invida_fic: (bah)
[personal profile] invida_fic
Title: Damn, Damn the Circumstance (17/?)
Author: invida
Characters: Veronica, Logan, Ensemble
Word Count: 4859
Rating: R
Spoilers: knowledge up to 2x22
Timeline: goes AU from the Pomroy party, and a few liberties are taken with the timing of certain events.
Disclaimer: I know the law, and the law would win.
Summary: if Logan hadn't left with the easy freshman that night.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to my betas [ profile] afrocurl and [ profile] aud_woman_in. And special thanks to [ profile] aud_woman_in for her unlimited patience and speedy re-reads!

Previous Parts

"I'm sorry, Logan," Ms. James said as she closed the door to her office.

Logan rolled his eyes from his seat in front of her desk. "What exactly are you sorry for, Becky?"

"Ms. James, Logan. I won't tell you again," she said as she slid into her chair to face him. "And I'm sorry about the situation with your parents. I can only guess how it must be affecting you."

Logan laughed mirthlessly. "That's just great! Everybody's all ready to say how sorry they are, but nobody wants to do anything about it. Just pat me on the head and say sorry. That makes up for everything. Then they can walk away. Duty done."

Ms. James shook her head. "That's not what I'm saying at all."

"Then what are you saying?"

"I'm sorry I can't do anything else except say 'I'm sorry'."

He swallowed. Wow. She was good. He could barely detect the platitude. "And what would you do?"

"What would you like me to do, if I could?"

Get me out. Wake my mother up. Make Veronica forgive me. Just get me out.

"I'll get back to you." He tried to sound flippant.

Ms. James nodded, looking even more sympathetic than when she was only sorry. "All right then," she said. "Let's take things a step at a time, then. Do you feel like you're ready to come back to school?"

"That's why I'm here, isn't it? I passed all last semester's exams. And –-" He presented a sheaf of papers and tossed them on her desk. "All the assignments I've missed so far this semester. You can quiz me on any of the classes I'm in, too."

Ms. James' eyes widened. "Wow. We – um –" She stuttered as she tried to put things delicately. "We didn't think you'd actually get a chance to work on the assignments we sent home with all the upheaval. We would've understood if you hadn't finished them."

"There's surprisingly little distraction in hospital waiting rooms."

"I'm sor—" she started, then shut her mouth. She tried again. "I'm proud of you, Logan."

You wouldn't be. Not if you talked to Veronica. "Thanks."

"Okay, so in terms of your subjects, you appear to be caught up. Do you anticipate any other problems?"


"Personal? Social? Your peers might think you've received preferential treatment despite your extraordinary circumstances –"

"And they can go to hell."

She made a distasteful face. "Be that as it may, Logan, neither you nor the rest of the school need any altercations right now. Can you rise above any taunts and teasing you might receive?"

Logan twirled a hand in the air dismissively. "Sticks and stones, et cetera."

"I'll take that as a yes."

"Anything to get this over with," he muttered.

"It wouldn't be fair to you or the other students if I didn't make sure you were prepared," Ms. James chastised.

Logan had a retort ready, but he knew it would only prolong the meeting. Instead, he simply nodded.

"Good. Now your friends – can we count on them to make your transition back as smooth as possible?"

Friends? He actually had to think about that. He didn't even want to be around Duncan. Dick was as unpredictable as ever. Casey, Sean, Luke – they were just an amorphous friend blob as far as he was concerned. They glommed on to whoever was the prima donna of the moment. If he chose to take that place again, they'd undoubtedly back him up. But he really didn't fucking care any more.

Jeez. What friends did he really have to count on in the end? In the strictest business sense of being able to count on people, Weevil Navarro was the only person he trusted because he'd come through on every deal they'd made. Had it really come to this?

And then there was Veronica. He'd been replaying the look on her face as he threw that goddamned envelope at her. He'd heard the words come out of his mouth, but he couldn't place them as something he'd ever imagine saying to her. Jesus, what the fuck had he even been on that day? A handful of this and a swig of that had been just the right recipe for self-destruction. But adding in a scoop of Veronica was complete catastrophe.

He'd started a hundred texts to her since that day, but never finished them, let alone sent them. They were too trite. No words could make up for what he'd said, what he'd implied.

No. Any apology would have to be big. It would have to be in person. He would get her alone at lunch or on her free period. He'd grovel and beg. He'd promise – god, anything. He'd take whatever punishment she decided to mete out if it meant she'd talk to him again. If it meant she'd someday think about holding his hand again.

Never mind what she'd offered him that day. Jesus fucking Christ, what kind of colossal asshole was he? She'd wanted him. And he threw it back at her like she'd insulted him. Damn it. Grovelling and begging shouldn't be enough.

But Ms. James was waiting for an answer. "I honestly don't know. I haven't had a lot of contact with any of my friends since this all went down. Kinda personal and embarrassing, you know?"

"Okay, so, we'll play it by ear. But if it gets too much for you, Logan, I want you to come and see me. Anytime today. I'll even write you a note you can use if you're in class and you need to leave."

Logan looked at his watch dramatically. "So we'll see you in five minutes then?"

Ms. James winced. "You'll get through this, Logan. How about we get you to homeroom now?"

Logan gave her his best jazz hands and phoniest grin. "Showtime!"


He'd been on the lookout for Veronica all day. She had to know that he was back at school today. He was the talk of the school, even with the unpopular kids. Besides, Veronica had always made it her business to find things out even before she became Neptune's own Nancy Drew. He hadn't been worried though because one way or another he'd see her in their Journalism class. But when he didn't see her at her usual table at lunch, he began to think she was skipping.

Not that he'd sat at her table or anything. He wouldn't make a move so bold when he didn't know where he stood with her. But he hadn't sat with his usual 09er crowd either, even though they seemed to be on tenterhooks, waiting to see where they stood with him. Let them wait, he thought, as he walked by their tables. Madison actually gasped when she saw him. But it was Beaver's nervous glare that steeled his resolve to stay away.

He weaved his way passed the band's table, the jocks' table, and carefully made his way over to sit across from Mac. She was reading and didn't even notice him sitting down. He perused her cafeteria selection, cringed at what passed for vegetarian option, and then cleared his throat and then said, "You want some fries with that?"

Mac looked up at him in alarm. "Jesus Christ. You scared me. What the hell do you want?"

"I was offering to give you some of my take-out, but not if you're going to be like that. What classes are we in together? I want those notes."

"Don't you have fawning masses for that?"

"Fawning masses who have the collective IQ of Polly the Parrot."

"And that's the only reason? Just my notes?" Mac asked with contempt.

Logan leered at her. "Is that your way of asking if I'm hot for you?"

Mac rolled her eyes. "It's my way of asking if you're looking for Veronica. And if you are, I haven't seen her today. Doesn't mean she's not here. Might mean she's avoiding you though."

"Yeah. I'm versed in all things Mars, thanks," he said, even though he was grateful this didn't have to become a fishing expedition. "But since you seem to be in a helpful mood, there might be something you could do for me."

"Look, I'm friends with Veronica. And I know badness went down with you two, so --"

"I could pay you."

Her eyebrow quirked up. "I'm listening."

"How easy would it be to make it look like an e-mail came from someone else's account?"

Mac shrugged. "Depends how easily you want to get caught."

"Well, since I'm paying you, I guess that's up to you."

"Give me the details, and I'll work something out."

Another take-out bag hit the table beside Logan. "New friend, Logan?" Duncan asked as he took the liberty of sitting down with them.

Mac watched Logan roll his eyes at the intrusion, then turned to Duncan. "Do that again and you'll regret it."

Duncan pointed at himself innocently. "Me? I was just –"

"You've just been in my grade since junior high. And we all know you're not stupid, Mr. Top o' the Honour Roll. I might not be in your social cliques, but you know I'm not his 'friend' and I'm definitely not yours. But you know I'm Veronica's friend. So you try to imply that there's anything between me and him again and your internet search history will find its way into the next Neptune Navigator." Mac picked up her lunch tray and stalked off.

Logan grinned. "Gee, Dunc, you're just a lady killer."

"She could do that?" Duncan asked.

"You're the heir to a Fortune 500 software company. You tell me."

Duncan made an imaginary checkmark in the air. "Note to self: clear my browser history."

"A safer bet might be not to piss her off again."

"So I guess that means you won't be bringing her to our make up date then?"

"Good guess," Logan said nodding, until his brain caught up with what Duncan had said. "Wait. Make up what? Since when are we dating?"

"I've been texting you all week. You haven't replied at all. I'm trying to arrange another double date with Meg. You know. A do-over. Pam doesn't want anything to do with you after the scene you made at my house. So you'll need to find someone else."

Logan shook his head in disbelief. Was he that oblivious or just spectacularly insensitive? "And did you miss the fact that my mother is in a coma and I'm kinda preoccupied?"

"I said I was sorry about her and I asked how she was doing. Didn't you read any of my messages?"

Logan shrugged. It wouldn't help anything to tell Duncan he'd deleted all his texts without reading them.

"Don't you think it would be good for you to get out though? It'll help distract you. Get you to have some fun."

"Yeah. Watching you hit on Meg Manning while I'm stuck with some random chick is not my idea of fun. And hey, remember how much fun you were after Lilly died?"

"Your mom's not dead."

"And she's not exactly performing Riverdance either."

"Okay, okay! Geez. I'm sorry. I thought you'd be all right since you're back at school and everything."

"The only thing being back at this shithole is a sign of is that it's better to be here than at home. Why are you suddenly such a gung-ho bushy tailed eager beaver? Off your meds or something?"

Duncan narrowed his eyes at Logan. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

Logan pulled a pill bottle out of his jacket pocket and placed it in front of Duncan, turning it so that he could clearly read the label. "That's what it's supposed to mean."

"Where the hell did you get that?"

"Your mommy dearest tried to feed them to me when I was over. You know, Lilly always said Celeste didn't notice her. Turns out she doesn't play favourites, 'cause she doesn't notice you either."

Duncan's face was turning a festive shade of red. "And you just took them?"

"Things kinda spun outta control after that, if you recall. So I looked this up, by the way. Which is it? Are you epileptic or bipolar?"

"None of your fucking business."

"You don't think I should know that my so-called best friend could have a seizure or go psycho or both at any moment?"

Duncan grabbed the pill bottle in one hand and his lunch in the other and stormed off.

"I'll take that as a no then," Logan said as he dug into his noodles. "I guess the date's off too."


There wasn't a lot that surprised Logan any more. You don't get to be the age of nearly seventeen in the Echolls household without a healthy dose of cynicism and disappointment.

So the tabloid cuttings on his locker door did not throw him. Nor did the taunts and leers from the other students about his parents, although it didn't stop him from giving a PCHer a shove when he made a crude comment about his mother and her coma. But teachers, probably thanks to Ms. James, were on high alert to Logan's return and broke up anything before they had to be taken down to the Clemmon's office.

No, even though the populace at Neptune High were taking the old adage 'kids can be cruel' as permission and running with it, none of it shocked Logan. What did shock him was seeing Veronica Mars waiting at the door as he left his math class, then taking him by the arm and pulling him into an empty classroom across the hallway.

Satisfied no one had seen them, Veronica let go of him as soon as she shut the door. As anxious as he was about this confrontation, he was also relieved to finally see her. He wondered how pathetic and needy it would look to try to put her hand back on his arm.

He leaned back against a desk while she paced. She hadn't looked him in the eye yet. This was not good.

Finally, he couldn't stand it any longer and asked, "What happened?"

Her head snapped up and she met his concerned gaze. It didn't take a genius to tell that Veronica was not happy to be alone with him.

He continued. "You didn't just pull me in here to welcome me back to school with a clandestine grope. I know you well enough to know that you'd've avoided me forever until I forced you to deal with me. So something must've happened."

"I know about Cindy."

Shit. Logan swallowed. "Okay. What exactly do you know about Cindy?"

"Cindy Tomassini. She was with you the night of Shelly Pomroy's party. That she must've seen what happened to me. That you told her to keep quiet for some reason."

"So a lot."

Veronica nodded. "A lot, a lot. She came up to me in the quad one day, you know. Before I knew who she was. She was trying to find out what I knew about her. She looked terrified."

"I never –"

"Then outta nowhere she transferred to a private school this semester. And now she's missing."


Veronica gave him a sardonic smirk. "I know. Really inconvenient of her to go missing while your family is having its dramas on the front page."

Logan let the insult wash over him. He wasn't going to get angry about it but he wasn't going to let it go either. "Original. 'Cause I haven't had that thrown in my face all fucking day long. What are you accusing me of here, Veronica? That I kidnapped her, or that I'm keeping the media camped out on my doorstep?"

Veronica shrugged. "Neither. I just wanted to make sure I landed a good one before you went on the attack again. I had the bad taste of leaving before I could get any shots in the last time we saw each other."

"Nice. So that's the way it's gonna be?" he asked as she perched herself on a desk opposite him.

She pointed at him. "You tell me. I haven't heard anything yet to make me think otherwise."

Logan blinked. Was she actually inviting him to make it up to her? Would he look like an even bigger idiot if he asked her to clarify?

He pushed off from his desk to stand in front of Veronica. He wasn't touching her yet, but she flinched when he leaned in, so he pulled back.

There was really only one card he had to play. He turned back to his stuff and drew an envelope out from between the pages of a textbook. He walked back over to Veronica and placed it in her hands.

"Get this over with, Veronica. Read it. And then yell and scream at me about what an enormous fuck-up I am."

He could see that Veronica had recognized the envelope as soon as soon as he pulled it out -- the paternity results she'd given him for safekeeping. She took a deep breath before taking out the letter inside and opening it.

Her eyes scanned over each line before she finally closed them, and exhaled slowly. Relief relaxed her features. Words tumbled from her mouth in a murmur. "Thank God. Thank fucking God. This is – I'm a Mars. My dad's my dad. Oh my God."

She finally looked up at him, her eyes glossy with tears of relief, but she didn't smile. "Enormous is an understatement, Logan."

Logan nodded. "I'm sorry –"

Her fists slammed down on the desk beside her, crumpling the letter and envelope. Here it came. It was exactly what he deserved. This is what he wanted, he reminded himself.

Veronica's voice was a hiss as she lit into him. "Sorry? You're sorry? You let me think for days that Jake Kane was my father! Why?"

"I don't know."

Veronica blinked at him like she was unable to process that this was his actual answer. Then she threw her hands up in frustration. "Oh, well, I guess that's just fine then."

"No! That's not – I was in a really bad place that day. I was fucked up on booze and…other substances." That earned him a grimace, but he continued. "You were so great and so into me. And it was like things were suddenly too good and they shouldn't be with my mom and dad and everything and I…I just lashed out. It's not an excuse, but it's all I've got for an explanation."

There was an awfully long pause before Veronica said, "I'm not your punching bag."

"I know that."

Her mouth was set in a hard line. "Well, then, the key would be to remember it."

He inched closer to her. "I will if you let me."

Veronica sniffed, but said haughtily, "I’m still angry."

"I would be shocked if you weren't." He crept even closer.

"You will not be off the hook for a really long time. I reserve the right to bring this up as a prime example of your jackassery should the mood strike me."

"Your whim is my command."

Veronica rolled her eyes and blew out a long breath. "You know, you're not as cunning as you think you are. Just get over here already." She held out her hand to him.

He grasped it and felt her tug him over to her. At the same time she hopped off the desk she was on. Then she wrapped her arms around his waist. He closed his own arms around her and kissed the top of her head. She let out a long breath and said, "You're such an asshole. Don't ever do anything like that to me again, Logan."

"If I do, you have my permission to taser my junk."

She laughed and Logan knew it was in spite of herself. She'd already given in this much. He'd be the same way in her shoes.

Veronica pulled back and placed her hands on her chest. "So, I guess it's safe to say we're skipping the next class."

"That's okay. I've got the excuse that it's my first day back. Ms. James even gave me a 'get out of jail free' card."

"And what's my excuse?"

"You had to keep me from harming myself?"

"When I am this close to throttling you myself?" She held up her hand, pinching her index finger and thumb together.

"You'll think of something." He leaned in and gave her fingers a quick peck. "Tell me about Cindy."

She looked at him incredulously. "Shouldn't I be asking you that?"

"Show me yours, I'll show you mine."

Veronica squinted at him in disbelief. "Like you've been so forthcoming up 'til now? Is this really how a relationship should work? That we don't give anything away until we're forced to? It's like we're competing to keep things from each other when we're supposed to be sharing everything we can."

Logan laughed. "Could you see our relationship working any other way? You think we're ever going to drive-ins and malt shops? That we'll be voted king and queen of the prom, while we gossip about all the losers in our wake? We got together because of a murder, Veronica. At the very least, you can't say we'll ever be boring."

"I’m more worried that we'll be too exhausted to be bored."

"But what fun it'll be getting exhausted!"

Veronica rolled her eyes. "Okay. Fine. All I know about Cindy is that her parents both come from mob families – one from LA, and one homegrown. They kinda had a Romeo and Juliet thing. Blood is blood though. So whoever took Cindy – if she didn't just run away - is in for a world of hurt."

"Why would she run away?"

"I told you, when she talked to me, she was petrified. She transferred to a private school with security and it's pretty far out of town, ensuring that she had to be driven there. Maybe it wasn't enough."

"You said she comes from mob families. Plural. What could scare her that much?"

Veronica snorted. "I think you answered your own question there. And I'm just speaking from the standpoint of having an overprotective dad with a gun. Mine is at least law-abiding."

"So how'd you find out about me and her at Shelly's party?"

"I admit, I was slow to figure this one out. You've been a damn good distraction. I knew someone was with you that night and saw what happened because you let it slip."

"When?" he asked incredulously.

Veronica took a step back and crossed her arms defensively. "Doesn't matter. You know I find things out. I told you that she talked to me. I just didn't know her name. When she went missing and I saw her photo with her name, it all fit together. Why's she scared, Logan?"

He backed up from her as well and pointed at himself. "Are you accusing me of something?"

"Not if you're straight with me. For once."

He turned away and pulled a hand through his hair in frustration. Was there any point in stalling any more? "She was with me. We were going to use the room, so to speak. But she ran off when she saw…you and…She's scared because she thinks she's being threatened by the guy she saw in the room with you."

"And is she being threatened?"

He turned around and looked her straight in the eye. "Not as much as some of us."

He saw the exact moment when she got it. She shook her head and blinked a few times. Then her eyes widened and her breath hitched. "You can't be serious. Dick's brother? Cassidy? Beaver?!"


After he stopped Veronica from hyperventilating, he snuck her out of the school and bundled her into his SUV. He pulled into the parking lot of Dog Beach. It still would be deserted at this time of year, giving them a bit of privacy.

He waited for Veronica to notice they'd stopped. She'd been almost catatonic on the drive, fiddling absentmindedly with the straps on her bag. She suddenly looked up and said, "Why?"

Logan shook his head. "I don't know."

"When you…found him, Beaver, he didn't try to explain? Or even make an excuse?"

"Would it make a difference if he had, Veronica? He's a sick fuck."

Veronica sighed. "I don't know. Maybe. Just…why me? I barely know him."

"I think from what I heard, Dick was egging him on. But honestly? I think it's because you were there and out of it."

"Peer pressure or opportunity? Neither of those scenarios are very comforting," she said as she shuddered. "Why didn't you tell me? I mean after he couldn't blackmail you. There was no reason not to tell me."

He turned in his seat to face her. "Because of this conversation. Because you don't feel any better. Knowing doesn't give you any answers just more questions and I can't give you any explanations beyond what I saw."

"Maybe not. But at least I know whose life I'm going to make my mission to ruin."

"Veronica," Logan said, caution in his tone, as he reached out to grip her shoulder. "With everything going on, maybe you've gotta let this go."

"How can you ask me to do that?" Veronica swatted his hand away. "You've blindsided me twice today. With this, with the stuff about my dad. You don't get to tell me what to do now."

"I'm not saying –"

"You shouldn't be saying anything at all, Logan! You should be on my side! He tried to assault me! You've known all along who it was, so you've had time to 'just let this go'. But I've just found out! I think I'm owed a little leeway on what I want to say and do about this."

Logan held up his hands in surrender. "Okay. I'm sorry. It's just – I don't want to see you getting yourself into trouble over that piece of shit."

Veronica punched the dashboard. "He shouldn't be allowed to get away with this!"

Logan grabbed her fist before she could punch it again. "You're right," he said, as he rubbed the reddened knuckles. "But we're dealing with a lot of other crap. Both of us. I'm only asking that you put it aside for now. I didn't just give you my best grovelling back at school for nothing. I...I need you. I know that's selfish and whiny, but I really need you to be my girlfriend right now."

Surprise softened her features, but she still tried to pull her hand back. Logan held firm. "That's not fair," she said.

"You should know by now that I play dirty," Logan said, smirking. Her glare returned and he realized that his charm was not going to be enough to win her over, so he decided to change tactics. "Okay, Veronica, let's say you go after him. What are you going to do?"

"Destroy him," she said through gritted teeth.

"And then what? He's nuts, Veronica, and he's already paranoid. He's been threatening both of us. And now Cindy's gone missing. Either 'cause of something he did, or tried to do, or because he just plain scared the shit out of her. I mean, he blew up my fucking car. He has access to explosives. What do you think he's gonna do after you mess with him?"

Veronica had turned away during his lecture pretending to contemplate the ocean. Logan could feel the tension in her and wondered if he'd have to spring forward to stop her from fleeing his car soon.

"I don't know," she said quietly to the window.

"Exactly. You don't know. He's unpredictable on a good day."

"You want me to be a good girlfriend, but you're being a really shitty boyfriend," Veronica muttered.

"A shitty boyfriend who gets to keep his good girlfriend in one piece."

She looked down at their hands and then opened her palm to lace her fingers with his. "Remember what I said about you not being off the hook for a really long time? Well, it'll be even longer now."

"Can we just assume I'm going to screw up again and consider me permanently on the hook? It'll be a lot simpler."

She gave him a finger gun. "Done and done."

"You don't have to agree so easily."

She gave a derisive laugh. "There's nothing easy about my agreement. There's nothing easy about this whole thing. Which again makes me wonder how we're ever going to make this work."

"It will work," he said as he squeezed her hand. "And it'll be real this time. Out in the open. Not when no one is looking. No more hiding it. Especially from assholes like Beaver Casablancas. Or 'cause we think Duncan's gonna lose his shit."

Veronica smiled, but eased her hand out of his. "Yeaaaah. Now might not be the time for that either."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, I have a plan. And you're not going to like it."
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