I wanted to get this out before Christmas but didn't quite make it. I hope the length of the final chapter makes up for it! It's truly an epic.

Chapter 24

I Do Pt. 2

It's a mistake to call her. He knows as soon as he hangs up. Just like it was a mistake to stay for another drink after Wallace and half the basketball team had left the bar. He'd hung around for a third beer with a few other guys who didn't feel like going home, then for a few whiskeys on the rocks by himself. Next thing he knows its one o'clock in the morning on a Wednesday and the bartender is asking for his keys.

Logan's somewhere in Europe and he'd rather set himself on fire then call Veronica 'who drinks on a weekday' Mars. Surveying his options makes him realize there are very people in the world who will even take his calls this late at night. So his last, and pretty much only, option is to phone Mac. When she answers he feels like an asshole instantly. Her voice is husky with sleep and he can just picture her messy hair and the way she's hugging her pillow. She says she'll come, but he knows she's pissed when she hangs up in the middle of his thank you.

She appears twenty minutes later in a ponytail and pajama shorts with pink panda bears on them. She sweet talks his keys from the bartender and then hands the guy a twenty for not letting him drive drunk. The guy not so subtlety checks out her ass as she walks away and the drunk guy that's taken up residence in his brain urges him to comment about his observation. Pick a fight, that'll impress her.

Fortunately the drunk guy's easily distracted and when Mac appears in front of him those thought's evaporate entirely. Her lips are swollen and he bends to catch them with his own, his hands coming to rest on her hips. She rolls her eyes, and pushes at his shoulder. "You smell like a distillery," she observes as she grabs his arm and pulls him upright. His head starts swimming and he stumbles, she compensates by wrapping an arm around his waist.

That's all the help he's getting though, and she doesn't say a word as she guides him out of the bar and across the street. He tries valiantly to start up a conversation, but she doesn't seem to want to sing along to the newest Maroon Five song or discuss the ratio of hot to ugly Hearst cheerleaders. "Sorry," he appeals suddenly as she helps him into the passenger seat of her Volkswagen.

She nods before circling around to the driver's side and putting her keys into the ignition. "Is this that thing?" he slurs as she pulls out of her parking space, "Where you're mad but not yelling?"

"No," she sighs, pushing her bangs out of her eyes, "I'm just trying to pretend I'm still in bed Dick."

He gets it now, she's not mad she's disappointed. She's an adult and she expects him to be one too. Unlike every other girl he's dated Mac doesn't play games or whine. She has never asked him to buy her something other then a diet coke or a cocktail and she'd probably be way more pissed then placated if he tried to buy her off with something shiny. She has a range of emotions that far exceed the ones he's used to. He loves that about her, because it means he can actually talk to her about things, but it also means he's never quite sure how she's going to respond when he fucks up.

They only get a block before he decides to push his luck. He doesn't know why, even though he's never been happy like this in his life, he's also never been so miserable. Four months and they're still not an actual couple, four months and he hasn't brought up being official and neither has she. And, since he's currently tanked, he's decided tonight is the night that's going to change.

He glances over at her as she bites her lip and takes a left turn too hard. He's planned it out in his head and he wants to do it right. He has this whole speech about how he wants them to be exclusive and committed and all that other pussy shit, but he's drunk so what comes out is, "So are we allowed to fuck other people?"

He prays she didn't understand it. The second half was basically a slurred groan, but he figures she made it out given her next move. She slams on the breaks and he just barely avoids knocking his forehead into the dash. It must just be the reflex that stops his mouth from being a total asshole that's on the fritz, because his hands apparently work just fine. He doesn't know what he's expecting, maybe that he'll be walking the rest of the way home, but of course she doesn't react in anyway like he predicts.

She puts the car in park and turns towards him, her face blank as she asks with this small, fake smile, "Are you fucking other people Dick?"

Should he lie? Just to see what she'd say? Nope that's definitely a mistake. Mac pretty much has a zero tolerance policy for lies and she can smell his bullshit from a mile away. Plus he doesn't want to hurt her. The thought of her being with another guy ever makes him sick to his stomach. The thought of it happening recently, while he was losing his mind over her, make his vision blur. He has to hope she feels the same way. "No," he breathes, and then he scrutinizes her features. Does she look guilty? "Are you?"

Her face doesn't change. Those blue eye staring at him, completely calm. They'd been spending a lot of time at the beach lately, and she has these pinpoint sized freckles sprinkled along the bridge of her nose. He'd give every penny he has to be able to read her mind.

Then she blinks, "No." She doesn't do that thing where she bites the side of her lip, like when she tells Veronica she's at the library when she's really in bed with him or tells her mom she can't go to her brother's dirt bike competition because she has class when really it's because she'd just as sooner eat glass, which means she's telling the truth. And that his heart can start fucking beating again.

After a pause she adds, "Is that thing that thing where you're drunk and trying to pick a fight?"

"No," he scowls.

"Then ask me what you really want to ask me," she requests. What he really wants to do is touch her. Lately he's been all about getting close. They'll go to the beach with a bunch a people and he'll spend the day lying on a towel next to her as she reads even though he'd rather be out coasting the waves. He'll nap on a park bench for an hour so he can spend five minutes walking her to class. Or they'll go to dinner and he'll get pissed if the waiter lingers longer then a millisecond. No we don't want to hear the specials, go the fuck away.

He pretty much stalks her with her consent, and it's becoming more and more frustrating. He's wanted to be her boyfriend since before they even started dating, so he doesn't know why he cannot get the words out. Why as she looks at him, expectant, he can't even think straight. Oh wait, it might have something to do with the gallon of alcohol in his system. "In the four months that we've-" he waves his hands as he tries to classify their relationship and comes up short "I don't know whatever you think we're doing, have I ever done anything to fucking hurt you?"

"Not counting right now?" she replies, her eyes lowering for just a split second. Shit, even though he's drunk and clueless he can tell that's not a good sign.

He groans and reaches for her hand, misses and gets her wrist instead. He squeezes just the same, tilting his head and hoping his voice sounds sincere, "I'm not trying to hurt you." Fuck relationships. Fuck them because this is awful. He has never felt more exposed in his life, and he's been naked in public, "I just can't take this anymore Mac. I feel like you're afraid of me, or maybe it's the other way around. I just, I want this to be different then the way it is."

She looks up at him through her lashes, anger evaporated. That's the thing about Mac, honesty seems to be his get out of jail free card. If he doesn't try to bullshit her she takes him seriously. She listens even when he's not quite sure what he's trying to say or when he's too drunk to string two sentences together.

"Then talk to me about it. Don't pretend everything's okay just because you're afraid to have an honest conversation," she prods, her eyebrows knitting together like he's a problem she needs to solve.

"I'm not afraid," he blanches, and that's the first lie he's told her all night. He runs a hand through his hair, trying to find more words to explain, maybe to both of them how he's feeling. "You barely wanted to go out with me in the first place. You think I don't understand you're still barely interested?"

He swears the temperature in the car drops a few degrees and she pulls back two, almost imperceptible inches. She doesn't yank her wrist out of his grip, though. "What are you talking about?" she asks, "We're together constantly. I practically live at your apartment."

"Yeah but for how long?" he questions before he even knows he's going to. And there it is, his fear that this relationship has an expiration date. That she's going to slip through his fingers and go live an amazing life and he'll be alone and in love with her forever, the fear that he can't be what she needs, and that soon she'll see that. It's this fear that drives him to keep talking even though his heart has started to race, "I mean we're together at my place, but it's been four months and I haven't met any of your friends-"

"My friends are your friends," she points out, voice rising slightly.

"Or your parents," he adds, "I mean your Dad asked who was talking in the background last night and you said it was the TV."

"Seriously?" she mutters, and he sees something click into place behind her eyes.

"I mean we're having sex every night," he continues, "You'd think by now, as the girl, you'd want to call me your boyfriend." It's the wrong thing to say, he knows immediately. Her eyes widen and she pulls her hand away, putting as much distance as she can between them in her tiny, death trap of a car.

"As the girl?" she scowls at him, "Do you hear yourself? Check your panties honey, because you're having a bitch fit based on the fact that we haven't defined our relationship and I didn't tell my Dad I was in a boy's bed at ten o'clock at night. I mean-" She stops midsentence, obviously realizing her words are getting away from her. She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, and when she opens them again she finishes softly, "You never asked me to be your girlfriend."

"And that doesn't upset you?" he questions, once again trying to read her face. She has to care. She calls to see how his day is going. She's let him map her body like it's a foreign country. She's even confided the details of the worst night of her life. The night his brother stole her clothes and tried to kill her best friend. It has to mean something to her, because it all means the fucking world to him.

"Is it supposed to?" she pushes her bangs out of her eyes, "Was I supposed to make a big deal about it so you didn't have to?"

"No," he says quickly, and when she flinches at the obvious lie he reconsiders, "I don't know maybe." He leans back against the seat and runs a hand over his forehead, suddenly exhausted, "I just feel like I have to keep pushing you into liking me. I borderline stalked you and now it's like everything's lopsided."

She stares at him for a long time, elbow resting on the steering wheel and chin in her palm. Finally she replies, "It's been four months. I'm not with anybody else. I haven't been. I'm sleeping in your bed and picking you up from bars at two in the morning. I'm having fights with you in this fucking car. I'm right here."

"This opinion you have me, it's not real. I'm not perfect, or even all that cool. And you're not the only one that's insecure in this relationship," she reaches forward and he laces his fingers through hers, "You're right in the months we've been together you've been great. But it's still not easy falling for the guy who used to fuck with everybody in high school."

He squints, a smile coming to his face for the first time that night, "Falling for?"

He squeezes her hand and she smiles too, rolling her eyes at him, "Really you're gonna tease me after I just admitted to being insecure?"

He shakes his head, "No I'm gonna kiss you." They meet in the middle, the car's shifter makes it a little hard to maneuver but they manage. He tastes like a distillery too, but given that she can feel his pounding heart through the material of her sweatshirt she figure he's earned it.

She pulls away, resting her forehead against his, "I'm trusting you so can you please trust me too?"

"Wanna be my girlfriend?" he asks with a smirk.

"Yeah," she nods as she leans up to kiss him again.

8:30 pm Saturday September 8

The waves roar in her ears as Logan drags a hand over his face, "I shouldn't have yelled at you last night. You shouldn't have lied Veronica, but I should have handled it better," he nods to himself, and she can see how hard he's trying to stop from jumping out of his skin, "We should handle everything better. And fuck I thought it would get easier with time. I always think we can get over it. That eventually we'll fall out of love with each other or at least stop feeling this, this pull to be together even when it hurts. But you're here and I'm here and you wrote that fucking book and I still feel the same way I always have."

She opens her mouth but he keeps going, like he's been waiting to say all this and is relieved to have been given the excuse. "I know okay? We barely talked about it but I know that it's my fault. At least some of it is my fault. The way you are, the way you're hurt, I caused it. I put you in that room Veronica. I didn't think about what would happen to anyone that night. I didn't care and you will never-" he stops to suck in a labored breath, and she closes her eyes. There are a lot of nights that she has to lock up in boxes and refuse to recognize as actual pieces of her life. It took two years to find out what really happened the night she was drugged and raped, and so far she's spent the rest of her life trying to forget it, "It will never be okay. Duncan, Beaver, Jesus Veronica I can barely think about it."

"It's Lily, it's your mom, but it's mostly what happened," he blinks, and decides to move on in a less frantic tone. He can't say rape. He can't even bring himself to think it, but the word hangs between them like a weight. God he's wanted to say this. This week has probably been one of the worst of his life, but at least its forced he and Veronica to say the things that have been on the tips of their tongues since high school, "The reason you don't trust people and the reason you don't trust me. You're strong, I know that, but you're also scared. You run away and you don't say what you should. You leave me before I can leave you and you pretend I'm still that guy in high school so you can feel better about it. I'm sorry for what I did to you when I was sixteen and the lies I told you until I was nineteen. You're the only person in my life I've ever really been afraid of disappointing."

He reaches forward to circle one of her wrists with his hand and she looks up at him with wide eyes, "You don't make me miserable Veronica. I love you. In an insane, unconditional, kill and be killed for you kind of way. But I can't be in this alone. I can't keep letting you get away with it because I don't forgive myself for something that happened ten years ago."

"You should," she sighs, reaching forward to fidget with his tie, "I forgive you."

"No you don't," he scoffs with a roll of his eyes. Or maybe she has, but she definitely hasn't forgotten. Veronica wears her pain like a suit of armor and nothing that can hurt her is allowed in or out anymore.

"For a crime you were only indirectly involved in and still can't talk about without looking like you're going to cry? I can. I told you I did." She reminds him in what she hopes is a genuine sounding tone. She means it she really does, "And you're not that person anymore. Can't you see that? You spent months and almost millions trying to protect me this year alone-"

"And still somehow managed to get us both held at gunpoint," he winces when he adds, "Twice."

"But you tried," she insists, and it's suddenly very important that Logan knows she thinks he's a good person. That he thinks he's a good person, "You try for so many people now and so many people love you. I'm sorry that happened in spite of me instead of because of me."

She glances down. She doesn't know how she became the villain in this relationship, with Logan as her victim. She's so used to being righteous that she's not even sure what it feels like to be sorry anymore, to feel bad about the things she's done instead of scrambling to justify everything in her head.

"Are you blind?" Logan asks wryly, lips forming a self deprecating smirk, "Because you'd have to be not to see that the trajectory of my life only started heading upwards once you and I stopped dicking around and got together for real."

"If you'd listened to me you never would have become an actor in the first place," she points out, because she had been vocally skeptical even though she recognized how good he was. Even though she could tell instantly that he loved it she had still tried to talk him out of it, her rational side always winning out. She used to be able to take leaps of faith. She used to be impulsive and brave, the kind of girl that would kiss a boy she pretended to hate on a hotel balcony. When did she lose that part of herself? When Aaron Echolls tried to burn her alive or when Cassidy Cassablancas held her at gunpoint on the roof of the Neptune Grand? Or was it slower then that, was she poisoned by the steady stream or liars and philanders she stubbornly sought out?

The book had been brave. The bravest thing she's done in years and she hadn't even been trying. She doesn't know why it's so easy to say it all in make believe or, if she's honest, she does. In print she can predict the outcome, she can make her characters do whatever she wants. Logan is his own volatile, endearing, and opinionated person and she has never been able to analyze him. His love for her, its purity and endurance, has always been a mystery and because of that she's never been able to fully trust it. For all her confidence she's not sure why he still wants her after all she's done to ensure the opposite.

She sighs, "You have no idea how jealous I am of you. Of how you can just say what's in your head. Even after everything that's happened you can still give pieces of yourself away. I'm so sick of being scared and of trying to make you scared too. If I could change one thing about myself that would be it."

He glances down, his grip still firm on her wrist. Like he's afraid she'll take off running if he can't keep his hold. The implication of that bothers her, and she goes from fiddling with his tie to holding it in her fist. He studies her hand, the tiny bones of her fingers and the whites of her knuckles. He looks at that for a long time before he can bring himself to look into her eyes again, "I don't want you to change. And I don't want you to be like me. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. I just need you to stay. Even when we fight. Even when it's hard for you and all your fucked up instincts are telling you to cut your losses."

She swallows hard and he bows his head so his forehead is resting against hers, "Can you do that Veronica?"

"Thanks for coming," Mac whispers in his ear as he wraps his arms around her waist and presses her into the grass.

"I haven't yet," he grins into her neck.

"Be serious for ten seconds and I'll make sure you do," she replies, pushing on his shoulders so he's leaning over her. She smiles up at him from her spot on the hill they're hiding out on as she reaches up the to push his hair out of his eyes, "Even though you said a million times Cassablancas aren't meant for the wilderness you still came camping."

"I may have overreacted," he shrugs, "I didn't know there was gonna be a cool RV or that you stash bottles of Jack in hollowed out trees like some sort of alcoholic Pocahontas." His eyes travel the length of her body, from her dark purple thermal that matches the tips of her hair to the pair of Timberland boots that match the ones he's wearing. They'd had to go shopping this weekend, once an in depth search of his closet revealed nothing but sandals and shredded chucks. It was made explicitly clear to him that the Mackenzie's hike, and that he should break in his boots sooner rather then later so he's pretty much been wearing them since the moment of purchase. He grins as he adds, "I definitely didn't know outdoor sex was on the table."

They'd been going camping since before she could remember, and by now she knows their site like the back of her hand. She found her hiding spot when she was in junior high, and as the years passed she'd graduated from hiding cool rocks she'd found during the trip to glass bottles of liquor to help her survive the trip. It wasn't the most sanitary of options, but it helped her get through a lot of trying family get togethers during her angsty teenage years. Although now she has a new distraction of choice and he's six feet tall and staring down at her like she's the most amusing thing in the world.

He leans down to kiss her again but she turns her head so his lips hit her cheek. "Can I tell you a secret?" she asks, her voice small.

"Can it wait?" he groans, his hands tensing at the spots where they're holding her hips. She turns her head back so they're face to face again, and one look at her wide eyes tells him this is serious, "Shit okay, what's the secret?" He flops down next to her in the grass, the only point of contact remaining is the arm trapped underneath her torso, and if he's going to pay attention to her story that's the way it has to be.

She looks up at the stars rather then looking over at him, and he's nervous but he's not sure why. She makes him wait, sitting there fidgeting in the grass as she prepares to tell him something she's never actually said out loud. Eventually he starts looking at the stars too, the liquor making him warm and drowsy. He almost doesn't hear it when she whispers, "I'm kind of adopted."

Almost. His head whips around, "Kind of?"

"When I was born there was a mix up at the hospital. Instead of Cindy Mackenzie I was supposed to be Madison Sinclair," she explains, still not looking anywhere but the Big Dipper. Maybe later, when he's regained rational thought, she'll see how many constellations he knows. She had them all memorized by the time was eight. Her Dad has this thing about stars.

"Are you saying you were actually-" he breaks off, rubbing his forehead as his mind goes a mile a minute.

"I was switched at birth," she finishes his sentence and her smile at the absurdity of the statement is bittersweet, "And by the time they figured it out Madison and I were three and no one wanted to switch back." She finally hazards a glance in his direction. He's sitting up on his elbows and looking down at her with his eyebrows raised. As soon as he notices she's watching he neutralizes his expression. He's not exactly sure what to say in this situation. What's a nice thing to say to the girl your currently dating who was switched at birth with the girl you used to hate fuck in high school?

He decides, as usual, to go with what he's thinking which is, "Thank God." Her eyebrows furrow so he explains, "If you were Madison Sinclair we never would have ended up together. I would have blown all my chances in high school."

"You almost did that anyway," she smiles up at him wryly.

"You know this actually makes so much sense. Have you met Madison's younger sister?" he asks, and realizes his misstep when her face falls.

"Yes," she nods, her eyes turning towards the stars again. Would she trade a sister for her brother? For Ryan's easy smiles and wicked sense of humor? He fixes her car whenever it breaks down and he'd been the only one of her family to accept Dick right away. They go to baseball games now and Ryan's going to learn how to surf. Like her parents, like these stupid camping trips, she wouldn't trade her stupid little brother for the world.

He sighs and runs a hand through his hair. It's his turn to talk again, "When did your parents tell you?"

She bites her lip, "They haven't." He squints at her, confused and she shrugs when she explains, "I asked Veronica to look into my parents when we were in high school. That's what she turned up."

"Wow," he lets out a low whistle, "Are you ever going to tell them you know?"

"Maybe," she's not the only one who can spot a lie now and when his gaze remains level she cracks under the pressure, "Probably not."

He takes a second to think about it and to let her think about it before he moves back over her and tries to kiss the serious expression off her face. He pulls back only when she's breathless, her cold hand under his sweatshirt and spread across the small of his back. "Mac Mackenzie's pretty awesome," he observes as he brushes his thumb across the curve of her cheek.

"She is isn't she?" Mac smiles up at him, wistfulness gone. She is who she is and it can't have been that bad if it led her to this moment. To this boy and this feeling.

"Why'd you tell me this?" he asks on impulse as his lips find that spot behind her ear that makes her squirm underneath him.

She debates using sex to distract him from the question. It wouldn't take much more effort, but so far he's been the one to make the leaps in their relationship. It's her turn. "Because I wanted you to be the first person I ever told," she answers, and then after a pause, "I love you."

He stills, pulling back to look into her eyes. His face finally splits into this goofy, blissed out grin, "I wanted to say it first."

"Too late," she shrugs, leaning on her elbows to kiss him.

She wraps an arm around his neck, drawing him down on top of her. "You know what I changed my mind. Mac Mackenzie's perfect," he whispers against her lips, and she laughs when instead of trying to take off her shirt he wraps his arms and legs around her and rolls them both down the hill.

8:45 pm Saturday September 8

He looks so grave, like what he's just asked of her is hard. Like the lump in her throat is based on fear and not the overwhelming emotion of all they'd just revealed to each other. It's so ridiculous, the thought that she might leave him again, that she actually laughs, "That's it?"

Logan looks like he's not sure if he should be mad or amused by the sudden turn. She lets go of the death grip she has on his tie and throws her arm around his shoulders, laying her head on his chest, "That's easy."

"Well you've managed to make it look pretty hard over the years," he replies, but his hands circle her waist to help keep her in place.

"Not anymore, she whispers back, "I thought we were in for a few more months of yelling at least. Stay with you? I was already going to do that whether you wanted me to or not."

He sucks in a breath, "Are you-"

She stiffens in his grasp, "Please don't ask me if I'm sure." She pulls back slightly so she can look into his eyes, "You're not the only one who thought this would go away. I was so sure when I left that we would fall out of love with each other. That we could both just move on, and be done once and for all. I tried for years to make myself stop. I may not be able to change parts of myself, but as long as you want me to stay, I'll stay with you."

She guesses this is how she should have felt when Logan proposed. That day she had felt like he was trying to tear their whole world apart, and now he feels like the only thing in their world worth holding onto. Her stomach is filled with butterflies but she's finally, actually sure of something. The wind picks up and threatens to send her blonde updo flying, but the three dozen pins that were shoved into her skull early this afternoon manage to hold firm.

"How does a few centuries sound," he smirks into her ear, "Just to start out with."

She knew Veronica was going to leave. The FBI had made her an offer and even though she kept insisting she wasn't going to take it her lines grew less and less convincing every time she repeated them. Mac noticed, and the only reason Logan wasn't doing something about it was because Veronica refused to even tell him about the job offer.

By the time she admitted as much Wallace already had half of her stuff moved out of the apartment she shared with Logan. A week later Dick, Wallace, Mac, and Veronica graduated and two hours later Veronica fled the state, New York bound. Over the next month Mac and Dick had started working at two different offices and Logan had systematically imploded.

They're sleeping at Dick's new apartment tonight. He's been so busy that nothing's unpacked except the bedroom. But at least he doesn't share it with three other weirdoes like his last place. She's moving out of her apartment too since Parker's about to migrate to Chicago and she can't afford the rent on her own.

They'd talked about living together, had actually seriously considered it. It was what happened with Logan and Veronica that scared them off. They rushed into living together and getting engaged and now both of them were destroyed and angry. Mac and Dick had decided to go slow, it had been working for them so far.

The call comes in the middle of the night and Dick flails around in bed searching for the phone that is an inch away from his face. Logan's voice is barely comprehensible, so slurred its not even English. Eventually Dick manages to ascertain that Logan's locked out of the apartment. Dick has the spare key. Perfect.

"Okay," Dick interrupts, rubbing his hand across his face, "Okay yeah I'm on my way."

Next to him the warm, beautiful, half naked body shifts. Mac's hair is short this month, a bob that frames her face and is streaked with turquoise. It's a mess now, the layers flying everywhere. Her lips are swollen and she swipes at the line of drool that curves around her chin. "What's wrong," she asks, her head falling on his chest and her arm wrapping around his waist.

"Nothing," he sighs, trying and failing to suppress a yawn, "Go back to sleep babe."

"Is it Logan?" she guesses and his silence tells her she's correct. She lets go of him. Crawling towards the edge of the bed she locates her sweatpants and pulls them on. Running a hand through her hair she turns to look at him, "Okay lets go."

They're both worried about Logan. Dick has been over at his place practically everyday since Veronica bolted but he can't keep an eye on him constantly. Plus there's Logan's natural propensity for getting into trouble and his seemingly endless supply of disposable income. This isn't the first phone call Dick's gotten in the middle of the night.

Mac holds his hand during the drive. She's so tired she's practically sleeping with her eyes open but she keeps asking if he's okay. No he's not fucking okay. He's exhausted and pissed and he'd like to strangle Veronica Mars, but he can't tell her that. Especially not when she's basically being the most understanding girlfriend on the planet.

They hear Logan before they see him, his snoring penetrating even the steel doors of the elevator. "Jesus," Dick groans, kicking off the wall they'd been leaning against and pulling Mac along with him. Logan is spread eagle on the hallway floor, passed out. Mac unlocks the door while Dick kneels by his friend's face and tries to wake him.

Logan is not in a good mood. He refuses Dick's arm and stumbles his way past Mac into the apartment. He slurs an explanation, the only comprehensible word being Veronica and tries to make his way into the kitchen. He stumbles again and Dick moves to help him but Mac gets there first.

"Come on Logan," she whispers, reaching up to push his hair out of his face, "Lets get you to bed."

Logan tries to argue but Mac ignores him and steers him towards the bedroom. The place is a mess, bottles and cans and half eaten sandwiches are everywhere. It looks like Maria hasn't been up there cleaning in a few days. Dick inspects the room for a few moments before heading into the kitchen to grab a garbage bag. As he passes back by the bedroom he hears Mac whispering.

Logan's lying on the bed and Mac's bent over him, her hand cupping his cheek, "It doesn't mean she didn't love you Logan. It doesn't mean that at all. It means she's scared, it means she's not ready, and it means it's a good thing you two didn't get married. You don't want someone who's not ready. And you deserve someone who will be brave for you. It doesn't take just love Logan, because if that was enough Veronica would still be here."

Logan says something back and Mac shakes her head. She leans down and kisses his cheek before standing. She gives Dick a small smile and flips off the light to Logan's bedroom. She takes the trash bag out of Dick's hands and heads for the living room. Dick stays in the doorway a few more seconds before mumbling a "good night man" and heading after his girlfriend.

She's already got half the shit picked up, and while she's folding a blanket he bends over to grab the beer bottles underneath the coffee table. "We should stay here tonight," Mac observes as she sets the blanket on the leather couch, "No point in driving home when there's a spare bedroom. Maybe I'll even call in sick tomorrow, Logan might need-"

"We should live together," he interrupts, holding the trash bag in one hand as he looks at her. She opens her mouth but he keeps talking, "We psyched ourselves out, but I'm not Logan and you're definitely not Veronica. I'm not scared," he swallows hard, "Are you?"

She glances down at the blanket in her hands, but looks back up only a second later. "No," she answers, and she smiles again, "But Dick it's late, and I sign my lease tomorrow-"

"I'm not gonna change my mind," he crosses the room and wraps his arms around her waist, "You moving in with me doesn't mean we have to get married. It just means we love each other and we're brave. It means that I want you next to me every night and that I want all of our shit to intersect. I want us to be together that way. I'm ready for that."

She slides her hands around his shoulders. Not for the first time realizing just how lucky they are. "Okay," she answers, standing up on her tiptoes so she can kiss him, "We should live together. That sounds-"

"Fucking awesome," he finishes against her lips.

"Fucking awesome," she repeats with a laugh.

8:47 pm Saturday September 8

The song is slow, and they're barely moving at all in the middle of the dance floor. Time is ticking away and everybody is getting a lot drunk. Dick is draped around her like a blanket, his chin rests on top of her head and his hands are clasped together at the small of her back. She couldn't conjure up a more perfect moment if she tried. "We made it," she whispers the revelation into his chest. She tilts her head up so she can look into his eyes, "Was it as perfect as you hoped it would be?"

He grins lazily and shrugs. As usual she had been right, they had both shown up and that was all that mattered. The rest, the toasts and the cake and the way she keeps looking at him, is all just extra. "I keep thinking I'm going to wake up," he replies, kissing her temple, "Pinch me again will you?"

"Stop it," she blanches, smile dropping from her face as she pushes on his shoulder, "You're the reason any of this happened at all. If anybody should believe what's happening right now it's you since your pretty much led me by the nose to this day."

"Worth it," he smirks, pushing a piece of stray hair behind her ear.

"I'm lucky you thought so," she replies, leaning up on her toes to press a kiss to his mouth.

"We're both lucky," he counters when they separate.

"And happy," she grins.

"And married," he emphasizes, his eyebrows rising dramatically as he spins her across the floor. "And we made it look a lot easier then certain people," he whispers into her ear as she clings to him, dizzy and laughing.

"What is it that Logan said to Veronica- something about songs and easy endings-" she jokes, poking him in the hip when he tries to dip her.

He rolls his eyes at her, answering with a scoff, "If you really want a song I'll write you one, because I'll take an easy ending over a decade of misery any fucking day."

A moment later she rolls her eyes at him. Taking his hand she leads him to one of the huge windows in the reception hall. In the distance Veronica and Logan are visible. They have their arms around each other, hugging or kissing neither Mac nor Dick can tell. "Do they look miserable to you?" she looks up at her husband with a smile, "Some people just take a little longer to catch up."

"I love that marrying you makes me look like the emotionally stable one," he muses with a smirk. Glancing out the window again he sees Logan's arms wrap around Veronica waist, a second later he takes a step towards the water, "Is he? No way."

"Are they trying to drown each other?" Mac asks as she squints at the figures through the glass, "Dick we should probably-"

Before she can finish her thought Dick has left her side, heading for the nearest exit. She's not far behind him, hopping on one foot in an effort to get off her shoes. Those two crazies just can't seem to get it together can they?

"Man I know everyone gets the urge but murder is never the answer," Dick shouts as he reaches the waves. Logan seems to have the upper hand, his arms still wrapped around Veronica's waist. He's spinning her around. Wait are her fingers sliding into the loops of his belt? Is that- oh yep that's what kissing looks like, "You have got to be kidding."

Logan pulls away from Veronica just enough so that he can tilt his head toward Dick, "What are you screaming about?"

"This is a happy thing, not a cold blooded killer thing," Disk groans, rubbing his forehead as he tries to catch his breathe. He's surprised he hasn't had a heart attack this week he really is.

Mac finally reaches them, and if possible she looks even more ridiculous then her husband, her veil disheveled for what feels like the fiftieth time that night. "What's going on," she pants.

Veronica lifts her head from the spot on Logan's shoulder where its been resting. She squints over at Mac and then up at Logan, who looks just as confused. "Logan and I are back together," she explains, "Are you two okay?"

Mac runs a hand through her hair, pushing her veil back where it belongs. "We're fine," she decides, glancing at a still out of breath Dick before crossing her arms over chest and staring over at her maid of honor, "Do you know how much your dress cost?"

Veronica glances down at her ruined dress before smirking back up at her best friend. Using her grip on Logan as leverage she kicks her leg up in a lame effort to splash the two newlyweds, "You should come in, the water's great."

Dick glances at his wife sheepishly, "It does look like fun."

"I'm in my wedding dress," she reminds him, her tone appalled. But then she looks back at her grinning friends and a moment later grabs her husband hand. A few minutes later the wedding photographer gets Mac's favorite shot of her wedding night. All four of them laughing and wrapped around each other as the waves roll in at their feet. Together and happy, a perfect moment caught in time.

9:30 pm Saturday September 8

"You know the last time I went skinny dipping?" she asks him. They've just gotten out of the shower. She's in a robe trying to tame her hair into something manageable and Logan's lying on the bed with just a towel around his waist.

"In my dreams?" he replies, his voice low and lazy, his eyes feeling heavy. He wants nothing more then to fall asleep on this bed next to the girl currently fidgeting in the bathroom mirror.

"The first Homecoming without Lily," she smiles at the memory, at the silliness and bravery that was characteristic of her best friend, "I was wearing red then too."

"It's definitely your color," he observes from his spot on the bed. He can hear her pacing across the floor. When he finally decides to sit up on his elbows and check her progress he sees her studying herself in the mirror, her fingers playing with the ends of her hair, "Have I told you I like the blonde? Because, really," he lets out a whistle, "Hot."

She grins as she glances at him over her shoulder, "Is it going to reflect badly on the bride if I go back down to the reception in jeans?"

He taps his chin in mock contemplation, "We said our speeches, you wore heels and I put on a tie. I say we've fulfilled our formal portion of the evening." He falls back on the bed, adding, "We left our shoes by the sand anyway."

"Jeans it is," she shrugs. She goes to the dresser and pulls on her pants. Then she throws on the nicest shirt she brought, a pink T with a pin up girl on the front. All class. Once dressed she heads over to Logan, standing over him she asks, "Are you planning on putting clothes on?"

"I thought I'd go down in the robe," he replies, tucking his hands behind his head, "Got to give the papers something to write about."

She rolls her eyes and heads towards her suitcase, "I think I have a pair of your sweatpants in my bag, and I know I have one of your shirts." She can practically hear his eyebrows rise at the implication. She's sure he noticed she took half his wardrobe when she fled the state. She turns around and shrugs, "I got used to sleeping in your stuff."

"Here they are," she announces when she locates the pants at the bottom of her bag. Carrying them over to the bed she falls alongside Logan on the bed, "You should wear something under the robe, so you don't give the papers too much to write about."

"Aw," he replies, hand coming up to brush across her cheek, "looking out for my virtue?"

"What virtue?" she snorts, crossing the distance between them to kiss him. His hands tangle in her hair and he turns them so she's pulled across his chest. She pulls away eventually with a silly grin, "Put the pants on, I'm ready to go."

He wants to argue, say they should just spend the rest of the night in bed, but since they've already corrupted the bride and ruined half the wedding party's outfits as Wallace and Parker had eventually joined them in the ocean they should probably be polite and make a second appearance. He rolls of the bed to pull on his sweats and the T shirt Veronica's been keeping warm for him for the last five years. She appears from the bathroom a second later, the only difference to her appearance the red lipstick she's put on. She smiles up at him, holding out her hand, "Are you ready?"

"Born ready," he replies as he laces their fingers together.

Epilogue to come, please share your thoughts!