ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS

He wonders why he's even surprised to find his son has been lumped in with him in a jail cell. Of course they'd do that. They know the case against him is hopeless – yes he did it, but they don't know that – and they need him to confess. Logan is a useful tool, thanks to that whole "charged with murder" thing.

If there's one thing Aaron knows Logan hates, it's being used. Although he has a history of letting people do it to him anyway; like that Lilly bitch. Logan should be glad Aaron took an ashtray to her skull, although he knows Logan won't be. He loved her, for how little she deserved it.

"Guess our Sheriff has a soft spot for family, huh?" he says. "At least now I know what it takes to get a visit out of you," he's bitter. Logan, his own son, chose that bitch – Lilly, Veronica; all the same really – over him. Yes he saw it coming, yes he knows Logan hated him even before this, but still. It hurts.

"Sorry, I just need some time to work through how you bashed my girlfriend's head in," Logan bites back, and Aaron struggles not to wince. He can't take Logan sounding like that. Logan used to sound like that after those nights when Aaron was too angry, too tired, too drunk, and would take it out on his son.

Things changed, however. That sound was only for the first few years after it started; eventually, Logan got so used to it that the sound disappeared. So Aaron didn't have to think about it, and didn't have to hate Logan for sounding so pathetic. He never thought about what he did to Logan; his son acted like a shit and Aaron punished him. That simple.

But now he has to say something, anything, because that sound in Logan's voice is killing him.

"Look, Logan... I made an unforgivable mistake," he knows what he did with Lilly was cruel to Logan, even without her death, "But I am not a murderer!"

It wasn't murder. Not in a technical sense. He never planned on killing her; not really. He just wanted those tapes back; he wasn't thinking and then she was dead. That was all.

"Oh," says Logan, with that patented sarcasm of his that makes Aaron's jaw clench. "So you merely plowed my girlfriend and taped it for your home collection," Logan says. Okay, Aaron knows he did wrong. But he just wishes Logan would stop sounding like that.

"I don't expect any sympathy from you," he says.

"Good," Logan coldly retorts.

"You, you have no idea what actually happened that day," he says, and doesn't think that bit's a lie. It's not like he was planning what happened. He was just there, and he was angry and she was going to destroy him, and then she was dead. He doesn't even really know how they got from Point A to Point B; he won't lose Logan forever over this. Except he already has (over this and so many other things), but Aaron Echolls never loses.

"Pops, I have a pretty good idea."

"No. Okay, yes, I followed her home. But not to hurt her, I swear!" he says. It's still not a lie; he never planned what he did to Lilly. He has to believe that. "Duncan found us," he says, and he doesn't want to throw blame at this boy – he was Logan's friend; he was sensible and Aaron always liked him – but he does what he must. He won't spend the rest of his days in prison rotting because of that slut. "He – he must of heard everything, because he was ranting and raving, he was out of his mind!"

"So, what? Duncan killed Lilly?" Logan asks, and Aaron swallows when he hears the contempt in his son's voice. How much more faith Logan has in this Kane boy than he has in his own father. Yes, Aaron knows he's lying, but it still kind of stings that Logan has no hope for him.

"All I know is that I got out," he says, and it's easier not to explicitly accuse a perfectly innocent boy of killing his own sister. "Next thing I heard, it was all over the news."

"So you tried to kill another girl," Logan says in a flat, dead tone that tells Aaron it's hopeless. He can't get back to his son. "Also, a girlfriend of mine. What, to maintain your innocence?"

Oh, fuck Veronica Mars. He thought she was good for Logan before, but she's destroyed everything around them. He knows Lilly was her best friend, but she should have just let it go. Abel Koontz was perfectly happy to go down for it. Lilly probably didn't deserve Veronica's love any more than she deserved Logan's; that was Lilly, fucking people up wherever they went.

He could give a million reasons for what he did to Veronica, that don't involve Lilly's murder – the tapes; statutory rape; his career – but they all get stuck in his mouth. "I... I just snapped," he offers up. It's pathetic and he knows it. "I completely lost it. But..." the sentence trails off as Aaron hears Logan's humorless laugh. Something in him shrivels and dies, but he's so used to that in regards to his son that it barely registers.

"You don't believe me," he says. "Why should a jury believe me?" He looks around his surroundings; the dim light, the cramped walls. Maybe it would be easier. To give in and let them lock him away; take him out of the press and the crap films that pay seven figures and Lynn's picture on a million different things, and everyone screaming screaming screaming his name; miles away from Logan's judging eyes.

Which are right here, this moment. "Maybe my life is over," he admits. Maybe he will like being empty; he doesn't know. It scares him.

He snaps back to reality, because even if he can't help himself, he needs to help his son. "But you shouldn't throw yours away just to spite me!" he says. "Come on, Logan. Let me help you. Let me call some guys down at the firm," and he kind of knows it's not going to work. Logan's pride and hatred are just too big; too much for him to tackle.

"They gave me a lawyer," Logan dismisses him. Aaron resists the urge to punch him for his stupidity, because that wouldn't really work in his favor.

"I mean a real lawyer, not some public defender with a mail order diploma and a three-hundred dollar suit!" he barks, only to find himself interrupted by said public defender.

"Two for five-hundred, actually, but your point remains valid," the defender says. "You," he indicates Logan, "You got bail."

There's some blather about how Logan got bail; it doesn't matter. But the defender, oddly, seems on Aaron's side. "Now, chip, how about you thank me by taking the old block's advice?" Get a new lawyer."

Aaron doesn't expect it to work, but he's grateful anyway. "You're kind of winning me over, here," says Logan to Aaron's surprise. Logan leaves, and Aaron has about a billion things to say:

I didn't kill her.

Yes, I killed her.

I'm sorry.

Wait, I'm not sorry at all.

Tell Trina I love her.

Tell Trina you love her; she's the only family you have left now.

I'm sorry about Duncan; but I have to do this.

I love you.

I hate you.

He doesn't say any of that. Logan probably wouldn't listen.

He sits back down on the prison cell mattress. Logan can't go to jail for this (he knows Logan could never have killed that kid; he doesn't have it in him). Aaron just hopes Logan will do something that would make him proud, as a father, even though Logan would never tell him about it.