lot on South Pantano Road. Officers found the bodies of three victims.

The bodies were those of 23-year-old Lindsay Shelton, her 25-year-old ex-boyfriend, Darren Spitzer, and 38-year old Thomas Kelley, a well-known plastic surgeon to the stars.

Detectives were able to use security camerafootage and a 911 call recording to piece together the events leading up to the apparent murder-suicide.

In a press conference, San Francisco Police Sgt. Fabian Pacheco stated that Spitzer, whom Shelton had recently filed a restraining order against, followed her to the grocery store. As Shelton exited the store, Spitzer followed her to her car and assaulted her.

Sgt. Pacheco stated, "It appears preliminarily, that Dr. Kelley witnessed the assault as he exited the store and returned to his own vehicle. Dr. Kelley placed a 911 call from his cell phone, informing the operator that a domestic disturbance wasin progress and that a woman was injured. Security cameras show that Dr. Kelley attempted to come to the aid of Miss Shelton. Upon reviewing the 911 recording, shouts and multiple shots could be heard. It appears that Mr. Spitzer shot Miss Shelton andDr. Kelley, and then turned the gun on himself."

Homicide detectives will be searching the victims' vehicles and processing the crime scene to establish more details. Additional information regarding this ongoing investigation will be released as it becomes available. Autopsies on the victims are scheduled for Wednesday.

How tragic. But no clues as to why that name, Tom Kelley, should ring a bell. Logan flipped to the obituaries and continued to read.

Thomas P. Kelley was born on May 7, 1981. He died November 21, 2020, aged 38.

Tom Kelley was an extremely talented and dedicated plastic surgeon of international fame who died tragically at the age of 38.

Kelley did pioneering work in facial reconstruction and he was recognized as a world leader in the field. Although his expertise included all aspects of aesthetic facial, breast and body contouring surgery, his specialist interest was in facial plastic surgery.

Kelley was born in London in 1981 and brought up in Paris. His father, Luc Gaspard, was aindustrialist, and his mother, Diane Kelley, was a member of a well-known Irish family.

His French father and Irish mother separated when he was 17, and Tom accompanied his mother and two sisters to the United States, later adopting her maiden name, Kelley. He was educated in San Francisco and at Stanford University and then undertook his medical studies at Harvard Medical School, graduating in 2008. He did his surgical training at Oxford andLondon, becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 2012.

After training in plastic surgery in Oxford and London, he passed the Plastic Surgery Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons. He was awarded a two-year travelling scholarship to do research in microsurgery and facial reconstruction atthe Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, as a Fellow and surgical resident in the Division of Plastic Surgery.

His thesis won him a doctorate of medicine from the University of Oxford in 2016.

Kelley became fascinated with all aspects of facial reconstructive and aesthetic surgery (sometimes incorrectly referred to as cosmetic surgery) and trained in craniofacial surgery (which deals with congenital and acquired facial deformities) at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, and Great Ormond Street Hospital, London.He then spent three years abroad, one of them on a fellowship in orbito-craniofacial surgery at Hospital Foch, Paris, working with senior American and French surgeons and gaining much experience in aesthetic surgery.

He was subsequently appointed as headof reconstructive surgery at San Francisco General Hospital, where he reconstructed the faces of patients after cancer surgery and with various genetic diseases.

Kelley was a full member of the American College of Surgeons, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, and an associate member of the European Society of Craniofacial Surgery. He published more than 30 papers in plastic surgery.

A first-class surgeon with an excellent bedside manner, Kelley was a very compassionate man, but hard-headed and practical, with a considerable amount of energy and an extraordinary dedication to healing. He was a perfectionist but also a modest man with a great wit and well-developed sense of humor. His sudden death was a shock to those who knew him.

Kelley was also active outside his profession. He was an all-round person and a talented musician. A natural sportsman, he enjoyed playing tennis, horseback riding and skiing.

His wife, Veronica, and their two children, Madeleine and Christopher, survive him.

And there it was. Could it really be her? What were the odds? Years ago, he'd heard from a friend of a friend that Veronica had gotten engaged right out of college to some surgical intern. In a dark, mean-spirited corner of his heart, he'd snickered with derision at the news. Veronica Mars: feminist, independent, modern woman-of-the-world, was forgoing a career to play trophy wife to a… a plastic surgeon? Oh, the horror. Logan had called Dick Casablancas and the two had laughed about it for hours. Then he'd gotten piss-drunk and stayed that way for a week. He'd thought about calling her. Thought about driving up to Frisco where he'd heard they were living and making a grand gesture to win her back. In the end, he was too drunk and miserable to find his car keys, so he'd stayed in Los Angeles, took a cab to his favorite bar, and picked up a petite blonde.

That's the way it went for a few years: long hours of trying to get his business off the ground, meetings with investors, lawyers, meetings with talent, architects, interior designers, followed by late nights and early mornings spent boozing at the best clubs L.A. had to offer. Occasionally, he would partake of some stronger substances to help smooth the rough edges - ecstasy, coke - and of course there was always the obligatory blonde on his arm or in his bed.

At the time, Logan had tried not to over think his predilection for tiny, flaxen-haired beauties. But after a few years of embarrassing mid and post-coitus questions like, Who the fuck is Veronica?, Logan realized that screwing Veronica Mars-clones was an exercise in futility, not to mention self-loathing. He'd lost the love of his life and no matter how many blondes he slept with, it wasn't going to teach her a lesson and it sure as hell wasn't going to bring her back.

Because Veronica wasn't even around to see it.

She'd married the good doctor and flown off to London to live happily ever after.

Well, maybe not so happily, as it turned out. And definitely not ever after.

Is it you? Are you the guy she said 'yes' to? The guy she planned to spend the rest of her life with? Logan squinted at the doctor's picture, trying to decipher something, anything, from the man's brilliant smile.

"Mmmmmm…" Logan startled at the sound as a feminine voice purred in his ear and two arms wound around his neck.

Oh, right. Summer-the-dining-critic from The Chronicle. He'd forgotten she was still there. "Good morning," she breathed, rather seductively, into his ear before pressing a kiss to the side of his neck.

"Why, good morning, Miss Bristow," he grinned. "How did you sleep last night?" He swiveled around on his barstool to face her.

Oh, god. She was wearing his shirt.

"Best sleep I ever had, Mr. Echolls, thank you."

And giving him that look of vacant infatuation that women often gave him post-sexual intercourse.

Hmm. Awkward. What was she expecting him to do now, offer her his class ring? Logan smiled politely and busted out a move he'd perfected: the affectionate kiss-off. He planted a chaste kiss on Summer's lips while simultaneously extricating himself from her embrace. Pivoting, he snatched up his cup of coffee from the kitchen island and rolled up his newspaper. "Do you always look this stunning in the morning? Badgirl, trying to keep me from working," he grinned, backing towards the kitchen door.

"Well, I was hoping- " Summer smiled demurely and sauntered towards him. " -that we could both play hooky today."

He laughed good naturedly and used his heel to kick the kitchen door open. "Sorry, gorgeous. No can do." Logan slipped into the hallway, making his escape. Summer followed, a look of growing frustration marring her pretty features.

"But Logan, last night you said you-"

"Something's come up, sugarplum. You know how it is with grand openings: last minute details left undone can delay everything!" He turned and padded in his socks toward his office.

"Logan!" Apparently, Summer's voice turned a mite shrill when she was annoyed. He stopped and turned to face her, a perfectly schooled look of innocence on his boyish face. Her hands were fisted angrily on her hips.

"Well, can you at least call me a cab?"

He walked back toward her and affectionately took her hand. "A cab?" Logan wrinkled his nose distastefully. "Absolutely not," he said, kissing her sweetly on the cheek. Summer's frown melted and that doe-eyed look returned.

Logan smiled and spun around on his socked feet and headed toward the office again. "Carlos will take you anywhere you need to go. I'll have him pull the car around." He gestured with the rolled up newspaper in the direction of the front door. Logan threw open the door to his personal office and turned back with a grin that almost looked genuine.

"So… I'll call you."

He gave her a pert little wave - a dismissal, since her services were no longer required - and the heavy oak door closed behind him with a thud of finality.

*****

It came in waves: blessed numbness, followed by grief so acute, so physically painful, it felt as though her chest were being crushed. But then the pain would recede and she would feel nothing. She would hear nothing but the unnatural silence of her house, see nothing but the dust balls under the furniture, feel nothing but the fine blonde threads of her daughter's hair under her fingertips, and smell nothing but the fading scent of her husband's aftershave on his pillow.

Veronica sat and frowned at the clump of hair and dust hiding under the dresser and sighed. She was sure she had swept under there, but there it was. She comforted herself with the thought that at least no one would be coming up there during the reception… unless somebody had to use the bathroom and the other two were occupied…Oh, god! Did I remember to put toilet paper in the downstairs bathroom?

"Mom? Mommy?"

She felt a slight tug on her blouse and Madeleine lifted her head from Veronica's tear-dampened shoulder.

Veronica smoothed the fine blonde wisps of her daughter's hair away from her face and smudged away the tear tracks on her cheeks with her thumb.

"Hmm?"

"Why is Grandma sleeping all the time?"

Veronica turned and cast a glance behind her. Maggie lay curled up on Veronica's side of the bed, her back to them, her shoulder rising and falling with the easy cadence of deep sleep. Veronica was taken aback by how small, how frail her mother-in-law looked.

She turned back to Madeleine and kissed her forehead. "She's sedated, sweetheart."

Maddie blinked, her eyes large and grave. "I don't know what that word means, Mom."

Veronica pulled her tighter and resumed stroking her hair. "Well," she began, "the doctor gave her some pills to help her sleep."

"Why?"

She sighed and kissed the girl's forehead. "Because sometimes it's easier to sleep than be awake," she whispered. "She lost her son, Madeleine. There's nothing more painful in the whole, wide world."

"Even worse than losing your dad?"

Veronica bit her lower lip. "Different," she murmured. "Different."

*****