Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own

Chapter 17 – Day Five – Veronica Mars, Style Icon?

A/N: Buckle up, baby. It's about to get a little bumpy on the LoVe road.

Veronica - Day Five - Dallas, TX - Lakeview Court Motel - Room 118

Veronica leaned against the short dresser, taking in the two double beds. Both were identical, made up with crisp white sheets with red bed skirts and coverlets. Both were flanked by nightstands. Both had been slept in the previous evening by boys from her past.

The bed to the right represented nightmares and perching uncomfortably on the edge to avoid accidental contact with her ex-boyfriend.

The one to the left represented waking up cradled in warmth, cuddles and snuggles - is there a difference? - flirting and banter and massages.

Veronica needed a place to sit. Logically, she knew they were identical. She wasn't feeling logical at the moment. She bounced onto Logan's bed. The bed she'd almost climbed into a hundred times the previous night. She'd missed having Logan's arms around her, his warmth, his soft breath on her neck.

Can't forget that distinctly Logan scent.

Glancing up to ensure that Logan was still in the bathroom, Veronica dropped back onto his pillow and surreptitiously buried her nose in it.

What am I, eleven? Next, I'll stop washing my hand after he touches it.

She couldn't believe she was acting this way over Logan Echolls.

Houston, we have a problem. A serious problem.

This could not possibly go anywhere. Even assuming Peggy was right, and Logan did have feelings for her, how could they possibly make something work between them? There were too many obstacles, beginning with the fact that he had chosen Lilly over her. How could she ever be with him knowing that she had been his second choice. The backup plan. It wasn't as if she couldn't see what the attraction had been.

Lilly had been vivacious, and experienced, and even at thirteen, she'd had breasts to die for. What guy wouldn't want her? But twelve-year-old Veronica had been on the brink of giving Logan her heart, and to this day, his rejection still stung.

Lilly wasn't their only obstacle, though. Duncan had just killed a man for putting his hands on Veronica. She couldn't even consider starting a relationship – with Logan or anyone else – until she was certain that Duncan was playing with a full deck. She didn't want anybody else to be injured – or worse – over her.

Finally, there was the fact that they were all each other had. The worst possible thing they could do would be to become involved, and then break-up. They needed each other way too much to risk everything on an attraction.

Having convinced herself that she and Logan would never – could never – happen, Veronica reached for the remote, and turned up the sound.

Logan returned while they were finishing-up the financial news, and flopped into bed beside her.

"Duncan is really messed up over this," he said. "He's taking a long shower to wash off four days of dirt. Guess he doesn't trust my scrubbing skills."

Veronica looked pointedly at the coffee maker, and at Logan, and at the coffeemaker, and at Logan...until he got the hint and grinned.

"Is there something you'd like to ask me, dear?" he asked.

"No darling," Veronica answered. "But if you were to bring me a cup of coffee, I wouldn' it in your face or anything."

"How positively civil of you, sweetpea," Logan said. "I think I need to witness this courtesy that you speak of for myself, in order to believe it. Let me go make you some coffee."

Veronica's face split into a grin. "Keep that up, and I may not file for divorce right away."

Several minutes later, Logan returned, handing her a mug, and then carefully lowering himself to the bed to avoid spilling his coffee.

"So...whadya think? Should we have Dr. Tony check out DK?" Logan asked.

"Definitely, but we probably won't be able to reach him until 9:00 AM."

"Okay, so we'll call him around 9:00 and see if he can get Duncan in."

[C-NOW - Style Watch Logo fades to studio shot of news anchor]

Anchor: The Neptune Three - outlaws, fugitives, and now style icons? Our own Penny Bree tells us how these kids from Southern California are changing the fashion landscape.

[Cuts to Penny Bree in studio]

Bree: Thanks, Anita.

[Cuts to split screen - The left side is studio shot of Penny Bree. The right side displays a recent photo of Veronica. Other than the shot of Logan carrying her, this is the most frequently aired photo of Veronica. Her hair is choppy and flippy. Her arms are crossed over her chest, and she wears a denim mini with black boots and a pink tee shirt.]

Bree: If you haven't heard about The Neptune Three, you've been living under a rock. Neptune Fever has swept the country with some unusual repercussions.

First, we go to celebrity stylist François Lefevre of the world-famous Lefevre Salon in Beverly Hills. Hello, François.

[The right side of the split screen cuts to shot of François Lefevre sitting in a salon chair.]

Lefevre: Hello, Penny. It's great to talk with you again.

Bree: Can you tell us what's trending in hair these days.

Lefevre:Absolutely. It's 'The Veronica'. This short layered cut is on fire in salons across the nation.

[The left side of the split screen displays the Veronica photo again.]

"This is a joke, right?" Veronica asked.

"Don't think so," Logan answered, eyeing Veronica's current bedhead.

Bree: Just how popular is 'The Veronica'?

Lefevre: How popular? (Motions over two clients with hair like Veronica's) Over half of our clients this week have requested 'The Veronica' cut. Paris is wearing it. Nicole is wearing it. Mandy Moore and Lisa Loper are wearing it. Even Trina Echolls is newly shorn to resemble her brother's...friend.

Logan mumbled something under his breath, and Veronica thought she caught the words 'bitch' and 'whore'.

"Trina?" Veronica asked, stunned at his vitriol.

"Her too...occasionally." He didn't elaborate further.

[Left side of the split screen cuts to Penny Bree]

Bree: And how about color? Are your clients requesting 'Veronica Blonde'?

Lefevre: It's around fifty/fifty.

Bree: How much would 'The Veronica' run in your salon?

Lefevre: Cut and color would run around $650. The cut alone would be $400.

Veronica nearly spit out her coffee. "Six hundred and fifty dollars?" she said, incredulously. "I literally, chopped off a ponytail, and it didn't cost me a cent."

"Would you believe that my mom has been to a stylist in New York who charges almost $900?"

"Does that haircut come with gold-plating?"

Logan grinned. "I'll never forget the first time I saw you with your short hair. You'll have to tell me why you did that someday."

Sure. I'll tell you that. When hell freezes over.

"I remember your insults."

"What? About your hair?" Logan asked.


"You believed me?"


"I lied."


Logan's gaze was unfocused and he wore a slight smile. "That was the day I knew the real Veronica was back. The hair. The clothes. In fact, it was as if the way you looked finally matched your true self. That was the first time I—" Logan cut himself off and glanced away looking just slightly embarrassed.

His words set off a flutter in Veronica's heart, and she hated that his opinion meant so much to her. Didn't we just discuss this with ourselves, Veronica? Logan and Veronica can never be.

She shifted her focus back to the television where François Lefevre was rattling off details about the haircut.

Bree: François I'd like to thank you once again for talking to us today.

Lefevre: Any time, Penny.

Bree: Next up, we go to Deirdre Malone in New York City

[Cuts to shot of Deidre Malone in a shoe store standing with a dark haired woman in her mid-twenties.]

Malone: Thanks, Penny. I'm here in the John Fluevog - Manhattan store in Nolita, talking with store manager, Petra Kokinos.

[Petra gives a shy wave to the camera.]

Malone: Petra, tell us how Neptune Fever has affected your store.

Kokinos: Well, in one of the photos of Veronica Mars, she's wearing our Fluevog Bondgirl boot.

[Screen splits. Malone and Kokinos display on the left side. Veronica's crossed-arms picture from earlier displays on the right.]

Malone: What can you tell us about these boots?

Kokinos:(holding up a single black boot) Well, they're full-grain leather with beige contrast stitching. They have two mini-buckles at the top, and an engineer style buckles on the outside for fit. They retail for around $325.

"Or $12 in the thrift store," Veronica muttered. "I can't believe they're analyzing my clothing."

Logan looked at her sympathetically. "Welcome to my world."

"What's next? They're going to track down my jean skirt at Target?"

Malone: And after Veronica's photo went public?

Kokinos: After the boots were identified, every Fluevog store in the U.S. sold out in of the Bondgirl in one day, as well as most of our Canadian stores. They're backordered until the middle of next month. I've had to turn away over thirty customers just today, looking for the Bondgirl, and virtually every phone call is to ask if we have it in stock.

Malone: Has your store ever experienced anything like this before?

Kokinos: From what I understand, there was a rush when Madonna wore a pair of Fluevog platforms in her Truth or Dare movie, but no. Never anything like this.

Malone: In your opinion, why does everybody want to be Veronica Mars?

Kokinos: Veronica Mars takes a stand. And she looks great doing it.

Malone: Great answer. Thank you Petra. Penny, back to you.

[Cuts to Penny Bree in the studio]

Bree: Thanks Dierdre. Next up, we speak with legendary designer Romeo Scavo from his New York Fashion House. Hello Romeo.

[Screen splits displaying Penny Bree on the left side and Romeo Scavo – a dark haired/dark eyed man with a James Bond-like air to him on the right.]

Scavo: Hello Penny, how are you today.

Bree: Lovely, thank you. Now I understand you are creating a Veronica Mars-inspired fashion line for Macys.

Scavo: That is correct.

Bree: How would you describe Veronica's style?

[Scavo motions to an inspiration wall behind him. It appears to contain enlarged copies of virtually every photo taken of Veronica since her haircut and makeover.]

Scavo: I made a special trip to Neptune, California, yesterday. As my inspiration, I wanted to learn everything I could about Veronica Mars. While I was there, I spoke with many of her friends, classmates, and the clients she's solved cases for.

Bree: And what did you learn?

Scavo: Like her mythological namesake, Veronica Mars is a warrior. A warrior whose weapon is her mind. This is a girl who rejects society's rules about class and gender, and this shows in her fashion sense.

[Scavo begins pointing to individual photos on his inspiration wall.]

Scavo: Veronica Mars is denim, and corduroy, canvas and leather. In almost every ensemble, Veronica pairs elements of femininity and masculinity. She favors masculine footwear and boxy denim or military-inspired jackets, which she tends to wear with flirty skirts. (Points to a clump of photos.) When she wears feminine tops, like this pink off-the-shoulder shirt, (points) or this delicate floral button-up, she pairs them with plain boyfriend-style jeans. She includes a variety of plaids in her wardrobe, like this skirt, these pants, and this wool pea coat. (points, points, and points).

Scavo: When it comes to accessories, Veronica gravitates toward leather pieces with bold, oversized hardware, like this double-width belt (points), or these three-buckle boots (points). Even her purses are far from delicate. She prefers large messenger bags in leather or canvas.

Bree: What can you tell us about your new line?

Scavo: Well, I'm calling it MARS by Scavo, and it will be exclusive to Macys. It should be in stores in time for the holiday season.

"MARS, by Scavo," Logan said in a haughty voice. "She gets a freaking clothing line." He shook his head in amusement.

"Kill me now, and put me out of my misery," Veronica moaned.

Bree: How about the boys? Are you planning any lines around Logan Echolls or Duncan Kane?

Scavo:(laughs gently) No, I won't be, although I would love to style them.

Bree: If the Neptune Three were watching at this moment, what fashion advice would you offer them?

Scavo: For Veronica Mars? Don't change anything, darling. Your instincts are fabulous. As for Duncan Kane…he sticks with the classics. I haven't seen him wear anything offensive in any of his photos, but he hasn't wowed me, either. He could stand to liven things up a bit. Maybe add some color other than blue.

Bree: And Logan Echolls?

Scavo:(shaking his head with a sad smile). Sometimes he has great instincts, other times…well… (Shakes his head again). The first bit of advice I would give him would be to incinerate the orange pants. Seriously, put them out of their misery! My second piece of advice would be to concentrate on fit. He does well with his jeans, but his other pants all appear to be a size too big, while some of his shirts appear to be too short. He has excellent taste in sweaters and jackets, however.

Bree: Thank you for speaking with us today, Romeo.

Scavo: Any time, Penny.

Veronica glanced at Logan who was staring at the TV with an amused grin.

"Wow," he said, shaking his head. "I'm a fashion don't?"

"Well, in your defense, you do wear your jeans well. And since you packed mostly jeans…"

"You like me in my jeans?"

"You never stop fishing for complements, do you?" Veronica asked.

"Only from you. Every other girl gives me my due validation." Logan pouted.

Veronica laughed softly. "You look good in your jeans," she said, patting Logan on the shoulder.

[Split screen becomes full screen showing Penny Bree in studio]

Bree: Now it's not only high-end fashion experiencing the Neptune effect. Shop owners across the country report that Neptune related merchandise is flying off the shelves. Next, we go to DeeAnn Donaldson in Los Angeles.

[Cuts to shot of DeeAnn Donaldson standing with a dark haired and hawk-nosed man in his mid-thirties.]

Donaldson: Thanks, Penny. I'm here at 'Cover Yourself', talking with the owner Agostino Nieri. Mr. Nieri, tell us about 'Cover Yourself'.

Nieri: Hello, DeeAnn. Cover Yourself is a chain of tee shirt shops based here in Los Angeles, with stores in twelve states in the West and the South.

Donaldson: How has your business been affected by the Neptune Three?

Nieri: (excited and slightly hyper) Our line of Neptune merchandise has become instant best-sellers.

Donaldson: What are your top selling items?

Nieri:(leading Donaldson to a wall of tee shirts.) Our top seller is the Neptune Three tee shirt. (The shirt he points to is screen printed with the same crossed-arms photo of Veronica with Logan and Duncan Photoshopped into the background) After that, our 'Team Logan' and 'Team Duncan' shirts are our hottest sellers. (Each shirt has a screen-printed photo of the requisite boy)

Donaldson: What team is America on?

Nieri: Well, we're currently selling three 'Team Logan' shirts for every one 'Team Duncan'.

"Obviously." Logan said.

"Aren't we all on the same team?" Veronica asked.

Logan smirked at her. "Right…Play dumb, Veronica."

Veronica glared at him.

Donaldson: What else is selling well?

Nieri: Well, after those, our top seller is the 'Mars Investigations' shirt. (The shirt he points to has the Mars Investigations logo) We've also sold a lot of 'Logan's Run' and 'Run Logan Run', 'America Runs With Duncan', 'Pick Me, Veronica' and... surprisingly...'Fleece Me, Sheriff Lamb'.

Donaldson: Are you only selling Neptune tee shirts?

Nieri: No. Our four most popular designs - The Neptune Three, Team Logan, Team Duncan and Mars Investigations also come in mouse pads and tote bags. We have The Neptune Three poster, (he sweeps his arm towards a poster). Our 'Team Logan'/'Team Duncan' bracelets are strong sellers, and surprisingly, pookah shell necklaces are selling out all over the country.

Donaldson: Because Logan Echolls wears one in all of his photos?

Nieri: Right, they're mostly purchased by girls as gifts for their boyfriends. We've sold out of the 'Team Logan' women's panty, but we still have some Team Duncan in stock. (He points to a pair of white panties with black lettering.)

Veronica and Logan stared at each other with dropped jaws for several moments before Logan spoke.

"I'm used to getting into girls' panties, but…"

"You couldn't resist going for the easy joke, could you?" Veronica said rolling her eyes.

Donaldson: I'd like to thank you for talking to me, today, Mr. Nieri.

Nieri: Any time, Miss Donaldson. Thanks for stopping by. Your viewers are welcome to stop in to any of our Cover Yourself locations. Tell us you saw us on TV, and save 10% on your Neptune purchases.

[Cuts to Penny Bree in the studio]

Bree: Thanks DeeAnn. Next up, our own Darren Spencer went to the streets earlier to find out how you feel about The Neptune Three.

[Cut to Darren Spencer standing on a busy street corner]

Spencer: Thanks Penny. By now, pretty much everyone has seen the video statement made by Veronica Mars and Logan Echolls. I took to the streets to find out how America feels about The Neptune Three.

Veronica looked at Logan. "We should just prepare ourselves now. This is going to be really awkward."

"How so?"

"Because all the media cares about is whether I'm dating one of you – with all of that Team Logan/Team Duncan stuff."

"The only thing awkward is that anybody would think that DK was any competition for me."

Veronica gaped at Logan in disbelief. "Oh, really?" she asked. "Wow! So you're saying that in a contest for my affections, Duncan would be no competition? Cause I seem to remember you accusing me last night of wanting to reunite with him."

"And you reassured me that you wouldn't, but I didn't mean it like that. I meant that Duncan would be no competition for me for the affections of any ordinary girl. Obviously, you're a special case."

"Nice cover," Veronica said.

[Cut to a girl in her mid-teens. Her blond hair has been Veronica'd and she wears an outfit almost identical to Veronica's in the 'crossed-arms photo'.]

Girl:(breathlessly) Hi, I'm Jennie Lozada, and I am a huge fan of the The Neptune Three. When this story came out a few days ago, I instantly created a fan forum for them. Two days later, we already have over a thousand registered users. It's LoganVeronicaDuncan-at-yourforums-dot-com. I would love more people to join. I've also started a Neptune 3 group on MySpace with several hundred members.

Spencer: Why do you consider yourself a fan?

Jennie Lozada: Well I've always been a fan of Logan Echolls. Like from all of those Echolls family photo shoots in People and stuff. My mom likes Aaron Echolls, but he's too old. Logan is gorgeous. So is Duncan Kane. And Veronica Mars? She is a rock star.

Spencer: Real quick, before I move on…Team Logan or Team Duncan?

Jennie Lozada: Personally? I'm Team Logan, but we have plenty of Team Duncan-ers on our fan forum. It's a no hate place.

"Score one for me, from the Veronica wannabe." Logan said.

"That's the only Veronica you'll be scoring with," Veronica grumbled.

She didn't much like Logan's answering grin. It looked too much like a challenge.

[Cut to a short and burly woman in her mid-thirties with tanned skin. She has wavy, long strawberry blond hair and green eyes.]

Lady: Yes, I saw the video statement. First thoughts? I think those kids are in real danger. I understand that Liam guy is still on the streets? (She looks to Spencer for confirmation) Yeah, he gave me the willies when he was threatening them in the video. I honestly, hope they get what they asked for. The chance to just live out their lives in peace.

Spencer: Team Logan or Team Duncan?

Lady: Oh...Well I don't know much about Duncan Kane, except that he broods a lot and stares off into space. I'd have to say Team Logan. I liked what I saw of him on that video. I've always liked Aaron Echolls, but - dare I say? – I think his son has even more charisma. I guess that's what you get when you have two actor parents.

"Oh great. Like your head wasn't big enough?"

"For the first time ever, I wish that Daddy Dearest was in the country."

[Cut to two women in their early twenties. Both are of average height with shoulder length hair of light brown. One has blue eyes and the other brown]

Girl A: There was this…vibe…on that video between Logan and Veronica.

Girl B: Yeah, a flirty vibe.

Girl A: Like they were totally into each other, but wouldn't admit it.

Girl B: And you could tell that she bosses him around a lot and he likes it.

Girl A: Guys totally love a strong woman

Girl B: Totally.

Girl A: Remember that guy they go to school with? The big blond surfer dude?

Girl B: Yeah, his name was Dick something. I remember, because I was thinking: why would he go through life named Dick when he could be Rich or Richie or Rick or Ricky.

Girl A: Yeah, him. Remember how he said Logan and Veronica had mad U.S.T?

Girl B: Yeah, he was totally right, wasn't he? Guess he's not as dumb as he looks.

Spencer: So I take it you two are Team Logan?

Girl A: Totally!

Girl B: Team Logan all the way!

"They made a good point," Logan said.

"That Dick could have chosen four other nicknames?"

"Well, I was going to say that strong women are hot, but that too."

[Cut to a plump black lady in her forties with a chin-length bob and warm eyes]

Lady: Yeah, I watched that video. That Logan Echolls… (She shakes her head amusedly)

Spencer: What about him?

Lady: You can just tell he's a charmer. He's the type of guy who will look you straight in the eyes, all innocently and say: 'Yes dear, I did act like a complete jerk, but you'll forgive me because I'm adorable, right?'

Spencer: So I take it you're not Team Logan.

Lady:(looks at him as if he's crazy) Ofcourse, I'm Team Logan! You get your man, Veronica Mars! And then show him who's boss!

"Sounds pretty much like us." Logan gave Veronica a devilish grin that she couldn't help but respond to.

"You think I forgave you because you're adorable?" Veronica snickered.

"Well, it certainly didn't hurt my chances. How could you possibly stay mad at the eye candy?"

"Yeah…I should probably get started on those 'showing-you-who's-boss' lessons."

"You get your man, Veronica Mars." Logan said, sassily.

[Cut to a short and lean woman in her early twenties with coppery skin and loose, wispy, long golden-brown hair and brown eyes.]

Woman: The statement video? Yeah. How cool is Veronica Mars? If they ever clear this stuff up, she could have a future in stunt driving.

Spencer: Team Logan or Team Duncan?

Woman: Doesn't Veronica already have an established relationship with Duncan Kane? They looked pretty happy in those old photos.

"Boo!" Logan said. He set his empty coffee cup on the nightstand, and scooted down so that he was laying down, his hands crossed under his head.

"You can't even let your BFF have a single point?"

"Team Duncan sucks!" he whined, laughing up at Veronica, who was still sitting to his right, her back propped against the headboard.

[Cut to a very tall and stocky woman with ivory skin, straight, long fiery red hair, and wide blue eyes.]

Lady: I have to admit, I'm very disturbed by these reports. This young girl, Veronica Mars was brutally beaten, and nearly raped, and all anybody cares about is which rich boy she's dating?

Spencer: So I probably shouldn't ask you if you're Team Logan or Team Duncan?

Lady: (scowling) I'm 'Team-Veronica-takes-some-time-to-focus-on-her-emotional-and-physical-health-before-even-thinking-about-jumping-into-a-relationship. And after that? If she chooses to date, she should find somebody completely new. Face it, both of these boys have exhibited violence and instability in the past, and neither one of them have treated her with the respect she deserves. One hazed her repeatedly, and the other stood back and allowed it to happen. She can do much better.

"Damn!" Logan spat, obviously upset. "What do I have to do to live that stuff down?"

"Since when do you care what people think about you?"

"I care what you think, and every time the past comes up, I'm afraid you're going to get mad at me all over again."

"Logan…" Veronica's left hand began idly stroking Logan's hair, much like his mother used to do. He sensed, a moment later, that she was surprised by her actions and he reached up to hold her hand in place before she could pull it away, being sure to avoid eye contact. Keeping it casual. She paused for a moment, and then resumed stroking his hair.

[Cut to two girls in high school uniforms. The first is very short and gaunt and has tawny brown 'Veronica'd' hair and tilted brown eyes. The second is tall and slender and has curly shoulder-length hair of pale red, and blue eyes.]

Girl A: I think Veronica Mars is like a total role model or something. As girls, I think we can learn a lot from her about…um…being a detective and stuff.

Girl B:(shaking her head at her friend) We can learn from Veronica how to stand up for what is right and how to be strong women who don't back down from our principles.

Girl A: (giggling) And how to get two hot boys to like you.

Girl B: (silently shakes head)

Spencer: Team Logan or Team Duncan?

Girl B: Logan

Girl A: Duncan

Girl B: (silently shakes her head again)

[Cut to two good-looking guys in their early twenties]

Guy A: The Neptune Three? Yeah, Veronica Mars is the perfect woman. Smart. Sexy.

Guy B: The way she drives.

Guy A: Yeah, the way she drives. Marry me, Veronica Mars! I'll keep that Fitzpatrick dude away.

"Sorry man, she already has a fiancé." Logan grumbled.

"Do I? Thought that was Nolan and Victoria."

"Same difference,"

[Cut to a tiny lady in her sixties with silver hair and a large nose.]

Spencer: Have you been following the case of the Neptune Three?

Lady: Huh?

Spencer: The three missing teenagers from Neptune California?

Lady: Oh...oh...yeah. Aaron Eckhart's kid.

Spencer: No, that would be Aaron Echolls.

Lady: Yeah...Echolls...Aaron Echolls. He was in that pollution movie where Juliette Robbins dressed like a harlot and tried to sue an insurance company.

Spencer: No, that was Aaron Eckhart who starred in Erin Brockovich with Julia Roberts. Aaron Echolls starred in 'Breaking Point' and 'Beyond the Breaking Point'.

Lady: Oh right…right…Well, I think those kids should have gone straight to the police. The police are there to protect you.

Spencer: So you don't believe their claims that Sheriff Lamb is corrupt?

Lady: He's a police officer. Why would he be corrupt? And what was that girl thinking wearing a skirt that short? She was asking for it. Back in my days…

"Nice! Blame the victim!" Logan yelled at the television. "So if your granddaughters wore a short skirt, they'd deserve to be raped?"

"Logan…" Veronica said. "She's from a different generation. You can't reason with them. Especially through a TV set."

Over the years that they had been friends, Logan had always been very physical with Veronica - using her for a pillow, snuggling next to her on the couch when they all watched movies together, roughhousing, wrestling and tickle fights. Now he was trying to work his way back to where they used to be.

Logan rolled onto his side and then scooted so that his head was on Veronica's lap.

"What do you think you're doing, Logan?"

"Getting a better angle to watch TV, my neck was starting to hurt."

"You could have just sat back up like me,"

Logan pressed his hand against hers again nudging her to rub his head some more. "But this is more comfy."

Veronica sighed, and then began rubbing his head again. "You always were like a puppy begging for a belly rub."

"My belly's that way," Logan grinned impishly, and pointed down.

"Perv," Veronica said, with a groan.

She didn't notice the secretive little grin on his face. His head was in her lap. She was touching him, and they were gradually getting back to where they were supposed to be.

[Cuts to a medium height lady with caramel-colored hair in her late twenties]

Lady: The Neptune Three? I'm not sure how I feel. Veronica Mars is a fascinating person. I'm not sure if I would consider her a role model for young girls. She was well intentioned, and she apparently has nerves of steel, but the fact that she went after drug dealers alone shows judgment issues. I don't think that's a message we want to show young girls. On the other hand, she took a stand against crime. That's a better message to young girls than getting out of vehicles wearing no underwear.

Spencer: Did they do the right thing, going on the run together?

Lady: Honestly? I think they did. After seeing the video of that Fitzpatrick guy making threats, I have no doubt that their lives were in danger.

Spencer: Team Logan or Team Duncan?

Lady: Neither? Veronica Mars is a smart and motivated girl. Why does she need a rich boyfriend to be complete?

"Thank you!" Veronica said. "I never asked to be a role model."

[Cuts to a very pretty girl of around eighteen with shoulder length dark brown hair and sparkling brown cats eyes]

Girl: Veronica Mars is AMAZING. Her attitude, her style, her bravery, her driving skills. This Neptune Three thing is better than fiction. I'm riveted by them every time they're on TV.

Spencer: Team Logan or Team Duncan?

Girl:(with a saucy smile) Neither! Team Jessica all the way. (She points to herself and waggles her eyebrows at the camera before blowing a kiss.)

"Oh. My. God," Logan said. "Please make that happen. Where can I get a Team Jessica shirt?"

"Ouch!" he whined when Veronica pulled his hair. "What? You're hot. She's hot. I'm a guy."

[Cut to two black teen boys.]

Boy A: It just goes to show. Rich white boys will get away with anything.

Boy B: We get pulled over just for driving down the street while black, and these guys kill somebody and get to roam freely around the country.

Boy A: People are acting like these guys are heroes or something!

Boy B: Money will buy anything.

[Cut to redhead in her late twenties]

Lady: Shouldn't that Liam guy be in custody or something? He threatened to rape and murder Veronica Mars right on tape, and then chased them at high speeds. Isn't that a crime? Though, to be honest it disturbs me just as much that Duncan Kane is on the streets. I know he has some kind of disease or something, but he did kill a man. He makes me uneasy.

Logan shifted a bit so that he could look up into Veronica's eyes. She looked worried, too.

"He'll be okay, Veronica," he said. "I just know he'll be fine."

"I hope you're right," she answered.

[Cut to a petite, attractive, Italian lady in her early forties.]

Lady: Forget Team Logan and Team Duncan. (Peels off her jacket revealing a Mars Investigations tee shirt) Sign me up for Team Keith Mars. That's my kind of man.

"I don't know whether to cheer for that, or feel icky because somebody thinks of my dad as a sex symbol."

"Talk to me when your dad wins Sexiest Man Alive."


[Cut to three college-aged boys]

Boy 1: Can't blame those guys. If I had a girlfriend that looked like Veronica Mars, I would do whatever was necessary to take care of her too.

Spencer: Which boy do you think is her boyfriend?

Boy 2: I'd guess the taller one. Echolls. He seems more like the Alpha male of the two.

Boy 3: If I were them, I would take the fight to that Ian dude.

Boy 1: Yeah, they could take him, right?

Boy 2: No, way man. He's meth head and mafia. They can't win.

[Cut to a gorgeous blonde bombshell-type of around seventeen. She is petite, but very curvy and well endowed.]

Blonde: The Neptune Three, huh? (Smirks) You know…Logan Echolls spent a couple weeks here this past summer. We went out on a few dates.

Veronica felt Logan stiffen under her hand. Glancing down, she noticed guilt written across his face.

Spencer: Really? What was he like in person?

Blonde: Who knows? (Leers at the camera) We didn't spend much time talking.

"Oh my God! You slept with her!" Veronica yelled, shoving Logan's head off her lap. "Get off of me!"

Of course, he slept with her. She's beautiful, and has huge boobs. Just like Lilly.

"What? I was single then!" Logan protested, defensively.

"You still are."

Spencer: Oh…Um…So I take it you're Team Logan?

Blonde: Oh, yes! I am most definitely Team Logan. Veronica Mars, if you're not hooking up with Logan, you have no idea what you're missing.

Logan scooted to a half-sitting position and leaned against Veronica, pulling her left arm around his neck and giving her puppy dog eyes. "Don't be jealous, baby. You know I only want to be fake-engaged to you."

"Jealous?" Veronica's jaw dropped. "Maybe I just don't want you getting skanky girl germs all over me."

"You heard her. You have no idea what you're missing," Logan smirked and stretched up to kiss her on the cheek.

Veronica used her free hand to wipe off his kiss. "Skanky girl genes," she explained.

[Cut to three teenage girls. A blonde with a Veronica cut, a brunette with a Veronica cut and an Asian girl with glossy black hair.]

Girl A: Logan Echolls is so hot. I hope he and Veronica really are together.

Girl B: Logan hot? I think Duncan is much hotter with those blue eyes. It's so romantic how he and Veronica reunited and went on the run together.

Girl A: if Duncan and Veronica are together, why do we only see her on video with Logan – first at Target and then their statement?

Girl B: Who cares? I like Duncan way better. He seems like he's a much nicer person than Logan is.

Girl A: And way more boring. But what else should I expect from you. You were Team Dawson too, so there's no accounting for taste. Logan is more like Pacey.

Girl B: Duncan isn't like Dawson. He's like Angel. (Sighs) All brooding and mysterious.

Girl A: And Logan is more like Spike. The snarky one whom everybody likes.

Girl B: You're wrong. Everybody likes Angel better. He even got his own show.
Girl A: And I never had to watch him mope around again.
Girl B: Why do you always have to be so mean?
Girl A: Why do you always have to be so ignorant?
Girl B:(shoves Girl A out of the frame)
Girl A: (shoves back, knocking Girl B out of the frame)
Girl C:(now alone in the frame) Fangirls! (Rolls her eyes, exagerratedly)

"What the hell just happened there?" Veronica asked.

"Fangirls? Dad's had some crazies, but he's never been in the middle of a love triangle thing."

"This. Is. Not. A. Love. Triangle," Veronica said.

"Mmm hmm," Logan said.

Veronica did not like the way he was looking at her. A slight smirk with a knowing glance - as if she were missing something right in front of her face.

"This is not a love triangle," she repeated.

"I know," he murmured, but he still had that look on his face.

She wasn't sure if she wanted to slap him, or kiss him, but the sound of the bathroom door lock disengaging, rendered the decision moot.

Veronica and Logan jumped apart as if they had just been caught making out by her father. By the time Duncan stepped out of the bathroom, Logan was sitting up and there was enough space between them to fit another person.

When their eyes met again, they were both twinkling with suppressed laughter.

Duncan - Day Five - Dallas, TX - Lakeview Court Motel - Room 118

Since he'd woken, Duncan had been on the verge of one panic attack after another, and it wasn't yet 9:00 AM.

He could breathe now, though. He was squeaky clean, well dressed, and groomed. It meant nothing in the larger scheme of things, but string together enough small measures of control, and he might become at least...functional.

He reached for the bathroom doorknob, thumbing the lock, and then hesitated. On the other side of that door were Veronica and Logan. The girl he'd spent the better part of a year trying to forget, and the best friend who had been bolstering him ever since Lilly died. He'd seen far too much worry and concern in Logan's eyes over the past year, and he could only imagine how bad it would be now.

The truly ironic part was, despite the fact that he'd gone fugue for four days after killing a man, he hadn't felt this clear-headed in ages. It had been well over a week since that first anti-depressant had fallen down the drain, and he could think again. Feel again.

He turned the knob.

Veronica and Logan were on the second bed watching TV and silently laughing at some private joke. That would take some getting used to.

When Veronica noticed him, she reached for the remote and turned off the TV. They both eyed him warily.

They're sizing me up. Waiting to see if I'm going to snap again.

"What?" he laughed nervously. "Did I do something else I can't remember?"

"No ," Logan said. "It's just 'Man On The Street' interviews

"And you don't want me to see them?"

"I don't know…" Logan started, his face serious. "I just know how fragile your ego is, and... I guess there's no easy way to say this...America likes me better."

Duncan snorted. "Don't worry Logan. I'm sure once they get to know you, they'll despise you like the rest of us."

Logan let out a relieved laugh. "Gee DK, you're the best! I knew there was a reason I keep you around as my best friend."

The subtle tension in Logan's posture seemed to melt away, and Duncan could see relief on his face. Logan believed in him still.

Veronica would be much tougher to convince. He couldn't bury his head in the sand any longer pretending she didn't exist. Somehow, their lives had become entangled once again, and this time it was a Gordian freaking knot.

Still, it was hard for him to look at her. A year's worth of shame and nausea was a hard habit to break. He took a deep breath, steeled himself, as if for battle, and took a seat on the edge of his bed.

"Veronica…" he started, bringing his eyes up to meet hers. "I know I've been in self-pity mode since I woke up this morning, but...I need to tell you how sorry I am about what happened to you."

Surprise flickered in her eyes for a moment, before she offered him a smile. It wasn't a warm smile - she was still too wary for that - but it was sincere enough. "I appreciate the sentiment, Duncan."

Duncan nodded. That would have to do for now. They weren't going to become friends again overnight.

"…" Duncan started. "Do we have a plan or something?"

"Our truck is in a chop shop being painted and disguised, so we're stuck here in Dallas until tomorrow night. Then, we're heading to Florida. Nicholas Key. My dad has a secret yacht there we can live on while he's in the Czech Republic filming his latest travesty."

"The Nicholas Key? How'd your dad pull that off?"

Logan just stared at him.

"Okay, dumb question," Duncan acknowledged.

"Ronnie and I were talking, and we think you should probably see Dr. Tony."

"In case you're malnourished, or need any follow-up care." Veronica added.

Duncan nodded. "Oh...okay...who is Dr. Tony?"

"We're at a motel - Lakeview Court." Logan said. "It's owned by this lady Peggy, who's like an angel or something, and Dr. Tony is her son. He had you at his clinic for twenty-four hours, and brought you back last night."

"He's a really nice guy. You'll like him," Veronica said.

"He's a player who wants to get into Veronica's pants, but other than that, he's not half bad."

Veronica elbowed Logan in the ribs. "He does NOT want to get in my pants." Turning to Duncan, she added, "Logan is projecting his own nefarious treatment of women upon Dr. Tony,"

"Projecting? Big words, Nancy Drew." Logan laughed. "This girl knows absolutely nothing about men," he told Duncan, shaking his head sadly.

"How could I? You spent the last year chasing off any guy who tried to get near me." Veronica argued.

"Ah...this again..." Logan grinned, cracking his knuckles as if for battle.

Duncan felt a smile tugging at his lips. This was banter, not a serious argument. Somehow, Logan and Veronica had become friends again. Close enough friends that their previous estrangement wasn't a taboo subject.

For a moment, he felt absurdly happy. So many times over the past year, he'd wanted to reach out to Veronica. To heal the rift between the remaining three members of the Fab Four. He'd even broached the subject once or twice, But Logan had been adamantly opposed to it, and Duncan had neither the energy nor the passion to push back. It was so much easier to avoid her anyway.

Logan had never been willing to discuss the source of his hate-on for Veronica, just as Duncan had never been willing to discuss the breakup. To push the matter would have been hypocritical.

But now - by some miracle - Logan and Veronica had managed to heal their relationship by themselves - without him to referee.

He realized that they had stopped bickering, and were staring at him.


"You're the one staring, dude." Logan said.

"You two are friends again," Duncan observed, dumbly.

"Yeah…" Veronica nodded, as if he were stating the obvious. "It's kind of hard to hate when you're desperately trying to keep each other alive."

"No…This is more than a friendship of convenience." Duncan couldn't quite put his finger on it. "It's like before, only…different."

"Dude, you've slept through a war these past few days. Veronica is like my…?"

"Battle buddy?" Veronica suggested.

"Yeah…" Logan grinned at her. "Or...comrade in arms."

Their eyes met again in that amused nobody-but-us-could-ever-understand look.

"It's going to take some getting used to," Duncan said. "It's almost...surreal...seeing you two get along."

"Oh, we don't always get along," Veronica said.

"Yeah, you should have seen us going at it last night. I'm surprised she didn't wake you right out of your stupor with all of that yowling."

"My yowling?" Veronica gasped. "I seem to remember you raising your voice."

"What were you fighting about?" Duncan asked.

"Nothing," Logan and Veronica said, simultaneously.

What's that all about?

"That's how I ended up in bed with you, though," Veronica said. "I'll admit, it was a bit of a tantrum move, on my part."

"Where do you usually sleep," Duncan asked. He just had to ask.

Veronica and Logan did that secret communication thing they had been doing all morning.

"I sleep with Logan," Veronica looked him straight in the eyes, daring him to have a problem with it. "And I'm not going to stop."

"Oh..." was all that Duncan could say.

"It's not like that," Logan jumped in. "Nothing's happened. Trust me; it's a good thing we sleep together."

Oh, this ought to be good.

"Not that we have to explain ourselves to you," Veronica cut in. "But I've been having these nightmares, where Ciaran and Liam Fitzpatrick take turns trying to rape me." She shuddered. "They're not very pleasant."

"I'm truly sorry," Duncan said sincerely. He knew all about nightmares. He'd been having them for a year.

"And every time she's tried to sleep alone, she's woken up yelling and screaming."

"Except when I'm with Logan. Somehow, his presence keeps the nightmares at bay."

"It's the only way that any of us are going to get any sleep." Logan said. "Last night was particularly bad."

"I understand," Duncan said. What else could he say? Quit comforting my ex-girlfriend/sister? No, if Logan said nothing happened, nothing happened. Logan wouldn't lie to him.

"Well, since you're being so understanding…in the interest of full disclosure..." Logan started.

"What else?" Duncan asked, afraid to hear the answer.

"Veronica and I are kind of engaged. At least that's our cover story."

Veronica gave Logan a, 'why'd-you-have-to-go-and-bring-that-up?' look, and then held up her left hand, wiggling it so that the small diamond engagement ring on her finger caught the light.

"Cover story?"

"Yeah, you and Veronica are brother and sister."

Duncan almost choked. "What did you just say?"

"Your alias is...what is his alias again?"

"Declan Marshall," Veronica filled in. "I'm Victoria Marshall, your big sister. My fiancé, Nolan Ellis…" she gestured to Logan. "...and I are driving you to a mental hospital due to your catatonia. At least we were. We'll have to come up with a new destination now."

"It was Weevil's idea," Logan said.

At Duncan's blank look, Logan clarified. "Weevil Navarro. Leader of the PCHers, Mrs. Navarro's grandson, the guy Lilly was fucking behind my back." His eyes grew flinty at the last statement.

Duncan glanced a question at Veronica, who nodded in agreement. "It's true. He knew about her birthmark."

Duncan deliberated over that for a moment. "So, you think? That night at the bonfire?"

Logan slapped his forehead. "I forgot about that. Of course, that's why they left without a fight. And here I thought it was my ferocious punching skills. Fucking Lilly!"

Duncan didn't know what to say. He'd known that Lilly wasn't faithful. Hell, even Logan had known. They'd just never known who the other guy was.

"So what did Weevil have to do with the cover story?"

"Oh, he thought the whole thing up, and brought us fake driver's licenses." Logan said. "He thought if Veronica was engaged, it would keep the assholes away from her."

"How's that working out?"

Logan scowled. "Some guys just can't take a hint. We went out the other night, and three guys tried to pick her up right in front of me. "

"Maybe they didn't see the ring?" Duncan offered.

"Duncan, we do the affectionate thing in public. Hand holding, flirting, etcetera. There's no way they didn't know. Luckily, Veronica handled them."

Just ignore that throbbing ache in your belly. It's only a show they're putting on.

"Hey, I have to call Dr. Tony," Logan said. "Get yourself some coffee, Duncan," he gestured to the coffee bar.

Duncan snickered. "Who was dumb enough to put two caffeine addicts like you in a room with a coffee pot? Is there any tea? Maybe some green tea?"

Logan groaned. "Will you freaking man-up and drink some coffee? There's no tea drinking in war. Plus, coffee will put hair on your chest. Just ask Veronica."

Veronica rolled her eyes. "I think there may be some tea packets over there."

"I just don't like having unnecessary caffeine. Is there any food?" Duncan asked.

"Pop-tarts, Cap'n Crunch, cookies, chips," Veronica said.

"You're trying to kill me," Duncan laughed. "I meant real food."

Veronica shrugged. "You seemed to like those nutrition drinks we've been feeding you all week."

"I'll just get something later," Duncan said.

A moment later, Logan was off the phone. "He said he can clear up his schedule in two hours. That'll give Ronnie and I time to shower."

While Logan was in the shower, Veronica made Duncan sit and record a video statement. He kept it simple. He'd had an epileptic episode. He had no memory of the episode or killing Ciaran Fitzpatrick. His first memory was 'coming to' at Logan's house, where they came to the mutual decision to leave Neptune. He had not, in any way, been kidnapped.

Once she was satisfied, Veronica emailed it to a news reporter she trusted.

While Veronica was in the shower, Logan took Duncan to the motel office to meet Peggy, the angelic proprietor.

"Oh, look at you, up and moving around," Peggy said, pulling Duncan into her arms.

He faltered for a moment, and then returned the hug, oddly touched by this stranger's warm welcome. His mother had never been a toucher, and his father rarely did, but Peggy's warm embrace was his first bit of comfort since he'd woken.

"You have to be starving," she said, pulling back to look him in the eyes.

"A bit," Duncan admitted. "But not enough to try to eat that garbage Logan and Veronica try to pass off for food."

"Let's see what I can whip up for you," Peggy said, disappearing through a doorway behind the counter before Duncan could even put up a token protest.

"What're you waiting for?" Logan asked putting a hand on Duncan's shoulder and guiding him through the same doorway into a gleaming white kitchen.

"Heads up," Peggy called, and Logan caught the apple she tossed at him.

"Ahh...Peggy," he grinned. "You know me so well. How about I ditch that rotten fiancée of mine, and you and I run away together?"

"Don't tempt me, you little rogue." Peggy laughed. "That so-called rotten fiancée of yours carries a taser and knows how to use it."

"Don't worry about Ronnie. She'd probably pay you to take me off her hands."

"I think you underestimate your charm, young man." Peggy wiggled her finger at Logan. "Duncan, what can I get for you? Eggs? Oatmeal? Toast?"

"Oatmeal would be great, thank you," Duncan answered.

Several minutes later, Peggy placed a steaming bowl of oatmeal in front of him. "What would you like in it? Maple? Brown Sugar? Pecans? Raisins? Cinnamon? "

"Maple syrup is good, thank you." Duncan gave her a nervous smile.

Peggy produced a bottle of pure maple from the fridge and handed it to Duncan.

"So, DK has an appointment with Dr. Tony in...a little over an hour," Logan said. "Where exactly is this clinic. You mentioned three blocks from here?"

"Yes. Make a left out of the parking lot, and it's about three blocks down on the right. It's called the Horizon Clinic. It's in a short brick building."

"Got it," Logan said.

"Could I have you boys do me a favor while you're out?" Peggy asked.

"Let me took us in knowing we were fugitives, gave us a room in the empty wing of the motel so nobody would see us, and keep me stocked with apples. Like I could resist you anything." Logan said.

"Thanks sweetie, if I give you a list, will you pick a few things for me at 7-Eleven? It's a few blocks further than the clinic, and you can take the truck. I'm stuck here until at least 5:00."

"Definitely," Logan said, accepting the ring of keys from her and shoving them in his pocket. "DK, finish your oatmeal, and I'll go see if V is ready. We can do 7 Eleven first." He hurried out of the room.

Peggy sat down across from Duncan. "Now tell me how you're really doing."

"I'm okay, ma'am." `

"Of course, you're not okay," Peggy said. "You've had a traumatic experience. My son Tony can help with your physical health, but your emotional health is just as important."

"Thank you. It's adjustment. It seems like the whole world's gone crazy," Duncan said.

"The media coverage?" Peggy asked.

"No, I haven't seen much of that, yet. It's Logan and Veronica. Five days ago, they hated each other's guts."

"Do you really believe that?" Peggy asked, gently.

Duncan considered the idea. "No...It never made sense. But they acted like they hated each other."

"And now things have changed."

"Yeah, things have changed," Duncan said. "I hate to say it, but I think I might be jealous." He looked away in embarrassment.

"Because you still have feelings for Veronica?" Peggy asked.

"What?" Duncan asked, surprised. "No, not that kind of jealous. It's just that...Logan has been my best friend ever since Tommy Lewis tried to make me eat a worm in kindergarten."

"And now?"

"It's crazy, but I think Logan and Veronica are best friends, now."

"They've been through a lot together," Peggy said. "It's natural for them to get closer,"

"I know, but it's more than close. It's as if they speak this secret language with their eyes. And they have all of these inside jokes. And they sit on the same bed to watch TV. They even sleep together. And it's only been five days. How is that even possible? Can people become best friends in five days?"

"Shared trauma can create rock solid bonds. Are you afraid that their relationship is going to turn romantic?"

"No. Logan said there's nothing going on,"

"Then, what are you really afraid of, Duncan?"

"I guess...that I won't have a place in their new...dynamic. I'm the one who got them into this mess, and they've been doing just fine without me. I guess I'm afraid that I'm going to lose my friend. And that Veronica will never be my friend again. I treated her pretty badly."

"So did Logan," Peggy pointed out.

Duncan's lips curled into a wry grin. "So you think I have a chance of fitting in?"

"I think you have some very loyal friends," Peggy said, warmly. "You'll be fine."

Logan – Day Five – Dallas, TX, 7-Eleven

Logan pulled Peggy's truck behind the 7-Eleven and threw it into Park. "Back in a few minutes," he said, pulling on his black baseball cap, and tucking his glasses into his front shirt pocket.

"Wait up," Veronica said. "I want a Slushee." She handed her Seattle guidebook to Duncan in the back seat, "Here, study this. Our cover story is that we're from Seattle. Memorize some details. You need anything?"

"Nah, I'm good, thanks." Duncan said, already beginning to skim pages in the book.

Logan waited for Veronica to catch up, and they walked around the corner together, the plain brick wall of the building to their right. She was looking super-hot today in those khaki short shorts - the girl had some serious legs for such a tiny thing. She wore the long blonde 'Texas wig' and a snug red tee shirt with a black scrollwork pattern. She must have been thinking of Lilly while she was shopping at Target, because she'd been wearing a lot of red lately. Logan approved. It was definitely her color.

Once the truck was out of sight, he stopped, touching her arm.

"So...what do you think?" he asked.

"About Duncan? Too soon to tell."

"I think he's going to be okay," Logan said. "He seems different. More...alive, maybe. Less like a zombie."

"I noticed that too," Veronica said. "It must have been his meds making him so dull and lifeless all this time."


They resumed walking, and Logan was slightly ahead of her when they began rounding the corner to the front of the building. He jumped back, grabbing her arm.

"Shit. Two cops, coming this way," he hissed.

"Did they see you?"

"No, they were looking at each other."

"How close?" Veronica asked, glancing towards the back of the building.

"Not enough time to make it around back without looking suspicious," Logan said, a look of panic on his face.

"Damn," Veronica said, glancing around for some kind of out.

No cars parked facing the building for them to hide behind. The police cruiser was parked on the opposite side of the lot, so the cops would have to pass by their corner.

How had they missed that cop car? Logan knew he'd been too caught up in checking out Veronica's legs, but she was usually more observant. "What do we do?" he asked.

"Kiss me," Veronica said.

Logan shook his head to clear the cobwebs. He could have sworn he'd just heard Veronica Mars tell him to kiss her. "Repeat that?" he said.

Frustration evident in her eyes, she shoved him against the wall. "Ugh, we don't have time!" Her arms snaked up around his neck, pulling his head down. She pressed a chaste kiss to his lips.

Logan snickered.

"Something funny?" she hissed, pressing a second chaste kiss to his lips.

"Usually when a girl slams me against a wall, I'm not expecting her to kiss me like my mom."

His lips pursed and he made an exaggerated smoochy sound when their lips met again. Veronica couldn't help but giggle. "Stop it! Be serious!"

"Stop being so serious. It looks fake." Logan whispered to the small space between their lips. "Relax."

The sounds of conversation drew nearer, and Veronica must have taken his advice to heart, because her lips were softer when they next met Logan's, lingering for a fraction of a second. The following kiss lingered slightly longer.

"Should we do something about that?" Logan heard a male voice say.

"Nah, doesn't look like it's getting out of control, let 'em be," the second voice answered.

He heard two car doors open and close.

After the seventh kiss, Veronica didn't pull her lips away. Somewhere around the eleventh, Logan forgot all about the cops. His arms slid around her, hands resting gently on her lower back, careful not to apply pressure and spook her.

He fought any urges to take control. He was used to more passionate kisses - usually initiated them - but there was something almost dreamlike about Veronica's soft kisses. Her lips parting, dragging across his in slow-motion, coming together, each kiss marginally altering the angle. Each lingering longer at its apex. Wet, but not too wet. Soft, but not too soft.

After a dozen or so more of these soft kisses, Veronica exhaled and pressed her forehead to his. She stilled for a moment - too long - before moving the tip of her nose to touch his, their lips mere centimeters apart. It wasn't a kiss this time, but instead a barely-there touching of the lips. Their shared breath was hot as her parted lips brushed whisper-soft across his - miniscule shifts to the left/right- like butterfly kisses without the eyelashes - creating unfamiliar sensations in Logan.

He reevaluated his earlier conclusion as he fought the urge to suck her lower lip into his mouth. This wasn't the sort of passion that he was used to, but there was still a quiet sense of passion in the stillness. And something more. Intimate.

She tilted her head to kiss him again, this time tentatively touching the tip of her tongue to his, sending what felt like a jolt of lightening to his groin, by way of his heart. Her lips closed, before opening again to sweep her tongue across his. He vaguely registered the sound of a car backing up and pulling away - Bye bye officers - as she kissed him for the third time - this time not immediately retreating. It was a soft, unhurried kiss, like a gentle rain in summer, and he was just about to bring in some heat lightening, when she pulled back, looking over her shoulder to where the police cruiser had previously been parked. Dropping her hands from his neck, she took a step back.

Logan sighed in disappointment. It was over. Veronica's dazed eyes were beginning to clear, and in a minute, she would either throw a hissy fit or blow it off, pretending it never happened.

No! HELL no! I never got the chance to show her what it could really be like between us.

I didn't wait four fucking years for this kiss, only to have it be forgettable to her. If this is going to be our one and only kiss, I'm going to kiss the hell out of her.

Logan went on offense.

Veronica - Day Five - Dallas, Texas - 7-Eleven

The cops had driven away, and Veronica had lost her only legitimate excuse for kissing Logan. She allowed the kiss to continue several seconds longer than strictly necessary, because - dammit - it was heavenly.

She'd always assumed kissing Logan would be different than kissing Duncan, but she'd never imagined it would feel this...electric.

She pulled away and looked over her shoulder, just to be sure. Yep, the cruiser was gone. She sighed and took a step back from Logan.

She was already missing the contact with his lips when her eyes rose to meet his.

Why is he looking at me like that? What is he plan—

Logan's hands were suddenly on either side of her face and he was turning her. "My turn," he whispered before her back hit the brick wall and his mouth descended hard upon hers.

Logan wasted no time on formalities, deepening the kiss almost immediately. Veronica let out a little whimper, her hands rising to wrap around his neck. This was insanity. This was…

Oh my G—

She gave into the madness. Mind had no place here. Logan moved closer, sandwiching her between his body and the wall, overwhelming her with his scent, the slight taste of mint, and the delicious things his tongue was doing in her mouth. A current ran between them - so electric, that they had to be causing power failures all over the city.

We shouldn't be—

Logan's right hand slid to her waist, hauling her even closer. Veronica had never been kissed like this before. Duncan had been a gentle, unhurried, kisser. This one was anything but gentle. It was fire and passion and urgency. She was, however, a quick learner, and within seconds was giving back as good as she was getting.

Need to st—

She barely noticed the baseball cap falling to the ground as her fingers slid up to tangle in Logan's soft hair. She'd always imagined it would be crunchy with all of that product, but you get what you pay for, and apparently, Logan was paying for hold without stiffness. The thought prompted a small giggle from her, and Logan pulled back a bit, examining her with amused eyes. Concluding that they were far from done, he kissed her three times softly in the center of her lips, before shifting to the opposite side and beginning his onslaught anew.

She wondered if he could taste the four years of longing and need and desire she was pouring into this kiss. Somehow, she felt as if he was making up for lost years as well. This was far more than a physical thing.

She felt so dizzy and lightheaded; she doubted her legs would even hold her up if Logan wasn't pressing her against the wall.

Need to stop. Need to stop it n—

Logan's lips left hers and began kissing a path down her jawline. Down her neck. She hardly noticed her traitorous right knee climbing the outside of Logan's leg, until she felt Logan's large hand sliding along the back of her bare thigh, creating tingles and goose bumps in its wake, as he moved it to his hip.

Why can't I even complete a freaking thou—

His lips and tongue found that spot on her neck at the same moment his hands found her ass, and apparently, they were all on the same nerve network, because she felt it in her core. God, she felt it. She gasped in pleasure, feeling an unbearable need to get closer still. Her nipples tightened almost painfully. Could he feel them through three layers of fabric? As much as she didn't want to call attention to them, she felt herself arching her back to press harder against him.

She needed to touch him, and why the hell shouldn't she? Her hands slid down his back, hesitating for several beats on his lower back, and then her right hand tentatively slid to his butt. Logan made a choked sound, and the muscle tightened under her hand. When he lifted her a few inches off the ground pinning her to the wall, she dragged him even closer by the ass.

Fuck. He was hard. Fuck, that hardness felt good pressed against her right there.

Logan's mouth found her's again and this time there was no finesse, just pure urgency. Her left hand returned to roughly tangle in his hair, keeping him put.

What the hell are we doing? OH MY GOD, don't stop!

The bricks were scratching her back, and she must be losing her freaking mind, because she liked it. She loved it.

Have I even breathed in the past several minutes?

The sound of a car horn nearby broke the spell.

Logan's body pulled back enough to gently lower Veronica to the ground.

His hands returned to cup her face, and the kiss's personality changed once again, becoming tender and gentle. The kind of kiss designed to erase any doubts that this was just a physical thing.

Finally, he pulled away slowly, pressing several gentle kisses to her lips, the tip of her nose, and her forehead, before releasing her from his arms and taking a step back.

Logan - Day Five - Dallas, TX - 7-Eleven

oh fuck.






Open vein, inject Veronica Mars.

Veronica - Day Five - Dallas, TX - 7-Eleven

Her eyelids felt like they were made of lead.

Can't I just put this off for a while? Lean here against this building, eyes closed; pondering the meaning of...Actually, this is probably a bad time for pondering.

With Herculean effort, she cracked one eyelid, and then the other.

Logan stared at her in confusion, his lips slightly parted. His eyes had never seemed so dark or magnetic as they did in this moment.

Veronica stared back, unable to break the contact even if she wanted to.

Almost 200,000 words in the English language, and not a single one felt appropriate for this moment.

What have we done? This is not good.

After what felt like an hour, but couldn't have been more than a minute, Logan's headed tilted forward slightly, forehead wrinkling into his trademark Bassett hound look, complete with the puppy dog eyes of doom.

Oh no. Not this time, buddy. If I fall for that this time, my name isn'…


...oh fuck!

Logan gave her a tentative smile, and arched a single eyebrow at her.

"Veronica Mars!" she said, breathlessly. Oh my God! I said that out loud.

Logan's lip twitched in amusement. He held up a hand in greeting, wiggling his fingers. "Logan Echolls."

"Ugh!" Veronica covered her face in her hands in embarrassment.

Logan took a step closer, his hands all business now, as he straightened her wig, and smoothed her tee shirt.

She glanced up at him, but his hair was no worse for her fingers having twisted and tangled in it. She really needed to find out what that miracle product was.

"So…" Logan said stepping back, with an embarrassed smile.

"There you guys are," Duncan's voice came around the corner. "Where's the stuff?" He looked at them curiously.

Logan's eyes flicked once more to Veronica before turning to Duncan, all innocence. "We never made it inside. We had to wait out some cops loitering in the front of the store. They just pulled away."

"You dropped your hat," Duncan said, stooping to pick it up and handing it to Logan. "I just realized I could use a few things myself. Fruit and stuff."

"I changed my mind," Veronica muttered. "I'm going back to the truck." She reached for the keys dangling from Duncan's hand, turned on her heel, and began walking away.

"She's in a mood. I'll deal with her," She could hear Logan saying. "Here, get the stuff on Peggy's list, and grab Ronnie a Slushee. She likes that Piña Colada flavor."

"Veronica," he called. She kept walking. She could hear his footsteps as she turned the corner.

"Veronica!" His footsteps closed in. "Will you freaking wait for me?" She felt his hand on her wrist, and she spun around to tell him to leave her the hell alone, but then somehow their mouths became connected again.

And then somehow, she was straddling Logan's lap in in the tiny back seat of Peggy's extended cab truck.

Veronica wasn't sure how they'd gotten from Point A to Point B, but Logan was tugging her wig off her head, and tossing it across the back seat so that he could run his fingers through her hair.

"We can't…" Veronica protested, weakly.

"We…" -Kiss- "Sure as hell" -Kiss- "can." Logan said. His hands found her ass again, drawing her closer to him, and then started running down her bare legs.

"No." Veronica whined, as Logan's mouth moved to her neck.

"Yes." Logan answered, glancing up.

His dark eyes were filled with lust and he had never in his life looked hotter to her. He returned his mouth to her neck.

Somehow, Veronica's hands were under his shirt, running up his back, where she could feel his muscles rippling under her palms. She'd never gone further than kissing with Duncan, but with Logan, she already wanted to pull off his shirt and explore all of that smooth skin with her lips and teeth.

"Logan…" she breathed.


"We can't."

This time he pulled back and stared at her. "Why not?"

Veronica extracted her hands from his shirt. "Too many reasons. Lilly and Duncan, and…"

"Fuck Lilly," Logan said, biting her bottom lip. "Fuck Duncan." He kissed her again, deepening it almost immediately. Veronica allowed herself to enjoy it for several moments before pulling away again.

"Logan. This is the worst mistake we could possibly make."

"Kissing?" He ran his tongue along her collarbone, causing her to shiver and clutch at his hair.

"Stop." She pulled back.

"Okay…" Logan said quietly, staring at her.

"We can't ever do that again, Logan." Veronica said, shakily. "It will ruin everything."

"Veronica," Logan's eyes were weary now. "You can't possibly be surprised this happened. The only thing surprising is that it took us so long."

Veronica covered her face with her hands. "We. Just. Can't."

"You think you can stop it?" Logan laughed bitterly. "No don't look at me like that. You know I didn't mean it like that."

Veronica nodded shakily. "I know."

She reached for Logan's hand. "I. Can't. Lose. You." she said, staring into his eyes, begging him to understand.

"You think you're going lose me if we make out?" Logan's lips found Veronica's again, lingering for a moment.

"Yes," Veronica answered. "It'll complicate matters. Things will get messy and you'll want to take off."

He braced her face between his hands, forcing her to meet his eyes. "I made a promise to you that I would never leave you behind."

"Everybody leaves me behind." Veronica blinked back the moisture threatening to fill her eyes.

Logan groaned and kissed her softly again. "You're going to have to learn to trust me. You can't tell me this didn't mean anything to you! You can't tell me you don't feel that pull."

"Of course I feel it," Veronica said in frustration.

"And that's not enough for you?" Logan asked.

"No. Our relationship is too important to me to risk on a physical attraction. Plus...Lilly."

"What about Lilly?"

You would rather be with her. I'd always be your second choice. A poor imitation.

"I just can't."

"Okay," Logan nodded, and looked away. "Well, I better..."

If Veronica had a hard time bearing the hurt in his eyes the night before, this was twice as painful. He looked downright miserable.

She couldn't help herself. She grabbed his face in her hands and kissed him again. It was only supposed to be a soft, reassuring kiss, but it deepened almost immediately, swiftly slipping out of her control as she writhed against him. A minute later, she pulled free, gasping for breath.

"You changed your mind?" Logan was smiling, and running a hand through her hair.

"No," Veronica shook her head. "We can't do this."

Logan's eyes hardened. Now he was pissed. "Well, do you mind not sitting on my cock while you reject me?" he spat.

Veronica scrambled off him as fast as she could, searching for her wig. She couldn't look at him, but his rant had just begun.

"This is exactly what I meant last night. Mixed fucking messages. You don't want me, and I tried to accept it. Then you're grinding down on me. Then you don't want me again."

He slammed open the back door of the truck, climbing out and pulling his tee shirt down to cover his erection. He climbed behind the wheel and held his hand out for the keys. Veronica handed them to him silently and slipped her wig back onto her head.

"You think if you ignore this hard enough that it'll go away?" Logan asked incredulously. "It never does. It only intensifies."

"No wonder you and Duncan got along so well. You both wander around in permanent states of denial."

"Screw you, Logan."

"I would…but you'd probably change your mind halfway through it."

Veronica didn't bother to answer, instead staring out the window a look of disdain on her face.

"I can make you two promises, Veronica." Logan started. "One. This will happen again. And Two. You will be the one initiating it. I'm done trying."

"Real confident, aren't you Logan?"

"Yes. I am."

"Don't be. I won't be initiating anything."

"Oh yes you will. We let it out. There's no locking it back away again."

"Wanna bet?"

"Actually?" Veronica watched Logan's eyes light up in the rearview mirror. "Actually, I do." He dug the burner phone out of the console and dialed a number by heart.

"Who are you calling?" Veronica demanded. Logan ignored her question.

"Hey." he said when the other party answered the phone. "It's me. Don't say my name out loud."

"Dick! I told you not to say may name! Just Beaver and Enbom? Okay. So how much money do you owe me? Those two bets and the cracked surfboard. $5000? That much? Good! No, I don't need money. "

"How's that pool going? I heard you talking about it on the news." He listened silently for a moment. "You're kidding me? Neptune High has no imagination. Yeah, that's exactly why I called. Put it all on me." His eyes bore into Veronica's in the rearview. "Actually, throw in another five thousand for me. You know I'm good for it. Nope, no inside information. I'm just very very motivated to win."

As Logan listened to the other end of the call, the passenger door opened, and Duncan looked at Logan and Veronica in confusion. He carried a cup and several plastic bags full of purchases. Had it really only been five minutes?

"Tell nobody that you talked to me, and let's keep this to ourselves. I'll get in touch with you soon. Later, dude." Logan hung up the phone.

"What's this?" Duncan asked pointing to Veronica in the back seat. "Are you two having another one of your famous blowouts?"

"Yes." Logan and Veronica said simultaneously.

Duncan shook his head and climbed in, handing a Slushee back to Veronica. "Do you need me to referee?"

"No." Both voices said.

"It'll blow over," Logan said.

"Good," Duncan exhaled, obviously relieved to not have to get involved. "So, I picked up some Nutragrain Bars, and some packaged salads to put in that fridge, and this really good spinach juice I've tried a few times, oh, and some black beans we could put on the salads for protein, and..."

Logan's eyes met Veronica's in the rearview again, brought an imaginary gun to his temple and pulled the imaginary trigger. Veronica was furious. She was ready to kill the guy, but she could not suppress her snicker. Damn, traitorous sense of humor.

Logan drove to the motel first, so that he could take Peggy her purchases, and refrigerate their own, before heading out to Duncan's appointment with Dr. Tony.

Veronica couldn't stop touching her lips. Logan was a great kisser. Strike that - Logan was a phenomenal kisser, Logan could teach a master class on kissing, Logan could put Rudolph Valentino to shame, and that sailor in Times Square on V-Day - but there was no way her lips should still be tingling ten minutes later.

She glanced up at the mirror and saw that Logan was staring at her intensely again. "Mint," he said with a smirk. He didn't elaborate further.

"Huh?" Duncan asked. "What are you saying?"

Logan turned to him and smiled innocently. "Veronica's wondering why her lips are tingling."

"And they're tingling because" Duncan asked in confusion.

" of my lip balm a little bit ago. Without asking, I might add. It's minty."

Duncan snorted at Logan "You use flavored lip balm? Does it go with your eye shadow?"

"Say what you want, Duncan. You be macho, I'll have fresh and tingly lips." His eyes found Veronica's in the mirror again. "I've never had any complaints from the girls."

A/N - Disclaimer: I know absolutely nothing about Fashion. I am, however, very opinionated, and over-analyze outfits. Your opinions may vary. Shout-out to JeniLyn2000 on the orange pants thing. :)

A/N2 - Remember, this is 2004. Obviously, Facebook would be the logical choice for fan groups, but nobody was on it in 2004. Fan Forums/Message Boards were popular, and MySpace was fairly popular. Trust me, I am going somewhere with all of this news coverage.

A/N3 - Opinions of crazy teenage fangirls from 2004 do not necessarily reflect those of the author.

A/N4 - Oh, and that other thing happened. Thoughts?