A/N: Hello! So, this is set in "Rusky Business" and basically chronicles what would have happened if Trina had not showed up and Veronica had taken Logan home. There's some fluff. Some angst. And a whole lot of dialogue. Hope you enjoy!

Third Wheel

After years of torture and humiliation, Logan and I have somehow come to some sort of stalemate. Nothing like finding out together that one's absent sister was impersonating your dead mother to level the playing field. And then the whole him beside me in my car in nothing but a white button up, skivvies, and pair of Ray Bans. Saving one from getting cited yet again for public drunkenness also lends to the slow simmer of a friendship.

"You need to get yourself a better getaway car," he slurs, head lolling to the side to glance at me. "Something cool, so that when they see you drive away they'll be impressed."

"See, I don't think you really grasp the concept of a getaway car. First, they are not supposed to see you drive away in it. And if they do, the car should be nondescript so that they can't find you. That, Logan, is the concept of a getaway car."

"Whatever, Nancy Drew, I still think you should get a better car."

"And I think you should stop leaving your house without pants," I quip.

"I'm Tom Cruise from Risky Business."

"No, you're an idiot," I answer, turning the corner. He doesn't say anything for a moment and I almost think we will be able to conduct this ride in silence. No such luck. He speaks and my stomach clenches when I hear him softly answer, "No, I'm a kid who just found out his mom killed herself."

Guilt washes over me and I quickly amend, "Logan-"

"And found out that his sister was impersonating her." His voice pained, but when I glance over at him the moment of vulnerability has already passed, Logan regaining his mask of snark. "When a door closes another opens, right? I lost a mother but gained a cheap, attention whore of a sister!"


"Whatever, it's just another level of dysfunction. I'm used to it."

"Logan, I am so sorry. I-I know how it is to lose a mother. It's not easy."

"It's fine, Ronnie. Life is difficult. You move on." Logan turns suddenly in his seat, glancing back at something behind us. I glance in the mirror to see what he is looking at and swallow hard when my eyes meet Leo's. Logan's gaze is on me and he says, "Officer Krupke doesn't look too pleased. Think he's pissed I dropped in on his date?"

"Driving your sorry butt home is hardly a date," I retort quickly. It's a reflex, the casual defensiveness laced with sarcasm. Thinking for a moment, I realize it's something Logan and I share.

"But you were having one," Logan continues. "I saw you two dancing together to Cyndi Lauper. He seems a bit slow, but I guess anything is a trade up from a drug dealer."

I look over at him in surprise and stammer, "You knew about Troy?" My mind returns to all those times I caught him staring forlornly at us. Now, it made sense. Sort of.

He shakes his head, though, and says, "No, I found out after he skipped town. You drive him out?"

"Nope. But I did take all the drugs he was planning on bringing to his main squeeze. Figured I had the right as the girl on the side."

"He was never good enough for you," Logan says stoutly, his knees opening as he leans further against the chair. I glance over at him nervously, praying that everything south of the border stays in place and doesn't find its way to my car seat.

"What makes you say that? The drug dealing? The stealing? Lying?"

"You're cool, Veronica."

I smile slightly and glance over at him. He seems a bit uncomfortable with this particular admission and I tease, "You can take it back, you know. I won't tell anyone."

"You help people. You helped me." I nod. "You probably thought I was ridiculous looking for my mom, but you helped anyway."

"The evidence that you gave me was good evidence, Logan. I thought it could end differently, too."

"I treated you like shit for this past year and you still help me."

My eyes widen slightly and I tighten my grasp on the steering wheel. I had spent so much time denying the possibility of an apology from Logan that the prospect of one makes me oddly nervous. Forcing a calm voice, I quip, "Well, I'm a helpful person."

"And I'm a jackass."
"Sometimes," I admit.

He doesn't say anything and I focus on the road, watching the familiar landmarks pass as I make my way to his house. A year ago, this road had seen as much of me as the one to my own home. My mind flits back to pool parties, barbecues, and nights with friends under the cloak of night and haze of alcohol. The house comes into view and I let out a breath I wasn't aware I was holding. More memories flood in and I find it hard to field them.

"Are you okay?" Logan asks as I park in front of the house. When I nod it is a spastic jerk of my head. Logan's hand moves dangerously close to my arm but I shrink away and say, "I'm fine. Really, Logan, I am. It's just, um, sort of weird to be back here."

He nods, and I find comfort in the fact that I don't have to explain further. Leo walks up to the car, and I take from the firm set of his jaw that he is ready to play serious deputy. He opens Logan's door and tells me, "I'll take him up."

I remember Logan and Trina's exchange from the Neptune Grand and shake my head immediately. Trina had mocked him, but I knew better. I remembered all the mysterious marks from our youth. The jovial fa├žade marked with moments of darkness. I can only imagine how Aaron Echolls will respond to his son being presented to him by a deputy. "I'll take him up, Leo."

"This really is my job," Leo presses, trying to soften his words with a smile. An hour earlier my stomach had done flips at that grin, but now it is entirely ineffective. I unbuckle myself and climb out of the car, walking over to Logan's side. Leo watches with an unreadable face as I reach into the car and help Logan out, wrapping my arm around his waist. Buckling slightly under Logan's added weight, I look to Leo and tell him, "I'm fine. I'll be back in a minute."

"If you need me I'll be right here."

"Chivalry is not dead!" Logan mocks, pitching forward slightly and causing me to stumble. I slap his stomach and tell him, "Behave yourself."

All he does in response is to give me that irritating smirk of his that I begrudgingly note makes my stomach flip. Shaking my head, I start to move him toward the front door. I need to get him back to his home, back to his world so that I can return to mine. I don't understand the emotions coursing through me, the undeniable hormones with our bodies brushing against each other.

"You know, I don't think he likes me," Logan notes, attempting to glance back at Leo. I tighten my grip on him and say, "You turn- I get off balance and fall. Then you fall."

"And then we'd be on the ground together?" he finishes lasciviously. "Veronica, if you want to roll on the ground, just ask."

"And still a jackass," I remark, dragging him to his door. "Okay, Logan, do you have a key?" He shakes his head. "Know where the spare is?" Again, he shakes his head. When my next inquiry of whether he can appear sober garners a rather sloppy nod of his head I sigh and tell him, "Alright, listen here and listen good. I will do all the talking to your father. You just stand here and look drunk. Think you can manage that?"

"Don't worry, pop is used to me being a disappointment."

"I'm a helpful person, remember?"

"The most helpful."

"Good, then keep your mouth shut and let me do what I do best."

"And what is that?"

I ignore him and knock on the door, listening closely for the sound of footfalls. When I hear them, I steel myself for the vision, for the first sight of Aaron Echolls after I learned the horrible truth of who he really is. Surprisingly, when the door opens I do not wince. My smile is perfect as I say, "Mr. Echolls, hi."

"Well, this is an interesting scene," he says with amusement.

"Someone spiked the punch," I explain. "I saw a few kids do it but figured it wasn't my business to say anything, you know? It was my business, though, when I saw Logan about to drive home after drinking several glasses."

"Let me guess, son, you knew the spikers?"

I laugh loudly and say, "I doubt it! A few band geeks, probably trying to up their popularity. Doubt it'll work, but you can't fault them for trying!"

Mr. Echolls chuckles and agrees, "No, you can't. Well, I will take my son now. Thank you for sending him home safely." I walk with Logan into the house, depositing him onto a couch. He looks so small hunched on that couch, sans pants. I glance over at Mr. Echolls and pray that my little performance is good enough. I look at Logan again and tell him. "A glass of water and two aspirin before you go to bed. You'll be good as new."

"If there is one thing Logan is good at, it is tending to hangovers. Well, Veronica, you'd better get home. I'm sure your father is wanting you home soon."

"Yes, Keith Mar's leash is a short one."

"Have a safe drive."

I nod and Mr. Echolls leaves the room. I hope it is to get his son a glass of water, and not to retrieve a belt. Logan is staring at me on the couch and I offer him a small wave before turning. When I reach the door I hear my name called and I look back. Smiling softly at the expression on Logan's face I tell him, "No need to thank me again, Logan. I know that causes you physical pain."

"You know, Veronica Mars, you're kind of amazing."

I chuckle softly and ask, "Logan, if I didn't know better I'd say we're becoming friends."

His lips curl into a smile much like my own and he says, "See you Monday, Veronica."

A/N: Why is LoVe so much fun to write? Seriously, I feel like I can't get enough! Please leave feedback!

Also, if you liked this, check out my other LoVe fic "Ticket To Ride" :)