One-shot with two alternate endings (Could be finished or there could be more if more comes to me). This was supposed to be a drabble. It started as the conversation. Happens in a universe where LoVe kissed but didn't get together.

Fools' Paradise

n.
A state of delusive contentment or false hope.

-VM—VM—VM-

It was four days after Aaron Echolls locked her in a freezer and set fire to it. Four days after she had discovered the ugly truth: Aaron Echolls had killed Lilly after Lilly stole his tapes of their liaisons. Sexual liaisons.

Veronica was still working to wrap her mind around the whole situation.

It was two days after Veronica returned to school. Luckily most of the population at Neptune High was steering clear of her. If you didn't count the looks of awe or distain that followed her every step.

Even more luckily, Duncan still wasn't back in school. The whole Kane machinery was in spin control, trying to explain why they'd hindered the investigation into their daughter's death without actually saying what they'd done, or that they'd done anything. But Jake Kane was determined to see the killer pay now that he knew the killer wasn't his own son.

Two days back in the hallways that she hated. Two days back and one day before the weekend. Two weeks before summer break. She didn't know if she was going to make it.

Logan had been following her around all day. In the morning her blank stares and complete disinterest in whatever he wanted to say had put him off. That and some assists by Wallace.

Unfortunately Logan appeared determined to talk to her. Veronica had done a good job of ignoring and evading him so far, but Logan was determined. He waited for her in the parking lot before school, not realizing that her car was totaled and she was being chauffeured around by her new best friend. He tried to get her to talk to him in the hallway. He tried to corner her in journalism. He tried to find her at lunch, but she was tucked away in the audio visual room. So when the final bell for the day rang, Veronica had managed to elude him thus far.

She wasn't ready to talk. Might never be ready to talk. And really what was the point? The truth was out. And they weren't friends.

Once upon a time, Logan had been her friend, one part of the foursome that had dominated her days. Lilly, Logan, Duncan and Veronica.

Then Lilly was gone. Duncan had already dumped her by then and Logan had been mad at her for "ratting him out" as he called it. But honestly, what was she supposed to do? She was Lilly's best friend and had caught him kissing another girl. Within a few weeks Veronica's whole life changed and she was alone.

The following months had brought more horrors. Her mother's worsening alcoholism then abandonment. Her father losing his job. Being completely alone and public enemy number one at school. Then came Shelly's end of year party. Whatever had remained of the girl who had existed before Lilly's death, before Duncan's rejection, before Logan's betrayal and Leanne's abandonment was gone. Shattered.

But Veronica had rebuilt herself. She'd come back stronger, better. Harder. She had believed herself too smart to fall for any 09er crap again. Too strong to let them hurt her. Too hard to be swayed by old friends.

Then a year later, Logan had shown up on her door step and his obvious pain had made her forget that he was her enemy. They had worked together to try to find his mother, and when that didn't end happily, it was Veronica who had held him while he cried.

After that it seemed like they'd entered a cease fire. Then he had showed up to help her, rescue her from a rogue federal agent and her 'thanks for helping out kiss' had turned into something more. Something stronger. Something equal parts dark and light. Something that made her forget that the person on the other side of the kiss was Logan Echolls. Obligatory psychotic jackass.

One kiss had lead to more, and Veronica had been scared to trust him. Scared because she already did. Scared because she wanted to believe so badly. And her fear was well founded.

Without warning, without a word of explanation, it was over. It should have been familiar. But even though there was no public humiliation this time, because no one knew about them, she was still stunned. At least that was what she had felt before the numbing coldness had settled back into her heart.

The cease fire seemed to still be in place but they weren't friends. And there were no more kisses or secret meetings. Nothing.

Veronica had waited, wondering when the next attack would come, when he would throw her stupidity back in her face, but he hadn't. Not that she needed him to do it, she was proficient in doing it herself. She bludgeoned herself with her mistake everyday, hoping to beat the last bit of that girl, the one who believed in love and second chances, out of her psyche.

So the fact that Logan wanted to talk to her now was not on her agenda. But he wasn't giving up. He found her as she exited the school's main doors.

"Veronica, I want to talk to you." His voice was forceful. Demanding. Certain that he would get his way eventually. And tinted with more than a hint of his opinion that she was being a bitch by avoiding him.

"No," she spat on her way out of the school.

Undeterred he followed her, circling her arm with his hand to force her to comply with his will. "Stop."

She didn't meet his eyes, knowing that anything worth seeing there was a lie anyway. Instead she focused on prying his fingers off her arm. "No."

He easily transferred his grip to her other arm, causing her to glare up at him.

"Fine. Since you're obviously not going to let this go, talk." Her tone is hard, no hint of softness there, or any kind of emotion except annoyance.

"I wanted..." He stops when his eyes get caught on the bruises on her face. He stammers to start again, "I wanted..."

"What? Nothing? Good. Now let go."

His eyes show his confusion at her harshness. "No, I – "

She interrupts. "I don't care what you want Logan. And let me give you three good reasons why. One: you're a jackass. Two: you have nothing to say that I could ever want to hear. And three: it's not good for the case against your father."

He looks hurt briefly, then raises his chin. "That's what I want to talk to you about."

She processes that and comes to her own conclusion. "Oh my god. You want me to change my story."

"No," he protests, but she isn't listening.

"That's funny 'cause all this," she waves her hand around the school, "everything you've done to me, was supposedly for Lilly." He flinches a bit, a flash of regret showing, then he smoothes his face into a mask, his mouth in hard line.

"And now I've found out who really killed her. Your father." Her tone isn't accusing, it's darkly mocking, the irony of the situation not lost on her.

His tone is bitter and angry. "I don't want you to lie, I just wanted to say I'm sorry."

That really shocks her. "Sorry." Her tone is deeply doubting. "Really. For what exactly? Because we both know you lack a conscious so the likelihood of you being sorry for anything is pretty ludicrous."

Her mocking finally baits him to attack. "I'm sorry you're such a bitch."

She smiles, more a baring of teeth than an actual smile. "Nice. I'd say it's been fun, but talking to you never is."

She raises her chin, squares her shoulders, and is rocked by a blast of pain from her left shoulder, the one left bruised and sprained from her seat belt and the crash that had let her temporarily escape Aaron Echolls that night. Catching her breath against the pain, she intended to step past him, to walk away. But the pain caused her to pause and it is enough.

Logan stops her again easily getting his larger body into her path, forcing her to stop. She glares up at him, but stops. Waiting.

He wipes his had over his face, clearly tired and exasperated. Everyone was watching them. Gossiping. More. Still. Adding to the already tabloid worthy story.

"Stop. Fuck, you make things difficult. You're a fucking bitch but I never would have wanted what happened to happen."

She arches one eyebrow in disbelief. "To me? Or to Lilly?"

He glares at her.

Again she sneers at him, faintly amused at the idiocy of this conversation. 'Yeah, real sincere."

His voice is cutting when he replies. "I hate you but I never would have wanted you to get hurt."

"That's funny Logan. Really. You've made hurting me your hobby for the last year. Now you're sorry?"

"He hit you." There is real contrition on his face now. In his voice. In his eyes.

But she doesn't believe it. She knows better. Logan was an accomplished liar and she had already been his fool twice. It wouldn't happen again.

"You think that the night your father tried to kill me to keep his dirty little secret was the first time your vendetta on me has turned physical? You're not just a jackass you're a stupid jackass."

Her name calling sent him back to his anger, and he had a lot of it. With her revelation of his father's affair with Lilly, his girlfriend, as the motive for Lilly's death, her death at his father's hands, Logan had been reeling for days, and the anger that was filling him spilled over onto Veronica now.

"I always knew your ability to ignore the more seedy parts of life would come in handy for you in the long run. First as Lilly's friend, now to ignore your own shortcomings. Anything that happened to you, you brought on yourself. You betrayed us. Me. Duncan. Li-"

"Lilly? Really from where I'm sitting I'm the only one who stuck by her, my best friend. Her parents were willing to let her killer go free rather than face the truth. And you?" Her tone and look is accusing as well as deriding. "Well you bought their lies like there was a dollar sale on Microsoft stock. And you seemed to move on from Lilly to all the rest of the girls in school quickly enough."

"You don't know anything. You never did." His tone is equally condemning.

If there is anything that she hates worse than being called stupid, she doesn't know what it is. She had been dumb, and it tore at her, knowing that she had been so blind. Stupid. Complacent. But instead of turning her anger inward, she spewed it out onto him, hitting him hard in the one spot she always knew would be a direct hit.

Throughout their conflict there had been just one rule. Leave Lilly out of it.

Veronica decided in an instant that the rules had changed.

"I know that Lilly loved me. And I loved her." Her voice is filled with certainty and sincerity. Her intent was to hurt, and this truth was the one that would accomplish it. "Enough to face the truth."

Logan glares at her again.

"Is that what all this has really been about? That Lilly loved me. More than she loved you apparently. Is that it? You're just mad that she didn't love you enough to be faithful but she was my friend until the end. She let you know about all her other boys. All the times she cheated on you. But she hid the truth from me. She cared more about my opinion, than your love. More about my friendship, than your relationship." There is a dark satisfaction in her voice that declares victory.

Logan looks stunned but stands solidly, taking his punishment.

These were facts Logan couldn't argue with. Lilly had made it clear that Veronica was her favorite. Above Logan, above Duncan. No one was allowed to let Veronica know about Lilly's darker side, about her lies and depravities. Lilly hadn't been sure Veronica could handle the truth so they had all played along, keeping her secrets. Keeping Veronica insulated from the truth.

What Logan didn't know is that Lilly had betrayed Veronica too. By keeping the issue of Veronica's paternity a secret, Lilly had played God with Veronica's life as much as she had with Logan's, but Logan didn't know that.

"That must hurt even more now, knowing that she fucked your father to get even with you. She must have really hated you. That or you were just another one of her puppets."

Logan wasn't sure which was worse, but he internally acknowledges the truth of that statement. Knowing that he had been Lilly's fool. An even bigger fool than he'd ever imagined.

Unlike Veronica who had been naive, he had no excuse. He had let Lilly use him, deceive him, and make a fool of him time and again. Just to feel alive, just to be part of her life.

Logan had never felt as alive as when he was with Lilly. All the ups and downs just added to it. She made him feel. Passion, love, anger, hatred. But always, she made him feel. She gave him an outlet for all the feelings he couldn't express anywhere else in his life.

After her death all his feelings had been dark. Negative. And focused on Veronica. He wanted her to hurt. To feel what he was feeling.

Then he had needed her help, and miraculously she had agreed to help him. Logan didn't believe in miracles. But he believed in Veronica. He hadn't gotten a miracle with his mother, she was gone. But he had regained a friend in Veronica.

Suddenly he had feelings besides rage, anger, hate and lust. He was confused, concerned, unsure, and maybe, just for a few scattered, stolen moments happy.

She had kissed him, and he had taken the opportunity to seize her and the emotion she brought out in him, and kissed her back. He had taken her forgiveness, affection, and trust and savored it. He had wrapped her around him like a warm blanket.

But it hadn't lasted. Couldn't last. They were both damaged. She would cost him dearly. His friends, his best friend would not understand. And for what? Veronica wouldn't stay. She was too smart for that. She would leave him, just like everyone else had. So he had left her, ended it before it had even really started.

He had kept his prestige in their school, kept his best friend, kept his loneliness wrapped around him like a cold shield instead of her warmth. And she hadn't disappointed him. Her soft looks had turned hard again. Her kind words disappeared. Her ability to reassure him that everything would be all right, which was a lie anyway, had been supplanted by her ability to cut him to the core with a single look.

AN

This is a choose your own ending story...for angst go to Chapter 2, for happily ever after (or at least for another moment) go to Chapter 3.