A/N: My own personal: "What if Veronica was killed instead of Lilly?" story. Sort of a prelude to the long version, where Lilly has to solve the case - a fic which may or may not eventually be written (I haven't actually decided whodunnit yet, so that doesn't help.) If it doesn't get written? Enjoy this regardless. If it does? ...Enjoy this with perspective.

Disclaimer: Dude, if the show was mine, no WAY it'd be that good.


Her memories are blurry and pink-tinged. They are full of smiles and sweetness, of the Fabulous Four, her most fabulous of all. She's sure she can't really have lived like that – no-one lives like that – but people don't see subtleties, people don't see shade of gray to darker shade of gray. It's black and white; from Good Time Gal to Bitch Slut Baby-Killer Suicide-Driver Murderer's Daughter. Yeah. Life screwed up big time.

(Or I did.)

She doesn't even think "black and white" is really what they think – black and white are too simple, to easy – they're done and finished, they're dull and passionless. She can't ever be that. She's actually glad the whole world's angry – the opposite of love isn't hate, it's apathy. She lives her life by clichés. They make it not real.

(It's real, but she's not.)

It's been a long time since things felt real. Her life is just so soap-opera over-dramatic it couldn't possibly be real; Mom really couldn't be evil, Dad really couldn't be gone, Donut really couldn't be empty, Veronica really couldn't be dead. Because no-one's life really sucks that much, not even hers.

The last time Lilly ever felt real was the night they found Veronica, spread shocking red around the Kanes' pool. Poor, sweet, innocent, Veronica, the Good Sheriff's beautiful daughter, the lovely girl with a backbone of steel, ripped away in vengeance for crimes she did not commit. She really was a telenova.

Dad had confessed everything to Keith. No matter what, this had lost Keith a daughter, he had to know about Lianne. Duncan backed the story – Jake and Lianne had an affair, Veronica was born, Veronica and Duncan dated, Celeste spilled the beans to Duncan, Duncan spilled the beans to Lilly. The whole thing was a mess, and Lilly felt so bad for Mr. Mars – he had always been so nice, so fair, and he had loved Veronica so damn much. And now, not only was his little girl dead, but his wife had completely screwed him over and he'd been in ignorance for 15 years. Lilly hoped that Veronica not really being his, could possibly soften the blow of losing her a little – but she knew it never could.

(It's shouldn't – why should he hurt less when I can't?)

Celeste's blood-splattered suit had been found pretty quickly. She always maintained her innocence, maintained Keith was setting her up, but no-one would believe her bullshit. Certainly not Lilly, and not Duncan.

Duncan blamed himself. And then, suddenly, he didn't have a self to blame. Pain eroded, worked away at you, and it happened quick. Grief and guilt and those pretty white pills made him into a shell, and Lilly knew she was alone. Dad was much the same, but he wasn't empty – he was just away. He couldn't be near either of them without thinking of the other daughter, the dead one. Still, it hurt when he walked out just two months after Mom's conviction. He left them a note saying how he loved them, but they were better off without him, that he could only bring them pain, that he could only remind them of Lilly's death. More lies and excuses from her craptastic parents.

(She believes every word.)

Lilly's alone now. Donut's still there, technically, but everyone knows he's long gone; gone to Mars – he's dead without her. It's not like they have friends; they were the Fabulous Four, and surrounded by "friends," but this is Neptune. People are fickle, and all turned on them in righteous vengeance for a girl they barely knew – not like Duncan and Lilly knew her. The only real friend they had was poor old Logan, and, well, Lilly had screwed that up, hadn't she?

She really doesn't know why she did it; or why she released the tapes.

(You can't say it. Say it and you have to help him. But you can't help people, Lilly.)

It wasn't the money Aaron could give her, or the rich things – she was Lilly Kane and all. She wasn't just some groupie, she'd always thought Aaron kinda sucked as an actor. It wasn't the money from the tabloids – she didn't even take it. She couldn't explain her motives, and ignored a little kick of victory when she saw the paparazzi screaming at Aaron outside his mansion.

("What?" your hand's on his back, but he pulls away. "Logan, what's wrong?"

"Nothing. Fell; got a scar there.")

There's no kick of victory when she sees the image of Lynn Echolls car, stranded on the Coronado Bridge, plastered across her TV screen. There's no kick of victory when she sees Aaron and Logan screaming at each other, right in front of all the press.

(You did this. You killed her. You screwed her husband and then you killed her.

Lynn was always nice to you.)

If people had hated her after Veronica, they despised her after Lynn. Especially Logan. She'll never forget that look in his eyes, the day he came back to school. Even after the tapes, he'd been mad, but she'd seen a spark in his eyes. An "I Don't Actually Want You Dead" spark. Not that day, however.

"I'm you come near my family again, I'll kill you."

(If this happens again? You'll do it for him.)

She vaguely remembers when they loved her and the Donut – they were the Kanes, richest family in town. They still are, even if Dad's MIA. They just don't care anymore. Everyone loved Veronica Mars too much. Everyone loved Lynn Echolls too much.

History's weirdest support system? Keith Mars. He checks up on her and Duncan all the time. Veronica loved you two, she remembers him saying; she wouldn't let me leave you alone with this.

The Mars family is just plain awesome. And has the least fitting surname – they're so kind and forgiving. They are not at war; they are sanctuary. No matter how much it hurts, some happy memory of her life pre-trainwreck, with Veronica, always comforts Lilly. No matter how much it hurt, she was better for having had Veronica in her life. It's just Veronica wasn't.

(Veronica was sweetness and innocence. She was no Red Planet, she was blinding white.)

She really wishes it had been left at that. It wasn't. She really never wanted to think about the party, the pregnancy, the disease, any of that. It's really hard to avoid thinking about your pregnancy and it's circumstances, however, when there are pictures of you coming out of the abortion clinic posted all over the school.

No-one reckons she knows who the father was. She knows perfectly well. She slept with one boy in the whole of December, she knows he was the father. She doesn't tell him about that – for one of the 09ers who had turned against the Kanes, Beav- Cassidy was always nice to her. He'd wave at her in the halls occasionally. He generally just avoided her, and seemed to want to be nice to her – and when a girl is drunk, upset, at a party and trying to be nice to the boy who's being pressured to sleep with the girl everyone knows will give it up to anyone, well, avoidance is easily forgiven.

(You're broken and damaged; hurting and slutty. You're no white flower, Lilly.)

She'd only gone to that party to prove to them that they couldn't get to her. She's not sure if she was right.

It was the weirdest morning after ever, though. Cassidy had clearly been awake for hours before her, but also hadn't moved at all. He wouldn't look at her either, he just stared at the ceiling and silently cried. That couldn't be about her just being a bad lay – she wasn't a bad lay – but she didn't ask what was wrong. She just put her clothes on and left.

"Bye Beav. It was fun."

"My name is Cassidy."

(Like you can help people anyway, right?)

She was amused to find that tiny quiet freshman Cassidy Casablancas had given her chlamydia. Where'd he get that? From his behaviour, she'd assumed virgin-hood. She was less amused thinking of his tears that weren't about her, but she shaked the thought away. She was quickly distracted, anyway – Miss Kane, you are pregnant.

There really wasn't much soul-searching before she decided to get rid of it. She wasn't a Mom dammit, she couldn't be, not after that drama of her life – not after the fact her own Mom was, y'know, convicted of murdering her best friend.

She had to go to the clinic alone on the day. She couldn't tell Duncan; he'd just go kill Cassidy for it, which would be really unfair to the kid who generally seemed sweet. Besides, he'd been through enough with the trauma of Veronica – he didn't need another weight of his head. He never had to know.

(The knowledge could have made him alive. Made him feel. And that scared you.)

She could never tell poor Cassidy though. After the party, things were unbearably awkward – he clearly regretted it. Neither of them wanted to think about it, and she didn't want to make him. Honestly, she was scared of what he'd say – she didn't know him all that well, and she knew she could never go through with it if he told her not to. So she didn't give him the chance.

(Do you think he was better off for it?)

The pictures were everywhere by the first day after Winter Break. Lilly Kane got pregnant, was met with a resounding "big shock" by most of the school. Lilly Kane killed her baby, was only felt by a small amount of the school, and given she was a murderer's daughter, the people that thought that weren't that shocked either. But still, having it plastered all over the school? Hurt. Having everyone bring it up all the time, after she just wanted to forget the thing? Hurt more. And she never did find out who'd posted the photos, who'd taken them.

(Do you really want to?)

They'd all asked her who the father was. She wouldn't tell them. She let them make their assumptions, because honestly? It's not like her reputation could get any worse. So screw it, she wouldn't just hurt Cassidy for no reason.

(If you didn't want to hurt him, maybe you should have given him a choice?)

After that crap, she really missed Veronica. Someone who could just hold her and bring her hot chocolate, do girly stuff to distract her and tell her it would be okay. Knowing Veronica, she would track down whoever posted those photos and slowly destroy their entire life, and Lilly thinks that would have been fun to watch.

Duncan was... less mad than Lilly expected. He said it was done, and that it had been her choice – he wouldn't have had any right to interfere if he had known. She could barely taste the anger under his compassion.

(He just can't care, Lilly. He's gone, you know that.)

Weevil's reappearance was bizarre. She thought of him as a long time past; before Aaron, before Veronica. Looking at him made her hate herself; made her think of the way she used to think she was so much better than everyone, that she could command them on a whim.

(So looking at him is different to looking at everyone else... how?)

He still loved her. He hadn't started thinking of her as a slut and a bitch – he'd always known she was a slut and a bitch, and loved her regardless. She never thought salvation would enter her life as a dangerous ex, but hey: Gift. Horse. Mouth.

She's using him. She knows it. She's trying not to, but she can't break her heart and she thinks if she stays alone, she's going to wind up killing herself, so it doesn't matter. They have fantastic sex and he beats anyone who treats her like crap to a pulp. She parades around the fact that someone, anyone still loves her, and tries with everything she has to love him back. Because she can't break another person.

(Like you really want to love him?)

People laugh at and scorn the bizarre "relationship", but they laugh at and scorn every bit of her life. Logan's mad most of all – she ripped through his life like a tornado, uprooted everything, left and now she's screwing some brown biker. Well Logan can go fuck himself. She's tired of feeling guilty.

(Doesn't mean you'll stop.)

Sometimes, she feels tempted to go visit Mom. To scream at her for what she did, or to beg for her best back. Or just to ask why, which she already knows, but she sometimes feels like Celeste could say something and make this thing make sense. But she's not sure what.

("I love you.")

("I'm sorry.")

She never goes to see her mother.