A/N: For all my loyal readers and reviewers who have stuck with me through 2010 (and for anyone else who reads this as well!), here is some Christmas LoVe to make you smile!
Disclaimer: All recognisable characters from Veronica Mars belong to Rob Thomas and other important people who aren't me!
A Neptune Christmas Miracle
At thirteen years old, I guess I shouldn't really have been holding out for a perfect Christmas. The older you get, the more you start to understand that nothing is really ever perfect and wishing for it is more than a little pointless. That didn't change the fact that I wasn't looking forward to Christmas much this year, simply because it could never be the same as before.
Every year for as long as I could remember, no matter what happened, we had all gone to my Grandma's house for Christmas. She lived in North Dakota and the chances of snow for the season was always high. Up to the age of twelve, I'd never seen a Christmas that wasn't as white as Mr Crosby always sang about, but it seemed the tradition was over now.
Grandma passed away soon after that last Christmas we spent together, and that meant this next Christmas would be spent at home in Neptune, which thrilled me not at all. Of course I missed my Grandma, she was one of the greatest women I ever met in my life, and I was so proud to be her grand-daughter, but Christmas wouldn't even have felt like Christmas with her there if we were in California. Sunshine and beach parties just didn't say festive season to me and still don't if I'm honest, though I guess over the years I just learned to adjust.
Anyway, the point is that first Christmas, without my Grandma, my vacation, or the snow that I always associated with a Merry Christmas, seemed set to be the worst of my life, in spite of the fact my family and friends were doing their best to cheer me up. That was the second year Logan's family spent in Neptune, and the first of what became the famous Echolls Christmas parties...
"You okay, sweetheart?" Duncan asked Veronica as they sat at their usual lunch table, his arm around her shoulders.
"Sure, yeah" she replied absently, picking at the food she didn't really want having not been listening to the conversation around her at all.
"Snap out of it, Veronica Mars" Lilly urged her as she plopped down on the bench beside her and smiled her patented infectious smile, "I know it's a drag that you have to spend Christmas here with us, but are we really so bad?" she teased.
"Of course not" she managed a small smile back, dropping the plastic fork (that had yet to make it to her mouth anyway) back onto the table , "I'm just not exactly in the holiday mood right now"
"Maybe after tonight you will be" her boyfriend suggested, "Logan's parents are throwing quite the bash from what my folks told me" he said, looking from Veronica to his friend who was sat up on the wall beside them, "Right, Logan?"
"Mom's pulled out all the stops" he agreed, with a half-hearted smile, clearly not looking forward to the event much himself, "Dad's already lost his cool three times over the money she's spending" he said, immediately wishing he hadn't, as he seemed to want to hide inside his pudding cup just a second later.
"Well, it's not like you'll be stuck with all the boring adults all night" Veronica reminded him, "We'll be there" she smiled, something of a more genuine look than anything that passed over her lips up to now.
"I know" he smiled back just a genuinely, an oddly special moment passing between them until suddenly Lilly was there on the other side of Logan, literally turning his head to face her so she could kiss him.
Veronica couldn't hear what she was saying, but knowing Lilly is was something shocking given the way poor Logan blushed. At fourteen, she was already a rampantly hormonal teen and Veronica knew her parents weren't thrilled to have her be friends with their daughter, but she couldn't help it. The four of them had just become so close so easily, there was no turning back now.
When the bell rang, Veronica and Duncan headed off to class, leaving Logan and Lilly alone with talk of skipping next period maybe. As the other two walked away, Logan noticed that the smile had gone from Veronica's face and she looked so sad again.
"She's not happy" he said, more to himself than to Lilly thought clearly she heard and understood he was talking about their little blonde friend.
"I know" she sighed, "I guess it's tough, losing a Grandma if you love her so much" she considered, "It's not just that anyway, her whole Christmas has got turned on its head now. No vacation, no snowy landscape" she rolled her eyes, "I don't get it, I mean, it's not like she won't still get a ton of gifts and everything. What's the big deal?" she went on, apparently genuine in her lack of understanding, "And hello, she gets to hang out with us this festive season. What could be better than that?"
Logan chuckled at his girlfriend's attitude. He was pretty sure she was joking, if only a little bit. Lilly did have feelings, she just wasn't big on showing the nice ones, maybe because it wouldn't do to have people know how much she might actually care.
"I think I'm gonna go to class" Logan told her then, planting a quick kiss on her lips before hopping down to the ground and strolling away.
Lilly called after him, something about being a goody two shoes, but he barely heard. The truth was, Logan was still thinking about Veronica and how sad she had looked when she walked away just now. He was getting an idea of how to make her Christmas just a little better. Assuming he could get out of school on time tonight and get a hold of the guy who's help he needed, it might just work...
At the Echolls house, their first Christmas Party was in full swing. Aaron and Lynn were already talking about making it an annual event as the champagne flowed, friends and neighbours getting every kind of merry together. Everybody who was anybody had been invited, from software magnate Jake Kane and his wife Celeste, to the towns well-respected Sheriff Keith Mars and his wife Lianne. The Casablancas, the Sinclairs, every well-known family was represented, though most had left their children at home in the care of the nanny or similar.
Of course, it would be unfair to leave Logan all by himself amongst the adults who paid him no mind, and it was taken as read that the Kane and Mars families should bring their teens along to the Echolls house. The fab four were seldom without each other and tonight was no exception.
Of course, a party like this was really no place for four young teens and all were growing increasingly bored. Stood out on the edge of the crowd of slowly marinating grown-ups, Logan, Duncan, Lilly, and Veronica kept out of the way by the buffet table, trying to have some kind of fun themselves but failing miserably.
"I'm full and I'm bored" lamented Lilly with an over-dramatic sigh, "Can't we get out of here?" she asked Logan, looking to the other two for back-up, "This is like the most boring party ever. We could go have our own somewhere" she suggested then with a grin that never failed to make others nervous, "Maybe the poolhouse?"
"No!" Logan's answer was so sudden and so emphatic is literally made Duncan jump with surprise, pouring the cup of punch he'd been getting for Veronica all over the floor and his sister's shoes.
"Oh my God!" she gasped in apparent shock and horror, "Donut, you are such a klutz!" she complained, immediately hurrying away to the nearest available bathroom in an attempt to clean herself up.
Duncan was calling apologies behind her before high-tailing it to the kitchen, Logan presumed, in search of paper towels or something similar to mop up the mess he'd made.
It took all this commotion before Veronica even gave the others her attention. Her mind had been elsewhere, her eyes fixed and yet unseeing in the direction of all the happy party-goers. She really didn't feel so jolly right now, and Logan had noticed even if no-one else had. Now seemed like the perfect time to reveal his surprise for the little blonde, the moment proving to be better than he ever thought now they had gotten rid of Lilly and Duncan for a while.
"Um, maybe we should..." Veronica gestured out of the door, clearly undecided as to whether her help would be more needed by sister or brother right now.
"Actually, I was hoping you'd come with me" said Logan, not moving out of her way at all, "I... I kind of have a surprise for you" he told her with a smile that he could not help.
Veronica frowned a little, confused by his words. Why Logan would have a surprise for her she couldn't imagine. She was used to Lilly's surprises, that was just the way her best friend was, and Duncan being her boyfriend liked to buy her gifts and such. She and Logan were friends, very good friends, and yet somehow they never seemed to spend any time together when the Kanes weren't around. It seemed strange that he looked so pleased they were gone, and yet Veronica had to admit, if even in her own head, that she liked the peace their absence brought just occasionally.
"You trust me, right?" Logan asked her when she was silent too long, offering her a hand to take.
"Of course" she nodded, a smile coming to her lips as she took his hand and allowed herself to be led around the edge of the large room and out of the French doors at the back.
As her eyes adjusted to the dark, Veronica realised they were headed for the poolhouse, which she might have thought was a little strange given how violently Logan reacted to the mere mention of the place before. Of course, she hadn't really been listening then, so it didn't mean much.
"Logan, what are we doing out here?" she asked, just ever so slightly worried about being out here alone with him, neither her parents nor their friends knowing exactly where they'd gone.
She hadn't lied when she said she trusted him, she really did, but she felt so strange about running off like this. Veronica couldn't put her finger on why she felt this way. Maybe it was her hand held tight in Logan's own, or perhaps just the fact they were experiencing what it was to be alone together, something that rarely if ever happened.
"Okay" he said suddenly as they came to a halt outside the poolhouse door and he turned to face her, "Close your eyes" he prompted and though she didn't really understand, Veronica did as she was asked.
She felt Logan's hand take her own once again and heard the door being opened in front of her. He pulled her gently forward, advising her to be careful of the step, and though she had yet to see her surprise, Veronica was already smiling, amused by the this whole adventure now as deep down she believed something good was coming.
"Now, open your eyes" said Logan, letting go of her hand at the same moment that Veronica did as he asked.
The sight of the decorated poolhouse was enough to completely take her breath away. Veronica had never been so overwhelmed as she stared at the walls that showed images of snow falling on all sides. It was film projected there somehow and yet it looked so very real, she was almost convinced she felt colder just being in here. She opened her mouth to speak, but found no words came as a switch was flicked somewhere to the side and snow actually began to fall from the ceiling. Obviously it wasn't real, just little tiny pieces of paper blown around by fans, and yet closing her eyes a moment and letting her imagination run free, Veronica could imagine she was standing in a real snowfall in the middle of the field out back of her Grandma's house.
Logan watched the small smile on his friends face grow into something bigger, brighter, and more special. She was pleased with his gift to her, and that warmed his heart more than anything ever had in his young life.
Pleasing Lilly was easy, an expensive bracelet or necklace was all it took, but making Veronica happy like this was a real sense of achievement to Logan, giving her something so special that really made her feel better about the holiday season she had been dreading on some level this whole time.
"How did you do this?" she asked him, loud enough to be heard above the noise of the fans and with laughter in her tone that was infectious to Logan.
"One of my Dad's friends who works in special effects" he smiled as he came to stand beside her once again, shrugging his shoulders like it was no big deal even though it kind of had been, "I just figured you'd like it" he told her, apparently now a little embarrassed to have done something so sweet for a girl's sake.
"It's the most incredible gift, Logan" said Veronica, a lump in her throat and happy tears forming behind her eyes as she looked up at him, "Snow in California. It's kind of a Christmas miracle" she smiled.
"Well, maybe you're worth a miracle" he said awkwardly, unable to look at her then and keeping his eyes firmly fixed on the snowy scenes that surrounded them.
Veronica hardly knew what to say or do right now, so overwhelmed was she by the kindness of a friend and the effort which he'd gone to just to make her smile.
This didn't bring her Grandma back, and the snow wasn't even real, but the fact Logan had gone to all this trouble just for her served to remind Veronica that at least she did have people that cared about her. She should be merry this Christmas, because she was still so lucky to have many reasons in her life to smile like this.
"Thank you so much, Logan" she said, her voice shaking with emotion as she pulled herself up on her tip-toes and kissed his cheek.
Logan hardly knew how to react as he gazed down at her then, allowing his arm to creep around her back as her head landed on his shoulder. This moment couldn't last long, Lilly and Duncan would catch up to them soon and it would be over, but for as long as it would last they would stay here like this.
"Merry Christmas, Veronica" said Logan softly, and the snow continued to fall.
A/N2: This is one of four Christmas fics I will be posting in the next week or so - check out my Profile Page for more info! Oh and in case anyone was wondering, I did kind of borrow the snowing indoors idea from Gossip Girl!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Seasons Greetings to you, as is befitting :-)