A/N: Well, here we are, at the end of the road for this LoVe story. Thanx so much for all the lovely reviews throughout. Now lets just imagine it is not March but December...
(For disclaimer, etc. - see chapter 1)
It was normal for the refrigerator of any house to be stocked full of goodies at Christmas time, and yet Logan was finding a very poor selection here. Maybe the problem was that he didn't know what he wanted anyway, or that he wasn't really looking, just staring into the empty space before him as he was want to do these days. His mind had been a lot more prone to wandering since the Summer, and everyone knew why, though nobody ever spoke of it.
"What are you...? Oh" Keith stopped short of getting mad at the possible intruder when the young man of the house pulled his head out of the appliance and looked his way, "Hello, Logan" he greeted him with an awkward smile now, "I'm sorry, I didn't expect to see you here" he explained, as Logan shut the fridge door, and started looking through the cupboards instead, "Your parents left days ago for their Christmas break, they told me you were staying with friends..."
"Yeah, well, that kinda fell through" the younger man admitted, pulling a bag of cookies out and contemplating them, "Besides, I'd rather be here, even if that means mostly alone" he smiled slightly as he pulled up a stool at the counter and parked himself, munching on Pepperidge Farm's finest.
"Most of the staff are off too, given that Aaron and Lynn expected the house to be empty" said Keith, taking the seat that Logan gestured to then, apparently offering him to join him and have a cookie as well, "Thanks" he said as he took a chocolate chip treat from the bag.
"I'm a big boy, I think I can take care of myself for the most part" Logan assured him, not clear whether he was joking or too serious.
Keith would have asked, if not for the fact he was being very careful not to overstep his bounds here. He always got along with the kid, though they didn't' exactly chat so much. Now they had the strangest connection via Veronica, and yet she was rarely mentioned between them, or anywhere in the house. Keith had tried several times to apologise on his daughters behalf and beg forgiveness for her, after all, he knew she was just trying to do her best by Logan. It hadn't turned out well, but that was true of so many situations that begin with good intentions.
"How's college treating you?" asked Keith conversationally, "Your Dad seemed pretty psyched about your predicted grades"
"Yeah, it's okay" he shrugged non-committedly, "Some of the frat guys try to lead me astray, but I'm not really much for the partying lately" he sighed.
The Head of Security wasn't really quite sure what to say to that. He was actually glad that the good kid he'd watched grow from boy to man wasn't getting into any trouble. Still, it sounded like a pretty boring existence for him at the college if he wasn't enjoying his free time at all. Keith never got the opportunity to probe further as Logan changed the subject.
"What about you, Mr Mars?" asked Logan as he swung a leg down off the stool and headed back to the refrigerator for milk to help his cookies down, "You headed home for the Holidays?" he checked.
Keith noticed he never looked at him the whole time he spoke, and he knew why that was. This wasn't about his plans for Christmas so much as it was about where Veronica might be or what she would be doing. That told Keith what he was pretty sure he already knew, that Logan had real feelings for his baby girl, perhaps as real as those she had for him. Veronica was a tough young woman and had tried to pretend she was okay after the events of the Summer, she had certainly hidden her heartbreak well for everyone else's benefit, but there was no concealing such things from a parent, at least not a good one like Keith Mars.
"I am headed home, yes" he told Logan with a nod, "Veronica and I always make time in our schedules for each other at Christmas, it's important to us"
"That's great" Logan nodded with a hint of bitterness or perhaps sarcasm, it was hard to tell with him sometimes.
Clearly he wished his folks cared as much about him, and at the same time he was carrying around the burden of his feelings for Veronica that had never been fully dealt with. Yes, she hurt him, but she regretted it terribly. Apologies didn't fix a broken heart, but neither did burying feelings so deep they couldn't be easily seen on the surface.
"Y'know, I probably shouldn't say this, and I know you've heard it all before" said Keith, contemplating the half a cookie still in his hand, "but Veronica really never meant to hurt you this Summer, Logan" he told him one more time, "I know she would love the opportunity to apologise to you herself, if you'd just take her call or..."
"I know she's sorry" he cut in, without caring if it was rude or whatever, "I know she was trying to do what she thought was right, and... and I'm sorry too, for being the kid she accused me of being and not giving her a chance to explain" he smiled at the irony.
All the time spent trying to prove he was an adult, having finally achieved such a thing, only to unequivocally prove that he was capable of behaving just like a child. Running and hiding, refusing to hear reason, apology, or anything.
"Well, maybe one day" said Keith quietly as he got up from his seat and turned to leave.
He made it as far as the kitchen door when Logan called out his name, causing him to turn back with a curious expression.
"You think you could do me a favour?" he asked, looking the older man in the eye this time.
"Sure" the security man agreed easily, "What is it?"
Christmas always made Veronica happy. No matter how crappy things had been going, how busy work was, or how depressing her life seemed, a few fairy lights and a little cheer was bound to make her smile. This year was no different, as she reminded herself that some things were more important than anything she was going through, and her life was pretty damn good anyway. Her Dad was on his way over and they were going to spend a whole week together, which hadn't happened in too many months. She was looking forward to that a lot. Of course, remembering why she hadn't spent her usual Summer break with her father only led to Veronica thinking on things that made her much less happy.
Logan Echolls; that name had been on her mind an awful lot these past few months. She tried her best to move on and put him out of her head after an initial few weeks of phone calls and messages when she was trying to apologise and all. Veronica knew she just had to forget him, but it wasn't so easy, especially not now as she rifled through her jewellery box for the bracelet she wanted and instead came across a familiar pink ring. The silver glitter embedded in the plastic caught the light in the bedroom and brought a sad smile to Veronica's lips. As dumb as it was, she found herself slipping the ring onto the finger where it had lived for the time she was on the run with Logan. It never failed to feel comfortable there, as if it belonged, which was crazy and she knew it, but Veronica just couldn't help herself.
Lost in thought, she was startled enough to physically jump when a knock came at the front door. It had to be her Dad and that idea did at least make the blonde smile as she checked her hair in the mirror and hurried to let her father in. She had dressed up some for the occasion, wanting to look her best when her Dad saw her, if only so he wouldn't worry she was still being mopey and sad over Logan. Of course, that's exactly what she had been much of the time, but she'd be better, she really would.
"Hey, Dad" she smiled as she opened the door to him and immediately reached out for a hug, "Merry Christmas"
"Merry Christmas, sweetheart" he greeted her with a kiss on her cheek, "How are you doing?"
"I'm good" she assured him, though the smile she gave him still wasn't reaching her eyes, he noted as he looked at her.
"Well, you might be even better in a minute" he told her, his own grin refusing to shift as he got in the way of her closing the door, "I have your gift right here..."
"A pony?" she squealed, jumping and clapping like a giddy child, in true form of the joke they'd had running since she was a kid.
"Not quite" Keith smiled as he stepped out of the front door and gestured for something or someone perhaps to come forward.
Veronica's mouth dropped open wide when she realised who was stood before her now.
"Logan" she gasped, as he stood there in the porch light smiling at her.
"Merry Christmas, Veronica" her father said softly, patting her on the shoulder and then squeezing by her in the doorway, "I'm just going to take my bags and... yeah" he retreated to the spare bedroom, sure nobody was listening to him by now anyway.
Logan and Veronica seemed completely hypnotised by each others presence, even though she was usually so quick to adapt and he knew this moment was coming. It took almost a full two minutes before she remembered her manners and invited him inside, but barely a few seconds after that for her to give in and reach out to hug him. It was awkward at first, but in spite of everything else, it was clear he had missed her as much as she missed him. They clung to each other a while, loving the familiar feeling of being close, reliving the joy and warmth of their Summer vacation spent together.
"I am so glad you're here" she admitted as they let go of each other at last, both a little reluctant still, "Logan, I have to tell you how sorry I am for..."
"I know" he cut in, one of the few people brave enough to interrupt Veronica Mars when she was in full flow, "I know you were just doing what you thought was right and for the best" he shook his head, reaching out to tuck her hair behind her ear, just so he could touch her again, "And y'know I'm sorry too" he told her honestly, "I could've handled it better, I know"
"Whatever else happened, Logan, you have to know that I... I did love you" she confessed, "I still do, and I know that probably sounds crazy but..."
This time when her sentence was interrupted, it was not by words from Logan's lips, but rather his lips themselves landing on top of hers in a kiss that took her breath away. Her arms wound around his neck, holding him close as the moment went on, the kiss deepening until they had to part for lack of breath.
"Veronica" he said breathlessly, hands holding her at the waist as he leant his forehead against her own, "I love you too, I never meant to but... you drew me in, Miss Mars" he told her with a smile he could not help.
She giggled at his phrasing but equally as much at the name he used for her. He knew who she was now, her real name, and everything else would follow. She wanted them to know each other so well and be so close. This had to work out, because the pain she had suffered when they were apart, the hurt he must have gone though because of her actions, it all had to be for something. They had to get the happy part of their relationship back now, they just had to.
"So, what happens now?" she asked him, almost afraid of the answer somehow, after all the problems they had already encountered.
"I don't know exactly" Logan admitted with a sigh, "but I do know that I want this, Veronica, I want you and me to be together, for now and... well, for as long as we can stand to be around each other" he joked.
"Sounds good to me" she nodded, pulling him into another kiss, her hands at his face causing him to notice something that was enough for him to actually break this moment.
"You still have this" he said as they parted some and his hand held onto hers, showing Veronica the ring on her finger, the silly plastic item he had bought her outside the hotel from which they had first truly gone on the run.
"I couldn't let go" she admitted with a shrug, "I don't ever want to" she shook her head.
A moment later and they were kissing again, unaware that Keith was peeking around the door to see what was going on. He couldn't help but smile at the scene before him, two of his favourite people making each other so happy. He couldn't help but think he'd done pretty good bringing Logan here to Veronica for the holiday season.
"Merry Christmas to all" he said softly to himself, "and to all a goodnight"