So Far: In this Season 1 AU story. Logan, upset and hurting at his mother's funeral, gets Veronica to help him get through the day. He decides Veronica might be Philotes the Spirit of Friendship from Greek Mythology. They decide to date. Logan begins to realize that he didn't really grasp the extent of how socially isolated he made her. He learns the real story about why Duncan broke up with Veronica and agrees to keep his secret. Slowly the couple works on their relationship. Veronica stiffens during a make out session. She learns that Logan thinks she is a virgin and he in turn, by her reaction to their make out session, suspects she has been raped. Now he is determined to win Veronica's love. Veronica researching the information Logan gave her about his mother, finds out she may be alive and may be living in Paris and tells him. Cassidy, seeing the mismatched couple is becoming close, gets worried. Separately Logan and Veronica are finding out what happened the night of Shelley's party.

The obviously upset petit teenager looks up the stairs for a few seconds and then back at Logan. He watches as she takes a deep breath in and lets it out slowly. He can feel his heart beat racing in his agitation and he consciously tries to relax. Difficult as this conversation may be, it is definitely needed. He waits for her to talk.

"Before Lilly died I trusted you, Lilly and Duncan. I knew that you guys were my true friends." She swallows and then continues although her voice quavers slightly, "Then Duncan started ignoring me. I didn't even warrant a real breakup." She looks down for a few seconds and then adds quietly, "Then you turned away from me and…."

It is telling to Logan that she stops before she talks about how he treated her after her father was removed from office. His brown eyes remain focused on her looking for non verbal cues on her feelings or thoughts. Veronica is opening the door and letting him in a little. She is letting some of the hurt out and giving them a chance to deal with it. It is just really painful to hear that she doesn't trust him anymore; even if he deserves it.

When the silence continues long enough for Logan to see that Veronica is not planning to say anymore, he reaches over and lifts her chin so he can see her face. As he expected, he can see she is really hurting. Softly he tells her, "I was wrong to blame you. I wasn't a good friend to you. I let my anger and hurt get out of control after Lilly died." Wryly he confides, "I handled things the Echolls way; by getting angry or drunk."

There is a long silence as Veronica processes her boyfriend's words and Logan tries to think about how he can best word what he has to say. Finally his words come quickly and forcefully, "I wish I could go back. I wish I had been there for all of you." His eyes darken and he spits out, "I have so many regrets."

Although she is surprised at the emotions in his words, Veronica finds she is not afraid; she can see that his anger is directed at himself. This conversation is unexpected. Over the hell of the last year, she wondered why Logan hated her. Now he is openly talking to her about that time.

Turning part way away from her to face the ocean he continues, although his voice is quieter, "I should have done more for my mom. She hid in her pills and alcohol and I just hid."

The thing is Veronica does understand what Logan is saying. He avoided going home and being with his parents as much as possible. Now it seems he is feeling guilty about not doing enough to support his mother.

She comes back to his voice, "After Lilly died, I should have been there more for DK. I let Celeste push him into taking those antidepressants. I let him slide into zombie land and I didn't do anything to stop him."

Turning back to her he focuses his complete attention on her. "Most of all though I wish I could go back and be there for you. I wish I had helped you with losing Duncan and then Lilly. I wish I had been a better friend. Instead I was an enemy and I hurt you. I let others hurt you." He runs his hand through his hair and then continues, "Hell I encouraged others to torment you." Seeing this part of the conversation is increasing her upset, he gets to the point. "I was an asshole. What did you call me…A psychotic jackass? I was that and more."

Taking both her hands in his, he shares earnestly, "Now though I want to be there for you. I want to help you. I want to try and make things better for you." Sadly he adds, "It is too late for my mom but I want to be there for DK and you now."

The shocked PI mind is reeling at the direction the conversation has taken. She can see the earnestness in his face and the way he is leaning close to her. Logan is very serious about helping Duncan and her. She is unsettled at how much blame he is taking for all the bad things that happened to the people he cares about. The truth is he was only fifteen and he was really hurting when Lilly was murdered.

"Look," he says taking her attention from her inner thoughts. He waves her to sit and he sits beside her, "I am not talking to my counselor about me per say but our discussions are helping me to get some perspective about my life." He talks about how the main character in the book they both read made a lot of poor decisions that hurt him and others in the long run. He tells her the author shows that most people handle the stressors in their lives how they are taught by whoever raised them. His voice becomes more animated as he makes his point, "Look at Duncan. Instead of dealing with Lilly's death, he never talks about her and he is taking medication; just like Celeste."

Veronica frowns at him in question. Logan correctly interpreting that she is not sure she agrees with him, points out, "Jake was beside himself with pain at Lilly's funeral. Duncan and Celeste just stood there with no emotions like they were at a stranger's funeral."

She thinks about his observation and has to agree. Jake had been very emotional while Celeste just stood there stone-faced. Now that she thinks about it Duncan had been unemotional as well. It was odd how calm and in control he was. He loved Lilly. He was close to her; yet, she and Logan were crying but Duncan just stood there."

Logan gently squeezes her hands to get her attention before carries on, "I get angry like my father or I drown in liquor like my mother."

As she thinks about Logan's words, she can see his point about how he learned to handle stress with either anger or drinking or both. Frowning as she thinks about the conversation, her thoughts turn to how she handles stress. She never talks about what happened to her and she lets things fester. All she needs to do now is drink and she would be like her mother.

Watching the expressions pass over her face, he can see that her quick mind is thinking about what they have been discussing. He turns her hands over and gently rubs the palm of her left hand with his right thumb before he confesses that lately he has been pulling Duncan away from Celeste and getting him to talk. He says, "DK is starting to join the land of the living again."

He sees the little furrow between her brows deepen as she processes the information and he almost smiles. She looks so incredibly cute when she is thinking hard. As difficult as this conversation has been on both of them, he carries on, "DK and I are working on our friendship again." He pauses and then finally adds, "It's been good."

Veronica finds she is actually pleased that Logan is making inroads in repairing the relationship with his best friend. She merely comments, "Good."

Logan smiles a little. He gently squeezes her hands again getting her full attention, "I want to help you. I am getting my head above water now. I can be here for you."

Holding her gaze he adds meaningfully, "I want to do more. I want to help you get revenge on the people who are in level six on your revenge scale." He earnestly adds, "You can't do it all alone. Please let me help you."

Agitated Veronica pulls her hands from his and stands up. Breathing fast she looks around as if she is searching for the nearest escape route and then abruptly turns and takes a quick step up towards her apartment.

Rising when he sees Veronica's agitation, Logan quickly puts his arm across the stairs blocking her escape. Before she can react he tells her, "No running Veronica. I know you are upset and that this has been a really hard day on you but I am your friend and your boyfriend. I care about you and I am going to be here for you. Maybe you don't know it but you are safe with me."

Veronica finally meets his gaze and tears fill her eyes. He thinks about how to make his position clearer. Finally he tries, "When I thought my mom was dead and I was crazy with grief, you helped me." He tentatively reaches his free hand up and gently caresses her cheek. Quietly he begs, "Please let me help you. Let me be here for you. Trust me to take care of you while you are feeling so much pain like I trusted you."

Keith Mars looks over the railing after he let Back Up into the apartment. When Veronica wasn't with the muscular puppy, he peeked over the railing to see where she was; hoping he would not have to see his daughter kissing her boyfriend goodnight.

Immediately he is on alert when she sees the conversation between his daughter and Logan has gotten intense. Experienced in assessing conflict, he notices Veronica stand and try to leave and he sees Logan put his arm across the stairs to stop her. Part of Keith wants to run down and get his daughter; the urge to protect her is strongly developed in him. The other part assesses that the young man is not physically hurting his daughter and he is trying to get through to her.

He hesitates. Keith is certain that something is going on with Veronica. He has not been able to get her talk about what is bothering her. He can see that she is alone most of the time and he knows it has been hard on her since he lost the Sheriff position and her mother left. His father's sense has been telling him that his daughter needs help. He has been watching. He has been worried.

Now she is dating Logan Echolls. He was her friend and Lilly's boyfriend for many years. Keith was used to seeing him around. Then after Lilly was murdered, Logan never came around. It looks like they just recently started dating. As he watches, Veronica seems to deflate at whatever Logan is saying and she lets him pull her into his arms.

Although Keith is unsure about his beloved daughter dating the spoiled, rich, young man who, at times, can be the poster boy for bad decision making, it is obvious that he does have strong feelings for her. Keith doesn't want to admit it but perhaps a boyfriend who cares about her and won't let her hide behind her walls could be good for Veronica.

For the second time that day Logan holds Veronica close to him, letting her feel his warmth and enfolding her into his arms. After a few minutes Veronica mumbles something into Logan's chest. He can't understand what she said so he pulls back a little and asks, "What?"

He looks down into her tear stained face and waits for her to tell him what she said. Finally she repeats, "You couldn't have helped your Mom you know."

He frowns at her in question. She pulls away from Logan and leans back against the railing. He leans on the railing across from her and listens as she elaborates, "I think back on my last few weeks with my mother and I wonder what was going on in her mind and what I could have done to get her to stay."

The disheveled blond reaches over and puts her hand on Logan's and then intertwines their fingers. She shares quietly, "The truth is both our mothers chose to leave us. At first I was angry that I didn't mean enough to her to stay. Now I just try and accept that she is gone and there isn't anything I can do about it."

He looks down at their joined hands and admits, "After you told me that my mom may be alive, I was so happy." She sees him swallow and then continue, "Then I was hurt that she left me alone. Now I am going to leave her alone in Paris and let her have a chance at happiness away from my father."

Veronica nods her understanding and then questions, "You know for sure she is alive?"

He immediately shakes his head and confesses, "No, I talked to Jake and he is going to check it out for me discretely without my father knowing."

"Good," she tells him sincerely.

He adds, "I really hope she is alive but right now it isn't going to make a difference for me." Bending his head a little to meet her gaze he questions, "Is that how you feel?"

Nodding her head she admits, "Basically." After a short but comfortable silence, Veronica tentatively starts, "Since Lilly died, I have learned so many things about her." She shakes her head not really knowing how to word what she wants to say.

Logan sees her disappointment, hurt and perhaps upset that her best friend kept secrets from her. He says, "I've talked to DK and she kept him out of the loop as well.'

Nodding her understanding Veronica quietly says, "I guess I feel like I really didn't know her sometimes."

Logan lifts their joined hands and kisses the back of her hand. He agrees, "I know what you mean."

Veronica looks and feels exhausted. She slowly raises her other hand to run it gently through Logan's hair stepping closer so she can touch him. Sadly she says, "We will probably never understand her choices."

He sees her fatigue and can hear it in her voice. Her needs are more important right now to him so he turns his face into her hand and gently kisses her palm. Slowly he wraps his arms around her and his gaze softens as he looks at her. "Ronnie I would be willing to talk about how I treated you after Lilly died. I have so much to apologize for but tonight you are totally exhausted and you should get some rest."

Closing her eyes she relaxes into his warm body and sighs tiredly. She admits, "I could sleep for a week."

He holds her for a minute and then gently tightens the hug for a moment. As he releases her, he leans back to see her face and is pleased that she looks contented in his arms. He says, "Let's get you upstairs."

Slowly she lifts her eye lids and meets his gaze. Her eyes are a little unfocused and he can see just how deeply stressed she is. Tilting her head up to look at him, she sees the caring expression on his face and the warmth in his brown eyes. Softly she whispers, "OK."

He smiles a little and offers, as he turns her to walk up the stairs beside him, "I'll pick you up for school tomorrow morning."

She smiles back a little sleepily and leans into him as they walk up the stairs together, "I would like that." Veronica stops about half way up the second staircase and puts a hand on his arm to stop his forward progress.

A little concerned he looks down at her in question. She bites her lip and says tentatively, "How about we do it this way? I will talk to Sean first and get the information from him. Then you can talk to him."

Logan is stunned by her offer. It is definitely an olive branch and he is smart enough to take it. He agrees, "That sounds fair."

He meets her gaze and says earnestly, "I wish we had more time together before we had to deal with all our issues."

She agrees, "That would be easier." He takes her hand and walks with her the rest of the way up the stairs. Obviously worried about her upset, he tells her that he is going over to work out with Casey so he will be up if she can't sleep or needs to talk.

Veronica is touched at how concerned he is about her and gently squeezes the hand she is holding. It really feels good to have his support. It is going to take a little getting used to.

At the apartment door Logan gently teases, "I think I deserve a kiss and hug from my girlfriend for skipping school for her."

Amused at his playful manner, she queries, "Does Dick give you a kiss and hug when you skip to surf with him?"

Slowly he shakes his head and retorts, "He wants to but I only accept affection from you."

Her smile grows and she leans into him wrapping her arms around his waist giving him a firm hug. Deeply tired she rests her head on his chest for a few moments listening to his regular heart rate and breathing pattern.

After a few relaxed moments, she tilts her head back and purses her lips. Logan immediately leans down and gives her a sweet, loving kiss.

When they pull apart he very gently caresses her cheek with his finger. He watches his finger travel from her cheek to her lips before he pulls it away. Putting his hands on her hips he stands her up and then places his hand on the middle of her back guiding her to her apartment door.

Leaning down her kisses her forehead and says, "See you in the morning. Sleep well."

She looks up at him and gives him a gentle look before she reaches up and opens the door to the apartment. "Good night," she says before she enters the apartment.

Across Town

Things are not as sweet, quiet and gentle for the frightened young man who has a hood over his head and is tied to a chair. His head hurts, back hurts and it really hurts to breathe. The guys who jumped him, worked him over very thoroughly after they put a hood over his head. Then they threw him into a vehicle and drove him somewhere. He never got a chance to see who grabbed him.

Now he is tied to a chair with his head covered so he can't see where he is and he is waiting. He has never been so scared in his whole life.

The Next Morning

Logan pulls up to school and parks in his usual spot. He looks over at Veronica and sees her texting someone on her phone. When he sees that she is engrossed in the conversation, he casually leans back and watches; waiting for her to be done.

He is relieved that she looks a lot better this morning. She looks rested and the dark circles are not as pronounced under her eyes. Although she looks better he can see she is on edge. Worried, he watches her tense posture as she looks at the answer to her last text.

Veronica finishes her final text and looks to see that her phone is downloading the video Weevil is sending her. Part of her wants to the open the video now and watch it. The other part believes that she should wait until she is alone after school to watch it.

She becomes aware that the vehicle is parked and looks out the window. She sees they are at school already. Her head whips over and she looks to see where Logan is only to find him turned sideways in the driver's seat watching her carefully.

Perceptive he sees that she has just now become aware of her surroundings. He quietly asks, "The video you are downloading looks important."

She sees the time on the radio clock and realizes that Logan has probably been watching her for a few minutes. She can see that he is smart enough to have guessed what is going on. Meeting his concerned gaze she calmly admits, "It is important to me. It is the information that Sean wasn't willing to tell me."

Logan nods and continues to look at her. Finally he says, "When are you going to watch it?"

"I don't know," she tells him. She looks at him and asks, "Why?"

Shrugging he tells her, "Well I don't mind skipping another day."

Frowning she looks at Logan for clarification. He meets her gaze and answers, "If you watch it now and are upset, I am going to be there for you."

The petit blond is deeply touched. She can see he is serious about being with her if she needs him; it is clear by the tenseness in his jaw and the clear brown of his eyes.

She bites her lips and points out, "I can't miss another day."

Logan knows she needs good attendance to meet some bullshit scholarship guideline. He also knows that it will kill her to wonder all day what Sean said. He looks out the front window for a few seconds towards the front of the school. His fingers are absently tapping the top of the steering wheel where he is resting his arm as he waited for her. He seems to come to some decision and leans back into the comfortable leather seat. "It is really going to bother me all day wondering which what Sean knows." Leaning forward a little he adds, "I can't imagine how you will wait."

He is surprised when she frowns at him and it is genuinely angry frown. Her face turns a little colder and she tells him, "I have been waiting and wondering this long, I can wait until later."

Logan reaches across and puts his hand on her arm stopping her from leaving the Xterra. He quickly asks, "How did you do it? How did you cope not knowing who was all involved?"

She swallows but doesn't quite meet his eyes as she answers, "All of the 09er guys hate me so it wasn't like I was able to narrow down the possible suspects. I just made sure I am never alone with any of them."

Logan pulls his arm back and sits there completely stunned as it hits him that Veronica has been afraid every day she is at school. She has been teased and tormented verbally but under her 'Don't mess with me' attitude, she is really just a small, frightened young girl.

He didn't just make her alone, he made her scared. Logan has trouble taking a deep breath, he thinks about how long she has suffered. God Shelley's party was so long ago. She has been afraid so long.

For the first time Logan is deeply concerned that his relationship with Veronica will not make it even if he gives it his best chance. How can she possibly forgive him for what he has done?

Without further comment he gets out of the Xterra and walks around and open Veronica's door. After he ensures she is stable on the ground, he shuts the door and takes her hand to walk into the school.

Neither teen talks on the way into the school towards her locker. Each has their own thoughts to contend with. Although they are not speaking, they do not look like they are fighting either.

Cassidy watches them walk and wonders what is going on with them. They arrived together and they are holding hands but the closeness that is usually between them is absent today. He needs to talk to Madison and see if she has put her part of the plan into action yet. Now seems like a very good time; Logan and Veronica look ripe for the picking.

Lunch

Meg is really unsure about helping Logan with his plan. She is friends with both Logan and Veronica and she doesn't really think Veronica will be happy about her part in this plan. Truly though she couldn't say no to Logan. This seems to mean a lot to him and his motivation is help Veronica.

Decision made, she puts a perky face on and heads out on the Quad to where Veronica is sitting with Logan at their table.

A bemused Veronica follows her friend to the other side of the Quad and then listens as the excited cheerleader talks to her about how her secret admirer wants her to go to the dance this week and what costume he wants her to wear.

Logan seeing that Meg is indeed keeping Veronica occupied, reaches for her phone and accesses her email. Since time is limited, he merely finds the email she received this morning and sees it is from Weevil. He forwards it to himself and then deletes the record of sending it to his phone from her record.

When Meg sees that Logan is finished with Veronica's phone she suddenly hugs her friend and tells her that they will talk later and that she has to go to the library. Confused and a little alarmed by her friend's excited manner, Veronica watches her rush away and then heads back to her table to eat lunch which has arrived.

Logan seeing her on her way back tips the delivery man and then smiles at his girlfriend. He teases, "Did you get your sugar fill for the day?"

She frowns at his joke and says, "She's pretty excited about her secret admirer."

Logan reaches in the bag and hands her a Styrofoam container and says, "Are you any close to figuring out who it is?"

Veronica looks at Logan and says, "You mean Duncan hasn't told you?"

"Duncan knows who it is?" Logan questions.

Veronica just smirks and says, "When we watched Sixteen Candles together, who did you and Lilly tease Duncan about who he was most like?"

Logan looks at Veronica in surprise and she tells him, "Meg is on the wrong track; she thinks it is probably Caz or Martin but I haven't forgotten what Duncan is like."

He reaches across and pulls her closer to him. He doesn't confirm or deny her conclusion, he instead says, "I don't think of you as 'pretty in pink' anymore."

Tilting her head at him in question she waits for him to finish. Quick to see the pitfalls of this discussion, Logan opts for, "You are a complex woman who doesn't fit any one standard."

Laughing at him openly she answers, "And you are full of it."

He laughs back and says, "I am captivated by you Veronica Mars and I am looking forward to getting to know all of you." He raises his eyebrows and mock leers at her.

"I bet you are," she answers in an exasperated tone as she looks up at her boyfriend whose expression is playful and definitely not innocent. Shaking her head at him she tilts her face up to kiss him. He is a handful but she finds that she kind of likes him that way.

Cassidy is watching and he is a little disconcerted by their flirting and sexual manner with each other. These two do flirt a lot but there is something different about them today. He feels his protective shell unraveling and that cannot happen. He won't allow his secrets to come out.

When the kiss is over, Veronica reaches down and picks up the package containing her cutlery and opens it. Lunch smells wonderful and she finds she is hungry.

After School

Logan is walking with Veronica towards the parking lot when he notices a large group of students standing in a particular area of the parking lot. Glancing up at her boyfriend Veronica notices the smirk that passes over his face when he looks over towards the commotion.

Immediately suspicious she says, "Logan?"

The tall 09er looks down at her and smiles. He leans down and kisses her forehead and answers, "Yes my dear."

Questioning she says, "What have you done?"

He gives her an innocent looks and answers, "I have done nothing."

She frowns at his manner but allows him to lead her over to the part of the parking lot where everyone is standing.

When they arrive, the crowd parts and lets them through. Veronica sees that Adam Thomas' car has a flat tire and the word "Bully" scratched into the paint. He is visibly upset as he knows his father will be very angry when he sees the damage to his car. Adding to his agitation is the fact that a bunch of 09er guys are sitting in lawn chairs laughing and making comments about him and his vehicle.

Veronica stops in shock when she sees what the excitement is about. Dick sees that Veronica and Logan have arrived. He waves to two empty chairs and says, "I saved you guys a seat."

Logan gently pulls Veronica over to an empty seat. He waves her to sit which she does reluctantly and he sits between her and Duncan. He and DK talk about a surfing trip they are thinking of taking and Duncan talks about how his father is thinking of getting him a new SUV.

After a few minutes of watching Adam get the jack out and start changing his tire and listening to the 09er guys harass him, Logan frowns and pronounces, "This is boring."

Casey, right on cue, shrugs and says, "We thought there must be something to it. Adam and his buddies seemed to get a real kick out of it. They watched Veronica change about twenty tires."

Logan smirks and agrees, "They sure did." He looks at Adam for a few seconds and pronounces, "I guess watching a hot girl change a tire would be more interesting." The guys all agree. Logan stands and puts his hand out for Veronica. He says, "Let's head out." He looks at the guys as Veronica stands and says, "We're out. Meet you at Point's Head in an hour."

The guys all agree. Adam watches Veronica and Logan leave. None of his football friends even tried to help him once they knew that Logan was targeting him. He is alone, ridiculed and has to explain the scratches in his paint to his parents.

Now that Logan has made it clear that he is a target, the defensive lineman guesses that his vehicle will have a lot of unexplained flat tires and need paint repairs. He can't believe that he is in trouble with the most powerful group in the school; all for harassing Veronica Mars who they targeted first.

Duncan Kane gets out of the lawn chair after a few more minutes and walks over to where Adam is working on putting his spare tire on. He waits until the humiliated young man looks up at him. Duncan says clearly, "Whatever vehicle you come to school in is going to have mechanical problems so you should get used to taking the bus." The red headed athlete looks at him obviously upset. DK adds, "The only way to make this whole situation stop is to get Veronica to say you are even."

The dark haired 09er smirks at the look of worry on Adam's face. Duncan adds, "Oh and a word of advice… Don't upset Veronica; Logan is very protective of her."

The 09ers and students watching see and hear the whole situation as it is played out. At first they thought Veronica had targeted the popular football player. After all he had targeted her first and she is well known for getting payback. Now it appears that Logan Echolls or perhaps Duncan Kane has put a target on Veronica's nemesis. Duncan has made it clear that the only way the 09ers are going to stop the payback is if Adam can get Veronica to let him off the hook.

Veronica sitting in Logan's Xterra looks out the window as she thinks about what just happened. She knows that Logan and possibly Duncan are going after the guys on level 2 of her list. Logan had denied the last prank was his idea or that his money was spent so the amateur detective can see that Duncan has decided to help Logan. Of course she knows it is Logan's idea. She told him about the levels of retribution and that she wanted to get payback against the people in level two but she was only one person and didn't have time. It appears that Logan has taken on that chore for her. Although she is not sure about having him deliver the payback for her, she has to admit he is very creative. Having the loud, obnoxious sophomore go through the experience of a flat tire and scratched paint is quite brilliant. How better to teach someone that sometimes payback can be a bitch than to turn the prank around? Sitting there watching, Veronica could see that Adam was really upset. His beloved car had been damaged and he was tormented as he changed the tire. Best of all none of his football friends stepped in to help him afraid they would be targeted as well. She would feel sorry for him because she actually does know exactly how he feels except he was horrible to her for personal gain. Maybe it will teach him how to be a better human. She doubts it but there is always that hope. In the meantime she finds that she is actually touched that Logan is helping her. He has made it clear that she is off limits to any pranks or teasing. He physically protected her when Ben got angry. He is getting back at the non 09ers who harassed her. Now he is ready and willing to help her find out who did physically hurt her even though he doesn't know how they hurt her and the perpetrator might be one or more of his closest friends. Actions do speak louder than words and Veronica is having to slowly accept that Logan Echolls is serious about working on their relationship.