Author's Notes: Written for hc_bingo, the prompt: "child abuse (physical)". Although it's not massively hurt/comfort-y. Subtitle comes from the song by Death Cab for Cutie.

Little Miss Messiah (I Will Follow You Into the Dark)

It starts when she's barely thirteen. He's twelve, and he's showed up in the middle of the night with no warning – again. This is not an uncommon occurrence. She's teased him and Duncan about the homoeroticism of it before; Logan sneaking in to spend the night in Duncan's room under the disguise of darkness. Usually when she says that, Duncan tells her to shut up, while Logan just laughs and jokingly pulls Duncan onto his lap. Then Duncan starts planning their deaths. Veronica usually blushes and giggles, but looks nervous for some reason Lilly doesn't get.

Anyway, she's got a headache. She checks the kitchen for aspirin, and no dice – which is really quite ridiculous, because if they're super-billion-millionaires they really shouldn't run out of aspirin. She groans. Then she remembers the cabinet in Duncan's bathroom, which should have aspirin, and all is semi-right with the world (because for now she's still got her fucking headache). She darts up to his bathroom, and has swung the door closed before she realizes she's not alone.

Logan. Shirtless.


"Hey Monsieur Echolls," she says, not showing the awkwardness in her face, "Don't worry, you don't need to make a sexual harassment charge. I'm just looking for the aspirin," she opens Duncan's medicine cabinet, pops out the aspirin, and watches Logan nods in the mirror.

"Okay, cool," he says. "Although I've got a feeling both our fathers would stop it ever going to court anyway," he says.

"Eh, true. Scandal and all that. Plus, there'd be the whole gender thing," she turns back around, suddenly noticing one of their towels behind Logan. And, for some reason, it has blood on it.


"Uh, Logan," she starts, "You're bleeding on our stuff. I admit I've done it before, but that was when I was so not expecting certain patterns to start; I'm not sure that could be your thing. Well, I mean, it could, as I have not seen your penis, but you are lacking breasts so…"

She's rambling – she's doing it funnily and like a badass, but she's rambling. She does that when she's nervous. Logan just stares at her, and Lilly breathes in deeply. She suddenly thinks there might be a reason he's standing with his back to the wall.

"Turn around, Logan," she says, stepping forward. Logan sighs and obeys, so she can see his back.

Thick, red welts and cuts run down it. She steps closer and gapes at his wounds. She can't but reach out a hand to touch them, even as he flinches at the pain.

"Sorry," she says. "Did your dad–"

"No, there are evil gremlins in my house. Who else would, Lilly?" Logan asks. She bites her lip.

"Okay, yeah, stupid question," she says. She just keeps staring, trying to absorb the sight in front of her. "I'm really sorry," she says.

"Don't, Lilly. You're you. Don't give me that sentimental bullshit," he says, and she frowns. Hey, she can be sentimental if she wants to. Especially when she's just discovered her brother's best friend is being beaten by his dad; she's pretty sure this is the sort of reaction she's meant to have.

Before she can reply, the door swings open, and Duncan comes in with a tube of antiseptic cream. "Sorry man; I really should keep this stuff in my bathroom–" he sees Lilly standing with Logan, and blinks. "Um. Lilly?"

She steps away, looking between Duncan and Logan. "Oh. Uh. Hey," she says. "Don't worry, be happy; I was just stealing your aspirin."

There's an awkward silence before Duncan plasters a ridiculously fake smile on his face. "Alright. Was I interrupting something when I came here?"

Logan's fake smile looks like suspicious than Duncan's, but still, Lilly knows it's fake. "Obviously," he says. "You know how irresistible I am."

Lilly's first thought is: Are you two insane? Are we seriously going to talk and make jokes like Logan isn't bleeding all over the place in the middle of the night? Then again, she doesn't know what she's doing. These two have probably been doing this for ages, if the regularity of Logan sneaking over here in the middle of the night is any indication. Lilly's stomach lurches as she finds everything sliding into place, changing her previous ideas of what happened – the homoeroticism is seriously less funny now.

They must have learned what they're doing. She hasn't. She's go with their plan. "Well, obviously he does," she says. "We have learned that in much detail. I kind of think he lured me in here to make you jealous."

Duncan rolls his eyes, while Logan smiles at her strangely. "I have telepathic powers?" he asks.

That smile does something weird to her.

Shit. She likes her little brother's best friend – this will so fuck her up.

"Duh. You're like, magic," she says. "Now, I need sleep. Goodbye."

She walks out with a sinking feeling and not much less of a headache then she went in there with.

She goes over to the Echolls house on Logan's thirteenth birthday. She doesn't talk to Aaron Echolls much, but he insists the party be held there. She's not looking forward to his presence, but Duncan talks her into it.

"Mr. and Ms. Kane, hello," says Aaron, shaking Duncan's hand warmly. From the back of the room, Lynn takes a sip of her highball and waves at them.

"Lilly and Duncan, hi," she says. "Ignore Aaron, he's pretentious."

"He's a movie star," Lilly says. It sounds like a joke – she meant it to be a joke – but there's something at the back of her head when she says it; something she doesn't understand.

Aaron laughs, deep and booming. "Fabulous. I should keep you away from him, you know; you're a bad influence, and Logan doesn't like me enough as is."

Lynn tries to hide her flinch by taking another gulp, but she wasn't quick enough. Lilly saw it. She balls her fist when she thinks of all the reason exactly Logan has not to like his father.

"You will never stop our love, Mr. Echolls," she says, not remembering to stop herself – she does her best not to blush too obviously. Yeah, she has more or less accepted her crush on Logan over the last six months or so, but that doesn't mean she's happy about it. He's a year younger than her, so she knows if she dated him – or even admitted to liking him – it would totally screw her over with her peers. Yeah, she's the head bitch in charge, so she shouldn't give a fuck, but whatever. It's embarrassing, okay?

"Oh god, teenagers," says Aaron, but he's smiling. Lilly suddenly realizes one of the spaghetti straps of her shirt is falling off – this always happens to her. She pulls it back up, and then she catches Aaron's eye.

No-one else sees anything, and he looks away quickly to hide it, but she so notices. He was checking out her thirteen-year-old jailbait cleavage.

She still doesn't like him. But for some reason, she likes the fact she had him looking.

Lilly and Logan get together midway through her freshman year. He's still in middle school, which has led to her beating herself up and thinking the rules of teenage society are stupid, but what can you do. She's helping him study for math, mostly because Duncan nagged her into it thanks to her passing last year. She's actually not very good, so she should have just failed. Hey, she'd probably be happier.

Duncan doesn't believe it when he tells her, but people at high school don't like her the way his friends do. I mean, they hang out with her – she's Lilly fucking Kane; they'd be crazy not to in this town. But they don't like her. She's never fit in with her own year the way she did her brother's year; maybe that means she's immature, but whatever.

Anyway, she's trying to explain a question on algebra she doesn't get herself when she just thinks to hell with it, and kisses him.

He kisses her back.

"So?" he asks when he pulls back. "What was that about?"

She shrugs. "I like you," she says casually, like it means nothing. Like it doesn't scare the shit out of her.

"Okay. Cool," he says. Then he kisses her again.

She smiles against his lips, and wraps a hand around the small of his back. Then he flinches, muttering "Ow," and she pulls back.

"Logan? What's up?"

"Nothing," he says. "Just… be careful. Scar."

Her mouth goes dry.

She kisses him harder when he leans back in.

They break up for no real reason they know.

"You're an idiot," she snaps it him.

"And you're a bitch," he says. "Do you not think I see the way you act; the way you want every single guy's eyes on you?"

"You're a paranoid freak!" she yells. "I have done so much for you, and you think I'm…"

"What? What have you done, Lilly? And what do I think?"

She inhales. "I don't know," she admits. He smirks at her.

"See you," he says. Like it's nothing. Then he just leaves.

She sighs and leans against her locker. She's annoyed, but not as upset as she should be.

The next time he shows up at her house with bruises and cuts on his back is two weeks after the break-up. They manage to get Duncan to piss off. Lilly looks at Logan bleeding, and he smirks at her.

"Sorry to say it Lils, but you didn't do this one yourself."

She's not sure how it happens, but she winds up slammed against the wall with her legs wrapped around his waist as they make-out; rough and dirty. He's hard, and she grinds against him until he comes – she doesn't ask him to return the favor, though, because she thinks it would be harder for a girl.

They're back together, and she suddenly realizes why she wasn't upset to start with.

She swims in Logan's pool in a pink bikini. He says he appreciates the view.

Logan's run off to get her something to drink (not alcohol, because she's only fourteen and acts like a total prude about drinking) when Aaron comes out. "Lilly, hey," he says.

Lilly pulls herself up on the side of the pool, shaking the water from her hair. "Mr. Echolls," she says, "Hi. Tell me Logan told you I was coming over – I will cut him if he didn't."

"Oh no, he told me. Relax," Aaron says, and Lilly does. She can't keep back the image of the leather belt on Logan's back as Aaron screams about that tiny slut showing up for no reason.

"Okay, cool," she says. There's an uncomfortable silence.

"I think you're good for him," Aaron says. "You don't seem to make him want to destroy himself. You make him happy. I don't see enough of that in him nowadays."

Lilly can't help but narrow her eyes. "Well. Yay me then," she says.

Aaron's looking at her; like, looking looking at her. His eyes are stuck on her boobs and her bare skin. It's making her uncomfortable, but for some reason she doesn't want him to stop right now. If she moves away, he'll have to stop. She suddenly feels like she's in control, and she likes it more than she should.

Logan comes back out, and Aaron scampers away like a small animal.

She and Logan get drunk on her fifteenth birthday. It's not at the party – it's when he shows up at two AM, as is not unusual.

"Hey," he says, bottle of whiskey in hand. "So, worst birthday present ever? Here, your consolation prize. Have alcohol, will travel."

"I wouldn't automatically say having you show up at two AM is a bad present," she smirks, sitting down on the couch with him. Then she gets serious. "I don't drink though, and I'm not sure that's the best reaction to your awful home life."

"Yeah, but I'm crazy," he says. "You should be too."

She rolls her eyes. "Whatever. Where's Duncan?"

"He thought I'd rather talk to you," Logan explains. Lilly raises an eyebrow at him. "Now drink. Make me feel less pathetic."

She sighs. "Fine," she grumbles, taking the whiskey from him and raising the bottle to her lips. It burns going down, and she almost immediately pulls it away, coughing.

Logan laughs at her and she glares. "Look at you. Lilly Kane, the blushing alcohol-virgin."

If there's one thing Lilly can't resist, it's a challenge. "Shut up," she says before she takes the bottle back up and skulls. It still burns, but she ignores it – she drinks until her eyes water and she can't breathe. She's panting when she puts it back down.

"Nice, Lils," says Logan. She smirks at him.

"Well, I'm amazing."

She gets drunk that night, and so does he – she's new to this, and he was less than sober when he got there. She winds up crawling onto his lap, pressing whiskey-flavored kisses against his mouth, jaw and neck.

"I love you," she murmurs, again and again. "I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you…"

He pulls away slightly. "I know," he says.

She smiles and returns to kissing him, and starts reaching for the hem of his shirt.

"Lilly," he asks, "Are we going to…?"

"Yeah," she whispers as the shirt comes off. She can feel the blood dripping off his back, but she doesn't mind.

"We don't have to, you know," he obligatorily reminds her.

"I know," she says, before she returns to kissing him. "I love you, I love you," she murmurs, completely shameless.

As he snakes a hand under her skirt, she says something more: "Let me save you."

The drinking becomes a thing for them, and they make a habit of fairly fabulous parties. Lilly thinks she'd been a bit of a prude about the alcohol thing – even Veronica takes to having a drink or two.

It happens when the PCHers crash their party on the beach, and Weevil and Logan seem destined for some kind of confrontation. However, everyone gets sort of distracted when two of the PCHers – Felix and Thumper, she thinks their names are – start a fight.

"Hey, hey, boys, break it up!" yell Weevil as he and his fellows pull the two apart. "What in the hell is going on here?"

"...Nothing, man," Thumper grumbles. Felix just glares.

"Okay, yeah, we're getting out of here, and you two are explaining," Weevil says. He shoots a look at Logan. "You, Echolls – we'll finish this later."

"Bring it on, my friend," says Logan as the bikers climb back on their bikes and ride off. Lilly sighs and threads an arm around his waist.

"When you tell him 'bring it on', can we reduce the amount of fists involved this time?" she says. They've gotten into more fights than she likes, and she's not a particularly unviolent girl herself. It's just... annoying.

"I'll try," says Logan. "I will not succeed. But I will try."

"Not sure that counts, baby," she says, but leans up to press a kiss against his neck. She stares at the trails from the PCHers' motorbikes, thinking suddenly. "Do you thing that happens a lot?"

Logan snorts. "'Course it does. They're the PCHers; el padres find reasons to kill each other over–"

"Logan. Quiet with the potentially racist and/or classist remarks," she says. This happens a lot – Logan will say something douchey about some enemy that happens to hold minority status, even though he doesn't really care about what they are; she glares at him for it and he's suitably chastised. Yeah, maybe she doesn't take it far enough, but whatever.

"Sorry, Lils," he says.

"So you should be. It's not like you're Mr. Unviolence 2003 or anything," she points out.

"That's not a word."

"It's a party, I can make shit up."

He rolls his eyes and kisses her. She knows it's kind of a distraction, but whatever. Still, she can't help but think of the fights – the violence – as she threads her hands around his back, mapping the skin over his shirt. She feels him wince as he presses on his scars, but pretends not to notice until he pulls back and honestly tells her to stop.

As Logan said, he does not succeed – he and Weevil start a massive fight at school the next Wednesday, and get sent to the principal's office; she glares at him while he waits.

"I asked you to try."

"I did try. And I said I would not succeed," he says.

"This isn't funny, Logan!" she snaps. He shrugs.

"Sure seemed it to me," he dismisses her look flippantly. "Really, Lils. It's not that big a deal. You're overreacting."

She rolls her eyes. "Yeah. Because it's not like this is some rare event; that you never start fights for no reason like this."

He sighs. "So?"

She shakes her head disbelievingly. "What is wrong with you? Do you even realize how much you scare me?"

He snorts. "Oh, come off it Lilly! Unless you've forgotten this, it's not exactly like you've gotten nothing out of me being violent. You've got some bruises you want to check everyone won't think I beat you, right?"

She slaps him. "Okay, that just there was one of my more hypocritical responses to you being a dick, but whatever. That's not the point. What happens with us is different then you just doing your best to fuck everyone over thanks to your daddy issues! You're such a fucking cliche, Echolls."

She can't help but feel she's crossed a line; broken some unwritten rule. If so, Logan doesn't respond; just smirks at her. "Hate to bring it up, but you've never complained before. This is the me you have, Lilly. I'm your cliche, which is kind of another one."

She shakes her head. "Not anymore."

Okay, that hits him. "You're dumping me?"

"Yes," she says, hands on her hips. "I'm sure you'll find an appropriately self-destructive way to respond."

She storms out, sashaying her hips as she goes.

The day after, she lies on the beach after school. It's sunset, and she thinks it's a bit cliched itself, but whatever. She likes it. Plus, she doesn't have a boyfriend anymore, so she'll avoid the worst ones.

She's a little surprised when Weevil sits down next to her. Okay, more than a little – it's Weevil; she have expects there to be armed security guards Logan hired hiding everywhere, you will jump on Weevil for daring to come within two feet of her. Logan's like that – or at least she thinks so; she's his bitter ex, however, so she may be a little bit biased.

Lilly looks at Weevil closer – he's alone, not with the PCHers and his own bike; he doesn't wear his biker leather, just jeans and a white tank top. There is nothing of the anger, disaster (Logan) she has always associated him with here.

"Weevs, hey," she says as if they're friends. "What's a boy like you doing in a place like this?"

He smiles at her. "Hey, hot chick, sunlight – I'm only human."

"Be careful. Logan will have you hung, drawn and quartered. Actually, he'll probably do that anyway one of these days, but still," she says, lips twisting into an angry pout.

"So you two broke up, huh?"

"Yeah," she says. "It's at least partially your fault, you know."

"Yeah, well, I know the affects of my raw animal magnetism."

She punches him on the arm, and her fist accidentally lingers for a moment longer than it probably should. "Ha-ha," she says. "You're going to have him kill you, you know?"

"You just said, Lils."

Lils. Usually only Logan calls her that. She suddenly goes serious. "Seriously though, what's the deal with you two?"

He cocks his head at her. "What?"

"The fights and everything. Why? I don't get it. You two would barely know each other otherwise."

Weevil looks at her for a long, slow moment, then shrugs. "I dunno. I'm like this with a lot of people; don't tell your boy he's special or nothing. As for Echolls... It's just what we do."

"He's not my boy," Lilly says. What Weevil just told her makes her frown – because it doesn't make her any more certain.

To become more certain, she decides to fuck him.

Weevil always gives her the power; wants her on top, lets her control him. She has to coax him until he'll do otherwise, and even then she knows really she's in control. She wants to see him, raw and instinctive, but he won't let her. She wants to see that thing in Logan under the surface; the one that scares her and makes her ache for him, the one that means he can twist her internal organs any way he likes and never even know it. And seriously, ow.

Weevil won't do that for her, but fuck if she'll stop trying.

"Thanks," she says lazily after they've finished one time. "That was... wow."

It sounds vaguely like she's talking to a prostitute. Which, given he's her secret boyfriend and all, is bad.

He leans over and kisses her on the forehead. "You're welcome. I love you."

"I know," she says. She doesn't say she loves him back. "Hey, what's with that bruise on your–"

"Fight," he answers quickly.


"Nah. And don't worry, not about you – if anyone knew, I'd be dead – just a punk in our ranks making shit; I hit him back into line, don't worry."

She flinches a little at the casual violence mentioned, but doesn't make a big deal. That's what she came to him in the first place for anyway. "Alright."

"Why'd your thoughts go to him right away anyway?"

Lilly rolls her eyes at his paranoia, even though she kind of knows he has the right. "I like being alive, so if he gets suspicious about us I want to be warned," she says. Weevil's indignant and concerned look, she groans. "I'm kidding, Weevs. Logan has his faults, but he's not evil. He'd probably just yell at me for 'slumming it', say something racist, and secretly cry like a little girl 'cause I won't take him back."

"Which you won't, right?" he asks. Yeah, he's jealous.

"Of course not," she says. She doesn't even bother fooling herself into thinking it's true.

Duncan rocks back and forth in the corner of his room, and her parents just stare blankly. She feels like she should be doing something.

"Mom, Dad, shouldn't we, uh...?" she's not entirely sure what she's suggesting, but watching him like this seems cruel.

"The doctors have been called; for god's sakes Lilly, don't do something stupid," Mom says. "He's physically unstable; he can hurt you."

Lilly sighs – she knows her mom means the best and all that, but she's cold. It seems incredibly inhumane to just stare at her brother in fear as if he's a rabid dog. "Mom, we can't just do nothing."

"Do you see another option?"

"Stop it, you two," says her dad. But he doesn't offer an opinion.

Duncan's rocking increases until he's banging his head against the wall. "Duncan!" Lilly yells, immediately flying to his side.

When she reaches for his shoulder, he lashes out like an animal. Thwack.

She falls to the ground in shock, cradling the side of her face. Her dad immediately comes to her and picks her back up, while Celeste looks aghast.

"Lilly!" yells Dad, holding her to his chest. He looks down at Duncan, and Lilly doesn't think she's ever seen him look so hurt in her life. She stomach rolls.

"I told you, Lilly," Mom whispers, but less in her usual attacking tone, and more in not remembering to be tactful. Lilly scowls anyway.

"Fuck you," she says, not caring that Mom will punish her later. "I'm fine."

She tosses her hair back over her shoulder like it's true. Dad sighs.

Duncan recovers, like he always does – the doctors make their appearance and change the dosage to stop this happening again, which it will, obviously, but everyone just wants to buy some time. She even manages to flirt with them a little, just for the sake of finding something to do. If they notice the red mark turned purple bruise on her face, they don't mention it.

Duncan's horrified when he learns he hit her; when he sees her bruise – that's her Donut, always the stalwart good guy, and taking responsibility for things that so aren't his fault.

She feels weirdly disappointed when he says sorry.

She fucks Logan again because he showed up bleeding – it's not unusual.

She doesn't remember very well the next morning, but she's curled into his side in Duncan's bathroom, her head resting on his lap. It's good enough. They're back together.

"I love you," is the first thing he says when he stirs, before 'good morning'.

"I love you too," she responds, utterly bare and honest.

Then she walks out of earshot, calls Weevil, dumps him, and feels guilty about not feeling more guilty about it.

She doesn't know why she's dumping him over the Yolanda thing herself – sure, he kissed another girl, but it's not like she hasn't done worse. She only ever did it when they were technically broken up, but given exactly how technical those usually were, that's not much of a defense.

This is probably just another one of those technical break-ups too. Doesn't mean she isn't pissed though.

"I don't see why this is such a big deal, Lilly! Can we just talk about it?"

"No!" she yells. "You cheated, Logan! There are all kinds of feminist problems if you don't see that as a reason I might dump you!"

"Oh, come off it already!" he barks. "Do you think I don't see you? The way you flaunt yourself for anyone who might happen to see; the way you look for the worst people possible just to terrify me?"

"God, shut up!" she's on the edge of tears for some reason she doesn't know. "Don't try to blame the victim here. I have given everything; every bit of myself to help you, and I don't know–"

"What have you given, Lilly?"

She stares at him. "What?" She doesn't know. She doesn't think she has given anything; she doesn't know why she just said that. Shit, moral high ground, come back!

Logan just snorts at her. "Exactly. I should have guessed you'd always find some reason to feel sorry for yourself."

"And I should have guessed you'd always find some way to play the victim," she shoots back. "I promise you this, Logan Echolls: pretty soon, you're gonna wake up and realize wow, I fucked her over and this is all my fault."

"You've never seemed to mind me fucking you over before," he says. It's a cheap shot and she refuses to respond to it.

"And now with the slut-shaming. You know what I say before about the feminist issues?" he rolls his eyes at her, but she ignores it. "Goodbye, Logan."

"No, we are not finished."

He turns her back around by grabbing her arm, but it's not very violent. "How are you planning on–"

He cuts her off by smashing his lips down on hers – it's not a kiss; it's midway between clothed sex and a fist fight. She follows her instincts and kisses back rough, biting his lips and tugging sharply on his hair. Her head is screaming yes, yes, but she doesn't no if she should be listening to it.

She pushes him away after a few seconds. "No!" she yells, breathing heavily. He looks disbelieving. "I'm not getting back into this; just being pissed at everything and acting like that makes things okay. It's like evening ground by dropping A-bombs there or something. You can do what you like, Logan, but I am better than that."

"You always talk like that!" he yells. "You're not better than me, Lilly, and you won't be able to pretend you didn't love me!"

"I love you," she says quietly. It calms him slightly. "Always have. I wouldn't expect you to understand."

She storms off, feeling surprisingly heartbroken for another fight she doesn't expect to have any impact in the long run.

She winds up at the Echolls household by accident. She's certainly not there to say sorry to Logan – he cheated on her – so she's not sure what she's actually doing there.

Mr. Echolls greets her in, and she frowns at him. She doesn't know why, but she feels angry at him – angrier than she usually does when she thinks of the marks he leaves all over his son's skin; that rage that has become normal whenever she sees him. This is unusual, noticeable, and she doesn't know why.

"Lilly," he sounds surprised, but not unhappy to see her. "Sorry, Logan and his mother are out."

She nods. "Okay. Can I come in anyway?"

He shrugs and steps aside for her, and she enters stony-faced. "Lilly, are you okay?" he asks, like he actually cares. "You look... off."

She gets it. Even when she's dumped Logan or vice versa, or whenever anything else goes wrong in her life, she carries herself with brightness and vigor. If she can't be happy and carefree, she'll be angry and indignant; she'll be unshackled enough everyone will think she'll be alright. She's forgotten that today. She's somber and moody; without her performance. She guesses she left her poker face at home.

"I'm alright," she says. "I guess what's going on with Logan and I... it's getting to me."

"Understandable," says Aaron. "I'm not sure if this will make things better or worse, but he's hurting too. Acting out; drinking and fighting and the like. I can barely keep him under control–"

"You hurt him," Lilly buts in. She represses the urge to flinch as she imagines Aarons attempts to 'control' Logan – fists and flogging and the like. Instead, she just stares him down.

Aaron remains silent for a long moment. "I guess," he says casually. "I am not a perfect man, especially in my profession. I try my best to be a good father, but... I know, I make mistakes. And those will hurt Logan. I think that happens with every parent."

He's talking like he doesn't know what she's on about; like he thinks she's never seen the blood and the bruises. Her blood boils, although she's desperate not to let it show in her face. He looks so normal about her accusation, and she needs to say something, anything that will make him–

"Fuck me."

No, it doesn't make sense. She knows this. But in her head it feels like it does, and it's pretty much her best chance of ever getting a reaction out of him.

Aaron raises his eyebrows. Well, it's a start.

She finds Logan in the hallways at school, when they should have gotten to fifth period already, but neither of them are very good at the getting-to-class-on-time thing.

"Well, well, well; I call her name and she appears," he says. "So what's the deal? Come to win my heart back until the next time you decide I'm a worthless wretch not good enough to be stuck to the bottom of your shoe?"

"No," she says. "And, for the record, none of this means I'm forgiving you or taking you back. Just to be clear."

"Then what is it?"

She breathes in deeply. "I love you. I love you, I love you, I love you; I always have and I know I'm the shittiest girlfriend ever at expressing it, but I do. And it scares the crap out of me, because you have I kind of hold on me I can't... I would give up so much for your sake, even if you'd never understand I was doing so; even if you'd think I was... I want to help and understand you, and I'm never going to be able to let you go, even when I fucking hate you and even when I let any boy over five foot paw all over me. I love you."

She can still feel his father's come coating her insides.

"Nice speech, Lils," he responds, looking somewhat softer. "But I don't believe you."

She shrugs. "Yeah, I kinda expected that one."

"Sorry, it's just... look at you. You're hardly the picture of innocence. I love you, but I don't trust you – if you really did think you were better than me, you're sorely mistaken. I'm not sure I could see you going to great lengths for anyone.

She quirks a smile. "Exactly," she says. "Remember when I was the innocent one of us?"

She wonders if Logan saw that bitemark she left on his father's chin, where it would be hard to cover up. He'd assume it was one of the floozies that hang off the great Aaron Echolls left, right and center – not her specifically. He has not lost that much faith in her.

Logan seems confused. "What's that supposed to mean?"

She shakes her head. "Nothing. See you, Logan. Nice life and all that."

She walks off and it seems final, somehow.

Logan's on an impromptu vacation with Dick and Beaver in Mexico for a weekend, and Lilly's getting to know Echolls Snr. better. Well, she's getting to know how he fucks better, which is close enough, right?

They fight for control, not like she did with Logan – with Logan, she eager surrendered and let him do whatever. With Weevil, she regretfully took control because he didn't want to. But with Aaron it is different – they roll together, struggling to be on top. She wants to overpower him, punish him. He wants to remind himself of how the world bows to his will.

She finds it hilarious, that this results in them being even on power levels – he has lost the authoritarian nature everyone sees in him, and is doing his best just to enjoy the fuck. She has picked up an artificial nature, and is trying to pretend this is her being anything more than an angry little girl.

She's the actress now, and she's a fuckload better than he ever was.

She leaves bites and bruises and scratches. She says she might tell Logan, but Aaron knows she never would. She points out he's breaking the law, but he doesn't care.

But when he gives her the tapes – well, not gives, but his own idiocy leads her to them – she realizes she might actually have a chance.

She has the tapes at the car wash. She and Veronica are talking about the Duncan fiasco, and Lilly's doing her best to be cagey (and she is so not touching the whole debacle, either mentally or socially, with a ten foot pole). Still, she can't help but ask:

"Does he ever scare you."

Veronica blinks at her, confused. "No."

Well, that's that then.

A bit later, Lilly says "I've got a secret. A good one."

Veronica's an innocent little lamb, and could never even begin to imagine what she's on about.

Maybe Lilly resents her a bit for that.

She finds the shotglass and the letter in her car. It's sweet he brought her a shotglass – she does collect them, after all – but it makes her feel bad for some reason. Plus, how did he get into her car? Stalker much?

She leaves the glass there, but tosses the letter out by the side of the road – it's all about how it's over and he's letting her go. And it can't be. He can't let her go.

After all, she can't let him go.

She sees the ashtray coming a split-second before it hits.

Logan will find out. And he's not going to understand.

A year later, Aaron Echolls has been arrested for her murder. Veronica – not the innocent little lamb anymore – did it for her, and yeah, no-one understands the real reasons Lilly fucked Aaron in the first place, so they're all a bit pissed at her memory. Still, she barely gets the reasons she did it, so she's cool with it.

Logan's also been arrested for stabbing a PCHer, even though he didn't and it breaks her heart – she knows she made things worse.

However, the fact of the matter is Aaron's been arrested. Logan will get off – he always did – and Aaron will pay as appropriate.

Yes, she's been let down majorly for the entirety of her death, but she's going to pretend she hasn't been. She just sort of blindly hopes that things will work out for the best at this point, because damn if she – and everyone else, for that matter – doesn't/don't deserve it. Well, maybe more them than her, because there's only so much she can do at this point. Dude, dead.

They'll find their way. They always did. She couldn't, but everyone will learn to live with it after a while – they'll cope with her memory just fine.

She's still dead, and it sucks. But she won.