1: Entitled to Irrationality

I sat alone at a table, picking at my food. I could still order food, so I didn't have to deal with the nuclear waste they offered the poor kids, but still. I wasn't all that hungry.

I was pretty sure the 09ers could tell I was being pathetic and staring at them again – I always hated it when I caught myself doing that. No point living in the past and assorted cliches.

The 09er table. I used to sit there. After all, I was the son of bigshot movie actor Aaron Echolls; everyone owned Daddy's action figure. They probably still did, given the way they treated me for what I said about him, accused him of. Don't you love Neptune?

Lilly was laughing at something her cronies were saying, shamelessly flipping her hair around and thrusting her chest forward. Lilly Kane, daughter of software billionaire Jake Kane. Loud, sexy, rebellious and humanity's biggest bitch. She believes half of what I say and still treats me like shit stuck to her shoe. That's Lilly for you.

It never used to be like this, of course. She used to be my girlfriend. Off and on since the eighth grade; everyone was always watching when we would self-destruct, then reform. Then we self-destructed for good, so everything changed.

I groaned and buried my head in my hands when I realized the 09ers saw me staring and were heading my way, Lilly leading them. "Heya Logan," she greeted me mock-cheerfully. "Whatcha doing? The staring, is it like, your great big plot to get back into the Rich Kids' Club?"

"Lilly. You know I'd rather shit razor-blades than be in your little club again," I told her with a faux-happy grin.

"Then, y'know, with the staring?"

I shrugged and looked downward, not bothering to come up with a sarcastic reply. "Bad day, Lilly. Bad date."

I looked up again and saw Lilly's features twist a little, but she quickly buried it. "Come on, Logan. It's okay. He's dead, after all – it's not like you have to bother pretending you care anymore," she explained, and I felt a sharp pain between my ribs. Lilly and cronies sauntered away, her work done, and I cursed her in my mind. Damn her. Damn how she knows exactly where to attack.

Looking down at my digital watch, I saw the date and time again. September 18th, 2:02 pm. Exactly one year, two hours and fifteen minutes since Duncan died in the middle of my backyard. Fuck Lilly for saying I don't care. I was the one lucky enough to find the body, after all.

I was standing outside my house, vaguely contemplating going for a swim. In the distance, I saw something – someone – lying on the pavement. Walking a little closer, I recognized it as Duncan. "Hey man, you okay?" I asked, worried (later I would realize how stupid that sounded). Duncan didn't stir.

I knelt down and tried to shake him awake; he was stiff and his skin was cold. My jaw dropped a little then, and I was left frozen and staring at what had been my best friend.

"Logan!" I heard my sister's voice call out shrilly, annoyed and confused. "What are you doing out here?" she approached me. She saw Duncan's form and let out a little shrill cry.

"Call 911," I instructed her, voice dead.

I winced and tried to bury the idea. It was hurt too much to think of DK, of everything that happened after that – no point to going on about the past, after all.

I always hated gym. I was always one of those people who had to hide when we were changing, and yeah, it was always just to hide the scars. Once, it was that clichéd abuse victim hiding it thing. Now, it's just because I don't want to make myself sick, hearing how my peers would explain it.

After Duncan died, at my house, I was certain my father – the same son of a bitch father that had been beating me black and blue since I was eight years old – had something to do with it, even if I wasn't sure why. I reported this to the local sheriff, he saw the evidence of how Aaron abused me, and believed it. He turned against Aaron Echolls, equally certain he had something to do with his son's best friend's murder. Our old mayor saw the evidence and believed it too.

Neptune weighed what it knew, and easily came down on Daddy Dearest's side. Emergency recall elections were held, instating Sheriff Don Lamb and County Supervisor Woody Goodman, respectively. The 09ers, fronted by Duncan's sister, Lilly (who knew it was true – I had shown up at their house, back bleeding, enough times), gave me, and the former Sheriff's daughter, a choice – take it back, say I made the whole thing up, or become their targets. We chose being bullseyes.

My family, understandably weighed in. I was kicked out of home, although just to improve his image, he bought an apartment for me to live in. Half the people in town said they wouldn't have bothered with that; if I was their son, they'd just let me starve. My sister Trina went on TV and did this whole interview about how Dad was a perfect father, and I was an ungrateful, drunk, drug-addicted piece of shit. The world bought it; hook, line, and sinker.

I exited the change rooms and stood in the gym, avoiding my peers eyes. I usually avoided any interaction with them, when I could. Not like they could come up with an intelligent sentence between them. No such luck today – September 18th, after all.

"Yo, Echolls!" called an 09er – Dick Casablancas, personification of all wrong with them. I sighed. Fuck my luck. "How've you been, bro?" He asked, him and his cronies gathering around me.

"Do you really care? Deeply and truly?" I responded, mockingly pouting my lips. Dick laughed.

"Well, just thought – Dude, DK died a year ago. What are you doing to celebrate? Rip into your dad, take half the skin off your back, fuck his murderer?" Dick questioned me. I swallowed the lump in my throat, and rolled my eyes as the 09ers howled with laughter.

"Yeah, I'll go do that. Once we find her, of course."

They wandered off, merry amongst themselves, and I thought. After the 09ers turned against me and the daughter of the Sheriff – Veronica Mars – Duncan's mother went accusing the most obvious suspect. Veronica had been his girlfriend, and he had broken up with her only a few days before he was killed. Even I would admit, the MO – poisoning – wasn't much my father's style. There was never enough evidence to prosecute, but most of Neptune believed it and wanted her dead. Lilly, as a small mercy, had denied it; saying Veronica was a bitch and a traitor, but she wouldn't kill Duncan. Not that it mattered to the town, not that Lilly would push the fact. Veronica and I banded together, and everyone was pretty sure we were fucking. We weren't, but it didn't matter.

Then that night happened. November 11th.

Veronica showed up at my apartment door; tipsy, with blood-shot eyes. "Hey Logan," she said, leaning against the door frame.

"Hey," I said, inviting her in. I took a swig of the beer I was holding."Free hot blonde. Is it my birthday and I didn't notice?"

Veronica smiled sadly, and looked away. "No. It's not your birthday," she hesitated. "It's Lilly's."

I nodded. "Yeah. I know. Remembrance Day if we lived in like, England or Australia or something," I said, sitting down on my couch. She followed, and we eyed all the moving boxes I hadn't had the energy to unpack.

"She's having a party... and we're not there," Veronica whispered. I shrugged.

"Well, she hates us now, so it's understandable."

Veronica leaned in closer to me, as if she was confiding a great secret. "This shouldn't be happening," she said.

"I know."

Before I realized it, she was on my lap, softly kissing me. "Wait- Veronica," I said, not really having an end for that sentence. She pulled back.

"Logan. Please," she rubbed herself against me slightly, and I finally absorbed exactly what she was asking for. Gently, I ran my hand over her cheek.

"Veronica... are you sure?"

She nodded. "Please Logan. Do this for me. Be this for me," there was something broken in her eyes that I was too tired to resist. My lips met hers quickly, and things progressed from there.

After, she got up and just started dressing herself. "Logan," she said, voice still a little broken. "I think... we should just act like this didn't happen."

I nodded, too tired to protest and not sure if I wanted to. "Okay, V."

She turned and gave me a wobbly smile. "Bye Logan," she said.

"Fuck and run, huh?" I asked, but there was no bite in it. "See you, Veronica."

She laughed a little and left.

Turned out, I was wrong. I wouldn't see her again, because two days later she and her mother disappeared off the face of the planet. Nobody knew where they went, and in regards to Duncan's murder, that was as much proof as anyone in Neptune needed.

I missed her.

Chemistry. I had never been good at chemistry, and the only real reason I used to pass it was the fact Duncan – shining straight A Duncan – was my partner, and he did everything. Then he died, thus, so much for that method.

At the start of this year, we got to chose our partners and I had wound up grouped with the other guy in my class that, well, everyone hated. He was our Resident Gay, and he didn't give the already prejudiced 09ers a great impression. Like he cared. We didn't particularly like each other – he was a douche to everyone and I probably was too – but there was an odd camaraderie in how widely we were hated.

"So, what are we doing now?" I asked Peter, who just shrugged.

"Something about an acid. Wasn't really paying attention," he explained not-exactly-usefully. Eventually we figured it out, and did the experiment we were meant to. Then class ended and we left. I heard the 09ers snickering behind my back, like they always were.

"Dude, the Homo and the Psycho!" Dick laughed, loud. "It can be like, a gay sitcom!"

"Yeah, but – which is which?"

My stomach tightened a little and I tried to press the feeling down. Dubious comments on my sexuality were just another thing the 09ers said because they hated me; I'm pretty sure someone who really did everything they said was not physically possible. I wasn't going to think about what they would think of me, why they would think that – it was kind of illogical, connecting all that to homosexuality. What, you want to know all about Logan Echolls' Big Gay Adventure?

...So did I.

I gatecrashed a party at Shelley Pomroy's, a little under a month after Veronica vanished. There wasn't much to do when the whole world hated you; and one of their parties would still have booze, chicks, and easy justifications for drunken brawls. Yeah, I was a moron.

I was at the party, wandering through crowds of drunk 09ers. A lot of them wouldn't look at me, but I didn't care. Lilly rather obviously looked away when I passed her by, and then returned to sucking face with some guy whose name I couldn't be bothered remembering. Okay, maybe that hurt a little.

Somehow, a beer wound up in my hand and I didn't really give a second thought before drinking it. Soon, things were swirling and twisting; I was beyond unsteady on my feet – I was hardly inexperienced with alcohol, and this could not possibly be happening from one drink. A panicking sensation settled in my stomach as I continued to watch the 09ers staring and laughing at me, my addled mind registering their expressions as like hyenas'.

I bumped into a guy whose face was a blur. The unknown guy, obviously wasted, pushed me back and snarled. It was tiny; barely a shove, but it was enough to knock me over. I was falling.

Okay, yes, I was probably an idiot to take that drink, no questions asked. Doesn't justify what happened next.

When I woke up the next morning, the first thing I thought was: Fuck, my ass hurts. It was truly throbbing, and the next things I thought were that I had no idea where I was, or how I got there. Dreading the truth, I sat up. Head spinning, I managed to acknowledge I was in Shelley Pomroy's guest bedroom, and when I looked down at my chest I could also acknowledge I was naked. Oh god, I thought.

Shuffling a little, every movement painful, I managed to acknowledge Shelley's white sheets were stained red. Blood was coming out of my anus, mixing with the faint stains of come on the sheets. After a few helpless seconds on trying to keep it in, I threw up.

Still in pain and dizzy, I was reduced to dry heaves quickly. I shut my eyes tight and tried to remember what happened, finding a giant hole in time. Someone drugged me; I knew that much.

Trying and failing to suppress sobs, I slowly turned and reached for my clothes on the floor.

I never bothered reporting it. What would be the point? I was already the boy who cried wolf to the town of Neptune, despite all physical evidence otherwise, and I knew Don Lamb. The sheriff would laugh me out of his office if I tried to go forward. Honestly, I couldn't deal with that again. Besides – only girls got raped that way.

Yeah, it was kind of unfair for me to connect all that to the gay thing, given how rape is usually meant to be about power, not sex, but still – I was kind of entitled to some irrationality about that.

Random locker searches. Not really random, at least not with me, as the Sheriff's department had a pretty clear policy on when they would search my locker – whenever they could. It wasn't really a problem. Even when I did do stuff like that, I was never dumb enough to store anything in my locker (and yeah, why I'd stopped with the party drugs was part fueled by what happened last time I was at a place like that. And because I wanted to prove Trina wrong).

"Why, Deputy," I said. "I swear I know nothing."

Clemmons visibly suppressed his eye-roll. "Mr. Echolls, you mind opening your locker? The deputy here would like to inspect it."

I nodded and obediently entered my combination, flinging the door open with a dramatic "Ta-da!" Then I blinked, and realized that someone had put a bong – in the shape of a cock, for that added kick – in my locker. Well, fuck.

"What's this?" asked Deputy Sacks, even though it was perfectly obvious. I heard a gaggle of 09ers break into laughter behind me, and I turned around to face the pack led by Lilly.

"Funny," I told her. "Funny and charming, Lilly. Remind me, why did we break up?"

She raised her hands in a mocking 'who me?' expression. "What? Why do you think I had something to do with this?" she asked innocently, and I rolled my eyes. The who crowd was engaged in pubescent snickering.

I was dragged down to the Sheriff's department, but it was all over pretty quick. Warning, eye rolls, whatever – it wasn't like the sheriff cared, he just liked pissing me off.

I got back to my apartment eventually, and pulled a beer out the fridge. So far, the new school year was proving exactly like I'd expected – annoying, but I would deal. None of it was ever a surprise. After all, I'd had a bad beginning, an ambiguous middle, and I'd given up on a happy ending the day I found my best friend's corpse.