Summary: Alternate ending to season 1. What if Logan had answered Veronica's call the night she found the tapes of Lilly and Aaron Echolls. What would have happened? Read and find out.
Note: This was my first VM fanfic. I just never got around to posting it before, I don't know why. For the life of me I just could never come up with a good title, am open to suggestions if you have any.
It doesn't belong to me, but oh how I wish it did.
'Ronnie.' That was the name that flashed on the screen of Logan's cell phone. He looked at it and chuckled bitterly. He was on the bridge, in the same spot where his mother's car was found. He was incredibly drunk. His first thought was to take the phone and pitch it over the side of the bridge, but he reconsidered. He pressed the talk button. "Hello!" he answered cheerfully.
"Logan." Veronica replied, closing her eyes and breathing in a relieved breath. Thank, God he answered. "It's me."
"Why if it isn't Veronica Mars." Logan went on in the same bright tone. "Why what so ever can I do for you, Ronnie? Have you called to accuse of some more crimes? Hey, I hear they never did find out the true identity of Jack the Ripper..."
Veronica sighed. He was pissed. Of course he was. What had she expected? She took in a breath to keep her control. "Logan, listen to me." She steadily began. "I know you must hate me right now and I don't blame you, after I accused you of Lilly's murder and I am sorry." Logan made a puff of sound on the other end. "Really, I am so sorry." she repeated. "I know now that it wasn't you."
"Oh really?" Logan countered. "And what was it, pray tell, that led you to this revelation?"
Veronica gritted her teeth against his caustic tone. "Finding out who really did it." she told him.
There was a moment of dead silence on the other end. It lasted so long she began to worry he hung up.
"Logan?" she questioned. She waited another beat, nothing "Are you there?" she was beginning to get anxious. "Logan!"
"I'm here." he finally responded quietly. Veronica breath a sigh of relief. "Sorry," he went on. "I think I stopped breathing there for a minute." he explained. "Are you okay?" she inquired. "No." he said. "But I will be as soon as you tell me who the son of a bitch is." His voice had taken on that cold and angry affect she was so familiar with. God, she didn't want to do this over the phone. She didn't want to tell him this way.
Now it was Logan's turn to listen to the silence. Why was she hesitating? Her not answering seemed to draw out forever. "Veronica?" he asked "Why won't you tell me? You have to tell me." he demanded. He took in a breath and tried to compose himself. He thought about one reason she might not want to say anything. "It was Duncan, wasn't it?" he conjectured.
"No, Logan. It wasn't Duncan." she informed. He couldn't figure out why she sounded so down. The fact that it wasn't Duncan was a good thing, right? "God, Veronica." he cursed. "Would you just rip off the fucking band aid already and tell me who the fuck killed Lilly?"
Veronica swallowed down the lump forming in her throat. "I'm so sorry, Logan." she whispered. "I-it was you father. Your dad killed Lilly."
He felt as if the ground had just opened up beneath him and he was now in a free fall. His father? No. It couldn't be. She was wrong. Again. "Why are you doing this?" he asked her.
She was taken aback by the question, not understanding she blinked in confusion. "W-what? Why am I doing what?"
"First you accuse me of killing Lilly and then when that doesn't pan out you go after my father." his voice was getting angrier by the word. "Who's next, Trina? Or perhaps you'll say it was my dead mother who killed her. Hey maybe that's the reason she killed herself, huh? She couldn't take the guilt."
"Logan please," Veronica tried desperately. She could here the anguish in his voice underneath all the rage and it was killing her.
"No, Veronica!" he exploded "How dare you? I mean I know my dad can be a real son of a bitch sometimes, but murder-"
"I have proof." she interrupted. She may not have wanted to do it this way, but he needed to know. He had to understand."What proof?" he asked carefully. Veronica sighed. "I found some tapes that Lilly had hidden in her air vent." Logan couldn't help but want to smile at the use of the trick he had taught Lilly, but it was hardly a happy gesture. "The tapes are of Lilly and your dad...together." she finished allowing him to figure out the implication. She knew he would of course.
Just like that Logan had the wind knocked out of him again. He knew she wasn't lying. And she wasn't wrong. Not this time, not about this. His world fell apart even more completely than it had been already. "I want to see the tapes."
Veronica shook her head, even though he couldn't see her. "Logan," she said slowly. "I don't think that's such a good idea."
"I don't care." he countered. "I want to see them. I have to. Veronica where are you, now?"
After a brief hesitation she told him. "I'm at the Kane's house. I have the tapes. I'm just on my home to give them to my dad so we can turn them over to the police."
"Okay, fine." he replied "I'll meet you at your place."
"Okay." she reluctantly agreed. "Logan, are you sure you really want to see this?"
"Want to? No, I don't really want to. But like I said, I have to."
"Okay. I understand. I'll see you soon."
"Yeah." Neither of them hung up right away. A silence stretched out. both of them wanting to say something more, but not sure what. "Logan," Veronica ventured. "Yeah?"
She chickened out. "Nothing. Just bye. And drive safe." she added correctly assuming he had been drowning his sorrows."Yeah, you too." he returned before signing off.
He could see the car from a distance back. Someone had had and accident. Smashed into a tree looked like. He was just about to pull out his cell phone and call for help when he recognised the car as belonging to Veronica. He hit the breaks immediately and bolted out of his yellow gas guzzler. He ran over to the car. "Veronica?" he called out panicked. He wrenched open the door only to find the car unoccupied. "Veronica!" he called out again to the open night.
He spied a house up the road. He thought that's where she would have gone for help and hiked up there himself. He climbed up to the deck after not getting any answer at the front door. "Veronica?"
"Logan!" he heard her voice reply. It sounded strange and not just because it was upset. He turned toward the sound and looked up. His father was on the roof with a walkie- talkie in one hand and a small tape in the other. Logan felt his blood begin to boil. "Where is she?" he roared.
Aaron Echolls eased himself down off the roof. "Now Logan, son. Let's calm down" he cajoled. Not taking his father's advice Logan got up in the man's face. "Where's Veronica?" he repeated, seething, his fist clenched.
"Logan," Aaron attempted again. "You don't understand. That little bitch was trying to black mail me!"
"Which one?" Logan countered. "Lilly, for you taping the two of you having sex? Or Veronica for knowing you killed Lilly?"
A look a sheer desperation shone on the elder Echolls face. "Logan." That was all he had the chance to say before his son tackled him on the ground and began wailing on him.
"YOU BASTARD!" he screamed. "You killed her! You killed Lilly! I'll kill you!" As his fist met his father's face, flashes of the years of abuse he suffered from. And of how horrible he had treated his mother. So awful she had taken her own life. Now it was his turn to suffer. Every bad memory made him hit even harder. Until he hit so hard his knuckles began bleeding. "Where's Veronica?" he wasn't going to let the man take another person from him."What did you do to her?"
Aaron pulled out his lighter and lit it. He through it in the direction of the gasoline he poured and instant flames ignited. The surprise made Logan's beating pause. "She's in the fridge." Aaron choked out. "You might want to check on her."
Logan stared at the blaze. For a split second he froze in horror. Recovering he jumped to his feet to take action. Abandoning his chance for revenge on his father, tormentor. Aaron ran as soon as he had the opportunity.
"Veronica!" he yelled. "Logan, help me!" came her muffled, panicked cry. "I'm coming!" He lifted his arm to shield his face. He wasn't sure what to do. Every time he took a step toward the fire he felt like his skin was being ripped apart. He took a few paces back and then with a deep breath, steeling himself, he charged. He ran through the flames and wrenched open the door of the fridge. He was so relieved to see Veronica and know she was safe he didn't even realize the pain in his legs where the flames had caught. He pulled her up and the two escaped the fire.
As soon as they were clear, Veronica grabbed a tarp to extinguish the flames that threaten to envelop Logan. The man was on the ground. Veronica crumbled to his side, sobbing, "Oh God, Logan. I'm so sorry. You saved me. Please, please stay with me." She pleaded stroking the injured man's head. He seemed disoriented. The fire had caused more damage than it had appeared. "You're going to be okay." Veronica encouraged, despite her own growing worry. "You have to be okay." she bent down and kissed him lightly on the mouth. "I have to get help." she murmured. And there's some unfinished business I have to take care of... She added to herself getting to her feet and taking off after the man who killed her best friend.
"You should go home and get some rest." the doctor instructed her. Veronica kept her eyes on the unconscious man in the hospital bed.
"I want to be here when he wakes up." she insisted. "I don't want him to be alone."
"Honey," Keith Mars ventured. "You should listen to the doctor. You need to get some sleep. You've been through quite an ordeal tonight." He put his hands on his daughters shoulder and turned her around. "Look sweetie, Logan's been put on some pretty heavy pain meds. He probably won't be awake for hours, yet. Right, doc?" The doctor nodded.
"Several hours at least." He confirmed.
"So you have plenty of time to go home, get cleaned up, rest for a couple hours, then you can come back, I promise." Veronica looked back at the sleeping man. She didn't want to leave him, but she couldn't deny how exhausted she was. And probably it wouldn't be good for Logan to wake up and see her in the current state she was in. She did need to get cleaned up. She nodded reluctantly. "Okay." she agreed. "But only for a couple of hours." she gave Logan's hand a squeeze. "I'll be back soon." she whispered. "I promise." Then she let her dad lead her out of the room.
Exactly two hours and twenty minutes later, Veronica reentered the hospital. Donning new clean clothes, the black soot from the fire washed out of her blond locks. She marched strait to Logan's hospital room, she was going to go right in, but paused when she heard the murmur of a voice. At first she was afraid he woke up, not that that was a bad thing, but she wanted to be there when it happened. But wait. That wasn't Logan's voice. She went around the corner into the room. Sure enough Logan was still sleeping. It wasn't his voice. It was... "Duncan?" Veronica questioned.
Duncan whipped around, a bit startled. He brushed his hand at his eyes. He had been crying. "Hey," he greeted, rising to his feet. "I didn't hear you come in." he took a moment to look her over. "Looks like your okay." he observed. Veronica nodded. "I'm glad."
She smiled. "Thanks." she murmured. Then looked passed him at Logan. "How long have you been here?" she asked. "About two hours." he informed. "Has he- he hasn't woken up, has he?"
Duncan shook his head. "No. Not yet. I've just been in here talking to him. Telling him what a lazy bum he's being and to open his eyes already." Veronica chuckled softly. "Hey," Duncan ventured. "Do you think maybe we could talk for a minute? Why don't we walk to the cafeteria and get some coffee."
Veronica hesitated looking at Logan. Then she reasoned with herself he probably wouldn't wake up in the ten minutes this conversation would take. Besides this talk with Duncan was passed due and necessary. She nodded. "Okay."
They walked in silence down the hall to the coffee machine. Duncan deposited some coins and punched the buttons, "Cream or sugar?" he asked, hesitating over the button. "Both." replied Veronica. Thinking it was odd to be having such a mundane exchange given all that had happened that night and the conversation they were about to have.
A cup dropped out of the machine and was filled with a steaming, light brown liquid. Once it was finished Duncan retrieved it and handed it to Veronica. "Thanks." she muttered. She blew on the hot beverage and waited silently while Duncan's brewed. Duncan picked up his cup and the two started walking again. Duncan was the first to speak. "So, you and Logan, huh?" He asked, bluntly.
Veronica swallowed and nodded. "Yeah." she replied, "me and Logan."
Duncan chuckled, ironically. "Well, can't say I saw that one coming."
"You think I did?" Veronica asked, then continued without waiting for a reply. "It's not like we planned this. It just sort of happened. And trust me no one was taken more by surprise than Logan and I were." Duncan was quiet again digesting the information. Veronica sighed, "I'm sorry you had to find out that way. We didn't want you to. Neither of us wanted to hurt you. I'm sorry if we did."
Duncan took in a breath and let it out on a sigh. "So when did, all this start with you two?" he wondered. "I mean that time you guys were at that hotel in L.A., was it going on then?"
It took a moment to get what he was referring to, but once she did she shook her head. "Oh that. Uh no, that was, that was just when we were looking into what happened with his mom. We weren't, nothing had happened yet." She informed, but looking back she could she that in a way that had actually been the beginning of something between she and Logan. When he had had that moment of vulnerability and let Veronica comfort him, he had let his guard down. He was no longer her tormentor. He had let her back in. He was her friend again.
She shook herself and came back to reality and Duncan's expectant expression. She cleared her throat. "We weren't officially together until after you had already left." she informed.
"Officially?" Duncan echoed. "What does that mean?"
"Well, we kissed before you were gone." she paused thinking about it, "Actually the first time we kissed was the day you took off. It happened the same day you confronted me about my files on Lilly's murder."
Duncan grimaced at the memory. "God that." he groaned. "Listen, I've been wanting to apologize to you about the way I took your head off. It wasn't even really you I was pissed at.. I think it was more I was afraid that you were right, about me. That maybe I could have been the that killed Lilly. I'm sorry for how I reacted."
Veronica smiled at him. "It's okay. I understand. I understood then. You didn't have to apologize. But thanks."
Duncan sighed, relieved "Thank you." he said and smiled. He looked up and noticed that they were coming up to Logan's room. They stopped at the entrance. "So, you and Logan," he said again. "It's the real thing, huh?" Veronica's lips curved up in a rare kind of smile, the likes of which Duncan hadn't seen in a long time. "Yeah," she said. "It is. Or at least, I hope it is." She saw the look on Duncan's face and sobered. "Are you okay?"
One corner of Duncan's mouth pulled up in a half smile. "I will be." he assured. "It may take some time for me to get used to it, my best friend and my ex. Especially since I never did quite manage to get over you." Veronica had to look away at that confession.
"Hey," Duncan ventured. "Don't worry, I said I'll be okay and I will. Yes I still care about you and probably always will, which is why I want you to be happy. And I want that for Logan too, he's still my best friend. Just don't expect the three of us to be hanging out a lot anytime in the near future. I'm not that okay with it, yet."
Veronica smiled, her understanding smile. "I get it." she said. "It wasn't exactly comfortable or easy for me to be around you and Meg when you two started dating," she confessed, "so I get it, really." Duncan nodded and smiled. There was a beat of silence, then he said. "Well, I should get back home, it's pretty crazy there right now."
"I can imagine." remarked Veronica.
"Yeah, well. I'll let you get back to..." he nodded into the hospital room. He started to go, but stopped and added. "Let me know if anything happens." he requested. "If there's any change or when he wakes up." Veronica nodded, "I will."
Duncan nodded and sighed, "See ya."
"Yeah, bye" She watched as he walked off to the elevator. He gave one last farewell wave just before the doors closed. Veronica smiled and returned the gesture. She lingered in the doorway for a moment to compose herself. She took in a deep cleansing breath, then went to Logan's bedside.
"Hey," she greeted the unconscious man, sitting down and laying her hand over his, "I'm back. Just like I promised." Logan didn't respond, of course. Veronica could feel a lump rising in her throat and quickly swallowed it down. She hated seeing him like this, lying there helpless, all black and blue. She knew the doctor said he was going to be okay, but still she couldn't help the worry and the fear creeping up her spine. She tried to ignore it and shake it away.
"So I had a good talk with Duncan." she told the sleeping man as though he could here her. She didn't really think he could, but just in case. Didn't they always say in the movies that talking is a good thing to do in these situations? So that's what she did , she talked and talked. She told him all about her conversation with Duncan and every other little bit of information she could think of.
She didn't know how much time had passed, a few hours at least. Her voice was becoming hoarse and her brain was straining to think of more things to say. She was just in the middle of reporting some meaningless bit of information when a groggy voice interrupted her. "Man you're awful chatty tonight."
Veronica gasped, "Logan, you're awake!" she leaned as close as she could get to him. His eyes peaked open just a little bit, Veronica felt tears sting in hers. She put her hand on his head, "Oh god you're awake." she repeated. "I was so scared-" she choked.
"I'm okay." Logan whispered. His hand squeezed hers. "I'm okay, Veronica." She gave him a watery smile and bent down to kiss his forehead. Then she straitened up and said, "Oh god, I should get a doctor." she made a move to leave, but Logan held tight to her hand. "Not yet." he pleaded. "Just, not yet. I don't want you out of my sight just yet."
Veronica sat back down and brought Logan's hand to her lips. "I'm so glad you're okay." she told him. "And I am so sorry for how I accused you of killing Lilly. I'm sorry I ever even considered the possibility you could do such a thing-"
"Shh," Logan interrupted. "That's not important right now."
"But Logan," She protested. "How can you say that I accused you of murder. How can you say it's not important? How can you ever forgive me for that?"
"Because I can." he said simply. "Because you're here now. Because were both alive and together and that's all that matters." Veronica smiled tears stinging in her blue eyes again. She squeezed Logan's hand gently. Logan added, "And because I love you."
Veronica let out a shocked sigh and swallowed. It took a moment before she was able to speak. She bent over and kissed the corner of Logan's lips that wasn't split open from the fight with his father. She looked into his eyes and said for the first time to someone other than her father those special words, "I love you, too."