TITLE: Postlude (33/33)
CHARACTERS: Veronica, Logan, Keith
WORD COUNT: 1,283/155,100
RATING: PG13 for this chapter
SUMMARY: Sometimes it's best to just get the hell out of Dodge. Set right after 'The Bitch Is Back'.
SPOILERS: Spoilers for the whole series, especially season 3.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own any rights to Veronica Mars. This story is written as a tribute only. Beta'd by celtic-flicka. All remaining errors are my responsibility.
So yeah, you all were very adamant that the story needed an epilogue. I'm not certain if it's better with or without the added part below. I'm sure you'll let me know. My original intent was to leave the story knowing that they were going to have to work hard to stay together, and that might be a very long journey.
Veronica wallows in Neptune without Logan. Almost unconsciously, she retraces her flight from justice as the one year anniversary of their departure approaches. She begins to make a routine of going to Dog Beach, and Gory's able to kidnap her. She manages to cause a car accident, which kills Gory and his accomplice, Brown Suit Guy. She wakes up in the hospital after suffering a coma, and eventually Logan returns, vowing that he'll stay.
Chapter 33: Postlude
Two days after he comes back to Neptune, the paparazzi find him. Logan's kiss when he walks in my hospital room is perfunctory, and he seems distracted.
I'm still a little muzzy from all the painkillers, but I know something's wrong. "What's going on? Talk to me. Goddammit, Logan."
He cracks his neck and winces. "The paparazzi spotted me leaving your dad's apartment yesterday. They followed me here, so..." Logan shrugs and drags his fingers through his blond curls. "I guess I'll be the top story on ET tonight. Or even worse, TMZ. Fucking bottom-feeders."
"Do you want to leave Neptune? I mean ... I'll be okay. I'll come find you when everything calms down."
"No! I should have been here. This is my fault—"
"Please don't say that. You know that I understand why you didn't come back with us. And there's no way that this is your fault."
The nurse walks in to check my vitals and change the IV bag. She frowns and glances at Logan. "Heart rate is elevated. Are you upsetting my patient?"
"I'm sorry," Logan says. "Maybe I'll come back later, and let her get some rest for now."
"No, stay. Get Cliff on the phone for me." I nod at the cell phone beside the bed, a new prepaid disposable of course. While he's scrolling for Cliff's name in the contacts list, I say to the nurse, "I swear I'll be all right. I need him here. We just got some bad news."
She looks dubious. "I'll check on you in a few minutes. Young man, you need to take better care of her."
"Yeah, I do." He hands me the phone.
"Cliff. I need a favor. Get out your Rolodex."
After a long meeting with two of the very finest Hollywood publicists and a top entertainment attorney, we make a plan. It's simple really: Logan will become the most boring interview in the world. When asked about being a fugitive, he'll enthusiastically turn the conversation around to the mundane details of sailing.
He practices a few times with the publicists, talking about rigging, boat design, and the vagaries of weather in expansive detail, complete with every bit of technical jargon he can muster. I understand at least 50% of what he's saying, and I'm bored out of my mind. The publicists suggest hiring a social media expert to flood the Internet with arcane sailing and surfing anecdotes—"crowd out the salacious stuff with a new story." These public relations experts seem completely discomfited to be helping someone to be forgettable in this manner.
Logan expresses a desire to make his name change permanent, and the attorney agrees to start the paperwork.
After they all leave, I say, "When did you get so mature?"
"No, you did. I think this could work."
Logan looks thoughtful. "You think I should go back to school? Maybe not Hearst, but somewhere else."
"What do you want to do?"
"I liked teaching little kids in the DR. The adults were a pain in the ass, but the kids were fun."
"You don't have to decide right away." I smile. "You know, I had a crazy idea."
He looks at me expectantly.
"Why don't you keep living on the boat? Then if things get too ... intense, you can sail away for a while. I can live there part of the time."
Logan shakes his head. "I don't want to be apart from you again."
"Okay, I'll run away with you when you need to, and the rest of the time you can stay with me and Dad in the apartment. We're a family, remember?"
"Hmm. I think I'd really like it if you lived on the boat with me. All the time, like we did in the DR."
And I realize that I'd really like it too.
So we do it. Logan arranges to have the boat delivered from South America to California, and by the time Panacea arrives at the Neptune marina, I'm back at Dad's apartment, still in a wheelchair, but glad to be out of the hospital. Although everyone assures me that I'll be all right eventually, I'm facing months of rehab and physical therapy.
Logan's spending too much time in the apartment taking care of me; I can see the shadow of how he was when he had to hide in Chapel Hill. I make him go surfing, and when the paparazzi swarm him on the beach, he runs up to them with a smile and begins a lecture on the similarities of surfing and sailing. It kills him at first to be nice to the tabloids, but then our ploy starts to work, and the gossip rags begins to lose interest.
The name change is approved, and I'm there in the courtroom to applaud when he legally becomes Randall Donahue.
Panacea attracts some attention at first, but gradually everyone starts to just not care. By the time I'm fitted with a walking cast, there is no one to notice when I finally return to our boat. Randy's been working on her, refinishing all the intricate woodwork and refitting her to be a luxury sailboat, something that we can live on semi-permanently. I can't manage a sail on her yet, not with my wrist in a splint and a broken ankle. The doctors warned me that another blow to the head would be very bad, so I have to be careful. But we can sit together on Panacea's deck while tied up at the marina, and everything starts to feel pretty damn good again.
Occasionally, Dad joins us for sunset cocktails, and we toast the resurgence of Neptune. It's never been a good city in which to be poor, but now the depressed property values, as well as Dad's efforts to clean up the criminal element, have attracted new businesses to relocate here, so there are job openings and residents of all classes start to prosper. And Kane Software spins off a tech division to create hardware to run their programs. Jake wins again, it seems, but so does Neptune.
One day, Randy tells us his new idea: he's going to start a program to teach sailing and surfing to inner city kids—a way to work on self-esteem and self-reliance. Swimming lessons, and CPR and first aid classes are all part of his plan. And tutors, to help the kids with their homework. We twist Jake Kane's arm, and he donates $500,000 seed money in exchange for the program being called 'Lilly's Kids.'
In October, my physical therapist clears me for sailing, and we cast off and head for blue water. My body feels creaky from disuse, and even though it's calm, I pull out my old harness and clip myself to the boat. My sea legs take a while to come back, but after a couple hours, I'm leaning with the boat, the wind whipping the words out of my mouth as we sail.
There is nothing but ocean and sky around us. I watch him at the helm. He is still one with the boat. He had all that time alone on Panacea, with nothing but a journal to keep him company.
He won't let me read it yet, but he'll have to one of these days. I am still Veronica Mars after all, and I have to know everything.
When the sun starts to disappear below the horizon, both of us are bone-tired, with skin chapped from the wind and salt spray, and I see him looking at some puffy clouds to the west.
Randy says, "I think it might rain."
"Yeah, it might."
And that's okay.